Screw-Ups

rejected rejection letter Above the Law blog.jpgGetting rejected by a law firm and having lots of your classmates learn about it: embarrassing.
Getting rejected by a firm you didn’t even apply to: priceless.
I’m afraid I must reject your rejection [TJ's Double Play]
Earlier: Public Humiliation, Courtesy of Your Friends at Wilson Sonsini

Tomorrow is a very big day for almost 20 California lawyers. From Blogonaut:

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgA federal district court has ordered 14 California lawyers to explain why they should not be sanctioned for their “exceptional misconduct” on behalf of Qualcomm in a lawsuit that the San Diego wireless company lost. All of the lawyers subject to the order were from the Cupertino law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder or the Heller Ehrman law firm’s offices in Menlo Park and San Diego, the San Diego Tribune is reporting.

Five additional lawyers have been drawn into the proceedings since the order was issued, so the fate of 19 attorneys rests on the outcome of an October 12, 2007, 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. Magistrate Barbara Major, the newspaper reports.

We previously wrote about the underlying discovery snafu over here.
Both Heller Ehrman and Day Casebeer have been the subject of gossip recently. Last month, Heller Ehrman was rumored to be carrying out staff layoffs in California (believed to affect up to 90 people). If you know anything about this, please email us.
Update: Oops, sorry, don’t know how we missed this article from The Recorder, reporting on Heller axing 65 administrative staff positions nationwide. No attorneys were laid off.
As for Day Casebeer, rumor had it that they were rescinding offers to incoming associates. But it appears that this was inaccurate, as rumors sometimes are. When we contacted the firm, they had this comment:

We are delighted that eight new associates will join us this Fall and that two have already started work. It’s a record class for us. Far from rescinding any offers, we remain very interested in resumes from others interested in joining our practice.

Especially if you’re experienced in electronic data discovery.
Federal Court Brings Written Charges of “Exceptional Misconduct” Against 14 Lawyers [Blogonaut]
19 lawyers face sanction hearing [San Diego Union-Tribune]
Recovered Emails Bedevil Qualcomm in Court [Wall Street Journal]
Heller Says Slowdown Not Behind Layoffs [The Recorder via Law.com]
Earlier: Benchslap of the Day: The Qualcomm Debacle

Robert Birmingham Professor Robert L Birmingham Above the Law blog.jpg* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]

E Duncan Getchell Jr Fourth Circuit Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s tough being a federal judicial nominee. Your entire legal career is gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and every mistake or misstep is brought to light, no matter how minor.
From the ABA Journal:

A lawyer nominated to a federal appeals court was lead attorney on an $8 million appeal that got tossed because the trial transcript was not filed by the deadline.

E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods asked the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal anyway, but the judges refused, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Getchell’s five-page brief did not explain the reason for the failure, except to say there was a “miscommunication or misunderstanding.”

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about whether trial counsel or appellate counsel (Getchell) should have filed the transcript. From the Virginian-Pilot:

The fact that Getchell’s firm filed the post-trial motions three weeks after the verdict “kind of suggests the baton was passed,” said William S. Geimer, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University Law School who teaches civil procedure.

“It’s definitely the law firm’s responsibility,” Geimer said. “I don’t see any way for the law firm to escape responsibility if it was even partly or jointly responsible for the failure.”

Getchell did not return repeated calls to his office.

The Fourth Circuit has been shorthanded for a while now. And with the nomination of Duncan Getchell, that probably won’t be changing anytime soon.
(Not necessarily because of this procedural snafu, but because Getchell’s two home-state senators — John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D) — don’t seem to be backing his nomination.)
Costly Error Linked to 4th Circuit Nominee [ABA Journal via Blogonaut]
Error in major case tied to federal judge nominee [Virginian-Pilot via How Appealing]
E. Duncan Getchell Jr. bio [McGuire Woods]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSo whatever happened to people caught up in the recent, ill-fated administration of the New York bar exam? One test taker wrote us:

“I imagine you’re getting a slew of forwards on these cold-comfort NYBOLE [New York Board of Law Examiners] emails, but just the same, here you go. I didn’t have laptop problems myself (knock on wood), but for those applicants who claimed to have their essay answers swapped or overwritten, this might just be salt in the wound.”

And the message:

From: New York Bar Exam Administration
Date: 23 Aug 2007 13:05:43 -0400
Subject: Your July 2007 Bar Exam Essays have all been received.
To: [redacted]

BOLE ID:B1000xxxx

This will confirm that we are in receipt of all of your printed (and/or handwritten) answers to essay questions 1 through 5 and the MPT

Sincerely

New York State Board of Law Examiners

But apparently some exam takers weren’t so lucky. From a second source:

Any updates on Laptopgate? A friend of mine that took the NY bar at the Javitz got an email yesterday saying that additional information is needed from their computer. That doesn’t sound promising.

We haven’t seen one of these “more information please” emails. Have you? If so, we’d be grateful if you could send it to us by email. If we get one, we’ll post it here. Thanks.
Update: The text of the cryptic email appears after the jump.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bar exams (scroll down)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Latest on Laptopgate”

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati WSGR Above the Law blog.JPGHere’s a tale from the fall recruiting trenches, from a 2L at Columbia Law School:

I got my first rejection yesterday, from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. It was not through your typical form letter; it came via mass email.

And by “mass email,” I mean “the email address of everyone who got rejected is listed in the ‘to:’ field.”

