Vicious Infighting

mich law catfight copy.jpgWhen you’ve been wronged, there’s a part of you that wants the whole world to know. Maybe you think exposing the evildoer’s misdeeds will bring solace, revenge, sympathy… But more often than not, it brings scorn. People just don’t like tattletales.
Several tipsters sent along such an exchange from the University of Michigan’s law school list-serv. Here’s the catfight one law student sent out to the list-serv with the subject line, “not sure how to handle this:”

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM, TATTLETALE wrote:
EVILDOER,
Listen, I tried to be nice and understanding about all this but now it’s just ridiculous! I did you a favor and now I’ve been stuck hounding you for my phone for months and months as if you’re doing ME the favor! I bought that phone for $120, so either send me a check for that amount or return the phone ASAP…
I’m not going to lecture you about how this is no way to treat a law school class mate and definately [sic] no way to start making your reputation in the legal community — hopefully you realize all that. Just return the phone or the money so I can finally forget about this after half a year!
-TATTLETALE
————————————————————————————
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 08:01:52 +0200
From: EVILDOER
Subject: Re: phone
To: TATTLETALE
You f***ing nasty b****,
My sister is gonna give you a f***ing check that you can f***ing hold onto until I come back from rome.
EVILDOER
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 7:54 AM, EVILDOER wrote:
I AM INF ***ING ROME YOU STUPID W****. I SAID I WILL MAIL IT TO YOU ONCE I
GET BACK. NO REASON TO BE A F***ING B****.

Is bar exam stress driving Michigan students over the edge?
Full exchange (warning: unredacted profanity), plus a bevy of responses, after the jump.
(We’ve redacted identities — and appreciate your protecting anonymity in the comments. Thanks.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘How To Handle This?’
(By not sending out over the law school list-serv?)

William and Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgWe love internecine warfare at law schools and in other academic settings. As the old saying goes — our cursory Googling doesn’t immediately generate the exact wording or source, so we’ll paraphrase — fights in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

As Hillary and Barack do battle in Virginia today, so too do administrators at William and Mary. From a tipster at William & Mary School of Law (interesting factoid: it’s one of the oldest law schools in the country):

Today the William and Mary Board of Visitors decided not to renew William and Mary President Gene Nichol’s contract. Nichols sent out a pretty amazing email to all students about his resignation, and Michael Powell, former FCC Chairman and Rector of W&M, sent a response. Needless to say, people are talking of nothing else today.

To make the story even better, the law school dean, Taylor Reveley, is now serving as President of W&M. Nichols is joining the law school staff, where his wife is also a professor.

Check out the messages — Gene Nichol’s defiant departure email, claiming he was ousted due to ideological reasons, and Michael Powell’s steadfast denial that the non-renewal was based on ideology — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Turmoil at William & Mary – Law School Dean Takes Over as President”

* The NYT’s official statement on L’Affaire Berenson. [Starkman & Associates]
* A slew of law school hypotheticals about sex with and between minors, triggered by Carl Stanley McGee, our Lawyer of the Day. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Second runner-up for Lawyer of the Day? And a punitive damages award of $33 million. Ouch. [How Appealing]
* Man saves dog; law student saves man. Congratulations to GW’s Jason Coates, our Law Student of the Day! [GW Hatchet]
* “Derek Jeter has romanced Mariah Carey, squired Jessica Biel, sweet-talked Scarlett Johansson — and now he’s made it to first base with the state taxman.” [TaxProf Blog]
* Wow, this is wild. Has Gary Crossen, a former federal prosecutor and partner at Foley Hoag, read too many John Grisham novels? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaking of white-collar criminal defense lawyers, more business may be headed their way, courtesy of Andrew Cuomo. [DealBreaker]
* You’ve got… male? [Reuters]
* Are you a Disgruntled Republican? Join the club — or buy a mug. [Zazzle]

Chris Hook Christopher Hook DOJ Pride gay Above the Law blog.jpgNot everyone likes Attorney General Michael Mukasey. At Boston College Law School, students are protesting Dean John Garvey’s decision to invite Attorney General Mukasey to deliver the school’s 2008 Commencement address. See here (Facebook group: “Waterboarding IS Torture”), here, and here.
Why are liberals so unhappy about Mukasey? We’d expect the AG to receive a warmer reception, in light of this happy news, which made the pages of the Washington Post:

Five years after a gay advocacy group was told that it could no longer use the e-mail, bulletin boards and meeting rooms at the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has reversed that decision and issued a revised equal-employment-opportunity policy barring discrimination against any group.

Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department would give it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said the group’s president, Chris Hook. In a statement, Mukasey said the department will “foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood and sought” and maintain “an environment that’s free of discrimination.”

Writes a Department of Justice source:

Finally — now I can celebrate “Pride on Ice” anytime I want! Michael Mukasey gets two snaps in a circle for this decision!

In another sign of libertinism running rampant in the halls of justice, Lady Justice’s magnificent metal breastses are no longer covered up, as they were during the repressive Ashcroft regime (during which female DOJ lawyers had to wear burqas to court). But the credit for the breast-baring belongs to Alberto Gonzales.
Attorney General Mukasey Reverses Anti-Gay Policy at Justice Dept [Towleroad: A Site With Homosexual Tendencies]
Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department [Washington Post]
Boston College Law School Community Members Protests Mukasey [ACS Blog]
Mukasey Invitation Prompts the Question: “What has BC Law become?” [Eagleionline]

Jeremy Pitcock Jeremy S Pitcock Morgan Finnegan Above the Law blog.jpgIf we hadn’t already named a Lawyer of the Day, the prize might have gone to Jeremy Pitcock of Morgan & Finnegan. From the American Lawyer:

The former head of intellectual property at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman was fired in December for “extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” according to the firm.

Not merely “inappropriate” conduct, but “extremely inappropriate” conduct. We’re guessing it was strenuously objectionable.

Jeremy Pitcock, 35, joined Kasowitz in March 2006 after being wooed from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was a senior associate. Kasowitz named him head of IP not long after. But after less than two years, Pitcock left the 200-plus-lawyer firm for 52-lawyer New York IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.

Morgan touted Pitcock’s hiring as “an outstanding addition to our successful litigation practice” when it announced his move on January 8. But the Kasowitz firm says he was forced out following an unspecified incident.

“Mr. Pitcock was terminated for cause by Kasowitz, Benson in December 2007 because of extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” name partner Daniel Benson said in a statement.

So what prompted the firm’s statement?

Kasowitz’s statement followed the publication of an article in trade publication IP Law 360 last week, which reported that Morgan had lured Pitcock from Kasowitz. In his statement, directed toward the publication, Benson said, “It was inaccurate to use ‘nab’ in your headline, or to use ‘jump ship’ in your opening paragraph.”

“We were not looking to publicize this incident, but because of those incorrect news items, we felt compelled to set the record straight,” Benson said in a press release that the firm distributed online.

We’re intrigued — and the full article in the American Lawyer doesn’t offer much more. If you have details on the alleged conduct, please email us. Thanks.
Update (6/6/08): Jeremy Pitcock has filed a $90 million defamation lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson. See here.
Kasowitz Fired its ex-IP Chief for Inappropriate Conduct [The American Lawyer via Law.com]
Jeremy S. Pitcock bio [Morgan & Finnegan]

gavel judge Above the Law blog.jpgToday we bring you not one, but two Judges of the Day. We can’t decide who is more deserving of the honor. From the Florida Times-Union:

Twelve days before Christmas, Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden fired his 17-year judicial assistant, who had been on leave since August with cancer. The Jacksonville judge said he feared her prolonged illness would leave him without an assistant at a time when the state had implemented a hiring freeze.

But his decision left Christine Birch, 54, with no medical, life or disability insurance and has created a firestorm at the courthouse.

Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran responded by calling Bowden “a no-good son of a bitch,” prompting Bowden to respond with a blistering e-mail (PDF) defending his decision and calling Moran’s criticism irresponsible, unprofessional and unseemly.

Other judges’ assistants were also appalled by Birch’s firing. They raised money to pay her rent this month….

Birch declined comment Thursday. But she thanked Moran in a handwritten note last week for putting her back on the courthouse payroll in a rotating judicial assistant’s position. Birch was paid about $3,275 a month in her old job, and the state paid her health insurance premium. Her new rotating position pays $750 less a month and requires her to pay her own premiums.

Our tipster writes:

Best quote from the article: “He said if she died while on the payroll, he would have been without an assistant for two months, ‘not an ideal situation for a judge.’” I guess dying wouldn’t have been an ideal situation for her, either.

