Rudeness

gunner law school gunner.jpgEarlier this month, we posted an open thread on the law school gunner. It generated a spirited discussion — perhaps too spirited — and we eventually closed it to new comments.
We’re going to try this again. Here’s another open thread to share your gunner stories. But please keep the discourse civil, and please don’t call out anyone by name. If you’re mentioned in a story and want to defend yourself, come up with a pseudonym for doing so. You really don’t want ATL to come up when someone Googles you (e.g., around recruiting season).
As is our practice, we’ll kick things off with a story. From a tipster at a law school in New York:

last semester a 1L decided to spread a little rumor. he said he knew what was going to be on one of the finals (civ pro) — actually he dropped another person’s name who people trusted and said that the prof told her what was going to be on the exam. word spread pretty quickly that the last question of the exam would be a policy question, and that preclusion wouldn’t be covered. it was a complete lie; he just made it up. most people studied everything anyway, but there were definitely a bunch who spent a lot of extra time trying to study “policy” issues and less time on preclusion (which of course ended up being a question on the exam).

p.s. this guy studies with a small group who call themselves the “dream team” – haha

some other things that i was told later on but didn’t experience first-hand:

1) he allegedly conspired to mislead the class for weeks about this

2) his facebook status said “[his name] is exploiting situations like Geraldo Rivera” after he spread the word about what was supposedly on the test

Earlier: Law School Gunners: Open Thread

vote ballot Above the Law blog.jpgLast week was a busy one in terms of bonus news. In addition, we were prevented from publishing as much as we wanted by technical difficulties (which lie outside the jurisdiction of your undersigned blogger, a mere writer and not a tech person).
Our recent neglect of the “misbehaving lawyers” beat has given rise to a backlog of possible Lawyers of the Day. We’ve decided to clear the backlog by tossing out five nominees and having you vote on who should get the honor.
Click on each lawyer’s name to read more about their alleged misadventures. Then vote on who should be our Lawyer of the Day.
1. Todd Paris: This North Carolina lawyer was held in contempt after a judge caught him reading Maxim [quasi-NSFW] in court. “When [Judge Kevin] Eddinger gave Paris a chance to respond he apologized and ‘stated in his view the magazine was not pornography, was available at local stores and that he did not intend contempt,’ the [contempt] order said.”
2. Beth Modica: “A former suburban prosecutor and PTA president had sex with two underage boys, joined many other teens in booze and pot parties and kept it all a secret from her police chief husband, officials said Tuesday. Beth Modica, 44, was indicted on 35 counts alleging statutory rape, criminal sex acts, sex abuse and endangering children. Wearing an olive-gray suit and handcuffs, she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Rockland County Court and was ordered held on $75,000 bail.”
3. Mikal Hanson: “Pierre police early Thursday morning arrested an assistant U.S. attorney, who is accused of drunken driving and speeding. Mikal Hanson, 52, an assistant U.S. attorney in Sioux Falls, was stopped by police shortly before 1 a.m. for speeding, said Pierre Police Chief Elton Blemaster. The arresting officer could smell alcohol on Hanson and asked him to perform field sobriety tests, Blemaster said. ‘Mr. Hanson didn’t complete them as instructed,’ he said.”
4. Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer: “Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer is under investigation by the Law Society of British Columbia for allegedly overbilling one of her legal clients, including charging for 30 hours of work in a single day…. Jaffer has been called before the law society to account for more than $6 million in legal bills charged to her former client, a Catholic missionary order known as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.”
5. Jay Grodner: From the Chicago Tribune (via Blackfive.net):

Jay Grodner, the Chicago lawyer who keyed a Marine’s car in anger because the car had military plates and a Marine insignia, finally got his day in court last week. Grodner pleaded guilty in a Chicago courtroom packed with former Marines. They came to support Marine Sgt. Michael McNulty, whose car Grodner defaced in December, but who couldn’t attend because he’s preparing for his second tour in Iraq….

“You caused damage to this young Marine sergeant’s car because you were offended by his Marine Corps license plates,” said Judge [William] O’Malley….

“That’s because there is a little principle that the Marine Corps has had since 1775,” the judge continued. “When they fought and lost their lives so that people like you could enjoy the freedom of this country. It is a little proverb that we follow: “No Marine is left behind.

“So Sgt. McNulty couldn’t be here. But other Marines showed up in his stead. Take him away,” said the judge and former Marine.

