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Bar takers, the big day approacheth. We hope you’ve given up alcohol, television, Facebook, and daily showers, and are making progress on packing as much law into your brains as the remaining time allows. We’ve offered you lots of advice here at ATL: how to go through BAR/BRI faster, how to fail the BAR/BRI midterm and still pass, and how 2 avoid language that will hurt your score.

Some bar takers have had their fill of studying, though, and are looking for distractions. A Mizzou Law grad is in this camp:

I’m studying for the bar right now, and to be honest, little of this sounds like what I learned in law school. So I said to myself, if I didn’t pick up these 20-odd topics, what did I learn?

He came up with a list of the 17 things he learned in law school. Some excerpts:

  • Walk, don’t run from the police. See Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (2000).
  • A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge. See DeMentas v. Estate of Tallas, 764 P.2d 628, 632 n.6 (Utah App. 1988) (quoting the “colorful, if occasionally irreverent” trial judge: “It’s hearsay, I agree, but it’s damn good hearsay, and I want to hear it.”).
  • Criminal defendants tend to be idiots. See State v. Gaw, 285 S.W.3d 318, 320 (Mo. banc 2009) (After approaching Gaw’s vehicle, “Sgt. Frazier asked Gaw to give him his marijuana. Gaw reached into his pants pocket, pulled out a small baggie and handed it to the officer.” Gaw was then arrested.).
  • People litigate some really bizarre stuff. See Tulare Irrigation Dist. v. Lindsay-Strathmore Irrigation Dist., 45 P.2d 972, 1007 (Cal. 1935) (use of water by farmers to drown gophers not allowed in area with chronic water shortage).

The full list of lessons learned in law school, after the jump.

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The 76-year-old iconic director, Roman Polanski, is free to drug and sex 13-year-old girls across the European continent. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the Swiss government rejected a U.S. extradition request. The Associated Press reports:

The Swiss mostly blamed U.S. authorities for failing to provide confidential testimony about Polanski’s sentencing procedure in 1977-1978.

The Justice Ministry also said that national interests were taken into consideration in the decision.

Funny, I didn’t know the Swiss had a national interest in protecting convicted rapists…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Roman Polanski Gets His Freedom On”

one million dollar lawsuit.jpg* The Los Angeles County Superior Court needs a Hollywood handout. [New York Times]

* The lawsuit over a one-million-dollar-challenge has been refiled in federal court. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution via ABA Journal]

* A federal judge calls a $675,000 fine for file-sharing “unprecedented and oppressive” and reduces it to a measly $67.5K. [Harvard Crimson]

* A 19-year-old outlaw with a fan base was caught red-handed and bare-footed in the Bahamas. [Los Angeles Times]

* The Swiss want to keep Roman Polanski around. [Associated Press]

* Grim Sleeper serial killer had a long rap sheet, but it was familial DNA that did him in. [Washington Post]

* Monopoly suit against Apple and AT&T over locked iPhones will move forward as a class action. [Associated Press]

Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.

One other note: Law Shucks is changing server hosts this weekend. Please forgive any intermittent downtime.

Private equity is one of the largest benefactors of BigLaw.

PE firms are massive consumers of all sorts of legal work, from fund formation, to investment transactions, to exits. Investment banks – and perhaps government (see, e.g., Davis Polk, Cleary Gottlieb, and Simpson Thacher slurping from the TARP firehose), thanks to recent events that have pumped that above traditional norms – are probably the only providers of more billable hours.

Even corporate clients that do a quarter-trillion dollars worth of deals with one lawyer can’t compete with the soup-to-nuts appetite of private equity.

In honor of all the billable hours they and their portfolio companies have generated, this week is All Private Equity….

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That was fast. The criminal case against 10 Russian spies, which has captured the national imagination since their arrests on June 27, has been resolved. The New York Times reports:

In a seeming flashback to the cold war, Russian and American officials traded prisoners in the bright sunlight on the tarmac of Vienna’s international airport on Friday, bringing to a quick end an episode that had threatened to disrupt relations between the countries.

Planes carrying 10 convicted Russian sleeper agents and 4 men accused by Moscow of spying for the West swooped into the Austrian capital, once a hub of clandestine East-West maneuvering, and the men and women were transferred, the Justice Department said. The planes soon took off again in a coda fitting of an espionage novel.

It was a very dramatic scene. For more details on the spy exchange, see the Times and also the Washington Post (which reported that the idea of a spy swap was first developed weeks ago by the Obama administration).

Let’s take a look at some of the legal angles to this story….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Speedy End to the Russian Spy Case”

* I’ll bite: I think a tanning tax is racist. It’s textbook disparate impact. African-Americans have been through enough; we shouldn’t be forced to look at pasty-faced white people all winter. [Concurring Opinions]

* DWI fines are so expensive drunk drivers can’t pay them, so a Texas state senator suggests repealing the law. The things that pass for logic down there are amazing. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Arizona Governor Jan Brewer finds a way to blame Mexico for everything. [Color Lines]

* Meanwhile, in Sacramento, the solution to police budget cuts is to make sure it’s easier for people to carry around concealed handguns. D’uh. When they’re not enough cops you absolutely need people walking around armed to the teeth. Don’t you know that safety smells like hot lead and fresh blood? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Court orders joint custody … of a Lhasa Apso. I have a Lhasa Apso, and I’m pretty sure my wife only puts up with me so she can see the dog. [ABA Journal]

* This is a pretty interesting way of looking at the LeBron coverage. [Breaking Media]

Justice Clarence Thomas got bad news yesterday from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. His nephew, Derek Thomas, had an epileptic seizure after hospital staff used a taser on him. From ABC 26 News:

According to a statement from the family, Derek Thomas, who is epileptic, refused to put on a hospital gown and tried to leave his examination after a possible suicide attempt. They say security “punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dredlocks and tasered him to restrain him.”

