Although I’m no longer an editor here at Above the Law (*tear*), you know my byline occasionally still pops up to bring you news of lonely lawyers and goings-on in the world of privacy. This week, I asked Elie and Lat if they were interested in a lawsuit against a computer rental store accused of spying on its customers via webcam. (Most shocking aspect to me: People actually rent laptops?) Or the recent reminder from the Seventh Circuit that looking at porn at work — even if just for 67 seconds — can get you fired (at least he got the job done quickly).
Instead, Elie saw that I’d recently written about WikiLeaks founder (and dancer extraordinaire) Julian Assange — who’s still kicking it in England — calling Facebook “the most appalling spying machine ever invented.” Elie asked, how is that guy not in a jail in Sweden by now? And why have no major banks bitten the WikiLeaks bullet since we last heard from the white-haired wonder?
An update on the Julian Assange – WikiLeaks saga, after the jump…
From partner to pedophile. From Super Lawyer to Super Creep. It’s time for an update on the story of Aaron Biber, the high-profile Minneapolis lawyer who was going to be the next president of the Minnesota State Bar Association but is now going to be a prison inmate. For a very long time.
Aaron Biber first appeared on our radar screen in December 2009, when we named him a Lawyer of the Day. At the time, Biber — a partner at the prominent Minnesota firm of Gray Plant Mooty, and co-chair of its antitrust practice — was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.
The charges were true, and Biber pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct back in July. Last week, Biber was sentenced.
What kind of sentence did he get? And what additional disturbing details have emerged about his heinous crime?
Here at Above the Law, your editors always avoid the black cars / livery cabs that populate the city. Instead, we trust yellow medallion cabs. This preference dates all the way back to our days in Biglaw. Lat would often take yellow cabs, even if he was entitled to a Fone-A-Car thanks to pulling ridiculous hours at Wachtell. I took livery cabs all the time coming home after-hours from Debevoise, until one night, coming back from Brooklyn — on non-firm related business, unfortunately — I was robbed by a driver.
These cars just aren’t to be trusted. Take the case of one NYU law student from back in 2000. Returning home after a night out in lower Manhattan, she claims she was raped by a friend of the black-car driver taking her home.
Thankfully, yesterday the alleged assailant was arrested. DNA evidence he turned over after more recent criminal activity matched up with the rape kit the NYU Law victim filed a decade ago….
In Friday’s Non-Sequiturs, while linking to an interesting article about a man who served 27 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, I used an intentionally inflammatory blurb:
Would Michael Green, exonerated of rape charges by DNA evidence, be worth $2.2 million today if he hadn’t gone to prison? Just asking.
Judging from some of the comments, it seems that this blurb offended some of you. If so, I apologize.
(But I should also note that part of the blogger’s job is to troll provoke readers, intellectually and emotionally. Elie is tasked with baiting provoking the conservatives, and I’m in charge of provoking the liberals. If we don’t offend you every now and then, we’re not doing our jobs.)
In making my excessively irreverent quip, I was trying to get at a fairly serious question: How can we put a price on a man spending years behind bars for a crime he did not commit?
Stephan Addison (left) and Benjamin Butler (right)
We like to provide updates on lawyers we’ve covered in the past, just to close the loop and keep readers informed. For example, if a lawyer is accused of wrongdoing, we cover the allegations, and then the charges are dropped, we’d like to write about the clearing of that person’s name. (If you’re aware of such a situation, please email us.)
Sometimes attorneys are punished rather than exonerated, however. Today we bring you news about the Illinois bar’s disciplining of Stephan Addison and Benjamin Butler, both 2004 graduates of the University of Wisconsin Law School, whom we first wrote about back in 2007. The two were once associates at large law firms — Addison at Seyfarth Shaw, and Butler at Schiff Hardin. They left their firms after being accused of sexual assault, after a drunken three-way hook-up that went very, very wrong.
Every sports fan we know is bugging us to cover the prosecution of Karen Sypher, a former car-show model and auto-glass saleswoman, who is being tried for extorting University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, lying to the FBI, and retaliation against a witness. Since it concerns balls, it seems like a natural fit for resident ATL sports fan Elie Mystal, but there’s lots of sex in the trial testimony as well, so the case has been reassigned to me.
Well, not lots of sex. A little bit of sex. Like 15 seconds of it.
The trouble started with a sexual encounter between Pitino and Sypher back in 2003. Pitino, who is married with children, says the encounter was consensual. Sypher says it was rape. It gets really complicated from there. Lots of salacious stuff has come out of the trial: Pregnancy. Abortion. Extortion. Multiple lovers. Sypher giving her lawyer, Dana Kolter, a blow job to get representation. You know, pretty standard stuff…
An Israeli court has convicted an Arab man of rape on very interesting grounds. Haaretz reports:
Sabbar Kashur, 30, had consensual sex with a woman after he posed as a Jewish bachelor interested in a long-term relationship.
When the woman found Kashur was not a Jew but an Arab, she filed a police complaint that led to charges of rape and indecent assault.
Kashur was subsequently convicted of “rape by deception,” and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
We’ve got a lot of people studying for the bar exam right now. We need to know: Could a person be convicted of the crime of “making a material misrepresentation to a woman to get her into bed because that’s what guys do,” here in America?
The 76-year-old iconic director, Roman Polanski, is free to drug and sex 13-year-old girls across the European continent. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the Swiss government rejected a U.S. extradition request. The Associated Press reports:
The Swiss mostly blamed U.S. authorities for failing to provide confidential testimony about Polanski’s sentencing procedure in 1977-1978.
The Justice Ministry also said that national interests were taken into consideration in the decision.
Funny, I didn’t know the Swiss had a national interest in protecting convicted rapists…
A source at QE recently sent us an email with this dramatic subject heading: “A rapist among us.. Quinn Emanuel.” Here’s the allegation:
[Earlier this month] our Records Manager, [name redacted - hereinafter "Got-a-Record Manager"], was fired. He’s been employed at Quinn for over 2 years. Termination Reason: He was a convicted rapist. He’s been convicted since 1987. He was charged with sodomy and first degree rape. I shudder to think that we had a rapist among us and the firm who claims to do background check on employees did not even catch this. An employee did a simple Google search on him and came up with it…. How did the firm miss this?
The tipster provided links to Got-a-Record Manager’s (1) LinkedIn profile, showing his employment at Quinn Emanuel as a “Records Manager,” and (2) a sex offender profile on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, containing Got-a-Record Manager’s name and photo. If you enter Got-a-Record Manager’s (uncommon) name into Google, the first result in his sex offender registration and the third result is his LinkedIn profile.
How did this come up? According to our source, “People just like to Google others for fun, and this time someone got a surprise.” Indeed.
Was Got-a-Record’s criminal record “a surprise” to the powers-that-be at QE? We reached out to the firm for comment….
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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.