* New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a report on SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin in advance of her ruling on the NYPD’s controversial “hey, you’re black, come get a pat down” “stop-and-frisk” policy. According to the report, Judge Scheindlin is biased because she ruled against the NYPD in search and seizure cases 60% of the time. An alternative read is that the NYPD is really bad at following the Constitution. Occam’s Razor strikes again. [New York Daily News]
* STRIKE!: Legal Services NYC walked off the job this morning after rejecting new contract offers. [New York Law Journal]
* Pentagon Papers lawyer James C. Goodale thinks President Obama, whose administration seized phone records of journos, is worse than President Nixon, who tried to charge the New York Times for conspiracy to commit espionage. Because hyperbole is the awesomest thing in the world! [New York Observer]
* Tennessee law grad and judicial affairs director fired amid allegations she hooked up with Tennessee basketball player Trae Golden. [MStars News]
* After revelations earlier that Arkansas wasn’t “buying American” and instead getting its death penalty drugs from the UK, the pharmaceutical company announced it would cut off the supply, joining a number of drug companies that are practically slowing executions around the country by limiting supply. [YubaNet]
* After the post, check out the Biglaw firm using 4square way too much…
* What Dewey know about this failed firm’s bankruptcy case? According to Judge Glenn’s latest order, it seems like D&L’s Chapter 11 plan is on track for confirmation in late February, unless there are objections, of course. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]
* The Law School Admission Council is suing California because the state’s legislature banned the practice of alerting schools when applicants had extra time to complete the LSAT. How lovely that LSAC values the ability to discriminate. [National Law Journal]
* “It’s not like we let anybody in the door. We don’t.” Apparently Cooley Law’s new Florida campus has very stringent admissions standards. Oh really? What else is required, aside from a pulse? [Tampa Tribune]
* It’s now too constitutionally risky for cops to get all frisky: a federal judge ordered that the NYPD cease its stock-and-frisk trespass stops without reasonable suspicion of actual trespass. [New York Law Journal]
* Tamara Brady, the lawyer for the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre, is setting the stage for her client’s diminished capacity defense — because even the mentally ill can buy guns. [Bloomberg]
* Pfc. Bradley Manning of WikiLeaks infamy will receive a reduced sentence if he’s convicted due to his illegal pretrial punishment, like being forced to sleep in the nude. A true hero! [Nation Now / Los Angeles Times]
Ed. note: Gabe Acevedo will be covering LegalTech for Above the Law this year. If you are interested in communicating with someone from ATL about LegalTech coverage, please contact Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
It seems that judges are no longer afraid to unleash the power of the gavel when it comes to e-discovery violations.
Back in April 2010, we bestowed Lawyer of the Day honors upon Jonathan Moss, former in-house counsel to Gucci. There was a question, however, as to how much of a “lawyer” Moss was.
During his seven years working at the luxury fashion house, Moss did not have an active law license: he was a graduate of Fordham Law and a member of the California bar, but with “inactive” status. As a result, during the discovery process in some trademark litigation, opposing counsel from Guess? challenged Gucci’s assertion of attorney-client privilege over communications to and from Moss. The reasoning: because Moss wasn’t entitled to practice law in any jurisdiction, due to his inactive status with the California bar, the attorney-client privilege did not extend to communications with him.
A federal magistrate judge sided with Guess, concluding that Gucci’s communications with Moss weren’t privileged — and subject to disclosure. Yikes. After conducting an investigation that confirmed Moss’s inactive bar status, Gucci fired him in March 2010.
But now a federal district judge — Judge Shira Scheindlin, that delicious judicial diva of Zubulake fame — has set aside the magistrate’s order, and granted Gucci’s motion for a protective order….
Listen up, Chief Justice Roberts! Here are two new arguments you can use to make the case for higher judicial pay.
1. From the Drudge Report:
According to Forbes, Judge Judy has a net worth of $95 million. She earns $25 million a year — over 100 times the Chief Justice’s salary. Random aside: Contrary to rumor, and despite their shared irascibility, Judge Judy Sheindlin (at left) and Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.; at right) are NOT related. As you can see, their last names are spelled differently. Despite this difference, Judge Scheindlin of the Southern District regularly receives telephone calls from people in search of televised justice.
2. Because of his low pay, Justice Clarence Thomas has been reduced to eating at ESPN Sports Zone.
(Yes, we know, CT got a seven-figure advance for his memoirs. But when you enjoy Corvettes, luxury RVs, and fine cigars, the money goes fast.) Wonk’d: Barely Legal [Wonkette] The Richest 20 Women In Entertainment: Judith “Judge Judy” Sheindlin (#13) [Forbes]
The third time, and the third hung jury, proves to be a charm for former Gambino family crime boss John Gotti (aka “Junior Gotti”). From the New York Times:
[F]ederal prosecutors announced today that they would not seek to retry Mr. Gotti for a fourth time. The decision enshrines the mob dauphin as a defendant even trickier to convict than his father, the Gambino family don, John J. Gotti, who beat the rap three times himself before being found guilty in 1992 and dying in a federal prison hospital 10 years later.
