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New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGAccording to our poll Tuesday, the majority of you prefer a traditional A,B,C,D grading system over a modified Yale system like the ones adopted by Harvard and Stanford.

Apparently, NYU law students agree that A,B,C,D is the best way to go.

In The Commentator, NYU Law School’s student newspaper, Andrew Gehring vehemently disagrees with the changes adopted by HLS and SLS:

Attempting to provide content to [Stanford Law School Dean Larry] Kramer ‘s claim about “pedagogical benefits” is a more or less futile exercise. I can see no way for a grading system that essentially just eliminates the +/- aspect of the standard system to have an impact on a professor’s teaching style, so the claim about “innovation” seems hollow. (Even if we accept that the system refocuses students on learning–which I’ll dispute momentarily–it seems like professors always teach to get their students to learn, not to get the best grade.) And there’s no more freedom for “designing metrics of evaluat[ion]” under the new system than there would be under a traditional system that isn’t tied to a curve.

Wow. Tell us what you really think.

One tipster suggests that NYU is just feeling like an old, bald man shopping for a corvette:

NYUs student magazine published an editorial slamming Harvards new grading policy and defending NYUs/Columbias traditional approach, which to me seemed very interesting and a standard pattern in NYUs general inferiority complex.

More kvetching from NYU Law after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NYU Law Freaks Out Responds To Grade Reform”

Earlier this week we reported on Sarah Palin’s apparent inability to name more than one important SCOTUS case.

Some commenters felt that we should reserve judgment on Palin’s judicial knowledge until we had “confirmation” about those opinions. Some people also questioned what her VP opponent, Joe Biden, might say under similar circumstances.

Well, now we have video:

Some key excerpts for those who cannot play the video after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Joe Biden And Sarah Palin Discuss Roe v. Wade”

video_camera.jpg* The Senate is ready to bail out. Senate-approved rescue plan will go to the House on Friday. [Washington Post]

* SCOTUS will not revisit its decision on the death penalty for child rapists. Still unconstitutional. [Washington Post]

* “How would you like to be Osama Bin Laden’s lawyer?” [Doyle Reports]

* Two Neiman Marcus employees were having sex at the office. Their manager installed a camera to catch them. Then he fired them. And showed the tape to a few people, including a nationwide online database of security personnel. It’s so wrong, but so right. [Chicago Tribune via AmLaw Daily]

* DUI attorney charged with DUI. Doh. [Overlawyered]

* The Magic Circle firms are better prepared for the economic downturn than their U.S. counterparts. [American Lawyer]

* Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s husband pleads not guilty to attempted murder. With a frying pan. In the bedroom. [Las Vegas Sun]


above the law logo.JPGThe U.S. economy may be going down, down, down — but traffic on ATL is up, up, up. When it comes to your new editor, Elie Mystal, it seems that you like him, you really like him (which is not surprising, since you picked him, through the ATL Idol contest).

In September, Elie’s first full month on the job, the site received a record number of unique visitors (over 325,000) and pageviews (almost 4 million). Congratulations to Elie and the rest of the ATL team — associate editor Kashmir Hill, survey czar Justin Bernold, wedding watcher Laurie Lin, advice columnist Marin, and last but not least, crowd favorite Hope Winters.

More importantly, we extend our deepest thanks to you, our readers. This site would be nothing without you — and your many visits (keep refreshing those browsers), comments (even the nasty ones — a pageview is a pageview), and tips (please keep ‘em coming, by email).

Let’s keep on having fun — or as much fun as can be had during these tough times. NY to 190!

(Or, more realistically, NY to the Milbank promise. But that may be wishful thinking. Word on the street is that half a dozen major New York law firms plan lawyer layoffs in the first quarter of 2009. Stay tuned to ATL; we’ll bring you all the latest developments, as they happen.)

P.S. September 2008 was also a record month for ATL’s sister sites, Dealbreaker and Fashionista. Congrats to them as well!

P.P.S. Dealbreaker is actively seeking additional full-time writers. To apply or learn more, see here. Thanks.

Cristina Schultz.jpegWe recently reported on Stanford Law School’s new grading system. Does it involve dollar bills? Or leaving book prizes on bedside tables?

