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Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpgThe scandal surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who allegedly patronized prostitutes, raises an interesting issue. It surfaced in some of the comments to yesterday’s posts, and it’s raised in the defense of Governor Spitzer offered by his former law professor, Alan Dershowitz, on CNN:

“I don’t think he should face criminal charges for federal charges for the actual sex act itself…. I know nothing about the financial aspects of it. But this is a traditional state misdemeanor case. And, if anything, he should be charged with a class-B misdemeanor, which is a very, very slight offense, because being a john to an adult prostitute who was making $3,000 to $4,000 or $5,000 sounds to me very much like a victimless crime.”

This raises the question: Should prostitution even be a crime?
Of course, some of the outrage over Governor Spitzer’s case relates to potential hypocrisy. As New York Attorney General, he prosecuted prostitution rings, and condemned them in harsh language. But setting aside the hypocrisy issue, should what he’s accused of doing be a criminal offense?
Or should prostitution perhaps be decriminalized? Take our poll:

Most law firm name changes are pretty silly. The general approach: lop off all names after the first two. If you like, squish the surviving names together into one word, to make yourselves seem contemporary and cool. E.g., “WilmerHale.” (A law firm marketing firm would charge you five figures for that advice.)
Okay, so how do you get anyone to care about your name change? You make a YouTube video, that’s how! Here’s a press release from Hanson Bridgett LLP, a northern California firm with about 130 lawyers:

The firm formally known as Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos, & Rudy LLP has a new tag line—”Inspired”—to go with its new logo and a new abridged name, Hanson Bridgett LLP. Breaking through the monotony of the legal landscape, the firm is employing a light-hearted video to help disseminate the re-branding roll-out by “word of mouse.”

Seriously. As the press release notes, “[t]he video stars Hanson Bridgett Managing Partner Andrew Giacomini, who is seen banging a bass drum while walking down Market Street in Lederhosen and knee-highs.”
The video, cutely entitled “The Law Accordion to Hanson Bridget,” is kinda weird, and a bit too long; you really need just the first and last 30 seconds. But it’s an interesting experiment in law firm marketing. Check it out:

Oh, and the firm has its own blog: the Infrastructure Law Blog. Infrastructure law sounds even more boring than ERISA may not be the sexiest practice area ever. But the firm deserves props for participating in, rather than fighting, the online revolution.
P.S. Yes, we’ve seen the Pillsbury Winthrop video. We’ll be writing about it in a separate post.
The Law Accordion To Hanson Bridgett [YouTube]
Hanson Bridgett Launches New Look, Video to Match [press release]
Infrastructure Law Blog
Hanson Bridgett LLP [official website]

  • 11 Mar 2008 at 1:45 PM
  • Uncategorized

Musical Chairs: John Bolton to Kirkland & Ellis

John Bolton Surrender Is Not An Option Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s news of an interesting, high-profile move. Our source offers this preface:

“[A] number of the younger lawyers at K&E tend to be moderate to liberal and have donated a great deal to Obama. Yet K&E seems to be a popular destination for right-wingers nonetheless.”

(Well, that depends on the office. There are lots of moderate to liberal young lawyers in K&E’s New York and Chicago offices. But in the more politically charged Washington office, conservatives dominate the junior ranks as well.)
Oh yes, the move. As reported by James Oliphant — former editor in chief of the Legal Times, who not too long ago went back to reporting, for the Chicago Tribune — in the Tribune’s D.C. blog, The Swamp:

John Bolton, the outspoken former Bush administration official and UN ambassador, is joining Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis as a senior adviser.

Bolton worked as a senior arms-control policymaker in the State Department and became known for his hawk-like views toward Iraq, Iran and North Korea and a belligerant personal style. His nomination as United Nations ambassador in 2005 became a highly charged affair, largely because Bolton had expressed tremendous antipathy toward the U.N.

He was once quoted as saying that “The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost ten stories today, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Ultimately, he was never confirmed as U.N. ambassador but made a recess appointment by President Bush and again drew criticism for an abrasive manner while in New York.

