Everyone enjoys the law firm gone bad. Think Wolfram & Hart; Bendini, Lambert & Locke; whatever the firm was that Devil was in charge of… Cravath? All right, it was really Milton, Chadwick & Waters, but whatever. The lawyer-hating masses like to see their biases lived out in the extreme, and lawyers enjoy the competence porn of thinking a law firm can really have an evil master plan. But these firms only exist in fiction, right?
So what the hell is going on with this firm?
Accusations are flying that this law practice was massively overfilling clients, instructing clients to harass and intimidate government officials, tailing people with P.I.s to accuse folks of traffic violations, and bugging people’s cars with GPS trackers.
It’s not plotting to birth the Antichrist, but it definitely sounds like bad news…
These are not rhetorical questions. We expect candor from the university we hired to educate us. As future lawyers, we won’t accept a Potemkin village and will see through any façade erected to make us feel that all is well. Reminding us that there is a new curriculum (which doesn’t seem to amount to more than shifting around the furniture on the Titanic) will not make us look away from the real issues.
I’m not surprised that Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people who want to have an affair but apparently lack confidence or creativity, is successful. There is nothing more desperate and gullible than an unhappily married person. I mean, happily married people are basically hollowed-out ghosts who can’t order a meal without discussing it in committee. Unhappily married people treat every social event like their last night on Earth, get sloppy drunk, and try to hook up with any co-worker or friend who shows them the slightest bit of affection. There’s a big difference between a homewrecker and a building inspector who simply acknowledges a home as “condemned.”
But let’s be clear, nobody wants to have meaningless sex with a middle-aged, unhappily married man, except: middle-aged, unhappily married women, 20-somethings with Daddy issues, goldiggers and crackwhores, and bridesmaids you meet at vacation/destination weddings. That’s the complete list. Ashley Madison is built on the nearly total lie that there are attractive women looking to bang married men who need to go online to find them as opposed to any bar anywhere in America at all times.
There’s nothing illegal about inducing men to pay money to interact with people who have pretty pictures and can talk dirty, even if those people are employees who are probably unattractive and have no intention of actually meeting and having sex with you anyway. The “party line” industry has been thriving for years. But Ashley Madison might want to settle with their employees who make up fake profiles, before some sad recently divorced dude with nothing to lose sues them for fraud…
When Dean Lawrence E. Mitchell of Case Western Reserve University School of Law announced earlier this week that he was taking a temporary leave of absence, we offered two theories about why. The first was that the university wanted to remove him from his post so it could conduct an independent investigation of the allegations made against him in a lawsuit by Professor Raymond Ku. The second was that Dean Mitchell wanted to devote his full time and energy to fighting Professor Ku’s lawsuit, which claims that the dean retaliated against Professor Ku after Ku reported alleged sexual harassment by the dean to university officials.
Of these two theories, the second is probably closer to the truth. Through his lawyers, Dean Mitchell is fighting back — hard — and the university seems to be supporting him all the way.
Since we’ve devoted extensive coverage to the allegations of the lawsuit against Dean Mitchell, let’s now hear the arguments defending him (and attacking Professor Ku). Some of them have been made by Dean Mitchell’s lawyers and the university, and some come from Case Western students and faculty members with whom we have communicated. They paint a most interesting picture….
(Please note the UPDATE added to the end of this post, a message just sent out to Case alumni by President Barbara R. Snyder.)
* “What about devil worshippers?” Justice Scalia may think Satan’s gotten “wilier,” but that doesn’t mean his supporters don’t deserve religious representation in their public meetings. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaker of the House John Boehner says that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes, tons of lawsuits will be filed — except that hasn’t happened in states with similar laws. Oopsie… [Reuters]
* Judge Shira Scheindlin isn’t going to just sit there and allow herself to be kicked off the stop and frisk case. In a rare move, she asked the Second Circuit to reverse its ruling and reinstate her. Go girl! [Reuters]
* Quinn Emanuel is welcoming a frequent firm-hopper (from Sidley to Clifford Chance to Cleary Gottlieb) into its ranks in D.C. to join Weil defectors Mike Lyle and Eric Lyttle. Best of luck! [Am Law Daily]
* Gibson Dunn scooped up Scott Hammond, a longtime leader of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Query just how large the dangling carrot at the end of the firm’s stick was. [Blog of Legal Times]
Dean Mitchell and the university haven’t commented much on the allegations of Professor Raymond Ku’s complaint (which was recently amended to add some juicier allegations). The university did issue a statement denying that retaliation occurred, and the dean told the Case community to keep calm and carry on.
