Rudeness

Here at Above the Law, we know a thing or two about how lawyers should deal with the police. Incidentally, we also know how lawyers should not deal with law enforcement officers. And if you truly value your job as an attorney, it’s best not to mouth off to the cops, or to threaten them in any way, shape, or form.

But Courtney King, a rather attractive attorney with Ice Miller, apparently didn’t get the memo. Last week, after allegedly downing a few too many shots of liquid courage, King got into a stand off with police that may have iced her nascent legal career….

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UVA is a hell of a law school.

So, I finally caught Your Body On Drugs, the Discovery channel program narrated by Robin Williams in which scientists make people who are high on drugs perform various tasks. Frankly, I thought it would be a little bit better — like, American Gladiator, only with people on cocaine instead of steroids.

Anyway, there’s this part where the cokehead is saying cokehead things, and Robin Williams says something like “cocaine gives the users an inflated sense of self-confidence.” Then the cokehead puts together a bookshelf by balancing the wood in a general cube shape instead of actually screwing things in; it looks great but can’t actually hold any books. At the time, I thought, “Man, this is like going to UVA Law School.”

Oh, I kid, UVA Law students. But between the alleged criminal activity of current students, alleged tall tales told by former students, and all the popped collars, you gotta ask if a little humility might do the campus good?

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Sometimes silence is golden.

The executive editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson — who once worked as a legal journalist, for Steve Brill at the American Lawyer — recently issued A Note to Our Readers About Comments, in which she explained various changes to the Times’s commenting system. We thought we’d follow in the Gray Lady’s footsteps and announce a tweak of our own to the Above the Law comments.

Comments and online anonymity are hot topics right now, both here and abroad (e.g., India). Writer Katie Roiphe just mused about the angry anonymous commenter. Privacy lawyer Christopher Wolf recently argued, in the New York Times, that websites should “consider requiring either the use of real names (or registration with the online service) in circumstances, such as the comments section for news articles, where the benefits of anonymous posting are outweighed by the need for greater online civility.” Many Times readers disagreed, defending the value and importance of anonymous speech online.

In light of these conflicting concerns — civility, privacy, free expression — let’s turn our attention to the ATL comments….

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Of course not! But the headline got your attention, didn’t it? The notion of Judge Richard Posner as being anything other than a genius will certainly make people sit up and take notice. There’s a reason why there’s a Facebook group called Richard Posner for Philosopher King (of which I am a proud member).

It should be noted, however, that Judge Posner’s opinion in Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co. was not 100 percent perfect. It initially contained some infelicitous wording — which has since been fixed.

Let’s look at the language that was perhaps imprecise….

UPDATE (4 PM): Additional comment from Judge Posner, added after the jump.

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As I waited for my plane to take off Sunday morning, coming back from Thanksgiving vacation, I was listening to music on my iPod. We had been waiting on the runway for 25 minutes and I was bored, tired, and roasting hot. I needed to distract myself. But then, before I knew it, it was apparently time to take off. Without warning, the stewardess came from the back of the plane, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “SIR, you have to turn it off now. SIR. SIR.”

Like I do every time I fly, I took off my headphones until the flight attendant walked away. Then I put them back on. I also never turned off my cell phone or put it in airplane mode.

You probably know this is not allowed. Airplane passengers are supposed to turn off all electronic devices for takeoff and landing.

But WHY? Is aviation safety so delicate that a few Kindles or iPads endanger hundreds of lives? I don’t think so. A New York Times article from Monday takes a look at this mysterious, anachronistic facet of America’s law of the skies….

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UPDATE (5 PM): Sigh. According to the Smoking Gun, the “poop tattoo” story — reported by The Sun and picked up by Drudge, among many other outlets — is full of crap. But it was fun while it lasted, no?

Some people love tattoos, other people hate them. I’m one of those “other people.” I have no idea why people would want to turn their bodies into coloring books. But if people want to permanently decorate themselves, then by all means, go right ahead.

Besides, if people weren’t so obsessed with inking their bodies, we wouldn’t have awesome lawsuits like this one to talk about. Here’s some background information before we get into the heart of this case:

Boy, a tattoo artist, meets Girl. Girl is a nerd who has a thing for Narnia. Boy and Girl fall in love. Girl decides that in addition to Narnia, she has a thing for Boy’s best friend. Girl cheats on Boy, thinking Boy is none the wiser. Girl asks Boy for a Narnia tattoo. Boy finds out Girl’s dirty secret, and begins to plot his revenge….

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On Thanksgiving Day, while you were enjoying your turkey (or tofurkey), we wrote about a different bird: namely, the ostrich. In a somewhat snarky opinion, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit compared a lawyer appearing before him to an ostrich: “The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate. The ‘ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against a litigant’s contention does not exist is as unprofessional as it is pointless.'”

Ouch. Judge Posner even included a photo (above right) of a man in a suit burying his head in the sand.

What did the lawyer in question, David “Mac” McKeand of Houston, have to say for himself? And what did McKeand have to say about Judge Posner?

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Welcome, William and Mary law students!

Virginia is for Lovers, not Partiers. Law students in the Old Dominion State are not as much fun as we thought they were.

We recently wrote about a law school party — called the “Fall From Grace,” aptly enough — that supposedly spiraled out of control. According to an email from the Student Bar Association (SBA) at William and Mary School of Law, the raucous event featured law students “urinating on the bathroom floor, breaking a toilet paper dispenser, knocking over a flower pot, and engaging in inappropriate behavior” at the Williamsburg Crowne Plaza. This supposedly culminated in the Crowne Plaza calling W&M Dean Davison Douglas “to inform him that the law school is no longer welcome at the hotel.”

But now we’re hearing that this incident has been overblown, and that the law school has not been banned from the high-end Holiday Inn at Fort Magruder….

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I bet William and Mary Law students are still allowed to party in Colonial Williamsburg.

It’s been a while since we had a story about an entire law school student body getting banned forever from a party venue. I think maybe the last school law to have this public shame was Tulane? I know things got pretty crazy at the UC Davis Law “prom” last year, but they didn’t get banned from anywhere.

But apparently neither of these schools has anything on the law students at William and Mary. According to the school’s Student Bar Association, the conduct of the students has been so disorderly that they’re running out of places in Williamsburg willing to host law school events.

Man, I guess you can see why a lady like Laura Flippin (she of the alleged .253 BAC) is on the William and Mary Board of Visitors….

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Gun hard!

Last week, we told you about some law students who were holding tryouts — and charging a $20 application fee — to fill the final two spots in their study group.

The students in the group were roundly mocked. Charging an application fee made demanding an undergraduate transcript from applicants pale by comparison.

Now, if the school had been a place like UVA Law, the student body would have gotten defensive and lashed out about how the study group post “didn’t tell the full story.” They’d whine about how the study groupers didn’t “represent” the student body. They’d claim that ATL “planted” the poster, because we “had it in” for the school.

But some students at the Georgia State University College of Law didn’t feel the need to defend their school or the silly students in the study group. They realized that nobody would impute the toolish behavior of a few 1Ls to an entire institution.

Instead, they chose to have a bit of fun with it. Confidence and a sense of humor are beautiful things….

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