Interestingly enough, John Bolton was friends during law school with Clarence Thomas, who would also become a target of the left in the years to come. At last year’s book party for Justice Thomas’s memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, Bolton and Thomas were overheard commiserating over how doing audio versions of their books made them hoarse.
John Bolton joins Chicago-based firm [The Swamp / Chicago Tribune]

Since yesterday, when the big Eliot Spitzer news broke, we’ve been on a bad-behavior kick here at ATL. So let’s keep going down that path. A tipster sent us a juicy story, with this intro:

This is wild. And by wild, I mean INSANE… He’s 61. She’s 25. He likes booze, cocaine, and turtlenecks.

How’s that for a teaser? From the Albuquerque Journal (subscription):

John Brennan Judge John Brennan New Mexico Above the Law blog.jpgPolice drew their guns and broke open a door to get former District Court Judge John Brennan to stop choking his 25-year-old girlfriend, according to Albuquerque police reports released Monday.

According to the reports, Brennan, 61, appeared to be extremely intoxicated, denied that he attacked the woman and was wearing only a mock turtleneck and gray underwear when confronted by officers.

Brennan was arrested on charges of domestic violence, kidnapping and aggravated battery against a household member in connection with the Sunday incident. He made his first appearance in Metropolitan Court on Monday.

Well, good for him for having a girlfriend young enough to be his granddaughter (at least in our nation’s more rural areas).
More details — and yes, once again, allegations of prostitute involvement — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Judge of the Day: John Brennan”

Joshua Mauldin Josh Mauldin Joshua Maudlin Josh Maudlin Above the Law AboveTheLaw blog.jpgWhen it comes to horrible (and horribly trashy) conduct, it’s tough to top microwaving your baby. In a room at a La Quinta motel.
But you can certainly supplement it with additional misbehavior. From the Houston Chronicle:

A jury should not hear an allegation about sex in an interrogation room that occurred after the arrest of a man accused of burning his 2-month-old daughter in a microwave oven, a defense attorney argued Monday.

Prosecutors say witnesses saw Joshua Mauldin, 20, of Warren, Ark., have sex with his wife in an interrogation room at the Galveston County Jail several days after he is accused of placing his daughter in a microwave oven for 10 to 20 seconds on May 10.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a mere allegation:

[Defense attorney Sam Cammack III] denied that the sex act occurred and said a DNA test of the chair in the interrogation room tested positive for someone other than Mauldin or his wife.

ICK — but that must be one comfy chair. Time to cover it in plastic, just like grandma used to do.
P.S. If the allegation is true, it wouldn’t be the first time people have gotten busy in a courthouse. As chronicled in these pages, witness rooms and courthouse showers have also hosted assignations.
Lawyer: Microwave baby’s dad had interrogation room sex [Houston Chronicle]

Edward Nottingham Judge Edward W Nottingham Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLongtime readers will recall that Chief Judge Edward Nottingham (D. Colorado) is no longer eligible for our coveted Judge of the Day prize. After he threatened to call the U.S. Marshals service on a handicapped woman whose handicapped parking spot he stole, a few short months after it was revealed he dropped more than $3,000 at a strip club in two consecutive days — but couldn’t remember doing so, ’cause he was so darn drunk — we decided it wasn’t fair to the rest of the judiciary to leave him in the competition.
That call now appears prescient. From Denver 9 (via the Rocky Mountain News):

[T]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit is investigating Chief U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham for the third time in the past year. He is being investigated for improper judicial conduct after his full name and personal cell phone number appeared on a list of clients from a Denver prostitution business.

The business called Denver Players or Denver Sugar was shut down in January after IRS and Denver Police investigators served search warrants at the brothel on Fillmore Street.

First the prominent governor of a leading state, and now the chief federal judge in a major city. Are high-class call girls a growing trend in the upper echelons of the legal profession?
More details, including the judge’s highly appropriate nickname — no, not “Paulie Walnuts” — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chief Judge Nottingham: Putting the ‘Ho’ in Your Honor?”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGOver a month has passed since our last update on Supreme Court clerk hiring. We hear through the grapevine that Justice David H. Souter has finally picked his law clerks for October Term 2008. And we’re guessing that Justice Samuel A. Alito has too (since we’ve known about his first two hires for quite some time).
But we don’t have any names. The SCOTUS clerk Wikipedia page and the Clerkship Notification Blog also have no hard news to pass along.
If you follow SCOTUS clerk hiring, please take a look at the lists after the jump (reprinted from last month’s post). Are you aware of an OT 2008 or OT 2009 clerk who isn’t listed? If so, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”).
You can also post a comment to this post. But we prefer email for this subject, for verification and possible follow-up. Thanks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Surely They Must Be Done By Now”

