Politics

* To be clear, hiring a legal secretary who doubles as a personal prostitute is not okay. Yes, we finally have a punishment for Samir Zia Chowhan’s “adult gigs” legal secretary ad. [Legal Profession Blog]

* Is it time to start getting civilly disobedient with the TSA? [WSJ Law Blog]

* It’s possible that the House Ethics Committee screwed up the Maxine Waters investigation. That Committee is so incompetent that if it was an elected official it’d be called “Maxine Waters.” [Politico]

* The court awards $47K in damages over a stolen laptop. I wish I owned something that was worth nearly $50K if it was stolen. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* Indiana man prevented from donating blood because he “seemed gay.” You know, Indiana is starting to “seem dumb” to me. [Hip Hop Wired]

* As the economy heats up, there will probably more people quitting their jobs, so here is a quick refresher course on how to quit appropriately. [The Awl]

* It’s Nelson Mandela’s birthday. I call him “Nelson Mandela” and not “Madiba,” because I don’t think watching Invictus qualifies me for that level of familiarity. [Blawg Review]

I’m always amazed when people aren’t afraid to let everybody know their prejudices. Even a little impressed. In most situations, people try to their disguise their disgust at an entire class of people, or at least try to express their viewpoints from behind a cloak of anonymity. But when people just come balls out with their prejudices, well, it’s a sight to see.

And when people who serve in official government positions reveal their contempt for the separation of church and state, that just makes it so much better.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a person like Laura Fotusky fascinates me. She’s the former town clerk in Barker, New York, who chose to resign rather than sign a gay marriage license. Apparently the new New York gay marriage law conflicted with Fotusky’s interpretation of God’s law. Or, put another way, Fotusky thought she was teaching Sunday school, and then woke up one day as the town clerk of Barker, New York.

At least she corrected the problem, and for that she should be applauded….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Town Clerk In New York Resigns Rather Than Enforcing The Law — The ‘Gay’ Law, Of Course”

When Republicans start asking an organization to make more use of its regulatory authority, you know that organization has grossly failed its mandate.

We’ve documented the pressure Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has been putting on the ABA. Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) decided to join the party. He also wrote a letter to the ABA asking it to “account for its work on behalf of both law students and taxpayers.”

Grassley’s on the Senate Judiciary committee. I bet the ABA will want to stay on his good side….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “And Now The ABA Has Bi-Partisan Pressure To Actually Regulate Law Schools”

In Above the Law’s last film review, we spoke about Hot Coffee, a documentary film about the evils of tort reform in America. The film, which received rave reviews from publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, was produced by former trial lawyer Susan Saladoff.

Now, just two weeks later, InJustice, a documentary film that is being hailed as the “anti Hot Coffee,” made its small screen debut on the ReelzChannel — a channel I’d never heard of and do not receive. Luckily enough, in the two weeks since we reviewed Hot Coffee, I had earned enough street cred to get an advance copy of the film.

While Hot Coffee presented the plaintiff’s side of the tort reform debate, InJustice attempts to present the defendant’s side in a more favorable light by exposing the evils of lawsuit abuse and the greed of attorneys involved in “America’s lawsuit industry.” Those are some pretty high aspirations for the film’s producer, non-lawyer Brian Kelly.

All that being said, I have no idea why I waited to release my review of InJustice until after the film had aired, because I’m not sure if anyone was even able to watch it. And if they had been able to do so, I’m pretty sure they would have changed the channel pretty quickly….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading InJustice: Tort Reform’s High Cost Documentary Infomercial”

If you want to run for president in this country, you best have quality legal counsel.

It doesn’t matter which party you are from. It doesn’t matter what your political platform is. It doesn’t matter if you believe Obamacare is exactly like your own health care plan or if you think marriage is a sacred vow shared by a man, a woman, and millions of viewers on The Bachelor. It turns out you still need competent legal counsel.

Biglaw legal counsel, as it happens. Check out the law firms that are advising the 2012 presidential candidates…

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Anyone who has spent a swampy June/July/August in D.C. knows that it’s not the ideal setting for a sizzling summer romance. So it is time to shift locations for the Courtship Connection, Above the Law’s dating service for legal eagles. 

Given my miserable less-than-perfect matchmaking track record, I was surprised by the number of emails from single lawyers and law students begging for Courtship to come to their city. I guess desperate times call for really desperate measures?

