Buffalo

This is the delicate dance done between American cities and the NFL. The American city will bow, the NFL will embrace. They glide across the dancefloor of time and space, dipping and twirling, bumping and grinding. The city and the NFL become one as the dance reaches its climactic stage, the NFL gently caressing the city, like a mother might a child. As the music of the universe crescendos, the NFL will whisper gently into the willing city’s ear.

GIVE ME ALL YOUR F*$&ING MONEY, YOU DIRTY PIECE PIECE OF S&!*

The stadium is built and the dance is complete.

In upstate New York, this thrusting, rapey foxtrot is just getting started. Governor Cuomo, the Bills, Roger Goodell, they’ve all been invited. And so has a lawyer… natch.

Because the Bills need a new stadium and because they need a new owner. Because the state of New York drafted an attorney with tremendous upside potential.

Because all of this, let’s talk sports…

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God Hates You, Buffalo

There is a scene in the film Buffalo ’66 in which Christina Ricci’s character tap dances at a bowling alley. She’s wearing a very short lilac dress to go along with her tap shoes and she begins her dance slowly. She ends it slowly too. The whole thing is slow, a Thorazine shuffle committed to celluloid by one of this country’s truly weird film directors. The scene prompted Roger Ebert to remark, “What’s this scene doing in “Buffalo ’66″? Maybe Gallo didn’t have any other movie he could put it in.” What’s this paragraph doing on Above the Law?

This week, the Buffalo Bills managed to be at the center of the sporting universe for the first time since Frank Wycheck lofted that perfectly tight spiral into the arms of Kevin Dyson. Before that, it was the 4 Super Bowl defeats. The point here, if there ever is one, is that the Bills are destined to occupy our collective conscious every few years as the butt of some cosmic joke we have yet to divine the meaning of. This week, the Bills carry on their illustrious history as God’s punchline, closing one lawsuit and preparing for another.

Let’s talk text messages and vagina fungus.

Let’s talk sports…

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This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for a healthy baby. Watching the Cowboys get blown out with your son is a whole other level of awesome that I can’t begin to adequately describe.

Trust me, my little guy will not grow up to like the Cowboys, he won’t end up being a Republican, and there’s no way in hell he’s going to law school. As soon as I got back to work, I remembered to be thankful (again) that I graduated from law school long before the economic meltdown and the era of high tuition with low job prospects.

Other people aren’t as lucky. Over the holiday, a presumably unemployed, 2012 law graduate sent a scathing letter to the dean and the faculty of the law school he graduated from. He’s angry. Based on the letter, he also might be a little loopy, possibly from hunger, but he’s certainly very, very angry….

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I again want to sincerely apologize for the inappropriate costumes worn by some of our employees at our Halloween Party in 2010. It was in extremely poor taste and I take full responsibility. I know people were extremely offended and people have every right to be upset with me and my firm.

Steven J. Baum, principal of Buffalo’s premier “foreclosure mill,” issuing an apology via email for his firm’s distasteful 2010 Halloween party.

Allegedly offensive Halloween costume

I thought the rule for Halloween costumes was “don’t dress like Hitler.” But apparently you are also supposed to wear costumes that are nice and compassionate — or else you might be smacked around in the New York Times.

(We won’t smack you around. Please send in Halloween pics, and you might win a t-shirt.)

Over the weekend, you might have seen the Times story on the Stephen J. Baum law firm. As the largest so-called “foreclosure mill” in New York state, representing banks that kick people out of their homes, it’s not the kind of place that receives hugs and kisses from the community. Which is fine; lawyers there are paid for their work.

Every year the Baum firm hosts a huge Halloween party. Last year, employees reportedly dressed up like the some of the people who lose their homes during the course of Baum’s foreclosure business.

Some people are outraged that foreclosure lawyers don’t have “compassion” for their adversaries….

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Those blinking lights are important. Seriously.

I’ve been writing about electronic discovery for almost three years now. I’ve learned that most of the time, it’s not worth trying to interest non-attorneys in the subject. My friends’, family’s, and girlfriend’s eyes glaze over pretty quickly when I started mentioning the EDRM model or document review.

So when I saw the story early this morning about big e-discovery news in the litigation following a tragic plane crash, at first I thought I had misread something.

On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, killing 50 people. Later that year, authorities blamed pilot error for the crash. Unsurprisingly, families of the victims have sued the airline for failing to provide trained, capable, and rested pilots. This week, attorneys for the families released internal company e-mails that appear to show Colgan knew the pilot of the doomed flight was having serious problems.

What do the e-mails have to say?

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Gov. Pat Quinn

* The opening of the RaJabba Rajaratnam trial will be gripping, apparently. [Reuters]

* The S.E.C. is being attacked again about its ethical standards. It’s not like these problems started with Cam Newton. I mean, the S.E… what’s that? The Securities and Exchange Commission? What? No, I don’t even know what that is. What does that have to do with football? [New York Times]

* Horrifying syphilis experiments keep coming back to haunt the United States government. That’s so syphilis. [Charlotte Observer]

* Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation today ending capital punishment. I couldn’t think of a joke here, but this cat thinks it’s a frog. [Chicago Tribune]

* In Buffalo, a fight over attorney pay. I blame Norwood. [Buffalo News]

* A judge helped cut an attorney out of his father’s will and claimed he was still able to act impartially on a case the attorney was handling. That sh*t-eating grin on the judge’s face every time the attorney spoke? Oh, that was just a joke he remembered. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Former U.S. attorney (S.D.N.Y.) and Davis Polk litigator S. Hazard Gillespie, R.I.P. [New York Times]