Next month the Career and Professional Development Center at Duke Law School will for the first time offer a workshop called Dealing With Conflict and Difficult People. In September the negotiation program in Harvard Law School’s executive education series will present a seminar called Dealing With Difficult People and Difficult Situations.
Who says law schools don’t prepare their students for the “real world”?
Of course, most law schools don’t need to offer “workshops” for dealing with pricks. Students learn these lessons through practice — by dealing with professors. Disclaimer: Please do not interpret this post as our taking sides in either Charney v. S&C or Shanettagate. Consider this provocative quote from the article (emphases added): “[S]ome scholars say, the problem is not the difficult people themselves. IT IS YOU.”
Furthermore, reasonable minds can differ over who is the “jerk” in a particular situation. The article mentions “[t]he explosive boss” as one example of a jerk, but it also cites “the Complainer, the Whiner and the Sniper” as jerkly archetypes. So the S&C partners might argue that Aaron Charney is a “jerk,” or Shanetta Cutlar might label Ty Clevenger as a “jerk.” Help, I’m Surrounded by Jerks [New York Times]
A very interesting exchange appeared in some recent comments about Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.
We’re bringing the exchange up to the main page, for the benefit of those of you who can’t keep up with all the comments. Here it is:
I wonder if ANY work is getting done over [at Sullivan & Cromwell]. I bet people are just sitting around and gossiping all day.
Of course no work is getting done. We’re too busy concocting conspiracy theories about why certain highly-detailed comments to the WSJ law blog were pulled…(these posts were fairly specific in their criticisms of S&C and, in particular certain partners/wannabe underlings…
4:44 PM: We have an email into Peter Lattman [at right] about this. Also, please note that ATL has a general “no moderation” policy with respect to comments. So if the WSJ Law Blog posters would like to reproduce their comments here, they are welcome to do so.
(An exception to our “no moderation” policy: We pull comments that appear to be accidental duplicates — e.g., double- or triple-posted comments.)
* Too soon, Daily Princetonian, too soon. And what’s more, you budding SNL-writers are so completely unfunny that you might consider law school instead. Dewey Ballantine would probably hire you. [IvyGate Blog]
* Retiree sick of junk mail claims that (literal) poo-slinging is constitutionally protected. [AP via Forbes]
* If only Jason were just a tad younger, they’d be just another couple of happy, teenage parents. [Sheboygan Press]
* But we’ll always have YouTube. [ValleyWag]
* Want to do more than just blog? Ernie is looking for a freelance legal researcher. Sounds like a great gig if you like that kind of thing. (I obviously don’t, or I wouldn’t be putting this out for all of you to see.) [Ernie the Attorney]
After we posted our open letter to Shanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the DOJ’s Special Litigation Section, an ex-minion of hers contacted us with an email address for her. We sent a message to that address — and unlike our past messages, it didn’t bounce back. So presumably our “open letter” has reached Shanetta’s inbox (assuming it didn’t get caught in her spam filter).
(A commenter also posted an address for Shanetta. But a message we sent to that account bounced back.)
You’ll recall that in our open letter, we asked Shanetta Cutlar for a photo of herself. Receiving one would make us unspeakably happy. But we realize it’s unlikely that she will comply with our request (even though we’re told that, at one point in time, the DOJ website featured a photo of her, as part of a diversity-touting publicity effort).
To get a better idea of what Shanetta Cutlar looks like, we asked some of our tipsters to describe her. We asked: “If a movie or TV show were to be produced, based on the Special Litigation Section under Shanetta Cutlar, who should be cast to play Shanetta?
We received two responses. Here’s the first:
Well, you’ve got a large African-American woman with what appears to me like (emphasis on anti-libel weasel words) a nasty little personality disorder. So I’m going to say Queen Latifah, but the character would be more like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.*
And here’s the second response (which we enjoyed even more):
[F]or your mental picture, think Oprah Winfrey (but with long, flowing hair). I can’t even watch Oprah’s show anymore because it sends shivers up my spine. It leaves me with a pit in my stomach, by bringing back memories of working there. I feel like I have post-traumatic stress disorder from working for her.
In March 2004, police arrested Muhammad Dye on Central Avenue. They found him carrying an electric scale, two cellular phones, five empty sandwich bags with cocaine residue and $1,063 in cash.
Dye was charged with drug possession and possession of criminal tools, but after a weeklong trial in November 2005, a jury cleared him of the charges. Dye even argued successfully that all the items seized should be returned to him, right down to the sandwich bags.
