Pranks

This was forwarded to us by a tipster:

Boalt.jpgApril 25, 2007

To: Boalt Community

From: Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.

It has been a week since the distressing events involving a Boalt student’s threat —a hoax — against the community at Hastings College of the Law. I am writing to let you know that all our actions following the incident have been taken with the intention of securing the safety and well-being of our community and that at Hastings, while respecting the procedural rights of the student.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, the Law School filed a complaint with the U.C. Berkeley Judicial Affairs Office against the law student who claimed responsibility for posting the threat on a website. We, the administrative leadership of Boalt, believe that the student’s action is clearly in violation of a number of regulations detailed in the Student Code of Conduct. The case will be adjudicated by Judicial Affairs according to campus regulations. Those regulations prohibit us from disclosing the name of the student against whom we are proceeding.

Based on the facts as we understand them today, we have recommended expulsion. This is based not only on the intrinsic wrongfulness of the act itself, but also the disruption, turmoil and emotional toll on the Hastings community and, to a more limited extent, the Boalt community as well. I have received ample evidence of this through a great many emails, some of them painful to read.

This incident has once again confirmed for me the strength and qualities of the Boalt community. Even in this challenging circumstance, you have engaged in thoughtful and productive discussions. We should all take some pride in this, imperfect though we are.

Christopher Edley, Jr.
Professor of Law and Dean

Does the punishment fit the crime here? Judging by some of the comments to this thread, some readers think expulsion would be an overreaction. Pre-Virginia Tech, what kind of behavior would get you expelled from law school?

* If you’re not spreading your music like herpes, then you’re just paying an extra 30 cents for the same product you’ve always been buying; as a side note, doesn’t Damon Alburn look dreamy these days? [New York Times]

* The SEC wants to be more like a friend than a parent, but watch out if you try to sneak out of the house after curfew on a school night. [FT.com via MSN]

* She may fight it until she regains her dignity writes another best seller, but chances are that I’ll get my groove back before she does. [New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer]

* Remember how Andrea from Beverly Hills, 90210 used her grandma’s address, and Vivian Abromowitz lived in the Slums of Beverly Hills to attend the prestigious public high school? Well, this is different. [Los Angeles Times]

* Would you drink this if you knew it was named after someone who choked on his own drug and alcohol-induced vomit? Yeah, probably, if you were out of Grey Goose. [TMZ]
* I bet it’s Jim and Pam. My best prank? The classic Frozen Underwear I set up in my brother’s room before he came home from college with his new girlfriend. [The Times-Tribune (Scranton)]
* For once, we’re talking about the witch with a “W.” [Newsday]
* WTF? First, I didn’t realize there was some life to that old Vagina Monologues yet, and second, I have learned more about vaginas this year alone (not by choice) than I did through “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” those Women’s Center round tables in college and my compact. [The Journal News (Westchester) via How Appealing]
* At this rate, if we fire even those teachers who don’t have sex with their students, public schools are going to be left with just those “Nice White Ladies.” [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]


Borat Above the Law Legal Blog Law Gossip Borat.JPGIt’s only a matter of time before BNA starts publishing a Borat Law Reporter. There have been a few developments in this area since we last checked in.
First, a victory for the defendants:

Two college fraternity buddies shown guzzling alcohol and making racist remarks in the “Borat” movie have lost their bid for a court order to cut the scene they claim has tarnished their reputations….

At the time the suit was filed, a judge denied the pair’s request for a temporary restraining order that would remove footage of them from the film, but the plaintiffs were given a another chance to seek an injunction at a hearing last week.

The South Carolina college students lost again when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Biderman ruled they had failed to show a reasonable probability of success on the merits of their case or that money damages alone would be insufficient to resolve their claims.

Second, another lawsuit, based on Borat footage that didn’t make the movie (but was shown on TV):

A South Carolina man has sued Ristorante Divino, claiming that it allowed a “Borat” film crew to film him while using the restaurant’s bathroom. The man also is suing Sasha Baron Cohen, the actor who played Borat, who he said made comments about his genitals. Comedy Central also is named in the lawsuit for showing the clip, which was not included in the movie.

This might be one of the more meritorious Borat lawsuits. The plaintiff is somewhat sympathetic, at least if the Althouse commenters are a representative bunch. And it’s not clear if he signed a release, as did the frat boys.
Borat has made a ton of money — over $225 million in worldwide grosses. Maybe 20th Century Fox should take some of that loot and use it to set up a Borat Litigation Trust?
L.A. judge sides with “Borat” against frat boys [Reuters]
S.C. man sues Columbia restaurant over ‘Borat’ movie [The State via Althouse]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Borat (scroll down)

stack of bills cash money.jpgStill no news. The message boards are quiet (aside from complaints about the “trolls,” and admonitions not to “feed” them).
At this point in time, we’re guessing that no major bonus news will break this week. But we’re happy to be proven wrong. As soon as you hear something, please email us.
Last night, a fake Willkie Farr bonus memo was making the rounds (just like the fake Milbank Tweed bonus memo). We posted the memo quickly, in the interest of timeliness, but papered it up and down with disclaimers: unconfirmed, not verified, do not rely, etc. An hour or two later, after conferring with our Willkie sources, we came back and declared it to be fake.
Some folks were annoyed that we posted the fake memo to begin with. So we’d like to explain how we operate around here, by quoting from two reader comments. Comment 1:

ATL posts them immediately because these things are time-sensitive. No one should rely on this info before it gets confirmed, but the easiest way to confirm it is to get it out to a wide audience quickly and let it be debunked. I for one don’t care whether it’s initially accurate or not, I just appreciate the effort to shed light on one of the many mysterious aspects of big firm life — compensation.

