Marilyn Ringstaff

So this month, we went out of our way to nominate potential Lawyers of the Month who were still breathing. The desire of our readers to bestow this honor posthumously is laudable, but we don’t want to this feature to end up like the “dead people” reel at the Oscars, where folks bet on which deceased celebrity will get the most applause.

Being forced to choose only among living candidates, Above the Law readers perhaps started another trend we’re sure to see in future Lawyer of the Month contests: they voted for a guy who is no longer a practicing attorney…

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Our first two lawyer of the month polls in 2011 were dominated by death and despair. Several high-profile, wonderful attorneys died in the month of March — e.g., Warren Christopher, Bill Stuntz — but we’re not including them in this month’s contest. This month, the lawyer of the month reader poll is 100% alive.

And we’ve got some very strong nominees this month. We’ve got standard bearers for salaciousness, uplifting entrants, and deranged douchebags.

Should be fun. Let’s check out the nominees for March…

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Here’s some good news for lawyers who enjoy blogging or instant-messenger services like Gchat. It’s right in the headline of this here National Law Journal story: Smiley face, snark, don’t render law grad unfit to practice.

Many of us get snarky in our personal writing, and many of us employ emoticons in email messages or Gchat exchanges. As litigators well know, sometimes a cold transcript doesn’t adequately convey tone. For this reason, I’ve even seen federal judges use winking smiley-face emoticons in email messages.

But you shouldn’t use smiley faces in documents you file with the court — even the super-icky courts that hear traffic appeals (yes, they exist). This is a lesson that Marilyn Ringstaff, a 2006 graduate of John Marshall Law School, learned the hard way….

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