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I love it when crazy people self-identify.

I don’t know where Ray Wolfe goes to law school, and I don’t want to know. This guy seems unhinged and dangerous. You don’t have to take my word for it; you can look at the letters this guy sent to judges in Missouri.

According to court documents, Wolfe was a law student in Massachusetts, but was home in Missouri when he was cited for traffic violations. But there were scheduling conflicts between Wolfe and the Missouri court.

That’s when Wolfe unleashed his crazy. He sent a couple of menacing responses to Missouri judges. The letters were so outrageous that he was convicted on two counts of “tampering with a judicial officer.”

Those convictions were recently upheld in an opinion by the Missouri Court of Appeals — which means we can now all be entertained (and generally horrified) by the apparently unhinged Ray Wolfe….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Massachusetts Law Student Engages in Epic Judicial Intimidation”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

There are many advantages to working for a corporation instead of a law firm: You learn a business from the inside out; work regularly with business people, rather than other lawyers; are spared the daily insanity of quibbling with opposing counsel about whether the deposition will be taken in Houston or Denver; can often avoid blowing up the week between Christmas and New Year’s because some clown dropped a TRO on your client on December 24; and on and on.

But it’s much too easy to write about that. So I’ve explored the other side of the coin: I’ve asked several litigators who recently went in-house what they missed most about private practice. I generally heard two things in response:

First: Many litigators enjoy litigating. A common refrain is this: “I miss doing it!”

“I can’t believe I have to sit in the back of a courtroom and watch other guys give opening statements. And over lunch, I’m just kibitzing from the sidelines, hoping the trial lawyers listen to my suggestions.”

Or, “There’s a huge difference between flying to Chicago to argue in the Seventh Circuit and flying to Chicago to watch your outside counsel argue. One is a real event. For the other, you call an old friend to set up dinner the night before, watch the end of Monday Night Football in your hotel room, and then roll down to the courthouse in the morning. Your pulse rate never goes above 60.”

If you love the spotlight (as many litigators do), you may not like stepping out of it. You may miss doing it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Where Law Is Not King”

Last week we told you that The Conglomerate was crowdsourcing a set of law school rankings. It called upon participants to make head-to-head comparisons between different law schools, then crunched the numbers to produce overall rankings.

We covered the early returns, in which Stanford was leading, with Yale in second place. Then came the University of Michigan, followed by Harvard.

But those were just preliminary tallies. Now the final results are in, and you can check them out here. Professor Gordon Smith of The Conglomerate reports that 6,100 people cast over 300,000 votes.

At the top, there are not many differences from the U.S. News law school rankings….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Closing the Loop on the Crowdsourced Law School Rankings”

Padma Lakshmi

* Breast implants linked to cancer, looking awesome. [Associated Press]

* A Russian man is accused of posing as an immigration lawyer and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow countrymen. Police say they knew he was lying when he began doing bizarre, and ridiculously obvious, things with Oreos. [Sun-Sentinel]

* You know how I know President Obama’s latest nominee to the S.D.N.Y, J. Paul Oetken, is gay? Because this article says so. Bonus: Lat quotes! [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* “Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is treating her baby’s dad like a bottom feeder.” [New York Post]

* Allen “The Ponz” Stanford was found incompetent to stand trial. Aaaaaayyyyyy *thumbs* [Reuters]

* Before the rampage, Jared Lee Loughner performed internet searches on famous assassins, the death penalty, solitary confinement, and law firm bonuses. I think that’s right. [New York Times]

* A Wisconsin attorney was sentenced to four years in prison on his 40th birthday, which reminds me of one of my favorite Onion articles. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

* Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who wants to moonlight as an attorney, isn’t saying state salaries are too low. He’s just saying. [Bloomberg]

It seems like the number of applications to American law schools is finally going down. Maybe that number would go down even further if prospective American law students knew more about the magical land up north.

Yes, we’re talking about Canada. America’s homely cousin might not be as hot, but she’s got a great personality and is nice and funny. Having already figured out how to provide health care to all of its citizens, Canada seems to have also come up with a system of legal education that doesn’t hobble its young lawyers before they even start practice.

Canada’s key to success seems to be actually regulating its law schools and assuring a basic level of high quality across the board. There are only 20 law schools in Canada, which means that (gasp) not everybody who wants to go can go. Yet despite demand, Canadian law schools also cost less than their American counterparts.

It appears that much like their health care system, not every Canadian gets exactly what they want precisely when they want it. But their magical ability to behave like adults when faced with delayed gratification somehow makes things better for everybody. Chant “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” all the way to debtor’s prison if you like, but clearly the Canadians are doing something right — and maybe we could learn from them here in the States…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Canada Has A Better System for Prescription Meds and Law Schools?”

A jabot is great for catching drool.

* Yes, she was a cheerleader in high school — but this is probably the first time Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ever been called a “Hot Slut.” [Dlisted]

* Yale law professor Amy Chua went on The Colbert Report to promote her controversial new book — and seemed to charm Stephen Colbert with her Type A (for Asian?) ways. [Gawker TV]

* A satirical post imagining Obama declaring martial law over Chicago? How did this wind up on HuffPo? [Huffington Post]

Dennis Kucinich's $150,000 smile.