And comment 2:

The blogosphere way of doing things is to publish stuff ASAP, then to correct or modify as the story develops. The mainstream media way of doing things is to hold a story – sometimes for a long time – until it’s all confirmed. It is not surprising that ATL takes the blogosphere approach.

Also, when ATL originally posted the memo, there were boldface, all-caps disclaimers all over the post. You’d have to be a moron to rely upon anything posted with all those caveats.

So this is how we’re going to operate around here. We’ll put up purported “bonus memos” ASAP, but with disclaimers, while we work on confirming and fact-checking them. But please don’t treat such memos as authentic until we append a confirmation (or remove the disclaimers).
Striking a balance between speed and accuracy is a constant struggle, in both the blogosphere and the mainstream media. This is our explanation of how we strike the balance; we hope you find it helpful. Thanks for reading.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)

stack of bills cash money.jpgThe fake bonus announcement memos really aren’t that funny, people. Everybody gets all worked up for an hour or two, and then the ruse is exposed.
The purported Willkie Farr bonus memo, which surfaced earlier tonight, is not authentic. From one of our sources at Willkie:

This is clearly a fake. FYI, Willkie never sends out bonus memos this early in December, and in any event, it wouldn’t come from Matt Feldman, who is a bankruptcy partner. It would come from someone like Jack Nusbaum (chairman) or Thomas Cerabino (a high-ranking partner on the Executive Committee).

This was confirmed by a second Willkie source, who reported receiving no such memo.
We have sources at pretty much all the top firms. It doesn’t take us very long to contact them for confirmation (or denial). We also have no qualms about contacting the supposed senders of these memos, whether they’re HR people or Biglaw partners, for verification and comment.
So please stop wasting your time — and ours. Thank you.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie’s Bonus Memo???
Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)

stack of bills cash money.jpgUpdate: As explained here, the supposed Willkie Farr “bonus memo” reprinted below is a fake.
From: “Matthew A. Feldman”
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 6:29 PM
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Associate Bonuses
We are pleased to announce that the firm will once again award year-end bonuses for associates.
Class of 2006 – $40,000
Class of 2005 – $45,000
Class of 2004 – $55,000
Class of 2003 – $60,000
Class of 2002 – $70,000
Class of 2001 – $80,000
Class of 2000 – $95,000
Class of 1999 – $110,000
Class of 1998 – $120,000
The Compensation Committee thanks everyone for their hard work in making 2006 a successful year.
Matthew A. Feldman
xxxxxxxx@willkie.com
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10019-6099
T: 212-xxx-xxxx
F: 212-xxx-xxxx
Willkie bonuses announced [Infirmation/Greedy NY Board]

letter writing Above the Law Blawg.JPGBack in this post, an ATL reader confessed to playing a little trick on Ann Israel, the legal recruiter who writes NYLawyer.com’s popular Advice for the Lawlorn column. He wrote:

Love ATL’s Advice for the Lawlame column. My friends and I have been reading NYLawyer.com’s Advice for the Lawlorn with a sort of amused contempt for a year.

After a while, we grew tired of the formulaic cluelessness of the posts and the answers, so we challeged each other to get our fake submissions answered. I won, with this entry….

Well, it appears that Ann Israel got wind of this prank. And she’s none too pleased about it.
Her fit of pique, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Advice for the Lawlame: Hell Hath No Fury Like An Advice Columnist Mocked”

police officer Above the Law.jpgYet another sign that reality television has gone too, too far:

City leaders have apologized after a program on Tempe’s cable channel showed a white police officer telling two black men they could get out of a littering ticket by performing a rap….

[After pulling the car over,] the officer then tells the men that they can avoid getting a littering ticket “if the two of you just do a little rap about — what do you want to do a rap about? Littering? About the dangers of littering.”

The two men agree, and each performs a short rap, laughing afterward. One says, “The dangers of littering, you will get a ticket. If you ain’t wit’ it, you better be experienced.”

The second man raps, “Yo, I just got pulled over ’cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over.”

They got out of the ticket. But query whether they should have been fined for their mediocre rapping.
The cop also pulled over an Asian woman for making an illegal turn. He told her she could get out of a ticket by being a bad driver.
Arizona cop had black men rap away ticket [Associated Press via Drudge Report]

stack of bills cash money.jpgYesterday we requested tips from you about associate bonuses: leaked bonus memos, juicy rumors, etc. Please send this information to us by email, to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”).
Please send us tips that you believe in good faith to be true. Because if you send us stuff that’s fake, we’ll find that out when we do our fact-checking.
Take the supposed “bonus memo” of Milbank Tweed. It was purportedly sent out by Christine Wagner, Milbank’s director of legal personnel.
We contacted Ms. Wagner by email. Here’s her response:

From: Wagner, Christine
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:27 PM
To: David Lat
Subject: RE: Milbank “bonus memo”

It is not authentic. No such memo has been issued.

Don’t f*** with us, fellas. This ain’t our first time at the rodeo.
Update: Looking for the REAL Milbank Tweed bonus memo, issued on Friday, December 8? To view it, click here.
Memorable Quotes from Mommie Dearest [IMDb]
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: The Milbank Memo Is Fake
Welcome to ATL Associate Bonus Watch

Page 4 of 512345