Politics

recession california associate pay raises.jpgWe like to think of ATL as a place where lawyers can get together and discuss the compelling news of the day.

Well, the news of the day is that Wall Street will apparently not be receiving $700 billion dollars to cover their bad investments. The House rejected the bailout plan. The Dow is down by over 400 points as of this writing. And I think I just saw Jimmy Stewart beating the crap out of Mr. Potter.

Really, anytime Robert Reich and Newt Gingrich are agreeing on television, times are strange.

If they’re not going to pass this bailout, then what do you think is going to happen?

This post serves as my official request to start receiving my paycheck in gold bullion.

Update (3:30 PM): The Dow is now down by over 700 points, just over 6 percent. The S&P 500 is now down by almost 100 points, just over 8 percent.

Bailout plan rejected [CNN]

Cantor Blames Pelosi, Boehner Blames Jews [Dealbreaker]

flipphone.jpg* The bailout is not on. Talks imploded at 10:30 p.m. last night. Congress is back at it today. [New York Times]

* Two-time ATL Lawyer of the Day Jack Thompson, the crazy controversial video game crusader, has been permanently disbarred. [Crave / CNET News]

* Words to live by: Don’t make sex videos. And don’t store said sex videos on your cell phone. [Courthouse News Service]

* A whistleblower suit against Medtronic for perks paid to doctors was filed by the company’s own lawyer. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

* The young Indiana Jones has a crushed hand, but no misdemeanor. No DUI charges for Shia LaBeouf after all. [People]

republican not gop.jpgI think we can all agree that this is not the best year to be running as a Republican. When your party’s leader is a lame duck — clocking in with a sub-thirty percent approval rating — it’s only prudent to keep your distance.

But did Washington gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi go too far in trying to escape the Republican brand? On ballots that have already gone to the printer for the November election, Rossi listed his party affiliation as “GOP Party.” As we’ve previously mentioned, Democrats sued Rossi to force him to use the more common “Republican” label on the November ballots.

Democrats didn’t sue because calling yourself a member of the “Grand Old Party Party” is redundant and annoying. They have actual polling data that shows:

[M]any people don’t know that GOP and Republican mean the same thing. One recent [Stuart] Elway poll indicated Rossi did better among voters if he used the “GOP” label instead of “Republican.”

“There’s no question we were shocked by the Elway poll,” state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said, adding that an internal poll by the party had a similar finding.

While the Democrats have an interesting political argument, their legal argument … does not exist:

A new state law allows candidates to identify their party on ballots as they please (up to 16 characters long), but Sam Reed, Washington’s secretary of state, said he had encouraged candidates “not to do silly things.”

Mr. Reed, a Republican and the defendant in the Democrats’ lawsuit, said G.O.P. — for Grand Old Party — had been used for years and was acceptable.

Game, set, match.

But how “off-message” are Democrats in Washington State? If you are an incumbent Democratic governor, and you think that the GOP is going to take you down in a year where even the Republicans are calling their brand no better than “dog food,” you have serious problems — problems that a naming convention isn’t going to fix.

Leave the courts out of your campaign. It’ll be better for everybody.

Democrats Sue Over ‘G.O.P.’ on the Ballot [New York Times]

Smith v. Reed (pdf) [Ballot Access]


republican not gop.jpg* President Bush wants lawmakers to hurry up and pass the $700 billion bailout plan. Sounds like taxpayers are going to be paying back those $600 economy stimulation rebates and then some. The Dems agree to drop the provision giving greater authority to bankruptcy judges. [New York Times]

* Democrats sue in Washington to force “G.O.P.” gubernatorial candidate to embrace his “Republican” identity. [New York Times]

* Guantanamo prosecutor quits, citing ethical concerns. [Washington Post]

* Kudos to these four law firms. Covington, Arnold & Porter, Katten, and Pillsbury make Working Mother magazine’s best employers list. [National Law Journal]

* Who would have thought a gas mask would be needed for a DUI arrest? [WSAZ]

* Gibson Dunn’s Ted Olson will appear before SCOTUS for the 50th time this fall. One secret to his success: St. Michael the Archangel. [Legal Times (subscription req.)]

