Marriage

Everyone knows that being engaged is kind of like test-driving a car.

If you discover that the fancy car you’ve chosen to take out on the road doesn’t turn left, then you probably don’t want to buy that car. Similarly, if the fancy man you’ve chosen (a doctor, ooh la la) breaks up with you, tries to woo you back with expensive gifts, and then sues you, then you probably don’t want to marry that man.

And when something like this happens in Texas, it’s like watching a real-life episode of Dallas unfold before your eyes….

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Anytime my lawyer friends talk shop, my divorce lawyer friend always has the most interesting stories. A few months ago, a group of us went for happy hour. The conversation turned to a discussion of what we were doing at work. I said that my client was contemplating settlement over his parking lot lawsuit. Everyone yawned. My finance lawyer friend began to talk about securitizing something, but then just stopped talking because she knew her work was even more boring. This trend continued until my divorce lawyer friend talked about a recent trial. The highlights of her story included a lesbian affair and a mail-order bride. We were all rapt.

For that reason, I have wanted to profile a divorce firm for a while. Recently, I was lucky enough to have a conversation with San Francisco family lawyer (I guess they prefer that term) Erik Newton. His firm, Heath Newton LLP, has become a highly regarded boutique law firm that specializes in “Family Building,” “Divorce and Dissolution,” and “Asset Protection”….

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Congrats to Mike Sacks on his new gig!

* I’m not alone in arguing for apprenticeships in the world of legal education. On the other side of the pond, Chris Ashford likes the idea too. [The Lawyer]

* Speaking of legal education, “Some Things Are Funny in Law School.” [Only in Law School]

* Congratulations to Mike Sacks — founder of First One @ One First, and a past contributor to these pages — on his exciting new job! [ABA Journal; First One @ One First]

* What should rejected applicants to the shrinking DOJ Honors Program do? Let them eat… muffins! Cake can’t hold a candle to $16 muffins. [Constitutional Daily]

* Given my own uneasiness about guns, I’m not so enthusiastic about the right to print arms. [Associate's Mind]

* Professor Glenn Reynolds asks: “Can Lack of Sleep Ruin Your Marriage?” Just ask the divorced denizens of Biglaw. [Instapundit]

Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? You’d think that when women ask that question of men in France, they’d be receptive. In fact, in my experience, French men are overly amorous. When I was a French exchange student at the ripe old age of 15, an older guy approached me at a club and tried to woo me with this line: “Did you know zat Frenche men make ze best loveurs?” I didn’t care to find out.

Well, times have changed, because apparently the French aren’t such great lovers anymore. A 2010 poll taken by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 76% of people surveyed were having relationship problems due to a poor sex life. And it seems that a poor sex life was what brought about a divorce between Jean-Louis B. and Monique, a middle-aged couple in the birthplace of the language of love.

But after enduring 21 years of a near sexless marriage, a divorce was simply not enough for Monique. Mrs. B. wanted to be compensated for the lack of sexual rendezvous with her ex-husband, so she sued him for it….

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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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It’s hard to say which of these (non-lawyer) wedding write-ups is more cliché-ridden: the one about the two lesbian PE teachers, or the one about the peace activists who keep their income below a taxable level so they don’t give money to the Pentagon. The latter pair are way too busy rummaging through dumpsters to read the Internet, so we feel zero guilt about exposing them to ridicule in the comments. There’s certainly a lot of ridiculous material there.

But on to the lawyer weddings: still ridiculous, but in a different way. Your finalist couples:

Kathleen Cassidy and Ian Shapiro

Nina Yadava and Travis Davis

Emily Feinstein and Eric Olney

Aliya McLendon and Aaron Horne Jr.

Rebecca Krauss and Benjamin Taibleson

This is a summer mega-LEWW, with five finalists and a loooooong list of also-rans at the end. Read on for a virtual nuptial feast….

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Can gay marriage be stopped? Professor Tribe thinks not.

