Crazy sh*t

Looking for an epigraph for your departure memo? This man can help.

Writing your law firm departure memo: there’s an app for that? Well, not yet. (But you can certainly download the Above the Law app and read past farewell memos for inspiration.)

For now, the closest you can get is by starting your departure memo with a quotation from the late, great Steve Jobs. Like this one: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers….”

Yes, that’s how one fairly senior associate at a top law firm began his good-bye email. We received it from a few tipsters, one of whom called it “the best departure memo ever.”

Okay, I don’t know if I’d go that far. There are a few I’d rank higher — Shinyung Oh, Tyler Coulson, and maybe the tea bagger. But this one is definitely up there….

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I never had the inclination, or the physical strength, to attack Mr. Bloch.

Henry Shields Jr., the Drinker Biddle partner accused in a lawsuit of assaulting opposing counsel at a deposition. Shields, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, maintains that he was the victim of the assault rather than the perpetrator.

(To read more about how a deposition devolved into a fracas, see our prior post.)

Here’s an open thread for discussing the July 2011 bar exam. We hope you attack it with all the gusto of Los Angeles lawyers at a deposition.

If you’ve just finished the bar exam, congratulations. We hope you’re taking a well-deserved vacation, perhaps involving some exotic travel (e.g., the traditional bar trip).

If you’re still in the middle of the big test, good luck. At least you’re done with the MBE, which some believe to be the hardest part of the bar.

Some of you may need all the luck you can get. This morning we told you about bar exam mishaps from this week. Unfortunately, since then we’ve heard about even more bar-related problems.

Let’s hear about the latest difficulties from around the country — and give you a place to talk about the test….

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Have you ever been to a deposition that got physical? Maybe some fisticuffs, or a little shoving? No? Well, obviously you’ve been hanging out in the the wrong conference rooms.

A complaint filed in Santa Monica Superior Court and reported on by Courthouse News Service accuses a Drinker Biddle partner of “robust, unlawful force” that resulted in opposing counsel breaking his wrist. The alleged assault happened at the Beverly Hills office of the Excelus Law Group, a small law firm based in southern California. Attorney William W. Bloch claims that Drinker Biddle’s Henry Shields refused to leave his conference room after a deposition, and then assaulted him — with “some kind of martial art move.”

Shields and other Drinker Biddle attorneys who were there deny all of these allegations. And affidavits submitted by Drinker Biddle attorneys, as well as the actual deposition transcript, seem to paint a different — and much more hilarious — version of events…

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A slew of bar exams started yesterday, and the rest got underway today. And yet we already have stories about “crazy things” happening during the administration of the tests.

When things go wrong during the bar exam, most people will overcome the adversity and still pass the test. But those who end up failing the bar will remember these events forever.

So let’s take a brief stroll around the bar exams to look at the stories some test takers will be telling from now until February…

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As many of you already know, if you don’t want to use email, you can send tips to Above the Law by text message. The number to use is 646-820-TIPS (or 646-820-8477).

That number, which is hooked up to our Google Voice account, also accepts voice mails. We strongly prefer text-based tips, via email or text message, over voicemail tips (which require us to listen and transcribe). But you can leave us voicemails if you like.

In the wake of the Casey Anthony verdict, one reader left us a, um, very interesting voice-mail. Check it out — it’s under 10 seconds….

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Have you ever dreamed of changing the Biglaw model, of making the law firm a pleasant place to work? If so, we might have just the opportunity for you.

Some Hogan Lovells attorneys were recently offered the opportunity of a lifetime, courtesy of “The Office of Mr. Monfort in Partnership with Hogan Lovells International.” Mr. Monfort invites all Hogan Lovells employees to join the Lawyers Transformation Program, which will “allow a lawyer to identify the excesses and wrongdoing of the current law firm model in order to accomplish the transition into a long-term and sustainable law firm approach.”

In case this wasn’t sufficient to get Hogan Lovells attorneys on board, the invitation goes on to list in detail the crazy lofty ideals of the Lawyers Transformation Program, promising nothing short of revolution and greatness.

The only problem? Hogan Lovells, not surprisingly, has no idea who Mr. Monfort is. Find out how you can join the Biglaw utopia movement and read the Hogan Lovells response, after the jump.