Cristina Warthen (née Cristina Schultz) — aka the Stanford Law Escort, now married to David Warthen, the filthy rich co-founder of Ask Jeeves — is back in the news. From the San Jose Mercury News (via TaxProf Blog):

A Stanford law school graduate suspected of paying off her costly student loans by running a high-priced escort service has now been hit with federal tax evasion charges.

In court papers filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court, prosecutors allege that Cristina Warthen failed to pay taxes on more than $133,000 she earned as a prostitute in 2003, jetting off as a call girl for clients in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and other cities. The government has charged her with felony tax evasion for failing to pay about $25,000 in federal income taxes.

Warthen’s business as a reputed high-priced hooker was first revealed several years ago, when the federal government searched her then-home in Oakland and seized more than $61,000 in cash suspected to be linked to her escort business. Court papers allege that starting in 2001, Warthen, then Cristina Schultz, used the name “Brazil” and advertised her escort services on a Web site, TouchofBrazil.net.

Brazil. Great beaches. And waxing.

A little bit more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ask Jeeves: Why Was Your Wife (Stanford Law ’01) Indicted for Tax Evasion on Prostitution Proceeds?”

Boies the thinker.jpg* David Boies reflects on his culpability for the last 8 years. [Superlawyers]

* There are some delightful exemptions in the bailout bill that the Senate will vote on later tonight. [Dealbreaker]

* No death penalty unless you actually murder somebody. State-sanctioned killing has gone so soft. [SCOTUSblog]

* What judges really talk about. [Wage Law]

* Online research just got a little bit easier thanks to Zotero. [Futurelawyer]

* If you are a 3L without an offer, getting laid might help you pass the time. [Ridiculum]

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIt’s been a few days since we checked in on the slow breakup of Heller Ehrman. But today brings news of a coveted partner picking his soft landing. The Daily Journal reports:

Top antitrust litigator Robert G. Badal will be departing Heller Ehrman for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s Los Angeles office, which he plans to join as a partner on Friday.

Badal is Heller’s first Los Angeles partner to publicly confirm that he is leaving the troubled firm since it began its dissolution last week.

Badal, also an intellectual property litigator, was vague about whether he is bringing other Heller attorneys with him. … “There may be a few people from Heller that might join Wilmer over time,” Badal said.

Badal called Heller’s dissolution “regrettable” and said that he chose Wilmer Hale because of its strong Asia practice.

After the jump we see if Heller associates and staff can get some soup.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Anatomy of a Dissolution: Heller Ehrman’s Long Goodbye”

wall street bull backside.jpgIt doesn’t always feel like it, but the legal profession is actually very recession proof. Deal work may be drying up, but the Good Book says “Whenever Hank Paulson closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”

Of course, open windows are pretty dangerous if you work in a Manhattan skyscraper these days, but the National Law Journal peers through the looking glass anyway:

“A year ago we were writing deals, figuring out how to grow businesses and expand products; now the markets are trying to figure out when the next shoe drops,” said Michael Missal, head of the global financial markets group that K&L Gates unveiled on Monday in Washington.

Despite its neutral name, K&L cited the “global economic crisis” as the reason for launching the group.

It’s amazing what clients will pay for. Can you imagine being a Global Economic Crisis attorney and pitching your services to a client?

CLIENT: We’re broke. We can’t get any credit. I’m going to effing kill Nancy Pelosi and her Mr. Slave.

GEC Partner: Well our firm can offer you the latest counsel on how to navigate through these trying times.

CLIENT: Really? So, how do I get a line of credit right now?

GEC PARTNER: I don’t know.

CLIENT: Well, how can I get around this communist era short-selling ban so I can at least make some money on the side?

GEC PARTNER: I have no idea

CLIENT: Well, what can you tell me?

GEC PARTNER: Here we have this wonderful, interactive map. It clearly indicates where you are AND where Nancy Pelosi is at all times. We’ve marked out various firearms shops along the way.

CLIENT: Isn’t this from Grand Theft Auto IV?

GEC PARTNER: That’ll be $700 please.

Bracewell & Giuliani at least calls a spade a spade after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Practice Groups Coming to a Firm Near You”

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgI don’t believe everything I read on ATL’s comment boards, but often accurate information is posted by our readers. Monday, we told you that Pillsbury had acquired Thelen’s China practice group. One reader said:

Look for construction partners to start jumping ship by next week. You heard it here first.

