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In today’s Washington Post (gavel bang: WSJ Law Blog), writer Stuart Taylor Jr. notices that the Supreme Court is a totally partisan institution:

Why does the supposedly nonpartisan Supreme Court split so often along ideological lines, with the four conservatives locked in combat against the four liberals and the eclectic Justice Anthony Kennedy determining which faction wins?

And why do all of the justices so often find in the Constitution a mirror image of their own political and policy views on issues as diverse as abortion, race, religion, gay rights, campaign finance, the death penalty and national security?

If I hear one more person refer to Justice Kennedy as some kind of swinging independent, I’m going to scream. But that’s besides the point. The point is that there are still a lot of people out there who fool themselves into thinking that the political preferences of the judges don’t, or shouldn’t, matter…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Justices Are People Too”

Image from The Ladders' Summer Fashion article

This month’s heat wave forced professional types to start desperately thinking about whether spaghetti straps and speedos are appropriate attire for the office. (Hint: they’re not.)

Many offices do go casual over the summer, though. At Weil Gotshal, for example, you can buy your way into a pair of jeans on Friday. Says a tipster (with some high-rise excitement):

did you hear that weil is starting jeans fridays for july and august as a test run and potentially forever! in order to participate, we must pay $5 to go to a designated charity each month. we have had these $5 jeans fridays in the past maybe every other month… but now it’s every friday!

The downside: Those who don’t turn up in jeans on Fridays are revealed as either ridiculously stuffy or too cheap to give to charity.

Need help with clothing choices this summer? A recent career newsletter from The Ladders had a useful feature on summer fashion, including dos and don’ts. The photo at right is among those featured. Is it a fashion do or a don’t?

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A tale of three Yalies: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo.

… or talk about the bar. Welcome to one of those “only on the internet” moments, a spirited debate between three people I adore: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo. The subject: the bar exam (but also law schools and the legal profession more generally).

Here’s one thing the three share in common: they’re all graduates of Yale Law School. The similarities pretty much end there. Elizabeth Wurtzel is a litigatrix at the high-powered Boies Schiller firm, but her real claim to fame is her work as a bestselling and critically acclaimed writer. Richard Epstein is one of the nation’s leading law professors — U. Chicago and NYU folks, you can argue over which school he belongs to — and an outspoken libertarian. John Yoo, a prominent (and conservative) law professor at UC Berkeley, is most well-known for his work in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, where he authored the so-called “torture memos.”

Wurtzel is super-liberal — her reaction to 9/11 was controversial, to say the least — while Professors Epstein and Yoo both hail from the right side of the aisle (to put it mildly). Back in May, I identified both Epstein and Yoo as possible nominees for the conservative wing of an “unconfirmable” Supreme Court.

So how would you react to learning of a three-way debate between Wurtzel, Epstein, and Yoo — in which the dynamic is not La Wurtzel v. Epstein & Yoo?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “John Yoo, Richard Epstein, and Liz Wurtzel Walk Into a Bar….”

Jimmy Doan, mini Esq.

There are many, many personal injury firms in the world, and they often have to come up with gimmicks to set themselves apart. Those gimmicks have landed a fair number of them in our Adventures in Lawyer Advertising series.

A tipster recently sent along the website for The Doan Law Firm: The Ultimate Fighting Law Firm. It’s based in Houston and run by a Texas Wesleyan Law ’00 grad, Jimmy Doan.

Why don’t you click here and meet him? Make sure your speakers are on.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: Pocket-Sized Legal Advice”

Here’s a fun little story about the immense, door-opening possibilities you can enjoy once you have a J.D. and/or legal experience. From the ABA Journal:

With 23 years of legal experience, Laurie-[E]llen Shumaker thought she would soon find another job when she was laid off in January 2009 from her position as a shopping center lawyer.

But today, after applying for over 1,000 jobs—including positions as a clerk and a day care worker—Shumaker, who is nearly 60 years old, has landed exactly zero interviews…

The Huffington Post has Shumaker’s full story. At this point, the 59-year-old grandmother just wants to know if she’s too old, or has one too many X chromosomes, to find work…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A J.D.? Whatever You Do, Don’t Get Old.”

* A possible upside to jury duty: getting to watch porn in court? [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Things just got hard in the Big Easy for six New Orleans police officers, who are now accused by the feds of shooting unarmed citizens and/or conspiring to cover it up. [New Orleans Times Picayune]

* O’Melveny & Myers, represented by Gibson Dunn, is suing MGA Entertainment for $10.2 million in unpaid legal fees. [Am Law Daily]

* The D.C. Circuit, reversing the district court, upholds the detention of a Yemeni man at Guantánamo Bay. [New York Times]

* Meanwhile, the Second Circuit says “no f**king way” to the FCC’s “fleeting expletives” policy (as noted in yesterday’s Quote of the Day). [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and Associate Justice David Stras, just sworn in as members of the Minnesota Supreme Court — at an investiture attended by Justice Clarence Thomas (for whom Stras clerked). [How Appealing]

When it comes to law school, “Hope springs eternal.” According to a National Law Journal article entitled Hope Drives Rise in Law School Applications, for this year’s incoming class, law school applications increased by 7% and the number of applicants by 3% — despite tough times in the legal profession and the heavy educational debt that law school often entails. Some law schools saw their applicant pools grow by 30 percent or more. See, e.g., the University of Alabama (70 percent), the University of Maine (65 percent), Cornell (50 percent), and the University of Illinois (37 percent).

