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David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace died six years ago today, on September 12, 2008. The author of novels such as Infinite Jest, The Pale King, and essay collections such as A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again hanged himself in the garage of his California home. DFW was 46.
David Foster Wallace was a lawyer’s writer, if ever one could use that label without intending insult. DFW was not a lawyer, though he famously became friends and collaborators with legal writing expert Bryan Garner. Garner’s co-author Justice Antonin Scalia is also said to be a fan. Countless attorneys who haven’t cracked a novel in years will brighten at the mention of DFW. Analytical, language-obsessed, and neurotic, he may have captured the modus operandi of many lawyers as well as any novelist or essayist could.

David Foster Wallace, especially for a fiction writer, was logical, analytical. He never quite left behind the mindset of the analytic philosophy student he once was. Wallace’s senior thesis in modal logic was published posthumously. His senior thesis in English became his first published novel, The Broom of the System. He wrote lit for STEM geeks and logic nerds . . . including the many STEM geeks and logic nerds who later ended up in law. (Myself included.)

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* Mexican drug cartels are moving beyond shipping cocaine and are starting to grow the stuff too. As long as they stop hijacking lime shipments and driving up margarita prices. [Vocativ]

* The prosecutor who admitted Ray Rice into a pre-trial intervention program (and there are pros and cons to that decision) specifically denied the same option to a working single mother of two who didn’t realize her out of state gun permit wasn’t accepted. She was offered a 3+ year prison deal. Because, you know… prosecutors. [Huffington Post]

* If you’re planning on getting arrested in New Orleans — and who isn’t? — don’t get arrested at night. [The Times-Picayune]

* A federal judge is accused of sexual misconduct with a clerk. I had to check twice to make sure this wasn’t just a plot point in David’s upcoming book (affiliate link). [Waco Tribune-Herald]

* Defense lawyer allegedly drives drunk… to the courthouse. [Indianapolis Star]

* The complex legal tapestry of sandwiches. [The Atlantic]

* “Mathew Martoma’s Parents Raise Some Good, Less Good Points.” [Dealbreaker]

* If you were interested in the mélange of issues surrounding privilege, whistleblowing, and litigation finance, here’s a primer. [LFC360]

* Jimmy Kimmel asked some New York Fashion Week attendees about Justice Scalia. Hilarity ensues. Video embedded below… [YouTube]

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Kate McGuinness writes about the different “selves” all lawyers can find within throughout their careers.

I have several different selves rattling around inside. No, I’m not suggesting multiple personality disorder. I’m alluding to the varied interests and aptitudes that have led to different careers over time.

My nurturing, playful self became an elementary school teacher. She was followed by the brainy, kick-ass self who became a lawyer. Then the creative, reclusive self came forward to write my legal thriller Terminal Ambition (affiliate link). Now the compassionate, wise self is stepping up as a coach to guide clients through growth and change.

Just as Harry Potter discovered that he had a “good self” and a “bad self,” each of us has many selves.

A lawyer may be hiding a self who longs for deeper connection with others and a helping role as a therapist as well as another self who longs to be an academic and another self who longs to be a chef.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Judge Emily Dean

Here at Above the Law, we write about judges who bring shame to the judiciary all the time, but the subject of today’s foray into judicial misconduct is a wicked pisser — literally. We know things must get boring out in flyover country, Iowa specifically, but this is just crazy (and sad, but mostly crazy).

Let’s meet a judge who once got so wasted as she attempted to report to work at the courthouse that she later spent three days in an intensive care unit for severe alcohol intoxication…

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Ed. note: Stat of the Week is a new feature that pulls data points from ATL Research as well as noteworthy sources across the web.

Classical game theory dictates that Rock Paper Scissors players should completely randomize their choices, selecting rock, paper, or scissors equally and unpredictably. However, a recent Chinese study found that most people play in a nonrandom and predictable fashion. Furthermore, attorneys apparently are particularly easy to beat at this classic method of alternative dispute resolution. Why?

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A 60-year-old Navy veteran needed money fast. So he did what far too many people do in that situation and applied for a short-term “payday-type” loan. When all was said and done, he was charged well over 100 percent interest. Seriously. One major player in the industry offered a $2,600, 47-month loan, and sought a total repayment of $20,280.03! That’s a 204.94 percent annual percentage rate!

Most of us realize that short-term lenders make their nut on exorbitantly high interest rates, but states have systematically cracked down on these companies and capped the interest they’re allowed to charge. State regulators have had a good deal of success in recent years securing hefty settlements for citizens victimized under state usury laws.

But our Navy veteran friend wasn’t so lucky. He got his loans from the wrong companies, and the state Department of Banking had to tell him that they were powerless to assist him.

It’s hard to believe a company can so blatantly thumb its nose at the rules, but they have a secret and some Biglaw bigshots on retainer to fight tooth-and-nail to protect their lending practices….

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Keith Lee

Starting out one’s career as a lawyer is hard. You’re inexperienced, with only a passing knowledge of the law, thrust into being responsible for other people’s problems. Too often you might not feel confident in handling your own. People are going  to criticize you for any mistake you might make and take you to task for not handling a matter exactly as they would have wished. When beset with criticism and difficult situations, it can be easy to turn inwards and reel in feelings of doubt and a lack of self-confidence.

It can be difficult to preserve….

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Iggy Azalea

Last week, thanks to the wonders of the internet, many nude pictures of female celebrities were leaked, and lonely young men around the world rejoiced. This week, a sex tape allegedly starring Australian rapper Iggy Azalea is being shopped around for a seven-figure price tag.

Azalea has already refuted the sex tape’s existence on Twitter, but at the same time as she was making her denials, her legal team was undermining her efforts to save face.

Azalea may contend to be the realest, but her lawyers acknowledge the possibility that she may, indeed, have a sex tape…

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor

[A friend] called me and said, “Sonia, come to Princeton. You have to go to an Ivy League school.”

And I said, “What’s an Ivy League school?”

I was a good student. But I wouldn’t even have known to apply, because I came from a world where that wasn’t part of the expectations. And that’s true of a lot of kids in a lot of neighborhoods.

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in comments made about her decision to apply to Princeton University and later Yale Law School, during an appearance earlier this week at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Sotomayor went on to say that she wouldn’t be where she is now if it weren’t for affirmative action.

Bert and Ernie. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Some things just go together; these natural partnerships add up to more than the sum of their parts. So when I came across a press release announcing a partnership between an ediscovery vendor and a law school, it made perfect…

Wait.

What?

There is going to be a doc review shop at a law school. And apparently the law school is okay with that, even excited.

What exactly is going on here?

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The notion that certain rights are guaranteed to citizens is being proven false every day. For instance, you have the First Amendment right to film police officers and other public officials, but it often takes an official policy change (usually prompted by lawsuits) before these public servants will begrudgingly respect that right.

You also have certain rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, but even these aren’t innate. You can’t simply remain silent while detained or arrested. You have to invoke these rights (often repeatedly) or risk having your silence (things you didn’t say) used against you.

In the case of photographing police officers, you’ll notice that activists and others who are recording will invoke their rights repeatedly….

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