Reader Polls

Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.

Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.

Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.

Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.

Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….

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Two weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Last week, you voted on the finalists, earlier today, Fordham made it harder for homeless people to eat, and now we have finally crowned a winner….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Winner: What Can You Do With a Fordham Law Degree?”

Everybody’s working for the weekend. But for now, while you’re still stuck at work, you should take a look at our latest Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we found out that even federal judges are capable of creating fugly new words. Chief Judge Kozinski, stop trying to make “dissental” and “concurral” happen. They’re not going to happen!

This week, we’ve got a lighter topic to discuss. Do you have any fun weekend plans? If you do, you might want to reconsider your usage of the word “fun”….

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From what we hear, it’s been a wild couple of days at Tulane Law School, ever since we outed the convicted murderer in their midst. Well, we didn’t out him; Bruce Reilly outed himself, on his blog (in a post that he has since taken down). But being profiled on Above the Law can sometimes stir up the pot.

Or not. As one tipster put it:

Your article on Bruce Reilly has stirred quite the tempest down here at Tulane: A small, mossy cluster of students typically found speed-typing, whispering and tittering in a darkened corner of the library began typing, whispering and tittering even faster! Meanwhile, everyone else went to class.

Yes, we’ve been getting all kinds of reactions from the Tulane community since our original post went up. The story has even gone mainstream. Reilly was profiled in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and his story was picked up by USA Today and ABC News.

But the mainstream media won’t tell you the details of the actual crime at hand. Our Tulane readers have been asking to know more about the actual murder Reilly served time for. We’ve dug up some of the old reports….

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While some of the candidates for August’s Lawyer of the Month were bold in their displays of public idiocy, others were bold in their candid assessments of the legal profession.

Looking back on our summer winners for June and July, we thought that legal smarts were taking a substantial lead over legal stupidity. But as it turns out, the margin is much closer than we thought.

In this polling cycle, just ten votes separated our Lawyer of the Month from our second-place finisher….

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this depressing photo:

For those of you who are just joining us, this homeless man’s hat reads “FORDHAM LAW.” Let’s have a look at what our readers were able to come up with, and then vote on finalists….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Finalists: What Can You Do With a Fordham Law Degree?”

In our most recent Grammer Pole of the Weak, over two-thirds of you voted against the use of gender-neutral language, opting instead for the historic use of “he,” “him,” and “his” to cover both sexes. In the poll before that one, over 80 percent of you voted in favor of the serial comma. These results suggest that Above the Law readers are traditionalists in matters of grammar, usage, and writing style.

But back in August, 60 percent of you said that you are all right with “alright.” So perhaps ATL readers are open to the evolution of the English language and the creation of new words.

How do y’all feel about neologisms? Let’s look at two new words, coined by none other than the newly svelte Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: ‘I Respectfully Dissental’”

The month of August brought us a slew of disasters, both natural and otherwise. At the end of the month, we faced off against the Great D.C. Earthquake of 2011. Shortly thereafter, we got slammed by Hurricane Irene.

But August wasn’t just about natural disasters — there were plenty of man-made disasters to deal with in the legal world. From the egomaniacs to the technologically-impaired, August was full of candidates for our Lawyer of the Month competition….

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A bright, 23-year-old woman is thinking of going to law school. Should she do it?

Let’s learn about the particulars of her case….

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Happy Friday, and welcome to the latest edition of Above the Law’s Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we discovered that 82% of our readers are willing to strangle, maim, and kill over the use of the serial comma. Take that, AP Stylebook heathens!

This week, we’re turning to a more contentious issue: the use of gender-neutral language in law practice and legal writing. Interestingly enough, experts disagree on the matter.

Bros, should you be kind to the ladies when you’re using indefinite pronouns?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: Gender-Neutral Language and You”

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