* ATL’s former bling-bling lawyer of the day, Gabriel Schwartz, was robbed of property worth only $63,000, by his random-lady-friend-turned-thief. [Associated Press]

wachtell logo.jpgNot that anybody asked them, but Wachtell has decided to weigh in on the financial crisis. According to Am Law Daily, Wachtell wants short-selling to stop:

So say several memorandums penned during the past week by executive committee cochair and banking transactions rainmaker Edward Herlihy, 14-year SEC veteran and firm of counsel Theodore Levine, and associate Carmen Woo.

“In today’s markets, short sales continue to be at record levels, there are false rumors in the marketplace about the demise of financial firms, bear raids and abusive short selling are taking place, and there is significant disruption in the fair and orderly functioning of the securities markets,” said Herlihy and Levine in their first memo on September 16. “The markets are in crisis.”

Generally, we like our political power brokers to be elected or at least appointed by somebody who was elected. However, with everybody else in government waiting for Mr. Paulson to come and save America, maybe it is not a bad thing to have professional lawyers suggesting a strong course of action.

We don’t know if the SEC was listening. But we do know that Wachtell told them to ban short-selling on September 16th, and the SEC banned short-selling on September 19th. Post hoc ergo propter hoc …

Wachtell’s next gambit after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Wachtell Now A Branch Of Government?
Should They Be? “

Rebecca cohn loss.jpgRebecca Cohn was a California assemblywoman representing Buena Vista, Burbank, Cambrian Park, Campbell, Fruitdale, and parts of San Jose and Santa Clara. After losing to Jim Beall, she decided to matriculate at UC Davis School of Law (King Hall).

Cohn said that her lifelong dream was to attend law school. But she apparently couldn’t shake the political monkey: she decided to run for 1L representative. Our friends at The Shark pick up the story from there:

No doubt recognizing the tough road ahead of her, Cohn ran her 1L Representative campaign with some enthusiasm that stunned some students. Her ascension to high profile student caused a commotion on campus that involved: a war over her Wikipedia entry, the re-use of signs from her assembly campaign, and several salacious rumors that are too inflammatory and unverified to repeat.

If we receive any “salacious” rumors, we will happily repeat them.

The Shark at least hinted at the tenor of the rumors swirling around Cohn:

Most of these rumors seem to stem from the report that her San Jose magazine cover … prompted two assembly aides to sue her for creating a sexually charged workplace. Cohn, who is single, seems to be avoiding this situation at King Hall: the San Jose Mercury News reported that she has not been asked out on a date by a single King Hall student.

More on Cohn’s campaign craziness, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former Assemblywoman Loses Bid for Barbiedom”

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you might remember that there is a presidential election going on. Turnout is expected to be high and many voters will be participating for the first time.

However, if you are a federal clerk you had better keep your political opinions to yourself. Free speech does not exist for you. One of our readers pointed out:

I just accepted a position as a federal law clerk for the 2009-10 term. I also have an Obama sticker on my bumper and an Obama sign in my yard. According to Ethics for Federal Judicial Law Clerks (p.20), I would be violating Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees if I were currently clerking.

Pretty much. The scope of political activity is curtailed not just by the canons of judicial ethics, but also by the Hatch Act. As a clerk, you are discouraged from giving money, attending events, you’re not even allowed to wear a campaign button to work.

We’re all for judicial impartiality, but making clerks say “I don’t know nothin about birthin’ no babies” seems a bit undemocratic (small “d”) to us. Federal clerks participate in some of the most important decisions about how we live, and we expect them to be able to weigh both sides without passion or prejudice. But a bumper sticker removes the veil of ignorance and reduces clerks to partisan hacks? A legal fiction is one thing, this is a legal farce.

