Harvard University

Mathew Martoma

This afternoon, here in Manhattan, a jury found former SAC Capital portfolio manager Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. The verdict wasn’t a shock, given the strong evidence against Martoma and the fact that another former SAC trader, Michael Steinberg, got convicted in December on weaker evidence.

The trial involved a number of boldface names of the legal profession. The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (S.D.N.Y.), one of our 2013 Lawyer of the Year nominees, was represented by assistant U.S. attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown, one of the office’s most prominent prosecutors (and a star of the college debate circuit, for those of you who used to do debate). Martoma was defended by a team from Goodwin Procter that included Richard Strassberg, an S.D.N.Y. alumnus, and Roberto Braceras, another former federal prosecutor — and the son-in-law of Judge José Cabranes. The prosecution’s lead witness, Dr. Sidney Gilman, was represented by Bracewell & Giuliani’s Marc L. Mukasey — son of former S.D.N.Y. judge and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

And some of our readers might know Mathew Martoma. He was a student at Harvard Law School back in the 90s, before he got expelled for fabricating his transcript while applying for clerkships.

Here are some notable numbers relating to the Mathew Martoma mess:

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It’s Harvard Law School’s world, and the rest of us are just living in it.

1999: ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN writes that you never know where you’ll run into a classmate. He is prosecuting MATHEW MARTOMA (née Ajai Mathew Thomas) on insider trading charges in Lower Manhattan. Devlin-Brown has asked U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe (unfortunately Penn ’79, Columbia ’82) for permission to talk about Matt’s expulsion from Harvard for doctoring his transcript, so get ready for fireworks! The trial is expected to last several weeks, so for anyone who missed WILLIAM PULLMAN and Lisa Frank’s (Yale ’03, NYU Law ’08, NYU Stern ’08) Christmas Eve nuptials, it would be a great opportunity for a mini-reunion!

That is Bess Levin’s imagined entry for the next edition of Harvard Law School alumni news, offered over at our sister site Dealbreaker. It’s based on a New York Times piece marveling at the many HLS folks involved in this major insider trading trial (which also include Martoma’s lawyer, Richard Strassberg of Goodwin Procter, and Lorin Reisner, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office).

A takeaway from the Martoma matter: HLS students are the best! At forgery and fraud, that is.

Years before he allegedly cheated on Wall Street, Mathew Martoma, then known as “Ajai Mathew Thomas,” cheated at Harvard Law School by fabricating his transcript when applying for clerkships. It was a sophisticated effort that fooled multiple jurists. Which D.C. Circuit judges came thisclose to hiring him as a law clerk?

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Earlier this week, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced this year’s roster of MacArthur Fellowship recipients — the winners of the so-called “Genius Grants.” According to the Foundation, it awards the prestigious grants to those who “have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.” MacArthur fellows receive $625,000 stipends, with no strings attached . . . except, you know, continuing to be brilliant.

Past MacArthur Genius Grant winners include minds as diverse as paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould; computer scientist and physicist Stephen Wolfram; writers like Cormac McCarthy, David Foster Wallace, Susan Sontag, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; filmmaker Errol Morris; cognitive scientist Amos Tversky; dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp; philosopher Richard Rorty; drummer and jazz composer Max Roach; statistician Persi Diaconis; literary critic Harold Bloom; and composer John Zorn. Basically, it’s a hell of a fantasy dinner-party guest list.

One of this year’s MacArthur geniuses is a lawyer. Who is it?

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Scalia/Ginsburg: coming soon to an opera house near you?

We recently shared with you a fascinating, legally themed musical project: Scalia/Ginsburg, an opera about two of the U.S. Supreme Court’s leading lights, by award-winning composer Derrick Wang.

Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg, longtime colleagues and good friends, don’t share much in terms of jurisprudence but do share a love of opera. It’s fitting, then, that their Con Law clashes will serve as the basis for a new operatic work.

Where did Wang come up with the idea for an opera about these two distinguished jurists? As it turns out, Wang is not only a composer but a law school graduate. Where did he go to law school, and why?

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I don’t know precisely when Oprah Winfrey went from daytime talk show host to “I’m a DEITY now,” but I know that I missed it. I mean, I like her and all. And I don’t understand the people who hate her — like what has Oprah ever done to anybody? But I don’t exactly know why the world seems to hang on her every word.

Which isn’t to say she didn’t “deserve” to give the commencement address at Harvard University this year. Of course she did. Have you seen the people who have given that speech? When I graduated from college it was Amartya Sen. He’s an economist, Oprah is cash money.

