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Yesterday we broke the story of a strange situation concerning a Minnesota judicial race. Judge Thomas G. Armstrong (10th District Court 3), a 30-year veteran of the bench, filed to run for reelection last month. Unsurprisingly, the longtime judge was initially unopposed.

Hours before the filing deadline — which fell on Tuesday, June 1, at 5 p.m. — his law clerk, Dawn Hennessy, jumped into the race. Shortly thereafter, Judge Armstrong withdrew. This left his clerk running unopposed, with the filing deadline for other challengers elapsed.

Whispering in Minnesota legal circles ensued. Observers wondered: Did Judge Armstrong and Dawn Hennessy collude to place her on the bench? We started investigating the story yesterday, with phone calls and emails to both Judge Armstrong and Hennessy. A few hours after we started poking around, Hennessy withdrew from the race — leaving no contenders for the seat.

Since yesterday, there have been some developments — including the reopening of the race….

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Some updates in the bizarre MN judgeship situation.

Over the last 24 hours, there have been some managing partner shake-ups at some notable large law firms. Let’s tackle the news in Vault order. First up: Baker & McKenzie.

The firm has gone international to find its next managing partner. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

[I]f anyone had any doubts about the firm’s commitment to its international presence, consider this: It recently elected São Paulo partner Eduardo Leite as the next chairman of the firm’s eight-person executive committee…

Leite represents the firm’s first Latin American chair. And we can’t think of any other U.S.-based law firm that’s picked someone based in Latin America to lead it.

Am Law has a great quote about Leite…

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Leadership changes at Baker & McKenzie, Dechert.

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Here at the Pls Hndle Thx factory located in my parents’ basement, we receive hundreds of emails a week begging us for advice.  And by “hundreds of emails,” I mean two, one of which I’m pretty confident Elie writes and sends from secret email accounts because he knows that my health insurance doesn’t cover mental health benefits and doesn’t want me to feel like a complete failure.

Anyway, each week, the two emails that we receive inevitably ask the same old questions: Should I apply to law school? Should I drop out of law school? Will I be fired?  Help, I’ve been fired, now what?

The best advice I can give you people is simply this: learn to read. We’ve answered all your FAQs before. But if you don’t remember what we said and/or don’t feel like scrolling back through the archive, here are the Pls Hndle Thx FAQs along with our sage advice….

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Earlier this week, we ran an open thread how people are doing on their hours. We also had a survey asking people to tell us how many hours they are on track for. We received strong reader participation in the poll, but there was a flaw in the survey. According to commenters:

elie. you need to leave an option to “view results” w/o checking. Law students and others will be interested in this, but will have to choose a selection to view results….

Well, I assumed that law students would just wait until the today’s follow up post since I clearly stated I would do one:

I just checked the category that includes 0 hours to view the results, so the stats are skewed. FAIL!!!

Have you ever heard of a little thing called patience? Can we please act like adults?


In house.

GOD. Fine. I screwed up. Sorry for expecting readers to exhibit a modicum of restraint and not click on a poll to which they didn’t have an answer.

With the caveat that the numbers for the “less than 1600″ category are skewed by people who couldn’t wait two days for the follow up, the results of the survey appear below…

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Henry Hams

Yesterday’s Lawyer of the Day was a public defender who could use a little defending himself — after he allegedly choked a prosecutor. Inside a courthouse, of all places.

The story is even better than we first reported. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The men went downstairs to the first floor, where [public defender Henry] Hams allegedly lashed out at the prosecutor outside a snack shop, authorities said.

At some point, Hams got on top of the victim and was choking him with both hands around his neck, Patterson said. When two sheriff’s deputies tried to pull Hams off the victim, Hams continued choking him with one hand and attempted to resist the deputy’s efforts with his other hand, Patterson said.

Choking a prosecutor with one hand, while resisting a deputy with the other? Impressive! Welcome to Cook County.

So, where did Henry Hams get his gift for brawling? And who’s representing him in the criminal case he’s facing?

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The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgThe Supreme Court is headed down the home stretch. Of the 86 cases argued during the October 2009 term, 59 have been decided and only 27 are remaining.

While we are still waiting for results the biggest cases of the term, including McDonald v. Chicago, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and Doe v. Reed, the Supreme Court handed down several significant cases in May: American Needle v. NFL, Graham v. Florida, Carr v. United States, Berghuis v. Thompkins, United States v. Comstock, and Levin v. Commerce Energy.

In this post, we will revisit our predictions and compare them to the outcomes. We will use our standard measures to explain how confident we were of our decisions, and how accurate our forecasts were.

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The New York State Senate yesterday passed its version of the Nanny Law. If signed by Governor Paterson, the law would require employers to give domestic workers paid vacation and sick days, as well as 14 days notice before termination. The benefits would apply to legal and illegal immigrants.

Essentially, it would require people to treat domestic employees like employees instead of serfs.

It sounds like a wonderful law. It sounds like the right thing to do. It sounds … utterly unenforceable. On True/Slant, Claudia Deutsch points out:

Sure, it sounds compassionate and embracing to say that anyone, legal or not, should have a right to recourse if they are being exploited. But how exactly does an illegal immigrant sue an employer without outing himself/herself? I can see a worst-case scenario if this passes, whereby people who currently employ citizens and legals might actively seek illegals, just to avoid the cost and paperwork.

