Foreign Affairs

We don’t cover a lot of international happenings on this website, and for good reason. The world is filled with people who are either boring or lunatics and who, besides all that, don’t speak good English. How many songs has Lee Greenwood written about other countries? Probably none. None songs.

But piercing this aggressive indifference was a story in the Washington Post this weekend that spoke of a group of lawyers in Pakistan
who have said enough is enough. Except, these Pakistani lawyers knew that I wouldn’t understand them if they said enough is enough with their mouths because I don’t speak Pakistani. Like, at all. Nope, these Pakistani lawyers said enough is enough with their fists. And probably their feet. Maybe a crowbar or a pipe or brass knuckles even.

The Washington Post article says that these lawyers have gone from heroes to gangsters. Like that’s a bad thing…

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Happy Fourth of July week. If you’re like me and didn’t take vacation this week, I hope you enjoy not being hassled and shopping online. If you live in D.C., I hope you are appreciating your nice, employer-provided air conditioning.

Seeing as it’s almost America’s birthday, I’m saddened to have to tell you that our president has had to withdraw his nominee to be the next ambassador to the Netherlands. I know, it’s a terrible blow, please consult with a grief counselor if you are having trouble dealing with this news.

President Obama’s nominee for this distinguished post withdrew from consideration after he was charged that most American of crimes: getting liquored up, driving around, and allegedly resisting arrest.

That’s a party in the U.S.A. It’s definitely not a Netherlands party.

And I did I mention that our guy is a Biglaw partner?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Arrested for DUI Like Yeah. Ruining My Career Like Yeah.”

We don’t hear often enough about attorneys trying to do good for the world. Sex scandals, violence, and dirty politics are much more common to hear about than attorneys working to advance the public interest.

So it’s particularly unfortunate that we have to write about an Australian defense lawyer at the International Criminal cCourt in the context of her involuntary detainment in Libya, that fun little African country known for its leader’s kooky costumes.

Without further ado, let’s learn more about the detained Australian, Melinda Taylor (and see a photo of the beautiful young attorney)…

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Brett McGurk

Let me begin by making one thing clear: I support the nomination of Brett H. McGurk to serve as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq. He is eminently qualified for this post, in light of his extensive experience, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, dealing with the complex and sensitive issues that exist between the United States and Iraq.

Brett McGurk’s brilliance lies beyond dispute — he’s a member of the Elect, after all — and the same is true of his heroism and commitment to public service. In the late 1990s, while he was a summer associate at Cravath, he and a fellow summer rescued two drowning women during a beach outing gone awry. After graduating from Columbia Law School, he devoted his legal career to government service — clerking for Judge Dennis Jacobs (2d Cir.) and the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, working as a legal advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, serving on the National Security Council, and counseling two past ambassadors to Iraq, Ryan Crocker and Christopher Hill. McGurk possesses vast expertise about Iraq, acquired through the many years he has spent advancing U.S. interests in the region — at considerable personal risk to himself.

If you are a high-minded individual, you can stop reading here. If you are less high-minded, keep reading to learn about the sexy email messages that Brett McGurk allegedly exchanged with a prominent (and attractive) journalist….

Please note the UPDATES added at the end of this post.

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I’m begging for help here: If you have global responsibilities and are routinely dealing with documents created in languages that you don’t speak, how do you assess outside counsel’s skill at communicating?

As any regular reader of this column knows, I’m a realist at heart. I know in my bones that most lawyers write poorly. I learned this lesson early. When I popped open the first brief that crossed my desk as a clerk in the Ninth Circuit, I exclaimed to one of my co-clerks, “This is great!”

“What’s great?” she asked. “The brief?”

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Who is the real spy? Ilan Grapel (left) or Austin Powers?

As we mentioned yesterday, a student at Emory Law School by the name of Ilan Chaim Grapel was arrested in Egypt on Sunday, and ordered held for 15 days. The Egyptians allege that Grapel is a “highly trained” spy, working for the state of Israel.

Ilan Grapel is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. And he did serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prior to law school, as a paratrooper (which sounds pretty awesome bad-ass).

But does that make Ilan Grapel a spy? Some observers, including classmates of Ilan’s from Emory Law, find the allegation highly dubious….

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Is this law student a spy?

At this year’s Emory Law School commencement, Professor Sara Stadler urged graduates to think outside the box with respect to their career options: “You might not be able to land that [top-choice] job…. You might have to move to Nebraska.… You might have to join a small firm where they don’t make the big bucks.”

Or you might have to… become a spy in the Middle East? Emory law student Ilan Grapel has been detained in Egypt, by authorities who allege that he is a “highly trained” spy working for Israel.

Ilan Grapel is… pretty cute. Is he a spy?

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In the weeks since the [Inspector General]’s flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission, people of good will in the middle ranks of our Department have seen it as their calling to strictly enforce it. As a consequence, my voice has been prevented from speaking; my pen has been enjoined from writing; and my actions have been confined to the ministerial. You deserve better, but until these rigid, and rigidly narrow, perspectives are overcome, you and the President are being deprived of the intelligent insight of much of your Embassy’s work.

Douglas Kmiec, noted constitutional law scholar and former Catholic University law school dean, tendering his resignation as U.S. ambassador to Malta to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

[There wasn't] some dramatic meeting in the Oval Office where everybody tried to persuade the president not to do this, and Samantha rolled in with her flowing red hair and said, ‘Mr. President, I stand here alone in telling you that history calls upon you to perform this act.’ That’s not how it happened.

Tom Malinowski, Washington Director for Human Rights Watch, refuting speculation that U.S. military intervention in Libya was the handiwork of his good friend, Samantha Power.

(As longtime ATL readers will recall, Samantha Power is the beautiful, brilliant, Harvard-trained lawyer who is currently a top foreign policy adviser to President Obama — and who famously called Hillary Clinton “a monster” during the 2008 presidential campaign (and then resigned from the campaign). Power is now married to prominent Harvard law professor and fellow Obama adviser Cass Sunstein. You can read about their wedding here, and see exclusive ATL photos of them here.)

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

The Libyan rebels have it easy. All they have to do is overthrow a megalomaniacal dictator who has mustard gas.

But in-house lawyers? Now, they have it tough.

(I write these columns several days before they appear on-line. If Qaddafi is still in power as of Monday, March 7, then read this column as providing advice for the future. If, on the other hand, Qaddafi’s already out of power, then view this as a remarkably quick historical case study.)

On February 25, President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting certain transactions relating to Libya. (Here’s a link to that order.) Australia, Canada, and the United Nations Security Council promptly imposed sanctions of their own. Other countries will surely follow suit.

The rules governing trade with Libya will evolve in the United States as, among other things, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control identifies entities linked to the targeted regime or that engage in targeted behaviors. The rules will also change in the rest of the world, as other countries create and implement sanctions regimes. Large multinational companies will be doing business in countries that will impose differing economic sanctions on Libya.

What will smart outside lawyers do?

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