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Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffreyA few weeks ago, Pennsylvania learned that its justice system spends all its time trading porn over the Internet when it isn’t taking kickbacks for wrongfully jailing children. This all came to light as part of the ongoing investigation into Why-Did-None-of-You-Do-Anything-About-Jerry-Sanduskygate because of course it did. You can’t be expected to do anything about an inveterate child molester when you’ve got one hand… well, doing other things.

The investigation found its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where Justice Seamus McCaffrey received around 60 of these emails and forwarded at least 8 to someone at the AG’s office.

As of yesterday, Justice McCaffrey is temporarily out of a job courtesy of a salacious Per Curiam Order denouncing the alleged traffic in “highly demeaning portrayals of members of various segments of the population, including women, elderly persons, and uniformed school girls.”

Perfect. And it turns out trading porn is the least of the allegations against Justice McCaffrey….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Court Kicks Supreme Court Justice To Curb In ‘Porngate’ Decision”

Beyond BiglawThere are a lot of ways to measure success as an attorney. Many of the ways lawyers measure their own successes are backwards-looking. Whether focusing on past educational accomplishments or big deals or cases they have participated in, lawyers love to focus on what they have done.

There is nothing wrong with that, unless it prevents someone from focusing on what truly is important: the present. And for practicing lawyers, and those who intend to keep on practicing, there is only one question relating to the present that matters: “Who thinks of me as their lawyer?”

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Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

* When asked what his favorite SCOTUS decision was during his POTUS tenure, Obama said it was the high court’s cert denials on the gay marriage cases. Well played, sir. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Leverage has started to shift away from law firms.” Despite the fact that their headcounts are rising, Biglaw firms are downsizing office space as rents keep climbing higher. [Am Law Daily]

* Schools are trying to slap lipstick on the pig that legal education has become amid an “anemic job market.” We bet your law school has some shiny new innovations too. [News Observer]

* Citing the fact that “the courts do not exist to win popularity contests,” a judge sentenced Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison. Serious question: Will he be allowed to bring his prosthetic legs? [New York Times]

* Nancy Grace and her friends have pitchforks at the ready because Jodi Arias’s penalty phase retrial begins today, and another jury will decide if she deserves to die for murdering her boyfriend. [Reuters]

DLA Piper won't 'like' this lawsuit.

DLA Piper won’t ‘like’ this lawsuit.

Biglaw firms love having Facebook as a client. The firms and lawyers that represent Facebook often brag about it on their websites and in conversation. The former scrappy startup is now an S&P 500 component with a market capitalization of $200 billion. It’s great to have Facebook as a client.

It’s less great to have Facebook as your courtroom adversary. But that’s exactly the position that DLA Piper finds itself in. Earlier today, the social-media giant filed a lawsuit against the Biglaw behemoth, as well as several other lawyers and law firms.

Why does Facebook want DLA to pay the piper?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit Of The Day: Facebook Sues DLA Piper”

220px-Eric_Holder_official_portrait* Eric Holder gave millions to Nazis! Or at least that’s how Darrell Issa will put it. But seriously, the Department of Justice has a long-standing policy of allowing Nazi war criminals to collect Social Security payments if they agree to get the hell out of the U.S. [Associated Press via New Europe]

* A Cleveland attorney, Peter Pattakos, is not worried about contracting Ebola, even though he was in a room with a current Ebola patient, because Pattakos is neither a crazy person nor a cable news producer and realizes that he never exchanged bodily fluids with the patient. As he points out, “I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop.” [Cleveland.com]

* Chanel is suing What About Yves for trademark infringement. The question Professor Colman asks is whether “we really want a trademark ‘protection’ regime in which mark ‘owners’ can prevent creative, non-confusing uses of ‘their property.'” [Law of Fashion]

* One for the career alternatives file: Miami lawyer who ranks local restaurants opens his own restaurant. At ATL we rank law schools, maybe we should open our own law school. [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* Academic publishers fighting the war on common sense by charging an arm and a leg for access to research that is written and peer reviewed by other people for free scored a victory on Friday when the Eleventh Circuit rejected the lower court’s articulation of educational fair use in the digital age. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Balancing parenthood and the “jealous mistress” that is the practice of law. [Jed Cain]

* An amazing symposium on campaign finance reform from the NYU Law Review and the Brennan Center for Justice. It’s a wealth of content. [NYU Law Review]

