Romance and Dating

Glenda McDaniel and Mark McDaniel, parents of Stephen McDaniel, arriving at court this morning.

Bad news keeps on coming for Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing Lauren Giddings, his former neighbor and classmate. This morning a judge found probable cause in the murder case against McDaniel, which will now be bound over to Bibb County Superior Court. The judge also denied bail to Stephen McDaniel, who has been in Bibb County jail since July 1 (on unrelated burglary charges; he also faces kiddie porn charges).

We were fortunate enough to have a reader at this morning’s hearing. Let’s hear what this roving reporter has to say….

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Chi-Town Courtship Connection

There are many kinds of journalism: investigative, advocacy, tabloid, service… Okay, there are four kinds of journalism we can currently think of. Above the Law’s Courtship Connection is in the service journalism camp. It’s our attempt to help over-worked, under-socialized, but ultimately lovable legal types, both lawyers and law students, to find romance. Or, failing that, inform them through a candid appraisal of a blind first date how they’re going about it all wrong.

So far, we’ve set up a Big Apple bushel’s worth of legal types in the city that never sleeps, and we’ve brought about quite a few political alliances in the nation’s capital. The third season of this series is debuting in Chicago, per readers’ choice.

If the Windy City has left you cold and lonely, and you’re willing and able to put your love life in ATL’s hands, I’ll do my best to set you up with a fellow legal eagle who doesn’t seem like a completely awful human being. If you’ve read past columns, you should know that I’m setting that bar low for a reason.

The survey, plus advice on how to prepare for a blind first date, after the jump…

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THINGS I KNOW: Your name is Katherine
(or Catherine). You are a lawyer. You live in my building,
on either the 9th or 11th floor. We have talked only once,
but have been in the elevator
together 2 times

THINGS I DO NOT KNOW: How I
can get to know you
better

— from a Craigslist Missed Connections poem.

As I approach the completion of my third full year at Above the Law, you’d think I wouldn’t feel the need to write a memo every time I take a week off so people don’t start partying like I’ve been fired. Yet… well, let’s just say that Dan Savage came to me in a dream and said, “It gets better — except for you, Elie.”

I jest. As regular readers know, this is the time I take off to celebrate my wedding anniversary. I leave you in the always capable hands of managing editor David Lat and ATL’s newest staff writer, Staci Zaretsky. Please send all tips and story ideas to them at [email protected].

Marriage has been on my mind a lot this summer. I attended the wonderful wedding of an old friend last weekend. But mainly I’ve been thinking about marriage and family in the context of the many strong reactions to my debt posts.

Some of the most surprising reactions were from people who contended that I was essentially being a bad husband by quitting my Biglaw job while still saddled with serious debts. According to these people, including some women, a better husband would have stuck it out in Biglaw for however long it took until my wife and I could be debt-free.

Are these people insane?

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Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (sans robe).

Immigration is a hot topic these days. It was the subject of a recent Supreme Court case, Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (a rare loss for the Chamber, which fares well at SCOTUS). It’s getting implicated in the LGBT rights movement, as gay and lesbian binational couples fight deportations caused by the Defense of Marriage Act. And as Election 2012 gets underway, we’ll surely be hearing more about immigration in the weeks and months ahead.

As the immigration debate continues, let’s keep in mind the important contributions made to our nation by immigrants. For example, one of our most distinguished federal judges — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — is an immigrant. He was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1950, and he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1962, at the age of 12.

Chief Judge Kozinski recently sent me a great story relating to his naturalization, which I will now share with you (with His Honor’s permission)….

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Anyone who has spent a swampy June/July/August in D.C. knows that it’s not the ideal setting for a sizzling summer romance. So it is time to shift locations for the Courtship Connection, Above the Law’s dating service for legal eagles. 

Given my miserable less-than-perfect matchmaking track record, I was surprised by the number of emails from single lawyers and law students begging for Courtship to come to their city. I guess desperate times call for really desperate measures?

Since the only pleasure Courtship Connection tends to bring is to the readers, we shall let you choose the next city. Which metropolis of lawyers offers the greatest potential for throw-downs, of both the clashing and clicking variety? After the jump, you can vote for one of the nominees — Atlanta, Montreal, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, or Orange County, CA — and hear about the latest D.C. “cage match” of a date….

