Latest Stories

* Why is prostitution illegal, but pornography is not? [Andrew Sullivan via The Legal Satyricon]
* Dueling applications to register “Client 9″ with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Maybe Eliot Spitzer should object? [USPTO; USPTO]
* Speaking of trademark fights, who should have the rights to use “COCKAHOLIC”? (An aside from Prof. Marc Randazza: “I’m surprised this wasn’t simply rejected as allegedly ‘immoral and scandalous.’”) [The Legal Satyricon]
* Remember Leona Helmsley’s “rich bitch,” who inherited $12 million from the late real estate queen? Here’s more information about estate planning for pets, from lawyer and pet lover Rachel Hirschfeld (via Prof. Paul Caron). [TaxProf Blog]
* On the subject of New York real estate riches: Columbia law prof Hans Smit has apparently lowered the asking price on his Manhattan mansion to $25 million. A reader who caught the HGTV segment said: “The actual tour of the house with the good professor leading the way was pretty neat…. Check your schedule for HGTV.” [HGTV]

WilmerHale Wilmer Hale 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGWe bring you news of a career move by one of America’s most fabulous young lawyers. From a press release issued by WilmerHale:

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Rachel L. Brand and Mark D. Nelson will join the firm’s Washington, DC public policy and strategy practice focusing on congressional investigations, regulatory affairs and crisis management. Ms. Brand will also be active in the firm’s government litigation and defense and national security practices. Ms. Brand was most recently Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, where she served as chief policy and regulatory advisor to the Attorney General and managed the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

Wait, hold on a sec — Rachel Brand? As in young-conservative-superstar Rachel Brand, known in some circles as the Federalist Society Prom Queen?
Are you sure there hasn’t been some mistake? Maybe Brand went to another D.C. law firm whose name starts with a “W,” like Wiley Rein — perhaps a more natural home for a prominent Republican attorney?
WilmerHale, after all, is one of Washington’s most high-profile, left-leaning law firms. It’s home to leading liberal lawyers like former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, a possible Attorney General or Defense Secretary in a Democratic administration; former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, a possible judicial (D.C. Circuit?) nominee; Randy Moss, former head of the DOJ’s super-elite Office of Legal Counsel; and Howard Shapiro, former general counsel to the FBI. [FN1]
But no, it’s true — Brand is at Wilmer Hale. Word on the street, in fact, is that the firm is actively looking for Republican lawyers like Brand and Nelson. Perhaps they need someone to hold down the fort when everyone bails to serve in the Obama Administration?
We spoke to Rachel Brand yesterday, her first day of work. You know how useless first days can be — paperwork, orientation, technology training. “They taught me how to turn on my computer,” she quipped.
As for her new gig, Brand expressed excitement about the opportunity to join WilmerHale, “a great firm with some incredible lawyers.” She noted the abundance of lawyers with government experience at WilmerHale and said that her skill set fit well with the firm.
We wish Brand and Nelson the best of luck in their new professional home.
(We tried to contact Nelson but were unable to reach him. The WilmerHale telephone operator did not have an extension for him. Perhaps he isn’t in the office yet? If he is, someone needs to give his phone number to the receptionist.)
[FN1] As it turns out, a number of prominent Republicans are current or former WilmerHale partners. E.g., current partner Reginald Brown, who most recently served in the White House Counsel’s office, and former partner C. Boyden Gray, currently U.S. ambassador to the European Union Special Envoy for EU Affairs.
WilmerHale Adds Top DOJ and Congressional Investigation Lawyers To Public Policy and Strategy Team [WilmerHale]

Chelsey Rodgers Miss District of Columbia McKee Nelson Howard Law School Above the Law blog.jpgAs the BLT reported earlier this month, McKee Nelson has hired beauty queen Chelsey Rodgers, a 3L at Howard University Law School, who will be D.C.’s representative in the Miss USA competition. Although the firm has been trying to thin its ranks, we’re sure that they can find room for Ms. Rodgers (just as Thacher Proffitt, in its recent personnel reductions, kept its former Playboy pinup on the payroll).
In an interview in Washingtonian magazine, Chelsey Rodgers described this embarrassing moment:

“I lost a boob cup once. It’s one of the tools of the trade, but I was uncomfortable with it. I told the girls before we went out: ‘If you see something fall out of me, just act like nothing happened.’ I could sense it shifting as we walked out and it came out on me. All you can do is act like nothing happened.”

