9/11

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* The Second Circuit ruled that the World Trade Center Cross may remain on display in the September 11 Memorial and Museum. Apologies, atheists, but it’s a “genuine historical artifact.” [New York Daily News]

* Howrey going to get money back when judges keep tossing unfinished business claims like they’re yesterday’s trash? We’ll see if such claims will be laid to rest after a hearing later today. [Am Law Daily]

* Paul Weiss had a good get this week, with Citigroup’s deputy general counsel leaving the bank to join the firm — which coincidentally has served as the bank’s outside counsel for two decades. [WSJ Law Blog]

* North Carolina, a state that adopted a ban on same-sex marriage in 2012, said it will no longer defend its law in the wake of the Fourth Circuit’s ruling as to a similar ban in Virginia. Hooray! [Los Angeles Times]

* If you missed it, a judge issued a preliminary ruling against Donald Sterling, meaning that the sale of the L.A. Clippers may proceed. Don’t worry, his attorney says this is just “one stage of a long war.” [CNN]

* It seems that “weed-infused weddings” are a hot commodity in states where the drug has been legalized. Sorry, it may be better than an open bar, but it doesn’t seem like a very classy thing to do. [Boston.com]

* Cheryl Hanna, Vermont Law School professor and praised legal analyst, RIP. [Burlington Free Press]

On Tuesday evening, I returned to the offices of Wachtell Lipton, the law firm where I toiled as an associate years ago. Luckily, I wasn’t there to bill hours; instead, I attended a reception marking the launch of a delightful new book, The Mother Court: Tales of Cases that Mattered in America’s Greatest Trial Court (affiliate link).

“The Mother Court” is the nickname for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, regarded by many as the preeminent federal trial court in the nation. In the book of the same name, James Zirin, a leading litigator who’s now senior counsel in the New York office of Sidley Austin, shares with readers the fascinating history of this top tribunal.

In a review that ran yesterday in the New York Law Journal, Thomas E.L. Dewey hailed the book as a “richly textured, immensely readable overview of the modern history of the Southern District of New York.” Last month, in the New York Review of Books, Judge Jed Rakoff praised Zirin’s “fluid prose and eye for detail.”

What fun tidbits and interesting opinions did James Zirin share in his remarks on Tuesday night?

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The legal profession in happier times.

A few pending anniversaries to mention: the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks; my 45th birthday tomorrow; I have been practicing law for 14 years; and my second year of writing this column for Above the Law is fast approaching.

Really, the only date of any import is 9/11. A “first world problem” for me is that my birthday is forever the “day after” — but at least I have a day after. So many families were destroyed that day, and so many of us will forever duck a little bit when airplanes fly past our buildings. I cannot imagine working in downtown San Diego, where the approach from the East is so close to so many skyscrapers.

I won’t dwell too much on lower Manhattan today, as by now I think everyone remembers in their own way, but I will always cherish my thirtieth birthday, a surprise party held at Windows on the World, surrounded by friends and a swing band in the background. I found a picture from that party — I am hugging some buddies, and was a young buck associate at Coudert Brothers, a 150+ year old firm driven to ruin by poor cash management. Anyway, today will forever be bittersweet as I prepare to look to the future tomorrow, and will always remember that awful day 12 years ago….

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Earlier this week, President Barack Obama reiterated his interest in shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay: “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not in the best interests of the American people.”

President Obama isn’t alone in being troubled by goings-on at Guantanamo. This morning I attended an interesting panel discussion where a retired admiral, the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, spoke out in favor of closing Gitmo….

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‘What, no power rings for the Law School Avengers?’

* In case you didn’t catch this yesterday when it was announced, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is currently being held for trial in New York City. This will be the most unbiased jury in the world. /sarcasm [New York Times]

* According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, democracies shouldn’t depend “on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say.” Well then! I suppose we should look forward to the uprising. [The Big Story / Associated Press]

* Cooley and Winston & Strawn are working on the $600 million sale of everyone’s favorite store for slutty Halloween costumes, Hot Topic. Apparently that store still exists. I had no idea. Good to know! [Am Law Daily]

* Proskauer Rose is now the most powerful Biglaw firm in the sports world. It just goes to show that even if you’re too awkward to play ball, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit it out of the park in court. [Sports Illustrated]

* “I would love to blink and wake up in 10 years and see where all this ends.” Unemployed law grads are probably saying the same thing, but hopefully these law school law firms will be beneficial. [New York Times]

* A group of legal heavy hitters — “The Coalition of Concerned Colleagues” — submitted a cutting letter to the Task ABA Force on Legal Education. Next time, try “The Law School Avengers.” [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* If it’s proven that enough Native Americans find the Redskins team name offensive, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board may cancel the mark. Would it be offensive to call the TTAB Indian givers? [National Law Journal]

* An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but benchslaps are another thing entirely. Sorry, Gibson Dunn, but your document production “mistake” was “unacceptable” in Judge Paul Grewal’s courtroom. [Bloomberg]

Feel free to put this back in your carry-on luggage.

