Drinking

It seems the main lesson our Bar Review Diarists are learning — other than the crucial information for the bar exam itself, of course — is that studying for the bar sucks. There is so much information, it’s summertime, they just graduated, and studying is the last thing anyone wants to be doing, so it all seems so unfair.

We are learning each week about their myriad procrastination techniques, useful distractions, and mandatory morale boosters. So what do Andrew, Nathan, and Jeanette have for us this week?

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This community service stinks.

Ahh, “sh*t law.” In case you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s what some lawyers rudely and condescendingly call legal practice outside of Biglaw. From traffic tickets to personal injury, you name it, and it’s apparently a derivative of “sh*t law.”

Back in March, we brought you a story about Joseph Neal Jr., the apparent king of one of these so-called “sh*t law” practices in Augusta, Georgia. Neal, a prominent personal injury attorney, earned our Lawyer of the Day title after he and his ex-wife racked up criminal charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting the family babysitter. Neal later went on to earn 21% of the vote in our March Lawyer of the Month competition.

Now, just a few short months later, Neal has been sentenced after accepting the terms of a plea bargain. The deal reduced a felony rape charge to two misdemeanors. Neal will serve three years of supervised probation, and he’ll also commit to a term of community service that some would call a bit of poetic justice….

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Last time we checked in with our 2012 Bar Review Diarists, they were, how shall we say… BORED. That boredom has given way to further procrastination by way of parties, impromptu travel, and motion picture ideas. The midsummer frantic is still some ways off, but at least Nathan, Jeanette, and Andrew seem to be enjoying themselves this summer, despite bar review pressure.

Let’s see what they’re up to, shall we?

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UPDATE (1/10/2013): Please note the update at the end of this post concerning the dismissal of the charge in this case.

This is going to go down as one of those “partners behaving badly” stories, but I don’t think it should. Underage drinking is a problem because kids don’t know how to handle alcohol and they drink too much and die. Or they drink too much and then do something stupid and die. Dead teenagers are not a good thing.

Many people think the solution is to somehow “ban” teenage drinking. Note that currently people under 21 aren’t allowed to buy alcohol. Note also that teens almost always still find a way to drink.

Instead of only focusing on ways to prevent teens from drinking, can’t we also at least think about ways to allow teens to drink in a safe environment? I think every high school should have at least one “cool” parent. One parent whose house you can go over to and have a couple of beers without everybody freaking out. Then, if you get too drunk or stupid or whatever, the “cool” parent can drive you home, or keep an eye on you, or tell the attending physician exactly how much you had to drink before you lapsed into a pansy-boy “alcohol poisoning” coma.

So yeah, to the rest of society, this Biglaw partner has been accused of something really bad. To me, he’s just been accused of providing a vital public service….

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Luckily for all the non-Mormons in Idaho, the state doesn't find references to grand tetons offensive to anybody.

It’d be one thing if the state of Idaho banned all alcohol because the state sports a large Mormon population and Mormons don’t drink. That might raise a Con Law question or two, but before we could even litigate it out, the state’s many non-Mormons would rebel against the religious theocracy preventing them from drinking. (They wouldn’t call it a “theocracy” because some Grover Norquist-type would convince them that “redistributive taxes” had empowered a “Communist regime,” and the good people of Idaho would blame the black guy, but I digress.)

Banning all alcohol would be too obvious of an imposition of religious dogma upon a secular concern.

Instead, Idaho is trying to get away with a smaller encroachment of religion upon the public sphere. The state of Idaho has effectively banned the sale of one particular kind of vodka because the state believes the company’s marketing campaign is offensive to Mormons.

And no, the marketing campaign is not “drink some of this vodka and then go make fun of Mormons,” or anything the state could reasonably fear might affect the public safety of the citizens of Idaho….

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For a litigator, DLA Piper partner Laura L. Flippin didn’t do herself any favors on the stand.

