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Last week we asked you for funny Halloween-related stories, including descriptions of wacky costumes or festivities. We were disappointed by your responses.
So we had to turn to our neighbor to the north. These days, Canada is ascendant. Canadians are beating out Americans for jobs at top U.S. law firms. They have Supreme Court justices cool enough to take nude cruises.
And now they’re winning the Halloween costume arms race. Check out this photo:
halloween costumes tax court of canada.jpg
Who are these people? Why, they’re none other than the costumed clerks of the Tax Court of Canada. An explanation of their attire, from TaxProf Blog:

Back Row (from left to right): Captain Income Splitting, Canada Revenue Agency Collections Agent, the Proposed Tax Credit for Child Fitness, Scientific Research Deduction, and Farmer Gunn (of Gunn v. R., 2006 FCA 281).

Front Row (left to right): Valuation Day 1971, Tax on Royalties, and the Competent Authority for the Canada-Barbados Tax Treaty.

Canada: Even their tax lawyers are cooler than our tax lawyers.
Halloween and Taxes, Part II [TaxProf Blog]
Earlier: Prior Above the Law coverage of Canada (scroll down)

sorry we're closed sign above the law.gifSupreme Court clerks, aka “the Elect,” are gods and goddesses of the legal profession. But as our latest interview horror story shows, they aren’t perfect — at least not all the time. Sometimes SCOTUS clerks let their lofty status go to their heads, treating the Great Unwashed like “the little people.”*
Check out our latest law firm interview war story:

Setting: Very mid-size city in a flyover state.
Firm: Litigation boutique where two members of the “Elect” worked.

Interviewee shows up for his interview and is forced to wait. His interview is with a name partner of the firm, a member of the Elect.

After waiting fifteen minutes or so for the partner to show up, his secretary escorts the interviewee into the partner’s office, where he’s finishing a call. As the secretary brings the interviewee in to sit, she also hands the partner his mail.

After a minute or two, the partner ends the call. The interviewee has been sitting there quietly the whole time, completely unacknowledged by the partner.

The partner then picks up his mail and starts going through it, while the interviewee sits there. The partner still has not said a word to the interviewee.

After several more minutes of the silent treatment, the interviewee finally gets up and leaves. At the reception desk, the interviewee is asked where he is going. His response, as he walks out the door: “I have seen everything I need to see to know about whether I want to work here.”

* If Leona Helmsley had clerked on the Supreme Court, her famous phrase would have been: “Only the little people don’t get $200,000 signing bonuses.”
Earlier: Prior Interview Horror Stories (scroll down)

Happy Monday, everybody. We’re guessing you’re still recovering from the weekend; so are we. (We had a bit too much red wine last night, and we fear we’re coming down with a minor cold.)
Anyway, before we plunge into matters of “substance,” a quick administrative announcement. The polls in our October 2006 Couple of the Month contest will close tomorrow at 3 p.m. — on Election Day, fittingly enough.
(ATL’s mitzvah for the day: We remind you that, regardless of your party affiliation, you should vote tomorrow. We think democracy is swell.)
If you haven’t done so already, check out the Couple of the Month competition and cast your vote, by clicking here. As you’ll see, we have now secured photographs for all five couples — including this photo of Katherine Dowling and Marc Axelbaum. Fantastic!
katherine dowling marc axelbaum

saddam hussein.jpg* Not to be cynical (you know that’s not like me), but was there ever any doubt about this? Several links to coverage of Saddam’s fate at How Appealing. [How Appealing]
* So, word is there are some elections coming up tomorrow. And, um, they must be important, or something. Check this out. [CNN.com]
* The prosecution must have used up its peremptory strikes before it noticed the two Swedish-businessmen-car-thieves left in the pool. [CNN.com]
* Speaking of elections: Boy, I tell ya; everytime you back a rebellion to oust them, they just vote ‘em back in 16 years later. But hey, democracy lives, right? [AP via Yahoo! News]
* Yeah, yeah, yeah. What I wanna know is, are they gonna bust him for buying the meth? I mean, we’ve got a live on CNN confession. [AP via Online Athens]