Luckily for new clerks like our reader, this is not a problem for 2009-2010 clerks. They can go nuts until they are “official” federal employees. But current clerks can attest to the exact moment where free speech falls to the illusion of impartiality.

Update: If you’re interested in learning more about clerkships, and if you’ll be in Washington on Saturday, October, 4, this free event may be of interest to you.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of clerkships

Gabriel_Schwartz_t220.jpgIt seems that things have been going pretty well for Gabriel Schwartz. A 2004 graduate of the University of Denver College of Law, the 29-year-old is already the founder of a law firm, Sandomire & Schwartz. He’s president of his own company (PDF). And he was selected to be a Colorado delegate to the Republican National Convention.

But, at the Convention, he went home with a random new lady-friend — and now he’s the fodder for this headline, “GOP delegate’s hotel tryst goes bad when he wakes up with $120,000 missing.” From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed.

And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered.

When he awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings… The haul included a $30,000 watch, a $20,000 ring, a necklace valued at $5,000, earrings priced at $4,000 and a Prada belt valued at $1,000, police said.

Apparently, Denver attorneys can do pretty well. More on this bling-blinging Lawyer of the Day, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Gabriel Schwartz”

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s been a tough week for Camp Obama. We’ve learned that it is not cool to compare Sarah Palin to a pig, but empowering to compare her to a pit bull. But this news should brighten their day, and prove everybody’s suspicions about liberal bias at the nation’s top law schools.
According to the Huffington Post, 635 law professors have contributed to the one of the presidential nominees, with a whopping 95 percent of those contributions going to Obama. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has the full breakdown here.
You can’t get 95 percent of law professors to agree on the definition of the word “law.”
Does Obama have a secret plan to raise the salaries of law profs or lower the cost of white poster-board seating charts? At 95 percent, you’d expect Obama to have promised something very specific that is important to academia, and since the only important thing in academia is how much b.s. class-time they have to put in while they struggle to publish enough to make tenure, I don’t know what Obama could have offered them.
Did Obama somehow meet all of them while he was a professor?
Maybe it’s not surprising for the Democratic nominee to garner broad support from law professors. But I’ve got to think that 95% of any subset of the legal profession thinking the same way is unprecedented and slightly frightening.
But I don’t know what it means.
Law Prof Presidential Campaign Contributions: 95% to Obama, 5% to McCain [TaxProf Blog]

ashwin madia nyu congress marine.jpgOnce you get into a top law school, staying on the Biglaw course requires determination, talent and a clear headed focus on your goals. Getting out of Biglaw requires all the same strengths, mixed with a little bit of crazy.
J. Ashwin Madia has been a law firm associate and a Marine, and now he’s running for Congress. But like so many of us his journey started in the relative safety of a top law school. The friends of his from NYU Law might know him better as Jigar. Madia starting using his middle names when he joined the Marines.
The few Marines I’ve met all talk about a desire to give back to the community and Madia is no different:

My parents came to this country with $19 between them, and they bought an $11 bottle of champagne and they started with $8 in this country. So this was a small way to give something back.

Where Madia is different is that his post-bar trip was disturbingly similar to boot camp, insofar as he had to go to boot camp.

The marines are kind of unique in that if you fly a plane or drive a tank or are a lawyer, you all go through the same training. It was funny, after I took the bar exam I had 8 months of crawling around in the mud and shooting a machine gun and learning martial arts and learning how to be a rifle platoon commander.

Madia helped the Iraqi government formulate their legal system, focusing on getting suspected terrorists competent defense lawyers, fair trials, and if guilty, speedy incarceration.
He has also had more traditional legal jobs. After his tour with the in the Marine corps, Madia went back to Minnesota (where he is from) to work at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in their IP department.

But, you know, sometimes I would look out of the window there and just think of other things I could be doing.

More about Ashwin Madia and his G.I. Joe advice to Biglaw associates after the break.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A Law Degree?
Join The Marines and Run For Congress “

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