Reader Polls

Nancy Grace: You'll be seeing a lot more of her.

Ever since the acquittal of Casey Anthony, people have been wondering: What has Nancy Grace been up to? The prosecutrix turned pundit got some major mileage out of the Casey Anthony trial, which she followed with maniacal dedication. How could she top her gavel-to-gavel coverage of the infamous “Tot Mom” trial?

Earlier today, “Nancy Grace” started trending on Twitter. It was from Twitter that I learned of Nancy Grace’s second act.

You’ll have a hard time believing this, but it seems to be true….

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Good morning, and welcome to Above the Law’s latest Friday series: Grammer Pole of the Weak.

Last week, we discovered that 62.3% of readers think that it’s all right to use alright. As a grammar nazi, I can’t even describe how much it pained me to write the phrase “Grammer Pole of the Weak.”

Which reminds me: readers, the title of this weekly poll is supposed to be ironic. Are you serial with all of these emails correcting our spelling?

Speaking of being serial, let’s turn to the topic of this week’s discussion: the serial comma….

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Lowell Milken: Would you accept $10 million from this man?

Ah, California. Your weather is amazing, but I don’t think I could deal with your earthquakes. The tremor we just experienced here on the East Coast has turned me into a nervous wreck.

Over at UCLA Law School, they’re experiencing some earth-shaking controversy of their own. An ultra-wealthy alumnus made it rain, with a $10 million gift to the school — but now some professors want to rain on his parade, and their objections have hit the national news media. (Apologies for the mixed precipitation metaphors.)

As we mentioned last week, UCLA law alumnus Lowell Milken made a $10 million gift to his alma mater — the largest single donation in the law school’s history. The money will be used to establish the Lowell Milken Institute for Business and Law.

Milken, Milken — that last name sounds familiar….

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Here at Above the Law, we’ve been discussing English grammar and usage forever — well, at least since 2006. We’ve discussed a plethora of grammatical and stylistic issues over the years, including how to form the possessive singular of nouns, proper use of the comma and the semicolon, and, most recently, whether to use one space or two spaces between sentences.

We’ve now decided to formalize the discussion. Every Friday we will raise an issue of grammar, spelling, or style, in our newest ATL feature: Grammer Pole of the Weak. We will kick off the discussion, then open up a reader poll and let you debate in the comments.

Today’s topic: “all right” versus “alright.” Let’s discuss….

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It’s time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month. Actually, it’s well past time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month, but I forgot to do it before I went on vacation. Sorry about that. Since it’s late I’ll make this column free.

The winner of the July contest won in a landslide. Regular readers of Above the Law will not be surprised to learn that Elana Nightingale Dawson, a recent law school graduate who went into labor while attempting to pass the bar, won our lawyer of the month poll — even if she’s not yet a practicing attorney. That’s just how we roll around here.

But despite her comfortable margin of victory, Elana Dawson inspired some interesting debates in the comments, debates that merit additional attention….

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Sometimes readers will email us with ideas for posts that range from the insane to the mundane. We’ve learned that what may seem mundane to the average citizen may be totally titillating for an attorney.

Members of this profession really, really like rules, especially rules about proper English grammar and usage. Be it confusion over a homophone, misuse of a hyphen, or incorrect placement of a semicolon, every grammar Nazi has a special place reserved in his heart for the idiot who screws these things up.

And that is why the topic of today’s reader poll is about how many spaces one should use between sentences….

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Too bad it's not as simple as making a sign.

Yesterday the stock market experienced its biggest drop since 2008. In the wake of the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. debt on Friday night, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by 5.6 percent and the S&P 500 fell by 6.7 percent. Global markets suffered similarly.

The market decline on Monday was only the latest in a series of slides. As noted yesterday by the New York Times, “[t]he S.& P. 500 is now down 18 percent from its April 29 peak and is nearing official bear market territory, defined as a fall of 20 percent.”

(All in all, it’s pretty depressing stuff. As I tweeted yesterday, “@DavidLat isn’t looking at his #stockmarket holdings today; instead, he’s buying more #Powerball tickets – huge jackpot!”)

What’s frightening about the latest economic turmoil is that it comes on the heels of a brutal recession that the U.S. economy has not yet fully recovered from. In the wake of the aptly named Great Recession, unemployment still exceeds 9 percent, housing markets remain weak, and government policymakers have exhausted many of the tools at their disposal for attempting to revive the economy. Interest rates are basically as low as they can go at this point; fiscal stimulus is a political no-go. What is to be done?

The steep stock market declines raise a question: Are we entering another recession — i.e., the second dip of a double-dip recession? If so, what does that mean for law firms and lawyers? (We’ve already noted the implications for the IPO market — and the lawyers who work in it.)

Let’s discuss, and take a READER POLL….

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Stephen McDaniel

Revelations continue to spill forth regarding Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing his former classmate and neighbor, Lauren Giddings.

On Saturday, the Macon Telegraph reported on a theory that Stephen McDaniel was framed for the murder of Lauren Giddings. This theory was advanced by McDaniel’s mother, Glenda McDaniel, who steadfastly maintains her son’s innocence. As commentator Kenny Burgamy aptly noted in the Telegraph, “A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional and forever.”

Yesterday the Telegraph followed up with a detailed profile of Stephen McDaniel, looking at his childhood, family background, and college years. It’s a great read; check it out in full over here.

To whet your appetite, let’s cover the highlights….

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Most of our readers know this about me already, but in case you didn’t, I was a sorority girl in college (hardy har har, but I wasn’t an Omega Mu). I joined Kappa Alpha Theta during my freshman year at Lehigh, and I had some of the best times of my life as a result. And no, when I was pledging, the sisters didn’t circle my fat with a marker (there weren’t enough markers).

Anyway, being a member of a Greek life organization brought me a lot of fun times and awesome opportunities when I was in college. I learned how to funnel, and I turned into one of the best flip cup players around. I got to be my sorority’s pledgemaster one year, and I was in charge of recruitment the next. I accomplished a lot of great things in my sorority leadership positions, and you better believe I listed them on my résumé.

The reason I bring this up today is because a future law student is wondering whether she should list her Greek affiliation and leadership roles on her résumé when applying to law school….

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July was an awesome month for lawyers. June was great for scandalous lawyers, but July has been great for straight-up star power.

We’ve got some great candidates from July. We’ve got some candidates who accomplished things in the law. But only one of our Lawyer of the Month contestants is also a new mother…

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