Quips our tipster, “Let’s hope she doesn’t lose any ‘boob cups’ whilst ‘thumping the table in the courtroom.’” [FN1]
Here’s a question (which you don’t need to emerge from a soundproof booth to answer): What is up with beauty queens and the law? See, e.g., Erika Harold (Harvard), Victoria Kush (Florida International), and — last, but definitely not least — Kumari Fulbright (University of Arizona).
Why do these beauty pageant winners gravitate towards the legal world? Especially when, in a sad commentary on gender equality in the law, they could arguably earn more as escorts? As Stanford law professor and sociologist Michele Landis Dauber recently told us, for our column in this week’s New York Observer:

“It is unfortunately true that plenty of women, Silda Spitzer included, probably have a better chance of making five diamonds at the Emperor’s Club than they do of becoming an equity partner at Dechert, Mayer Brown, Blank Rome, Kramer Levin, or Cravath.”

Professor Dauber is a director and officer of Building A Better Legal Profession, which works to increase diversity at large law firms. There’s a nice shout-out to BBLP in today’s Los Angeles Times.
[FN1] Don’t feel bad if you weren’t familiar with a boob cup; we weren’t. But Kashmir Hill, ATL’s breath of fresh estrogen, explained:

“A boob cup is one of those stick-on bra things. You get two cups that you essentially adhere to yourself. They don’t tend to work that well for anyone larger than a B cup.”

Next Stop Miss USA: DC’s Pageant Representative [Washingtonian]
Beauty and The Law [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGSorry we’re late to the party on this HuffPo post, bearing the provocative title “Law Firm Segregation Reminiscent of Jim Crow.” It’s by Yolanda Young, a former staff attorney at Covington & Burling. Her claim, in a nutshell, is that Covington fills the ranks of its “staff attorney ghetto” with African-Americans, while the ranks of its partnership and partnership-track associate pool are overwhelmingly white.

Young’s post has already been discussed at Legal Blog Watch and the WSJ Law Blog. But considering how we love to fan flames of racial tension follow the issue of diversity in the legal profession so closely here at ATL, of course we’re going to cover it.

Here’s an excerpt (emphases added)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Covington and Its ‘Staff Attorney Ghetto’?”

lap.jpgSeveral tipsters nominated this story for ATL’s Lawsuit of the Day.

A businessman claims in a lawsuit that he was injured when a stripper giving him a lap dance swiveled and smacked him in the face with the heel of her shoe.
Stephen Chang, a securities trader, said in court papers filed Friday that he was at the Hot Lap Dance Club near Madison Square Garden and was getting a paid lap dance when the accident occurred early Nov. 2, 2007.
According to the lawsuit, as the dancer swung around, the heel of her shoe hit him in the eye, causing him ”serious injuries.”

At least the heel just him in the eye. We agree with one tipster who said:

You have to love the name of the club, too – “Hot Lap Dance Club”. Really? They couldn’t come up with anything better?

We surfed on over to the Hot Lap Dance Club website:

Our dancers are all ”hand picked” and are among the most beautiful women in New York City with killer bodies.

Killer bodies, eh? We wonder if Mr. Chang will use this in his case as proof of intent.
Man Files Suit, Claims Lap Dance Injury [New York Times]
Man Sues Strip Club for Lap Dance Injury [ABC]

ritchie.jpgLast year, the TV networks and their “fleeting expletives” won their case against the Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC… and the public’s right to hear Jane Fonda use the “c” word as necessary.
SCOTUS agreed yesterday to hear the FCC’s appeal.

The Second Circuit held that, contrary to the commission’s policy under the Bush administration, the agency could not punish television stations for broadcasting “fleeting expletives,” or blurted obscenities. At the time, F.C.C. officials expressed concern that the opinion could hamper the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.

Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the commission, said on Monday that he was pleased that the high court would review the issue. Last June, he said he was “disappointed for American families” because of the Second Circuit ruling.

“The commission, Congress, and most importantly, parents understand that protecting our children in our greatest responsibility,” Mr. Martin said. “I continue to believe we have an obligation, then, to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience.”

American families everywhere are rejoicing.
For background on the Second Circuit’s ruling, check out this excellent New York Journal article:

The FCC planned to sanction the network first for Cher’s comment at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, when she said “f**k ‘em” about critics who had repeatedly said her career was over.

Richie followed at the 2003 awards by saying “Have you ever tried to get cow s**t out of a Prada purse? It’s not so f**king simple.”

Who would have thought that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie’s adventures on the Simple Life would spur a Supreme Court case? We hope to hear Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read Nicole Richie’s quote aloud during arguments.
2nd Circuit Finds FCC’s Policy on ‘Fleeting Expletives’ Arbitrary [New York Law Journal on]
Justices to Hear F.C.C. Indecency Case [New York Times]

While last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on hindsight is still open, today’s survey ponders the uncertain future. And Bear Stearns’s effect thereon.
Nathan Koppel has an interesting post on the WSJ Law Blog about which firms might miss Bear Stearns business. Verdict: it’s murky, but probably not that great for Latham, Skadden, Cadwalader, or Weil Gotshal, and a mixed bag for WilmerHale. (Wachtell and Cravath weren’t mentioned in the post, but since Wachtell advised J.P. Morgan in the deal, and Cravath represented Lazard as financial advisor to Bear, they might experience some short-term upside.)
John Carney has an interesting post on Dealbreaker about how the Bear Stearns collapse affected the chairman’s bridge game. Verdict: the guy was playing bridge??
And the litigation’s already afoot (PDF), suggesting that somebody out there is going to get to bill some heavy hours for the defense.
But how will it affect you? Will work slow down as investors circle the wagons, or will there be a regulatory response that actually increases the need for lawyers? Will shareholders’ fear of fire sales increase bankruptcy and litigation work?
Let’s find out, in today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey:
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

Meet Richard Hohensee. He’s a homeless man here in Washington, who has been living on the D.C. streets for some two years — which has been “very convenient,” since he’s running for president (see here). We met him yesterday outside the Supreme Court, during our recent field trip.
Rick Hohensee is highly intelligent and articulate, with detailed views on the Second Amendment and the proper disposition of the Heller case, which is being argued before the Supreme Court as we post this. In case you can’t read it in the video, this is the text of his sign:

Silberman erred. DC exists so that the Second Amendment does not apply here.

Could this be the first time in human history that the name of a D.C. Circuit judge has appeared on the sign of a homeless man? (D.C. Circuit judges who get nominated to the Court, and protested as SCOTUS nominees, don’t count.)
In this short video clip, Mr. Hohensee explains why he believes Judge Silberman erred:

Two more videos featuring Rick Hohensee, in which he explains his support for Obama and his own presidential bid, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Field Trip: Hohensee, J., Dissenting”

New York and New Jersey’s rivalry has spilled over into sex scandals. New Jersey started the battle way back in 2004. Then-Governor James McGreevey resigned and announced he was a “gay American,” who had carried on an affair with a male aide. This month, New York belatedly responded, when Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor amid a prostitution scandal.
New Jersey filed its reply brief. From the New York Post:

A former driver and aide to former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey yesterday made the bombshell claim that Dina Matos McGreevey must have always known her husband was gay – because he was the other man in bed with them.

In an explosive interview with The Post, the McGreeveys’ self-professed man in the middle, Teddy Pedersen, gave explicit details of three-way sex romps that he claimed to have had with the now-divorcing duo, starting during their courtship and continuing into the marriage.

