Debate

A Chick-fil-A meal (photo by David Lat).

Joe here. You’re minding your own business, checking your law school email in lieu of listening to the lecture, when an invitation catches your eye. It’s from the local Federalist Society chapter and they’re hosting an event on marriage equality. Fed Soc puts on good events, and unlike a lot of the issues out there, marriage equality is an issue where the organization might have a fair and respectful debate. After all, this is the organization of Ted Olson and Richard Posner as much as it’s the organization of Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. There’s room under that ideological tent. But you open the email to see an oversized Chick-fil-A logo. Shock jock tactics.

To say that Staci and I disapproved would be an understatement.

Now imagine the event were not about marriage equality. Would it be acceptable to serve Chick-fil-A at a talk on gun control? On eminent domain? Is there ever a time where Chick-fil-A is a “content neutral” noshing option?

I say no. David says yes. We let you in on our argument about this….

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* Anna Nicole Smith’s estate finally loses its effort to secure a piece of her late husband’s estate. This whole thing was like Bleak House with boobs. [Jezebel]

* Supreme Court halts same-sex marriage in Virginia. So there you go. [ABC News]

* Our old friend the Affluenza kid is back in the news, but this time he’s only a footnote to the story. His father, the one who spoiled him so badly he couldn’t help himself but kill a bunch of people, has been arrested for impersonating a cop. Maybe affluenza is contagious. [NBCDFW]

* The preliminary draft of the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure are available for public comment! So what are you still doing here? [U.S. Courts]

* Lawyer posts a bounty available to anyone who can help him collect on the multi-million dollar judgments he’s secured against a pilfering billionaire. “I’ve spent enough money getting judgments.” Enter Dog the Judgement Bounty Hunter. Go with Christ, Brah.[Forbes]

* Adam Carolla has settled with the patent troll who was suing him claiming they invented the podcast. Details weren’t disclosed, but since Carolla had previously said he wouldn’t settle for any amount of money, I wonder how they sweetened the pot. [USAToday]

* Suspended Notre Dame athletes reportedly considering a lawsuit against journalists who named them as suspects in a cheating scandal. Even though the school itself named them. If the classes they supposedly took were “Pre-Law” or “Basics of Defamation,” then I think the NCAA has a slam dunk case. [FoxSports]

* The extracurriculars that help you get into law school. Debate’s still on there even if the description — at least of the form of debate most Americans practice — sounds more like what a high school drama thinks of debate instead of reality. Less extemporaneous speaking and more “massive, in-depth research and a developing a mastery of electronic research databases.” [InGenius Prep]

* The lingering lawsuit over one of the most devastating hockey hits in recent memory has finally settled. The parties agreed to 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. [ESPN]

* If an armed society is a polite society, then Nelson, Georgia has the most polite motherf**kers in the country. [Constitutional Daily]

* Professor X is breaking the law? You know, he really should have seen that coming… [Law and the Multiverse]

* Speaking of people who should have seen it coming, Dionne Warwick, former spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network, has filed for bankruptcy. [Celeb Legal Issues]

* Incest is best when kept in the family. So go ahead and adopt your girlfriend. [Lowering the Bar]

* “Your Honor, I’d like my dong stricken from the record.” [OC Weekly]

* A slick recap of how completely screwed the legal industry is right now, by Axiom Law (via Bruce MacEwen). [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* On a personal note, as a debate coach myself, congratulations to everyone involved with the Emporia State debate team for becoming the first team ever to win both national championship tournaments (by way of analogy the “U.S. Open” and “The Masters”) for the same year. [Associated Press]

Mitt Romney’s unfortunate comment at the most recent presidential debate, in which he boasted about receiving “binders full of women” while trying to build a diverse cabinet as Governor or Massachusetts, has become a wildly popular internet meme. If you’re looking for some good laughs, check out this Tumblr or this slideshow.

Happily, there’s a Biglaw connection to all of this. At which leading law firm can you assemble your own “binder full of women”?

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“I don’t know…I can’t figure out any differences between these guys.”

