This is slightly off the legal beat. But these days, everyone is talking about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright — including lots of law professors (like Ann Althouse and Glenn Reynolds). And we also know how much you enjoy controversy over commencement speakers, especially at Northwestern University (where Jerry Springer is speaking at the law school’s commencement this year).
So, with those connections in mind, here’s some interesting news from late last week:
In a highly unusual move in the academic world, Northwestern University in suburban Chicago has publicly disinvited the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright from its June commencement ceremonies, where he was to receive an honorary degree.
It’s another indication of the rolling repercussions of the retiring African American pastor’s inflammatory comments on America, 9/11, race relations, the AIDs epidemic and Illinois’ junior senator, Barack Obama.
Dr. Wright was quoted as saying that his invitation to receive an honorary degree was withdrawn by Northwestern President Henry Bienen because Dr. Wright “wasn’t patriotic enough.” If Dr. Wright was quoted accurately, that statement is not true. In his conversation and correspondence with Dr. Wright in March, President Bienen never characterized Dr. Wright’s views or made a judgment about them. The letter said, “In light of the controversy surrounding statements made by you that have recently been publicized, the celebratory character of Northwestern’s commencement would be affected by our conferring of this honorary degree. Thus I am withdrawing the offer of an honorary degree previously extended to you.”
So, readers, any thoughts — on Northwestern’s withdrawn invitation, or on Reverend Wright more generally? Might he have a cause of action against Northwestern arising out of his “dis-invitation”?
(No, we don’t seriously think that. But we’re trying to give this post some connection to the law, however tenuous. And we figured that those of you who are studying for final exams might appreciate the challenge of trying to come up with a legal theory for such a lawsuit. Go ahead — spot those issues!)
* Judge Richard Posner (one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals) has co-authored a paper concluding that “politics is a particularly good predictor of judicial voting.” Download it while it’s hot, recommends Professor David Zaring. [Conglomerate; SSRN]
* Keker & Van Nest want out of “teledildonics” litigation. Wonder why? [The Prior Art]
* In another Keker case, L’Affaire AutoAdmit, Anthony Ciolli has filed a pro se motion to quash. [Legal Satyricon]
* Now on Broadway: Laurence Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall. Seriously. And according to the reviews, the show’s not bad. [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s not your imagination; the news / gossip cycle has been a little slow lately. But have no fear, Judge Halverson is here. [Wild Wild Law]
* Speaking of strong women in the law, Alice Fisher — the diva-licious leader of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division — is departing from the DOJ later this month. [BLT]
* Have briefcase, will travel. Just don’t bill the client $875 an hour for it. [TaxProf Blog]
* Congress may hold hearings on the Milberg scandal. We hope they happen, ’cause they’d be great fun to watch (and liveblog). [Reuters]
Since 2005, four states have finally recognized that fraudulent inducement of sex is rape. Not just immoral, not just “boys being boys” behavior, but misappropriation of a woman’s personal right to choose who invades her body. Perhaps surprisingly, the first state to recognize fraudulent inducement of sex as a basis for rape was Alabama in 2005.
Well, it’s not that surprising — Alabama’s not really that big on sex. Remember their sex toys ban?
California, Michigan, and Tennessee followed suit the following two years, and Peter Koutoujian of Massachusetts filed a similar bill in February, 2008, which, when passed, will make Massachusetts the fifth state to recognize the crime of “stealing” another’s sexual prerogative.
As Britney Spears famously sang, covering the Bobby Brown hit: “That’s my prerogative. They say I’m nasty. But I don’t give a damn. Getting boys is how I live.”
Oh, sorry, we got distracted. Back to Professor Sacks:
…. In a world filled with dangerous sexual diseases, it is particularly important to protect women’s rights to protect their own bodies, not just against physical violence, but against fraudulent inducement of sexual decisions and all of the dangerous consequences that can result from a lack of truly informed consent to sexual relations. For more background about the need for tort law to respond to the reality of sexual misappropriation, see my new article, Intentional Sex Torts, to be published in the Fordham Law Review in the fall of 2008.
