It’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.
Still 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. Somefolks 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.
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)
The 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)
Update: 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
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
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10019-6099
F: 212-xxx-xxxx Willkie bonuses announced [Infirmation/Greedy NY Board]
Yet 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]
Yesterday 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.
We tend to think that fact-checking is overrated. But sometimes it pays dividends.
This afternoon, a document purporting to be a Milbank Tweed bonus memo appeared on the oh-so-reliable message board of AutoAdmit.com, aka xoxohth. It sparked frenzied discussion at both AutoAdmit and Greedy Associates.
We checked with our sources at Milbank. The “bonus memo” is phony. But we give the prankster credit for decent execution. Update: Looking for the REAL Milbank Tweed bonus memo, issued on Friday, December 8? To view it, click here.
In case you’d like to see the fake “bonus memo,” in all of its fraudulent glory, we reprint it for you after the jump.
On Friday night, we saw Borat at our local movie theater. We found it hilarious for the first fifteen minutes, before it turned repetitive. That said, there were some impressive set pieces in the second half of the film, such as the hotel room wrestling match.
(We viewed Borat on the recommendation of one of the Elect, and we spotted another in the theater. Supreme Court clerks: They’re just like us!)
If you’d like to know more about how the film was made, including who was in on the joke and who wasn’t, check out this Guide to Borat, from Salon (via How Appealing). According to Salon, most of the people who interacted with Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie were NOT in on the joke.
Commenting on “Lexytime” — our prior post about Borat, concerning two fraternity brothers who are suing the film’s producers — Tortious Malfoy wrote:
If you had seen the movie you would know why they’re suing: they went on a racial rant about how they wish they could still own slaves, women were nothing, and alot of other hostile stuff. Don’t think they’ll be getting much love in the South anytime soon, especially considering the movie’s reach.
Actually, if Borat’s portrayal of the South is even halfway accurate, we think that the plaintiffs might be embraced by southerners (e.g., the people at the rodeo, the gun store owner, etc.).
Having seen Borat, we actually have the opposite reaction to what Tortious Malfoy predicted: We are LESS sympathetic to the fraternity brothers’ lawsuit against 20th Century Fox and One America Productions. The frat boys are recorded drinking, watching porn, and spewing racist and misogynistic statements. And now they’re upset because, among other things, they thought that the movie would only be screened in Europe? Please.
Furthermore, we agree with this commenter at the WSJ Law Blog. In vino veritas. If the frat boys come across as racist and misogynist, well, maybe there’s a reason for that.
We also note that the frat boys’ lawsuit is counterproductive, due to the Robert Steinbuch effect. By filing a lawsuit, the plaintiffs are only highlighting the actions and statements of theirs that they did not want exposed to public view.
The impoverished Romanian villagers who are now thinking about suing over Borat are far more sympathetic than the frat boys. Regardless of the legal merits of the contemplated action, Cohen and the production companies might as well throw some money in the villagers’ direction, especially in light of Borat’s financial success.
A bunch of poor, exploited Romanian villagers are sure to arouse some public sympathy. Especially this man:
Mr Tudorache, a deeply religious grandfather who lost his arm in an accident, was one of those who feels most humiliated. For one scene, a rubber sex toy in the shape of a fist was attached to the stump of his missing arm – but he had no idea what it was.
Borat was number one again at the box office this past weekend, taking in another $28.3 million. Surely Cohen and Fox can afford to do something nice for the villagers. Like buying Mr. Tudorache a fist dildo made of glass, not rubber.
* The plaintiff frat boys are represented by the very handsome Olivier Taillieu. Here’s an excerpt from his unintentionally amusing bio:
[Olivier clerked] for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, one of the most prestigious and sought-after clerkships in the country. Following his clerkships, he entered private practice as a litigator in the Intellectual Property and Technology Department in the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, one of the top 15 law firms in the country as ranked by revenue by The American Lawyer.
Yeah, we know, the law is what’s on the books — not what judges feel like it should be. So we don’t take issue with the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent sex offender registration decision as a legal matter.
But we do question the case’s outcome as a policy matter. From the Newark Star-Ledger (via How Appealing):
A Warren County teenager who, at age 12, was caught “playing doctor” with his 6-year-old half-brother must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
The 6-0 decision reversed an appeals court ruling that the teenager, now 19 and identified only as “T.T.,” was exempt from Megan’s Law because his offense was not sexually motivated.
So this poor kid, an aspiring proctologist, gets lumped in with all the hard-core sex offenders. Here’s what he did, back when he was a wee lad of 12 (he’s now 19):
[O]n Jan. 15, 2000, T.T. was visiting the Phillipsburg home where his half-brother lives when he used a douche bottle to give the younger boy an enema.
The boy said T.T. woke him early in the morning, “threw me on the couch and took off my pants” and inserted the douche bottle.
T.T. admitted doing that and said he had done the same thing to himself. According to court records, T.T. told psychologist Timothy Foley he was “curious.”
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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