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Geraldine Ferraro Geraldine Anne Ferraro Above the Law blog.jpg* Geraldine Ferraro leaves Clinton campaign after making remarks about Obama, some of which may have been either exaggerated by others or exaggerations by her. You decide: “Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world, you’re accused of being racist.” and “they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?” [CNN]
* Child advocates oppose naming of Abercrombie and Fitch children’s hospital wing. [CNN]
* Huge mafia man released from prison due to obesity. [MSNBC]
* Plaintiff seeks dismissal of domestic violence case against Randy Moss. [ESPN]

Shame on you, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Earlier this week, we promised our readers that we’d be writing about your cute little firm video. But when we tried to access the video just now on YouTube, via Legal Pad, we got this:
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman video Above the Law blog.jpg
For those of you who never got to watch the PWSP video, it was described pretty well over at Legal Pad, “smooth jazz” and all. But we regret not being able to add our two cents. We were looking forward to describing the archival photographs of sweaty, shirtless men, featured in the “history” section of the talk, as well as to deploying this line: “I’m not just the firm chairman, I’m also a client.” Sadly, that last quip is useless without the video evidence, since you can no longer witness for yourself the uncanny similarities between Jim Rishwain’s demeanor and Sy Sperling’s.
But don’t worry, Pillsbury peeps; we don’t take it personally. We’re used to having the videos we write about yanked from YouTube. See, e.g., here (University of Miami 1L modeling montage), here (Quinn Emanuel recruiting video featuring sexy associate “Ivy”), here (Harvard Law School parody), and here (Columbia Law Revue).
Jim Rishwain’s Good Answer [Legal Pad / Cal Law]

Kristen 2 Eliot Spitzer Ashley Youmans Ashley Alexandra Dupre Above the Law blog.JPGIn honor of Eliot Spitzer’s announced resignation as governor of New York, we bring you this special edition of Non-Sequiturs: a collection of links all related to Governor Spitzer — yes, technically he’s governor until Monday the 17th — and his spectacular sex scandal.
* As we can see from comments on other posts, many of you have already discovered her. But in case you haven’t, meet Ashley Alexandra Dupre (née Ashley Youmans), aka — or dba? — “Kristen.” [New York Times ("I just don’t want to be thought of as a monster."); MySpace (profile, with music samples); (screencap of her Emperors Club profile, with redactions); The Smoking Gun (photos)]
(The NYT piece mentions that Kristen’s billing rate at the Emperors Club was $1,000 an hour — on a par with these legal titans, partners at major law firms who are leaders in their fields. She’s more expensive than the famed David Boies, who charges $800 per hour.)
* Professor Rick Hills considers the federalism implications of a Mann Act prosecution against Eliot Spitzer. [PrawfsBlawg]
* What should Eliot Spitzer do now? Some might say: Go to Disney World! But a better fit might be Miami, as Jim Oliphant explains. [The Swamp / Chicago Tribune]
* It was only a matter of time before “Client #9″ spawned a T-shirt line. [Cafe Press]
* Remember the old term “Spitzerism”? Feel free to suggest alternative definitions for it now. [BeldarBlog]
* Maybe we should be rooting for Governor Spitzer: he tried to place himself “above the law.” [The Yin Blog]

laptop computer web surfer Above the Law.jpgForget about prostitution — which, it appears, most of you support legalizing. What about the legality of anonymous commenting on the internet?
This story is from last week, but please indulge us — we’re taking it somewhere. From WTVQ:

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site. Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.

If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars ($500) for a first offense and one-thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense after that.

While we understand the problems and headaches of anonymous commenting, which we deal with on a daily basis, this proposal strikes us as a bit draconian. If enacted, it would dramatically cut down on free speech on the web. If we faced such potential liability for hosting anonymous commenters, we’d probably just kill comments altogether.
More discussion — plus a reader poll, soliciting your views on the best commenting regime for ATL — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should anonymous commenting be a crime?
(And a reader poll on the ATL comments system.)”

