Latest Stories

Ashley McKathan Judge Ashley McKathan.jpgAlabama state court judges: they love themselves some Ten Commandments.
Just like Roy Moore, former chief justice of Alabama, Judge Ashley McKathan thinks the “higher law” has a place in the courtroom. Four years ago, the county circuit court judge had the Ten Commandments embroidered on his judicial robe. Presumably it’s a silent reminder, to himself and to those in his courtroom, of the Really Big Judge upstairs.
Now he’s in trouble with the American Civil Liberties Union for invoking the Big Judge in the courtroom again — this time out loud. The ACLU has filed a complaint against him with the Judicial Inquiry Commission for violating ethics rules and the U.S. Constitution. From CNN:

The ACLU complaint said McKathan dropped to his knees and prayed aloud during a court hearing in February. He told the 100 people in the courtroom that he was not afraid to call on the name of Jesus Christ, witnesses said, and ordered all to join hands and pray, according to the complaint filed soon after the hearing….

In response to the complaint, McKathan told the Mobile Press-Register for a story Thursday: “Whatever comes of all that, I’ll continue to have peace.” Quoting Romans in the King James version of the Bible, the judge added: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.”
Complaint against judge praying in court [CNN]

Job of the Week Lateral Link ATL logo.gifAs expected, bankruptcy attorneys are once again in demand. So we’re highlighting an opportunity for junior associates in this week’s Job of the Week, brought to you by Lateral Link. This position qualifies for Lateral Link’s $10,000 signing bonus. (Lateral Link has paid out over $200,000 in signing bonuses this summer.)
Lateral Link has junior bankruptcy positions at some of the more sought-after firms in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago (like the one below). For information on these other positions, please contact your personal search consultant.
Position: Bankruptcy associate
Location: Chicago, IL
Description: A top Chicago-based law firm seeks junior bankruptcy associates. For more information about this position, or to apply, please see Position 9585 on Lateral Link.
If you are not already a Lateral Link Member, you can apply at Also, because of the tremendous growth in Lateral Link’s membership, Lateral Link is actively looking to hire additional search consultants in Washington DC and Texas. If interested, please email
Just One Word: Bankruptcy! [New York Magazine]

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgThe three weeks of guest blogging by the talented contestants of ATL Idol have all come down to this: a final showdown between SOPHIST and FROLIC AND DETOUR. The winner will become the next editor of Above the Law.
In case you’re curious, the ATL Idol contest has been awesome for ATL. July, the month in which it launched, was our best ever (in terms of traffic and revenue). And if the second half of this month is as strong as the first, August will surpass it. A few commenters haven’t been fans of the competition. But by all the standard metrics, it has been a smashing success — thanks to our contestants, our guest judges, and you, our readers.
Before we open the polls, a methodological note. Like the Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Sims, we believe in the principle of “one person, one vote.” Please vote only once (and refrain from casting multiple votes using bots, scripts, and other things that aren’t human).
There have been allegations of multiple voting in prior rounds. Unlike the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, we’re not inclined to wade into electoral messes after the fact; what’s past is past.
But because the stakes are higher for this final round, we’re asking Vizu, host of the poll, to review the results for possible improprieties. We won’t announce the winner until after we receive the results of their analysis. Suspicious votes — including, but not limited to, hundreds of votes from the same IP address — will not be counted.
Enough lawyerly caveats; time to vote. Voting will end on MONDAY, AUGUST 18, at noon (Eastern time). GOOD LUCK!!!