Regular readers of Above the Law are no doubt familiar with the argument against going to law school. It’s fairly straightforward: given the weak legal job market and the high cost of law school, which often requires students to take on six figures’ worth of debt, getting a J.D. degree is simply a bad investment.

The argument against law school is typically made in these pages by one of my colleagues, Elie Mystal. But not all of your ATL editors are so anti-law-school. Speaking for myself, I think the case against law school is often exaggerated.

Here are five arguments in defense of going to law school — or, at the very least, five arguments against an extreme anti-law-school stance….

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* George Steinbrenner (R.I.P.), always a shrewd businessman, passed away at just the right time to avoid the estate tax. [CBS]

* John Yoo’s defense of the defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). [Ricochet]

* Latino Major League Baseball players are threatening to boycott the 2011 All-Star game (which is currently set to be held in Phoenix). If they want to really do something, they’ll boycott spring training complexes throughout Arizona. Remember, when the NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl, Arizona managed to get its head out of its ass over Martin Luther King day. These kinds of protests can really have an effect. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Israeli victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks are bringing a lawsuit against Qatar-based Al-Jazeera over what they put on T.V. in Israel. Logically, this suit is being filed in the SDNY. [Legal Blog Watch]

* When is it appropriate to pull a summer associate aside and say “really, you’re wearing that to work”? [Corporette]

* When cops attack it really helps if they are not acting as cops. [Bad Lawyer]

* The alleged liberal bias among the mainstream media doesn’t seem to be doing Eliot Spitzer a whole lot of good. [Salon]

We agree with the Networks that the indecency policy is impermissibly vague. The first problem arises in the FCC’s determination as to which words or expressions are patently offensive. For instance, while the FCC concluded that “bullshit” in a “NYPD Blue” episode was patently offensive, it concluded that “dick” and “dickhead” were not. Other expletives such as “pissed off,” up yours,” “kiss my ass,” and “wiping his ass” were also not found to be patently offensive.

– Judge Rosemary S. Pooler, in a Second Circuit opinion in a case remanded by the Supreme Court. The Second Circuit struck down an FCC obscenity rule for being unconstitutionally vague and violating the First Amendment.

The meteoric rise of Facebook has tended to inspire lawsuits by those who claim to have collaborated with Mark Zuckerberg in the site’s creation. The latest to make a claim on the 500-million-member site is a wood chipper man in New York. We don’t understand how Paul D. Ceglia went from writing code to producing wood pellets, but so be it.

In his lawsuit (via Gawker), he claims to have made a contract with Zuckerberg in 2003 to help design “The Face Book” for $1,000 plus 50% of the site’s revenue, with an added 1% per day until the site was launched. This sounds like the stupidest (and most typo-ridden) contract ever — Zuckerberg went to Harvard and this guy chops wood, so we’re skeptical (though we do know the Ivy League doesn’t teach common sense).

The Guardian reports that Facebook has “dismissed the case as ‘frivolous’ and ‘outlandish’, said it will fight it vigorously and pointed out that a lawsuit over a contract broken in 2003 is ‘almost certainly barred’ by the statute of limitation.”

The judge in Allegheny County Supreme Court is taking the claim very seriously though. Judge Thomas Brown has frozen Facebook’s assets while the case is pending…

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The founders of this Oman-based law firm obviously haven’t seen American Pie:

Law Firm Fail [Fail Blog]

Last year, in our douchiest law school competition, Duke Law was crowned as the douchiest law school in the land. But we might have to run the contest again based on the new information we have about UVA Law.

On the law school’s website, the school is posting summer associate stories from UVA students who were able to secure SA positions. The one posted yesterday is so full of sweetness I developed adult-onset diabetes before I finished the post. It’s 565 words from a rising 2L at UVA about the (apparently glorious) opportunities available at Arent Fox. Yes, that’s the same Arent Fox that revoked offers to several members of its incoming associate class this past September. I think we can safely say that the idyllic summer experience at the firm isn’t at all like the nightmarish reality of getting your career aborted before it starts.

But such weighty issues are of no concern to this UVA student. You’ve got to check out her report.

Warning: you are about to enter a trippy world of lollipops and rainbows, so proceed with caution….

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