Stupid Lawyer Tricks

Cease-and-desist letters are usually useful legal tools to help combat the appropriation of intellectual property, but sometimes lawyers are a little too quick to send them out.

Take, for example, a recent C&D letter Instagram’s legal department sent to a website owner who was supposedly infringing upon the photo-sharing service’s trademark with his registration of the “” domain name.

You can’t blame Instagram for not wanting its mark to be associated with a website purporting to depict the “Sluts of Instagram,” but as it turns out, the offending website doesn’t have any sluts at all…

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Jim Marchese

I don’t fight. I think it’s stupid. I’m trained as an attorney. If I want to hurt you, I’m going to sue you. I’m going to leverage your house. I’m gonna give you three years of hell in a courtroom. I’m going to bleed dry you financially, and I’m going to humiliate you as I depose you for eight hours and make you my bitch.

Jim Marchese, husband to Amber Marchese (one of the newest cast members of the Real Housewives of New Jersey), explaining why he chose to avoid a fight with Joe Gorga, another Real Housewives husband, on the latest episode.

(Marchese is a graduate of Seton Hall Law and was a whistleblower in the Cell Therapeutics case, which earned him $1.6 million. Marchese recently claimed to be involved in the bankruptcy fraud prosecution of Joe and Teresa Giudice, but a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said “[n]o one involved with the prosecution has any idea who that man is.”)

Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this picture (click to enlarge):

On Monday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our contest…

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this picture (click to enlarge):

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and vote on the finalists…

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In this economy, lawyers are being forced to roll up their sleeves and learn new tricks of the trade. Some have even taken up the practice of Door Law — they’ll take any case that walks through the door. Other lawyers have expanded their horizons to offer services that are wholly unrelated to the law. Desperate times call for truly desperate measures.

Check out this advertisement — if you can even call it that — for a lawyer who really seems willing to do just about anything for a buck…

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Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was about two weeks ago. We’re always looking for more photos, so if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send some in via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Today, we are writing about legal professionals who are so proud of what they do that they’ve slapped their titles on their license plates. If this isn’t an invitation to get rear-ended, then I don’t know what is. These submissions come to us from New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, proving that stupid lawyer tricks know no bounds across state lines.

Let’s take a look at what these legal eagles are advertising on their license plates, shall we?

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After the 1L money runs out....

That’s the question essentially posed in a long and interesting New York Times article, Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win (which we previously mentioned on Saturday; yes, we do post on weekends). The piece is by David Segal, who also wrote a big and buzzy piece back in January, Is Law School a Losing Game?

Segal’s latest article is more interesting than the January one. His January piece, while well-crafted and solidly (if imperfectly) reported, covered ground that had already been covered by many other outlets. Readers of Above the Law, other legal industry publications, or the numerous “scamblogs” already knew that the value proposition of going to law school was very much open to question (to put it mildly).

This weekend’s piece focuses on a less familiar aspect of the law school process, namely, merit scholarships. You might think that these grants, which help law students pay for their education in an age of ever-growing debt loads and skyrocketing tuition, are undoubtedly a good thing.

Well, think again….

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By the middle of second semester of that first year, everyone saw the system for what it was. We were furious. We realized that statistically, because of the curve, there was no way for many of us to keep our scholarships. But at that point, you’re a year in. They’ve got you. You feel stuck.

Alexandra Leumer, a 2009 graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law, quoted in an interesting and provocative New York Times article suggesting that law school “merit scholarships” can be a bit of a scam unfair in the eyes of some recipients, due to the fact that so many students lose them after their 1L year by not achieving the required GPA.

(We’ll probably have more to say about this piece, entitled Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win, on Monday — but in the meantime, feel free to discuss it in the comments.)

e-mail scam.jpgDear sirs. We are a legal blog based in the New York City. One of our Nigerian investors has mysteriously passed away and left us a lot of money. We are trying to increase the number of advertisers on our site, and have a unique proposal for you. We will send you the money and then we would like you buy adds on our site. You can keep some of the money for your trouble. We only want to do this deal with the “Guest” commenter. If you are “Guest,” please send us your bank details to and we will send you a check.
We doubt that would work on you, oh savvy ATL readers, but it might work on Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (a firm that came out of Southern merger mania). The firm was recently taken in an e-mail scam and lost $400,000. From the ABA Journal:

The Nashville Post (sub. req.) reported yesterday that the law firm wired more than $400,000 to the foreign bank account of a scammer posing as a client. Lawyers at the firm believed the funds were covered by a check it had deposited–a check that turned out to be phony.
The law firm says it quickly reported the scam to the FBI, leading to the arrest of suspects and the freezing of the funds. “It was an elaborate criminal plan on many levels,” Bradley Arant managing partner John Grenier said in a statement released to the ABA Journal. The firm quickly reported the crime, leading to “the apprehension of the suspects in this scheme and the freezing of the funds.”

How did the firm get taken by the elaborate criminal plan? After the jump.

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inebriation 3 lawyer attorney drink drunk drinking excusable neglect motion 1.JPG

In case you’re wondering about the outcome, our tipster states: “Amazingly, the Judge granted the motion.”

We contacted the attorney responsible for this court filing, to verify its authenticity. She responded: “Can I ask what your interest is, please, and how you acquired these?”

We’re taking that as a “Yes, they’re authentic.” We gave the lawyer in question an opportunity to deny authenticity — or to deny her use of a smiley-face emoticon in a court document — and she did not.

We responded to her message, explaining that they were forwarded to us by tipsters (whose identities we always keep confidential, unless they request otherwise).

In her next email, she had a little more to say. We reprint her comments after the jump.

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