Awesomeness

Back in July, we told you about Howard Levitt, a Canadian lawyer who was so eager to zealously advocate for his client that he abandoned his Ferrari in quickly rising floodwaters to get to a hearing on time. Levitt ultimately won the motion hearing, but wondered if he would lose his car. According to Levitt, prior to being filled to the brim with raw sewage in the flood, the car was valued somewhere “north of $200,000.”

In the end, Levitt’s luxury Italian sports car was deemed a total loss, but his insurance company was kind enough to cover the whole thing. But what of the poor lawyer who gave up a dream car to assist a client in need? Sure, he got some additional clients and new-found fame out of his press coverage — but would he be able to buy a new Ferrari, or would be be relegated to driving his “back up car,” a Dodge Viper?

Our readers will be able to take some joy in today’s news update, because the good people at Ferrari were able to turn this crappy situation into a car enthusiast’s wet dream…

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What Mr. [Richard] Trenk did was so egregiously sloppy that I’m told his name is entering the legal lexicon: “To Trenk” means “to show a lackadaisical attitude toward the law, with catastrophic results for the client.” A usage example might be: “We were doing great until the lawyer missed the filing deadline and Trenked the whole case.”

Jake Freivald, owner of the domain name westorange.info, in public comments made during last night’s West Orange Township Council meeting. Freivald received a cease-and-desist letter from Trenk, and Freivald’s lawyer, Stephen Kaplitt, responded with a snarky letter that went viral globally.

(What else happened at the meeting? I attended, and it was a hot mess, jam-packed with shouting and even tears. Read on to get the juicy details….)

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In case you don’t know by now, many lawyers — maybe even you — enjoy writing cease and desist letters in a foreign language called legalese. This exotic tongue often contains Latin phrases, SAT vocabulary words, and various here-and-there words (e.g., herein, heretofore, hereinafter, hereunder, thereof, thereto, therewith, thereunder, therefor, thereon, and therefrom).

A person unfamiliar with legalese may become frightened and run to another attorney for help in deciphering this mystical language of lawyerly legend. The lawyer who has been tasked with translating legalese to English may then become annoyed, and issue a scathingly funny letter in return.

For an example of a great response to a cease and desist letter, keep reading….

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We all know by now just how many atrocious lawyer websites there are out there. Whenever I see a tip show up in my inbox about legal advertising, I prepare myself for yet another round of “What Were They Thinking?” But every once in a rare while, someone comes along who has mastered the advertising game. It takes a special talent to know what is just the right amount of crazy to be awesome.

It occurs to me that before today I never stopped to ask myself the important question, “What might Shaft’s website look like if he were a lawyer?” Which is unfortunate, because now I know the answer. And it is good.

So who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man? Carl B. Grant. Right on.

Kids, it’s time to turn up your speakers, sit back, and enjoy the greatness that is Carl B. Grant, if you can handle it.

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Caryn Davies

There’s just no feeling like that, having all that adrenaline running through you and knowing that you can have a great performance if you do what you know how to do. Thankfully, that’s something I’ve been able to do for a three-Olympic span.

Caryn Davies, a rising 3L at Columbia Law, describing how it feels to win her second Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. Women’s rowing team.

Grenade launcher not included.

Law school is freaking expensive. Duh. If you can’t afford the education without loans, some people would vehemently argue that you shouldn’t go at all. But if you’re dead-set on the legal profession and you’re desperate for ways to pay for it, people are coming up with all kinds of creative solutions. Some people fundraise on the internet… and some sell their old assault rifles.

So if any of our readers need a new fully automatic M16 AND feel like helping an aspiring law student reach his dreams, have we got a deal for you….

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It has been a rough year for the mountain climbing community, particularly for those who have attempted to summit the tallest peak in the world. During the last year, ten climbers have perished on the slopes of Mount Everest.

In a way, that only makes the story of the young Canadian attorney who summited Everest over the weekend even more incredible. Who is she, and where does she work? Let’s meet our Lawyer of the Day

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These muggers messed with the wrong attorney.

On Friday, a San Francisco lawyer single-handedly defeated a group of teenagers who tried to steal his cellphone, using only his Rockport shoes, some Jedi mind tricks… and the phone they tried to steal.

You do not want to mess with this badass Lawyer of the Day….

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Sorry folks, no relation.

Hi everybody! I’m Chris Danzig. You might have seen me around Above The Law over the past year, covering technology and West Coast legal news. As of today, I’m excited to be the site’s newest full-time editor, joining David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky.

I’m a journalist by trade, not a lawyer. I’ve spent too much time writing about the law — and the stressful situations that can arise within the legal profession, which sometimes drive lawyers to drink — to ever want to practice.

I went to journalism school at Northwestern University. I helped investigate a wrongful conviction case with the Medill Innocence Project while I was in school. After graduation, I was the assistant editor at InsideCounsel magazine in Chicago, where I covered legal technology.

I left that job about two years ago, and have worked as a full-time freelance reporter since then. I’ve written for a variety of publications, covering health care, music, social justice, and a bunch of other stuff. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.

Keep reading for more personal trivia about yours truly (and to see the photo of myself that Lat asked me to provide)….

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The legal profession isn’t known for its sense of humor. On the contrary, most attorneys take themselves way too seriously. As a result, we see some pretty ridiculous attorney advertising that ends up being unintentionally funny. And while we’re happy to poke gentle fun at these websites and ads, our commentary isn’t always well received. Because another thing that lawyers aren’t known for is the ability to accept criticism.

Knoxville attorney Stephen A. Burroughs, a personal injury and auto accident lawyer and my new favorite person, is an exception to these rules. Anyone from the Knoxville area is likely familiar with Burroughs, having seen his serious, bearded face on billboards all over town.

The ads were so ubiquitous, and Burroughs’s gaze so smoldering and intense, that someone created a Facebook page devoted to Stephen A. Burroughs Memes, transforming Burroughs into Knoxville’s answer to The Most Interesting Man in the World. As the Facebook page gained popularity, the funny memes started pouring in.

Even better than the jokes, though, was Burroughs’s unexpectedly awesome response….

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