Since the only pleasure Courtship Connection tends to bring is to the readers, we shall let you choose the next city. Which metropolis of lawyers offers the greatest potential for throw-downs, of both the clashing and clicking variety? After the jump, you can vote for one of the nominees — Atlanta, Montreal, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, or Orange County, CA — and hear about the latest D.C. “cage match” of a date….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Courtship Connection: City Voting and Opposites Attracting”

Jeh Johnson

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fate of Guantanamo Bay. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The rise of WikiLeaks. The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound. The conflict in Libya.

On these and many other critical national security legal issues, one of the most important advisers to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama’s White House has been Jeh C. Johnson, General Counsel of the Department of Defense. In light of his role as senior legal adviser to the largest government agency in the world, responsible for the work of over 10,000 lawyers, it is no understatement to describe Johnson as one of the powerful and influential lawyers in the entire federal government.

I recently went down to Washington to interview Johnson in his office at the Pentagon. If you think security at your law firm is tight, visit the Pentagon. I had to pass through a metal detector and multiple security checkpoints before arriving at Johnson’s office, located on the E Ring within the mammoth structure — the world’s largest office building by floor area, with over 6.5 million square feet housing over 25,000 employees. (I was accompanied at all times by a member of Johnson’s staff, which prevented me from getting lost inside the maze-like complex.)

Before entering Johnson’s private office, I had to surrender my Blackberry – the office is a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”), or “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.” This means that it is specially designed to prevent eavesdropping, thanks to walls and doors of specified thickness and the use of jamming technologies. The windows of Johnson’s office, tinted a yellowish green, are blast-resistant and designed to preclude visual surveillance.

Once I made it to the inner sanctum, I was in for a treat. My wide-ranging discussion with Jeh Johnson covered his remarkable career path, which has included service as a federal prosecutor, partnership at a top law firm (Paul Weiss), and his current post as GC of the Defense Department; the virtues of public service, as well as the growing challenges for lawyers interested in it; and Johnson’s advice for law students and lawyers who aspire to careers in government (hint: keep your nanny on the books)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Afternoon With Jeh Johnson, General Counsel of the Defense Department”

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to be the key witness in a sexual misconduct scandal involving a rich and powerful Frenchman. After you are savaged in the international press, be prepared for the prosecutor handling the case to abandon you.

From the New York Times:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on Friday as the sexual assault case against him moved one step closer to dismissal after prosecutors told a Manhattan judge that they had serious problems with the case.

Prosecutors acknowledged that there were significant credibility issues with the hotel housekeeper who accused Mr. Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in May. In a brief hearing at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, prosecutors did not oppose his release; the judge then freed Mr. Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance.

If Strauss-Kahn’s strategy was to attack the credibility of the witness, it worked…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Things Fall Apart: Now Starring Dominique Strauss-Kahn”

You mean to tell me that this coffee is going to be hot? Are you kidding me?

Most people associate the Liebeck v. McDonald’s case, better known as “the hot coffee lawsuit,” with the very worst of our justice system: namely, frivolous actions brought by greedy plaintiffs with the hopes of winning the lawsuit lottery.

It is commonly believed that the plaintiff in Liebeck was a young woman who decided to sue Mickey D’s because while driving, she spilled her drive-thru coffee all over herself and sustained minor burns. This woman is usually not thought of as the sharpest tool in the shed, because she needed to be warned that her hot coffee would actually be hot and would burn her.

This woman was somehow able to convince a jury of her peers (who apparently weren’t that intelligent, either) that she didn’t realize her hot coffee would be so hot, so they decided to award her with a $2.7 million verdict.

This is the story that most people believe when they think of the hot coffee lawsuit, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. And thanks to this widespread misconception, Hot Coffee, a documentary film directed by Susan Saladoff, explains how corporations were able to promote the “evils” of tort reform….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading Hot Coffee: Spilling Our Way to the ‘Evils’ of Tort Reform”

The television guys are reporting that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been found guilty on 17 of 20 counts.

He’s been found guilty of various counts of wire fraud and attempted extortion. He was found not guilty on one bribery count and there were two other counts the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on.

If the Genie from Aladdin was here, I think he’d say: “300 years of incarceration ought to chill him out.”

In fairness though, Jeff Toobin on CNN is saying that Blago is more likely to face 8 – 10 years in prison. That’s enough time to find out if hair gel is an effective lubricant.

Meanwhile, MSNBC has moved onto a report about Casey Anthony — because a random white lady allegedly murdering her child is way more important than the major corruption trial of a former Governor of one of the most populous states in the Union.

And now CNN is on the TSA story. CHECK YOU PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE! God, I hate television news.

This is why print media can’t be allowed to die. Here is an actual report, from the Chicago Tribune. They note that Blago did not show any emotion, but his hair started screaming, “you’re nothing but a lot of talk and a badge.”

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