Loyola Law School

Lauren Serafin and Robert Leighton

Chicago sounds like a tough town for romance. Check out the first Courtship Connection date that went down in the Windy City. Let’s hope that future dates go better.

Chitown was also the venue for Serafin v. Leighton. In this lawsuit, a lovely young lawyer, Lauren Serafin, sued her handsome ex-fiancé, Sidley Austin associate Robert Leighton, for “breach of promise” to marry. Serafin alleged that Leighton cheated on her during his Las Vegas bachelor party, with a woman named “Danielle,” and then broke off the engagement — saddling Serafin with almost $63,000 in wedding- and honeymoon-related expenses.

We now bring you an update on this saga….

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We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mistrial in Massage Parlor Prosecution After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer — as a Client….”

Juliette Youngblood and Morgan Chu

Last month, Juliette Youngblood, an ex-partner at the elite California law firm of Irell & Manella, filed suit against her former firm. In her lawsuit for sex discrimination and wrongful termination, Youngblood advanced a whole host of salacious allegations — including a report of sexual harassment by Morgan Chu, arguably the nation’s #1 intellectual-property litigator.

Irell did not respond to the lawsuit at the time. Now it has, in a blistering 22-page filing that calls Youngblood’s claims “meritless” and “utterly false, complete fabrications manufactured out of whole cloth.”

What does the firm have to say about the specific claims made by Youngblood — such as the allegation that a drunken Morgan Chu made inappropriate and offensive comments to her at a firm happy hour, including remarks about her physical appearance and about “objects entering [Youngblood's] body”?

And what do ATL sources, including readers familiar with both Youngblood and Irell, think of the situation?

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Firm denies claims and moves for arbitration.


Which schools manufacture the most law firm partners?

Now here are rankings worth paying attention to. Professor Theodore P. Seto of Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) has published a research paper showing the law schools that produce partners at large law firms.

This list seems useful in at least two ways. First and most obviously, if you want to make Biglaw partner money, it’s worth knowing which schools produce Biglaw partners. But this list is also useful when you are thinking about the kind of alumni network that a school can provide.

Obviously, this list is going to favor the elite diploma mills, but there are some interesting surprises…

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Meet the Cavers: the cutest ginger attorney family ever.

In this rough economy, a job offer can be really exciting, even for the most seasoned attorney. A job offer is even more exciting when you find out that your future employer has also decided to make your husband an offer. And last week, that is exactly what happened to a husband-and-wife legal team from Rockford, Illinois.

Eileen and Brendan Caver, both graduates of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, quickly began to pack up to move half-way across the country for their new jobs in New York at the City of Syracuse corporation counsel’s office. With August start dates and two adorable children in tow, the Cavers quit their jobs in Illinois, put their house on the market, and canceled their daycare contract.

So, you’d think that even a city government would realize that offering attorneys jobs 780 miles away from home and then revoking those offers a week and a half later would be life-ruining. But apparently, that’s not how things work in upstate New York….

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Morgan Chu

Legendary litigator Morgan Chu, former managing partner and current litigation chair at Irell & Manella, is one of the nation’s top intellectual-property attorneys and trial lawyers. He has tried multiple IP cases to nine-figure jury verdicts, and he has earned every professional accolade under the sun (see his Irell website bio). He is arguably the nation’s #1 IP litigator. (If you disagree, make your case for someone else in the comments.)

And now Morgan Chu is the subject of sexual-harassment allegations. In a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court on Friday, former Irell partner Juliette Youngblood alleges that Chu sexually harassed her, then retaliated against her after she rejected his advances.

Morgan Chu is widely admired — at Irell, where his rainmaking monsoon-making helps generate robust partner profits (over $2.9 million in PPP in 2010), as well as above-market associate bonuses; in IP litigation circles, where he is a fearsome adversary; and among Asian-American lawyers, where he stands as proof that we can excel at litigation as well as transactional work.

