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animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFGuess we picked our Lawyer of the Day too soon.
Update (2:30 PM): Press conference scheduled for 2:15 p.m., but Governor Spitzer is running 15 minutes late. “I don’t blame him,” said Ben Smith of the Politico, interviewed just now on CNN.
Update (2:35 PM): Jeffrey Toobin, who was an HLS classmate of Eliot Spitzer, described the news as “a total shock.” He said Spitzer has been “nothing but a straight arrow” for many years.
Update (2:50 PM): Still no press conference. Brooke Masters, author of Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, was just interviewed on CNN. She noted that this scandal comes at a bad time for Spitzer politically, in the wake of last year’s scandal involving his misuse of the State Police for political purposes.
Update (3 PM): We’re stepping away for a bit, to give a talk at Stanford Law School. We’ll be back online as soon as we can. Some content will be posted while we’re gone (material prepared ahead of time, not Spitzer updates).
Developing… Check back for updates.
Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring [New York TImes]

US News World Report law school rankings ratings Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, we linked to Professor Dan Solove’s spoof of the U.S. News law school rankings. For the record, the magazine has responded (as noted in updates at TaxProf Blog and Concurring Opinions, but not yet in these pages).
Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report, emailed us: “We do get that the ‘secret memo’ was legal/ranking humor. Unfortunately some don’t get it (they think it’s true)….”
Accordingly, he has responded via blog post, over at Morse Code:

“The Official Leaked US News Law School Rankings, Plus Ranking Secrets Revealed!” Not quite. That “secret” memo that appears to have originated on the Concurring Opinions blog doesn’t reveal the new law school rankings, and the accompanying “secret” memo and comments are not those of any U.S. News employee. We’re much funnier.

When are the real new law school rankings coming out? U.S.News & World Report’s new law rankings will be published online on March 28, 2008 on our website in the 2009 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. We urge everyone interested in seeing the accurate rankings— and the methodology that was used— to come back to U.S. News the last Friday of this month.

Oooh, exciting. As soon as the new rankings are out, we’ll mention the news here.
About That ‘Secret’ Memo [Morse Code: Inside the College Rankings]
The Official Leaked US News Law School Rankings, Plus Ranking Secrets Revealed! [Concurring Opinions]
Earlier: Oh, So That’s How Those Law School Rankings Work

Arelia Margarita Taveras attorney Arelia Taveras lawyer gambler Above the Law blog.jpgToday’s Lawyer of the Day is, in blackjack parlance, “a natural” — utterly unbeatable. From the New York Post:

A crooked Queens lawyer who bottomed out at the blackjack tables to the tune of $1 million is trying to recoup her losses and then some with a $20 million lawsuit blaming seven casinos for her downward spiral.

Arelia Margarita Taveras, 37 – who represented victims’ families in both the World Trade Center attacks and the Flight 587 crash in the Rockaways – said her gambling problem was so out of control she once spent five straight days at Resorts Casino tables in Atlantic City subsisting on complimentary candy bars and orange juice.

The Corona native and Cardozo Law School graduate was a regular at several gaming palaces – even keeping her dog by her side and brushing her teeth with disposable wipes so she wouldn’t lose her seat.

We commend Ms. Taveras for her chutzpah and ingenuity. Taking a $1 million gambling loss and parlaying it into a $20 million lawsuit is an audacious play. Lemons into lemonade, indeed.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Arelia Margarita Taveras”

Madonna Like A Prayer Above the Law blog.jpgPalm Sunday is this coming weekend, and Easter isn’t far away. So please indulge us as we go on a little religious digression.
The Vatican just rolled out seven new deadly sins. From the Telegraph:

Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times.

The seven, which include polluting the environment, were announced by Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia’s main court….

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, mortal sins are a “grave violation of God’s law” and bring about “eternal death” if unrepented by the act of confession.

One ATL reader, who sounds a bit like a sentencing geek, observes: “In addition to providing Nino with a new tranche of doctrinal fodder, it takes the average soft-core sinner right out of sinner-safety-valve territory.”
So what are these seven new, deadly sins?

Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins.

Some Biglaw partners “carry[] out experiments on humans,” i.e., hapless associates. Some lawyers — e.g., Biglaw partners, top trial lawyers — “becom[e] obscenely wealthy.” Many lawyers, as well as paralegals, “pollut[e] the environment” — remember all the times you didn’t recycle Westlaw print-outs? — and “tak[e] drugs” occasionally (or regularly).
But since not all of you are Roman Catholic, you might not put much stock in the Holy See’s list. So we’ve tried to adapt it, by coming up with a “Seven Deadly Sins” list for law-firm life.
Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Canon Law Digression: Sins 2.0?”

Trojan magnum condom Above the Law blog.jpgCheck out this rather odd appeal from Florida, arising out of a prosecution for sexual assault charges. The defendant was originally charged with three counts of sexual battery, but was convicted on lesser included charges of misdemeanor battery.
One of the issues was whether the trial court should have granted a continuance based on the availability of a defense witness (even though the defense failed to move for a continuance at the time). From the opinion (PDF):

Defense counsel proffered one aspect of the urologist’s testimony: because Tyrrell’s penis was “smaller than average size” it “could not have caused” the injuries that Nurse Gibson observed during the rape exam.

