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Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, is available on Amazon.

I’ll never forget a moment in a wildlife program about Antarctic penguins – I think it was a David Attenborough series.

There were two little penguin parents and a penguin chick.

Then, suddenly, there wasn’t. The chick fell into a crack in the ice.

The little guy squeaked for all he was worth, the parents circled, there was frantic waving of wings – and not a damn thing anyone could do.

Five minutes later – which seemed like several lifetimes – a member of the film crew tore away a chunk of snow and released the chick. Profound relief for all involved, penguin and human.

But there was a wrinkle. The show’s non-intervention policy had been violated. A voice-over explained that an exception had been made because the film crew may have created the crack in the ice.

Uh, yeah. I doubt David Attenborough was buying that story.

The truth? You try filming a baby penguin slowly perishing in front of its parents….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Call of the Wild”

* Rahmbo repeatedly invoked President Obama in legal briefs filed with the Illinois Supreme Court. Name dropping is something not stressed enough in legal writing classes. [Washington Post]

* State legislators are crafting various laws aimed at combating distracted pedestrians. There’s a state senator somewhere saying “This is our sputnik moment, guys!” [New York Times]

* A trial has been set over one Nebraska town’s ordinances that make it illegal to employ or rent to illegal immigrants. The idea of Fremont, Nebraska being choosy about who lives there is like Clint Howard saying he only dates models. [Bloomberg]

* A British lawyer has quit trying to shake down file-sharers. In a statement, the lawyer said, “Figgy pudding, Spotted Dick, aluminum.” But he said aluminum weird. [BBC News]

* Taco Bell defended itself against allegations that its taco beef is made with a proprietary blend of rat droppings and steak-umms. Elie doesn’t care. [Associated Press]

* Ohio will now use pentobarbital to off their inmates. Not that the state needed all that for the executions, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. [WSJ Law Blog]

Here come the judges.

President Barack Obama just finished delivering his State of the Union address for 2011. Alas, it wasn’t as exciting as last year, which featured a confrontation between the president and the Supreme Court. This time around, six justices attended — Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan — but they were on their best behavior. There was no POTUS v. SCOTUS showdown.

Your Above the Law editors covered the speech via Twitter. See @ATLblog, @DavidLat, and @ElieNYC.

Here’s an open thread for discussion of the address. We’ll get the party started with a few legally-oriented highlights, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The State of the Union: Open Thread”

Is wearing this necktie a firing offense?

I saw this story on Mike & Mike this morning, and it’s just been gathering steam all day. A Green Bay Packers fan showed up to his job on Monday at a Chicago area car dealership wearing a Packers tie. As many of you know, the Packers defeated their hated rivals, the Chicago Bears, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The man’s boss asked the Packers fan to remove the tie. He refused. The Packers fan was then fired.

When I first heard about this, my initial thought was “Good, serves him right.” I’m not a Bears fan. And I often wear my own sports paraphernalia into the ATL office. But if your boss tells you to take off your gear, you do it. It’s not a hard question for me. I’ll stand up to my CEO on any number of professional issues, but over some team bling? Are you kidding me? It’s called “picking your battles,” or “not being a idiot,” if you prefer.

Over the course of the day, however, more and more media types have been coming to the defense John Stone, the Packers fan who was fired. Some are even saying that this will lead to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

You know how I hate telling the MSM that their cute little puppies are going to die, but does rooting for the Packers make you a member of a protected class now?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Packers Fan Fired Over Team Necktie; Will Litigation Ensue?”

Chubbs Peterson

* Professor Rick Hasen thinks the Illinois Supreme Court is leaning towards letting Rahm Emanuel back into the race for Mayor of Chicago. Hopefully this means that Emanuel’s lawyer, Kevin Forde, will get his family back really soon. [Election Law Blog]

* Have you ever seen a notary in a bar, drunk, with her notary kit? It’s actually kind of hot. [What About Clients?]