aquagirl.jpg* Meet Aquagirl. She’s the Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who had too much to drink, then wound up in the drink.
* But even Aquagirl can land a good job — in fact, two (a Biglaw gig, and a clerkship) — after her fifteen minutes of infamy.
* In fact, legal employment is even available to people who make pathetic fools of themselves at their interview lunches.
* Interview Horror Stories: Is the supply inexhaustible? (Click here, scroll down.)
* More law firms get the urge to merge. The latest legal Brangelinas: Dewey/Orrick, Thelen Reid/Brown Raysman, and Pitney Hardin/Day Berry.
* The Ninth Circuit: Why can’t they all just get along?
* Speaking of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Kozinski is just as cool as ever. And he photographs well, too. The New Jersey Supreme Court, on the other hand, does not.
* When you aggregate the “Most Favorite Justice” and “Least Favorite Justice” scores, Justice Scalia comes out on top.
* So ATL readers think that Justice Scalia rules (except for those who blame him for judicial incivility). But does anyone want to take a nude cruise with him?

harold and kumar white castle.JPG* You KNOW you were thinking of “White Castle” as a substitute building name. [WSJ Law Blog; DealBreaker]
* Lawbeat is a new blog that “watches the journalists who watch the law.” Because, you know, not every legal news outlet can be as scrupulous as ATL. [Lawbeat via How Appealing]
* My “authentic self” is that of a party-whore with a Scarlett Johansson rack. But I am forced to “cover” the girls (figuratively and literally) in the workplace, and last night, Partner X made me stay at work until the wee hours — when he knew my sort should be out gallivanting in the Meatpacking District. Were my civil rights assaulted? [Black Feminism]
* Greatest Donatella Versace impersonator ever, Maya Rudolph, and director Paul Anderson are suing over bedbugs infesting their Soho loft. And who knew that Maya Rudolph’s baby daddy is the dude who once dated Fiona Apple? [Associated Press via NYLawyer.com]
* In preparation for Election Day, HBO just premiered “Hacking Democracy,” about the fallibility of voting machines. We didn’t catch this, but we’re hoping they will also investigate the effect of having incompetent senior citizens, however plucky, running many of the polling locations and voter registration stands. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Late last month, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the gays a big gift. In Lewis v. Harris, the court held that New Jersey must provide same-sex couples with “the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes.”*
Well, maybe the gays can return the favor — by giving makeovers to all seven justices, and by taking some high-quality photographs of the court.**
Because THIS has got to be one of the most craptacular judicial portraits ever:
new jersey supreme court supreme court of new jersey  above the law.JPG
In the words of our tipster:

Check out the brand new “portrait” of the NJ Supremes. First, it looks like it was taken with a camera phone. Second, is it just me, or does Chief Justice Zazzali look like he wants to strangle the photographer?

Yes, he does. And if our portrait ended up looking this awful, we’d want to strangle the photographer too.
If you think that we’ve distorted the photo in any way, click here, and view the original. It arguably looks even worse than our screencap — it’s bigger, which highlights the poor image quality. The picture is fuzzy and unfocused; the colors are washed-out; and the composition is terrible. In short, it’s a photographic disaster. Dreadful!
* Speaking of the ruling in Lewis v. Harris, the New Jersey and Seton Hall chapters of the Federalist Society are sponsoring what should be a very interesting panel discussion on the decision. It’s taking place at Seton Hall Law School this Monday, November 6, at 5:30 PM. If you might be interested in attending, details are available here (PDF).
** Some of the most celebrated contemporary photographers have been gays or lesbians. E.g., Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Annie Liebovitz (maybe — her relationship with Susan Sontag was ambiguous).
If the New Jersey Supreme Court can’t find a top gay or lesbian photographer to take their portrait, we recommend Ann Althouse. She takes beautiful photographs! See, e.g.., here and here.
(Granted, these are landscapes; we don’t know whether Professor Althouse excels at portraiture. But at least she can take pictures that are clear and crisp — unlike this court “portrait.”)
Official Portrait: Supreme Court of New Jersey [official website]
Earlier: BREAKING: New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Gay Unions

