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Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected]

Dear ATL,

I am just starting law school and I have a boyfriend from college who’s in a different state now going for a degree in architecture. I like him a lot, but now that I’m here I’m wondering if I should rid myself of the distraction (especially during 1L first semester) or whether I should just start with a clean slate and see what the guys are like here. You’ve been around law school guys, do you think they are worth my time or should I hang on to my current guy unless/until something better comes along?

– Sophie’s Choice

Dear Sophie’s Choice,

This reminds me of those people who roll up to college with framed pictures of their “serious” high school boyfriends / girlfriends (who invariably were still seniors in high school) and leave parties early to return to the dorm to fight on the phone with them at 2 a.m. The primary purpose of these relationships is to provide a security blanket just in case they don’t make any friends in college, and when they inevitably DO make friends in college, the college person breaks up with the high school bf/gf because they finally realize that dating someone from high school is embarrassing and lame and going to prom in the cafeteria via limo is simply out of the question. This applies to everyone except for my parents, who prudently stayed together through high school, college and graduate school, in order to bestow upon this planet myself and two inferior siblings…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Upgrade U”

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Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

Lawyers tend to define their careers by numbers (school rank, class rank, firm rank) – at least when the numbers are to their liking. Unfortunately for Larry Joe Davis, he does not have a good number (a 3.7 out of 10). He is angry about it and, like any good American, expressed his anger in the form of a lawsuit. Larry Joe’s rambling 21-page complaint, which he of course filed pro se, makes him the latest of several plaintiffs to take a shot at Avvo, the Zagat-esque rating website for the legal industry. I haven’t read the other complaints, but I’m still sure his is the worst of the group.

It reads like a Jack Kerouac novel, jumping around and running together, making it harder to follow than a screenplay-style blog post. The two main points seem to be that Avvo has a “routine business practice of publishing false and misleading information regarding attorneys” and that it coerces attorney participation via a “join-us-and-fix-it-or-else strategy” that “approaches actionable blackmail.” In other words, Larry Joe doesn’t like what’s on his profile and can’t figure out how to change it. His Internet ineptitude seems far-fetched at first, but given his statement in the complaint that web searching is a “new field,” maybe he really can’t figure it out.

So what “misleading information” is making Mr. Davis one of the mad ones?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Why is This Guy So Angry with Avvo?”

Ed. note: This post is by “Juggalo Law,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

You might remember that a month ago, Caroline Giuliani was busted for stealing $100 worth of cosmetics from a Sephora store on the Upper East Side. Well, yesterday the swift hammer of justice came down upon young Miss Giuliani’s perfectly made-up head. And I think it’s fair to say that any young woman seeking to figure out her daddy issues by thieving beauty supplies will think long and hard before she goes on a crime spree:

The daughter of prosecutor and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani will have a shoplifting charge dismissed and her case closed and sealed if she completes a day of community service at the city’s sanitation department and doesn’t get arrested again in the next six months.

You read that right. A day. Just enough time to think long and hard about what she has… day’s over! Smell ya later, Sanitation Department! Seems like that gross of “Free Caroline” T-shirts wasn’t the good investment I thought it would be.

So what drove Caroline, a Harvard student, to commit such a frivolous crime?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All Made Up and Nowhere to Go — Except for Community Service”

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the decision by Philip Markoff, aka the Craigslist Killer, to take his own life. Today we’re seeing another version of that kind of thinking — less high-profile, less fatal, but still pretty harrowing.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a Texas man slashed his own throat — in the courtroom — after receiving a 40-year sentence for assault:

Marcial Michael Anguiano pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for cutting his niece with a butcher knife. After state District Judge Larry Mitchell announced Anguiano’s sentence, Anguiano cut himself with a razor blade.

“As soon as the judge sentenced him, I saw him do something with his right arm,” said Anguiano’s defense attorney, Juan Sanchez. “I turned and he cut himself with something he had brought into the courtroom.”

After Markoff offed himself, Professor Douglas Berman wrote on his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, that from a utilitarian perspective we should be happy about Markoff’s suicide. But here Anguiano’s self-mutilation was a disaster, from a utilitarian point of view, for the state of Texas…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Man Takes Razor to Throat Instead of Sentence From Judge”

* The DOJ seeks justice for all, even community college job applicants who don’t have greencards. [Washington Post]

* The Seneca and Cayuga Indians won the right to sell New Yorkers cancer, tax-free of course, for at least two weeks. [New York Daily News]

* DOJ seeks stem cell stay. Now say that three times fast. [Wall Street Journal]

* Facebook is about sharing, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want to play by his own rules. [ABC News]

* These Horace Mann parents want to trade a monetary bequest for their son’s clean academic record, proving that money can buy you anything. Well, anything besides class. [New York Times]

* Not so neutral now, are you, Sweden? Julian Assange of WikiLeaks gets screwed by prosecutors, again. [Bloomberg]

You know the old joke: How many Harvard men does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one; he holds the bulb in place while the world revolves around him.

Many a Harvard man takes that approach to household maintenance, professional endeavors, and even dating. You’re not going to believe this, but some people who graduate from Harvard are real douchebags. Some of them think that just by dint of having gone to Harvard, people will love them, respect them, and shower them with jobs and money. They even make up special phrases for mentioning where they go/went to school, like “dropping the H-Bomb.”  Good God, get over yourselves. I’m sure glad my own blazing Harvard credentials, which I keep in special pouch around my neck, have never once prevented me from interacting with the little people in a way that makes them feel like we are all the same species. I’m magnanimous like that.

