We recently asked for your views on Ward v. Arm & Hammer, the civil action brought by a pro se prisoner against a leading baking soda manufacturer. If you don’t remember what the case was about, here’s the caption:
The District Court didn’t think highly of the case. And neither did you:
“Thanks to Ted Frank’s coverage, I learned that 28 U.S.C. 1915, the federal law covering prisoners seeking to file a case as a poor person, does not prevent a legally frivolous suit from being appealed in forma pauperis, unless the district court judge certifies that the appeal is not being taken in good faith, or the prisoner has had three prior suits that failed to state a valid claim, or were found to be frivolous or malicious.”
How do you solve a problem like length limits on law school final exams? It’s a vexing issue. If you think we’re exaggerating, read this PrawfsBlawg post (which generated an avalanche of comments, including many from frustrated law professors).
Well, fear not. The geniuses at “the world’s premier center for legal education and research” take due process seriously when it comes to exam grading — as well they should, since that Torts grade will determine the trajectory of YOUR ENTIRE LEGAL CAREER* — and they have solved this difficulty.
From: Catherine Claypoole Date: Nov 29, 2006 5:16 PM Subject: [STUDENTS]: Length Limits on Exams: Memo from Vice Dean Andy Kaufman To: [Harvard Law School students]
To all students:
During the investigation of several discipline cases last spring, the faculty became aware of substantial student concern that length limits on examinations were being enforced unevenly. Moreover, the faculty became aware that this concern was justified. Accordingly, the faculty has agreed that, starting this exam period, length limits ordinarily will be stated in a uniform way that is easy to enforce that is, by setting a page limit followed by a prescribed format as follows:
– font:12 point Times New Roman (including all footnotes)
– characters: normal spacing
– lines: double-spaced
– margin: 1″ margin on left and right, top and bottom
There is of course no need for you to remember this format. The cover pages of exams with length limits will provide this information….
Good luck with the rest of the term.
Best regards, Andy Kaufman Vice Dean for Academic Programming
Our favorite detail is “characters: normal spacing.” The administration knows that within the HLS student body, there are lots of ex-college newspaper editors who know a thing or two about kerning.
Our second-favorite detail: there’s a Harvard Law School dean named Andy Kaufman.
These rules make sense, at a certain level; but the annoying thing is that someone must police them. While some violations might be apparent to the naked eye — especially naked eyes that can tell the difference between an italicized and non-italicized comma — other transgressions might be less conspicuous. Will teaching assistants have to whip out rulers to confirm that the margins are truly one inch all around, and not, say, 0.97 inches?
This is way too cumbersome. HLS profs, just adopt Dan Solove’s brilliant system for law school exam grading. Nothing could be easier or more efficient.
* No, 1Ls, we’re serious. That Torts grade will determine whether you grade on to Law Review. Which will determine whether you get a clerkship with a “feeder judge.” Which will determine whether you get a Supreme Court clerkship. Which will determine whether you end up arguing before the Supreme Court yourself, as a million-dollar partner or member of the SG’s office, or chasing ambulances in Salina, Kansas.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with Salina, for those of you who are from there. We’re sure it’s a lovely town.) Enforcing Word Limits [PrawfsBlawg] A Guide to Grading Exams [Concurring Opinions]
* Maryland becomes the latest state to temporarily halt lethal injection executions, this time because of procedural issues with the way the lethal injection protocol was adopted. [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* Church burners expected to plead in Alabama [CNN]
* No good deed goes unpunished in Libya. [Jurist]
* First the minimum was too much, and now 10 years is not enough. Why doesn’t the appellate court just go ahead and sentence the child-renter?. [CNN]
* And in more bad parenting news…. [CNN ]
Shortly after we predicted that he’d be making some personnel announcements, Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General-elect, made some personnel announcements. From the AP:
Cuomo, the eldest son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, named Robin Baker as his executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice. Baker was the deputy chief of appeals for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan Southern District of New York. She has worked in that office since 1996, prosecuting gangs, terrorism, organized crime, narcotics, and other criminal cases.
Eric Corngold was named executive deputy attorney general for economic justice. He has served as chief assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan since 2005. He headed the office’s business and securities fraud unit from 1999 to 2005 and its general crimes unit from 1997 to 1999.
Baker and Corngold are impressive hires. They’re veterans of the S.D.N.Y. and E.D.N.Y., two of the most prestigious prosecutor’s offices in the country (recent setbacks notwithstanding).* Correction: Thanks to “Ferris Reynolds” for this observation. Contrary to the AP report, Corngold was an AUSA in the Eastern District of New York, not the Southern District of New York. See, e.g., here and here.
Two other key Cuomo appointments announced today: Mylan Denerstein, head of legal affairs for the New York City Fire Department, was named executive deputy attorney general for social justice; and Jenny Rivera, of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, was named special deputy attorney general for civil rights.
* There appears to be a mini-trend of tristate attorneys general looking to federal prosecutors’ offices for talent. On the other side of the Hudson, Stuart Rabner, New Jersey’s new attorney general, has recruited from his former office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark. For example, he picked John Vazquez, one of the U.S.A.O.’s most promising young prosecutors, to serve as his Special Assistant for criminal justice matters. Cuomo Hires A Staff [The Politicker via The Daily Politics] Cuomo names four appointments to attorney general’s office [Associated Press via Newsday] Earlier: Coming Soon: Andy’s Kids
* All may not be genetically sound with Suri babies of holoprosencephaly sufferers. (But does genetic perfection really exist?) And once again, wordplay gets us out of the woods of potential litigation by a crazy actor midget. [Overlawyered]
* Jack Abramoff has been hitting the books in the prison law library and will represent himself in two lawsuits filed against him by Indian tribes. I think “kitchen duty and carpentry” is prison-speak for “shower activities.” [Law.com]
* Off-ensive or just off-menu? Not brought to you by the people who brought you this refreshing drink. [Vivir Latino via Racialicious]
* Remember when we used to de-contract words (e.g., “does not” for “doesn’t”) to inch our way towards the minimum word requirement? [FN1] Apparently, this is the only way law school is not like high school. [PrawfsBlawg]
[FN1] Enough already! law professors lament. And yes, smart aleck, footnotes do count toward the word limit.
* Running with Scissors writer Augusten Burroughs is being sued for libel, not for his part in the adaptation of his memoir into the abysmally bad film version. [Vanity Fair]
* Any future husband of mine should be so lucky as to take on “Q” as their last name, or our combined last name. But for the record, could it be that “Buday” is pronounced “booty”? [ACLU of Southern California via PrawfsBlawg]
We must run, although we shall return later today. Please post breaking bonus news in the comments.
We define “breaking news” broadly. Another firm matching the market may not be thrilling, but we keep track of these things anyway.
Before we go, we can report that Schulte Roth & Zabel matched the market bonuses. Schulte matched the market (for 2000 hours), but with additional $10,000 bonuses at 2300 and 2500 hours. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
We reiterate our earlier inquiry: What is UP with law school libraries?
First smells. Then strangers.
Now, sex. This email, from Student Bar Association president Kenley Maddux, just went around at Washington University Law School in St. Louis. Alterations are in the original, except as indicated by “Ed. note.”
From: Kenley Maddux Sent: Tue 12/12/2006 1:45 PM To: Announcements Subject: sex acts
Fellow Students, I received this message as a forward from Dean Bolin, and was asked to pass along the following. This is not a joke.
Excerpts of message from Don Strom, WULAW Police Chief: Subject: High Priority — Campus Police Alert
Today we were alerted by an Aramark supervisor that some of their employees have noted sex acts occurring at Olin Library and AB Hall. [Ed. note: AB Hall is Anheuser-Busch Hall, the law school building.]
The students usually do not have the common sense or the decency to stop when they are confronted, and seem to expect the Aramark employees to leave and come back later to do their work….
[ARAMARK employees have been instructed to report these incidents to the police in the future, and the campus police will be adding new overnight patrols through the law school. While there is no indication that the past sex acts were other than consensual, the Police will take that possibility seriously and thoroughly investigate every report. -- Don Strom]
My advice is, do not have sex at school. My understanding is that, in addition to whatever criminal sanctions are imposed, this will go into your law school record, and that it will be reported to the character and fitness panel of every state or territory that you apply to practice law in. This reporting is not a matter of discretion, and is not contingent on proof of a criminal act. Bar authorities may delay your admission, require remedial activities, or exclude you from the practice of law. Necessity is not a defense (even if your power is out at home). [Ed. note: Emphases added. But we don't get the part about the power outage.]
The latest collection of moves within the profession: From government to private sector:
* George Bundy Smith, former judge on the New York Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court (duh) — to Chadbourne & Parke, as a litigation partner. Lateral moves:
* “A little ditty, about Jack and Diane”: M&A lawyer Jack Bodner, bankruptcy lawyer Dianne Coffino, and bankruptcy lawyer Ben Hoch, to Covington & Burling (NY), from Dewey Ballantine. We hear that this trio is “extraordinarily nice.”
Dewey Ballantine is in the process of merging with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe — a combination that has been delayed (and might possibly fall apart).
Covington will soon unveil plans for new office space in the fancy, Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building. It may be the coolest move since the Skaddenites got to shack up with the Conde Nasties (but there are probably fewer hotties among the ink-stained wretches of the Times than the staffers of Vogue).
* Duane Morris launches its Baltimore office by snagging three partners and an of counsel from DLA Piper: Jay Gordon Cohen, Keli Isaacson, George Nemphos, and Wilbert Sirota (of counsel). On the Comeback Trail?
