Shoes

Earlier today, on the Senate floor, debate took place on whether to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th Supreme Court justice. The Kagan nomination is not very controversial, due to the nominee’s impeccable credentials and the Democrats’ 59 votes in the Senate.

In the legal blogosphere, a far more divisive debate is raging, over a subject just as important as confirming the fourth woman ever to the Supreme Court: Are peep-toe shoes appropriate professional footwear? Can female attorneys wear them to the office? What about to court?

The debate was ignited over at The Careerist, by Vivia Chen (no style slouch herself — not many legal journalists own floor-length mink coats). Chen recounted this anecdote:

Waiting in line in the ladies room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel recently, I heard this discussion: “In my day, I always wore pumps to court,” said in a woman in her fifties. “Can you believe this associate went to court with open-toe shoes?” Her companion shook her head, then asked: “How did she do?” The first woman replied, “Her work was good, but her shoes weren’t right.”

Chen then surveyed a number of lawyers, from around the country, and they could not reach a consensus on the appropriateness of peep-toe shoes. The debate continued over at the ABA Journal, where a post by Debra Cassens Weiss generated a flurry of comments.

Given that so many law firms are business casual nowadays, it is probably safe to wear peep-toe shoes to the office. The fashion guidelines issued by the New York office of Weil Gotshal, for example, officially bless “open toe or open heel shoes.” (Still unacceptable: “Athletic shoes, clogs, beach shoes, flip flops, beach shoes.”)

But what about wearing peep-toe shoes to court? On this subject, we decided to turn to the experts: namely, a panel of fabulous female federal judges….

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Kathryn Ruemmler Kathryn H Ruemmler Kathy Ruemmler Latham Watkins.jpgSuperstar litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler, a litigation partner at Latham & Watkins and an Enron prosecutor before that, has been picked to serve as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Obama Justice Department. That title is a mouthful, but lawyers inside the Beltway know it’s a Big Deal.

The revolving door between the DOJ and Latham swings again. Ruemmler has traded places with another fierce female litigator: Alice Fisher, who rejoined the firm after heading up the Criminal Division.

As for Ruemmler, the government’s gain is Latham’s loss. Says one LW tipster: “She’s a really good lawyer, and a genuinely nice person. We’re very sorry to lose her.”

Kathy Ruemmler isn’t just a genial genius; she’s stylish, too. From the WSJ Law Blog, reporting on a day of the Ken Lay trial:

Speaking of footwear, the boldest fashion statement of the day — possibly rivaling O’Melveny paralegal Bill Evans’s goth getup for the gutsiest sartorial move of the week — came from the government’s Ruemmler. The deputy director of the Enron Task Force, who won convictions against four Merrill Lynch bankers in the 2004 Nigerian Barge case, paired a conservative gray suit with stunning 4-inch bright pink stiletto spikes.

Litigatrix indeed. Just because you work for the DOJ doesn’t mean you have to shop at DSW.

There’s a lot of diversity in Obama’s Department picks so far. Eric Holder, nominated to serve as Attorney General, is African-Amercan. Elena Kagan and Dawn Johnsen, nominated to serve as, respectively, Solicitor General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, are women.

The full memo about Ruemmler’s move, after the jump.

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Tulane steals Mr. Rogers shoe.JPGWe reported yesterday that students at Tulane Law School allegedly absconded with Mr. Rogers’s shoe from the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Well, an intrepid trolley has returned the treasured keepsake. Let’s get the details….

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Tulane steals Mr. Rogers shoe.JPGI know a couple of Tulane Law School graduates, and those people can party. And gamble. And eat what they kill.

Now, the Louisiana Children’s Museum knows how Tulane rolls too. The Tulane law school student body just received this email:

Students, we need your help with a theft that occurred at Barrister’s Ball. As you know, the event was held in the Children’s Museum. There was a display devoted to “Mr. Rogers” (Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”) at the top of a staircase. The display contained shoes actually worn by Mr. Rogers, on loan from a private collection. These shoes are therefore unique and irreplaceable.

During the ball one of the shoes was stolen, most likely by a student. The theft was noticed Sunday morning by the museum staff but not reported to us until today. I’m afraid I cannot overemphasize the gravity of this incident. It appears that one of the students of this Law School committed theft, a serious crime. It is also a violation of the Tulane University Code of Student Conduct. Moreover, what was stolen was of very high value. The stolen item must be returned immediately. Otherwise, the Law School may be forced to pay for the item and future SBA events held in venues off campus will be in serious jeopardy.

Until close of business tomorrow (Wednesday) we are taking a “no questions asked” approach to this situation. Our primary goal is simply the return of the shoe. If you know anything about this incident, please report it to Dean Netherton or myself. You can also communicate with SBA President [redacted]. You can report anonymously if you wish. If the shoe is returned to Dean Netherton’s office by close of business tomorrow, the Museum will not turn over the matter to the NOPD. If it is not, the Museum will turn over the matter to the NOPD. I hope it is obvious that being under suspicion or arrested in connection with this incident would have the most serious negative implications for your future career as a lawyer.

Thank you for your help,

Stephen M. Griffin

Vice Dean of Academic Affairs

Reactions after the jump.

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