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In an ideal world, every Courtship Connection would start with tequila shots and end with tongue-twisting. But given that we’re working with careful and risk-averse lawyer types, historically our participants have tended to put a damper on the sparks. And not just the romantic kind.

If there’s no chemistry, the next best option is brutal honesty about why that was. It’s rare to actually tell someone why a date was mediocre. It’s much easier just not to call afterward (or not to return a call, if the lack of chemistry wasn’t mutual). But these aren’t normal dates –- these are blind dates set up by a legal blog that involve anonymous, public reviews. If there are no sparks, ATL readers expect some snark. No one benefits from a “blah blah, x was a nice person, but we didn’t click” review. Readers get bored, and your disappointing date doesn’t learn anything about why he or she fails at first impressions. She seemed too desperate for a free meal? Note it. He’s a chatty Kathy? Be catty about it. Her exhaustion was a turn-off? Let us know. His ordering fancy French cocktails was unmanly? Emasculation notation, please.

In other words, Courtship Connection is supposed to be what happens when daters stop being polite, and start getting real. Think of your blind date as a legal memo and yourself as the partner reviewing it for flaws and fallacies before submitting it to the court. Let’s read between the lines and figure out why two recent dates fizzled instead of sizzled…

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I spent last week with a bunch of journos working from a beach house in the Outer Banks. I set my computer up in the house’s crow nest, blogging with a view of the ocean and a cool sea breeze. “Lunch hour” was spent playing in the waves. At night, we would make frozen drinks (summer cocktail recommendation: Jameson M&M milkshakes) and sit beneath the stars debating whether or not Anthony Weiner was cocky enough to send out that Twitter pic. This is perfect, I thought to myself.

But then late Tuesday night, it got even better, as I got to throw a little vicarious pleasure into the mix. At 10:10 p.m., my Droid buzzed with an email from a Courtship Connection couple I had sent to the Black Rooster pub earlier that night: “Full recap from us tomorrow but we have been making out all over Dupont!”

As regular readers know, that’s a rarity in this series. So what was it about this pairing that awakened the lawyers’ libidos?

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The Courtship Connection has been on hiatus since the infamous night of the melon-baller. We are back with a vengeance now. We’re doing a last sweep of D.C.’s single lawyers and then moving on to a new town. We’ll let you vote on which lucky city and its lawyers get to be subjected to my questionable matchmaking attempts.

First, we need candidates. Send suggestions for the next Courtship city to [email protected]. We’ll then let you vote. Don’t worry: Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas are already on the candidate list.

Now on to news of our latest victims match. I brought a previous candidate off the bench for this one, as I’m short on men (and lesbians — D.C.’s problem is that it has too many single ladies, and not enough of them like the other single ladies). Do you remember the guy who refused to get lost in his date’s brown eyes? Sex-starved but with high standards for chemistry. He agreed to go out on another blind date, but had a request: he wanted his match to be from the T14, even though he is not a grad of the upper echelon of law schools himself. I granted his wish.

Was prestige all that was needed to set his loins afire?

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The excessively talented David M. Anderson.

We all know that the legal market is dismal these days. People will go to almost any lengths to land jobs. A perfect résumé touting your strongest attributes is key. Most lawyers implicitly understand that this means legal attributes – you know, things that portray a sense of professional competence. But every now and then we come across a special someone who throws conventional wisdom out the window and provides us with a perfect example of what not to do.

Today’s special someone is David M. Anderson of Mahoney Anderson LLC in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. A perusal of the Mahoney Anderson website raises several questions – not the least of which are who the Mahoney in Mahoney Anderson is, where Mr. Anderson went to law school, and what Mr. Anderson might have done in his legal career prior to working for his current mysteriously-named firm.

Thankfully, we have David Anderson’s marketing ad (gavel bang: An Associate’s Mind). It is a gem. It might not answer any of these questions, or, quite frankly, tell you anything that might make you want to hire Mr. Anderson. But it is certainly the worst most unique approach to attorney advertising I have seen in quite some time….

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