This guy sounds AWESOME. Here’s more from the article:
Common Pleas Judge Lillian Greene declined to discuss the case because Dye has three more cases pending before her. Courtroom observers, though, said Dye is surprisingly charming. While he sometimes mangles his words, he gets his point across to the jury.
Considering that Dye prevailed in getting his cocaine-dusted Ziplocs returned to him, he’s got to be good. Update: From someone who has witnessed Muhammad Dye in action:
He’s not great, I’ll be honest, but he’s not bad. His cross of a codefendant who flipped was decent — he got his point across. Having clerked in a federal district court, I’ve seen lots worse from retained defense attorneys.
Wanted to drop you a quick line thanking you for your ongoing coverage of my case. As I have stated all along, it is very important for attention to be given to this issue in order to foster change at S&C and more generally, and you have provided (and I hope will continue to provide) a tremendous forum for this cause.
If you want to discuss my matter, feel free to [call me].
For the second month in a row, ATL’s “Couple of the Month” contest was a total snoozefest. Once again, the winning couple prevailed with approximately 50 percent of the vote. Unlike certain past races, there was no exciting, eleventh-hour victory by an underdog.
There was a last minute surge by Sandee Brawarsky and Barry Lichtenberg. But they were unable to catch a certain Supreme Court clerk and her high-powered hubby:
With respect to our continuing coverage of the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section, some of you have asked to hear Shanetta Cutlar’s side of the story.
For the record, we have tried to reach out to Ms. Cutlar. Unfortunately, the various email addresses that we tried to contact her at — Shanetta.Cutlar@usdoj.gov, Shanetta.Brown.Cutlar@usdoj.gov — didn’t work. (And we are too scared of her to pick up the telephone.) Update: One of you sent us a different email address for Shanetta Cutlar, and this address apparently worked. See here.
So, in the hope that Shanetta Cutlar or someone she knows will read this post, we’d like to publish this open letter to her:
Dear Ms. Cutlar:
Greetings. My name is David Lat, and I am the editor of Above the Law (www.abovethelaw.com), an online legal tabloid.
As someone who deeply admires strong and successful women, I am a huge fan of yours. Congratulations on your IACP Civil Rights Award!
We have previously written about you here at Above the Law. Although it is not as prestigious as the IACP award, you are a two-time winner of our “DOJ Diva of the Day” Award:
I was just writing to mention that if you would like to respond to any of our coverage, please do not hesitate to contact me. We would be happy to publish any statement you might wish to make. In addition, if you might like to send us a photograph of yourself that we could use when writing about you, we would be most grateful.
Thank you for your time and kind consideration. Hope all is well in the Special Litigation Section!
We have a lunch to attend, so we’ll be gone for a little while. We’ve arranged for items to be posted in our absence, though, so please visit early and often.
While we’re gone, please feel free to share your thoughts on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, in the comments. We’ve been finding your comments highly informative and entertaining.
We especially welcome comments about Sullivan & Cromwell partner Alexandra Korry (at right). If the allegations about her from the Charney Complaint and ATL reader comments are even halfway true, we have the HUGEST CRUSH…
Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Later! Alexandra D. Korry [Sullivan & Cromwell] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
In case you’re wondering, the motion to reschedule a trial to accommodate football fans, which we wrote about yesterday, has been granted.
Here is the signed order. Note, however, that the trial must be completed by Friday, February 2 — the Friday before the Super Bowl.
Back by populardemand: your favorite litigatrix, Shanetta Y. Cutlar, who rules over the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section with an iron fist (and a ruler).
From yet another refugee former line attorney– yes, there are tons of them — who worked under Cutlar in the Special Litigation Section (“SPL”):
Shanetta Cutlar boasts about her “open door policy.” It works great — it took me three whole days to get granted an audience with her to tell her I was leaving. Same with [another lawyer who left the Section].
SPL employees are not permitted to speak with Shanetta, other than the enthusiastic “hello” in the hallways, without an appointment. When you meet with her, she has Tammie Gregg, her Principal Deputy, present to take notes for her.
Overall, everyone — except [xxxx] — is terrified by her. She has literally ruined people’s careers, for NO GOOD REASON. One lawyer says that whenever her swipe card fails to work in the morning, the first thing that runs through her head, is, “Oh my God, did Shanetta fire me?”
There is no real practice of law in the Special Litigation Section. You are not treated like an attorney and a trusted professional, but like a naughty kindergartener, who makes typos and knows nothing. You are guilty and cannot prove yourself innocent.
The advice I was given for how to survive at SPL: “Pretend you’ve been attacked by a bear, and play dead.”
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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