Hello. How are you guys? Working hard? Getting ready for the season of bonuses and profit distributions? Realizing that 3L year is just as useless as I’ve always said it was? I hope all is well.
You might have noticed that I was away last week. That’s because at 10:59 p.m. on September 24th, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Here’s my son, Claudius Elie Charles Mystal:
He’s a Libra, which means he’s supposed to have an affinity for lawyering. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to crush any law school dreams early on. Actually I’ve already got to start thinking about getting him into preschool. Bloomberg now has people going to school once they’re six weeks old.
Since I’ve got so much stuff to do, I’ll be out a couple more weeks. I’ve already learned that having a newborn is like going to jail in The Wire: you only lose two minutes of sleep, the minute you wake up and the minute before you get back to bed.
I had packed up my things and was about to turn off the light. That’s when the phone rang here at the CircumcisionLawDesk. The shrill tone of the ring sounded more urgent than usual. I put down my box of Pulitzers and picked up the receiver.
“Hell-” “You’ve gotta write quick, Mister! Gawker ran a story on circumcision and it’s crazy!” I replied that I was too old for this game. Tracking down every circumcision tip had left me a hollow shell of a man. But the kid was insistent. “What about the babies???” Now you listen here, you sniveling punk, I said. I was never in it for the babies. Heck, I never could figure out just what I thought about circumcision. Mutilation, health, hygiene, aesthetics. The whole racket made my head spin. And that’s when the young punk said something that set me on my present course.
“There might be a lawsuit. Some Jews are crazy-mad about a new regulation passed by the City of New York and they’re threatening all kinds of holy hell over it. It’s not that New York is outlawing circumcision. It’s not about that. It’s that… well, it’s that some of these Jewish folks do something.” Out with it! “I can’t… I don’t wanna say… It’s that these Jewish fellas, some of them… Well…”
Item that zero percent of babies needed for roughly the first 3,000 years of civilization.
Last month, I found myself in a store named “Buy Buy Baby.” That’s not a typo. There’s really a store whose very name encourages rampant consumerism for babies before they can even start forming memories.
Needless to say, I was not impressed. At one point, I threatened to buy my baby a wheelbarrow and some duct tape to avoid the stroller hijacking. When that joke didn’t magically make the prices go down, I asked one of the sales clerks what “poor” people do when they have children.
The clerk didn’t miss beat, and said, “You don’t want your baby to feel poor, do you?”
Of course, there is a real answer to the question “what do poor people do.” They go on Craigslist and buy used baby stuff! Because nothing says “broke” like going online and buying crap for your baby that some other baby has already peed and vomited on.
But when you are on Craigslist, buyer beware. And the seller should beware too, because people who buy things on Craigslist might be idiots. That’s something that a local judge in Massachusetts is learning….
Imagine that you’re a lawyer on maternity leave, and you find out on a Friday — somewhat short notice, but you have the weekend to sort things out — that your request for a trial delay has been denied. You have to go to court on Monday. What would you do in that kind of a situation?
While some would simply ask a family member to watch the baby, others would hit the babysitter’s number on speed dial in a heart beat. Others would farm the case out to a competent colleague. And others still would dump the baby off at the local daycare center that specialized in newborns. Each of these options seems reasonably workable.
But Amber Vazquez Bode, the lawyer this actually happened to, wasn’t having it. Interrupt my maternity leave? Screw you, judge, I’m bringing my baby to court….
* Things you can sell as a practicing attorney: your soul, your dignity, and your standards. Things you can’t sell as a practicing attorney: babies (but it sure is a great way to abort your career). [Daily Mail]
Earlier this week, we wrote about Natalie Hegedus, a young Michigan mother who claims she was “humiliated” after a judge called her out for breastfeeding in court. Women across the country were outraged that a judge would find this sort of behavior in his courtroom to be inappropriate.
As we noted previously, Michigan is is one of only five states that does not have a law that would allow nursing mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. But some women in Michigan apparently don’t give a damn about the law (or lack thereof).
Later this month, an advocacy group called No Injustice Against Nursing in Public (NINJA NIPs, for short) will be staging a protest outside of the courthouse where Hegedus was shamed. What kind of a protest, you ask? A nurse-in….
We’ve written in these pages before about the wrath that breastfeeding mothers incur on a seemingly daily basis. Like it or not, for some women, breastfeeding is part and parcel of being a new mother. And whether you’ve lost your job or you’ve been prevented from taking the LSAT, sometimes the discrimination that these women face just seems downright unfair.
So what happens when you’re a breastfeeding mother but life just isn’t cooperating with you? What happens when you have to start nursing in a public place, and that place just so happens to be a courtroom?
Here’s what one judge has to say about whipping out a boob in public….
It’s time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month. Actually, it’s well past time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month, but I forgot to do it before I went on vacation. Sorry about that. Since it’s late I’ll make this column free.
The winner of the July contest won in a landslide. Regular readers of Above the Law will not be surprised to learn that Elana Nightingale Dawson, a recent law school graduate who went into labor while attempting to pass the bar, won our lawyer of the month poll — even if she’s not yet a practicing attorney. That’s just how we roll around here.
But despite her comfortable margin of victory, Elana Dawson inspired some interesting debates in the comments, debates that merit additional attention….
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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