Doctors knew about Thomas’ epilepsy, but ordered security officers to use the taser anyway, instead of sedating him, the family says.


Clarence Thomas is allegedly outraged and plans to fly down to New Orleans to check on his nephew, according to ABC 26 News. And because this facility sounds a wee bit unpleasant, the family is trying to have Derek Thomas transferred somewhere else.

At least this is happening after the term has ended. He can deal with this crisis more easily with the Court in recess, just as Justice Ginsburg has the summer to grieve for her husband.

Video report from Jefferson Parish, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Don’t Tase Him, Bro — His Uncle’s a Supreme Court Justice”

Lindsay Lohan claims her fingernails were not sending a message to the court.

When actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced earlier this week to 90 days in jail for probation violations, she showed up in court with fabulous fingernails. If you’d like to learn about how to get the same look for your own nails, check out our sister site, Fashionista.

The tie-dye effect on LiLo’s nails was très cute — the profanity, not so much. After a photographic close-up showed “F**K U” stenciled on her nails, observers wondered if the message was directed at the judge — and whether it might constitute contempt of court. Lohan clarified, via Twitter, that the “F.U.” was not directed at Judge Marsha Revel. (For the record, though, Lohan does think Judge Revel is a “f**king bitch.”)

Still, it probably wasn’t advisable for Lohan to show up in court with profanity printed on her fingernails. Didn’t her attorney — or her former attorney, veteran litigatrix Shawn Chapman Holley, who recently quit the case — advise the actress about courtroom appearance and demeanor?

UPDATE: For the time being, Holley is still Lohan’s lawyer. Page Six reports that Judge Revel won’t allow Holley to leave the case until a substitution of counsel has been filed with the court.

In fairness to Lohan, she probably didn’t expect that the words on her fingernails would be seen. After all, they were only shown to the world thanks to extreme close-up shots by high-definition cameras — cameras that also captured her handwritten courthouse notes. (John Steele of Legal Ethics Forum wonders if this raises privilege issues.)

And perhaps Lindsay Lohan views herself as above the law — and the lawyers. As analysis of the starlet’s Twitter feed reveals, Lohan considers herself to be quite the legal eagle….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should Lindsay Lohan Go To Law School?”

Brandeis University has made a major free-agent signing in the legal world. The George Washington Law School dean, Frederick M. Lawrence, is leaving GW to become president at Brandeis. And the good people at Brandeis couldn’t be happier. As one Brandeis tipster put it:

Finally, a president that will make Jewish grandmothers (read: Brandeis undergrads) proud: “He’s a lawyer!”

No, but really, the trustees at Brandeis are thrilled….

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Does LeBron James have lawyerly genes?

LeBron James, who’s your daddy? (Unfortunately, it’s not the Knicks, to Elie’s great dismay.) Could it be a Washington lawyer by the name of Leicester Bryce Stovell?

Stovell came forward this week, claiming to have knocked up Gloria James when she was 15 and to have genetic proof that he’s the King’s father. Like all good dads should, Stovell is suing his new-found son and baby mama for $4 million for denying paternity. TMZ reported on the lawsuit on Wednesday along with photos of Stovell, saying the resemblance is uncanny. At the very least, it’s true that they’re both tall.

TMZ was blown away by Stovell’s credentials:

[T]he man making the claim isn’t some schmuck — dude is a Princeton graduate … who earned a law degree from the University of Chicago … and then became a Senior Legal Advisor for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Au contraire. You can get a law degree from the U of Chicago and still be a schmuck. One of Stovell’s former colleagues attests to that…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Leicester Bryce Stovell (aka LeBron’s Daddy)”

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


I have a pet peeve.  When scheduling conference calls, certain people, particularly associates at firms representing codefendants, frequently identify the time zone as “EST” or “PST” when we’re on daylight savings time.  Of course the writer means “EDT” or “PDT,” and everyone acts as if they wrote that.  But it bugs me.  And I have reason to think that some people see it as a sign of sloppy work.  Is it appropriate to point out this mistake (privately, of course)?

— Timed Out

Dear Timed Out,

You are absolutely right: typos such as confusing EST with EDT are indicative of sloppy work and its first cousin, sloppy thought. Frankly, they’re inexcusable when clients pay lawyers like yourself thousands of dollars to fight their battles – not “they’re batles.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Ticking Time Bomb”

Cornell Law School recently circulated to its students in the class of 2012 — i.e., rising 2Ls –a list of class of 2010 and 2011 members who landed jobs through the fall recruiting process. Most of these positions, not surprisingly, are at large law firms (aka “Biglaw”). The class of 2010 graduates will presumably be working for their firms in a few months (or in a year or so, if they’ve been deferred); the class of 2011 students are presumably summer associates at their firms right now.

Many law schools circulate such lists to their students. This gives rising 2Ls an opportunity to connect with graduates or fellow students and maybe learn a little bit more about law firms before fall recruiting really heats up.

The Cornell Law employment lists offer an interesting snapshot of the employment prospects for students and graduates of a top law school. The lists provide the name of the graduate or student, their law firm employer, the city they’ll be working in, and the graduate or student’s email address. We have reprinted the lists, but with names and email addresses redacted, after the jump.

Should Cornell Law students be pleased or pissed off by their school’s track record at Biglaw placement? We hear from one CLS student and then debate the question, also after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Employment Prospects for Graduates of Top Law Schools: A Cornell Case Study (and a Debate)”

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