alex kozinski and justin at depaul
Two hotties for the price of one: Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, the #1 Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary; and our super-cute correspondent, Justin, a student at the DePaul University College of Law.
West Coast folk, don’t say we neglect you here at Above the Law. Earlier today, we wrote about some Ninth Circuit benchslappery. And now we bring you a delicious judicial sightation, of an Article III celebrity from sun-kissed California: Judge Alex Kozinski, the hottest federal judge in all the land.
Earlier this week, Judge Kozinski visited DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, where he was a guest lecturer in Professor Roberta Kwall’s Copyright/Trademark class. One of the students in that class, Justin (pictured above), provided us with a witty and insightful report about the proceedings.
Justin describes how Judge Kozinski conducted the class (brilliantly), mentions the jurist’s weakness for a certain carbonated beverage, and provides the backstory behind the photograph above. It’s a fun and interesting read, not to be missed.
Check out Justin’s full write-up, after the jump. You won’t be sorry!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Judge Kozinski in the Windy City”

aquagirl cleary gottlieb summer associate Above the Law aquagirl.JPGYesterday we told you the tale of Aquagirl — the Clearly Goatlips Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who stripped down to her underwear and dove into the Hudson River. At a summer associate event. At night. At Chelsea Piers. Seriously.
In the comments, some of you updated us on Aquagirl’s fate. Now we’re happy to bring you this very detailed report:

I worked with [Aquagirl] at Arnold & Porter this summer. On our first day as summers, we were taken to lunch at a nearby restaurant. We were seated at round tables, with at least one partner and one associate at every table. During the lunch, one of the partners asked each of the summers to tell her something funny that had happened to us while we were working at a previous job.

After a few people told their silly, harmless stories, [Aquagirl] was up. She announced to all of us that she was the girl at Cleary that everyone had talked about last summer. She said she hoped no one would hold it against her, and that she could have a fresh start.

Um, talk about uncomfortable situation? I mean, what do you say to that?

What do you say to that? How about “You go, girl!” In a single evening, Aquagirl transformed herself from some random summer associate into a mini-celebrity of the legal profession. And instead of trying to conceal her scandalousness, she OWNED it. Magnificent!!!
One of yesterday’s commenters stated that Arnold & Porter “didn’t realize her Hudson-jumping proclivities.” But our correspondent begs to differ:

[T]he people who interviewed her at Arnold & Porter DID know about what happened to [Aquagirl] at Cleary, and decided to hire her anyway. (Although summer gossip was that she wasn’t allowed to participate in alcohol-related afterhours activities; it may very well be that she did not attend events because she was at bar review class.)

I was told that all the summers at A&P got an offer to come back, but she hasn’t responded to our email chain about her plans for next year (she’s clerking now).

Anyway, we’re glad to hear that everything worked out for Aquagirl. Fitzgerald — F. Scott, not Patrick J. — famously observed that “there are no second acts in American lives.” But, based on Aquagirl’s post-scandal success — an offer from Arnold & Porter, a prestigious federal appellate court clerkship — it seems there ARE second acts in American law.
Earlier: The Cautionary Tale of Aquagirl

legal eagle wedding watch david lat above the law legal blog law blog david lat david lat atl.JPGYesterday we declared the final winning couple in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch for October 2006. So you know what that means: time for you to vote on which couple deserves to be crowned Above the Law’s October 2006 Couple of the Month.
If you need to refresh your memory about these different couples, our prior write-ups — with scores, links to their original NYT wedding announcements, and photos (in some cases) — appear after the jump.
But if you’re ready to cast your ballot, perhaps because you’re a friend of one these couples, here’s the poll:

Create Free Polls

To review the competitors once more, check out their profiles, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: October 2006 Couple of the Month”

alex kozinski stephen reinhardt above the law.JPGjay bybee judge bybee judge jay s bybee above the law.jpg
Judge Stephen Reinhardt (left), perhaps the most prominent liberal appeals court judge in the country, is buddies with his conservative colleague on the Ninth Circuit, Judge Alex Kozinski (right). But we suspect that Judge Reinhardt feels less warmly towards Judge Jay S. Bybee (far right).