It’s hard to believe that such a beloved figure has been hit with such salacious allegations (which we must emphasize are mere allegations at this point, nothing more). But let’s forge ahead and check them out — along with the pertly pretty plaintiff who is making them….

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Former partner alleges sexual harassment by Morgan Chu.

Robert Leighton

Associates in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin seem to be doing a lot of walking these days. Last week, for example, bankruptcy associate Tyler Coulson announced that he was leaving the firm in order to walk across the country with his dog.

Today we bring you the tale of Sidley IP associate Robert Leighton, who apparently walked out on his fiancée, Lauren Serafin. But Serafin didn’t take the diss lying down.

Lauren Serafin is also a lawyer, so what did she do? She sued him, of course. Her suit for “breach of promise” seeks $62,814.71 in wedding and honeymoon expenses.

And it makes some lurid allegations about Leighton. Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit — and the ex-bride behind it, who’s rather attractive….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Jilted Lawyer Bride Sues Sidley Associate for Wedding Expenses”

Why do Brits think that filming people staring at other people in silence makes for compelling drama?

* Could stuttering actually help a trial attorney? Somebody should make a movie about this guy, only with fewer British people than The King’s Speech and more things Americans enjoy: like the stutterer/hero saying “My f-f-finger doesn’t stammer,” before he blows some fool away. [From the Sidebar]

* Ernst & Young accountants engaging in funny videos > Ernst & Young accountants engaging in fuzzy math. [Going Concern]

* I don’t trust “the market” as much as some other people do, but it can’t be any worse at running legal education in the country than the current system of letting a yearly ranking in U.S. News dictate how things work. [Truth on the Market]

* Just once in my life, I’d like to be able to vote for a Democrat with balls. [Huffington Post]

Litigatrix Ally McBeal

* There’s an irony in women litigators getting told they are not good at building relationships. [The Careerist]

* Before we accept Revelations, I’m going to want the state psychiatrist to take a look at St. John of Patmos. [What About Clients?]

* “Like most people who do these sorts of things, Linda Speaks Tribby had a good excuse, which is that she needed the money to buy a helicopter and a motor home, two purchases that seem slightly at odds but the heart wants what it wants.” [Dealbreaker]

* Loyola Law – L.A. is running Journalist Law School again. Kash went last year and recommends it. [Loyola Law School - L.A.]

The Golden Gate Bridge, as seen from my hotel room last weekend. (I just got back from the AALS conference in San Francisco.)


Here in New York, home to Above the Law and Breaking Media, we’re gearing up for more epic snow. Those of you lucky enough to live in the Golden State might have to deal with earthquakes, mudslides, and obnoxious celebrities, but at least you don’t have to deal with blizzards.

Falling snow? Not in sunny California. Falling bar exam passage rates? Yes — at least for 2010.

A few days ago, the State Bar of California released overall statistics for the July 2010 administration of the (notoriously difficult) California bar exam. The overall bar pass rates went down by a little — but at some schools, the pass rates went down by a lot.

Which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

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* Loyola of Los Angeles has launched a new faculty blog. In the latest post, Professor Cesare Romano asks: Do states have human rights? [Summary Judgments]

* And what happens if a nation-state disappears underwater — is it still a nation? [Associated Press]

* Speaking of global warming, it’s going back to SCOTUS; here’s Professor Jonathan Adler’s take on the cert grant in American Electric Power v. Connecticut. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Marc Randazza on the TSA: “[T]he TSA is ‘making us safe’ by letting the dumbest, most uneducated swine in the country (TSA agents) have a blanket license to feel up our kids, AND to try and make a GAME of it?” [The Legal Satyricon]

* Former Northwestern SBA president Todd Belcore — who, by the way, was exonerated of the charge against him (note the update) — is now writing for HuffPo. [Huffington Post]

* Congratulations to everyone who just passed the MPRE — you can learn your score on the MPRE website. [MPRE Services]

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