Weirdness

This column, Lawyerly Lairs, is all about real estate voyeurism. But today’s story emphasizes the voyeurism over the real estate. Let’s hope there are some Rear Window fans among you.

In Cobble Hill, one of Brooklyn’s loveliest and leafiest precincts, the “sexy shower” of one attorney abode has got the neighborhood talking. Lawyers are often focused on minimizing exposure, but neighbors claim that’s not the case for the owners of a beautiful, multimillion-dollar townhouse.

Let’s see what all the fuss is about. It seems that there’s more to this story than meets the eye….

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Last year, we covered the mystery departure of Lee Smolen — the prominent real estate lawyer, not the famed theoretical physicist — from Sidley Austin. It may have been related to the ethics charges filed against Smolen, accusing him of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty through alleged filing of false expense claims.

Amazingly enough, Smolen got picked up as a partner by DLA Piper. The firm admitted that it “was aware of this matter during the hiring process.”

In order to deliver to DLA’s bottom line, Smolen will need to avoid suspension or disbarment. So he has filed a response to the Illinois ethics charges against him. What does Smolen have to say for himself, and is it persuasive?

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Last September, we wrote about the mysterious departure of Lee Smolen from Sidley Austin. Smolen, former head of Sidley’s real estate practice in Chicago and a member of the firm’s executive committee, departed without comment or a known destination. When that happens, something interesting is usually afoot.

Earlier this month, the other white shoe dropped. A lawyer ethics commission in Illinois leveled charges against Smolen arising out of his time at Sidley.

What has he been accused of? And what does his new law firm have to say about it?

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The task of keeping cranky, nervous, and potentially mutinous law grads on task and learning requires a lecturer being memorable enough to hold the audience’s attention. There are many paths to being memorable.

This video “trailer” for a film by one BARBRI professor takes a very particular route to memorability, and that route is a balls-to-the-wall crazy collection of hallucinogenic images.

As far as I can tell through the psychedelic fog of the production embedded below, a piece of African art in his living room convinced the instructor to kill a bunch of people and then take off his shirt in front of the jury. African art… why does it always have to be a black guy’s fault?

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[Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.]

Late Friday afternoon, we got multiple tips that a major law school had axed its admissions director and turned over the whole department to a 3L.

Why would the school fire a long-time admissions director while still chasing down prospective students? Why did the school tap a student to run the program? Does this represent a philosophical shift to bring the admissions process closer to the live student experience? Is this a completely Mickey Mouse operation?

But after some poking around, the whole thing got crazier. The school claimed it hadn’t made any personnel changes, but tipsters kept forwarding us emails sent from the school to prospective students that identified the 3L as the “Interim Director of Admissions.”

Now we had something. Either a law school cover-up (or screw-up), or a rogue 3L with delusions of grandeur (if you define “grandeur” as “director of admissions at a law school”)…

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Would you accept this guy at your law school?

Last month, we wrote about a law school graduate who decided to “renounce” his U.S. Citizenship in a departure memo to no one in particular. The letter was somewhat threatening and was sent in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, so it was a little bit difficult to make fun of him.

But now the guy is out with a video. And it seems like maybe he’s been checked out by the FBI? At the very least, he doesn’t seem to be actively threatening to go on a shooting spree.

Also, a tipster says his “Calvin Candie” voice is a recent affectation. I think we can all feel safe laughing now…

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Less demeaning than working in Biglaw?

Do little kids actually threaten to run away and join the circus anymore? Do people still go to the circus anymore? When I think of “circus,” I think of “vaguely mistreated animals and freakish humans objectified for the amusement of the masses.”

Or, if it’s “not that kind of circus,” then I think you are talking about homosexual, ambidextrous French people.

Either way, I’m not thinking of “fun for the whole family,” and I’m certainly not thinking of a place that people run to in order to be free and live beyond society’s rules and prohibitions.

But I’m no longer a Biglaw lawyer. If I was, maybe leaving my job to join the circus would be like living a dream…

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Over the years, we’ve seen some strange and surprising law firm departure memos. They come not just from associates but from partners as well. See, e.g., this famous (or infamous) Skadden partner’s departure memo.

Today we bring you another weird farewell message penned by a partner. It’s strange because it burns bridges in a big way, making all kinds of incendiary allegations against the Am Law 100 firm involved.

You’d think that a leading employment lawyer would show greater discretion on his way out the door. Well, think again….

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I really think this guy is just a troll, but it’s too soon to be funny.

Around here, we love crazy departure memos. Today, we have us a real whooper.

Unfortunately, some guy sent out a crazy, slightly unhinged “renunciation” of his U.S. citizenship to some of his law school classmates just this past Saturday, mere hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, was finally captured. All of a sudden, a dude claiming that he’s going to go into the Florida wilderness and will return as a “revolutionary” sounds less “OMG, look at this crazy law graduate,” and more “Umm, is anybody taking a look at this crazy law graduate?”

I mean, we’re talking about a guy who apparently changed his name to “Augustus Invictus.” So we’re almost certainly talking about some kind of troll. A “too soon” troll, at least I hope….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Kind Of Unhinged Departure Memo That Would Have Been WAY Funnier Before The Marathon Attack”

Honestly, I’m surprised this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often.

Tipsters report that a recent graduate returned to his law school campus and proceeded to throw some kind of tantrum. One source alleges that the recent grad was seen “knocking over security guards” and was eventually led away in handcuffs, shouting at students on his way out.

And this isn’t even the most shocking security breach that has taken place at this law school over the years, because sending out an alert to beware of the guy who allegedly throws a fit is a lot better than sending out alerts about the guy who is masturbating in the law school library….

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