Screw-Ups

Gone baby gone.

Protip: Don’t look up the Wikipedia entry for foreskin. Don’t do it even if you have to write a post about a baby who was given a circumcision against his parents’ wishes. Vera Delgado, the baby’s mother, had left the hospital to shower and get a change of clothes. Just long enough for Nurse Ratched and the gang to do the do. Delgado’s lawyer, Spencer Aronfeld, summed up the understandable reaction:

“It was horrific, quite frankly,” said Aronfeld. “The parents were very explicit they did not want him circumcised, and [the hospital] had asked the parents repeatedly.”

Since announcing Delgado would sue, Aronfeld said he has received countless supportive e-mail messages and seen social network postings from so-called “intactivists” who oppose circumcision.

“People who are passionate about not circumcising their children are sending me Facebook messages, like, “I love you. You are my hero!”

So the mother is suing the hospital. Of course (not of course), we all remember from law school (from Google) that Benjamin Cardozo wrote the seminal opinion in which an unwanted surgical procedure was legally classified as battery. And that’s exactly what the mother is suing the hospital for. All fine and well. Somebody messed up, and “Oops!” isn’t going to cut it.

But it’s not the dollar amount of $1 million that jumps out from the story….

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Last year, we covered a mistake made in a death penalty case by the white-shoe firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. It was a noteworthy development because of the rarity of the occurrence — S&C doesn’t often make mistakes, at least not ones as elementary as missing a deadline — and because of the stakes involved.

Well, the stakes are getting higher: S&C is now seeking SC review. The firm wants the Supreme Court to step in and essentially forgive the firm’s error in missing the deadline to file an appeal. Adam Liptak tells the tale, in the New York Times:

Sullivan & Cromwell is a law firm with glittering offices in a dozen cities around the world, and some of its partners charge more than $1,000 an hour. The firm’s paying clients, at least, demand impeccable work.

Cory R. Maples, a death row inmate in Alabama, must have been grateful when lawyers from the firm agreed to represent him without charge. But the assistance he got may turn out to be lethal.

Please note: that last sentence originally appeared in the august pages of the Times. Despite its tabloid tone — we can imagine an announcer for Inside Edition intoning darkly, “the assistance he got may turn out to be lethal” — it did not appear first in Above the Law. [FN1]

So how did S&C put a man’s life in jeopardy? Let’s descend into the mailroom at 125 Broad Street….

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If you thought this whole Shirley Sherrod thing was just going to blow over, well, you’re not thinking like a lawyer interested in generating fees. Burned by Andrew Breitbart’s editing skills, Sherrod says she intends to sue. The New York Daily News reports:

“I will definitely do it,” Sherrod said at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego.

Sherrod said Andrew Breitbart knew what he was doing when he posted a doctored video that made it appear she was boasting about mistreating a white farmer.

“I knew it was racism, and no one had to tell me that,” she said. “Right will win the end.”

Oh Jesus Christ, please don’t tell me I’m going to have to defend Andrew Breitbart

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For those of you who are done with the July 2010 bar exam, congratulations! For those of you who still have another day left, our condolences — and good luck.

No administration of the bar is complete without some sort of mishap. The latest tale of woe comes from California. The state that some have called “ungovernable” also seems to have difficulty administering the bar exam.

Find out about goings-on in the Not-So-Golden State, and compare notes on the bar exam experience in different states around the country, after the jump.

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Going on game shows offers up the possibility of great reward or eternal humiliation in the form of YouTube’s infinite archives. An Oregon lawyer by the name of Paul Galm experienced the latter, when he appeared on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” in 2006. (This is admittedly old, but sometimes we like to exhume Internet classics.)

Galm started off by telling Meredith Viera about how he and his wife — both attorneys — quit their jobs and blew their savings traveling around the world, and how he was appearing on WWTBAM hoping to get his nest egg back. Instead, he epically wound up with egg on his face:

Says the tipster who sent it along: “This guy must have gone to a TTT.”