Last night, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared off in a town hall debate, a format specifically designed to sway undecided voters because the political media seems obsessed with the idea that low information voters are super awesome and totally deserving of their role driving the political discourse of the most powerful nation on the planet.

As I watched it last night, it struck me that this town hall format is the political equivalent of the jury trial. The process is driven by staunchly undecided people culled from the local population with a moderator on hand primarily to facilitate the flow of information to the pool of lay observers.

But the two Harvard Law grads seeking the highest office in the nation failed some of the cardinal rules of jury trials.

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I had the pleasure of being at Hofstra University last night to watch the presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I wasn’t actually in the venue where the debate itself was held, but in overflow seating with a bunch of Hofstra people. I had been invited earlier in the day to participate in a student debt discussion at Hofstra Law, and they let me hang around for the rest of the day.

I already know who I’m going to vote for. Everybody I spoke to already knew who were they going to vote for. If there were people there who were still unsure about who they were going to vote for, I didn’t notice them, probably because “undecided” voters are too stupid to walk around campus and talk and not choke on their own saliva. In any event, it was fun to watch the debate with a diverse group; everybody hears what they want to hear. Republicans heard Romney’s five-point plan to fix the economy and piss off China. I heard this:

But I’d like to think everybody heard the same thing from both candidates when it comes to student loans: a load of bullcrap….

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In a few hours, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will meet in Denver, Colorado, for the first of three presidential debates (though the second is a town hall debate; are those really “debates?”). As lawyers, you likely possess more than a passing interest in the events of the evening.

You are also Above the Law readers, which means you likely possess more than a passing interest in reckless self-destruction through the massive consumption of alcohol.

As a lawyer, drinker, and college debate coach who gets way too into these things, I have constructed a drinking game to shepherd you through the process of viewing tonight’s debate….

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Chris Danzig here. If you read Above the Law, well, ever, you know that we are deeply concerned about the burden of law school loan debt facing many young lawyers. The general consensus at ATL — vocalized most frequently by Elie and Staci, who each have firsthand experience with six-figure loan debt — is to avoid law school entirely, or at least know what you’re getting yourself into (and STFU when bill collectors come calling).

Occasionally, we hear about unusual approaches to dealing with debt that are undertaken by entrepreneurial — or outrageously bold, depending on your perspective — lawyers or law students. Crowdsourcing seems to be one of the new strategies.

Today, we heard from a 30-year-old graduate of an elite law school who is still living with his parents. He has turned to the internet for help paying off his loans.

I think he may be onto something, but my colleague Staci doesn’t exactly agree….

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This guy isn't a slacker; he's just not wasting his time with law school.

Elie here. Lat and I have debated in these pages about whether or not certain students should drop out of law school. Dropping out has a stark finality to it. And then people call you a “dropout” like your name is Frenchie.

Today we have a more subtle question: should a rising 2L take a year off? He doesn’t have a job or any prospects or anything, but the kid wants to know if hitting the “pause” button on his legal career will do him any good.

Let’s break this down. And don’t forget to take our poll and add your own advice, in the comments….

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'I'm ending my 1L year with a B-minus average. What's the point in going on?'

Lat here. Your Above the Law editors occasionally receive requests for advice from readers, to which we sometimes respond. Back in March, for example, Elie Mystal and I debated the merits of Harvard Law School versus Yale Law School, for the benefit of a prospective law student choosing between these two fine institutions. In case you’re wondering, he’s going to Yale.

(The future Yalie explained his decision this way: “I didn’t want to take the chance that even if I worked harder at HLS, I could still be ranked below enough outstanding students to not impress a professor, land a good clerkship, etc. I also got the impression that this risk-averse mentality was what drove many people who were on the fence between YLS and HLS to eventually choose YLS.”)

Choosing between Harvard and Yale is a high-class problem. Today we look at a situation that we’ve addressed before, in 2010 and 2011, and that continues to confront our readers. The question presented: If you do poorly in law school, should you cut your losses and drop out? Or should you keep on trucking and collect that J.D. degree?

We have two fact patterns. One involves a 1L, and one involves a 2L. Let’s hear them out, shall we?

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