You can always count on the Ninth Circuit for a good old-fashioned judicial smackfest. And this latest one is very, very good.
Stepping into the ring are two of the Ninth Circuit’s most high-profile judges. On the left: Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the court’s liberal lion, who has been trading benchslaps with conservatives for decades. On the right: Judge Jay Bybee, one of the court’s newer (and more conservative) members. Luckily for him, Judge Bybee was confirmed to his life-tenured post shortly before eruption of the controversy over the 2002 Bush administration “torture memo” (which he signed).
From an article by Justin Scheck of The Recorder:

In March of 2005, Reinhardt and Bybee found themselves on a three-judge panel — together with Senior Judge Procter Hug Jr. — that heard the case of Roger Smith. Smith claimed that his guilty plea in the murder of Emmet Konzelman was no good since his supposed accomplice Jacob Edmonds — who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and testified against Smith — later recanted his testimony.

In his majority opinion, Reinhardt wrote that even though Smith had not exhausted his state claims, a rarely used exception should allow his case to move forward in federal court.

Par for the Reinhardt course. How did Bybee respond?

“I disagree with nearly every word the majority has written, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ My profound disagreement is not limited to the facts, but runs throughout the majority opinion.”

Gee, Judge Bybee, tell us how you really feel!
And there’s more. Check out the rest, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bench-Slapped! Reinhardt v. Bybee”

woman with pearls above the law.gifThe Interview Horror Stories just keep on coming — and we love ‘em. So if you have one to share, please send it to us, by email.
Our latest tale concerns an interviewer who was, er, less than welcoming:

I had an interview [for a summer associate position] at a large, downtown DC law firm that specializes in financial services…. After my first tepid interview with the hiring partner, who talked a lot about “initiative” and “drive” and “adding value,” I was propelled into the office of one of the senior associates.

The associate let out a big sigh and rolled her eyes when I was introduced. Then, once the door was shut, she proceeded to give me the most hostile interview of my life, sneering at my journal membership and involvement in campus activities.

After shredding my résumé to bits, she gave me a halfhearted pitch for the firm, unenthusiastically listing benefits such as an in-house gym and “humane” billing hour requirements. As proof that the firm supposedly valued “work-life balance,” she mentioned that she was going on vacation the next day.

I didn’t particularly care about her vacation plans. But, trying to be polite, I said, “How nice. Where are you going?”

She reacted as though I had just asked for her Social Security number, credit score, and blood type. She shot me a suspicious glare, and backed her chair away a foot or so.

“Why do you need to know that?”

“I don’t know,” I said, confused. “I was just asking.”

“Well I’m just going with my husband somewhere, OK?”

“OK.”

The rest of the interview was spent in stilted, desultory talk about practice areas. After rotating through two more bland interviews (though thankfully not as bad as that one), I was out on the street, grateful to be free and horrified at what life must be like in that office.

It’s odd that our correspondent was interviewed by such an unpleasant person. The law firms tend to pick their most charming and attractive lawyers to handle recruiting interviews. They shield you from the crazies and the meanies until you arrive as a permanent associate — when there’s no turning back…
Thankfully, our story has a happy ending:

The next day I wrote the firm a letter asking them to remove me from consideration. I’ve since accepted an offer from a firm where the employees react normally to polite questions.

Earlier: Prior Interview Horror Stories (scroll down)

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