So those are the five contestants. Here’s the poll:

University of Alabama School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgWe were pretty lucky in the law school roommate department. During our 1L year, we lived with a high school friend who was in New Haven doing medical research. During our 2L year, we roomed with a friend from college: the brilliant Steve Engel, a former law clerk to Judge Kozinski and Justice Kennedy, who currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel (and who recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in that capacity, on the legal rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees).
Both were highly considerate roommates. Neither tried to purloin our silverware, which is the allegation made in this angry letter from a University of Alabama 2L to his former roommate. It begins:

Dear Roommate:

Oneida Journey Silverware Above the Law blog.jpgThis is a letter regarding your use and possession of my silverware and tableware. I regret that I have to tell you this in writing, but all of my attempts to speak to you in person were thwarted by your unwillingness to speak directly to me.

I wish to be as tolerant as possible so we can live together peaceably. However, your impermissible possession and misappropriation of the bulk of my silverware, as well as my stoneware bowls, is no longer acceptable.

The silverware in question was purchased entirely by me for my use. It is relatively new, bought in 2007, and cost approximately $75. The silverware in questions [sic] consists of Oneida’s “Journey” (4 setting) and also an Oneida Silverplate (2-setting which is coated in actual silver). I did not object to you using it at first (although you never asked for permission), but I reasonably thought you understood that your use had to be within some bounds of reason. You have continually used silverware without returning it to the kitchen. This has meant there is insufficient silverware for me, the owner, to use. This is unacceptable under any condition. Placing dishes and silverware in the kitchen does not waive my right to have reasonable possession or use of it.

The letter gets more over-the-top as it goes along. It culminates with a threat to bring a civil action for the tort of conversion.
Read the rest, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Roommate Lunacy: In re Oneida Silverware”


candy cane Christmas tree Above the Law blog.jpgAn oldie but a goodie (and the sheer age of this item makes it pretty safe to use). This archived entry was recently located inside the database of a temporary staffing firm. It’s a description of a temp accountant’s less-than-successful stint at a law firm he was farmed out to:

12/13/00 — Terminated from assignment at [redacted] for “creeping out” the staff by excessive talking, staring at the female employees, eating candy canes off the office Christmas tree, and inspecting other people’s food in the refrigerator. Brought into the office and counseled.

If you have your own funny anecdote about an idiosyncratic temp, feel free to post it in the comments (but without identifying info, per standard ATL policy).

gunner law school gunner.jpgToday’s open thread focuses on someone who is near and dear to all of your hearts: the law school gunner. He’s sitting on your left; he’s sitting on your right; or maybe he is you. If you don’t know who the gunner in your class is, then look in the mirror.
We asked the tipster who suggested this topic to us to provide us with some fodder to kick off the thread. Here’s what we got:

It all begin at Admitted Students Weekend last spring, when this particular individual had to be shushed and told to “STOP TALK-ING” by a professor running a mock class. This was after he interrupted another admitted student and said, “Well, he gave a BAD example, but what he was clearly trying to say was…” There was other bizarre admitted students weekend behavior, but that should give you an idea.

Then, we arrived at school in August and there he was…ready to embark on a semester full of interrupting other students and professors, sharing awkward personal stories, and even telling professors that material they assigned from casebooks was “irrelevant.”

For finals, he decided that typing on his laptop keyboard would not allow him to type quickly enough to get all of his thoughts down in EBB, so he got special permission from the Registrar to use an external keyboard and a stand for his laptop. The whole contraption takes up lots of desk space and looks like he is sitting at the controls of a spaceship. From what I hear, he also used it for the last week of classes to “practice” for the exams.

He also once asked a particularly well-known professor to autograph his casebook…

And, finally, the event that precipitated my message to you. During a lunchtime speaker event, this individual pulled out a set of nail clippers and started clipping and then filing his fingernails! The entire room heard and was staring at him–naturally this got around the law school pretty quickly. Did I mention this individual is older and should know better (not that a 22 year old straight from undergrad shouldn’t…but he’s significantly older)?

So there’s a few examples for you.

Have gunner horror stories of your own to share? Please do so, in the comments (without naming any names, per our standard operating procedure around here). Thanks.
Gunner [Wikipedia]

Lynette Scavo Felicity Huffman cancer bald Above the Law blog.jpgA recent trend: judges who are touchy about courtroom attire. Last week we wrote about Judge William Sosnay, who is no fan of ascots. Now meet Judge Holly Hollenbeck:

Bev Williams of Richland wears a knitted beanie cap to cover her hairless head everywhere she goes, but not in Judge Holly Hollenbeck’s courtroom.

