Happy belated Halloween, ATL readers. We hope your holidays were fun and free of criminal activity.
Over 2,000 people checked in over the weekend to vote in our caption contest. The winner after the jump.
Trick-or-treaters can get into serious trouble on Halloween. Especially if their Halloween activities involve arson. Or blackface. Or guns.
A student at BYU Law School donned a costume last week that was police-raid worthy. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
When Attorney General Mark Shurtleff spoke at a BYU Law School criminal procedures class Thursday, one law student came to class dressed in full SWAT gear, including an armor belt, and some students said he had carried a gun on campus, although they weren’t sure it was real.
Yeah, that’s probably taking All Saints’ Day Eve a little too far.
* John O’Quinn, the legendary personal injury attorney killed in a car accident last week, had over 800 cars worth more than $100 million. What happens to them now? [United Press International]
* Can political connections help Florida attorney Scott Rothstein stay out of trouble? [Miami Herald]
* Judge decides Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend and doctors will be tried in her drug overdose death of two years ago. [Los Angeles Times]
* Washington bans Kenya’s attorney general from traveling to the U.S. [Reuters]
* Eric Holder keeps secrets. [Bloomberg]
* The New York Times reviews Ford County, John Grisham’s new book of short stories, and gives it the thumbs up. [New York Times]
* As we noted last week, you can read one of Grisham’s stories without buying the book. [Daily Beast]
Delaying start dates for incoming associates may have another downside: leaving them with nothing to do but get into trouble.
Brian Schroeder has an impressive résumé. The Texan graduated from Duke in 2005, having majored in theater studies, and went on to Harvard Law School. There, he was an editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review and a co-president of Lambda, an LGBT student group. He also took part in Parody, the HLS comedy show (which Elie was involved in during his time at Harvard Law).
After taking a year off to travel around Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe, he graduated from HLS this spring and moved to New York for a Biglaw job. He was supposed to start at Sidley Austin. [Update: Tipsters say Schroeder had taken the Sidley deferral package and was doing pro bono work.]
That night, Schroeder got very drunk and got up to some serious trouble on the morning of October 31. Yesterday a friend wrote on his wall:
“I totally just read this article that someone with your name and age set a fire…just a coincidence huh?!”
Unfortunately, it’s not a coincidence.
Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks, which has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
Last week we wrote that jobless claims were higher than expected and that predicting anything with any degree of confidence seemed pointless. This week, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits was lower than expected, the lowest levels in seven months, and that was before announcement that benefits will be extended again. Still, the best that can be said is that the cuts are slowing:
Companies are cutting fewer jobs as they see more evidence of a recovery, helped by government stimulus efforts and less weakness in housing and manufacturing. While a separate report today showed the economy expanded for the first time in more than a year, a rebound in hiring may take longer to materialize
So while things bounced around unpredictably in the broader market, we had two notable announcements in law-firm innovations this week. We’ll cut right to them after the jump.
This year we decided to dress up as Judge Denny Chin (S.D.N.Y.), recently nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If you’re a criminal, Judge Chin can be quite frightening — he sentenced Bernie Madoff to a whopping 150 years.
And where did we get the idea for our costume? ATL comments (see #2 and #17).
A slideshow of photos showing us in our Judge Chin costume, after the jump.
Congratulations to WilmerHale on a Major Pro Bono Win
(Plus the WilmerHale warning, and thoughts on law firms trying to crack down on leaks.)
Congratulations to WilmerHale and two of its associates, Ross Firsenbaum and Shauna Friedman. They just scored a big-time victory in a pro bono case.
It’s a story straight out of the movies. WilmerHale’s client, Dewey Bozella, a 50-year-old African-American man, was released from custody earlier this week — after serving 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. From the New York Times:
Mr. Bozella would still be in prison except for a few lucky breaks. The first came in 2007, when he contacted the Innocence Project, a legal group that focuses on wrongful convictions. The group, after determining all the physical evidence had already been destroyed, asked the high-powered law firm of WilmerHale to handle the case on a pro bono basis.
