Law & Order

Andrew L. SandlerEd. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Andrew L. Sandler, Chairman and Executive Partner of BuckleySandler LLP and Chief Executive Officer of Treliant Risk Advisors LLP, is a recognized leader in financial services litigation, enforcement, regulation, and compliance. A wide range of financial services companies look to Mr. Sandler for strategic advice and to help them navigate complex litigation and civil and criminal investigations and examinations by federal and state enforcement and bank regulatory agencies. You can read his full bio here.

1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next 5 years?

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* Once again, Justice Ginsburg offers us some perspective on behind the scenes action at the Supreme Court. We bet you didn’t know that “Get over it” is one of Justice Scalia’s favorite expressions. [Politico]

* The chief justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court turned in his resignation papers on Friday, and rumor has it that the legendary Leo Strine will try to replace him. Best of luck, Chancellor! [Reuters]

* “I wasn’t looking for a job.” Paul Aguggia, the chairman of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, will step down to cash in as the CEO of a New Jersey bank where he served as outside counsel. [American Banker]

* This is what it’s like when bankruptcies collide: AMR Corp. is now disputing Dewey’s billables, including 1,646 hours of contractually prohibited work completed by first-year associates. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Bank of America is bleeding money in settlement payments. A $39 million payout in a Merrill Lynch gender bias case brings the total to about $200 million in under two weeks. [DealBook / New York Times]

* GW Law starts its dean search next month, and whoever takes the position needs to be good at raising funds, because the school has struggled in that department ever since Dean Berman left. [GW Hatchet]

* An Ivy League law professor tells us the third year of law school is a “crucial resource” to ensure lawyers are well-trained, so classes like “Understanding Obama” must be social imperatives. [Washington Post]

* It seems to me that the only jurors who might be influenced by the depiction of the legal system on Law & Order are the ones who were too dim to figure out how to get out of jury duty. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

We’ve written countless times about the ways that people have tried to get out of jury duty. While some of them have managed to shirk their civic duties, others have been less successful.

In rare (unpublicized) cases, potential jurors have been more than willing to serve their time. But sometimes, real-life courtroom drama meets with television drama featuring plots ripped straight from the headlines — and that’s where things get messy.

But not in this judge’s courtroom….

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I have successfully avoided jury duty since I moved back to New York in 2003, but this week they finally caught up with me. This week, I’ve had to perform my civic responsibility of sitting in judgment of my peers (like I don’t do that enough already).

Sorry, I had to “be available” to sit in judgement of my peers. Nobody is ever going to pick me for a jury. I blog about law for a living, hold two Harvard degrees, and have a checkered past. I’m not getting impaneled. Instead, I was just looking forward to the rare business day when I didn’t have to invent an opinion or listen to “the internet” pontificate on my weight.

Then the lady who seemed to be in charge of the proceedings told me that I was looking forward to three days of that. I went to protest, but Nurse Ratched told me to sit down and wait for my lobotomy. So i started paying attention to my surroundings — because blogging is how I cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous people asking me to behave like a normal person.

I’ll deal more directly with Nurse Ratched at another time. Today I got an up-close look at the voir dire process in a criminal trial. While I was not picked, I feel like my McMurphy-esque fingerprints will be all over the case.

Let’s take a look inside our clearly broken jury system…

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I would still trust Judge Wapner.

It feels like I receive at least one email a week from a pissed-off white male. I feel like everywhere I look there is some white person whining, complaining, playing the “victim” card, and moaning about how difficult things are for a white person nowadays. I’m telling you, if white males have to live under a non-white male president for another four years, Ted Nugent is going to start writing spirituals.

Sometimes I respond to these “white plight” emails. Sometimes I get into passionate debates with people. Never do I sit back and say, “Man, white men really are getting screwed on this issue. White power!” I mean, at the end of the day the playing field still ridiculously favors white males. Sometimes white men can’t see it, just like sometimes you can’t tell that the Earth is curved when you’re standing on the ground. But if you look up — and do some math — it’s pretty obvious we live on a sphere, and it’s pretty obvious we live in a society that favors white males.

But I am… open-minded. And my mind was blown wide open when I read a blog post on Just Enrichment about the paucity of white male judges as fictional characters. Without having the resources to do a full-scale survey of every movie or television character in the past twenty years, this guy makes a compelling point that white males are disfavored when it comes to portraying impartial justice.

And I think this guy — Adam Chandler, a 3L at Yale Law School — is absolutely right….

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In the blogosphere the people are divided into two seperate yet equally important groups: the producers who research new content, and the commentators who analyze and talk about it. This is a story of what happens when it all comes together.

[ding ding]

DET. GREEN: We’ve got a man here, a single man, who has endeavored to watch every single episode of the now canceled Law & Order. He’s taking copious notes about conviction rates, plea bargains, and other outcomes, on a season-by-season basis.

Now this other guy is crunching all of that data, cross-referencing it against real New York City crime rates, and making some intelligent conclusions based on the comparisons. It all comes together at Overthinking It. It’s pretty sick stuff.

DET. BRISCOE: I liked TV better when only boobs watched it…

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I recently wondered, on Twitter, whether it’s only a matter of time before everyone in Manhattan has bed bugs. Bedbugs are like death and taxes: they will get you eventually, and the only question is when.

For lawyers and staff in the legendary Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the answer may be: soon. An employee in the office informs us that a bedbug-sniffing canine was brought into the 80 Centre Street building this afternoon — and that the dog alerted to the presence of bedbugs in multiple locations. Furthermore, rumor has it that (1) the powers-that-be in the office have known about bedbugs at 80 Centre Street for at least a week, and (2) the main building, at One Hogan Place, has had bedbugs for even longer.

(Right now Robert Morgenthau is probably thinking to himself, “Thank God I left that dump for Wachtell.” Morgenthau’s sucessor as DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., is probably scratching himself.)

“Several offices apparently came back positive for bed bugs,” said our source. “But, bizarrely, they are only going to fumigate those specific offices — not the entire building, like they should.”

Um, why the heck not?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Move Over, Muppets: Bedbugs Take Manhattan (D.A.’s Office)”

R.I.P. Law & Order

It’s official: NBC has killed Law & Order. Victim was age 20, and is survived by “Law & Order: Los Angeles” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (for all those who can’t get enough of child rape and murder). NBC’s motives are not known. It may been an act of jealousy by someone connected to Gunsmoke, who did not want to see Law & Order surpass it as the longest-running drama series ever.

Which was the best season? Who was your favorite prosecutor? For how many years will reruns stay on TV? Will the theme music be stuck in your head for the rest of the day in tribute? Please feel free to examine the evidence and argue about it in the comments.

Case closed: ‘Law & Order’ canceled on brink of setting TV record [Los Angeles Times]
NBC cancels ‘Law & Order’ [UPI]
NBC Cancels Law & Order, Picks Up SVU and Law & Order: Los Angeles [Fox News]
‘Law & Order': Really old — and canceled [Washington Post]