New Zealand

Seems like this bridge was fundamentally unsafe to begin with.

Around these parts, we love a good departure memo. But usually they come from people who have spent some time in Biglaw. It generally takes some time for a person to burn into a full-fledged flame-out.

But today we’ve got a guy from New Zealand who managed to start, quit, and burn his career bridges in about four weeks. Impressive.

It’s not a mean note, it’s just… not lawyerly in any way. I’m not sure even elvish magic could reforge this guy’s career….

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Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged two former stockbrokers, Thomas Conradt and David Weishaus, with insider trading. There is a legal angle here (aside from the criminal charges and the civil case being brought by the SEC): Conradt is a lawyer, a member of the Maryland and Colorado bars, and Weishaus graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law a year after Conradt.

To be honest, though, we’re not intensely interested in Conradt and Weishaus. Their alleged misdeeds occurred while they were working in finance, not law; the contours of Conradt’s legal career are somewhat unclear; and as for Weishaus, it’s not clear that he ever passed the bar or practiced as a lawyer.

As regular readers of Above the Law know, we have a weakness for prestige around these parts. So we’re far more interested in the former Cravath associate who, according to law enforceent allegations, made their misdeeds possible….

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I was not aware that see-through shirts and cleavage was the trademark of a good lawyer in New Zealand. Apparently I have a lot to learn about their judicial system.

– a comment left on Facebook in response to a picture used by LEX magazine to entice people to “like” the New Zealand Law Students Association (NZLSA) page on the social networking site.

(Read on to see the picture that’s being slammed as sexist by women lawyers the world over.)

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Things continue looking up for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. A few weeks ago, he finally got some of his assets unfrozen so he could throw some dollars in John Quinn’s direction.

Yesterday, he unveiled the teaser for his new music product, known as Megabox. And this morning, he earned an extensive personal apology from New Zealand’s prime minister. Apparently the Kiwi equivalent of the American National Security Administration had unlawfully spied on Dotcom, and Prime Minister John Key said the “basic errors” involved in the mistake were appalling.

Huh, so that’s what it sounds like when a government isn’t “acting as a proxy for private commercial interests”….

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* New Zealand’s Parliament has passed the first stage of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Lawmakers were apparently inspired by President Obama’s public support of the issue. [Huffington Post]

* The trial of a Florida teen accused of impersonating a physician assistant is underway. Among other things, he allegedly dressed in scrubs, used a stethoscope, and performed CPR on a patient. Apparently, just because you’ve seen it on Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t mean you’re allowed to do it in real life. [ABC News]

* “And to my son, I bequeath my playlist of one-hit wonders and my season pass to Breaking Bad.” Marketwatch tackles the tricky question of who owns your digital music (and e-book) collections after you die. [Marketwatch / WSJ]

* A New Mexico criminal defense attorney, David “Chip” Venie, was charged yesterday with allegedly shooting a man in the leg at his law office. Oh, and Venie’s wife filmed the whole thing on her cell phone, including the unarmed victim holding out his empty hands. [ABA Journal]

* Lawyers for the Amish men and women charged with forcibly cutting the beards and hair of their “perceived enemies” say they were motivated by compassion, not hatred. Sometimes you’ve just got to let someone know her haircut’s not doing her any favors. [NY Times]

* In First Amendment news, the D.C. Circuit court has invalidated an FDA regulation requiring cigarette companies to place warning labels on packages. Is this a victory for free speech, or for big tobacco? [The Atlantic]

After months of living under house arrest and frozen assets, Megaupload leader Kim Dotcom has finally won a multimillion dollar victory in New Zealand court — one that will unfreeze some of his money and allow him to sell off some of his luxury cars so he can pay his attorneys.

Not a glamorous win, by any means, but it is what it is.

The Justice Department’s prosecution has been riddled with problems almost from the case’s beginning, back in January. This is another setback in their attempts to curb file-sharing.

So how much of his money will Dotcom now be able to fork right over to his lawyers? And which cars can he sell?

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Last time we checked in with the crumbling prosecution of Megaupload, the massive cyber locker, and its similarly massive leader, Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand court had declared the search warrant served against Dotcom unconstitutional.

This week, the same judge has ruled that the United States government needs to let New Zealand see why exactly they want to extradite Dotcom. You know, so the country can decide if it’s really a good idea to turn over someone to a foreign government.

What a shocking request! Let’s keep reading to see the details of the ruling, as well as additional updates as to what Dotcom is doing to try to pay his lawyers, who thus far have not received a dime for their services….

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* Dear ABA: could you please at least LOOK at what’s going on at Rutgers-Camden. We’ve already looked at their arguably misleading ads. Now Paul Campos has figured that the school may have been massively under-reporting the amount of debt people graduate with to the ABA (scroll down to Upate III). Seriously ABA, do one small part of your freaking job JUST ONCE. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* Here’s a great way to lower the cost of education: make books free. I mean, it’ll never, ever happen, but it’s a good idea. [CALI via Tax Prof Blog]

* Law students might need a bit of a refresher on supply and demand before they hit up fall recruiting. [Adam Smith Esq.]

* Legacy LeBoeuf retirees have also been screwed by the D&L fiasco. Boy, Dewey know how they feel. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Should we care about the “scholarship” of law professors at all? [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Wild strippers are a national problem in New Zealand. [The Telegraph]

* Congratulations to the latest class of Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40! [National LGBT Bar Association]

We’ve written about appropriate courtroom attire quite frequently in the past few months. By now, you’d think that everyone, including journalists covering the courts, would have a firm grasp of what ought to be worn to show respect for the judicial process. But, as always, someone just had to go and prove us wrong.

Apparently a reporter’s fashion sense (or lack thereof) caused a major kerfuffle this week at the High Court in Wellington, New Zealand. Laura McQuillan, writing for NZ Newswire, was dressed so inappropriately that she was ejected from the courthouse before the proceedings she was observing broke for lunch.

Because nothing says you take your job seriously like dressing like a low-rent disco queen to report on a high-profile murder trial….

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The train wreck that is the Department of Justice’s criminal copyright case against Megaupload and its eccentric CEO, Kim Dotcom, is spiraling out of control faster and faster. And I have to admit, as a music-obsessed child of the ’90s and the download era, God, it is fun to watch.

A New Zealand court made another ruling today, and it’s another sledgehammer to the government’s case against the formerly massive cyber locker. Keep reading to see what once was a slamdunk case continue crumbling before our eyes….

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