The pages of Above the Law are littered with lawyers who have tried to use their status as legal eagles to get out of brushes with law enforcement. Not their legal knowledge — smart lawyers who have run-ins with the law keep their mouths shut, don’t blow, and save their arguments for judges instead of arresting officers. But smart attorneys make for boring stories.
It’s the people who think that just being a lawyer will keep them out of jail who bring the real fun. Once a cop gets a look at your Cravath prestige points (or the local equivalent), he’ll just look the other way and allow you to stumble to your car.
Think of folks like the young associate who allegedly told a police officer, “You are going to… die. I’m a lawyer. You can Google me.” Or the future prosecutor who allegedly said, “I start with the Linn County Prosecutor’s Office next Tuesday. I want you to arrest me for not signing this.” Or the prominent lawyer who allegedly said, “You can’t arrest me. I represent Seattle and King County. You are making a mistake.”
Well, today we have another classy Seattle legal lady. But this one allegedly did her talking not just with her mouth, but with her anus…
[L]et’s try to help the person, she obviously had a bad night, and we don’t need to continue to hurt her dignity about this issue. So let the court do what the court’s supposed to do, and please, we don’t need to have theatrics around this issue.
– Alderman Tom Tunney of Chicago’s 44th Ward, in a voicemail message left for the owner of an adult sex shop about assistant state’s attorney Sarah Naughton, the “apparently intoxicated” prosecutrix who allegedly bit the leg of one of the porn purveyor’s employees, while the scandalous case was still pending.
Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a new series of monthly posts, brought to you by Corporette’s Kat Griffin, which will deal with topical business and lifestyle issues that present themselves in the world of Biglaw. Send your ideas for columns to us here.
Summer is officially in full swing — long lunches, here you come! Quick question, though: Do you know which is your water glass? One of our top posts on Corporette is on the subject of business lunch etiquette, so let’s do a super quick review…
We haven’t seen a good Student Bar Association scandal in a while, but that’s all about to change. In case you’re not aware, the law students who are elected to serve on their school’s SBA are tasked with organizing fun events that will make their peers happy, and those events usually cost a lot of money. What can I say, alcohol and vomit clean-up fees are expensive.
So understandably, when that beer money starts to get mysteriously low — in this case, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars inexplicably missing — people start to panic. At what point do you realize the girl responsible for managing your organization’s finances has embezzled more than $30,000?
Probably when she admits to you that she spent the cash to fuel her drug and alcohol addiction…
Erin Brockovich and her not-so glamorous mug shot.
After a day in the sun and with nothing to eat it appears that a couple of drinks had a greater impact than I realized.
It is very important to note that I was not operating the boat in open waters, I was moving it within its own slip. At no time was the boat away from the dock and there was no public safety risk. That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake. I know better and I am very sorry.
Driving while drunk is wrong. I’m not going to dispute that. In fact, that’s why I live in New York, where my drinking habit hobby can never put anyone at risk. Except me, I suppose.
And the drive to drive drunk-driving incidents down further is in full swing, with the National Transportation Safety Board suggesting that states reduce the legal limit for driving to .05% — the level of intoxication achieved by inhaling while walking past a bar.
That said, are there ever any exceptions to the ironclad rule? And might one of those be fleeing an attacker?
* “Going forward, nobody is going to get everything they want. Not Democrats, not Republicans, not me.” What a way to open the door to debate on the president’s newly endorsed bipartisan immigration bill. [New York Times]
* The ACLU is suing the United States over the collection of Verizon phone records, citing a possible “chilling effect” on the people who may contact the ACLU. What an entertaining (and egocentric) cause of action. [Bloomberg]
* When businesses throw cash at judges’ election campaigns, jurists tend to rule in favor of their donors — which is likely why Sandra Day O’Connor called state judges politicians in robes. [Washington Post]
* If it’s not news of layoffs, it’s news of office closures: Dentons partners will vote on whether to close the firm’s doors in Kuwait, and Curtis Mallet-Prevost already got the hell out of the Gulf. [The Lawyer]
* If you want a law school where professors pat you on the head and give you a treat each time you answer a question correctly, use this method to choose your alma mater. [U.S. News & World Report]
* There’s a pretty high probability that you’re a legal procrastinator, so here are some tips to stop the madness. Apparently alcohol isn’t the answer to your problems. Who knew? [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* New York City may be trying to defend a ban on sugary drinks that are larger than 16 ounces, but if your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, it doesn’t matter how big it is. [Associated Press]
We are pleased to invite you to an Above the Law cocktail reception in Chicago on Wednesday, June 12th. The reception will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 and will feature a conversation with Mark Herrmann. As many of you know, Mark is Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel of Aon, the world’s largest insurance broker. He is also a former partner at Jones Day, the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law (affiliate link), and a weekly columnist here at Above the Law.
This event will be an opportunity for attendees to hear insightful commentary from Mark, meet Above the Law writers, connect with peers, and enjoy great drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The event is sponsored by our friends at Access Data. Please RSVP below.
Years ago, I knew a lawyer who thought that business entertainment worked. He was a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer: “I treat a doctor to a $50 lunch, and the next day he refers a case to me. I make one phone call and settle the case for $9,000, netting a $3,000 fee. And the doctor thinks we’re even! It’s unbelievable! I can’t eat enough lunches!”
Good for him. But does it work for anyone else?
I certainly treated clients to dinners and sporting events in my day, but none of those clients (or prospects) ever hired me in return for that entertainment. I didn’t expect them to, and I’d be terribly disappointed in them if they did. My having treated a guy to a dinner doesn’t make me the best lawyer to handle his case, and he’d be nuts to hire me because the caviar was beluga.
The reverse is also true. Lots of people want to meet me, buy me a meal, or take me to a cricket match (I’m now based in London, remember?) since I’ve gone in-house. A few of the folks who buy me lunch even follow up with e-mails expressing their unhappiness that I haven’t promptly retained them: “Was it something I said? Why haven’t I heard from you, other than the thank you note?”
It was nothing you said. But why should I possibly hire you simply because you bought me lunch?
I have my own theory about why firms create large “client entertainment” budgets . . .
Lawyers sure like to drink, and it’s been a growing problem within the legal profession, as the rate of alcoholism continues to rise. But considering that many of these people are high-functioning alcoholics and that even prospective law students are looking for the best party schools, law schools should probably get these newbies started on the right foot.
“Bar reviews” are no longer good enough; they take place just once a week. Drunken law proms are no longer cutting it; they take place only once a year. With applications dropping, law schools need a new selling point for students who are looking to slam back a few cold ones before getting grilled in class every single day.
That’s probably why one law school is opening up a brand new bar right inside of its main academic building…
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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