I only noticed she was giving the speech because right wingers are acting like she needs to be shot because she talked about gun control. But apparently she also said: “We all know that we are better than the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle — not my channel, by the way.”

And that’s funny because the Second Circuit just ruled that her media network might have regurgitated a tagline already owned by a copyright holder…

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Over the years, I’ve met a fair number of ministers who have become lawyers and lawyers who have become ministers. Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising, given the commonalities between law and organized religion. Both fields are built around rules, give great weight to precedents and higher authorities, involve age-old institutions, and are generally dominated by men.

So maybe it’s not shocking to hear about someone who went from being a Biglaw partner to a minister and university chaplain. But it’s still quite interesting and unusual.

Let’s learn how one lawyer went from working for The Man to working for The Man — Upstairs….

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Back in the day, Ted Kennedy could cheat his ass off.

* ‘Unprecedented’ cheating at Harvard. Nice to know that Ted Kennedy’s spirit is alive and well in Cambridge. [Harvard Crimson]

* Court accidentally posts secret settlement. That’ll teach these courts from keeping secrets. [Boston Globe]

* Here is an appropriate response to a law firm brochure. [Lawprofblawg]

* Former News of the World lawyer arrested. You know, the problem with the News of the World scandal is that it’s one of those things that happens somewhere else and so Americans don’t care. Americans like me. [Wall Street Journal]

* Cincinnati law profs pass around the collection plate and come up with a scholarship for students. [Tax Prof Blawg]

* Citibank settled with its shareholders for being buying bad assets. In other news, Citibank bought a lot of bad assets. [Dealbreaker]

While most of America has been going gaga for God’s new chosen athlete, Jeremy Lin, I’ve been quietly lamenting the fact that my own hometown TTT excuse for an NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, were the ones who gave him up.

it seems like everyone wants a piece of the Linsanity, even on a legal level. Last week we wrote about a man with no actual connection to Jeremy Lin who tried to trademark “Linsanity.” That guy simply, “wanted to be part of the excitement.” Sure, by making money off of someone else’s name, whatever. Since then several more people have attempted the same absurd bandwagoning.

But finally, Jeremy himself has filed an application to trademark his own catchphrase. Shocking, right?

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If you think I'm not ordering Jeremy Lin's #4 Crimson jersey you haven't been paying attention.

Thank God Jeremy Lin didn’t have a Tiger Mother. Professor Amy Chua would have prevented Jeremy Lin from playing sports and he’d probably be in law school now instead of saving the New York Knicks.

If you haven’t been following Jeremy Lin and the #LINSANITY phenomenon, GTFO here’s a quick recap: Taiwanese-American kid from California plays basketball for Harvard, goes undrafted by the NBA, gets cut by two teams, ends up getting some run for the Knicks because of teammates’ injuries, and then scores more points in his first five starts than anybody else in the history of the NBA — helping the Knicks to win six (and counting) games in a row.

It’s a great story. Lin has overcome a lot to get here. I mean, the story of the kid who goes to Harvard and remains humble instead of becoming a self-important douchebag is a Lifetime movie in and of itself.

Basketball pundits have been dissecting his game like the kid is the second coming of Tim Tebow. Cowardly boxers with a history of anti-Asian bigotry are tweeting about Lin because they’d rather pick on the Harvard kid than take their ass-kicking from Manny Pacquiao.

And I can’t wait, I mean I literally cannot wait, for Lin to really get into it on the issue of Taiwanese LINdependence from China. Kid went to Harvard, you know he has a considered opinion. When the history of World War Three is written, will it say it started with a point guard on the New York Knicks?

There are so many angles to this thing, but we’re going to focus on the legal one. Who owns the term “LINSANITY,” which became the hashtag associated with the Lin phenomenon?

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This is a most hellish contraption.

Obviously, the heartbreaking news this morning is that Twinkies is filing for bankruptcy. Don’t act like I’m the only one saddened by this news. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hostess, the maker of the All-American snack, is carrying $860 million in debt and facing higher costs for sugar, flour, and whatever kind of rendered artery fat they inject directly into the center of those things.

Well, as long as SeamlessWeb is operating smoothly, lawyers will still be able to find adequate ways to become soft in the middle.

But not every lawyer. There are still a few legal types out there who take care of their bodies, and I’m not just talking about Reema Bajaj. I’m talking about lawyers who are actual athletes.

It’s a rare breed, but today we’re going to take a look at two of them. One is an Olympian, while the other is just a record-breaking weekend warrior…

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