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The Formeller triplets and soon-to-be law grads

This weekend, Tressler law firm partner Daniel Formeller will welcome three new lawyers into his family: his triplets. Matthew, Kathryn, and Christina Formeller are graduating from DePaul University College of Law (a top 100 school).

The siblings, 26, attended Illinois Wesleyan University together. When Christina, the youngest triplet, decided she wanted to go to law school, the other two followed suit. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The triplets spent their first year and a half of law school in classes together. They say that the novelty soon wore off but the benefits were lasting. For example, they had a built-in study group with members who were critical but loving, and they did not have to adjust to roommates who were strangers.

In better times, it would be awesome to have three new law grads in the family. What about in these times?

Triple the grads, triple the law school debt. What are the triplets up to after graduation?

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Weird Is Good

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I can count myself as one of the thousands of students that had Elena Kagan as a professor. She’s taught at the University of Chicago School of Law and Harvard Law School. I had her in 2000 — before she became Dean of Harvard Law School — for Civil Procedure my first semester 1L year. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at some ungodly hour in the morning.

Like Frodo on Weathertop, there are some wounds that never fully heal. Professor Kagan massacred me intellectually, and brutalized my pride. I got some form of a B in her class (I honestly don’t remember if there was a modifier — I’ve tried to suppress those memories). Kagan was a frightening professor for those who wanted to match wits with the brightest legal minds in the world. For people like me, people who just wanted to get through law school with minimal mental damage, Kagan was nothing short of terrifying.

Consider this a notebook dump from my three months in Kagan’s class…

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* Attorneys general are upset that they can still get prosties on Craigslist. [Courthouse News Service]

* Dole wants a $2.3 million verdict over, um, defective bananas overturned. The fruit company’s lawyers accuse six Nicaraguan men and their lawyers of fraud in a lawsuit that claimed exposure to pesticides made the men sterile. [Associated Press]

* Is firm loyalty an antiquated concept, or has it just been tarnished by the recession? [Texas Lawyer via ABA Journal]

* You may want to read through E-Trade’s response to the Lindsay Lohan “milkaholic” lawsuit. You may be quoted in it. [Gawker]

* Divorce lawyer Thomas Sasser will help Tiger try to keep his cubs. [TMZ]

* Easy access to federal and SCOTUS opinions, courtesy of CourtListener. [Law Librarian Blog]

* Linda Greenhouse has some questions for Elena Kagan. [Opinionator/New York Times]

* One question: where does she stand on abortion? [Washington Post]

* Obama has the right to… reexamine Miranda. [New York Times]

Now that the fabulous Elena Kagan has been officially nominated to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, some folks have been wondering: What does the future hold for the unsuccessful shortlisters? Let’s consider them, one by one.

1. Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Cir.): The brilliant D.C. Circuit judge — practically a “tenth justice” himself, due to his ridiculous success in feeding his clerks to the Court — could be considered for a future vacancy. He’s young enough, at 57, and the Garland clerk mafia is strong, with representation in the White House counsel’s office and other D.C. power centers.

Garland is the SCOTUS candidate who would be most appealing to conservatives, so his chances of appointment are directly proportional to Republican representation in the Senate. My advice for Judge Garland: vote Republican.

2. Judge Sidney Thomas (9th Cir.): The well-regarded Ninth Circuit judge’s appearance on Obama’s short list surprised some, but it really shouldn’t have. Sid Thomas is very smart and very liberal, and he would add diversity to the Court (as a Montanan, non-Ivy Leaguer, and Protestant).

“Sidney Thomas is being thrown around in case [Justice Anthony M.] Kennedy steps down in the next two years,” a D.C. insider involved in the nomination process told me. “As far as we can tell, Obama likes [Sid Thomas] and wants to introduce him as a possibility to make him more palatable next time around.”

If Justice Kennedy, 73, were to leave the Court, it would be without any West Coast representation. Nominating Judge Thomas — a member of the Ninth Circuit, just like AMK was before his elevation — would remedy that.

My advice for Judge Thomas: pray for Justice Kennedy to have a heart attack.

3. Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir.): It pains me to say this, because I adore Judge Wood, but this go-around was her last best chance at the Court. This July 4, Judge Wood will turn 60, viewed by some as the upper bound for a nominee in terms of age. As one of my friends observed on Facebook, Wood is on her way to becoming the liberal version of Judge Edith Jones, whose numerous unsuccessful appearances on shortlists led Slate to dub her “Susan Lucci in judicial robes.”

My advice for Judge Wood: enjoy Chicago. Or pray for ill to befall Justice Ginsburg very, very quickly — if RBG leaves soon, you might still have a shot.

In addition, I have a rather significant CORRECTION, concerning some speculation I passed along last night. The rumor was that Daniel Meltzer, the deputy White House counsel who recently announced his resignation to return to the Harvard Law School faculty, harbors a grudge against Kagan — because she beat him out for the HLS deanship — and that Meltzer therefore lobbied against her nomination to the Court.

So…. just how wrong was I about tension between Kagan and Meltzer?

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And a correction: Kagan and Dan Meltzer are besties.

