Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School is one of the country’s most distinguished constitutional scholars and Supreme Court advocates. Having argued before the Court numerous times, Professor Tribe has no fear of the coutroom.
So why did Professor Tribe flee from the Ames Courtroom of Harvard Law School last Thursday? He was scheduled to judge a moot court for Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, the school desegregation case that the Supreme Court will hear next month. But before the arguments began, Professor Tribe bolted from the coutroom, leaving an empty swivel chair on the bench.
From The Harvard Crimson:
Laurence H. Tribe ’62, the Loeb University professor at Harvard, was scheduled to judge the moot court but had to leave upon notice that his dog, Chloe, had been found “shaking like a leaf” on the streets. The traumatized Chloe had fled the sound of a fire alarm in Tribe’s house, jumped a fence, and raced down Brattle Street, where a passerby waited with her while Tribe dashed the mile to the rescue.
* Emily Pataki, the attractive and accomplished daughter of New York governor George Pataki, failed the New York bar exam — and sent around an office-wide email about it. The story was broken by the mainstream media.
* We heard from some of Emily’s law school classmates about the incident. In a reader poll, you opined that emailing her White & Case colleagues was unwise.
* The Democratic takeover of the Senate could make things tough(er) for the White House’s judicial nominees.
* Despite the sea change in Washington, President Bush resubmitted six controversial judicial picks to the lame duck Senate. Getting all of them confirmed is probably impossible, but getting two of them through might happen.
* The White House has not yet submitted nominees for the two vacant Fifth Circuit seats. (Texas’s Solicitor General, conservative legal superstar R. Ted Cruz, is said to be uninterested.)
* Borat-related litigation shows nosigns of abating.
* O.J. Simpson: He’s back — and he’s still looking for his wife’s killer. Except this time, he’s looking in the mirror.
* Some bad ideas from the past week: getting frisky on an airplane; setting your ex-girlfriend’s kittens on fire; having sex with a deer (even if it’s dead); eating at Burger King or Taco Bell; and getting married without a prenup (if you’re a filthy rich Hollywood celebrity).
* Over the past few days, we’ve been spending some quality time with the Federalist Society. More reports on the proceedings — including lavish photography — will appear in the coming week.
* If you’re going to ban junk food ads, then bring back the cigarette ads! Nothing is as glamorous as a hot girl/guy smoking languorously. I’m only half kidding. [The Guardian]
* It’s great that attorneys have lives outside the law, but these people are probably the type who refer to themselves (and by “themselves,” I mean each of their “personas”) in the third person. [ABA Journal eReport]
* Although still not legal for non-medical purposes, much to Woody Harrelson’s chagrin. [Hit & Run]
Litigation surrounding Sacha Baron Cohen’s controversial comedy, Borat, is turning into a cottage industry for the legal profession. Here’s the latest news:
The owner of an etiquette business who was handed a plastic bag supposedly containing feces in the hit movie “Borat” says she was [falsely] told the filming would be used for a documentary in Belarus.
Cindy Streit said she filed a complaint Thursday with California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, requesting an investigation into possible violations of the California Unfair Trade Practices Act.
For those of you who haven’t the film, here’s a description of the scene in question:
Streit said she arranged in Alabama both a sit-down session with Borat, played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, and a dinner party with some of her friends…. Though awkward at times, the dinner went well until Borat asked to use the bathroom, Streit said.
“I had taught him to excuse himself. He did that correctly and went upstairs,” Streit told The Associated Press. “The next thing that happened is that he came down the stairs holding this plastic bag with whatever was in it.”
“My horror was that he had brought a bag of feces to my dinner table.”
Would-be Borats, consider yourselves warned: Cindy Streit doesn’t take any s**t.
Fun fact: Streit is represented by Gloria Allred, the colorful California litigatrix (and mother of Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom). Etiquette Coach Files ‘Borat’ Complaint [Associated Press]
Here are a few of the most notable moves within the legal profession: Reunited and It Feels So Good:
* Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has returned to the New York office of McDermott, Will & Emery. This year, Weld unsuccessfully ran for the chance to get trounced by Eliot Spitzer the Republican nomination for governor of New York.
* Intellectual property lawyer Brian O’Shaughnessy is back at Buchanan Ingersoll — after Womble Carlyle crowed loudly about scooping him up. Nate Carlile of the Legal Times has the story:
O’Shaughnessy started at Womble the day after Halloween, never spent a moment there practicing law, and was gone before the end of the week. (Actually, it appears he cleared out at about the same time Womble was touting his hire.)
Repeat after me: an office wide email is never, ever a good idea.