* Professor Laurence Tribe on “the constitutional inevitability of same-sex marriage.” [SCOTUSblog]

* You can sleep when you’re dead — and you can prevail against the IRS in litigation, too (as the late Ken Lay just did). [TaxProf Blog]

* Speaking of the dead, just because someone is burglarizing your business doesn’t mean you can kill them. [Jonathan Turley via WSJ Law Blog]

* Professor Daniel Hamermesh asks: “Why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?” [New York Times via ABA Journal]

* Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann wonders if the recent earthquake and hurricane constitute messages from God. [Dealbreaker]

Michele Bachmann

* Professor Larry Ribstein: “Law is waiting for its Steve Jobs (or Bill Gates). When he or she arrives it could be a lot more important than the iPhone.” [Truth on the Market]

* This juror should at least have put the defendant on “Limited Profile.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

* Is the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional? Let’s talk Turkey. [The Atlantic]

* Additional discussion of the recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on eyewitness testimony (which we mentioned last week). [Mother Jones]

We don’t usually make predictions about the longevity of the marriages we cover. It just seems excessively harsh to say, “This couple is going to get divorced.”

But… this couple is going to get divorced. The 32-year-old grandson of Richard Nixon marries the 21-year-old daughter of a Greek billionaire in front of 700 guests, including Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger. At the Waldorf-Astoria reception, George Pataki grooves to a 24-piece orchestra playing AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” We give it two years.

But on to some more promising unions. Here are your latest Legal Eagle Wedding Watch finalists:

Elizabeth Smith and Richard Cotton

Chelsea Purvis and Alnawaz Jiwa

Chloë Schama and Michael Pyle

Read all about these wildly impressive couples, after the jump.

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Folks, it looks like New York State might pass gay marriage legislation.

The New York State Assembly has long since passed legislation authorizing gay marriage. But the hold up has been in the much more conservative New York State Senate. This morning, reports surfaced that gay marriage was just one vote shy in the Senate.

Would you want to be the one vote who told gay New Yorkers that their love was “wrong” and shouldn’t be recognized by the state? I wouldn’t want to be that one vote.

Well, Instinct Magazine is reporting — citing the Twitter feed of the Capital Tonight news program — that gay marriage proponents have the 32nd vote they need to break the 31-31 deadlock in the senate over the issue. In addition, the New York Civil Liberties Union claims, also via Twitter, that pro-marriage forces “have more than enough votes” to carry the measure.

But no vote has been scheduled as of now. If you support gay marriage in New York, now would be a good time to contact your senator.

Gosh, when judges just impose gay marriage upon the citizens, it isn’t nearly this complicated. In any event, gay marriage seems to be on the march in New York.

We’ll keep you posted of any developments.

Breaking: Capital Tonight Reports NY Senate Now Has The Necessary 32 Votes [Instinct]

Ralph Richard Banks

Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories about black women. Things can be tough. African-American women get all of the sexism white women have to deal with, and all of the racism black men have to deal with. Successful black men tend to fulfill their own self-loathing destiny by running away from black women (not me, I’m married to one). Cultural representations of them are used to sell syrup or chicken, or involve a black dude dressed up in a fat suit (if William Tecumseh Sherman were still alive, he’d be waging war against Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry). And law professors at prestigious universities try to profiteer off of their difficulties.

That last one is somewhat recent. But I don’t know how else to describe the new book by a Stanford Law professor, Ralph Richard Banks. His upcoming book is entitled Is Marriage for White People? (affiliate link).

Now, if I were a blogger looking to make a quick buck, that’s exactly the kind of book I’d write. In fact, look for my upcoming book, “Why White People Can Afford To Piss Away Time & Money in Law School, But Blacks Can’t.”

But Ralph Banks isn’t a blogger, he’s a Stanford Law professor. Shouldn’t we expect less sensationalized bullcrap from him?

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