Note: when conducting sex scandals, New Yorkers choose the Mayflower Hotel, while Jersey folks opt for drinks at T.G.I.F.’s:

“We called it the Friday Night Special,” Pedersen said. The “intense” escapades, he said, usually began with a “couple of drinks” at a local T.G.I. Friday’s and culminated in “a hard-core consensual sex orgy” between the three of them at McGreevey’s Woodbridge condo.

So as far as nasty sex scandals, we declared a victory for New Jersey — but then New York filed a petition for rehearing! The Daily News reports that new Governor David Paterson and his wife have both carried on extramarital affairs for years:

In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago.

In the course of several interviews in the past few days, Paterson said he maintained a relationship for two or three years with “a woman other than my wife,” beginning in 1999.

As part of that relationship, Paterson said, he and the other woman sometimes stayed at an upper West Side hotel — the Days Inn at Broadway and W. 94th St.

We are unable to name a “Dirtiest Governor Sex Scandal” victor just yet. We are mildly overwhelmed. We wish the McGreeveys, the Spitzers, the Patersons, and “Kristen” would just have one big orgy, to make our news coverage easier.
Wife of Ex-NJ Gov Denies Threesome Claim []
Gov. Paterson admits to sex with other woman for years [The Daily News via Drudge]

limbs.jpgHeather Mills was awarded nearly $50 million yesterday in her divorce from Paul McCartney. CNN has video of Mills speaking with reporters after the verdict. Mills says:

It was an incredible result in the end to secure mine and my daughter’s future and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping and making a difference with.

The funny way Mills says “obviously plan on helping” in the video made us surf over to her official website and look at her charities. The charities seem like a collection of photo opportunities: Heather in a hard hat with a landmine sign, Heather with limbs, etc.
We also discovered a bizarre “Heather’s Friends” section, which includes video testimonials from Richard Branson and Hillary Clinton. Weird.
Mills spends a good amount of time ranting about the law courts’ conspiracy against litigants who represent themselves:

Obviously the court do not want a litigant in person to do well, it’s against everything that they ever wish, so when they write the judgment up they’re never going to make it look in favor.

We would just like to point out that Mills requested nearly $251 million and only received a fifth of that. And now her daughter has to fly coach. We hope her daughter does not ever have to use American Airlines.
Paul McCartney-Heather Mills Divorce Saga Ends in $48.6 Million Settlement []
£700 for every hour of the marriage … and Heather Mills is STILL moaning [Daily Mail via Drudge]
Judge awards Heather Mills £24.3 million in divorce ruling [Overlawyered]

Great Depression 2 Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother Above the Law blog.JPG* “Are we headed for another Great Depression?” [McClatchy]
* Quelle surprise: Bear Stearns shareholder lawsuit (filed in S.D.N.Y. by Coughlin Stoia). [Bloomberg; WSJ Law Blog (PDF of complaint)]
* Speaking of Bear Stearns, here are some law firms losing out on BSC business. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Tenth Circuit reverses convictions of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio. [AP]
* Harvard Law School will pay the 3L tuition of future students who agree to work for nonprofit organizations or government for five years following graduation. [New York Times via Tax Prof Blog; Harvard Law School (news release)]
* Settlement in Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce (more on this later). [Legal Week]
* SCOTUS to hear Second Amendment / D.C. gun control case today (more on this later too). [New York Times; Reuters]

Jones Day Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe probably won’t cover judicial clerkship bonuses quite as closely as we used to, now that Justin Bernold has put together this handy table of clerkship bonus info. But we did want to bring your attention to one development, since several of you emailed us about it. This message is representative:

Just to let you know, JD has just changed their website to reflect a $50K clerkship bonus. Despite all the bad things said about JD on ATL, they are at least keeping pace with clerkship bonuses. Hope this spurs some positive commentary….

Thanks for providing a great service to lawyers everywhere!

For ATL’s table of clerkship bonuses, which has been corrected to reflect the JD information, click here.
P.S. For the record, we don’t think the Jones Day buzz here has been that bad. Sure, there have been some negative comments, but that’s true of almost every firm under the sun. And we’ve heard from Jones Day defenders as well.
Jones Day – Careers – Compensation [Jones Day]

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