* It looks like somebody took a stapler from the wrong woman. [ABA Journal]

* Should law students outsource maintenance of their online image? Why not? What’s a little more debt when you are already underwater? [The Lawyerist]

* Almost a third of Biglaw women reported they’ve been bullied. [Technolawyer]

* Goldman Sachs keeps coming up with funky a$$ s*** like every single day. [Dealbreaker]

* Did anybody notice that Lena Horne died yesterday? [My Law Life]

* Mother’s Day is a nice occasion for a Blawg Review devoted to women in the law, but where is the holiday for single, childless women? Halloween? [She Negotiates via Blawg Review]

* Right now, the legal blogosphere is all Kagan, all the time. The first and most important question is: should you like her? [Gawker]

* Lat and Kash demystify the confirmation process. [Washington Post]

* I wonder who conservatives would prefer, Kagan or the Biblical Moses? [Washington Examiner]

* Kagan’s record on hiring women and minorities while Dean of HLS is spotty. Of course, if she had hired more women and minorities people would probably be calling her a pandering feminazi. [PrawfsBlawg]

* There’s been a mixed reaction to Kagan’s nomination at Duke Law School. Maybe if she threw a temper tantrum about undergraduates in the law library, they’d like her more? [BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

* Elena Kagan loves the Federalist Society. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* We now know what makes her cry. [Washington Post]

* What SCOTUS Justices (and potential SCOTUS Justices) looked like when they were young. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Elena Kagan may not play for both teams, but she makes both sides nervous. [Slate]

Over on the website of the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin has a nice post on how Elena Kagan deftly finessed the “gays in the military” / Solomon Amendment issue while serving as dean of Harvard Law School. It’s an interesting read; check it out here (via Dahlia Lithwick’s Twitter feed).

Alas, these days Toobin is apparently busy with pursuits other than journalism. Over the weekend, the New York Daily News provided a rather salacious update on his alleged affair and resulting love child with Casey Greenfield — the Gibson Dunn litigator, daughter of well-known political pundit Jeff Greenfield, and a media figure in her own right….

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A few blocks west and south of Orrick’s nice new offices, another law firm is planning to make a move: Proskauer Rose, currently on Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets. Proskauer’s move even made the New York Times:

A prominent law firm is expected to sign a lease next week for a new home in the vacant 40-story tower called 11 Times Square, ending months of speculation about the deal and providing another sign that the commercial real estate market may have hit bottom. The developer of the 1.1-million-square-foot glass tower, which is nearing completion at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, is also negotiating with several companies who want to build an aquarium filled with sharks, rays and penguins….

Sharks and penguins. So Weil and Cleary are moving into the building too?

According to the Times, the Proskauer name might be displayed at the entrance to the tower, and possibly at the top, too. Given the high-traffic location of the building — in the heart of Times Square, across the street from Port Authority — it’s a nice bit of free publicity.

In addition to getting to brand the building, there are many other reasons — tens of millions of reasons, in fact — behind Proskauer’s move….

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[Firms] are still being forced to recruit a year and a half prior to an anticipate start date, what other industry tolerates such a crazy hiring model?

– K&L Gates Chairman Peter Kalis

A younger Elena Kagan

It’s Elena Kagan’s “wise Latina” comment. Just as Court watchers dug up a controversial, eight-year-old statement by Sonia Sotomayor last year, they have unearthed a law review article that Kagan authored in 1995 when she was a young law professor at the University of Chicago. In it, she criticized the Supreme Court confirmation hearings as they existed then (and now) as a “vapid and hollow charade,” in desperate need of reform to get at a nominee’s true judicial philosophy and views.

Now the statement is being thrown back at Elena Kagan as she prepares for her own confirmation hearings. Such is the nature of the modern confirmation process, when everything one has said or written can be found in the immense digital file cabinet that is the Internet (which is not always a bad thing, as Lat and Kash argue in a Washington Post piece today on myths about the confirmation process). A search of “Kagan and charade” in Google returned over 5,000 results this morning.

This seems like an opportune time to take a more thorough look at the 25-page book review from which the sound bite comes, and to highlight other passages that shed light on a 35-year-old Kagan’s opinion of the confirmation process. Not all of it casts a dark shadow when brought to light today. Regarding a nominee’s qualifications for the highest court, she presciently asked:

Must, for example …, a nominee have served on another appellate court — or may (as I believe) she demonstrate the requisite intelligence and legal ability through academic scholarship, the practice of law, or governmental service of some other kind?

Perhaps by serving as Harvard Law School dean, and then as Solicitor General?

What other gems can be found in the 15-year-old document?

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We’ve written previously about Vanessa Selbst, a Yale Law Student and professional poker star. She outlasted 716 competitors at the PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour event at the Mohegan Sun. Top Prize = $750K. Now that she’s won more than enough to cover her high-priced legal education, she’s taking a break from law school to concentrate on poker.

You can check out Vanessa’s victory tonight on ESPN2 at 11:00 pm. Or you can catch it online at www.pokerstars.tv. More importantly, you can vote for Vanessa to be one of 27 inaugural “poker all-stars” in a June tournament with a million dollar prize pool. Winning your education funding at the tables seems a lot more noble than asking people to pay you. Click here to vote.

As many of you know, I love poker. I know many of you do too. Vanessa also coaches poker at Deuces Cracked, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to pick Vanessa’s brain about poker and law school. Luckily for Yale Law students, she has a kind heart and won’t be rolling around campus looking to take all of your money. But she could…

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