Earlier: Prior ATL Idol coverage (scroll down)

With the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions not far off, people’s minds are returning to politics. A few New York lawyers we’ve talked to are thinking about moving down to Washington, to serve in the next presidential administration.
They might like our latest piece for the New York Observer: a pseudo-sociological comparison of New York and D.C. lawyers. What makes them tick? How do they like to dress? Where do they go out to eat? What do they do in their spare time?
Check out the interactive feature, which captures the table of comparisons in the print version’s centerfold Observatory section. You can use the arrows to navigate through the different categories, and mouse over them (“mouse over” — is that a verb?) to see how the different cities stack up.
What did we get right, and what did we get wrong? Feel free to let us know, in the comments.
(Click on the image below to be taken to the article, then scroll down to the interactive feature. Enjoy.)
NY vs DC lawyers attorneys comparison New York Observer.jpgLat’s Field Guide to N.Y. vs. D.C. Lawyers [New York Observer]

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law, is nearing its end. The original six contestants have been winnowed down to two finalists: FROLIC AND DETOUR and SOPHIST.
We’ll open the polls later today. But first, let’s hear from your celebrity judges:
ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    See what they have to say about the last two competitors, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 3)”

  • tinkerbell Peter Pan.jpg* “Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday.” [CNN]
    * More on lawyers’ roles in the Edwards scandal. [New York Times]
    * Apple’s former general counsel, Nancy Heinen, will pay pay $2.2 million to settle SEC stock-option suit. Steve Jobs owes her big-time. [New York Times]
    * FAA plans to fine American Airlines $7.1 million for a laundry list of safety violations. [BBC News]
    * More details on former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg’s spy service. His main duty: “encourage and foment resistance.” [Washington Post]
    * Second Circuit reverses decision in John Steinbeck publishing rights case; copyright law misapplied. Congrats to Jenner & Block, counsel to the estate of Elaine Steinbeck. [Associated Press]
    * “The ABA plots a judicial coup.” [Wall Street Journal]
    * … and the ABA’s side of the story. [American Bar Association (video)]

    Hong Kong Island.jpg
    [Disclosure: This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting -- sponsor of the Asia Chronicles, and an ATL advertiser. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past two years. You can reach them by email at asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]
    In an earlier article the Asia Corporate Lawyers (the prior authors of this column) discussed what life is like when you are an associate in Asia from their own perspectives. This week we are going to discuss what partners at U.S. or U.K. firms’ Asia offices seek when they are considering U.S. associate candidates. These topics are related in that the partners who interview candidates typically are looking to identify the people who will be most happy not only with the work that is presented by the Asia practice, but also with the style of practice and with their lives outside the office.
    Interviewing for an overseas position at any busy U.S. law firm or with the U.S. practice group of a UK firm is a bit different from interviewing for a spot in a domestic market for the same firm. As with any interview process, the gating factors at top U.S. practices in Asia are academics and law firm experience. Without impressive grades and top firm experience, you generally won’t be considered. But overseas partners are also looking for the right personality fit much more so than in a large domestic office. A major reason for this is because the offices are much smaller overseas, making it harder to hide a misfit (even a junior associate can be the face of the firm), but there are other reasons as well.
    At a basic level, the factors that are especially important to demonstrate in an interview overseas are these:

    • you have an entrepreneurial nature;
    • you have a high level of maturity for your experience level;
    • you have an outgoing personality (not overly “academic” in nature);
    • you are able to fit in with different cultures;
    • your personal presentation is generally positive; and
    • you are a team player (no prima donnas need apply)

    These are obviously all factors that are relevant in any interview at least as “plus factors”, but what follows is a discussion of why these particular factors are especially important in this environment. In our next article, we will discuss ways in which you can demonstrate (or fail to demonstrate) that you qualify based on your resume and interview performance. Some of our experience in this regard has been amusing as well as frustrating.
    Read more, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Interview Tips”

    London red double decker bus.jpg* Forbes’s foray into the college rankings game. Could law schools be next? Watch out, U.S. News. [Althouse]
    * D.C. gets its guns. [Wonkette]
    * Lawyer of the Day? Or, why you shouldn’t try to sell stolen property back to the rightful owner. [UPI]
    * Judge of the Day: Asian edition. But what’s so wrong with telling a co-worker to exercise good hygiene? [Mainichi Daily News]
    * Is London the new New York? Maybe — its banks are overextended and undercapitalized. [Portfolio via Dealbreaker]

    Seattle swingers.jpgWhere is the Institute for Justice when you need it? Or maybe the Pacific Legal Foundation?
    A libertarian public interest organization needs to defend two victims of intrusive government regulation. From the Seattle Times:

    Regan “Draco” Lane-Smith and “Naughty” Nonah Elliston outfitted their six-bedroom rental house with 15 mattresses, bondage crosses and sex swings. They built elaborate sets in their backyard for taking erotic photos. And they promoted the Hardwood Cabin online.

