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Most of the time, our ATL / Lateral Link surveys have been about market conditions like clerkship bonuses and maternity leave policies.
But today, let’s just talk about you. How’s your morale?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

D_Vitter.jpgFormer Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:

A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.

It seems like an exaggeration to describe hitting a No Parking sign as a “hit and run.” Thank goodness for broadcast news, which captured the accident on video. It’s a surprisingly violent collision. Vitter gets points though for driving what looks to be a fairly eco-friendly car!
‘Shock and Awe’ in D.C. Madam Case [Legal Times]
Vitter driver wrecks into sign after Gonzales forum [Gonzales Weekly Citizen via Politico]
Vitter’s driver knocks down stop sign following press conference [4WWL]

Fred_Biery.jpgThose Texans love the word of God. In 2005, they went to SCOTUS to defend a monument to the 10 Commandments that stands on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Hailing from San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery is invoking the higher power in his judgment against a religious school’s right to join a Texan school membership league.

In a ruling Tuesday denying Cornerstone Christian Schools’ attempt to join the state’s premier extracurricular organization, a federal judge chided the school’s founder and famed preacher John Hagee for contradicting at times his own Christian tenets, using numerous references to the Bible, Koran and even a famous fairy tale.

Who needs precedent and constitutional law when there’s so much wisdom to be found in Grimm tales and Disney movies? Let’s look at the opinion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Fred Biery”

* I hear wedding bells… no wait, that’s the buzzer for yard time. [CBS Local]
* Rob Lowe and wife sue former nanny for defamation. [CNN]
* Kids: Obama now cool. [New York Times]
* Meet the superelite. [Newsweek]

stop sign Above the Law blog.jpgU can’t touch this. Website. At least for a little while.
We have a little surprise in store for you, loyal readers of Above the Law. We hope you like it.
But the surprise will require us to turn off comments on ATL for a bit, probably a few hours. So if you want to comment on something and are prevented from doing so, now you know why.
Anyway, surely you have better things to do with your evening than to sit in front of your computer, kvetching about the MPRE or speculating about SCOTUS nominees. We hope.
So go out and enjoy yourselves. We’ll see you tomorrow.
U Can’t Touch This [Wikipedia]

MPRE Model Professional Responsibility Exam Above the Law blog.jpgOpen threads about the MPRE are a fine tradition here at ATL. See here and here.
Even if the test isn’t particularly difficult or interesting, people love to talk about it. We’ve already received a slew of “MPRE results are out!” emails, and the news has also surfaced in the comments to other posts.
So to everyone who passed the MPRE, congratulations. To everyone who didn’t pass the MPRE, you can bemoan your fate, in the comments.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) [National Conference of Bar Examiners]

Supreme Court 2 SCOTUS Above the Law Blog.jpgThe subject of likely future nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court has been written about extensively before. Last year, over at SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein came up with short lists of Democratic nominees and Republican nominees.
Now that we’re a little closer to the election, with a presumptive Republican nominee and two possible Democratic nominees, additional speculation is in order. It’s what Kim Eisler provides in the latest issue of Washingtonian. He writes:

The most intriguing McCain preference, given his Vietnam War background, would be Viet Dinh, a Harvard Law–educated former Justice Department official who was a key figure behind the USA Patriot Act. Dinh fled Vietnam for the United States in 1978, and his story of escape and survival—12 days in a boat with no food or water—almost rivals McCain’s in drama and courage. Sources say McCain is drawn to the escape narrative as much as to Dinh’s conservative ideology. Solicitor General Paul Clement would also be at the top of any short list.

And what about for the Democrats?

For a new Democratic president, former solicitor general Seth Waxman is considered the next justice in waiting. He is a busy partner at Washington’s WilmerHale. But a President Barack Obama might appoint Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to the high court.

To replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the almost-certain top choice for a Democrat would be 47-year-old Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, a former lawyer at Williams & Connolly, who once clerked for Obama legal hero Thurgood Marshall.

These are just excerpts; read the complete piece over here. Feel free to provide your own predictions and preferences, in the comments.
Election May Cause Big Shift in Court Decisions [Washingtonian]

cleary.jpg VERSUS Latham & Watkins.jpg
We had over 4900 votes in the “ATL Law Firm Final Four” this weekend. Latham & Watkins and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton emerged as the winners and will now go head to head to determine which is the “coolest” law firm. During commercial breaks in the NCAA basketball final tonight between the University of Memphis and the University of Kansas, come to ATL and vote. Or just vote throughout the day and bill it to “firm development.”
We’ve given Latham a Memphis player’s image. If Memphis wins tonight, it will be the first national champion from outside a major conference since 1990. Since Latham was the only non-New York law firm to make the final four, we think they would sympathize. Cleary got a Kansas player’s image… because they both start with a hard “c” sound. Sports analysis is not our forte at ATL.
The polls close at midnight. Cast your vote here:

Die-hard fans can learn more about the Final Four results, and see the updated brackets, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March April Madness for Law Firms, Final Round: Cleary vs. Latham”