* Rep. Dennis Kucinich sues the House of Representatives cafeteria after suffering dental damage: “Said sandwich wrap was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption in that it was presented to contain pitted olives, yet unknown to plaintiff, contained an unpitted olive or olives which plaintiff did not reasonably expect.” [Salon / Alex Pareene]

* Frank Kimball, who’s busy with a new venture (see final link), also finds time to blog for Ms. JD. Check out his latest post, profiling ten fabulous females in law. [Ms. JD]

* What the heck is the “flawgosphere”? A Round Tuit has the answer. [Infamy or Praise]

Shout-out to Nathan Koppel at the WSJ Law Blog (or his editor), for coming up with the perfect title for this post: The Frozen One?

Jewish hockey player Jason Bailey is suing the Anaheim Ducks NHL team, alleging that he was subjected to a hostile working environment. Not the run-of-the-mill hostility that comes from playing a sport where people regularly lose their own teeth and then refuse to purchase replacement chompers on the theory that “chicks dig gap teeth and lisps.” No, Bailey claims that the hostility was directed at him because he is Jewish.

I know this comes straight out of “Racial Conspiracy Theories 101,” but I can’t be the only one to notice that this suit was brought against the Anaheim Ducks, a franchise that was once owned by Disney and called the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (because anytime you can buy a hockey team in order to promote a movie staring Emilo Estevez, that’s something you’ve just got to do). And Disney of course has long been suspected of harboring anti-Semitic views. And… you know what, I’ll kick back with a glass of manischewitz and discuss this with my Jewish brothers some other time.

Right now, Bailey is making some much more reasonable allegations against the organization….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Anaheim Ducks Charged With Discrimination Against Jewish Hockey Player”

When we last wrote about goings-on at Howrey, the once-strong law firm that’s now experiencing troubled times, we mentioned the possibility of partner losses in the Chicago office. The firm pushed back on this, denying knowledge of any imminent defections in the Windy City.

It now seems, however, that additional partner departures may be on the horizon — in Chicago, and elsewhere too. As reported in Crain’s Chicago Business (via WSJ Law Blog), the Chi-town powerhouse of Winston & Strawn recently discussed a possible merger with Howrey — but then decided against that approach, opting instead to pick off specific groups and partners from Howrey.

The Howrey situation is starting to look a lot like what happened to Heller Ehrman. A well-respected firm with a widely admired culture encounters business difficulties. Key partners and groups (especially IP) start leaving for greener pastures or more stable platforms. A potential white knight emerges — Mayer Brown in Heller’s case, and Winston & Strawn in Howrey’s — but then decides to order a la carte from the menu of partners, practices and offices, instead of going for the chef’s tasting menu.

A distressed employee of the firm sets up a blog to serve as a clearinghouse for updates. Heller had Heller Highwater, and Howrey had Howrey Doin’.

But now it looks like Howrey Doin’ is… done. If you surf over to http://howreydoin.wordpress.com/, the blog’s former address, you learn that “[t]he authors have deleted this blog.”

What the heck happened? We have a statement from the author of the blog, as well as a response from the firm.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey Going to Get Out of This Pickle?”

Jonathan Lee Riches and Jared Loughner

Over the past year, we haven’t covered a lot of the crazy lawsuits initiated by Jonathan Lee Riches. The man has sued everybody from Eliot Spitzer to Molly Ringwald. At some point, you get used to the drill. And there are always other crazy pro se litigants to write about.

But the embarrassment of riches in Riches’s latest complaint should remind everyone why he is still the king of pro se whackjobs. On January 24th, he filed for a temporary restraining order against Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter in the Tucson attacks. Riches claims that if the Bureau of Prisons should transfer Loughner to the Lexington, Kentucky facility that currently holds Riches, Loughner might use “his bare hands or a prison shank to kill me for being a moderate Democrat.”

And if you know anything about Riches, you know that quote isn’t anywhere near the craziest claim in his complaint…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pro Se Filing of the Day: Jonathan Lee Riches v. Jared Lee Loughner”

Wow, it’s starting to feel like 2008 (pre-Lehman) up in here! Earlier today, the Dow Jones broke the 12,000 mark. And now law firms — law firms that could treat their associates like dirt and still have have no problems with retention, according to some people — are once again competing with each other in terms of associate bonuses.

Multiple sources report that Simpson Thacher has matched the springtime bonuses announced last week by Sullivan & Cromwell. The STB bonuses will be paid on Friday, April 29, 2011.

What does this mean for associates at so-called “peer firms” of S&C and STB?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Simpson Thacher Matches S&C Spring Bonuses!”

[N]eedless to say, I have not read the nineteenth edition. I have dipped into it, much as one might dip one’s toes in a pail of freezing water. I am put in mind of Mr. Kurtz’s dying words in Heart of Darkness — ‘The horror! The horror!’ — and am tempted to end there.

— Judge Richard Posner, in a scathing Yale Law Journal review of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed.).

(For additional discussion and funny excerpts, see Paul Horwitz, Ilya Somin, and Eugene Volokh.)

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