This advice, while generally sound, is slightly overbroad. We can think of at least one occasion when an office-wide email is appropriate.
When you leave a job, it’s perfectly appropriate to send around a farewell email to the entire office, if you are so inclined. You should talk about how much you enjoyed working there, thank your colleagues for a great experience, mention your future plans, and provide your contact information (if you wish).
Try to refrain from writing things like this:
While I have a high degree of personal respect for PHJW as a law firm, and I have made wonderful friendships during my time here, I am no longer comfortable working for a group largely populated by gossips, backstabbers and Napoleonic personalities. In fact, I dare say that I would rather be dressed up like a pinata and beaten than remain with this group any longer. I wish you continued success in your goals to turn vibrant, productive, dedicated associates into an aimless, shambling group of dry, lifeless husks.
Yep, that’s a quote from an actual good-bye email, which an ex-Paul Hastings associate sent to his former colleagues. You can read the complete email here.
This email is an old one. In the future, the next time you receive a scandalous or funny email message at work, please forward it to us (tips AT abovethelaw DOT com). We love to reprint such emails in these pages. Thanks! Paul, Hastings: “Gossips, Backstabbers and Napoleonic Personalities” [Gawker]
In our detailed review of possible nominees for the two open Fifth Circuit seats in Texas, we mentioned Texas’s Solicitor General, R. Ted Cruz, as a possible nominee.
After we dropped his name, a number of you wrote in to share your thoughts about him (as frequently happens after we mention someone in these pages). Here are some of your comments:
“Ted Cruz is brilliant — and he knows it. In this respect, he’s like his former boss, ex-Fourth Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig. And in both cases, the arrogance is actually warranted.”
“Ted Cruz is a smartest of all the people whose names you floated (probably even including Greg Coleman, but that’s a close call). Cruz is a former Luttig and Rehnquist clerk, and not surprisingly, he’s very well-connected politically. Prior to taking the Texas SG job, he served in the Bush Administration. If nominated, he could face some opposition. He’s very conservative — but when it counts, it’s mostly in a cute libertarian/old Federalist Society sort of way. And he’s very, very political — he may not be an easy sell in a 52-48 51-49 Senate itching to do some damage.”
“Before Ted Cruz was one of America’s top young conservative lawyers, he was a force to be reckoned with on the college parliamentary debate circuit. Debaters would pratically pee in their pants upon learning they’d be going up against him!”
In sum, Ted Cruz is a brilliant, conservative, high-powered Latino lawyer. So why did we call him only an outside possibility for the 5th Circuit?
Is it because he might engender Democratic opposition? Actually, no. Considering that President Bush just resubmitted four controversial circuit court nominees, it’s clear he’s still ready to rumble with the Dems. The White House would probably be fine with nominating Cruz if he wanted a Fifth Circuit seat.
And therein lies the rub. These days we’re hearing that Cruz actually does NOT want to get appointed to that court. At an earlier point in his legal career, a Fifth Circuit seat might have been his dream job (en route to a seat on the Supreme Court). But the latest rumor is that Ted Cruz has grown more interested in elective office lately.
So expect him to run for some prominent elected position in the not-too-distant future. Texas Attorney General? Governor of the Lone Star State? A position representing Texas in the U.S. House or Senate? The sky is the limit for someone as talented as Ted Cruz. R. Ted Cruz bio [Trolp.org] Ted Cruz [Wikipedia] Earlier: Some Fifth Circuit Scuttlebutt
Both Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes have a “message recall” feature. Of course, it’s a bit late for Emily Pataki to invoke it, so as to retract the office-wide email she sent to her White & Case colleagues about failing the New York bar exam.
But if Emily agrees with the majority of you, she probably wishes she had never sent that e-mail. Here are the results of our ATL reader poll:
We’re a bit surprised at the tally; we expected the vote to be closer. We didn’t think so many of you would disapprove of her handling of the situation. But this is your verdict, for what it’s worth.
Maybe the best advice can be found in this reader comment: “Repeat after me: an office wide email is never, ever a good idea.” Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Emily Pataki (scroll down)
Today’s sessions at the Federalist Society annual conference kicked off with a speech by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the current (but outgoing) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His remarks, which focused on the judicial nominations process, were engaging and informative. The crowd enjoyed his dry wit.
We may have more to say about Senator Specter’s address later. For now, a quick account of our exchange with him during the question-and-answer session. When it was our turn to question Senator Specter, we asked:
Senator Specter, as the current chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, do you have any thoughts on specific individuals who might be suitable nominees to the Supreme Court? And on a related note, what do you think of Senator Chuck Schumer’s suggestion of you as a possible nominee?