To get both sides of the story, check out the email from Judge Bowden in which he defends his actions (and rips Chief Judge Moran a new one). You can access his message — in which he benchslaps Chief Judge Moran for his “effrontery” and his “irresponsible” comments, made “precipitously [and] without authority” — by clicking here (PDF).
P.S. Speaking of cancer, here’s a PSA from ATL, and bad news for Biglaw associates and paralegals: according to cancer researchers, overnight work and sleep deprivation may raise your cancer risk.
Judge fires his assistant, draws criticism [Florida Times-Union]
Email from Judge Aaron Bowden (PDF) [Florida Times-Union]

Emory Law School.jpgFinding a decent legal job is hard enough as it is. Having a career services office that’s in complete disarray doesn’t help. From a tipster:

Emory Law’s Career Services Office has imploded. The latest departure was the Dean of Career Services, Dean Laurie Hartman, last month. She left under mysterious circumstances….

Students are asking lots of questions. They organized a facebook group, asking for an explanation, or an explanation for “if you can’t tell us what is going on, can you tell us why you can’t tell us what is going on?” Many law students went to their university paper, the Emory Wheel.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Going on at Emory Law School?”

troll treasure troll doll patent troll Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re rather late on this, but better late than never. Some time ago, one of you sent us this tip:

Fish & Richardson has asserted ownership over patents secured by a former principal who, in addition to being an attorney, also is a prolific inventor (and alleged “patent troll”).

Interestingly enough, Fish appears to have made its claims only after Google, one of its clients, was sued under a patent claiming a technology that Harris invented while at Fish. See Patently O, which has a copy of the Complaint.

What a mess. Anyway, we were reminded of the case yesterday, when it was picked up by Overlawyered:

Annals of creative patent lawyering: Highly placed attorney with intellectual-property specialists Fish & Richardson accumulates his own portfolio of patents, quits the firm, begins suing Fish & Richardson clients, things get messy fast (Patent Troll Tracker, Oct. 21).

We expect to be following this case for a while. If you have some inside info to share, please email us. Thanks.
Annals of creative patent lawyering [Overlawyered]
A Tangled Web of Patent Rights [Patently O: Patent Law Blog]
Fish & Richardson Strikes Back at Scott Harris [Patent Troll Tracker]
Patent Troll Sues Fish & Richardson [Patent Troll Tracker]

Managhan Kortum Managhan Law Firm Above the Law blog.jpgIn case you missed this story from last week, here’s a recap. Earlier this month, a plaintiffs’ lawyer in Montana by the name of William Managhan sent out the following email, to the entire Montana Trial Lawyers Association:

From: William L. Managhan
To: Montana Trial Lawyers
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:32 PM
Subject: [mtla_members_all] Firm Name Change

Managhan & Kortum-Managhan Law Firm will no longer be known as such. The name is returning to Managhan Law Firm as Santana Kortum-Managhan is leaving the firm. Turns out that she was having sex with Tim McKeon of Anaconda while attending MMLP hearings in Helena.

Call me silly but I no longer fill [sic] comfortable with her as my law partner or wife. Some will think this is an inappropriate announcement, but considering the small legal community in our state, I might as well preempt the roomer mill [sic]. Please address communication to William L. Managhan through Managhan Law Firm.

More discussion, including accounts of our telephone conversations with Bobbi Bonnington and Tim of Anaconda, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on the Managhan Law Firm (aka ‘My Wife Is Sleeping Around and That’s Why We’re No Longer Law Partners’)”

Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgThis email message, from Professor Erwin Chemerinsky to Duke law school faculty and students, went out ten minutes ago.
Also, here’s some coverage from the Los Angeles Times.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Erwin Chemerinsky”
To: [redacted]
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 13:07:53 -0400
Subject: news
It is with excitement and sadness that I am writing to tell you that I have accepted the position to be the founding dean of the Donald Bren School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. After meeting with Chancellor Michael Drake at length this weekend, I accepted his renewed offer. He provided me the greatest possible assurance of academic freedom for the dean and all faculty.
It has been one of the strangest and most difficult weeks of my life. I cannot possibly express my thanks for all of the support that I received from the law school’s faculty, administrators, and students. I am sad to be leaving this wonderful supportive community, though excited about the new challenges ahead.
Chemerinsky to return as UC Irvine law dean [Los Angeles Times]

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