To make that process easier, he’s stepping away from his deanly duties for a time. Let’s check out his announcement….
(Please note the UPDATE added at the end of this post.)
* “I Love Boobies” case may go to the Supreme Court. [Jezebel]
* Law firms are warning clients to beware of “Misclassification Creep” which is a “threat” to many businesses. Yeah, it’s a real shame that employees might start getting paid what they actually earn. [Corporate Counsel]
* Recurring ATL subject, Caskers craft spirits retailer, has been sold to Anderson Press. [Pandodaily]
* Meanwhile, another legally related business has raised a total of $850,000. Hopefully they can use some of that to make another hilarious commercial. [Techcrunch]
* Here are 10 things every new lawyer should do right now. Shorter version: start puckering up. [The Careerist]
* In horrible news, a missing Wayne State law student was found dead. [Detroit Free Press]
* A former Biglaw, current Midlaw associate has written a book and created this trailer to promote it. What if a sex toy manufacturer became a patent troll? Video embed after the jump…
Anyone who has ever worked with an expert witness understands the cardinal rules of the process. The expert must provide a truthful, considered opinion. As part of that, the expert needs to have a complete picture of the circumstances he or she is asked to evaluate and the expert has to be prepared to defend his or her conclusions on cross-examination. Experts are supposed to assist the fact-finder, not provide disingenuous opinions for a quick buck.
Attorneys aren’t required by Rule 26 to disclose communications with experts that are not expected to testify, but what about experts that the lawyers intended to call as witnesses and then decided against producing? Do they get magically transformed into “trial preparation experts” as soon as they render unfavorable opinions? One major firm has not only withheld unfavorable expert reports from the other side under this logic, but made a decades-long practice of it.
The firm characterizes their practice as “aggressive.” Judges have called it “deceitful, dishonest” and “an affront to justice that simply cannot be tolerated.”
In all seriousness, the twisted tale of decades of withholding evidence from dying victims is the worst thing you’ll hear about all day….
Case Western is a prominent and well-ranked law school, #68 in the latest U.S. News rankings. It didn’t make the ATL Law School rankings, which stop at the top 50, but Case Western alumni give their alma mater a solid B-plus, as you can see from the school’s ATL Career Center profile.
But Mitchell’s fame comes less from Case Western and more from his national profile as a defender of legal education. Last year, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, Law School Is Worth the Money, that went viral.
Critics of Mitchell’s piece, including my colleague Elie Mystal, accused the dean of screwing over his students. Case Western charges tuition of almost $50,000, but less than 50 percent of its graduates secure full-time, long-term employment as lawyers, according to Law School Transparency.
Today Dean Mitchell is back in the news. A lawsuit filed this morning alleges that he screws his students more literally….
(See the UPDATE added below for the university’s response to the complaint.)
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
The JOBS Act created new tools for companies to publicly advertise securities deals online. As a result, thousands of new deals have hit the market and hundreds of millions in capital has been raised, spurring a wealth of new business development opportunities for attorneys.
Fund deals, startup capital raises, PIPE deals and loan syndicates are just a handful of the transactions benefiting from the JOBS Act. InvestorID FirmTM is a platform designed to help attorneys equip their clients with the workflow, marketing and compliance tools to publicly solicit a securities offering online. By providing clients with the tools to painlessly navigate the regulatory landscape of general solicitation, InvestorID FirmTM helps attorneys add value above just legal services.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) went into effect in 2013 and permits Regulation D offerings of securities to be advertised publicly. This means that funds and companies can now use social media, emails and web sites to market transactions to new “accredited” investors.
However, with these new powers come new pain points. InvestorID FirmTM provides a secure, fully hosted, cloud-based platform with a breadth of tools for your clients, including: