Sports and Presidential politics have a long and storied history of entanglement. Everyone knows that President Obama is a White Sox fan who has dutifully filled out March Madness brackets and agitated for a college football playoff. Likewise, Mitt Romney is said by some melodramatic fans of figure skating to have saved the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Lesser known amongst political nerds is that William Howard Taft, along with being our 27th President and also serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was the original starting center for the Harlem Globetrotters. The original Round Mound of Rebound, Taft was said to have installed a basketball court in the White House commissary. Late at night, when the Mrs. was fast asleep, Taft could be heard working on his lethal hook shot and pounding large boxes of chocolate donuts downstairs on the newly installed court.
Among his more famous quips, Taft is said to have uttered, during an oral argument at the Supreme Court, “I’m the Michael Jordan of law! Who wants to sex Mutombo?”
If you’ve ever wandered over to Backpage.com and spent a few minutes reviewing the classified ads there, you probably realized that you had just discovered the seedy underbelly of the internet. Rife with ads for adult services — which is arguably just an elegant way of saying prostitution — the website, owned by Village Voice Media, has come under fire for its association with human trafficking.
Leave it to the company’s general counsel, Elizabeth McDougall, to take a stand for these scandalous online ads. After all, it’s great business! Backpage reportedly has a 70% market share for prostitution ads in the United States, generating millions in revenue.
This week, McDougall is taking additional heat from state attorneys general for her statements in an off-color op-ed column published in the Seattle Times. What could she have said that was so controversial?
If you don’t have a lawyer, it is hard to really put their feet to the fire and make sure the banks have every ‘t’ crossed and ‘i’ dotted… We are going to make sure funding for those legal services is restored.
As part of the settlement, New York State will receive a guaranteed $136 million, and New Yorkers who suffered during the foreclosure crisis will be eligible for an estimated $648 million in additional payments. Schneiderman said the settlement will help restore legal service programs that were cut back in recent years.
About a month ago, we brought you the story of Alisha Smith, an assistant attorney general from New York who was suspended for allegedly moonlighting as a dominatrix. Her reported sexual proclivities earned her our Lawyer of the Day title, so it wasn’t a surprise when she beat the competition into submission to take September’s Lawyer of the Month title.
Today, however, we have news that our lascivious ligatrix can dish it out, but isn’t exactly a fan of taking it. Although whips and chains may excite her, being on the receiving end of a professional spanking just isn’t as erotic.
Smith and her sexy alter ego, Alisha Sparks, have gone public with some new information that may be shocking to those in the BDSM community….
In our sexually repressed society, we just love it when “normal” people are exposed to have kinky sex lives. The bigger the disparity between the person’s “regular” daytime pursuits and their nighttime shenanigans, the better.
And while we know better here at Above the Law, the outside world tends to think “lawyer” is about as conservative a day job as possible. It’s a profession of discretion. So when the New York Post found a lawyer, a government lawyer no less, who reportedly gets paid to be a dominatrix on the side, it was going to be big news.
But come on, doesn’t “dominatrix” sound like relatively normal sexual activity for a securities lawyer working in the New York Attorney General’s office? This doesn’t sound like something she should be punished for.
Let she who is really satisfied by going home to five minutes of missionary before Leno cast the first stone….
Here’s a quick update on a past Lawsuit of the Day. Last month, Chris Armstrong, the openly gay ex-president of the University of Michigan student body, sued Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. As you may recall, Shirvell criticized Armstrong in a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, making allegations that according to Armstrong were false, and Shirvell also followed Armstrong around Ann Arbor. So Armstrong sued Shirvell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation (among other claims).
Now Andrew Shirvell is firing back. Last week, Shirvell, proceeding pro se [FN1], moved to dismiss Chris Armstrong’s lawsuit.
Not surprisingly, Shirvell claimed in his motion to be a victim: “Plaintiff’s course of conduct was politically motivated and intended to make an example out of Defendant in order to deter others from criticizing Plaintiff’s homosexual activist agenda.” More specifically, Shirvell argued that certain counts of the Armstrong complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, that Shirvell’s criticism of Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment, and that Shirvell never had direct contact with Armstrong (e.g., by email or by phone).
Former Michigan prosecutor Andrew Shirvell might be gone from the Michigan attorney general’s office, but he has not been forgotten. Shirvell, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, has just been hit with a lawsuit — by Chris Armstrong, the ex-president of the University of Michigan student body.
Armstrong is suing Shirvell in Michigan state court for stalking, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and abuse of process. His lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and injunctive relief (to enjoin Shirvell from, well, being such a creep).
As you may recall, Shirvell seemed obsessed with the young, beauteous, and openly gay Armstrong, devoting an entire blog to criticism of Armstrong and following Armstrong around, day and night. As explained by Armstrong’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, Shirvell demonstrated a “bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong, reflected in numerous blog and Facebook postings in which Shirvell asserted that Armstrong was advancing a “radical homosexual agenda.” [FN1]
We mentioned this briefly last night in an update appended to Non-Sequiturs, but it’s big enough news that it merits more coverage. Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell — whom we’ve covered extensively, for his blogging campaign against Chris Armstrong, the openly gay (and ridiculously handsome) student body president at the University of Michigan — has been fired by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.
(A commenter had this punny response to the news: “Gosh. Is that the last time Andrew Shirvell will run into trouble with Cox?”)
I previously wondered whether Shirvell deserved to be fired. As AG Cox noted in explaining why he didn’t fire Shirvell immediately, government lawyers have free speech rights too.
Most of you weren’t as concerned. In an Above the Law reader poll last month, over 80 percent of respondents said that Cox should fire Shirvell.
And so he has. According to the Michigan AG’s office, Shirvell went well beyond the bounds of permissible free speech….
If you like gridlock (and as lawyers, you should love gridlock) last night was a big night for you. Thanks to a divided Congress and a weakened President, we shouldn’t be seeing any national legislation for some time. And even as Republicans enjoyed gains in state legislatures around the country, in many cases the State Attorney General office landed in the hands of Democrats. So even if something does managed to get passed, expected it to be gummed up in the courts for a good long while.
Looking at the contested races for Attorney General around the country, we’re seeing that the Tea Party message will still hasn’t been developed into a coherent strategy as to how government lawyers should approach their jobs.
One of the biggest State AG races was in New York, where Democrat Eric Schneiderman scored a victory over well funded city Republican, Dan Donovan. The weakness of Tea Party darling Carl Paladino at the top of the New York Republican ticket didn’t help Donovan’s chances.
In California, a very close A.G. race is showing a slight lead for Democrat Kamala Harris, over Republican Steve Cooley. They’re still counting absentee ballots out there, it’s that close.
But whatever, it’s easy to discount Democrat resilience in New York and California. But outside NYC and L.A., where the ostensibly real Americans live, the top lawyer races were split and didn’t support the “tsunami theory” of Republican domination being pushed by the mainstream media folks…
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.