Depositions

Sometimes, we care about questions. Sometimes, we care about answers. Sometimes, we care about both.

When you’re reporting on a situation, remember that.

I see many, many interview reports that unnecessarily include questions when the reader cares only about answers. If you’re interviewing a witness, and the witness lived the facts (and you personally know bupkis), then we really don’t care about your questions; we care only about the witness’ answers.

So, when you’re reporting on your interview of the witness, do not assign an abbreviation to your name (Mark Herrmann, hereinafter MH), an abbreviation to the witness’s name (The Witness, hereinafter TW), and then report on your questions as though they mattered:

“MH asked . . . . TW responded . . . . MH followed up by asking . . . .”

We care only about the facts — which the witness knows, and you do not — so report only the facts:

“According to the witness . . . .” Your name should appear no more than once in the entire report, so we know who conducted the interview.

That’s a situation where we care only about answers. But there are other situations where we care only about questions . . . .

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* The National Labor Relations Board, now with fewer recess appointments! Partners from Arent Fox and Morgan Lewis were nominated to fill seats necessary for the board’s quorum. [National Law Journal]

* Shearman & Sterling seems to be bucking the Biglaw system. The firm is cutting pay for high earners and increasing it for lower-ranking attorneys. We’ll probably have more on this later today. [Reuters]

* Dentons (formerly known as SNR Denton) recently poached a six-partner team led by Stephen Hill from Husch Blackwell to bolster its white collar practice. Welkom too teh furm, guise! [Am Law Daily]

* “It is technically more legal to screw a walrus than to get gay married.” You know you live in a very sad place when not only do article headlines like this exist, but they’re also CORRECT. [Death and Taxes]

* An American Eagle pilot is facing attempted drunk flying charges. Yes, that’s a thing, but come on now, anyone who’s seen the movie Flight knows you can fly a plane while you’re wasted. [Bloomberg]

* Lindsay Lohan blew off a deposition in Los Angeles yesterday. Cut the girl some slack; she had to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman, which was way more important. [Contra Costa Times]

A ‘beauty culturist’ at work.

* The latest update on the law school litigation front represents good news for New York Law School. [National Law Journal]

* Should summarizing a one-day deposition transcript really cost $90,000? Even DLA Piper might blush at such a bill. [Point of Law]

* Ropes & Gray isn’t backing down in the discrimination lawsuit brought by former partner Patricia Martone. (We’ll have more on this later.) [Am Law Daily]

* No, silly polo mogul, you can’t adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend to shield your fortune from litigation. [ABA Journal]

* Replacing “barbers” with “beauty culturists”? This is Indiana and not California, right? [WSJ Law Blog]

Lady Gaga

Back in September, we declared that Lil Wayne was the best celebrity deponent of all time, but now we may have to take back that title and hand it over to Lady Gaga, who recently proved herself to be a gigantic bitch on the record in sworn deposition testimony.

In case you were unaware, Lady Gaga is the queen of all things fabulous. She can get away with wearing things — like dresses made entirely of meat, plastic bubbles, and Kermit the Frogs — that not even Madonna would consider. Her little minions monsters span the globe, and will jump to defend her highness at a moment’s notice. Her lyrics are powerful and awe-inspiring, and she’s a major proponent of gay rights, worldwide.

And last, but certainly not least, she’s a true New Yorker, as is evidenced by the f**k-laden deposition transcript that the New York Post got its grubby little hands on….

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Stephen O’Neal

I later found out that during this whole period of time… when I was being romanced by Citibank, that they had reason to believe — in fact, they knew — that Howrey was in default of material covenants, and they didn’t tell me that.

Stephen O’Neal, a former partner of Howrey LLP, in a deposition in his pending litigation against Citibank. O’Neal and another former Howrey partner, David Buoncristiani, allege that Citibank committed fraud by encouraging them to finance their capital contributions with Citi, claiming that Howrey was financially sound when the bank knew Howrey wasn’t.

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

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Somebody is so getting sued.

* “We have all the resources and infrastructure we need for any potential dispute or recount.” Because elections aren’t just for Election Day anymore. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* UC Hastings College of the Law has set up a symposium fund to honor fallen alumnus J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. [NBC Bay Area]

* People realize that the next President will probably get to appoint a couple of SCOTUS justices, right? [Slate]

* That’s some costly attorney misconduct: a lawyer who got slapped with a $10,000 sanction for “egregious conduct” at a deposition now has to pay an additional $36,274 in legal fees. [New York Law Journal]

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau better hope Obama wins. [National Law Journal]

* Fun legal times at the Village Voice. [Corporate Counsel]

* When Sandy got real for people in Manhattan. [New Yorker]

When we posted video of Lil Wayne’s deposition earlier this week, we knew the epically rude (and vaguely threatening) clips would lead to comment gold.

Because nothing leads to jokes and jokes and jokes like one of the most absurd personalities in hip-hop culture thrown into a room with a buttoned-up lawyer.

The post had quite a few quality entries, like DoctorChimRichalds’s suggestion that Weezy should have pleaded “the Fizzifth.” Dr. Richalds was good, but not quite the best this week. What?

But we do have a Comment of the Week winner. Yeaaaaaah! Shall we see who it is? OKAY!

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Depositions usually aren’t very exciting, but every now and then, you get a gem that’s worthy of public fanfare from the legal world. Take, for example, a deposition that we came across last year, in which a lawyer asked the deponent whether his “jurisprudential hymen [was] being ruptured.”

Today, we’ve got some deposition fun for you with the assistance of rap artist Lil Wayne, and it turns out that he’s just as entertaining in a legal setting as he is on stage — and by “entertaining,” we mean he acted like a complete tool. He’s currently suing Quincy Jones III over a documentary about his life, claiming that he was portrayed in a “scandalous” manner.

Let’s check out the clips from his leaked deposition….

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