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You don’t have to be a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars to have predicted that Warner Bros. — the company that produces Two and a Half Angry Men and, not un-coincidentally, Looney Tunes — would fire Charlie Sheen from the show. And on Monday, that’s exactly what happened. Writing on behalf of Warner Bros., Munger Tolles (specifically, partner John Spiegel) fired off an 11-page letter immediately axing Charlie from Two and a Half Laughs, Ever Men.

But even if someone wields a machete from a roof or requests a battle in the Octagon, you can’t necessarily fire him for cause just because he’s crazy. For instance, Tom Cruise jumps on couches and he has gone on to not be fired from several lackluster movies, most notably Valkyrie. Warner Bros. needs cause to fire Charlie under his $1.8 million per episode contract, and in the letter, they offer up a kitchen sink of it.

A lot rides on the outcome here: if Charlie prevails in arbitration and proves that Warner Bros did not have cause to fire him, he stands to get paid for the ten remaining episodes in the show’s ninth (!!) season. And if the reports are accurate, he also has a “Michael J. Fox” clause in his contract, which specifically permits a washed-up 80s actor to continue to draw paychecks from humorless sitcoms that remain in production after the actor has left the show to fade into obscurity – a hold over from the days when Sheen replaced Fox in Spin City and Fox continued to get paid. If Warner Bros. prevails, they may seek 10 episodes worth of lost revenue from Charlie, though admittedly it will be difficult to convince an arbitrator that anybody watches the show, must less pays to advertise on it.

In any event, down to brass tacks. Here are the various allegations Warner Bros. makes in the termination letter to assert that they have cause to fire Charlie under his contract, along with my evaluation of their merits….

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For a long time, Jonathan Lee Riches reigned as Craziest Pro Se Litigant in America. But at a certain point, JLR jumped the proverbial shark. His handwritten complaints, making bizarre allegations against everyone from Michael Vick to Martha Stewart to the late Benazir Bhutto, were just too clever by half. And once he passed the 1,500 mark in lawsuits, his shtick got… old.

Fortunately we have a new favorite pro se party for you. Meet Deborah Frisch (or Deborah E. Frisch, Ph.D., as she identifies herself in court filings). Frisch appears to be something of a loon, despite her doctorate and past teaching positions at such schools as the University of Oregon and the University of Arizona. Ironically enough, or maybe not so ironically, the nutty professor teaches… psychology.

Here’s the charming opening paragraph from a document that Frisch filed last week in federal district court in Oregon:

Plaintiff shall henceforth refer to self as litigant since she is defendant, appellant or plaintiff, depending on which shyster-vermin she is dealing with. Litigant files this response to the order filed by Docket Clerk Brinn and signed by USDC-OR Magistrate Coffin deeming all pending motions… moot since the frocked cowfucker in San Francisco denied the plaintiff’s appeal.

The “frocked cowfucker” appears to be the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, who served on a panel that rejected a Frisch appeal. For the record, his chambers are in Pasadena, not San Francisco.

Let’s look at the rest of Frisch’s filing, shall we?

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Practice pointer: don’t refer to judges as ‘frocked cowf**kers.’

Mel Gibson. (In background is his career going up in flames.)

Sorry, Braveheart fans. You can no longer name this movie as your favorite of all time without making women around you shudder in disgust — thanks to the off-screen actions of the film’s barbaric leading man.

Mel Gibson used to be a perfect man crush: squeaky clean Hollywood blockbusting-star, with a big family and serious passion. But now his major hits tend to be for gossip websites reporting on his misdeeds, first with his anti-Semitic rant while being arrested for drunken driving in 2006 (later expunged from his record), then with the end of his 28-year marriage amid accusations of adultery, and now with the alleged battery of and abusive phone calls to his current Russian-musician girlfriend/baby mama.

Gibson usually plays an affable and inspiring good guy in films. But in real-life phone calls to his girlfriend — check out recordings #1 and #2 (with added death threats and heavy panting!) — it sounds like he’s auditioning for a horror movie, using his mouth as a lethal weapon. Here’s a censored version of one of the calls (so you can listen with your kids), from the AP:

Gibson’s girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, taped the calls after Gibson allegedly punched her in the face and broke a few teeth — all while she was holding their love child. California is a two-party consent state when it comes to taping conversations, with $2,500 fines and jail time for those that break the wiretapping law.

Could Grigorieva get in trouble for recording Mad Mel?

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