Television

General Spoiler Alert: You may not want to read this column if you have not yet finished reading “A Storm of Swords” (affiliate link) or finished watching season three of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Care has been taken to eliminate any spoilers, but by definition spoilers are personal, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the books or show.

Imagine a conference room. Filled with lawyers, in this case an Am Law 100 law firm’s D.C.-based bankruptcy practice. Fifteen lawyers in total. Four partners, two senior counsel, and nine associates of various experience levels. All came to the firm four years ago, when the then-nascent mega-firm picked up an entire D.C.-centric firm in a merger. The bankruptcy guys decided to go with the new outfit, choosing to remain with old colleagues and hoping for some exposure to the new mega-firm’s promised synergies. Business has been okay, even as the current year has been a little soft. In their minds, it also would have been nice to have more fellow bankruptcy practitioners in other offices, but despite their relative isolation (in geography and practice area), the group has managed to pick up a big matter or two via referral from other groups. Things are plodding along.

The head of the practice is about to turn the reins of the meeting over to one of the associates — who will be summarizing some recent case law out of Delaware. It is a spring Tuesday, and everyone is eating, drinking, or doing the smartphone stare. All of a sudden, the door swings open. In marches the office managing partner, flanked by the office manager/HR liason, and one of the D.C.-based members of the executive committee — who closes the door and locks it….

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Lawyers who practice in small law firms are frequently in the media. The reason is simple: the cases we handle are interesting. When’s the last time your local TV station wanted to interview a Biglaw partner about a corporate transaction?

Stories of divorce, crime, ethics violations, catastrophic injuries caused by plane crashes, and whether the building collapse was caused by a construction defect are why Don Henley had a hit with “Dirty Laundry.” (I love the fact I was able to weave in a comment about Don Henley. Big fan.)

At some point, you may get a call from a local reporter because you either have a high-profile client, or the reporter knows you and there is a case in your practice area where your comments are requested.

Let’s begin with the obvious: lawyers like to talk. Lawyers like to talk when lots of people are listening. Lawyers like to get calls about cases. Lawyers like to get calls instead of the other lawyer getting calls. Media appearances are often considered free advertising. One of the best things about media appearances, paper or TV, is that most people don’t remember what you said, just that they saw you or your name. It goes like this: “I saw you in the paper.” “Oh yeah, what did you see?” “I don’t remember, I just remember seeing your name.” Thankfully, no one seems to remember you said something so ridiculous that it made you look borderline incompetent…

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Lionel Messi should blame his tax problems on ‘the accountant of God.’

Being caught for tax evasion seems like a fairly high-class problem to have. Like finding a place to dock your yacht or having gout. Al Capone, of course, is the patron saint of tax fraud. And syphilis. And Geraldo Rivera televised spectaculars. But mostly of tax fraud. And then there’s Wesley Snipes, who is the modern-day tax evader par excellence. In researching this post, I just found out that Snipes was released from prison just this past April. Welcome back Wesley!

So yeah, evading taxes tends to be, like, the sport of Kings. Capone and Snipes. Snipes and Capone. Any way you cut it, you’re in a pretty select group when you don’t pay your taxes. I, myself, have never had the chance to evade taxes as the IRS has never come after me all that hard. One of the perks of being destitute, I suppose. My cramped studio apartment is hot in the summer and cold in the winter and during all four seasons smells like old cheese. The McDonald’s sign outside the window keeps my girlfriend awake at night. But seriously, I could brag like this for at least two thousand words.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that the very idea of evading one’s taxes is as foreign to me as the game of soccer, a game in which I share the estimable opinion of the Prince of Soul Glo, Darryl Jenks: that’s a real cute sport.

Which is why it is fantastic that I can explore these two alien worlds concurrently. Let’s talk Lionel Messi. Let’s habla fútbol.

Let’s talk tax evasion. Let’s talk sports…

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Judge Judy makes partners look like paupers.

Don’t pee on her leg and tell her it’s raining (affiliate link). Instead, relieve yourself inside the powder room of Judge Judy’s former pied-à-terre.

Maybe it has a gold-plated urinal? If it doesn’t, it should. Isn’t $8.5 million for two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms a bit steep?

Also steep: the $17,411 a month in common charges. That’s right, common charges, maintenance — not the mortgage, not the real estate taxes.

But the Honorable Judith Sheindlin, better known as “Judge Judy,” can afford it. How much does she make a year? And just how fabulous is this judicial diva’s former courtroom in the sky?

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If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”

But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.

Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.

Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…

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* Texas law student/international small-arms dealer Cody Wilson got shot down (pun!) days after revealing a fully security-proof 3D printable gun. The State Department pointed out that Wilson seems to be violating all manner of international arms agreements, which was pretty obvious when he went on video boasting about how his weapons were being used in hotbeds of civil strife. [Foreign Policy: Passport]

* The Juice may soon be loose! But probably not. O.J. Simpson has a hearing seeking a new trial in Las Vegas and blaming his former lawyer, Yale Galanter. Best part? Simpson claims Galanter approved the whole “armed, threatening confrontation” plan beforehand. Oops. [FOX News]

* Michael Arrington, a lawyer and “one of the most powerful people on the Internet,” is suing his ex-girlfriend for defamation. The complaint compiles some pretty salacious claims that she made via social media. [Valleywag]

* Just when you thought being an unpaid intern couldn’t be sadder, Judge Baer makes it sadder. [Fashionista]

* The “Thug’s Lawyer” got a reprieve when a judge tossed his indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, theft, and perjury. [The Advocate]

* The EEOC filed suit against a Miami company that required its employees to become Scientologists. In other news, someone actually thought they could get away with making all their employees join the Church of Scientology. [Lowering the Bar]

* The history of the Madison Avenue IPOs alluded to in last week’s Mad Men. [DealBook]

Judge Judy… she’s gangsta. You gotta give her that. That’s a plus.

– a man on the street in response to a question — “What do you think about Obama’s decision to appoint Judge Judy Sheindlin to the Supreme Court?” — posed by a reporter from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.

(Keep reading to see some of the other entertaining answers people gave in response to this question, and to watch the ridiculous clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live.)

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More trustworthy than any SCOTUS justice.

I suppose that’s a rhetorical question. When you live in a nation that’s been reduced to an army of mindless reality-TV-watching drones, it’s not exactly surprising that the average citizen is more inclined to trust a television judge than a jurist who’s been appointed to the highest court in the land.

We care more about the matching camouflage wedding couture Honey Boo Boo’s parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear, wore when they tied the knot this past weekend than the next round of controversial decisions that will be soon be handed down by the Supreme Court. We care more about the Kimye baby bump than the very existence of the Supreme Court, much less the names of the justices sitting on its esteemed bench.

No one who’s been paying any attention is taken aback by the fact that Americans care more about the people they see on television on a daily basis than names they once read in a textbook. That’s why the results of the latest Reader’s Digest Trust Poll as to this country’s judges are expected, and sad, and not at all surprising….

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* A senior litigation associate at Paul Hastings, Ryan Nier, has decided to participate in something called the Death Race, and it has nothing to do with the drive for partnership. This Death Race is 50-mile mountain endurance/obstacle race that takes somewhere between 24 and 48 straight hours to finish. Only a handful complete the race every year, and Nier is determined to be one of them. From what we’re told, Paul Hastings has been entirely supportive of Nier, which is cool because he’s using it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. But who knows how supportive they’ll be when they realize he won’t have Blackberry access on top of the mountain for 48 hours. For more information about the Death Race, check out the website. [The Death Race]

* Law student golfing across the U.S. So, I take it summer associate gigs are still scarce? [Golf.com]

* “Guess What the Air Force’s Chief of Sexual Assault Prevention Was Just Arrested For…” Hard to top that headline. [Lowering the Bar]

* Harper Lee suing over “To Kill a Mockingbird” (affiliate link), alleging that the son-in-law of her literary agent botched the copyright. *Insert cheap Atticus Finch joke here* [Washington Post]

* Gigi Jordan case gets even uglier with misconduct charges flying around. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* Dr. Phil is suing Gawker alleging that the website posted a video of the pop psychologist’s interview with Manti Te’o, stifling ratings. So Dr. Phil thinks his audience strongly overlaps with Gawker’s. I’m incredulous. [Yahoo! Sports]

* This is why an over-aggressive cease and desist letter can get you into more trouble. Enter the world of the “miniature war-gaming community.” [Popehat]

* A guide to the questions applicants need to be able to answer at OCI. The best? “Describe a situation when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.” This provides insight into how the applicant will deal with virtually every situation that ever comes up in Biglaw. [Ms. JD]

When an opinion opens with a quote from The Wrath of Khan, something is about to happen.

What followed was a straightforward benchslap littered with Star Trek references. More than a little fitting that an opinion about allegedly illegal porn downloads would focus on the pop culture universe most closely associated with 40-year-old virgins.

It’s not the cohesive, brilliant opinion about strip clubs that we recently got out of Judge Fred Biery. Instead, the opinion draws wry smiles for laying out nothing but a string of references to Star Trek seemingly designed just to prove to his fellow nerds that the Judge knows Star Trek.

Which, in a sense, makes this opinion the most “Star Trek” thing ever…

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