Ridiculousness

A week or two ago, someone asked us why we use Fordham Law as our personal punching bag. We don’t. The school just provides us with great fodder to write about. Yeah, we might joke about graduates of Fordham being homeless, but some law students at the school are actually trying to help the less fortunate. You know, the thing that lawyers are supposed to do?

Take, for example, Michael Zimmerman. He’s a current 3L at Fordham Law who founded a farm-share program called Farm to Fordham. Amazingly, we’re not talking about a Facebook program. Zimmerman did this in real life. For a small fee each semester, students, faculty, and staff were able to purchase a share of fresh produce from a farm in central New York. Nearly 100 pounds of vegetables were donated to a local soup kitchen with every delivery. The program was so successful that even Michael Martin, the dean of Fordham Law, had enrolled as a member.

This sounds like a wonderful program, right? A future lawyer was supporting his community with a laudable service project. That’s probably why Fordham University decided to shut it down….

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We get it, law students: the curve sucks. Because the law school curve affects important things like class rank, law review eligibility, and employment opportunities, it can make or break your life. And in a world where the legal market is still recovering from circling the drain, your grades mean more than they ever did in the past.

While the curve reflects some amount of fairness for larger classes, what happens to the students in smaller classes? You’d think that if everyone in a seminar class kicked ass on the final, the school would allow the professor some leeway with the mandatory curve. That seems like it would be fair, right? It’s a load of bull if the school refuses to step away from the curve in this kind of a situation.

And speaking of bull, apparently if you mess with one in Texas, you’ll get the horns (or at least be called a crybaby). A student at the University of Texas School of Law is trying — albeit unsuccessfully — to fight the powers that be….

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Gregory Berry

Kasowitz Benson comes to bury Berry, not to praise him. The firm has moved to dismiss the $77 million lawsuit filed against it by Gregory S. Berry, the former first-year associate at Kasowitz who claimed that the firm wrongfully terminated his employment due to its inability to handle his “superior legal mind.” Berry also alleged fraud, breach of contract, and a host of other claims.

On Wednesday, Kasowitz Benson filed its motion to dismiss Gregory Berry’s complaint, accompanied by a 22-page memorandum of law. The firm’s brief is fairly straightforward, advancing the arguments you’d expect it to make.

But there are a few fun tidbits here and there. Let’s have a look, shall we?

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As we mentioned in Morning Docket yesterday, two adult children in Illinois have sued their own mother on the grounds of “bad mothering.” You must be wondering how one qualifies to be a bad enough mother to warrant such a lawsuit. Well, apparently, failing to completely spoil your children will do the trick — especially if your ex-husband, an attorney, has it out for you and is representing the kids.

The lawsuit has since been dismissed, but it was so ridiculous that we thought it deserved its own showcase here on Above the Law. Find out what these snotty little brats alleged against their mother, after the jump….

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Would you force your kid to eat this?

Sometimes kids can be really annoying and behave really badly. Luckily for my parents, I was a little bit of both when I was younger. After throwing a spare rib at someone’s head in a Chinese restaurant, my parents didn’t take me out to dinner with them for months. After throwing a puzzle at the wall and making a huge hole in it, my parents didn’t allow me to have playdates for a while. Apparently, I was a big fan of throwing things when I was a little girl.

But my parents never hit me, and they certainly never abused me. They just took things away, and made me see that there were consequences for my actions. My parents are awesome. And look at what a fine specimen I turned out to be! Now I make fun of people on the internet for a living. They’re so proud.

Now, I don’t have kids, but from what I see happening around me, I feel like parents just don’t know how to be parents anymore. But they do know how to be drama queens. Case in point: an Alaska mother was so desperate to get on the Dr. Phil show that she filmed herself forcing her child to hold hot sauce in his mouth and shoving him into a cold shower.

Is this child abuse? You bet your ass it is, and this bad mommy might be going to jail for it….

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Gregory Berry

One of the most compelling characters to populate our pages lately is Gregory S. Berry. As you surely recall, Gregory Berry is the Penn Law grad and ex-associate at Kasowitz Benson who is now suing his former firm for a whopping $77 million.

Thus far, reader sentiment doesn’t seem favorable towards Berry. According to Above the Law sources, Greg Berry wasn’t popular at Penn Law, where he was known for sending strange emails about his traffic court misadventures to his classmates. A tipster who knew Berry during his first career, as a software engineer who “conquer[ed]” Silicon Valley, expressed the view that Berry was “very inflexible,” lacking in a sense of perspective, and “not a good fit with the dot.com 1.0 work-style.”

In fairness to Berry, however, we have heard more positive opinions as well. For example, one Penn classmate described Berry to us as “a nice, smart dude, and a go-getter.”

And now a second source has contacted us, also to defend Greg Berry — and to criticize Berry’s former employer, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman….

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You didn’t think we’d just get one day out of the Gregory Berry story, did you?

Since we posted about Berry, the former Kasowitz Benson associate who is suing the firm for $77 million, Above the Law readers have been sharing their opinions about working with him.

Some of our readers went to Penn Law School with Berry. Others worked with him when he was busy “conquering” Silicon Valley. They remember an interesting guy.

Let’s take a look at their opinions….

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Gregory Berry: the $77 million man.

This morning we mentioned a lawsuit filed against litigation powerhouse Kasowitz Benson and two Kasowitz partners by Gregory S. Berry, a former first-year associate at the firm. Berry’s 50-page complaint, filed in New York state court, contains 14 causes of action, including wrongful termination, fraud, and breach of contract. Berry seeks a whopping $77 million in damages — $2.55 million in estimated lost income, and $75 million in punitives.

After working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley for several years, Gregory Berry matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He graduated from Penn Law in 2010 and was admitted to the New York bar in 2011. He summered at Kasowitz in 2009 and started working at the firm full-time in September 2010. Less than a year later, in May 2011, he was fired.

According to Berry’s complaint, he “immediately began doing superlative work” at Kasowitz. Alas, the law firm was unable to accommodate his “superior legal mind.” After he began seeking greater responsibility in a way that rubbed some colleagues the wrong way, he got canned.

“There’s simply no room in a big law firm for an intelligent, creative lawyer with real-world experience,” Greg Berry told Thomson Reuters News & Insight. “I had to find that out the hard way.”

Let’s have a look at his interesting allegations, plus hear from some tipsters….

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Please give me a job.

We mentioned it briefly in Morning Docket a few days ago, but now we know for sure that dogs are marking their territory in the legal profession. Dogs are appearing everywhere from law school libraries to courtroom witness boxes.

Naturally, when we heard that the doggie-at-law phenomenon had made it all the way down to Texas, we were excited. Unfortunately, students at the Texas law school where this occurred were less than thrilled. Who doesn’t love cute, cuddly-wuddly little dogs? People who paid to go to law school and thought they could get law-related jobs, that’s who.

So who let the dogs out? Let’s find out which law school wants its students to roll over and beg for a job….

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Stephen McDaniel

We realize some of you are getting Stephen McDaniel fatigue. We apologize if that’s the case, but CHECK YOU CALENDAR: it’s August.

Aside from the stock market craziness that could signal a second recession, and perhaps the London riots, we are in a slow news period. And the story of Stephen Mark McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing a comely classmate, Lauren Giddings, is just about the most interesting story out there.

If you’re not interested in this story, nobody is forcing you to read our coverage (which we tend to put up after regular business hours anyway). But if you are as interested in this fascinating case as we are — and our traffic stats suggest that you are very, very interested — then read on for the latest developments….

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