Sports and the Law 3 Above the Law blog.jpgWhen the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks took the floor last Saturday at Phillips Arena, it marked the first commissioner-ordered “do over” in the past 25 years of NBA basketball. As per NBA Commissioner David Stern’s orders, the Phillips Arena scoreboard was re-set to 114-111 and the game clock was turned back to 51 seconds. The teams then proceeded to replay close to the final minute of a December 19 contest that the Hawks seemingly had already won 117-111. Neither team scored in the “do over” time, meaning the Hawks still utlimately won the contest but by three less points.
The Heat-Hawks “Do Over”
Commissioner Stern ordered this “do over” on January 11 because of what he considered to be “grossly negligent” conduct by the home-team Atlanta Hawks’ official scorers. With 51 seconds left in the original game, the Hawks’ scorers ruled that Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal had committed his sixth foul, meaning that O’Neal was ejected from the game. O’Neal, however, had really only committed five fouls.
Stern scheduled the “do over” for March 7, which was the next time when the Heat were supposed to play in Atlanta. This delay, however, created all kinds of problems. Most notably, the original dispute involved whether O’Neal was wrongly prevented from playing the game’s final 51 seconds. However, even though Stern ruled in favor of the Heat, O’Neal was again unable to play in the “do over” because he had been traded from the Heat to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks—both of whom Stern deemed eligible to play. Based on this logic, if the Heat had acquired Kevin Garnett and Lebron James in the intervening period, they too would have been eligible to play.
More do-over discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Appeals and ‘Do Overs’”

The legal connection to this story is tenuous, but not non-existent. Criminal charges could be filed. And maybe there’s a products liability case against the toilet manufacturer.
Anyway, it’s such a great story — and no, it’s not from The Onion — that we’re going to link to it. From the AP:

toilet seat 1 toilet bowl woman stuck to toilet Above the Law blog.JPGA 35-year-old woman who apparently spent two years in her boyfriend’s bathroom in Ness City had become stuck to the toilet seat, authorities said Wednesday.

“She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body. It is hard to imagine. … I still have a hard time imagining it myself,” Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said in a telephone interview, adding that it appeared her body fat had grown attached to the seat.

Authorities planned to present their report to the county attorney later Wednesday to see if any charges should be filed against her 36-year-old boyfriend, Whipple said.

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that “there was something wrong with his girlfriend,” Whipple said, adding he never explained why it took him two years to call.

Is this woman a lawyer by any chance? Stick a Concordance-equipped computer in front of her, and let the doc review begin. She’ll bill 3000 hours without breaking a sweat.
So, who has the movie rights? If they can make a feature film about a guy who took up residence at JFK Airport, surely they can do something with this amazing tale. Casting suggestions?
Sheriff: Woman sat on boyfriend’s toilet for 2 years [Associated Press]

The Empire State is sending all sorts of craziness our way lately. From the New York — no, not the Washington — Post:

A female federal prosecutor was viciously attacked by a hulking, razor-wielding drug dealer in a Brooklyn courtroom yesterday – and was saved when the thug’s 72-year-old lawyer and others tackled him.

“He was going to slash her throat,” said defense lawyer Harry Batchelder, who, along with a court reporter and two marshals, slammed Victor Wright, 27 [or 37?], to the ground and grabbed an inch-long razor blade from him.

Criminal defense lawyers are badass — even the septuagenarians. And don’t forget the court reporter:

“Why don’t you try me instead of her?” stenographer Ron Tolkin shouted at the cowardly criminal as he leaped on Wright, before the group fell to the ground in a heap.

Both the elderly lawyer and Tolkin, 60, are former military men who served in Vietnam.

And what about Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.) — what did he do? From Newsday:

Block immediately left the bench after the melee started, and more marshals rushed into the courtroom and helped subdue Wright, court officials said.

That’s too bad. This story would have been perfect with the addition of a black-robed avenger, whacking the criminal into submission with a gavel.

P.S. Despite our admiration for federal judges qua judges, if we needed to be defended against a knife-wielding lunatic, we’d go with a state court judge any day of the week. E.g., Judge Ira Robinson.

Drug dealer attacks 2 in Brooklyn courtroom [New York Newsday]

In these pages, we alternate between sensationalistically fanning the flames of greed (NY to 190!) and despair (Nationwide Layoff Watch!).
Today, despair. From the ATL mailbag:

You should do a thread on worried 2Ls. I am one of them. I have a summer associate job at a Vault 100 firm, and so do lots of my friends. But we hear through the grapevine that new-ish associates at many firms don’t have tons of work and will not meet their billables targets.

Are we 2Ls seriously in danger of getting major no offers at the end of the summer? What was it like for 2L summers in other legal market downturn times (I guess around 2001 was the last one)? What should we expect?

screwed bar exam Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAt last month’s APALSA conference, we attended a very interesting panel on law firm partnership. One of the panelists mentioned that she was a summer associate during a prior downturn. Out of her summer class of thirteen (13), only one (1) received an offer of full-time employment. As soon as she mentioned the grim 1-out-of-13 statistic, one could feel the chill of fear in the audience. [FN1]
One out of 13 may be a bit extreme. But are the days of 100 percent offer rates over? Quite possibly. Last fall, there was anecdotal evidence of firms being more stingy with offers than in the past. Since then, of course, the economy has worsened significantly, with several firms announcing layoffs of full-time associates. So perhaps the trend of no-offering SAs will continue.
Some unsolicited advice for 2008 summer associates: work your tails off; keep your heads down; and don’t threaten to knife anyone, get slugged by a local lass at a bar, or steal firm-provided Swiss Miss.
Good luck and Godspeed.
[FN1] The panelist was the one summer associate who got an offer. Now she’s a partner — at an even bigger and more profitable firm than the one she summered at. Some people were just born to be Biglaw badasses.
Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: No-Offer Factories

O'Melveny Myers LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgThe latest departures from OMM (1) involve partners and (2) appear to be voluntary. From the Legal Pad:

Legal Pad is still chasing information about O’Melveny & Myers’ early retirement program…. Details are dribbling out, but the firm is officially pretty tight-lipped so far.