You don’t normally see a man proclaiming his small penis size in public proceedings. But if a teeny weenie is a “get out of jail free” card, expect the defendant to play it. Think of it as the flip side of that Japanese appeal, in which a busty babe overturned her conviction by arguing that she was too well-endowed to fit through a hole she allegedly used to enter a building.
Our tipster described a second strange argument raised by the defense:

[The defense also argued] that the injuries were caused by the victim’s “aggressive” use of a dildo. [The opinion] mentions that the defense lawyer wanted the victim to identify the dildo from a “dildo lineup,” and that the defense attorney “extensively explored” the dildo issue with the victim on cross.

Seriously. The words “dildo lineup” actually appear in the opinion (and not even in scare quotes):

Tyrrell first argues that his “right to due process and right to confront witnesses” was violated because the state did not produce the [sex toys] that were the subject of the July 23 and August 2 orders….

Tyrrell contends that the trial court erred in failing to let him show the victim a dildo lineup.

If that doesn’t violate the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause, which guarantees a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the [dildos] against him,” we don’t know what does.
Tyrrell v. State (PDF) [Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal]

In last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey results, we explored which practice areas are hottest and slowest in various markets. With real estate and transactional work slowing in many markets, but heating up in Dubai, and some firms expanding into Houston (McDermott), Charlotte (McGuireWoods), Boston (Locke Lord) and the Bay Area (just about everybody) even as others contemplate slowdowns, today’s survey explores your thoughts on relocation.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

MPRE Model Professional Responsibility Exam Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you took the MPRE recently — and we’re gathering, from your comments, that you’d like a place to talk about it. Here is an open thread.
To be totally honest, we’re not really sure how much there is to say about the MPRE. It’s not a super-difficult test, and it hasn’t exactly achieved the mythical status of the bar exam as a rite of passage for aspiring lawyers.
But perhaps you’ll surprise us. Back in December, an open thread on MPRE results generated over 200 comments. So maybe there’s more to say about the MPRE than one might think.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) [National Conference of Bar Examiners]
Earlier: MPRE Results Are Out: Open Thread

* Possible Spygate whistleblower nears deal with NFL. [ESPN]
* Pres. Bush flexes executive biceps on CIA interrogation bill. [New York Times]
* Kevin Costner settles lawsuit regarding unfinished masterpiece. [Los Angeles Times]
* Law Blog on changes in frequency of white-collar prosecutions. [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s illegal to French kiss a child younger than 13 in Virginia. [CNN]

* Status of the Roger Clemens steroid investigation. Just in case you didn’t already know he’s guilty. [ESPN]
* Forget about lead-tainted toys and pet food. Charges were filed yesterday in LA against four American executives who imported toothpaste that contained antifreeze. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “The weirdest legal pleading ever” included a “children’s book for adults” so that the Court could “comprehend” the plaintiff’s arguments. Take THAT, Florida Supreme Court Justices. [Slate]
* Your daily dose of profanity in a legal proceeding: “”Mr. Sadler, we all felt, was a lying sack of sh*t.” []
* Managing Intellectual Property releases its list of top North American Firms for 2008. [Managing Intellectual Property]

Your Frivolous Friday guest-blogger is signing off. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Pronunciation.gifIs it SUBstantive or subSTANtive? Our dictionary tells us to emphasize the first syllable.
A lovely Canadian professor at our law school emphasizes the second syllable, and although our affection for him is great, every time he says “subSTANtive” we take away ten points on our completely subjective professor-grading scale. How about THAT, professor? Students grade YOU TOO. (Just kidding. Kinda.)

Apple wants to put its iPhones in the workplace, which may mean that your firm Crackberry could be replaced by an equally addictive (but much more hip) iPhone.
We think, however, that there should be a screening process for determining who gets the iPhones. There’s a certain degree of unaffected coolness, a hipster air, that one needs to have to use an iPhone and not create the impression of an over-eager gadget-grabber. Also, Apple would have to tone down its image to fit with the lawyerly crowd if it wants law firms to trade their Blackberrys for iPhones. Flashy and too-cool is unrefined. We think the only solution is to wait until next year, when the iPhone isn’t so flashy-new, to hand them out to lawyers.
Let’s take a vote. Crackberry v. iPhone: Smackdown Part I.
Apple Aims to Put iPhone Into the Workplace [NYT]

Samantha Power.jpgWe updated our original post from this morning about Samantha Power calling Hillary Clinton a “monster,” but it’s a big enough development to cover in a separate post. So here we go.

Professor Power, rumored love interest of Cass Sunstein, resigned from the Obama campaign because of her tawdry remarks about Hillary Clinton in an interview earlier this week. She also apologized publicly:

“With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser the Obama campaign effective today,” Ms. Power said in a statement released by the campaign. “Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months.”

Obama Aide Resigns for Calling Clinton a ‘Monster’ [New York Times]

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