The District Court judge told Williams, 43, to take her cap off or leave his court in the Benton County Justice Center on Friday morning.

“I was embarrassed. It made me cry,” said Williams, who recently underwent six months of chemotherapy for cancer.

But Judge Holly Hollenbeck — who’s a man, by the way, so he ain’t no Hollenbeck girl [FN1] — has a rebuttal:

“I ask everybody to remove hats,” he said, noting the only reason he has allowed one — once — was for a religious reason.

Hollenbeck said, “I am very understanding with people who battle with cancer. My own mother died from cancer. I’ve had hundreds of cancer victims come through my court, and I’ve never had one not remove their hat, ever.”

He added, “Refusal to remove shows contempt for the court and for the judge.”

So what do you think? Is Judge Hollenbeck’s position reasonable? Or is this s**t bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s?


By the way, with respect to our earlier poll, almost 55 percent of you don’t think an ascot is appropriate courtroom attire.
[FN1] Nor should Judge Holly A. Hollenbeck be confused with motivational speaker Holly H. Hollenbeck, author of Sex Lives of Wives: Reigniting the Passion, and proprietress of PassionSeekers.com.
Judge’s strict no-hat rule upsets cancer patient [Seattle Times]

runaway groom trial lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, our friends over at the WSJ Law Blog asked: “Why do ‘trial lawyers’ have such a bad name?”
One possible answer: Because they abandon their brides at the altar. From the Miami Herald:

Walk-away groom: Jim Ferraro, multimillionaire trial lawyer.

Ferraro, set to marry prominent real estate broker Patricia Delinois on Friday in a formal ceremony at Fisher Island’s Vanderbilt Mansion, jilted her — at the altar — as they were about to exchange vows before 75 to 80 guests….

After five years of dating, the couple were to finally tie the knot. But, says Ferraro: ‘When it was time to say `I do,’ I just said, ‘I love her but I just can’t do this.’ ” He walked away, flanked by sons James, 21, Andrew, 18, and daughter Alexis, 14.

The audience gasped. Delinois’ sister, Ingrid Long, told off Ferraro — loudly. Some say she yelled, ”You dog!” Not so, Long says. “I called him a snake. I think I even called him a few other things. I was trying very hard not to curse, but I think a few curse words came out.”

Says Ferraro: “It was dramatic.”

Trial lawyers can be such drama queens. Maybe they get addicted to making audiences gasp — you know, that whole “Perry Mason” thing. It appears that finances weren’t behind the cancellation:

The issue, [Ferraro] says, was not money. ”We did have a prenup.” She is CEO of Century 21 Premier Elite Realty. He has law offices in Miami and Cleveland, owns the Cleveland Gladiators arena football team, has a private jet, and built a 21,000-square-foot compound in Martha’s Vineyard — with 14 bedrooms, tennis court, basketball court, nine-hole putting green, movie theater, and weight and cardio gyms.

This time, Ferraro figures, their romance is done for good. “She probably doesn’t ever want to talk to me again.”

Update: All’s well that ends well. In February 2008, Ferraro and Delinois got married, in a secret seaside ceremony in St. Bart’s.
Power couple’s wedding ends with `I don’t’ [Miami Herald]
Why Do “Trial Lawyers” Have Such a Bad Name? [WSJ Law Blog]

gavel judge Above the Law blog.jpgToday we bring you not one, but two Judges of the Day. We can’t decide who is more deserving of the honor. From the Florida Times-Union:

Twelve days before Christmas, Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden fired his 17-year judicial assistant, who had been on leave since August with cancer. The Jacksonville judge said he feared her prolonged illness would leave him without an assistant at a time when the state had implemented a hiring freeze.

But his decision left Christine Birch, 54, with no medical, life or disability insurance and has created a firestorm at the courthouse.

Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran responded by calling Bowden “a no-good son of a bitch,” prompting Bowden to respond with a blistering e-mail (PDF) defending his decision and calling Moran’s criticism irresponsible, unprofessional and unseemly.

Other judges’ assistants were also appalled by Birch’s firing. They raised money to pay her rent this month….

