Whistleblower

Home is where the heart business is?

Recently, a short piece in the Marshfield News Herald describing the downsides of entrepreneurship included this sad story about another solo practice that didn’t make it to the finish line, this time for geographic reasons:

“A few years ago, a lawyer I know had to leave her hometown where she had lived most of her life and move cross country for family reasons. And because she loved her solo practice and the flexibility it afforded her as a mother, and since she is smart and confident, she decided to re-start her solo practice in the new city, thinking it would not be too difficult. But it proved to be much more challenging than she ever thought.”

“Back here, in her hometown where she knew everyone, clients were not hard to come by. In the new city however, she had a lot fewer contacts and even fewer potential clients. And given that back here she had not really had to work too hard to get business, she never really learned about marketing, so that too was new. Eventually, between the Not-So-Great Recession and the challenges of starting from scratch, she finally had to go to work for someone else.”

The article got me thinking: How much of an edge does a lawyer’s hometown — or college or law school town, for that matter — provide in starting a successful solo practice?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do Solos And Smalls Have A Hometown Advantage?”

Edward Snowden returned to the news this week when NBC aired an hour-long interview with him, the first on American TV. Anchor Brian Williams met with Snowden in a Moscow hotel. The 30-year-old former computer systems administrator described his motives for releasing an unprecedented payload of classified information about NSA surveillance.

Snowden is vexing. As a person, he seems a mix of likeable and unlikeable traits. He appears earnest, convinced of the rectitude of his choices even if, as he told NBC, “Sometimes, to do the right thing you have to break the law.” Yet he bristles at Obama Administration characterizations of him as a low-level employee, a high-school dropout. (For example, the president told reporters last year, “No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”) Even if Snowden is right to resist the connotations of those labels, listening to him defend himself in the interview can be painful. He insists he was “trained as a spy” who lived under an assumed identity and was a powerful operator. He sounds like a young man with a bruised ego. The last thing one wants to have to worry about in a situation of this great national and international importance, though, is one young man’s ego.

Snowden’s case is more important and more vexing. NSA’s surveillance programs are deeply troubling….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did Edward Snowden Have Options?”

Robert S. Mueller III

* Congratulations to WilmerHale on landing former FBI director Robert Mueller, and congratulations to Mueller on his move (a homecoming of sorts; he was once a partner at Hale & Dorr, the “Hale” in “WilmerHale”). [DealBook / New York Times]

* A former television judge gets held in real-life contempt. [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

* In the wake of the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal charges, Jean O’Grady poses an interesting question: should law firms have whistleblower programs? [Dewey B Strategic]

* “Have a Better Legal Career by Being Less of a Lawyer.” [Medium]

* This story of losing a client might contain lessons for lawyers. [BigLawRebel]

* As we previously mentioned, the SCOTUS-themed play Arguendo is coming to D.C., and there’s a discount code for ATL readers: WMATL, good for 15% off on previews, Friday nights, Saturday matinees, and Sunday evenings. Enjoy! [Woolly Mammoth]

* In case you missed our Attorney@Blog conference, our friends at wireLawyer were on hand to document the proceedings. Video after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 03.24.14″


Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s new poet-in-residence, Qui Tam.

Qui Tam. Short for a Latin phrase that means, more or less, self-righteously suing alongside the King, and keeping a little on the side for yourself. More commonly known today as a whistleblower action, where a private individual with knowledge of fraud gets sheltered by the feds and a nice cut of the penalties imposed for said fraud. So basically the same idea in Latin and common parlance.

For purposes of this column — which will be a collection of observational “poems,” chronicling experiences the writer may or may not have had during a pretty vanilla T1 law school and corporate legal career — what I am going for is the “whistleblower” allusion (quite self-flattering, not to mention self-righteous). Oh, and the pretentious use of Latin is designed to create a sense of sophistication where one probably doesn’t exist (sorry Bryan Garner, but it is true).

I now present to you my first poem:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Qui Tam: A Study Of The Legal Profession In Verse”

* A Houston couple is suing Carnival Cruises for stranding them on that infamous Poop Ship. Except they were never on that ship. [Houston Chronicle]

* Herman Cain has figured out the culprit behind the sexual harassment allegations that plagued his campaign. It was the Devil! Maybe O.J. should look into where the Devil was when Ron and Nicole were killed. [Talking Points Memo]

* In the running for the worst company name ever: “Dis Is We Thing, Inc.” As always, Above the Law is brought to you by They It Is, LLC. [Rapaport Law Firm]

* The mixologists behind “The OxyContin” cocktail have renamed it “The Cease and Desist” after the pharmaceutical company that makes OxyContin shot off its cease and desist letter. Because this cocktail was more damaging to their reputation than being one of the most used and abused drugs on the market. [Forbes]

* People unfairly zero in on the personalities behind information leaks rather than the substance of the leaks themselves. I don’t know about that… I mean, The Fifth Estate bombed. [Politix]

* The new Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game is coming to America. I gather you can yell “Objection!” at your Nintendo DS and it responds. Anyway, here’s the review. [GameSpot]