So what now? Is Mr. Gotti going to Disneyworld? Uh, maybe:
Mr. Gotti, who has acknowledged through his lawyers that he ran the Gambino family during stretches of the 1990’s, to return to a life as normal as his name will allow. At the end of his third trial in September, he told reporters he wanted to “move on” and expressed a desire to work with children.
His lawyer, Charles F. Carnesi, said today that Mr. Gotti may turn to academe. “He’s interested in pursuing a degree,” he said. “In social work or counseling or maybe something with the schools.”
I am astounded by the vote tally. Judge Kozinski is no Paris Hilton. He’s more like Sean Puffy Combs.
We see this reader’s point. First, Paris Hilton is a woman — and oh what a woman! So the three female judges may have a better claim to her bejeweled mantle than the two men.
Second, the Kozinski-Combs comparison is strong: both men are international superstars, with devoted fans, who are believed to enjoy tequila and fabulous parties.
(But, with all due respect to Judge Kozinski, Sean Combs is a better dresser. The black velvet tux that he wore to the Oscars two years ago is way more stylish than any black robe.)
With the voting well underway, it’s time to declare when the contest will end. The polls will close on Tuesday, September 26, at 1 PM (Eastern time). This will allow the candidates to campaign over the weekend (e.g., by spamming all their former clerks). It will also allow West Coast readers — and contestants — to vote one last time when they get into work that morning.
We wish these five distinguished jurists the best of luck in their quest for this distinction. If they have any campaign messages to disseminate, we invite them to email us.
Think about it, Your Honors. Wouldn’t “The Paris Hilton of the Federal Judiciary” look great in the “Miscellany” section of your Almanac of the Federal Judiciary write-up? Fun stuff! Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: The Paris Hilton of the Federal Bench
Today is the first day for judicial clerkship interviews under the official Law Clerk Hiring Plan (which some judges follow, and some judges don’t). We’re going to celebrate the occasion with a judge-related poll.
Here at Above the Law, we love ourselves some Paris Hilton. She’s beautiful, blonde, and rich. She’s fabulous and glamorous. She’s a gifted model, actress, singer, dancer, and businesswoman. (And yes, she’s good at that, too.)
Here are some quotes from a recent New York Sun article about Paris that capture some of our feelings about her:
Says Camille Paglia: “She feels the Zeitgeist. She has that dancer’s feel for the camera, for the observing eye, and she produces fantastic still pictures.” Ashley Barrett, global PR director for Coty Prestige, has added, “She is very clever about giving the press what they want — provocative fashion, an ever-increasing list of projects, scandal. She gives great paparazzi.”
Some people deride Paris Hilton as being “famous for nothing” or “famous for being famous.” We disagree; but if this were true, it would only make Paris more fantastic. It would make the purest incarnation of fame possible: fame undiluted by the distracting presence of accomplishment.
And, as everyone knows, we also love ourselves some federal judges. So here’s today’s poll:
Who is the Paris Hilton of the federal judiciary?
Here are the contenders and what they share in common with Paris:
Wow — a whole lot of lawyers got married last weekend. And some of them are very impressive people. Like William Michael, a Yale law grad who will be clerking for the prestige-oozing Second Circuit. And Matthew Schwartz, who clerked for Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.) from 2002 to 2004 — and lived to tell the tale…
But in order to make it into this week’s Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, both members of the couple needed to be lawyers (since Legal Eagle Wedding Watch prefers all-lawyer couples, and things were that competitive this week).
So neither Mr. Michael nor Mr. Schwartz made it past the velvet rope. Here are this week’s contestants:
We briefly linked to this item yesterday, but now we have a little more to add. Here’s what the New York Post reported:
[Organized crime defendant John "Junior"] Gotti helped Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin celebrate her 60th birthday by serenading her from his seat at the defense table yesterday.
“I led the attack,” Gotti said outside of court. “Everyone was saying, ‘We’re going to sing, we’re going to sing,’ and then they started chickening out.”
The bizarre and unusual birthday celebration was carried out in the courtroom – which was mysteriously closed to the public – before jury selection in Gotti’s racketeering trial resumed for a third day.
What makes this even more unusual is how the judge reacted:
Later in the day the judge got some chuckles when she agreed to excuse a potential juror who had plans to travel to Paris to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday. “I’m particularly sympathetic to 60th birthdays,” Scheindlin said.
It’s surprising to hear that Judge Scheindlin took things so well. Although she’s not related to “Judge Judy” (a.k.a. Judge Judith Sheindlin — different spelling), one couldn’t be blamed for thinking so. The Honorable Shira has a reputation has a holy terror. She works her clerks like dogs, berates them frequently, and sometimes even makes them cry. Don’t pee on her robe and tell her it’s raining!
So Judge Scheindlin’s good-humored reaction to the in-court birthday festivities is somewhat unexpected. Guess it just goes to show that even the toughest judge can be buttered up with birthday wishes. ‘JUNIOR’ SINGS SOPRANO: SERENADES JUDGE WITH HAPPY B’DAY [New York Post]
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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