Birch declined comment Thursday. But she thanked Moran in a handwritten note last week for putting her back on the courthouse payroll in a rotating judicial assistant’s position. Birch was paid about $3,275 a month in her old job, and the state paid her health insurance premium. Her new rotating position pays $750 less a month and requires her to pay her own premiums.

Our tipster writes:

Best quote from the article: “He said if she died while on the payroll, he would have been without an assistant for two months, ‘not an ideal situation for a judge.'” I guess dying wouldn’t have been an ideal situation for her, either.

To get both sides of the story, check out the email from Judge Bowden in which he defends his actions (and rips Chief Judge Moran a new one). You can access his message — in which he benchslaps Chief Judge Moran for his “effrontery” and his “irresponsible” comments, made “precipitously [and] without authority” — by clicking here (PDF).
P.S. Speaking of cancer, here’s a PSA from ATL, and bad news for Biglaw associates and paralegals: according to cancer researchers, overnight work and sleep deprivation may raise your cancer risk.
Judge fires his assistant, draws criticism [Florida Times-Union]
Email from Judge Aaron Bowden (PDF) [Florida Times-Union]

The firm of Dewey Ballantine was never known for being particularly PC. From a 2004 article by Anthony Lin, for the New York Law Journal:

Nearly one year after lawyers at Dewey Ballantine infuriated members of the Asian-American community by performing a stereotype-laden parody song at their annual dinner, the law firm is again dealing with allegations of racial insensitivity….

On Monday, an employee sent a firmwide e-mail advertising the availability of some puppies for adoption. Douglas Getter, a London-based American who heads Dewey Ballantine’s European mergers and acquisitions practice then sent a firmwide reply.

“Please don’t let these puppies go to a Chinese restaurant!” Getter wrote in his e-mail.

Adolf Hitler Dewey LeBoeuf Zieg Heil Sieg Heil Above the Law blog.jpgNow Dewey has merged with LeBoeuf Lamb. Happily, it appears their firm cultures are a good match. Check out this email exchange appearing below — and note that Partner X came from the LeBoeuf Lamb side of the marriage….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey & LeBoeuf: A Bunch of Nazis?”

Charlene Morisseau 2 Charlene Morrisseau Charlene Morriseau DLA Piper Harvard Law School Southern Center for Human Rights.JPGFormer DLA Piper associate Charlene Morisseau isn’t just our Lawyer of the Day. This high-powered litigatrix — a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and a former editor of the Harvard Law Review — should be hailed as a heroine by Biglaw associates everywhere.

From a most engaging article by Anthony Lin, in the New York Law Journal:

A Manhattan federal judge has thrown out a race discrimination suit brought against DLA Piper by a former associate who claimed the firm’s New York office was a hostile work environment.

Charlene Morisseau, a 2001 graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was a law review editor, joined DLA Piper as a litigation associate in April 2003 but was asked to leave less than a year later. In a lawsuit filed last year, Ms. Morisseau, who is black, claimed her firing was retaliation for complaints she had made about discriminatory treatment.

She requested almost $250 million in damages from the firm and the 11 partners she individually named in the suit.

Now, we’re all in favor of giving associates more money. But $250 million may be a bit much, even for a Harvard Law grad. It’s about 90 percent of DLA Piper’s total firm profits for 2006 ($280 million).

But it looks like Morisseau won’t be seeing a dime:

Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan granted summary judgment to the firm Monday, finding that DLA Piper had put forth a “legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination.”

“Here, the uncontradicted evidence demonstrates that plaintiff did not perform in a manner satisfactory to Piper notwithstanding her academic credentials,” the judge wrote. “She was a confrontational, stubborn, and insubordinate employee in an environment in which professional personal relations, flexibility and a willingness to accept supervision were essential.”

Now we’ve reached the good part. Here’s why Charlene Morisseau should be every associate’s idol:

[I]n court filings, DLA Piper denied treating Ms. Morisseau differently and said the firm had taken action because the ex-associate had exhibited a pattern of unacceptable behavior, including yelling at partners and throwing one out of her office.

The firm said Ms. Morisseau ordered former partner Marilla Ochis to “back up” out of her office after Ms. Ochis had come to discuss an e-mail exchange Ms. Morisseau had apparently taken offense to.

Have you ever fantasized about telling off your partner oppressors? Well, Charlene Morisseau has lived your dream — and then some.

Read the rest, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Charlene Morisseau”

Page 30 of 391...262728293031323334...39