We received 1,046 responses to last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on vacation time.
Roughly two thirds of respondents reported that their firms offered four weeks of vacation, but sixteen percent are at three-week firms, six percent are at firms with only two weeks of vacation, and a handful are at firms with but a single week. Five percent of respondents are at firms that do not offer vacation time at all, while six percent are at firms that offer more than four weeks.
Among the firms offering four weeks of paid vacation, about a quarter of respondents took at least 20 vacation days, with another twelve percent of respondents taking 16 to 19 vacation days. Another quarter of respondents took between 11 and 15 vacation days. Almost a fifth of respondents, however, took fewer than five vacation days.
At firms offering three weeks of paid vacation, almost a quarter of respondents took at least 15 vacation days, with another seventeen percent of respondents taking 11 to 15 vacation days. Thirty-six percent of respondents, however, took only 6 to 10 vacation days, and thirty-five percent took one week or less.
Roughly two fifths of respondents who didn’t take all their vacations explained that they simply had too much work to get done. Another quarter, however, felt they needed the hours, and about the same number felt uncomfortable taking vacations. Five percent of respondents skipped vacations because they wanted to impress people, and roughly the same number were actually instructed by a partner to stay at the office. Twenty-two percent of respondents actually cancelled vacations last year.
Of course, not every vacation was really a vacation. Roughly 63% of respondents said they did work while on vacation last year.
Will there be better luck this year? Maybe not. Only 37% of respondents said their firms allowed them to roll over unused vacation days. Fifty-one percent were at use-it-or-lose-it firms, and the rest were unsure.

* Spitzer considers resignation. [New York Times]
* NYT slams him. [New York Times]
* Boeing to protest Air Force contract awarded to Northrop and European Airbus maker. [CNN]
* Oklahoma legislator says gay people are worse than terrorists… [CNN Video]
* Sen. Obama: stop calling me veep. [Washington Post]
* Colorado woman to fight fine for dying dog pink. [Local News]

Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpgThere are a few things we could write about right now, but let’s just talk about what everyone is talking about: New York’s prostitute-patronizing governor, Eliot Spitzer. Here’s a fresh thread for discussion (since the old one is already a comments clusterf**k).
From the New York Times (which broke the story):

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

For a legal gossip blogger, this is huge: a highly pedigreed lawyer (and former state attorney general), who once had a blindingly bright political future, caught in a prostitution scandal. It would be tough to make this more juicy. Maybe a three-way with Rodge Cohen?
P.S. Bonus question, posed by Lawrence Hurley: Did Governor Spitzer violate the Mann Act?
Update: More details from the FBI affidavit (via MSNBC):

“Kristen” was sent to room 871, which Client 9 was leaving ajar; Client 9 wanted to be reminded of what she looked like and was told “American, petite, very pretty brunette, five feet five inches, and 105 pounds.”

Apparently the session went from 9:36 p.m. [on February 13, the day before Valentine's Day,] when “Kristen” arrived in the room, until 12:02 a.m., although it appears she waited a bit for Client 9.

“Kristen” said the appointment went “very well.”

“Kristen” said “that she liked him and did not think he was difficult.” She collected $4,300 from Client 9.

CNN reports that this $4,300 reflected money Spitzer owed from prior to be applied toward other visits. But escorts who worked for the Emperor’s Club — not to be confused with the heartwarming Kevin Kline film, by the way — did charge hourly rates well into the four-figures. Biglaw partners, eat your hearts out — $1,000 is chump change to these ladies.

“Kristen” and her bosses in New York also discussed Client 9′s sexual preferences and whether he had asked “you to do things that, like, you might not think were safe.”

“Kristen” appears to have been OK with whatever went on in Room 871. “Kristen” stayed overnight in D.C. and took the train back to New York the next day.

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring [New York Times]
Did Gov. Spitzer Violate the Mann Act? [Washington Briefs]

We’re offline right now, speaking at Stanford Law School. We’ll be back shortly (and pick up where we left off with the Eliot Spitzer scandal).
In the meantime, check out this funny post by Marc Randazza, about some dubious proposed legislation in Massachusetts that could criminalize certain types of pick-up lines.
Pickup Line Quagmire in Massachusetts [The Legal Satyricon]

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]

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