Willkie Farr Gallagher crazy email Above the Law blog.jpgLast June, the WSJ Law Blog wondered: Are law students emotional wrecks? Here is more evidence — and there’s already quite a lot in these pages — that the answer to the question is yes.
It started out innocently enough. A legal recruiting assistant at Willkie Farr & Gallagher sent out this email on Friday:

From: [Legal Recruiting Assistant]
Sent: 4/4/2008 9:44:44 AM
To: [2008 Summer Associates]
Subject: Re: Willkie T-Shirts

We hope that the final stretch of your year is going well and that you’re looking forward to joining us in a few weeks. Willkie t-shirts are being ordered for all of you, so we’ll need you to send your shirt size to us as soon as possible but no later than Friday, April 11 at noon. Please note that we will be placing the final order on that date and that if we do not have your size by then, we will order a large for you.

Because after we stuff you full of summer lunches, like foie gras-producing fowl, that’s all you will fit into.

Please reply to this message and provide your name and shirt size in the subject line. You can choose from the following standard men’s t-shirt sizes: small, medium, large, x-large, or xx-large. Example: “[Legal Recruiting Assistant], medium.”

Willkie hires some pretty smart summer associates — e.g., Jeremy Blachman, of Anonymous Lawyer fame — so we don’t know why Legal Recruiting Assistant felt the need to provide an example. Or maybe she just wanted to flaunt her status as a “medium”? (Then again, it’s not as prestigious as being a size zero.)

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and good luck with your upcoming exams. Thank you.
Legal Recruiting Assistant
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
787 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

And then things got…. weird. Read the two super-strange email messages that one member of the summer class sent in response, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Willkie Farr Out Behavior: Bizarre Emails From An Incoming Summer Associate”

Congratulations, Anonymous! You are the ATL Caption Contest winner for this photo of President Bush with his White House Counsel, Fred Fielding (dressed up as the Easter Bunny):

After ignoring the rule of law for seven years, President Bush finally found a use for the White House Counsel.

Easter Bunny and Potus.jpg
The runner-up is:

The Mad Hatter and the March Hare discuss the legality of waterboarding the Dormouse.

And the write-in winner, by popular demand, is:

Things I don’t believe in.

Thanks for voting. Now, back to real legal news… like the ATL Law Firm March Madness final game!
Earlier: ATL Caption Contest Finalists: Mr. Easter Bunny and POTUS

hedgehog weapon New Zealand Above the Law blog.jpgBizarre crime stories, when they give rise to legal charges, still fall within our jurisdiction as a legal tabloid. You may recall our recent story about a New Zealand man who claimed he was raped by a wombat (which allegedly left him speaking with an Australian accent).
And it’s not just wombats — hedgehogs are dangerous too, at least in New Zealand. From the AP:

A New Zealand man has been accused of assault with a prickly weapon — a hedgehog.

Police allege that William Singalargh, 27, picked up the hedgehog and threw it at a 15-year-old boy in the North Island east coast town of Whakatane on February 9.

“It hit the victim in the leg, causing a large, red welt and several puncture marks,” police Senior Sgt. Bruce Jenkins said Monday. The teen did not need medical treatment, he added.

Police arrested Singalargh shortly after the incident, and charged him with assault with a weapon — “namely the hedgehog,” Jenkins said.

Statutory interpretation junkies: Feel free to opine on whether it’s proper to charge this as “assault with a weapon.” This appears to be the applicable New Zealand statute:

202C: Assault with weapon

(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years who,—

(a) In assaulting any person, uses any thing as a weapon; or

(b) While assaulting any person, has any thing with him or her in circumstances that prima facie show an intention to use it as a weapon.

The breadth of this statutory language would appear to encompass hedgehog wielding (“uses any thing as a weapon” (emphasis added)). But maybe we’re missing something that the enterprising defense lawyers among you can pick up on.
Update: This never occurred to us, because we’re not animal lovers, but some of you suggest that an animal should not be considered a “thing.”
If hedgehog hurling won’t fly as “assault with a weapon,” other charges are possible. The AP reports: “It was unclear if [Singalargh] also would face animal cruelty charges. The Herald said the hedgehog was dead when it was collected as evidence, but did not know if it was dead or alive at the time of the alleged attack. The Herald reported Singalargh’s arrest under the headline ‘Raise your hands and step away from the hedgehog.’”
P.S. A caveat: we’re not 100 percent certain that this is the correct statutory language. We just did very quick ‘n dirty legal research on Google. Perhaps the statute has been amended, superseded, etc. If we’re wrong about this being the operative statute, please let us know, and provide us with the correct statutory language. Thanks.
Hedgehog used in non-lethal assault [AP]
Assaults and injuries to the person [Statutes of New Zealand]
Earlier: A PSA from ATL: Watch Out for Wombats!

While the results are still flowing in from last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on bar stipends, signing bonuses, and salary advances (1,130 responses and counting), today’s survey looks at money flowing in the opposite direction: from individual associates to great big institutions.
In other words, let’s talk about your student loans and other big debts.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

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