Screw-Ups

Tom Wallerstein

A friend of mine — now a successful partner — told me a story about when he was a junior associate at a well-known Biglaw firm. Phil used to work for a superstar partner who was incredibly well respected by his colleagues and clients, but somewhat feared by junior associates. Phil told me about the time when he had to confess to the partner that he had inadvertently produced to their adversary a small number of documents that had been tagged as “non-responsive”; i.e., documents that did not need to be produced because the adversary had not requested them.

Phil expected yelling and screaming, profanity, maybe a fist pounding on the table. But instead, the partner was silent. His face showed disappointment, not anger. He slowly shook his head side to side several times, muttering to himself, seemingly unable to comprehend why fate should be so cruel as to condemn him to work with such incompetents. He rubbed at his face and eyes, first with one hand, and then the other, as if he hoped to awaken himself from a stubborn bad dream.

After several moments, he sighed loudly, and looked at Phil with seeming pity. He sighed again, to make sure my friend fully comprehended the weight of despair that he was bearing, and then once more, for good measure. Finally, the partner said simply, “We’ll have to call the carrier.”

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Along with all the wonders and ease of technology — the world wide web at your fingertips, the ability to send photos of your family vacations from the top of a mountain — there are also some serious accompanying risks. Like the possibility of forgetting to delete a stray picture of your privates and accidentally showing it to a colleague in the middle of a cellphone slideshow of otherwise innocent family and church photos.

Oops.

But that’s what former Philadelphia traffic court judge Willie Singletary did. He resigned several months ago over the blunder, and now he’s been officially called out by the state’s Judicial Discipline Committee…..

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Another (dis)satisfied customer.

* Do we really need another “50 Best Law Schools” ranking list? Debatable. But we know you want to find out if your school made the cut. [Business Insider]

* What’s the hardest part of being a public defender? Is it (a) the low pay, (b) the long hours, or (c) getting punched in the face by an unhappy client? [Huffington Post]

* This lawyer is involved in a mess of defamation accusations because he made the mistake of paying attention to anonymous comments. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Only amateur fibbers simply pretend they have cancer. If you want to be the real deal, you gotta tell all your friends you also don’t have health insurance and get them to raise three grand to pay for your imaginary chemo. [Legal Juice]

* So, I would never fake an injury to get to use a wheelchair, because of the serious karma issues it would probably create in my life (e.g., above blurb). But I will say I went to Disneyland once with a physically disabled friend, and it was freaking amazing. I’ve never waited in so few lines in my life. [Consumerist]

* I think the lesson here is that it’s generally poor parenting to name your child after the sound a bomb makes. [CBS Cleveland via Legal Blog Watch]


Have you tried visiting the website of your favorite major law firm today and encountered something like this? Here’s a screenshot for Davis Polk (but you’ll see something similar for Cravath, Jones Day, White & Case, and many other top firms that tipsters emailed us about today):

Let’s find out why this is occurring….

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I realize, as a San Franciscan, my views on marijuana are somewhat out-of-the-ordinary relative to many other Americans. More specifically, San Franciscans as a group tend to forget pot is illegal at all.

But maybe we ain’t as crazy and/or progressive as we’d like to think of ourselves. Case in point: a prosecutor down south was busted this week when a joint fell out of his pocket — in court, while he was chatting with a police officer. Whoops!

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Grind up some brilliant legal theories, spice liberally with Bluebook-compliant citations, and voilà — law review articles!

Have you ever wondered how the law review sausage factory works? Perhaps you’re a law professor or practitioner who regularly submits pieces to law journals for possible publication. If you are, and if you’d like to know more about how the process works — or, more to the point, what law review editors say about you behind your back — you’ve come to the right place.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, collaborating with far-flung colleagues has never been easier. Here at Above the Law, for example, your four full-time editors — myself, Elie, Staci, and Chris — keep in touch throughout the day using Gchat.

But what if, due to inadequate security, your organization’s internal deliberations were accessible to the public? And, in some cases, even crawled by search engines?

What if you were, say, law students at a highly ranked law school, where you served as editors of a high-profile law review? And what if your, er, candid and colorful comments about the articles pending before you were to become publicly available?

What then? Let’s find out….

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Government websites have never been known for pizzazz or cool design. Half the time court websites barely seem to function on modern computers. At best, dealing with the government online is a boring, tedious chore.

So imagine our surprise — and hey, a little excitement too — when a tipster forwarded us information about a funny glitch buried within the State of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch website.

Click through to see some unexpected “erotic fondling” (don’t worry, this is totally safe for work)…

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Turns out judges sometimes value guns just as much as the rest of “real” America. We’ve covered judges who inappropriately brandish firearms from the bench, but as far as I know, I’ve never heard of a judge actually shooting his gun inside a courthouse.

Until today.

A state judge in Tioga County, NY, was censured after he fired his revolver inside his chambers. Was he shooting at a dangerous criminal? Nooope. It was an unfortunate technical malfeasance. It probably didn’t help that the reason he had a conceal-carry permit was because he approved his own….

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They should have a booth at the North Carolina state fair for the best homegrown law graduate.

It is time for bar exam results already?

You know, if state boards of law examiners were actually attuned to the economic realities for recent law graduates, they would be trying to get bar exam results out as soon as possible. Right now there are a lot of kids who can’t even credibly start looking for jobs until they get their bar results.

Of course, when dealing with state boards of law examiners, we’re dealing with a group of people who administer exams under blackout conditions. In large barns. Without air conditioning. Bar examiners are not the most responsive group of people in the universe.

Still, one state got its bar results out quickly — which should allow a lot of time for failing students to challenge their scores…

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Are you kidding me?

Have you ever emailed a friend to tell him how pissed off you are at another friend — only to realize after the fact you accidentally emailed the friend you were trying to gossip about instead? Or have you gone on a bad date and texted the girl instead of your buddy about lame she is?

A little humiliating right?

What about accidentally emailing your litigation opponent a confidential mediation statement? It’s an express train to a crummy afternoon….

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