* David Freedman, the unemployed Chicago-Kent law review editor recently featured in these pages (with his permission), describes his day on Above the Law. [The Law Movie Review]

* Noorain Khan, a former student of Amy Chua at YLS, interviews the Tiger Mother herself. Chua sounds a bit hurt — but a high-six-figures book advance has great healing power. [Jezebel]

* We’d like to dedicate this blurb to Chubbs Peterson. Alligators on golf courses are dangers to all of us. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Lawyers travel a lot. Here’s what you can do with all of those hotel toiletries (which Lat has confessed to hoarding). [Ross Fishman's Law Marketing Blog]

Law firm layoffs might be down, but they’re not out. Today we bring news of staff layoffs in the Los Angeles office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

We heard reports that approximately 12 out of 18 support staff members have been or will be laid off. According to these reports, eleven were laid off earlier this month, and one will be leaving in a few weeks.

In response to an inquiry from Above the Law, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed the essential accuracy of these reports. No associates were affected by the reduction, she noted.

“This was a difficult move; we had to let go of some very good people,” said Gerard F. Cruse, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, in a statement issued to ATL. “But, despite the fact we had another record year last year, the recession has impacted our L.A. office and we couldn’t continue to be overstaffed there. We are confident about its future and are planning the L.A. office’s expansion.”

Some additional information, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoff Watch: Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Los Angeles)”

Layoffs dropped sharply in 2010.

This evening, many of us — and six Supreme Court justices, according to an announcement this morning from the Court — will listen to the State of the Union address. Don’t be shocked if President Obama tells us that the state of the union is “strong.” When was the last time a president appeared before us to announce that the union is in shambles? (Even Jimmy Carter never did that.)

The truth lies somewhere in between strength and shambles. And that’s true not just of the United States, but of the world of large law firms.

Let’s talk about two indicators: layoffs, and bonuses — including a reader poll, on whether firms will match Sullivan & Cromwell’s yummy spring bonuses….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The State of Biglaw: With Layoffs Down Dramatically, Will Spring Bring Bonuses?”

Do we really need to make it easier for people to have weapons on school campuses? Really? We’re not worried about school shootings anymore? Is the Second Amendment really so broad that it requires us to allow students to weaponize their law school dorm rooms? Is there no “safe zone” in America where I can go and be reasonably assured of not being hit with an unintended, stray, accidental bullet fired from a hand cannon a man was legally allowed to possess just because George Washington needed some well-armed farmers to defeat the British?

According Idaho Law 2L Aaron Tribble, his right to have a firearm in his dorm room trumps his classmates’ rights to not have to live on campus with potentially crazy gunmen in legal possession of weapons. Tribble has filed suit against the University of Idaho over its policy that bans guns on campus.

He claims that the rule violates his Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to possess a gun in his on-campus home…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Idaho Law Student Wants Right to Carry Guns on Campus”

If everyone hates this lady, why is her book selling so incredibly well? Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been a blockbuster, ranking in Amazon’s top five last week. Parents have had no trouble laying down $25 and sacrificing five hours of late-night television to soak up Chua’s story.

— bestselling author Po Bronson, writing in New York magazine about Yale law professor Amy Chua and her new, highly controversial book.

When it comes to working on holidays, we all know that Biglaw attorneys are some of the worst offenders. In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, tell us if you were off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if it was just business as usual. Then check back later this week for the survey results.

Gone baby gone.

It’s been pretty slow here at the Above the Law circumcision law desk. So slow, in fact, that Lat has considered putting me on another assignment: “There’s just not enough news surrounding the intersection of foreskin and the legal community. While I appreciate your enthusiasm for the amusing dong beat…I don’t know if the financials can possibly justify keeping you on.”

Every time he starts in on this speech, I have to break out a photo of 16 vaguely ethnic kids that I claim to take care of. This happens at least twice a week.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find this fascinating tale that might shock and amaze you. It’s the story of a full-time lawyer and part-time exhibitionist named….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: The Foreskin Restorer”

By now you’ve probably watched or seen an ad for MTV Skins, a fictional show about, well… I’ll let MTV explain this gem:

Skins is a wild ride through the lives of a group of high school friends stumbling through the mine field of adolescence… and stepping on most of the mines as they go….

Be it sex, drugs, the breadth of friendships or the depth of heartbreaks, Skins is an emotional mosh-pit that slams through the insanity of teenage years.

Picture My So-Called Life with seedier plots, despicable characters  and more drugs, alcohol and indiscriminate sex than you can shake an H&M blazer at.

Doesn’t sound that bad, right?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Is MTV’s ‘Skins’ Child Porn?”

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