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Today is Friday, when we entertain offbeat reader requests. Like this one:

I’ve billed a couple of hours this week arguing with different partners about whether “pled” or “pleaded” is the preferred past tense form of “plead.” Can I get a poll? I wonder what Biglaw associates and old-school partners have to say about it.

I’ve generally found that most younger attorneys use “pled” while the more senior attorneys prefer “pleaded.” Anyway, just random thoughts for a Friday morning.

Back in our brief-writing days, we used “pleaded,” which we felt better captured the “past-ness” of the event. But that’s just our opinion. What do you think?

It appears that Jonathan Lee Riches — ATL’s favorite pro se litigant, who filed that famous $63,000,000,000.00 Billion lawsuit against Michael Vick — has some competition in the contest for craziest complaint.
Pro se litigant Gregory Newman has filed a lawsuit against “Covert Action Air Operations.” This entity does not exist. But that hasn’t stopped Mr. Newman from alleging that it erased his videotape of a “magnetic tornado” that descended upon his backyard.
Here’s an excerpt from the memorandum opinion dismissing the complaint, which describes some of Gregory Newman’s more colorful allegations:
Gregory Newman Gregory E Newman complaint Covert Action Air Operations.jpg
You can read the two-page opinion — which includes some boilerplate and citations, perhaps helpful to the law clerks among you, for the proposition that complaints “that describe fantastic or delusional scenarios are subject to immediate dismissal” — by clicking here.
Memorandum Opinion: Newman v. Covert Action Air Operations [U.S. District Court (D.D.C.)]

If you’re not already a member of Lateral Link, you can sign up through their website. Membership, which is free and confidential, allows you to learn about new legal opportunities as they become available. Successfully placed candidates will receive a $10,000 placement bonus.
Position Type / Location: Law Firm – Tax Associate (Washington, DC)
Position Description: The Washington D.C. office is seeking a mid-level tax associate to work on project finance transactions. This magic circle law firm makes The American Lawyer’s AmLaw 100 rankings. The firm’s practice areas include corporate, bankruptcy and restructuring, intellectual property, litigation, project finance, reinsurance and insurance, and tax. The successful candidate must have at least 3-6 years experience in partnerships, foreign tax planning, leveraged leasing, subchapter C and tax-exempt financing.
For more information, see job #7697 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

gunner law school gunner.jpgToday’s open thread focuses on someone who is near and dear to all of your hearts: the law school gunner. He’s sitting on your left; he’s sitting on your right; or maybe he is you. If you don’t know who the gunner in your class is, then look in the mirror.
We asked the tipster who suggested this topic to us to provide us with some fodder to kick off the thread. Here’s what we got:

It all begin at Admitted Students Weekend last spring, when this particular individual had to be shushed and told to “STOP TALK-ING” by a professor running a mock class. This was after he interrupted another admitted student and said, “Well, he gave a BAD example, but what he was clearly trying to say was…” There was other bizarre admitted students weekend behavior, but that should give you an idea.

Then, we arrived at school in August and there he was…ready to embark on a semester full of interrupting other students and professors, sharing awkward personal stories, and even telling professors that material they assigned from casebooks was “irrelevant.”

For finals, he decided that typing on his laptop keyboard would not allow him to type quickly enough to get all of his thoughts down in EBB, so he got special permission from the Registrar to use an external keyboard and a stand for his laptop. The whole contraption takes up lots of desk space and looks like he is sitting at the controls of a spaceship. From what I hear, he also used it for the last week of classes to “practice” for the exams.

He also once asked a particularly well-known professor to autograph his casebook…

And, finally, the event that precipitated my message to you. During a lunchtime speaker event, this individual pulled out a set of nail clippers and started clipping and then filing his fingernails! The entire room heard and was staring at him–naturally this got around the law school pretty quickly. Did I mention this individual is older and should know better (not that a 22 year old straight from undergrad shouldn’t…but he’s significantly older)?

So there’s a few examples for you.