    Up to 60 guests at a time came to mingle, sunbathe nude by the pool and have sex with fellow swingers and fetishists, Elliston said. Parties were frequent enough that the couple’s laundry service was cycling through 50 bedsheets a week.

    But the couple shut down the sex club last month when they were cited for running a business without a license and threatened with fines of up to $513 a day.

    So it was the commercial component that got them in trouble. A post-bar-exam orgy, or some German prison role playing, would have been just fine.
    There are legal connections to this story in addition to the licensing and zoning issues. Read more, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Needed: Pro Bono Representation for the ‘Hardwood Cabin’”

    * The John Edwards sex scandal: the plot thickens. Ted Frank has unearthed some nice nuggets about mysterious real estate dealings involving the supposed father of Rielle Hunter’s baby. [Overlawyered]
    * Is Kathy Rentas an Obama supporter? [New York Magazine]
    * A new reason to avoid law school: “the quality of the Latin used in English law books [is] so very bad.” [Language Log]
    * Some fallout from the scandal of the allegedly breast-licking professor. [TaxProf Blog]

    Mikhail Saakashvili Georgian president Georgia.jpgHere is a short Intelligencer item we just wrote for New York Magazine, about the two years that Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, spent in New York. It begins:

    Fifteen years before his country was invaded — or, perhaps, reinvaded — by Russia, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili was learning about the American system of law and living on the Upper West Side. He arrived here in 1993, spent a year at Columbia earning a master’s in law, and then worked one year as an associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler before returning to the newly independent former Soviet republic.

    How is Saakashvili remembered by the professors and partners who knew him back then? Find out by reading the rest of the piece, available here.

    Tbilisi on the Hudson: What Georgia’s president learned as a New York lawyer. [New York Magazine]

    Shearman & Sterling logo Above the Law blog.jpgLately we’ve been hearing various rumors about Shearman & Sterling. Some appear to be true, and some not.
    Here are the rumors, followed by the firm’s responses, in blockquotes.
    1. Have start dates for incoming first-year associates been pushed back?

    Start dates for incoming first-year associates for fall 2008 are October 6, 20, 27 and November 3.

    We don’t know what the 2007 start dates were (and the firm didn’t provide them), but we’re guessing they were earlier. But the 2008 start dates are not particularly late. Compare them to these firms’ postponed start dates.
    2. Have there been any layoffs at the firm, of lawyers or staff?

    There have been no lay-offs at Shearman & Sterling, of either attorneys or administrative staff.

    This makes sense to us. Shearman did layoffs back in the early 2000s, which it later came to regret, when memories of the layoffs harmed the firm’s recruiting efforts once the economy came roaring back. So, having learned their lesson, we’d be surprised to see mass layoffs from Shearman now.
    (But we wouldn’t be surprised if there have been some performance-related dismissals lately, especially on the corporate side.)
    3. Did the firm make offers to all of its summer associates?
    (We had previously heard, through the grapevine, that the firm had 135 summer associates and made offers to all of them.)

    This summer we had 144 summer associates. There were four summer associates whose academic commitments precluded their joining the firm in fall 2009. We made entry-level offers to all but one of the summer associates available to join the firm.

    Based on the high percentage of offers to summers, north of 99 percent, it seems that Shearman is doing just fine these days. But we are curious about that one SA who got no-offered.
    Might there be a juicy but undiscovered summer associate scandal? Perhaps a new and improved version of the Shearman & Slur-Man? If you have info, feel free to email us.
    (If it’s garden-variety incompetence, that’s of little interest to us. But if there’s an entertaining or salacious tale, we’d like to hear about it. Thanks.)
    Earlier: X-Summers: Shearman & Slur-Man

    Page 1376 of 17491...137213731374137513761377137813791380...1749