* You can’t keep a good woman down: Star Jones, the prosecutor turned television personality, is doing a radio show (after getting booted from “The View”). Good luck, Star! Star Jones: a star reborn? [Miami Herald] At Last, Star Jones Reynolds’ Dramatic Comeback! [Gawker] NY Lawyers Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] Firm Opens Baltimore Office With Raid [NYLawyer.com] Three More Walk Away From Dewey [WSJ Law Blog]
Sorry it has taken us so long. As promised months ago, we now begin our series profiling current Supreme Court clerks (aka the “October Term 2006″ or “OT 2006″ law clerks).
We’ll be going chambers by chambers, starting with the most junior justice. Here are the four law clerks to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:
1. Michael S. Lee (BYU ’97/Benson (D. Utah)/Alito)
2. Christopher J. Paolella (Harvard ’99/Alito)
3. Matthew A. Schwartz (Columbia ’03/Alito)
4. Gordon D. Todd (UVA ’00/Beam)
As a member of the Alito extended family explained to us, here’s the key to understanding the Alito chambers: 3:1. This golden ratio perfectly captures the demographics of the OT 2006 Alito clerks. Consider:
1. Familial status: three are married with children, one is not (Chris Paolella — married, but no kids yet).
2. Undergraduate institution: three are Princetonians, one is not (Michael Lee — BYU).
3. Prior Alito clerkship: three previously clerked for then-Judge Alito on the Third Circuit, one did not (Gordon Todd).
4. Religious affiliation: three are Christian,* one is not (Matthew Schwartz — he’s Jewish).
5. College debate: three were gods of the parliamentary debate circuit, and former presidents of the American Parliamentary Debate Assocation (APDA); one was not (Michael Lee).
But we wouldn’t want such commonalities to overshadow the individuality of these gents. Check out our profiles of Messrs. Lee, Paolella, Schwartz, and Todd — after the jump.
* Mitt Romney footnote: Michael Lee is Mormon, which we consider to be Christian. Presidential candidate Romney hopes that evangelical Christians voting in the Republican primaries will agree with us.
We hear that Andrew Cuomo, New York’s incoming Attorney General, will be announcing some of his top appointments very soon — perhaps as early as this afternoon.
Since Eliot Spitzer reinvigorated the New York AG’s office, then used it as a vehicle to the Governor’s Mansion, the office’s profile and prestige have increased. Positions within it have become much more desirable.
It will be interesting to see Cuomo’s picks. We’ll keep you posted.
(Cuomo, of course, comes from a prominent family of lawyers. His father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, is now at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. His brother, Fordham Law grad Chris Cuomo, just joined ABC’s Good Morning America, after serving as a legal correspondent for the network.) Andrew Cuomo Transition 2006 [official website] The Cuomo Family [New York Observer via WSJ Law Blog]
This doesn’t really matter much (except, of course, to the people receiving the dough). But for those of you keeping score at home, Dewey Ballantine has just announced bonuses. Surprise surprise, they’re matching market.
Well, almost matching market. The stub bonus for Class of 2006 folks was a flat $5,000.
Other notable items from the memo: (1) a requirement of 1900 hours to receive the bonus, and (2) a vague statement concerning Dewey’s possible, but now delayed, merger with Orrick:
[M}any of you have questions regarding the 2007 bonus structure and how it will be impacted should we complete a merger with Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP. We have not yet reached a final determination regarding the 2007 structure, but please be assured that our objective will always be to remain competitive in the legal market place and reward our attorneys for their hard work and contributions.
Assuming that a merger with the Orrick firm does occur, we will communicate the combined firm’s associate compensation structure as soon as possible. If the merger does not occur, attorneys will be notified of the Dewey Ballantine FY 2007 hours threshold promptly.
This post has nothing to do with the morbidly obese (which we recently learned is a medical term, not a colorful insult). In fact, they should probably hang a sign out reading, “Fat people need not apply.”
“They” refers to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, which is launching an exciting new practice group: the Fashion and Apparel Team (“FAT”). And if it’s anything like the fashion industry itself, a BMI over 20 will kill your chances of working there.
An advertisement the firm ran during New York Fashion Week encouraged people to “Get the skinny on FAT law.” Here’s what FAT law entails:
From negotiating contracts for TV reality show “Project Runway” to fending off UGG boot knock-offs, the new group is marketing itself as the go-to firm for Los Angeles and New York’s booming fashion industries….
So far, the group’s clients include Abercrombie & Fitch Stores; Victoria’s Secret Stores; Louis Vuitton U.S.; and Gap Inc.
It also is hoping to court celebrity clients who use their famous name to launch their own perfume or clothing line — such as when pop singer and fashion icon Gwen Stefani launched a clothing line in 2003.
This may strike some of you as yet another dubious new practice group. Is there really that much synergy to be gained through aggregation of fashion-related matters?
But hey, it sure sounds fun. It beats the pants off Global Warming for “coolest newfangled practice niche.” And when that associate who really wanted to be in Government Contracts gets stuck in Fashion and Apparel, the partner can superciliously tell her:
“Oh, don’t be silly — EVERYONE wants this. Everyone wants to be US.”
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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