In all seriousness, there are of course enormous, self-important jackasses who graduate from Harvard, but there are also more than enough people who gladly buy into the Harvard mystique. Now there’s a dating site dedicated to bringing the Crimson and their sycophants together. As they say in Wicked, “they deserve each other.”

Let’s take a closer look….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Date Harvard Men Without Streetwalking Down Mass Ave.”

* Dahlia Lithwick wonders: Is Justice Ginsburg “The Mother of All Grizzlies”? [Slate]

* Five ways to write like David Boies and Ted Olson. [Legal Writing Pro (PDF)]

* Speaking of legal writing, do you share our love of corny Bluebook jokes? If so, read this. [Laws for Attorneys]

* And speaking of gays, and litigation, and people named Olson, Judge John Olson — a bankruptcy judge in Florida — just issued a saucy order, denying a recusal motion based on the fact that the judge’s fiancé (male) works for the firm representing the plaintiff. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Professor Stephen Bainbridge on summer associate programs: “When I was a kid, we didn’t get any stinking $150 cab rides.” [Professor Bainbridge]

* Vivia Chen doesn’t have much sympathy for the now openly gay Ken Mehlman. [The Careerist]

* Thanks to the kind folks at Abbey Spanier for making Above the Law their recommended blog of the week. [Twitter]

Meet Kate Carrara. Like a surprising number of other attorneys — e.g., Lev Ekster and Mia Bauer, of New York Law School, and Sam Whitfield, of GW Law — Carrara left the law to start a cupcake business.

Alas, it appears that Carrara, a 35-year-old graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, has run into some trouble with the law. From the Philadelphia Inquirer (via the ABA Journal):

The popular vending truck run by Kate Carrara, known as the “cupcake lady,” needed to be confiscated because she had been warned where not to park and continued to break the rules, a top city official said Wednesday….

Carrara’s truck was taken Tuesday afternoon by officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which said it was parked in University City without a vending permit for that area, said L&I Commissioner Fran Burns.

The truck was parked on Market Street at 33d Street. “She thought that spot was legal,” said Andy Carrara.

But as any law school graduate should know, ignorance of the law is no defense….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Lawyer of the Day: Cupcake Queen Is Not Above the Law”

Every good story needs a villain, which is why people love to hate traffic cameras.

Cold and unblinking, they stalk us like prey, hitting drivers hard in the wallet when they blow through red lights, make rolling stops or, as is sometimes the case, let someone else drive their car.

Frederick County, MD recently began mounting traffic cameras on school buses to ensure that drivers obey traffic laws meant to safeguard children as they cross the street. The cameras will be able to record a car’s front and rear license plate number, GPS position and speed as it passes, according to WTOP.

In February, six Maryland lawmakers proposed mounting traffic cameras on school buses statewide. However, the proposal has met opposition from civil libertarians, who are fighting to protect the rights of motorists to run down kids on their way home.

“There are some school buses which can extend their ‘stop’ sign without actually coming to a full stop themselves or turning on their yellow lights first, so a driver could be charged with ‘passing’ in the opposite lane when in fact the bus that was still moving or they simply had no warning,” wrote Ron Ely of, a group that opposes traffic cameras and sees them as manifestations of “unchecked government power” and “backdoor taxes,” according to their website.

“Statistically speaking, compared to other types of traffic accidents, the number of traffic fatalities involving children boarding school buses is very small,” Ely said, citing a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration which indicated children were at eight times greater risk riding with their parents than taking the bus.

We’d like to know if children being maimed is an acceptable risk, as long as they’re not being, you know, killed, as they rush home to play video games.

Read more and comment on AltTransport….

'And then I told him I'd file a motion to compel his a**....'

It’s important to think about — and not just think about, but save for — your retirement. This is especially true now that Social Security is looking less than alluring. (When I see that money taken out of my paycheck, I just kiss it goodbye, forever.)

When it comes to providing for associates and other employees, most large law firms take a fairly straightforward approach: they offer 401(k) accounts, but no matching employer contributions. One of the few Biglaw firms that provided a match, K&L Gates, stopped that policy back in 2007.

With respect to retirement provisions for partners, there’s more variation from firm to firm. Some shops provide for retired partners in very generous fashion. For example, retired partners at Wachtell Lipton can receive annual seven-figure payouts for many years after leaving the firm (although sources at my former firm tell me some of this money represents a return of capital to the retired partners, and as such will vary from partner to partner).

A million-dollar retirement benefit is no doubt very pleasing. But at other firms, aging partners are less content with their arrangements….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Retirement Benefits for Partners: How Does Your Firm Handle Them?”

The class of 2013 probably won’t return to Above the Law in full force until after Labor Day. But a couple of comments on last night’s LeBron James post alerted us to the fact that some of the new 1Ls are here with us now:

Maybe I’m missing something, but on what basis does the court in Washington, DC exercise jurisdiction over Gloria and LeBron? Shouldn’t their lawyers raise this issue before trying to dismiss the suit as meritless?

An ATL veteran provided the credited response:

Glad to see we have newly-minted 1Ls again. Now sit on my [manly man part] while I rub your international shoe.

Yep, it’s back-to-school time. Now that thousands of 1Ls have committed to going to law school, the question arises: What should these people do to get the most out of their legal education?

We’ve got theories, the legal blogosphere has theories, and we’re sure ATL commenters have theories. Let’s help these 1Ls get prepared for what they’ve gotten themselves into…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Welcome 1Ls: You Decided to go to Law School, Now What?”

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