“It’s strictly voluntary,” the firm said in a statement today. “We’ve implemented this type of program in the past and this is nothing new for our firm or law firms in general.”

The temporary option was offered for a window of time — how long isn’t clear to us yet, but we hear the window’s closed now — to all partners over age 50 who met certain requirements, such as length of tenure at the firm, according to a source close to O’Melveny management.

And maybe profitability? From an earlier post at Legal Pad:

[One departing partner] didn’t want to go into too much detail about the retirement buyout, but he did say it’s temporary and available to partners age 50 and up. We’re wondering whether there are any other conditions on the offer, how many people are taking it, when it went into effect, and whether yet another year of flat partner profits motivated it.

One knowledgeable but anonymous observer familiar with how L.A. law firms’ finances work speculated that the firm probably took a look its profitability curve and “maybe found out that the older guys aren’t sprinting, but trotting.”

This O’Melveny makeover reminds us of Cadwalader’s Project Rightsize. Hopefully it will have a happier ending.
More On O’Melveny’s Early Retirement Offers [Legal Pad / Cal Law]
O’Melveny Paying Older Partners to Leave [Legal Pad / Cal Law]

Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpgNew York Governor Eliot Spitzer scheduled a news conference for 11:30 AM today. It appears that the governor is running late. We’re tuned in to CNN, and they just showed footage of the governor’s motorcade leaving from his Upper East Side apartment — previously profiled here (Fifth Avenue, 3BR/3BA, Central Park views) — to his offices downtown.
11:35 AM: The CNN commentators are saying that Governor Spitzer is planning to announce his resignation, but it apparently won’t take effect until Monday, March 17. This would give the governor a week to “take care of business.”
11:42: Governor Spitzer is in the building. It seems we’re about to get underway.
11:43: Governor Spitzer takes the podium and unfolds a small piece of paper; it looks like he’ll be speaking from notes. He’s wearing a dark suit and white shirt — the uniform of the upstanding prosecutor. But should he still be allowed to wear a white shirt? It’s like a super-slutty bride wearing white on her wedding day. Who are you fooling?
Governor Spitzer’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, is once again standing by her man — literally, and as she did on Monday. She’s wearing a dark suit and a fabulous scarf (red, blue, cream, and gold). But she looks a bit haggard, and her face bears a dead expression. She’s not a happy camper.
11:44: Governor Spitzer speaks. Expressions of remorse for what he did, and gratitude for his family’s love and support. Emphasis on “private” failings. Apologies to the people of New York for not living up to their public trust. No specific description of his indiscretions.
11:45: “I cannot allow my private failings to disturb the people’s work… For this reason, I am resigning from the Office of Governor.” At Lieutenant Governor David Paterson’s request, it will take effect on Monday, March 17.
11:46: Concludes by expressing thanks for “the privilege of service.” He borrowed that line from “Kristen.”
No questions. Governor Spitzer has left the podium and the room.
That’s all, folks. Nothing to see here; please move along.
Update: The full text of Eliot Spitzer’s resignation statement appears here.
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Eliot Spitzer’s Sugar Daddy

judge English judge British judge Above the Law blog.jpgSo Governor Eliot Spitzer is scheduled to speak in half an hour. We’ll cover that when it happens. Meanwhile, a tipster points out:

Little notice has been given so far to the other “Client Xs” in the federal complaint at the center of the Spitzer prostitution scandal. But one story semi-buried in the Post this morning certainly perked up our ears at the Court of Appeals!

The money quote:

“The feds’ sensational criminal complaint listing 10 ‘clients’ allegedly includes a top New York judge and even a former law-enforcement official and longtime pal of the disgraced governor, two sources said.”

So even if Governor Spitzer exits the political stage today, the fun may not be over yet. The Emperors Club may be a gift that keeps on giving.

Today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey is about hindsight. With real estate and structured finance in a slowdown, bankruptcy heating up, and some firms opening new offices while others shuffle their workforce, some career choices are suddenly much more exciting, while others . . . not so much.
So, if you knew everything you know today back when you joined your current firm, would you still make the same choice?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

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