Zombie Apocalypse

Happy Halloween! Unless you live in New Jersey.

Based here in New York, I’ve spent the last several days watching the news while drinking copious amounts of whisky (klassy hurricane tip: pour the whisky directly into the can of coke — it saves washing a glass later if you’re worried about losing water!). The stream of images showing devastated areas is truly horrifying.

Thankfully my bunker of an apartment survived unscathed, but that did not excuse me from my own share of post-traumatic stress. But in my case it was seeing a number of lawyers-turned-politicians parading across the news channels displaying their own law firm certified brand of crisis management and triggering flashbacks to my years in private practice.

When we suffer the zombie apocalypse (which could happen as early as next Tuesday) or any other movie-level disaster, if we continue to place executive power in the hands of lawyers, we’re all screwed….

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We’ve aimed for even-handedness in our coverage of Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. We’ve written about the lurid allegations against him, and we’ve shared with you the reminiscences of a former roommate who found McDaniel a bit creepy. But we’ve also raised the possibility that some of the evidence against him might be fake, and we’ve even discussed whether perhaps McDaniel has been framed for the Giddings murder.

In our continuing quest to tell both sides of this story, today we bring you supportive words from a college classmate and friend of Stephen McDaniel. This individual believes that McDaniel is being treated unfairly in the court of public opinion — and he’d like to set the record straight….

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There hasn’t been much to report in recent weeks concerning the prosecution of Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. There has been some continued wrangling over bail, as well as talk of possible civil litigation brought by the estate of Lauren Giddings against Boni and Marty Bush, owners of the Barristers Hall apartment complex where Giddings and McDaniel once lived.

So there isn’t much hard news to report about Stephen McDaniel. In the meantime, let’s take a more personal look at the man behind the headlines.

Last week, I interviewed McDaniel’s college roommate, who described what it was like to live with McDaniel. We had a very interesting conversation….

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* Dewey know how deep in the red D&L’s international operations were? Enough to make you shout bloody hell and sacré bleu: the U.K. and Paris offices had liabilities of at least $175M. [Financial Times (reg. req.)]

* “To the extent that we the estate have claims, we would like to settle those claims sooner rather than later.” The joke’s on you if you thought you’d be able to keep your Dewey defector money. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* According to the allegations in former Cravath associate Ellen Pao’s sex discrimination suit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, the “Mad Men” culture seems to be alive and well in Silicon Valley. [New York Times]

* Who will be the first to puff, puff, pass the vote — Obama or Romney? It looks like the path to the White House in Election 2012 might depend upon the legalization of marijuana in key states like Colorado. [Reuters]

* Apparently you can’t take the “duh” out of “Flori-duh” when it comes to voting laws without a fight in the courts. A federal judge has blocked portions of the Sunshine State’s “onerous” voter registration law. [Bloomberg]

* “People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” Because they can’t get jobs? Northwestern Law is considering shrinking its class sizes; John Marshall Law, not so much. [Crain's Chicago Business]

* Stop crying about coming in second in the U.S. News rankings, Harvard, because you can still brag about beating Yale in having the most-cited law review articles of all time… for now. [National Law Journal (reg. req.)]

* Gloria Allred is representing one of the Miami “zombie’s” girlfriends for reasons unknown. Maybe the zombie apocalypse is truly upon is and she saw an opportunity to stand up for undead women’s rights. [CBS Miami]

Zombie Mohammed

What can we say? Around these parts, we enjoy talking about zombies. Zombies that usher in the apocalypse. Zombies that can do document review. Even zombie law firms.

So let’s discuss what everyone else is discussing: the “Zombie Mohammed” case. Earlier this month, Judge Mark W. Martin dismissed a harassment charge against Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim man who allegedly attacked Ernie Perce, an atheist who was dressed up as “Zombie Muhammad.” The incident took place during last year’s Halloween parade in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Since news of the ruling became public, things have gone crazy. Let’s discuss, and take an opinion poll….

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Over a year ago, Lat and I had a good debate about whether a student already in law school should finish the effort or drop out and cut his losses.

Somewhat predictably, I advocated getting out while the getting was good.

I don’t know what happened to that student. But I recently came across a student who was a part of the class of 2010 and dropped out, voluntarily, in 2009. Yeah, I found a guy who saw the writing on the wall after the dark days of 2008, had the foresight and the bravery to quit throwing good money after bad, and left law school.

Sure, I found him now that he’s unemployed and literally running out of food as we speak. But that’s hardly the point. The point is that he’s doing something exciting with his life. The point is that he’s still alive, and still trying to make a difference in this world.

And trust me, if you ever are living in a world overrun by zombies, you’re going to want to make your way to this guy’s house. He’ll be prepared for the worst….

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