* Josh Gilliland from The Legal Geeks gave a presentation on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Law at the San Diego Comic Fest, which sounds much more fun than any “and the Law” class I ever took. He’s provided his slideshow presentation…

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Lisa Blatt and Tom Goldstein

On Monday, October 27, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hosting an awesome Above the Law event in Washington, D.C.: a look at the current Term of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Our managing editor, David Lat, will moderate a discussion featuring two of the nation’s foremost Supreme Court advocates: Lisa Blatt, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter, and Tom Goldstein, partner at Goldstein & Russell and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Blatt and Goldstein have collectively argued more than 60 times before the Court.

There are many SCOTUS previews taking place around town over the next few weeks, but we promise you that the ATL event will be especially fun and lively. We will offer food, drink, and excellent company.

This event is free of charge. If you’d like to attend, please request an invite below. Thanks!

goodbye farewell Ill miss you“Beware the serial lateral partner.” That’s conventional wisdom in some circles of the legal profession. Here’s a pattern you often see: someone who gets poached by one firm, presumably lured by a big pay package, then laterals to another firm after the period of guaranteed compensation runs out, to enjoy another few years of guaranteed comp.

Today’s lateral partner story is a bit different. This high-profile partner is leaving his new firm after less than a year there (surely to the great disappointment of any recruiter who might have been involved in his original move).

It’s a strange story. What could be going on here?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: A Recent Lateral Partner’s Mysterious Departure”

atl-power100-2015-officesConventional wisdom says you can’t compare apples to oranges. That’s stupid. Of course you can. Oranges are better. An orange is a delicious treat, while an apple is a healthy “snack” for people too embarrassed to have another bag of Doritos. Orange juice is also clearly superior to apple juice. The only people who truly prefer apples are those without the patience or dexterity to peel an orange.

Lots of people rank law firms. We even did it. And you can dice up law firm rankings in so many ways: most prestigious firm, safest firm, elite-est-ist firms, best firms in inter-coastal lowland regions.

That’s all great, but if you are going to work in a Biglaw firm, you are going to be working in a specific office. And not all offices are created equal, even within the same firm. There are firms that aren’t thought of very highly overall, but a specific office of their operation might be doing great work and be the place for your kind of thing.

And let’s drop the artifice that every graduating law student has a burning desire to work in New York or L.A. or Dallas. Some do. Some just want to work at the “best” firm they can, and they don’t really care which stop they have to take on the Acela. You think anybody wants to live in New Haven for three years? Come on. They go to Yale because it’s the best. And they’ll go to San Francisco or Chicago if there’s a better offer on the table out there than in New York City.

As usual, Above the Law wants to help you. So let’s look at some of the more interesting office disparities, and then look at our full list…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Power 100 By Office: You Work In An Office, Which One Is The Best?”

Notorious-R-B-GI have quite a large supply.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, discussing the number of Notorious RBG t-shirts she has, during an appearance with Dorit Beinisch, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, at the 92nd Street Y, where the jurists were interviewed by Nina Totenberg.

(Keep reading to watch the entertaining interview, where Totenberg openly admits to the audience that both she and President Beinisch are “chopped liver” compared to Justice Ginsburg.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ruth Bader Ginsburg Owns Notorious RBG T-Shirts, But Does She Wear Them?”

dartboard pen on target inside straightFirst, an example; then, a rant.

Here’s the example: I attended a mediation. The mediator gave each side 20 minutes to make an opening presentation. After one advocate had spoken for 80 — you read that right: 80 — minutes, the mediator suggested that it was time for him to wrap up.

The guy flipped through his notes, said that he still had a lot of material to cover, and then offered: “To speed things up, I’ll just bullet-point my arguments.”

Before the “continue reading” icon, I’ll note the lessons to be learned from this tale that are not the subject of today’s rant. First: If you’re given 20 minutes to speak, speak for 20 minutes. Got that?

Second: If you’re given 20 minutes to speak, you drone on for 80 minutes, and the mediator then suggests that it’s time for you to wrap up, you may speak for about two more sentences. Then, it’s time to sit down. Got that?

Third, and the most valuable lesson — instructive, yet infused with a certain dry wit — . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Abbrev’s For Idio’s (Or, 3 Tips For Effective Communication)”

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