Romance and Dating

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 tips@abovethelaw.com. 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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* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tapped the brakes on the Insane Train yesterday, vetoing one measure that would allow guns at schools and another that would require presidential candidates to prove they weren’t Kenyan immigrants hellbent on the destruction of Lee Greenwood. [TucsonSentinel.com]

* Microsoft went before the Supreme Court yesterday to argue that patents should be easier to challenge. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking the Microsoft attorney how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [Reuters]

* Customer accounts have been frozen following the indictment of online poker companies. Bloomberg decided this was the perfect time to upload their stock poker photo, featuring the caption “A royal flush, circa 1950.” [Bloomberg]

* And here’s a rundown of the potential attorneys and firms who will work the defense side in said p-p-p-poker case. [Am Law Daily]

* The Taco Bell soylent beef lawsuit was dropped yesterday. Posting will be light today while Elie makes a run for the border. [NPR]

* Yo, Mr. Dopeman, you think you’re slick. You sold crack to my sister and now she’s sick. But if she happens to die because of your drug, federal judges will have a difficult time sentencing you. Oof, that N.W.A. lyric took a weird turn, didn’t it? [New York Times]

* The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by five Uyghurs being detained in Guantanamo Bay. On a related note, I just wasted a good ten minutes listening to this pronunciation of Uyghur. [CNN]

* Match.com will begin cross-checking users against sex offender registries after being sued. Whatever, juggalove.com is more my speed anyway. [WSJ Law Blog]

Would new Match.com regulations stop Ben Roethlisberger from connecting with a receiver?

By now, many of you have see the story about the woman who is suing Match.com. It’s been in the L.A. Times, the WSJ Law Blog (replete with a very creepy picture), and the ABA Journal. It’s a sad story. A woman alleges she was sexually assaulted while on a date with a man she met through Match.com.

If the allegations are true, you can only hope her attacker is punished to the full extent of the law.

This story is making national news because, in addition to pursuing charges against her alleged attacker, the woman has also filed a lawsuit against Match.com. She wants them to conduct a screening of the users on their site.

In the heat of a disturbing story about an assault, I’m sure that checking a member’s name against a registry of sex offenders seems like a minimal requirement that can be easily done by a large company like Match.com. At least that’s what her lawyer would like us to think.

But I think any dispassionate and reasonable analysis of the situation would reveal that such a requirement is at worst dangerous, and a best entirely ineffective. I don’t care how many proprietary algorithms these dating sites throw at you — at the end of the day, there is no substitute for human intuition, common sense, and luck….

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I’ve only been on one blind date in my life. Arranged by a journo friend, it was actually more like a sneak-peek date, since the suitor and I Facebook-friended and g-chatted prior to getting drinks for the first time.

My Courtship Connection participants are not so lucky. Their dates are completely blind — they don’t even know one another’s names prior to meeting. All they know is that they’re going to be meeting up with a lawyer or law student. I’m still in mild disbelief that risk-averse legal types are willing to participate, but I suppose the risk of being partner-less in perpetuity is greater than that of a single, potentially-horrific date.

So, how do you best set the tone for such a night? I always ask participants to wear or bring something distinctive so they can find one another. I recently paired a do-gooder attorney with a legal academic; the two seemed like hipster types to me, but I was hesitant about sending them all the way to H St. NE, so instead I chose The Passenger for their rendezvous. Our self-described “cheery, active, irreverent” lady lawyer said she’d be “wearing high heels and carrying a cantaloupe.”

So guess what our “hippie economist” brought? Hint: it’s phallic….

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What’s more hopeless than sending two lawyers out on a blind date and hoping they hit it off? Answer: Sending thirty-something lawyers out on a blind date and hoping they hit off.

It’s safe to assume that a person (and especially a woman) still single in their 30s is a picky type. As Elie recently lectured a trio of spinsters +30 single ladies, “You could have gotten married at some point in your 20s and you chose not to. There’s not something wrong with the guys you date; there’s something wrong with you.” It’s possible that Elie learned all that he knows about women from Lori Gottlieb.

Despite odds being stacked against me, I decided to match up two D.C. lawyers in their mid 30s. They have different political stripes, but both named Atticus Finch as their favorite legal character, and would gladly give up gavels for spatulas. Asked for three words about themselves, he said he was a “funny nerdy cultured chef” and she said she was a “city-dwelling chef/policy-wonk.” They sounded like they should be able to come up with a recipe for romance…

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