Have gunner horror stories of your own to share? Please do so, in the comments (without naming any names, per our standard operating procedure around here). Thanks.
Gunner [Wikipedia]

* Former police chief calls Diana’s death preventable. [MSNBC]
* Court allows casino caucuses in Nevada. [New York Times]
* Legal aid money allegedly spent on booze and loans. [AP]
* Roger Clemens retains D.C. powerhouse lawyer, Lanny Breuer, to help him navigate the Beltway byways. [New York Times]
* Developments in missing marine case. [CNN]
* Study estimates 473 days’ worth of missing White House e-mails. [Washington Post]
* Texas Supreme Court justice indicted, but indictment to be dismissed. For a more complete write-up, see our earlier post. [New York Times]

David Medina Texas Supreme Court Justice Medina Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s not every day that a member of a state’s highest court gets indicted. So of course Justice David Medina, of the Texas Supreme Court, is our Judge of the Day. Justice Medina and his wife were just indicted in connection with an alleged arson fire that destroyed their home last summer. (We previously discussed the case here.)
But wait — it gets better. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, a recent Lawyer of the Day, has announced that his office will move to dismiss the indictments. As several tipsters helpfully pointed out to us, both Rosenthal and Medina are Republicans.
This is a little too much bizarreness for this early hour. We’ll turn the floor over to a Texas tipster:

Texas is awesome for many reasons — for example, the locals trying to build nuclear reactors in their garages. And don’t forget the alien visitors.

But the justice system just makes Texas awesomer (even though we already knew that — see here).

First there’s the Texas supreme court justice & his wife who were indicted yesterday and are suspected of torching their house after the bank foreclosed on it.

Then, the DA who says he’ll seek to toss the indictment.

Did we mention the DA’s under investigation himself, and a Harris County judge has requested the AG investigate?

All around, it’s pretty solid legal scandal.

Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State — including the legal scandals.
Update: Here’s an article from the New York Times (via the WSJ Law Blog).
Texas Supreme Court Justice indicted in arson of his Houston home [AP]
Texas Supreme Court justice, wife indicted [Houston Chronicle]
Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina Indicted [Texas Lawyer]
Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina indicted in connection with fire [Dallas Morning News]
Earlier: Did A Texas Supreme Court Justice Burn Down His Own House?
Lawyer of the Day: Chuck Rosenthal

Green Bay Packers football Above the Law blog.jpg* Does the Supreme Court’s Stoneridge decision give the “getaway drivers” of securities fraud a free pass? [OverHedged]
* Apparently Green Bay fans really like the Packers. []
* Miss Loyola 2L? Meet Kirsten Wolf. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Did Barack Obama receive an illegal endorsement? [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of Obama, his minister had this to say about Bill Clinton: “He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky.” Can someone please remove the cigar from the national vajayjay? [Baltimore Sun]

chipmunk feeding chipmunk ramp Above the Law blog.jpgIn the wake of this story, which had a happy ending, we received this email:

I read about you helping the woman with cancer who wanted to wear her hat in court.

I’m handicapped, paralyzed with a closed head injury.

I’m in a wheelchair and rarely leave my condo except to see doctors.

I’ve lived in my condo since August 1989. I brought the bird feeder from Mom’s house after she died.

Now Ms. [xxxx], the new Property Manager, has ordered me to get rid of my water and chipmunk ramp.

I’ve been here 18 years. She’s been here less than a year.

My whole outside world is my patio with the bird feeder, and water and chipmunk ramp.

I have appealed to [xxxx] Management in Buffalo Grove, IL, but they won’t help me.

I hope you will.

We’re much better at helping Biglaw associates secure pay raises, or law clerks snag clerkship bonuses. The law governing whether a Chicago condo tenant is entitled to keep a chipmunk ramp on her patio lies outside our expertise. Also, we’re not admitted in Illinois.
But if you’re a landlord / tenant lawyer in Illinois who might be willing to help our correspondent, please email us, and we will put you in touch with her. Thanks.