Ross E. Firsenbaum, a senior associate, said the firm’s lawyers had spent 2,500 hours — worth $950,000 at customary rates — on the case, the kind of representation almost never available to indigent convicts.
Will Bozella file a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit — perhaps represented by Wilmer, on a contingency basis? It could yield up a nice chunk of change (to make up for the nearly $1 million in non-billable work). Given all the firm has done for him, Bozella certainly owes WH a debt of gratitude.
Anyway, it’s a remarkable case. Read more about the victory in the NYT and Am Law Daily.
Such success is not entirely surprising. Although WilmerHale has one of the country’s top appellate practices, WH lawyers know their way around the trial court too. As noted in the firm’s ATL Career Center profile,”[t]he firm is known for its litigation expertise, as well as its regulatory practice and Beltway connections.”
Meanwhile, in other firm news, we got our hands on the WilmerHale warning memo that we mentioned earlier this month. Truth be told, it’s a little disappointing — not nearly as scary as we were led to believe.
We were expecting associates to be threatened with 26 years of imprisonment (or doc review) for leaking firm information to ATL. Or maybe waterboarding by Bill and Bill. But the actual memo is not unreasonable and fairly tame, guilt-tripping rather than menacing.
Check it out, along with some cautionary words for law firms thinking of clamping down on leakers, after the jump.
There’s nothing scary about this Halloween edition of the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. Our featured newlyweds include two Skadden associates, a SCOTUS clerk, and a famous heiress / model / entrepreneur.
Here are our fabulous finalist couples:
Marvel at the accomplishments of these couples, after the jump.
If you’re going to have a little afternoon delight with a stripper, why not head to the local cemetery? We applaud South Carolina deputy assistant attorney general and former legislator Roland Corning for really getting into the Halloween spirit this week by getting his jollies at the graveyard.
Unfortunately, his Monday lunch treat got tricky when a police officer happened by. From CBS News:
Deputy assistant attorney general Roland Corning said he was on his lunch break when a police officer found him with a stripper, a Viagra pill, and sex toys in his sports utility vehicle, according to Corning’s boss.
Let’s learn a bit more about the stripper, shall we?
What would you do to score World Series tickets? If you aren’t willing to do what this Philadelphia Phillies fan had in mind, then you aren’t really trying. Earlier this week, the New York Post reported:
A rabid Philadelphia fan — apparently believing the “P” on the team’s cap stands for “prostitution” — was busted yesterday for offering sex in exchange for World Series tickets, police said.
Susan Finkelstein, 43, was nabbed after allegedly soliciting an undercover Bensalem, Pa., cop who answered her innuendo-laced craigslist ad seeking the coveted ducats.
CBS has a full photo spread of Susan Finkelstein, in case you have two spare tickets for Saturday.
That’s right, she needs two. One for herself, and one for her husband.
UPDATE: Actually, it seems that she no longer needs tickets for the next game. (Gavel bang: commenter.)
Allegations after the jump.
According to the Center for Disease Control, these are the groups most at risk for swine flu:
* Children younger than 2 years old;
* Adults 65 years of age or older;
* Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks postpartum (including following pregnancy loss)
* Persons with the following conditions:
* Chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
* Disorders that that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions or that can increase the risk for aspiration (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders)
*Immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV;
Oh wait, I think the CDC forgot a group: Biglaw lawyers. Ropes & Gray apparently thinks that its lawyers are at risk — so like any good company, the firm is “stockpiling” swine flu drugs. The Boston Globe reports:
The Boston-based law firm Ropes & Gray made arrangements this month for hundreds of its employees and their families to obtain the antiviral medicine Tamiflu to protect them from swine flu, a move that the company calls a wise precaution but that public health officials criticized as medically questionable stockpiling.
Hoarding swine flu medication? Really? That is not cool.
Additional details after the jump.