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]
* 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]
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.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman (JD Harvard Law School) has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!