Marc Randazza — whose Legal Satyricon blog is excellent, even if more sex-obsessed than ATL — is skeptical:
Expanding tort law to cover dishonest sexual encounters is a horrifying proposition. We have to be left to be human — even if that means that some immoral, abhorrent, and even disgusting behavior will leak through the sieve of our legal system. There simply does not need to be a law to cover every bit of sketchy behavior. For as long as we live and love, someone will lie about their feelings to someone else. Hearts will break. Men and women will lie to each other. Men and women will sleep with each other for the wrong reasons. I’m not simply arguing that “boys will be boys.” I am arguing that this is the yin to the yang of love, passion, and ecstasy.
Every time you meet someone or f*** someone, you are taking a risk. That’s part of the thrill!
True. But if it burns when you pee a few weeks later, the “thrill” is pretty much gone.
I wonder how the legal academy would respond if I published a law review article, Cock-blocking as tortious interference with sexual relationships.
Sounds like a tough sell. Try the Journal of Law & Chauvinism. But if they don’t accept it, nobody will.
We have enough problems with the religious right trying to squeeze government under our bedroom doors. Don’t let bored law professors push tort lawyers under our sheets too.
These are just snippets from two interesting, longer posts. Read them in full over here (Sacks) and here (Randazza).
In the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, you’ll find their list of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. The list appears here (and you can vote for your top five). Bios of the honorees — and we must confess, some of these names didn’t ring a bell — appear here.
The public intellectuals explicitly identified on the list as lawyers, judges, or legal scholars are (in alphabetical order):
– Aitzaz Ahsan, president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, and a leader in the Pakistan People’s Party;
– Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate;
Professor Nussbaum is a former flame of Professor Sunstein, while Professor Power is his current main squeeze. Rumor has it that his move to Harvard Law School from his longtime academic home, the University of Chicago Law School, was prompted by a desire to be closer to the center of power — Samantha Power, that is.
Monica Conyers is a University of District of Columbia School of Law grad, the wife of U.S. Congressman John Conyers, and the pro-tem president of the Detroit City Council. Maybe tem stands for temper, because she’s got a nasty one. She went ballistic on the council’s president earlier this year. From the Detroit Free-Press:
Conyers interrupted Council President Ken Cockrel as he was questioning Carl Edwards, the Detroit attorney. Cockrel reminded Conyers that he had the floor and banged his gavel repeatedly.
Conyers railed: “You’re not my Daddy. You’re not going to disrespect me. Grow up! Control your house and learn how to treat women.”
Cockrel told Conyers that she was “one to talk.”
Conyers also made repeated mocking reference to Cockrel as Shrek, the green, grumpy and rotund ogre from the animated film.
Well, a tipster sends us the video of the confrontation, along with a subsequent roundtable with a bunch of middle schoolers. Our tipster says:
[The UDC] advocacy program must be the WORST in the nation, because she clearly lost this argument with an 8th grader.
Here’s the video. Go to 00:35 for the confrontation with the council president and to 2:40 for the confrontation with the 8th grader:
Conyers got schooled by Kierra Bell, 8th grader at Courtis Elementary Middle School.
This week we’re focusing on a particular practice area for Job of the Week. Here are four in-house opportunities for patent attorneys, all in locations starting with “S”: Silicon Valley, Seattle, San Diego and St. Joseph, MO. They’re brought to you by Lateral Link:
* A Fortune 100 company that provides enterprise storage and data management solutions is seeking a qualified corporate patent attorney with two to three years experience in patent procurement to join its small, dynamic patent group. Responsibilities include preparation and prosecution of patent applications with potential involvement in a full spectrum of other Intellectual Property matters, including licensing and litigation. Located in Silicon Valley. Position #8661.