* Down in Texas, Judge Sandra Watts got a taste of the new draconian totally fair voter ID requirements when election officials tried to block the 49-year veteran of the voting process from voting because her maiden name was on her ID. Thankfully for Judge Watts, she understood the law a little better than the poll workers. [ThinkProgress]

* Mike Lickver, whose legally-inspired music videos have graced these pages a couple of times before, has a new video. It’s not legally-themed at all, but he’s a rapping lawyer, so we give him a pass for venturing out into other themes. Video after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.24.13″

Next Wednesday, September 18 at 7 p.m., ATL is hosting a free cocktail reception in New York. Our topic will be the tension between laws that encourage individuals to blow the whistle on government wrongdoing and laws that impose the harshest penalties for disclosing secrets. Whether one considers mega-leakers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to be heroes or traitors, the legal implications of their cases are undeniably fascinating.

Our special guest will be criminal defense and whistleblower attorney John Howley, who will discuss how the law has been applied in controversial cases from Daniel Ellsberg to Snowden and Manning. Gain an appreciation for the complex ethical issues lawyers face when advising and representing whistleblowers and alleged traitors.

Please join us on September 18 by RSVPing for the reception below:

In addition, ATL is partnering with our friends at Lawline to bring you a fascinating CLE program concerning the recent leaks of U.S. government data. The CLE program will also take place on the 18th, from 5:30 to 7:10 p.m. Register for the CLE here.

The event is sponsored by our friends at Access Data with support from Lateral Link and Learnvest.

There is a tension between laws that encourage individuals to blow the whistle on government wrongdoing and laws that impose the harshest civil and criminal penalties for disclosing secrets. Whether one considers mega-leakers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to be heroes or traitors, the legal implications of their cases are undeniably fascinating.

On September 18 at 7 p.m., ATL is hosting a free networking cocktail reception in New York, where we’ll discuss the recent leaks of U.S. government data. Our special guest will be criminal defense and whistleblower attorney John Howley, who will examine how the law has been applied in controversial cases from Daniel Ellsberg to Snowden and Manning. Gain an appreciation for the complex ethical issues lawyers face when advising and representing whistleblowers and alleged traitors.

Please join us on September 18 by RSVPing for the reception below (and/or the pre-reception CLE course that starts at 5:30 p.m.):

The event is sponsored by our friends at Access Data with support from Lateral Link and Learnvest.

There is a tension between laws that encourage individuals to blow the whistle on government wrongdoing and laws that impose the harshest civil and criminal penalties for disclosing secrets. Whether one considers mega-leakers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to be heroes or traitors, the legal implications of their cases are undeniably fascinating.

On September 18 at 7 p.m., ATL is hosting a free networking cocktail reception in New York, where we’ll discuss the recent leaks of U.S. government data. Our special guest will be criminal defense and whistleblower attorney John Howley, who will examine how the law has been applied in controversial cases from Daniel Ellsberg to Snowden and Manning. Gain an appreciation for the complex ethical issues lawyers face when advising and representing whistleblowers and alleged traitors.

Please join us on September 18 by RSVPing for the reception below (and/or the pre-reception CLE course that starts at 5:30 p.m.):

The event is sponsored by our friends at Access Data with support from Lateral Link and Learnvest.

Marni ‘Money Bunny’ Halasa

If anyone needs career advice on what they can do with a law degree, send them my way. They too can fight for social justice while wearing a gold spandex onesie and bunny ears!

Marni Halasa, social justice activist, in remarks made yesterday after a successful protest against HSBC. As we recently discovered, Halasa is a graduate of the U. Pitt. School of Law and an ex-journalist for the New York Law Journal.

(Keep reading to see what else she had to say, and to see more pictures.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Things You Can Do With A Law Degree: Sexy Money Bunny”

Marni Halasa

* Is Justice Ginsburg, our favorite judicial diva, foiling her own jurisprudential legacy by refusing to retire from the Supreme Court before another president takes office? [Daily Beast]

* Year-over-year, there’s been a double-digit drop in demand for legal services, so now is a great time to start speculating about which firm will be the next to conduct layoffs. [Am Law Daily]

* Don’t despair, the results of the Am Law Midlevel Survey are out, and associates are more satisfied than ever — except for the women. They’re “leaning out,” so to speak. [Am Law Daily]

* New York City (d/b/a Mayor Michael Bloomberg) wants Judge Shira Scheindlin to stay her stop-and-frisk rulings pending appeal, because racial profiling is an effective crime fighting tool. [New York Law Journal]

* If you want to know why law school is three years long instead of two, it’s because back in the day, the T14s of the world were convinced it’d “stop the proles from sullying the image of the bar.” [The Economist]

* In an effort to keep law school deans’ listserv drama and email scandals to a minimum, the American Bar Association just doled out some rules to keep their ivory tower talk in check. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* “[I]f I die because of this, my life will have been worthwhile.” The HSBC whistleblower would face death to talk about the big bank’s money laundering — and to see the lovely Marni Halasa. [Huffington Post]

Page 1 of 212