It’s been a while since we’ve written about the anti-rights disaster that is the Transportation Security Administration. But they’re still there, still abusing people’s rights under the guise of “making us safer.”

Ironically, I’m writing about TSA today because they are relaxing their restrictions. The TSA has decided to allow small knives and golf clubs on the plane.

So, for those playing along at home, you still can’t have liquids over three ounces on the plane. But knives, you know, THE THINGS THAT THE TERRORISTS ACTUALLY USED TO TAKE OVER THE PLANES ON 9/11, are okay now….

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“There’s winners and there’s nothing else. I don’t give a sh*t what those pinkos over in Russia say. You want to be a loser you go live in Russia. I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I’m an American. Who wants to be John Wayne? Who wants to grab a root and hang on? Who wants to get a mean on? Get a mean on son.”– Coach Hisler, Johnny Be Good.

All I could think about last Saturday, while Johnny Manziel was breaking down Alabama’s vaunted defense, was Johnny Be Good. It’s one of the worst movies of all time, and it starred the assistant principal from Breakfast Club as a football coach, the nerd from Breakfast Club as some kind of great football player, and Robert Downey Jr., who wasn’t even in Breakfast Club. The soundtrack had the eponymous Chuck Berry song redone by Judas Priest, and also included a track from Ted Nugent. There are cameos by Jim McMahon and Howard Cosell, and the whole enterprise comes off as an indictment of the 1980s as one wildly implausible football scene piggybacks on another. To be strained would be a slap on the wrist for credulity in some of these scenes. I mean, this film is a trainwreck in every meaningful way.

It’s probably my favorite movie ever.

Let’s talk sports….

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* Obama has made more women federal judges than any other president in history. But he still has a long way to go to match Bill Clinton’s record for being judged by women. [Wall Street Journal]

* Let’s agree that neither of the people running for president should be a tax lawyer. [Going Concern]

* This story about law firms involved in a class action suit allows me to quote one of the great Abraham Lincoln lines, as retold by the late Shelby Foote: “There’s too many pigs for the tits.” [Forbes]

* Proof that bankers have a better life. [Dealbreaker]

* Did you know that there is a typo on the Liberty Bell? [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Louisiana has a problem with deadbeat corporations that owe money to the state. Apparently, businesses run from their debts just as well as students. [Lexis Tax Community]

We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming of news and commentary in a second. But today is 9/11, and so many of us in the legal community were affected by the tragic events that happened 11 years ago. We wanted to take a moment to honor that loss. Below is a statement from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman which seems appropriate.

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON 11th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 ATTACKS

On this solemn anniversary, I join with all New Yorkers in remembering and honoring those we lost 11 years ago. They were first responders who rushed in to the burning towers to save others, and civilians who were just trying to go about their daily lives. Few in our state have been untouched by the impact of the unspeakable attacks on our country that day, and we still ache at the absence of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. So as we honor their memory today – and the memory of the brave men and women in uniform who have sacrificed their lives to protect us since then – let us pray for their families and loved ones, and recommit ourselves to work for a more secure future.

* Politicians are barred from speaking at this year’s memorial ceremony at Ground Zero, but will this ever be a day without politics? That still remains to be seen, but it will always be a day of remembrance. Never forget. [ABC News]

* What could possibly be more important than a resolution in the South Carolina voter ID case? Prejudice by font size. The Department of Justice is arguing over the alleged 12-point font size used by the state in a brief. Yes, seriously. [National Law Journal]

* Stephanie Rose was confirmed by the Senate as the first female federal judge in Iowa’s Southern District by a margin of 89-1. Damn, the one guy who voted against her better have a good reason. [Des Moines Register]

* “[He's] still trying to exculpate himself from one of the biggest blunders in the history of jurisprudence.” O.J.’s Dream Team denied allegations that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the bloody glove. [Los Angeles Times]

* Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the Obama “Hope” poster — you know, the one that Paul Ryan says is fading on your wall — has been sentenced to two years’ probation for tampering with evidence. [CNN]

* What are some of the advantages of applying to law school on an early decision basis? If anything at all, you’ll find out earlier that you won’t be getting any scholarship money. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

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