The Senator took the second question first. His good-natured, joking response (paraphrased):
It’s the best idea he’s had in a decade. In fact, it’s the only good idea he’s had in a decade!
Senator Specter went on to note that, back in 1971, he was talked about as a possible Supreme Court nominee (according to the Nixon tapes). He quipped that 1971 “would have been a better time” than today.
Finally, with respect to opining on possible SCOTUS nominees, the senator demurred. He noted that while he certainly could offer some names, as part of the Senate’s “advise and consent” function, he would exercise his discretion not to speak on the subject. He said he expected President Bush to appreciate that decision.
When federal appellate Judge Danny Boggs said at a Friday legal conference at Las Colinas that physical assaults aimed at judges have come mainly from “the deranged,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor underscored the safety concerns.
“Every member of the Supreme Court received a wonderful package of home-baked cookies, and I don’t know why, the staff decided to analyze them,” she recounted. “Each one contained enough poison to kill the entire membership of the court.”
Sounds pretty serious, right?
But we must call out Justice O’Connor for exaggerating the seriousness of the threat. It seems the ol’ cowgirl is playing fast and loose with the record. As reported by SCOTUS press corps diva Linda Greenhouse:
The danger posed by the packages was immediately apparent. Each contained a typewritten letter stating either, “I am going to kill you,” or, “We are going to kill you,” and adding, “This is poisoned.”
Supreme Court justices get accused of many things. But illiteracy is not usually among them.
Moreover, Justice O’Connor’s casual statement of “I don’t know why, the staff decided to analyze them” — implying the deadly treats came thisclose to reaching supreme judicial lips — is misleading. Again, per the Queen Bee:
All mail received at the Supreme Court is screened, and the tainted packages never reached the justices, said Kathleen Arberg, the court’s public information officer.
So it’s not that easy to poison a Supreme Court justice. Furthermore, even if the poisoned food somehow makes it past the initial screening, to reach a justice’s chambers, success is still not guaranteed. Why? In addition to their other duties, some Supreme Court clerks serve as food tasters for their bosses.
Finally, we fail to see how Justice O’Connor’s tale of the poisoned baked goods refutes Judge Boggs’s point that most threats against judges comes from “the deranged.” Clearly Barbara Joan March, who sent the poisoned packages to the Supreme Court — accompanied by notes that helpfully disclosed their toxic nature — is not a right-thinking person. At the very least, she’s not the most sane, nor the most intelligent, resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sitting Ducks on the Bench [Star-Telegram (Fort Worth)] Justice Recalls Treats Laced With Poison [New York Times] Ann Coulter to Justice Stevens: Drop Dead — Here, Let Me Help [Wonkette]
I’m disappointed to see that someone forwarded this to David Lat, and that he chose to publish it. The July 2006 New York Bar Exam pass list is not yet public, and while I might expect someone online to pick through the list when it is, pointing out people who were known to have taken the bar yet not passed, to publicize a single person’s failure and her reaction to it is a particular kind of bad taste that I hadn’t expected of either White & Case employees or of Above the Law.
Reprinted below is the comment that we left on De Novo in response:
I actually can’t take credit for breaking this story. I actually first learned about it in a mainstream media blog, the WSJ Law Blog:
So, PG, please don’t hang this all on me just because I’m a blogger (and we bloggers are such easy targets, especially on matters of journalistic ethics). I only touched this story after two MSM organs did — even though I had the email much earlier.
Of course, once the Wall Street Journal and the New York Observer decided to cover this story — a story which, you must admit, lies squarely within the territory of Above the Law — I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines.
* It’s finally here: Ohio State vs. Michigan. And the respective law school deans are getting in on the wagering. Dean Nancy Hardin Rogers of Ohio State and Dean Evan Caminker of Michigan cleverly weave law with the age-old rivalry. Dean Rogers asks: “A burning question among the national media is whether the outcome in Columbus on Saturday will have res judicata effect between these two teams, or whether the loser will be able to appeal for a trial de novo at the National Championship game in January.” [WSJ Law Blog]
[Ed. note: Dean Caminker (pictured at right) is no stranger to the pages of Above the Law. ATL readers recently voted him the Hottest Law School Dean in America, an award that he accepted graciously.]
* Law students help uncover more possible violations at Gitmo. [MSNBC]
* Church and state are at it again. [Opinion Journal via How Appealing]
* John Dean chimes in on the re-nominations controversy. [FindLaw]
* Bobbleheads of Justices Kennedy and Stevens are up for bidding on eBay, with proceeds going to chairty. [SCOTUS Blog]
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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