(Admittedly, that advice would have been more helpful on Friday than it is now, but then I wouldn’t have had anything to write up today.)
Every year there are people who use New Year’s as an excuse to go out and act like fools. I know, the bubbles in the bubbly are hard to handle. But usually people get their act together by New Year’s Day. Maybe not Big Ten football people, but regular people usually manage to avoid embarrassment at the start of a new year.
But there are exceptions to every rule, and this year’s lawyerly exception comes from Charlotte, North Carolina. An associate at Alston & Bird went out for New Year’s Day dinner, and hilarity ensued.
Happily for the rest of us, an Above the Law reader was there to bear witness — and the associate left behind a little bit of evidence…
As you may recall, Schroeder is the 27-year-old Harvard Law School graduate who set fire to a memorial housing the remains of unidentified 9/11 victims, on Halloween 2009. Schroeder then did the right thing and turned himself in to the authorities. Shortly thereafter, Sidley — where Schroeder was headed, after a deferral to do public interest work — rescinded his job offer.
Yesterday afternoon, Schroeder pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the fire he set (more specifically, charges of burglary, criminal mischief and cemetery desecration). He accepted full responsibility for his actions and apologized for them.
What led the handsome Harvard grad — described by ATL sources as “a good guy” and “really smart,” albeit “a little strange” — to set the blaze? One word: alcohol. Schroeder testified that he couldn’t even remember setting the fire, but admitted to a hard-partying Halloween: “I drank many alcoholic beverages.”
So what kind of sentence is Brian Schroeder getting? One that isn’t pleasing prosecutors….
This has been a bad week for: the makers of Four Loko, personal responsibility, intelligent regulation, and natural selection. The FDA put the hammer to Four Loko, announcing that caffeine was a dangerous additive to alcohol. In response, the makers of Four Loko agreed to remove caffeine from their products.
Of course, this will stop nothing. I wrote an editorial in the New York Daily News trying to help parents understand that one drink isn’t the cause of their kids’ alcohol issues:
I’ve seen people between the ages of 18 and 25 put alcohol in: coffee, soft drinks, diet soft drinks, Jell-O laced with pixie sticks (for the sugar – but it’s the same principle), and, of course, Red Bull. I’ve seen fat people pop diet pills in the middle of a bender to stave off the coming dawn. I’ve seen a person crush up Ritalin pills, place them in champagne, and call it a celebration. I’m just describing, not endorsing, these habits.
This regulation is utterly futile. There is already a YouTube clip which instructs people how to make their own Four Loko.
You can read me taking a flamethrower to the Nanny State at the Daily News. It’s a preview of what I’ll be saying once FDA makes caffeine a schedule 4 controlled substance or something.
Once again, fear, overreaction, and the Nanny State have crushed liberty and common sense. Four Loko, a caffeinated, alcoholic beverage, will no longer be distributed in New York State. This follows previous Four Loko bannings in Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma.
Good job parents, you’ve succeeded in making a foul tasting alcoholic beverage the most sought after item at college parties. Because telling kids that they can’t have something always works so much better than educating them about proper use and moderation, right? “Just say no to drinking Four Loko!” (Instead, funnel it on an empty stomach if you really want to get wasted.) Oh wait, was that supposed to be a secret? Well you know parents, if your kids don’t learn how to drink from you, I guess they’ll have to learn it from me.
How obvious is it that all of this government attention is helping Four Loko sales? So obvious that the makers of Four Loko agreed to the ban voluntarily. It’s like that scene in Jedi only if Four Loko was the Emperor sitting there saying “Take your Government weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.”
I am taking crazy pills, or is the government playing right into the hands of Four Loko makers?
At the demand of the commenters, I’ve spent most of my afternoon becoming familiar with Four Loko, the caffeinated, alcoholic beverage. Apparently I’m way too old-school. When I want a “high-octane” energy drink, I pour some Absolute Poverty out of my flask, mix it with a Red Bull, and get back to the craps tables.
But now we live in a world where you can get a premium malt beverage and an energy boost all from the same can. Who knew? Progress, baby!
Yet before I’ve even been able to get my hands on this product, there are lawmakers trying to take it away. It seems that this drink has been dropping fools like flies. There’s a story that nine (nine!) Central Washington University students were hospitalized after excessive consumption of the beverage. People would be calling Four Loko a date rape drug, except nobody can seem to stay on their feet long enough to have sex with anybody after they drink it.
As we all know, we live in a world where kids can’t be irresponsible and careless with their own well-being before the government wants to get involved. So Four Loko is now under scrutiny by the FDA…
I wasn’t able to catch Larry King’s interview with Clarence Thomas’s ex-girlfriend, Lillian McEwen. I had prior commitments (how ’bout them Cowboys). But after reading reports all morning, I can see why her memoirs are stuck in the “manuscript” stage. There doesn’t seem to be any “there” there.
Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned is that Lillian McEwen would rather date a raving, porn-obsessed alcoholic than an angry, black conservative. Don’t get me wrong, I feel precisely the same way. But if this is all the “dirt” she’s got on Thomas, then it’s difficult to see how this materially impacts our understanding of the man.
And that’s assuming that everything she said is true….
Truck driver Vasant Reddy is not living the high life. Reddy, a Muslim, refused to transport a shipment of Miller Lite as part of his duties. He claims he was forced to resign because of adherence to his religious beliefs.
Normally refusing to deliver something would seem to be a pretty big problem if your job is to deliver things. But that’s why we have Title VII. As a religious objector, Reddy should still be able to work at his job, provided that he sincerely holds this religious objection and that making an exception doesn’t impose an undue hardship on Reddy’s employers.
Is delivering beer an essential function of being a truck driver? Let’s get into it (dear Muslim friends, you’ll probably want to skip the comments on this post)…
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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