CLASSY. Maybe WSGR wanted all the “rejects” to know each others’ identities, so they can from a support group?
To its credit, the firm realized that it screwed up:

They then left a voicemail apologizing and explaining that it was an “honest mistake,” and they hope it doesn’t affect my opinion of the firm. Personally, it doesn’t bother me — we all had lots of interviews, which lead to lots of rejections (and lots of callbacks).

But I can see why other people would be bothered by it, and I think the firm deserves some attention for (1) not putting in the effort to send actual rejection letters (this was even signed by “Attorney Recruiting Department”) and (2) not knowing the difference between “to:” and “bcc:.”

We concur. Hence this shout-out to Wilson Sonsini — and the reject-o-bots in its “Attorney Recruiting Department.”

rtfm Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf so, then Uncle Sam wants you. The feds need your valuable skills — badly.
First the Department of Justice produces original documents, instead of copy sets, to Congress. And now, the AP reports on a screw-up by the FTC:

Lawyers for the FTC electronically filed documents as part of [its] court case [challenging the Whole Foods purchase of Wild Oats] yesterday afternoon. Court officials realized the redacted portions of the document could easily be read and blocked it from being downloaded from court computer servers. The Associated Press downloaded the document from the public server before it was replaced by a properly redacted version.

In the original version, the words looked redacted but were actually just electronically shaded black. The words could be searched, copied, pasted and read. The second version of the document was filed using scanned pages of the redacted documents. There is no way to remove the blacked-out portions from the final copy.

In a statement late Tuesday, Whole Foods said it was investigating the “apparent improper release by the Federal Trade Commission of confidential proprietary business information.”

So bite your tongue next time you want to dismiss document production as mindless drudgery. If the DOJ and the FTC can’t get it right, surely there must be SOME skill involved, right?
Error by FTC Reveals Whole Foods’ Trade Secrets [Associated Press]
Earlier: Earth to DOJ: Document Production Isn’t That Hard

flowers 1-800-flowers Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s some follow-up on our Lawsuit of the Day, Greer v. 1-800-Flowers. Plaintiff Leroy Greer is suing the online florist for revealing to his wife that he had flowers delivered to his girlfriend — resulting in said wife divorcing his sorry ass.
Some readers who have seen the complaint offered these comments:

1. “I’ve never heard of these lawyers [Kennitra M. Foote & Associates]. They’re definitely not powerhouses of the Houston bar.”

2. In terms of damages, “the guy is asking for $1 million (it’s in the demand letter).”

3. “Please note on page 25 (the receipt) that the delivery “MUST INCLUDE… Cuddly Plush/ Stuffed Animal” (emphasis in original). The occasion for the flowers was “Love & Romance.”

Yup, that’s right. Take a look at the receipt for yourself (Exhibit D to Greer’s Complaint):
Leroy Greer 1 800 flowers complaint Exhibit D.jpg
Note the handwritten scrawl at the bottom of the receipt, presumably from Greer’s wife: “Be a man! If you got caught red handed then don’t still lie. Your tmobile has her number so why still lie.”
Interesting. Could this furnish a possible defense for 1-800-Flowers? If there was already ample evidence of Greer’s infidelity, can 1-800-Flowers really be blamed for his marriage unraveling?
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Greer v. 1-800-Flowers

flowers 1-800-flowers Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re a married man planning on sending flowers to your mistress, we have a tip for you: do NOT use 1-800-FLOWERS (as if you needed to be told).
Check out this interesting case, filed in the Southern District of Texas (Houston), and included in this morning’s Courthouse News Service (subscription):

Leroy Greer v. 1-800-Flowers.Com Inc.
8/6/2007
H-07-2543
(Houston)

Breach of contract action in which the defendants agreed to keep the plaintiff’s order of flowers for his girlfriend private, with no record of the transaction mailed to him at his home or office.

Months later, the defendants sent a thank you card to the plaintiff’s home, and his wife called the defendants for proof of the purchase. The defendants faxed the plaintiff’s wife proof of his order of flowers for his girlfriend, which resulted in a divorce being filed.

Oh crap. In terms of tales of infidelity getting exposed, this one is definitely up there.
If plaintiff Leroy Greer prevails, what would be the appropriate measure of damages? Will 1-800-FLOWERS reimburse him for his divorce settlement, as a form of consequential damages?
And what about alimony — will they pick up the tab for that? Or can they just send his ex-wife a bouquet of carnations each month, for the rest of her life?
Update: More details about the lawsuit appear here.
Correction: Thanks, commenters. Scratch the reference to “alimony,” and replace it with “spousal support.”
Leroy Greer v. 1-800-Flowers.Com (subscription) [Courthouse News Service]

For those of you who just took the bar exam, the last thing you want is another essay question. But just for fun, and to see how much you’ve retained, here’s one for you (in the style of an MPT question):

Your client is a junior associate at a top New York law firm. She agreed to be interviewed and photographed for an article in the New York Times.

When the article appeared, your client was captured in this unfortunate pose:

New York Times photograph young lawyer Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg

Your client is distraught. She admits that she consented to the interview and photo shoot. But when she did, she had no idea the Times photo editors would choose THAT picture (out of literally hundreds that were taken).

What possible theories of liability would you explore as the basis for a possible lawsuit by your client against the New York Times?

(Hint: New York does not recognize the tort of “Being negligently photographed in the Sharon Stone pose.”)
Update: At least one of you thinks this photo is no big deal. But we view the photograph as brilliantly composed, fascinating, and tantalizing. It’s like the smile of the Mona Lisa: the more you stare, the more elusive the mystery becomes.
For Young Earners in Big City, a Gap in Women’s Favor [New York Times]

Page 24 of 281...202122232425262728