Well, we did a little research. As it turns out, Paul Galm went to a top ten law school.

Which prestigious institution popped him out, and where is he now?

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The Senate confirmation vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court has been pushed back one week, to July 20. This gives the Republicans more time to try and persuade a few Democrats to vote against Lady Kaga.

As they try to win over Democrats, the Senate Republicans have some new fodder: a Kagan-related scandal! A hit-and-run car accident, involving thousands of dollars in damage! To a minivan — owned by the mother of a disabled child!

Alas, the Divine Miss K wasn’t at the wheel. Who was?

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It’s summer time! A lucky few are being paid to warm seats in law firms across the land. (Very few — thanks to the minimal numbers of offers extended to law students in Recession Land.)

Some firms are very excited about their summer associates, to the point of issuing press releases about them. Firms are planning fun events. Hopefully, Williams & Connolly offers cooking classes at a culinary institute again this summer (for those who don’t get offers and may not be able to afford to eat out one day). We’ve got a round-up of our favorite summer “happenings,” after the jump.

But one thing firms may not plan to do this year is bill for summer associates’ time. Nate Raymond reports in the New York Law Journal that Citigroup Inc. has told its outside counsel that it will not pay for law students’ time. Citi does not stand alone:

J. William Dantzler Jr., a tax partner at White & Case who oversees hiring in New York, said with regard to billing clients for summer associates, it has been “a slide for 10 years.”

“More and more clients don’t want summer associates to bill to them,” he said. “When I started almost all clients would accept it. And it’s evolved to where a lot of clients don’t.”

Ironically, because of the huge decline in the number of summers brought in, they’re more likely to actually do substantive work this year. One Biglaw firm, for example, instituted a requirement last year that every summer associate produce at least one piece of seriously impressive legal writing. Which firm is it?

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With all the students just dying to get into Cornell Law School, I figured I’d give you guys a taste of what exams will be like for the few of you lucky enough to get in. A contracts exam there turned into something so complicated that you need to be an expert in statutory interpretation just to understand the rules for the exam.

In law school, you’re supposed to learn to be careful with words. Really careful. Now, I didn’t really take that lesson to heart, and apparently neither did professor Chantal Thomas. She gave out some pretty mixed messages regarding the word limit for her contracts exam.

Tipsters report that in class, Professor Thomas said that there would be a word limit. But even that in-class directive was vague:

She said, “well, maybe 1000 words.” This in itself is ambiguous. 1000 words per question? 1000 words for the whole exam?

Perhaps you think that the exam itself would make clear this most basic exam parameter? Think again…

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This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

We’ve come to the end of the U.S. News Law School Rankings. The Fourth Tier. The schools that are friends to those who will do anything in order to go to law school. Here is an open thread to discuss these schools, collectively or individually, and to compare and contrast.

Are any of these schools worth the price of admission? Well maybe for the Lulz. Check out how even high-achieving students get treated at 4th tier Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

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We’ve previously covered a sticky situation involving an alleged drafting error by real estate lawyers at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. The dispute pits the buyers of luxury condos at the Rushmore, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, against the development company Extell, Stroock’s client. (Our prior coverage appears here, here, and here.)

When we last checked in, the New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, had sided with the buyers and ruled against Extell. But instead of just rolling over, which is what most folks do when attacked by the New York AG, Extell is fighting back. From the Real Deal (via Am Law Daily):

In a last minute and stunning move, the developers of the Upper West Side’s Rushmore condominium filed a federal lawsuit [on Monday] against state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo seeking to reverse his April rescission order to refund more than $16 million in escrow funds to buyers.

The developers, Extell Development and Carlyle Realty Partners, operating under the name CRP/Extell, also filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking a temporary restraining order that would block the release of the funds, which include down payments for more than $110 million worth of apartments.

In its moving papers, Extell kind of throws Stroock under the proverbial bus — but just a little bit….

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