Enforcing this law will be somebody else’s problem. But for the Biglaw families out there, the real question is whether this law will cause unnecessary problems in a market that already seems to work pretty efficiently….

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* The papers of Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Elena Kagan clerked, may offer the left some reassurance on Kagan’s liberal bona fides. [CBS News]

* Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup poll finds that public support for confirming Kagan is a little on the low side compared to that of other recent nominees (except for Harriet Miers). [Gallup via Drudge Report]

* Jonathan Bristol, a partner (or former partner?) at Winston & Strawn, did legal work for Kenneth Starr — no, not that Kenneth Starr, but the financial advisor to celebrity clients who now faces federal fraud charges. [Am Law Daily]

* Joran van der Sloot, a suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway on Aruba, is now in custody in Chile; he’s the prime suspect in the murder of young Peruvian woman. [Associated Press]

* Are federal courthouses super-sized? [Washington Post via How Appealing]

* It might not have been a beer summit — but the White House meeting between President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, which we mentioned yesterday, was cordial and productive. [New York Times]

Ed. note: If you don’t access Above the Law through an RSS reader, or if you don’t even know what an RSS reader is, feel free to ignore this post.

To those of you who have been clamoring for a restoration of ATL’s full RSS feed, your pleas have not fallen on deaf ears. We’ve decided to bring back our non-truncated RSS feed. For more on why we experimented with an abridged RSS feed and why we’re restoring the full feed, see this post by our CEO here at Breaking Media, Jonah Bloom.

Of course, accessing ATL through an RSS reader isn’t the only way to enjoy the site. You can sign up for our email newsletter — which we’re going to be revamping and expanding in the next few weeks, by the way. You can also follow us on Twitter, where an automated feed of our stories is mixed in with handcrafted tweets (signed individually by your editors — “DL” for Lat, “EM” for Elie, and “KH” for Kash).

To our RSS subscribers, thanks for bearing with us during this trial period. We hope you enjoy the restoration of the full feed.

Testing a Truncated RSS Feed on Above the Law: The Results Are In [Breaking Media]
Newsletter Sign-Up [Above the Law]
Above the Law Twitter feed [Twitter]

* In case there was any doubt, here’s photographic proof that Jerry O’Connell’s new show “The Defenders” is at least in part based on some crazy lawyers in Vegas. [Wild Wild Law]

* If you require the services of Lat’s parents, make sure you ask for the ATL discount. [Bergen Record]

* University of San Diego Law dean steps down, but boy he’s happy about how well the school is doing in the U.S. News rankings — err, not that law deans are totally obsessed with those rankings or anything. [USD School of Law]

* How awesome would it be to wrestle the judge presiding over your case? [Bad Lawyer]

* Is there something about being deferred that makes law graduates unable to read between the lines? [Law and More]

* Gloria Allred = famewhore? [Jezebel]

* There’s no crying in baseball. But it did get a little dusty in here when Armando “Nothing but class” Galarraga handed the lineup card to umpire Jim “This is what personal responsibility looks like” Joyce. []

Hello, what have we here?

Based on the approximately ten billion emails we’ve received about this into in the last few hours, it seems a lot of you already know that the “Star Wars kid” has decided to attend law school. We think the first Kamino-like flood of emails linked to the story on TechCrunch:

It was eight years ago that Ghyslain Raza slashed his way into our hearts with his Star Wars Kid video. Sadly, Raza suffered from severe bullying and abuse for his video and eventually ended up in a psychiatric ward for children…

He and his family sued the kids who leaked the video for $250,000, settled, and that seemed to be the end of it. Now, however, Ghyslain just became the president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, a heritage society dedicated to conserving his hometown in Quebec. He’s also working on law degree at McGill in Montreal.

I have a bad feeling about this. But clearly escape from McGill is not his plan. Raza must face his demons, alone.

In case you don’t remember Star Wars kid: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

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The ABA might remain silent when it comes to stopping law schools from taking financial advantage of law students. They might pass rules that allow legal work to flow freely overseas, damaging the livelihoods of lawyers back home. But when it comes to Congress potentially stepping in to regulate lawyers, the organization finds its voice and gets to work.

The ABA Journal reports that the ABA is spearheading an effort to get practicing lawyers excluded from the increased regulation contemplated in the financial reform bill which is now in reconciliation:

The spate of recession-induced financial help scams loomed large in the push for national consumer protection, and competing House and Senate bills now headed for conference committee both specifically target for regulation anyone involved in offering a “consumer financial product or service.”

But the House version has an exemption for lawyers engaged in the practice of law as well as employees directly supervised by them, or in matters incidental to the practice and within the scope of attorney-client relationship. The Senate version does not. In the Senate version, for example, simply holding a trust account would bring a lawyer under the eyes of federal regulators.

Almost a year ago, I noted that it would be very bad if the general public decided to hold lawyers to the same level of scrutiny as bankers in response to the global economic crisis. But screw the public; it should go without saying that lawyers don’t need the federal government on their backs…

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