* One of the world’s best-known software and technology companies is seeking patent attorneys with five or more years of experience to join a new practice group the company is building. Successful applicants will enjoy a stimulating, fast-paced environment and make an impact on the Company’s future as one of the earlier in-house attorneys in this new practice. Located near Seattle, Washington. Position # 8058.
* A Fortune 500 company that manufactures CDMA cell phones, base stations, and chips is seeking a patent counsel with at least five years of patent preparation and prosecution experience. The successful applicant will develop and maintain U.S. and foreign patent applications, trademarks, and copyrights, among other duties. Located in San Diego, California. Position # 8159.
* A major pharmaceutical company which concentrates on the development of human pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals, and animal health products, is seeking a Sr. Associate Director & Senior Counsel Intellectual Property. Located in St. Joseph, Missouri. Position #8375.
Lateral Link members are interviewing and being hired for dozens of in-house positions, and employers are finding Lateral Link’s process to be extremely effective. According to Michael Ray, Vice President at Western Digital: “Lateral Link has hit on an approach that is ideal for companies like ours that want to locate and recruit top-notch talent as quickly and as efficiently as possible. I highly recommend Lateral Link.”
Catholic law schools uphold two legal regimes: the laws of the U.S. legal system, and the laws from the big guy upstairs. Some students are just there for the former, and discomforted by the influence of the latter.
A tipster writes to us about a debate at Minnesota’s St. Thomas School of Law. We notice that in their motto — “Faith, Reason, Community” — faith comes first. So students probably should have expected something like this:
At Minnesota’s new law school, St. Thomas, the students have a 50-hour pro bono requirement. The school just announced that students can’t get credit if they do pro bono work for an organization that supports birth control or abortion. It seems kind of goofy.
The Minnesota Post (via Minnesota Lawyer Blog) has an article about a St. Thomas student who tried to fulfill her pro bono requirement at Planned Parenthood. Though she got approval from the student board, Dean Thomas Mengler shot it down:
Mengler announced in a campuswide letter that students would not receive credit for volunteering at Planned Parenthood or any other organization “whose mission is fundamentally in conflict with a core value of a Catholic university.”
“As a Catholic university, we have a right and a responsibility to be Catholic,” Mengler said in an interview on Tuesday. “Certainly, one of (the church’s) core values is sanctity of life.”
See also today’s Minnesota Star-Tribune (via Mirror of Justice, a leading Catholic legal theory blog).
St. Thomas isn’t the only law school struggling to balance secular influences and religious traditions. We recently received an e-mail from a Georgetown alum who tried to direct his donation to the school’s pro-choice campus group. They turned him down — see the e-mail exchange after the jump.
Two venerable institutions are working on re-branding.
In this new promo video, Venable wants to clarify that its name starts with a “V.”
From their marketing firm’s website comes this insight into the new image:
Working with Greenfield/Belser, we sought to create a visual identity for our firm that best represented our firm’s personality:
* proud but not boastful
* self-assured but not cocky
* confident and competent but not arrogant
* decisive and resolute but flexible and adaptable
* enduring, built for the long haul but evolving with changing needs
We also sought to reinforce to existing clients and convey to prospective clients, the attributes that we are known for (in the view of our clients):
* a firm that gets what’s really important to me
* the best of both worlds, quality and excellence at a fair price
* real human beings, not robots
* genuine interest in me, my business and my concerns
* they tackle our problems like they’re their own
* they’re confident, determined, authentic, resolute, innovative and respected
Our New Brand
V is the first letter in the word “Venerable,” and “Victory,”and “Vision,” and…Venable. We have made very minor modifications to our logo. But we will now also incorporate a strong visual element throughout our materials – The Venable “V.” “V” is a powerful letter and we want to own it. It is strong and unique.