As we mentioned in Non-Sequiturs last night, Judge Colleen K. Killilea of Virginia’s 9th Judicial District accused Flippin — an ATL fan favorite, and former lawyer of the month — of lying under oath. Judge Killilea then found Flippin guilty of public intoxication.

We first wrote about Laura Flippin back in October, when she was arrested for public intoxication after an event for her undergraduate alma mater, William and Mary. Police reports claimed that Flippin blew a .253 BAC and needed help standing up.

But when she was on the stand, here’s what she told the judge about how much she had to drink….

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* The Ninth Circuit denies en banc rehearing in the Prop 8 case. Can we please hurry up and get this thing in front of the Supreme Court already? [Ninth Circuit via Metro Weekly]

* Even more law schools are shrinking their class sizes. Do we have a trend on our hands yet? [Crain's Cleveland Business]

* AOL’s attorneys at DLA Piper sent a nastygram to a Maryland blogger, alleging intellectual property infringement, based on the blog’s aggregation. Because you know, AOL/the Huffington Post has never aggregated anything. [Maryland Juice]

Laura Flippin

* Speaking of DLA Piper lawyers, just before she was found guilty of public intoxication, partner Laura Flippin was also accused of lying under oath by the judge in the case. In short, things did not go as well they could have. [The Flat Hat]

* Remember the law school martyr Phillip J. Closius? He may no longer be Dean of University of Baltimore Law, but he has not finished his crusade to improve the financial security of students. Keep fightin’ the good fight, Phil. [Baltimore Sun]

* Congratulations to the 15 firms that made the NLJ’s 2012 Appellate Hot List. Most are Biglaw shops, but three elite boutiques made the cut: Bancroft, Horvitz & Levy, and Kellogg Huber. [National Law Journal]

* Ever wondered what life in prison is like? Check out this podcast, in which Jeffrey Deskovic, who served 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit, is interviewed by Professor Zachary Shemtob (disclosure: Shemtob is Lat’s co-author and special friend). [Cruel and Unusual: A Podcast on Punishment]

Staci here. When you finished law school, you probably thought you’d have some time to relax before bar exam hell started this summer, but you quickly found out just how wrong you were about that.

So instead of going to the bar and getting all wasteyfaced, you buckled down and studied hard for a few weeks. But you still felt deprived. You still felt like you needed to go out and get your partying ways out of your system. It was then that you had an epiphany — come hell or high water, you were going to take a weekend trip to Vegas to escape from your bar exam woes.

Now, this may sound incredibly stupid to some of our readers, and to be quite frank, it is. It’s about as stupid as choosing someone like me as your bar exam study partner. But Mr. Bar Exam didn’t care.

Let’s see the important lesson he learned in this week’s episode….

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* And then Reagan said, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be auctioned off for you, by PFC Auctions, right after I sign this legislation outlawing Russia forever.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* It’s time for another “If Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies, I’m Gonna Kill Her” article. Man, you never know. Ginsburg could end up out living Antonin Scalia with the right mix of ham sandwiches and cybernetic technology. [Daily Beast]

* Will being hot help this cop who was arrested for driving while drunk when she was on duty? Honestly, I’ve forgotten what she’s accused of already. [Explorer News]

* A new definition of piracy could cause any man who loves the freedom of the sea, the rolling of the surf, and the bounty of unprotected U.S. cargo ships to be branded a pirate. [CBS News]

* Every Harvard student tries to identify the Ted Kaczynski of their class. [Huffington Post]

* How to protect your iProducts at the beach this weekend. We wouldn’t want you to be without Above the Law. [Legal Blog Watch]

This is what 'working' looks like during summer.

The summer is almost upon us. You know what that means in Biglaw? Lunch time!

After months spent ordering Seamless and cursing the terrible weather, the summertime promises a world of outdoor seating, real plates, and real martinis with lunch — delicious martinis, and other cocktails.

Of course, there’s a downside to all this summer fun, as three patrons at a noted Manhattan steakhouse found out. Three buddies walked in, but only two were able to walk out under their own powers.

The other one, well, we have pictures…

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