* Alabama “welcomes visitors,” but reserves the right to question their papers. The state won’t get the chance to show visitors this kind of southern hospitality any time soon thanks to an injunction. [CNN]
* Someone in the Facebook marketing department must have realized that there’s no publicity like free publicity, because the company’s trademark battle with parody site Lamebook is over. [The Recorder]
* Guys at my high school used to sext nasty pictures to 13-year-old girls all the time, it was no big deal. It’s only a big deal when one of the guys is the high school’s assistant football coach. [Los Angeles Times]
* Next time you have a property dispute, talk to Charles Saulson. He doesn’t take sh*t from anyone, he just throws it. Allegedly. [New York Magazine]
* I wasn’t a fan of that Red light/Green light game when I was a kid, and this attorney probably wasn’t, either. He’s representing victims of red light camera injustice for free. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “You shouldn’t be able to go around ruining people’s lives because you’re a jilted lover.” This lawyerly Lothario must not have much experience with women. [New York Post]
From partner to pedophile. From Super Lawyer to Super Creep. It’s time for an update on the story of Aaron Biber, the high-profile Minneapolis lawyer who was going to be the next president of the Minnesota State Bar Association but is now going to be a prison inmate. For a very long time.
Aaron Biber first appeared on our radar screen in December 2009, when we named him a Lawyer of the Day. At the time, Biber — a partner at the prominent Minnesota firm of Gray Plant Mooty, and co-chair of its antitrust practice — was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.
The charges were true, and Biber pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct back in July. Last week, Biber was sentenced.
What kind of sentence did he get? And what additional disturbing details have emerged about his heinous crime?
Guess we won’t have Kenneth Kratz to kick around anymore. Kratz, aka the Sexting District Attorney, will soon step down as DA of Calumet County, Wisconsin. According to his attorney, Kratz’s resignation will take place before October 8, the date set for his removal hearing. The news was reported on Tuesday by the Associated Press.
Losing his post as chief prosecutor will definitely cramp Kratz’s dating style. He’ll forfeit his high-profile job and its $105,000 salary. He’ll no longer be able to hit on women victims seeking help from his office by sending them text messages that read “Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?” and “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”
Thanks to the internet, your memory is probably getting worse. But surely you remember our recent Lawyer of the Day honoree, District Attorney Kenneth Kratz of Calumet County, Wisconsin.
A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the DA sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him. One of his texts read, in pertinent part, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”
(Someone should put that on a t-shirt: “You may be hot, but I am the prize!”)
Alas, the recipient of Kratz’s “I am the prize” text may not be the only woman he harassed. Two other women have come forward with allegations against the district attorney — and one of them claims Kratz has some weird ideas about what constitutes a fun date….
Everyone thinks of Midwesterners as so wholesome. Perhaps this perception is unfounded.
For example, why are Wisconsin lawyers so darn horny? First there were the Biglaw Bad Boys, accused of sexual assault. Now we’re hearing about a government lawyer — an elected district attorney, in fact — who apparently let his libido get the best of him.
Here’s the story: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a flurry of text messages to a woman, 30 texts over three days, in an effort to start up an affair with her. The woman, who described Kratz’s harassing texts as putting her through “three days of hell,” was a victim of domestic abuse. Kratz met the woman in course of prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for the violence against her.
OMG. Legal ethics FAIL.
And some of Kratz’s texts are simply 2M2H. Read on, and prepare for the LULZ….
Today the Supreme Court decided City of Ontario v. Quon, a very important privacy case regarding a California SWAT officer who argued that the text messages sent on his work pager were entitled to privacy. The case has gained fame for two reasons — because oral argument revealed that the Supreme Justices are not very tech savvy, and because journalists and Court watchers saw this case as a sign of whether we’re entitled to privacy in our communications and emails on work devices (relevant to everyone who uses a work-issued Blackberry for occasional personal email).
The SWAT officer, Sergeant Jeff Quon, is out of luck. The Court decided that the police department’s search of his steamy text messages was reasonable (and reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held otherwise). Today’s SCOTUS ruling led to headlines like this one from Joan Biskupic at ABC News: High court: Texts on government gear not private.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the Court’s opinion [PDF] in the case, hoped not to see headlines like that….
Yesterday, I paid a visit to the Supreme Court to sit in on oral argument for City of Ontario v. Quon. The case is about a California SWAT officer who alleged that his privacy and constitutional rights were violated when his superiors reviewed the messages he sent out on his work-issued pager. A good number of them had more to do with scheduling sex romps with his girlfriend and estranged wife than housing raids.
The facts in the case make it complicated enough to warrant SCOTUS review. But what seemed especially complicated to The Nine were the technological issues.
Stepping into One First Street is like stepping back into the 1950s. No Blackberries or electronic devices allowed. No cameras (in spite of C-SPAN’s fervent wishes). The most technologically advanced items in the courtroom are the microphones. So it seemed appropriate then that many of the justices’ questions strayed away from reasonable expectations of privacy and proper searches, and got into how exactly texting works…
As Quinn Emanuel folks are well aware (“CHECK YOU EMAILS”), there are many employees out there who are expected to be chained to their work at all times. The BlackBerry goes to bed with you, and not just because of its vibrate function. Sometimes the bedroom talk makes its way onto the BlackBerry.
Such was the case for Jeff Quon, a SWAT officer in California. He was fired after his lieutenant read hundreds of steamy text messages sent from Quon’s work pager. Quon sued the police department, arguing that the search of his texts was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
Funny, we didn’t know SWAT officers even knew that there was a Fourth Amendment.
Now SCOTUS will be weighing in on privacy rights for personal communications on work-issued devices. Emily Bazelon sketches out the case’s path to One First Street over at Slate:
In June 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with [Quon]. He had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the court said, given what his supervisor told him about paying for extra messages — the department’s “operational reality.” The court also found that there were other, less intrusive ways for the police chief to figure out whether Quon was frittering away his time: Warning him ahead of time to quit sending so many messages, asking him to count the characters himself, or asking him to cross out the personal parts before the department reviewed them.
This ruling, by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw for a panel of three judges, implicitly recognizes that company pagers and e-mail accounts often turn into personal ones.
Should Quon be protected against the eyes of the boss, and in this case the law, reading the responses to “What R U wearing?”
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.