Very vinteresting. The second re-branding campaign has been discussed before in these pages. Berkeley has issued a press release clarifying their name. An excerpt:
* Our official name is the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. With external audiences, we will use our official name in full or in one of two abbreviated forms: UC Berkeley School of Law or Berkeley Law.
* We will continue to use the name Boalt Hall with alumni and with the internal law school community. Approved
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
UC Berkeley School of Law
Boalt Hall (within the “family”) Discouraged
Berkeley School of Law
Berkeley Law School
Boalt Hall School of Law (or other permutations)
Please notice the Boalt logo at the top of the press release page. Mixed messages… we’re confused…
Berkeley paid a public relations firm $25,000 to come up with the brilliant new moniker, UC Berkeley School of Law. We wonder why they didn’t take ATL readers’ (free) advice and call it the White Guys With Asian Girls School of Law.
When it comes to law school graduation speakers, it’s hard to please everyone. Earlier this year, controversy erupted at Boston College Law School when U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was announced as the commencement speaker. Some students, faculty and alumni voiced opposition to AG Mukasey, based on his involvement in the waterboarding / torture controversy (extensive coverage collected here; resolution of the situation described here).
Now we report on commencement controversy news of a rather different (and somewhat less highbrow) sort. It arises out of the decision by Northwestern University School of Law to invite Jerry Springer to serve as this year’s commencement speaker. Springer got his law degree there in ’68, worked as a campaign aide to Robert F. Kennedy, and served as mayor of Cincinnati. But he’s perhaps best known as the ringmaster of scandal and vulgarity on the Jerry Springer Show (and an unsuccessful contestant on Dancing With the Stars).
Some Northwestern students are not happy about Springer’s selection. From a tipster:
There is a current uproar in the graduating class at Northwestern Law. The graduation committee thought Jerry Springer would be an appropriate speaker for this year’s convocation. Most of the student body is opposed to this, but this administration is sticking by the committee’s decision.
Maybe he’ll bring Northwestern students with secrets and unresolved conflicts up on stage, then have them confess and brawl. That might be more fun than the usual staid graduation ceremony.
We contacted the school for comment, which issued the following statement, from Dean David E. Van Zandt:
In keeping with the spirit of our community, our commencement speaker annually is selected by a student committee, approved by the administration, and invited by both.
Mr. Springer is an alumnus who has held public office as a city council member and mayor of Cincinnati. He has had a very successful career in the news and entertainment industries.
We look forward to Mr. Springer’s participation at commencement.
At least one LLM candidate is trying to prevent Springer’s speaking. See the protest letter circulating at Northwestern, and vote in our reader poll, after the jump. Update: Also after the jump, a defense of Jerry Springer’s selection as commencement speaker, which went out over the NU law school listerv.
Marc Dann has had a rough tenure as Ohio’s attorney general. When the media start crafting timelines of your troubles, the end may well be nigh. One of Dann’s biggest problems seems to be judgment calls. Such as when choosing staff members. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a write-up on this stellar Dann staffer:
One of Attorney General Marc Dann’s top managers, who is accused of sexual harassment, has a history of problems with cars and alcohol, including a drunken driving arrest months before he was hired and a smashed state car after.
Dann knew about the arrest because, according to State Highway Patrol records, he was the one who picked Anthony Gutierrez up at 2:30 in the morning at the Canfield post after Gutierrez blew a .149 on a blood-alcohol test nearly twice the legal limit.
Aren’t staffers supposed to be the ones picking their drunk bosses up, and not the other way around?
Reflecting another poor hiring decision, Dann had to discipline his communications director for sending a "profane, abusive e-mail to a co-worker." His COMMUNICATIONS director.
The list of poor staffing choices goes on.
Dann's staff is not entirely to blame for his troubles. From the timeline:
June 2007: Dann, standing on a street in an upper-middle class neighborhood, spots a reporter who had written a story he didn’t like. Dann says, “Hey Steve, write this down: Go (expletive) yourself!”
Maybe Dann’s communications director suggested that.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.