Susan Estrich Fox News Quinn Emanuel Supreme Court clerk Above the Law blog.jpgMore news from one of ATL’s favorite law firms, Quinn Emanuel. See Gawker and Radar.
If your friends are as fabulous as Susan Estrich’s, why hide them behind a bcc?
Query: Could this actually be a brilliant viral marketing ploy? Has Susan Estrich harnessed the power of the blogosphere to get all the world to read her paean to QE?
The Art Of The ‘To’ Line [Gawker]
Fox News’ Susan Estrich Has a New Job [Radar Online via Big Law Board]

clock time billable hour Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gifSo far, we’ve received exactly 1,400 responses to last week’s survey on hours and bonuses. You can see how bonuses broke down for the Classes of 2005 and 2006, based on hours, in the results to yesterday’s Lawyer of the Year survey.
But how did billable hours break down by city?
There’s been a lot of discussion in responses to our previous surveys about whether New Yorkers really work as hard as other cities, especially given the Christmas and New Year’s efforts of their California brethren.
Find out how New Yorkers really stack up, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey Results: Billable Hours By City
(Or: Do New Yorkers really work harder?)”

Paul Chernoff Judge Paul A Chernoff Above the Law blog.jpgWho knew that being a judge could be so dangerous? Maybe jurists should get hazard pay. From the Boston Globe:

Few at the Norfolk Superior Court house in Dedham disputed that the worn and uneven front steps needed fixing. But when a judge in his late 60s tripped on them and broke his left kneecap more than three years ago, neither the state nor the county wanted to take responsibility for the condition of the steps.

Now the judge, Paul A. Chernoff, is suing both the state and the county to determine who is at fault. Chernoff, who is about to retire, wants to know which party will cover his future medical bills if he develops arthritis in the damaged knee or requires a knee replacement….

The judge is seeking $10,000 for anticipated future medical and hospital expenses and $25,000 for pain and suffering, according to court documents, which state that the injuries have caused a permanent disability.

According to Judge Chernoff’s lawyer, judges in Massachusetts aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp would have covered future medical bills — and the judge could plausibly claim he was injured in the course of performing his duties:

On the morning of June 30, 2004, Chernoff was returning to the Superior Court house after delivering instructions to a jury, which had gathered at the District Court house across the street. As Chernoff ascended the worn stone steps of the Superior Court – the same steps that spectators of the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Italian anarchists, went up in the 1920s – he tripped and landed on his knee.

Courthouse perils should not be underestimated. Magistrate Judge Ted Klein (S.D. Fla.) may have died as a result of deadly toxic mold in his courthouse.
Update: Might Judge Chernoff be engaging in some forum shopping? A tipster tells us:

FWIW, the courthouse where he fell has a reputation for juries who are not terribly plaintiff-friendly. Which is probably why he filed in Middlesex County (at least in part). I understand there are a few more liberal jurors in Cambridge…

Judge sues over court mishap [Boston Globe]

breastfeed redacted lactate lactation room Above the Law blog.JPGSometimes we wish we had the breastses. Then we could enjoy the luxurious lactation room at Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Back in this post, we wrote about the lactation room at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. We’re sure it’s plenty nice. But we doubt it’s as snazzy as what the competition on the other side of Lexington Avenue is offering.
Check out this Davis Polk email, which went out late last year (exclamation mark in the original):

From: **** On Behalf Of Associate Development
To: all.lawyers.ny
Subject: Nursing Room

We are pleased to announce that the firm now has a private nursing room!

Located on the 10th floor, this cozy room is equipped with brand-new furniture, including a comfortable chair and end table, refrigerator, and reading materials of interest to new mothers. Access to the secure room is available through the Security Desk. A small sign on the outside of the door indicates when the room is occupied.

We hope that this amenity will provide returning mothers who wish to continue nursing their babies additional support during this important transition. Your privacy and comfort are our priority.

Please do not hesitate to contact [xxxx] or any member of the Associate Development Department if you have any questions. Thank you and congratulations to all of our new DPW Parents.

We’re curious about the “reading materials of interest to new mothers” at DPW. Draft asset purchase agreements? SEC proxy filings?
Meanwhile, in other happy news for parents, Arnold & Porter has jumped on the improved parental leave bandwagon. Following the recent trend, which we’ve been following in these pages, they’ve increased the paid leave they provide to women who give birth or primary caregivers of a newly adopted child. It used to be 12 weeks; now it’s 18 weeks, which appears to be the “market” rate these days.
Transmittal email, plus A&P’s full leave policy, after the jump.
Earlier: Biglaw Perk Watch: Lactation Rooms

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Good News for Parents, from Davis Polk and Arnold & Porter”

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