The only thing wrong about that statement was the timing. Pillsbury released the following statement announcing additional new hires:

Michael Evan Jaffe and Ronan J. McHugh, two construction litigators from Thelen LLP, have joined Pillsbury’s Washington, DC office as partner and counsel respectively, advancing the firm’s ongoing expansion of its national litigation and international dispute practices.

In fact, Pillsbury seems quite proud about scavenging Thelen:

Jaffe and McHugh are the latest attorneys from Thelen to join Pillsbury’s litigation team. Earlier this week, it was announced that Shanghai litigation partner Meg Utterback, was joining the firm as part of Pillsbury’s acquisition of Thelen’s China practice.

How many cherries can Thelen lose before somebody chops them down for firewood?

Other (potentially prescient) commenters weigh in after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pillsbury Continues To Poach Thelen Partners”

yale law school.jpgWe had a link to this story in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, but since it touches on the salacious and Yale Law School, we’ve decided to revisit it.

New York Magazine has a “Sex Diaries” blog, where average New Yorkers chronicle all things sex over the course of a week. For the most part, not as interesting as you think it would be. Except for this one: The Single College Girl Obsessed With a Yale Law Student. (Honestly, it’s only interesting to us because ATL is a salacious legal blog.)

A 20-year-old NYU student writes about her summer encounter with a Yale Law summer associate. We’ve done our best to cut out the boring stuff:

7:30 p.m.: Best friend gets a call from an acquaintance inviting us to a party at her older brother’s apartment. He goes to Yale Law School — we’ll be there.

11:05 p.m.: Party is okay. Talk to some fellow Ivy Leaguers who spurt intellectual justifications as to why they’re using their education to make exorbitant amounts of money for themselves rather than bettering society.

11:37 p.m.: Introduced to acquaintance’s older brother. He mentions something about opera, and I feign interest because he’s pretty cute. He then proceeds to quiz me about some esoteric English composer in order to make me sound and feel like a total idiot. Determine that he probably wants in my pants.

Is that how most YLS men court the not-yet-of-drinking-age ladies?

12:32 p.m.: Sick of staring at the phone waiting for him to call. It’s just that he’s so perfect. No one’s perfect, but he comes pretty close: intelligent, Jewish, tall, cute, and working as a summer associate at a serious law firm where he’s guaranteed a job when he graduates. I’ve hooked up with some pretty good catches in the past, but this guy seems to have the whole package.

Would it disappoint her if she knew that a high percentage of YLS kids choose clerkships and government jobs over corporate law? More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Yale Law School meets Sex and the City”

Sweet ride.

Attorney Kevin Napper got busted in a Tampa prostitution sting. It wasn’t a Spitzer-esque high-end call girl thing. Instead Napper tried to solicit a $40 blow job (from an undercover police officer) in a local red-light district. Classy.

Surely Napper could have afforded higher-end services. He rolled up to the undercover officer rocking a gold Mercedes E500.

Still, Napper did manage to buy himself a motherload of hypocrisy for his forty bucks. Napper is married to Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Katherine Gail Essrig. She must be so proud.

Maybe Napper’s wife could have seen this coming. Napper received his J.D. from the University of North Dakota. But in a deliciously cheap twist of fate, he received his B.A. from Moorhead State.

Napper’s excuse after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Tampa Attorney Fails To Get Ahead”

michelle alllen cow shot.jpgLet me try to explain the picture to the right.

This is a woman.

In a cow suit.

She was caught peeing on a neighbor’s porch.

The cops asked her to stop urinating and sent her home. But later in the day, the police saw her again. This time she was blocking traffic and chasing terrified children.

At which point she was arrested, hence the mugshot.

I’m pretty sure this was the kind of thing that started happening in Rome right before the Visigoths attacked.

By the way, please do not forward this post to Alex Kozinski. Thanks.

Michelle Allen Will Dress As A Cow, Pee On Your Porch And Give You The Best Mug Shot Ever [Guanabee]

Udder Chaos: Middletown Woman Arrested In Cow Suit [WCPO]

Earlier: An L.A. Jury + Hours of Hard-Core Fetish Porn + Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Presiding = Total Awesomeness

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