Deaths

Whenever a person passes away while they are literally at their desk, we feel compelled to mention it. When these kinds of things happen, it affects a much wider circle of people than the family and friends of the deceased. It’s almost impossible not to think of your own mortality — and what you are doing with the limited time you have — when confronted with a person who passed away while diligently working and serving his clients.

For many people, working in Biglaw until the day they die would sound like a nightmare. The nature of the profession is that the high salaries and high status attract a number of people to the field who have no desire to actually practice law or service clients over the long term. There are so many people in Biglaw who are there to make enough money so they can do other things with their life. There are so many who are trying to get out before they end up there forever.

But there are others who are in Biglaw because they like it. There are those who honestly love the work, people who get so much intellectual and even emotional satisfaction from the work that their salary and status are non-concerns.

From all indications, Mark P. Edwards, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius who died at his desk on Friday, was one of those people. His friends and family will mourn that his life was too short, but hopefully they will feel that he died doing what he wanted to do….

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If we try hard enough, I bet we can blame the entire collapse of the American economy on some Lehman Brothers dudes who had too much Four Loko.

We’ve been following the successful crusade to get the original Four Loko banned because of its “dangerous” combination of caffeine and alcohol. Outlawing one specific mixture of alcohol and caffeine in a society where both alcohol and caffeine are abundant has always seemed stupid to me. It’s blaming a drink manufacturer for other people’s lack of personal responsibility. Four Loko, when enjoyed responsibly, was no more dangerous than any other alcoholic drink. When it was enjoyed by idiots, stupid things happened. Banning Four Loko just encourages blaming others for your own stupid and drunken behavior.

We recently saw what has to be the height of this Four Loko lunacy. A college student was shot to death last year, and now his family is suing the makers of Four Loko….

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When a tipster sent us an e-mail with the subject, “Court awards $700,000+ in sanctions for destruction of FB page,” I thought it sounded like it might be interesting. Because hey, that’s a lot of money.

I didn’t realize it would also be one of the most depressing legal news stories I’ve read since this tragic murder-suicide.

The three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar sanction award was levied against the widower of a woman killed in a car accident and the widower’s lawyer. The ruling was an abrupt table-turn for Isaiah Lester, who had previously won a $10 million wrongful death suit against the driver whose truck overturned and killed his wife.

Keep reading for the depressing details….

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Dr. Conrad Murray

With hundreds gathered outside of a courthouse in California (with a stunning lack of Michael Jackson impersonators), we can finally answer this lingering question.

Who’s bad? Dr. Conrad Murray.

Dr. Murray, the King of Pop’s doctor, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

What kind of sentence is Dr. Murray looking at?

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In mid-October, we brought you news of a tragic family murder-suicide that took place in Westchester County, New York. The apparent perpetrator, solo practitioner Samuel Friedlander, an alumnus of Western New England University School of Law, reportedly beat his wife to death and then shot and killed his two young children, before committing suicide.

As we noted in Morning Docket last week, there was some speculation as to whether the massacre had been premeditated. Today, we bring you an update on the slayings, including information on possible premeditation and additional background regarding Friedlander’s employment history.

Which major law firm did Sam Friedlander once work for?

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Disclosure: This obituary has been provided by Lateral Link, an Above the Law advertiser.

We are very sad to inform the legal community that Frank Kimball, a true leader in our legal industry who influenced thousands of attorneys, from law students to managing partners, during his successful career, passed away last Friday, October 28.

In addition to contributing to Above the Law, through a popular series of career advice posts, Frank provided search services, project consulting and training for leading law firms for almost two decades. He interviewed, hired, placed, or counseled more than 11,500 law students and attorneys. Frank was a partner with McDermott, Will & Emery from 1986-1992, served for six years on the hiring committee, ran two summer programs, and was chair of the national hiring committee in 1990-1992.

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* Another victim of the vengeful prosecution of Tyler Clementi’s roommate might be the guy Clementi was hooking up with when Dharun Ravi broadcast it. [Gawker]

* As I said on Twitter, you have to give Obama a little credit: when he uses suspect legal reasoning to do whatever he wants abroad, he comes home with scalps. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Here’s a job opening for an attorney that might not actually exist. [Constitutional Daily]

* This job opening is much cooler. But, don’t get me wrong, no Cooley grads are allowed to apply. Seriously. [The Legal Satyricon]

* I think the lesson here is there’s no reason anybody should ever want to immigrate to Alabama. [Huffington Post]

* Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Halley Catherine Shaw, a law student at Texas Southern University who died in a car crash earlier this week. [ABA Journal]

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we really do not like to write about murders, suicides, or murder-suicides here on Above the Law. The loss of human life is tragic, and it is even more so when there are children involved.

But that being said, we have news today that Sam Friedlander, an alumnus of my alma mater, was involved in a dispute with his estranged wife late Monday night — one that led to her bludgeoning and the shooting of his two young children — before he decided to turn the gun on himself.

If you think the story can’t get any sadder, wait till you see how the law school handled it….

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Last week was a sad time for America. People mourned the loss of a visionary, Steve Jobs. I cannot even tell you how many times I heard people talk about his celebrated 2005 Stanford graduation speech. It is without question that Jobs was a genius and we will never know what he could have created with more time. The depth of people’s reactions, however, suggests that we were mourning something more than the loss of a great man. We are, perhaps, mourning the loss of American innovation.

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em. Or at least that is what I am saying now. And luckily, I came across a blog post by Larry Bodine about what lawyers, particularly small-firm lawyers, can learn from Jobs….

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Al Davis, R.I.P.

Al Davis

So apparently Steve Jobs died last week? Perhaps you heard about it. Seems like everyone raced to their Zunes to eulogize the man who, quite literally, revolutionized the way we ignore homeless people on our walk to work. Just a whole lot of blubbering and crying and waxing poetic about iPads and Newtons and other fully assembled and ready-to-go computational machines. So yeah, he was a huge deal and I’m not sure how we’ll ever make it in his absence.

It would take a truly remarkable man’s death to overshadow the Apple guru’s passing. And so we can be thankful for Al Davis, who shuffled off this mortal coil on Saturday, slipping the surly bonds of earth, blah blah, whatever. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but Al Davis epitomized everything this website is about. Through sheer cunning and derring-do, Davis committed his life to two things: lawsuits and trolling the everliving s**t out of the most successful sports league this country has ever known.

After the jump, just read baby….

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