Drinking

‘Man, I could really use a soda.’

It turns out that I care about the global population of sharks way, way more than I care about the epidemic of obese people in New York. Not only that, but I have much more faith in the ability of laws and governments to do something to protect sharks than they can protect fat people from themselves.

Today has been an interesting day for the nanny state. An appeals court has once again knocked down knocked down New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s overbroad soda ban. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning the sale of shark-fin soup in New York.

I couldn’t be happier with both developments…

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Why would a lawyer think that being a lawyer would help him get into this place?

I get it, having to stand in line to get into a club is annoying. It’s emasculating. You feel if you were more famous or important or rich, you’d be let in right away. And usually you’re right. Standing in line for a club is like public confirmation that you are not that cool.

But let me tell you something, saying “I’m a lawyer” doesn’t make you cool. In fact, it creates a rebuttable presumption that you are an uncool d-bag who says things like “rebuttable presumption.” Certainly, flashing your little “lawyer badge” that you got from the prosecutor’s or attorney general’s office is not going to help you cut in line. You really think these bouncers want your judgmental and probably litigious ass up in their clubs?

Earlier this year, we had a Florida prosecutor you tried to use his badge to get into a strip club. Now we have another Floridan who thinks being a lawyer should get him ahead, but instead it just got him arrested…

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The remnants of the Grateful Dead (Furthur) came to town last week. I was unable to attend, as I was putting on a five-hour benefit show the next day, and I knew a party the night before would not be good for me. Well, the band only got part way into the second set before stopping the show due to “weather.” Granted, there were thunderstorms about, as a cold front was finally lifting the oppressive heat wave of July 2013. But no rain was reported at the venue, and no “weather” ever materialized. Putting on my foil-hat character for a bit tells me that Bobby is still not well, or recovered enough from his bout with something or other earlier this summer. YouTube the clip of “Bob Weir falling” and see for yourself. It is not only sad to see a legend in the throes of some sort of addiction, but it is frustrating as a fan — to pay good money for a show, only to have to leave early because one of the stars couldn’t keep it together.

I have written before about mental illness in the profession, but a more insidious and pervasive issue is alcohol and drug dependency. Everyone who uses has their own story and background about how they got into alcohol or drug use, but I want to focus on the atmosphere in the legal profession: that you cannot have a gathering of attorneys without letting the booze flow. Beginning as a summer associate, and on through your career, wherever you end up, alcoholic beverages, and to a lesser extent drugs, become an omnipresent factor in your daily life. I am not here to preach or judge, just to offer a cautionary tale.

It might also have to do with the fact the we are boring as hell when in a group, and the only way to loosen up is to imbibe….

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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…

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[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.

While Naughton was acquitted of all charges in April, Tunney was recently found to have abused his authority by attempting to “tamper with” a potential witness in Naughton’s criminal investigation.

(Read on to hear Tunney’s message, and see footage of Naughton’s arrest.)

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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…

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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…

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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.

– Famed legal advocate Erin Brockovich, issuing a public apology after her arrest for alleged drunken boating.

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?

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Gold stars and praise for all law students!

* “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]

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