Vicious Infighting

Harvard Law Review Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re going to be doing a series of posts about the world’s premier journal of legal scholarship: the Harvard Law Review. We’ve learned that there are some unhappy campers over at Gannett House (at right), who are less than thrilled with the Review’s new leadership.
Here’s a preview of what’s on the way. From a tipster:

As you might remember, Andrew Crespo was recently elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Since then, he has taken a decidedly fascist approach to leadership and he is running the journal into the ground with a cabal of radical idealogues, making the outgoing editors nervous about the future reputation of the journal.

Some have taken to calling him “Crespolini,” after [Benito Mussolini]. In short, there is a crisis of confidence at Gannett.

As noted in some of the news coverage of his selection, Crespo is the first Latino to serve as HLR president. Fortunately, Mussolini was Italian.
More to come in subsequent posts (including internal HLR emails). If you’re at the Harvard Law Review and have information to share, whether pro- or anti-Crespo, please email us. Thanks.
Crespo Elected First Latino President of Harvard Law Review [Harvard Law Record]
First Hispanic To Lead Harvard Law Review [Harvard Crimson]
Harvard Law Review elects Crespo as new president [Harvard Law School (press release)]

State of Louisiana seal New Orleans Above the Law blog.jpgDisorder in the court, disorder in the court! From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

St. Tammany Parish deputies took two defense attorneys into custody on contempt of court accusations Monday after they got into a fight at the parish courthouse in Covington, Sheriff Jack Strain confirmed.

Michael Fawer of Covington and his brother-in-law, Joseph Bartels of New Orleans, tussled outside state Judge Raymond Childress’ third-floor courtroom at about 10:30 a.m. As a result, the judge ordered both men held, Strain said.

Fawer, 71, claimed Bartels made a profane reference to his religion, and Bartels, 56, claimed Fawer injured his neck.

And you thought you didn’t get along with your brother-in-law. Well, at least these guys are zealous advocates.
A little more about this incident, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers of the Day: Michael Fawer and Joseph Bartels”

Elizabeth Halverson Judge Elizabeth Halverson.jpgState court judges are like bratty kids, or pets that aren’t housebroken. You can’t take them anywhere.
Because they’ve probably already been banned from where you were planning to take them. Even if the place in question is the courthouse.
Consider the Honorable Elizabeth Halverson (at right). From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The District Court chief judge on Thursday banned District Judge Elizabeth Halverson from the county courthouse.

In an administrative order, Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle said Halverson jeopardized security at the courthouse this week by bringing her own two bodyguards into the courthouse and allowing them to bypass security checks.

As for why Judge Halverson needs two (2) bodyguards — and no, we won’t make the obvious joke — there’s quite a backstory, full of juicy judicial infighting. You can read all about it here.
Fred Axley Judge Fred Axley Above the Law blog.jpgAnd Judge Halverson isn’t the only state judge getting banned from public places these days. Meet the Honorable Fred Axley.
From the Legal Reader:

A Memphis judge is banned from a Florida resort. He is accused of sexually harassing an employee. Eyewitness News Everywhere uncovered this is not the first time Criminal Court Judge Fred Axley has been accused of sexual harassment….

Now he has been banned from a resort in Destin, FL, after an employee there says he sexually harassed her last week….

When we called the resort, an employee who asked not to be named, told us Axley had propositioned a massage therapist there for oral sex.

We commend the resort employee for having the courage to turn down the judge (and report him). Because saying “no” to a judge isn’t easy — even if the request involves sucking his gavel.
You can read more about Judge Axley’s history of alleged harassment, including incidents that led his law clerks to file lawsuits, by clicking here.
Judge Halverson banned from courthouse [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Memphis Judge Banned From Florida Resort For Harassment [Legal Reader]


DealBreaker DB Dead Horse Media Above the Law blog.jpgLaw-related stories are proliferating over at our big sibling site, DealBreaker. Here are three from yesterday afternoon alone:
1. Goldman Sachs Acquitted of All Charges. It’s good to be Goldman:

“In an effort to uphold the rule that the Masters of the Universe can pretty much get away with anything simply because they’re the Masters of the Universe (see, also: Jobs, backdating), a federal judge has ruled that Goldman cannot be included in a lawsuit by Fannie Mae shareholders.”

2. Dow Jones Insider Trading Watch: Two Charges, Dow Jones Director Scutinized. Hmm, this sounds a wee bit fishy to us:

“[T]he SEC filed a lawsuit against a Hong Kong couple, Kan King Wong and Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung, accusing them of insider trading. The couple had purchased $15 million of Dow Jones shares prior to the May 1st announcement.”

They liquidated the position after News Corp.’s unsolicited offer to boy Dow Jones, for a tidy profit of $8.2 million. More details here.
3. In the Future of a Defamation Lawsuit, Dimon Is the Law. Here’s a teaser, concerning the lawsuits that are flying between Dow Chemical and a former executive and board member: “It’s the legal equivalent of a John Woo action scene.”
You can check out the full post here.

golden retriever dog pet lawsuit estate litigation Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re not really big on pets. Taking care of them is a lot of work, and we can barely keep our houseplant alive. So stories like this one strike us as almost insane:

A man who had not written a will left a $2 million estate, but the most hotly contested item in court has been his golden retriever, Alex. The four-way dispute over the 13-year-old pet was so intense, an attorney was appointed to represent the dog’s interest.

A guardian ad litem causa canis, perhaps?

On Monday, the judge decided the man’s divorced parents should split custody, The Commercial Appeal reported.

“At first glance, the petition seems almost frivolous, but after speaking with all parties, it is evident that this is a highly emotional issue for all involved,” said Alex’s attorney, Paul Royal, in his report to the probate court.

You had it right the first time, Mr. Royal.
P.S. A former colleague who shares our aversion to pets once quipped, “There are at least ten good reasons not to get a dog. Reasons one through nine are fecal matter.”
Judge settles intense custody battle over dog [CNN]

Remember Judge Sam Sparks, of the Western District of Texas? He’s a colorful judge with a robust sense of humor, as well as a low tolerance for lawyer shenanigans and quarrels.

Back in 2004, Judge Sparks compared bickering lawyers in his court to kindergarteners. His saucy order made the email rounds, first in Texas, then around the country.

And now he offers up this poetic order, in rhymed couplets:

Keystone Media Hancock order 1 Above the Law blog.jpg

The rest of this judicial ditty, including the punchline, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Sam Sparks Does It Again”

Indiana Law Indiana University School of Law Bloomington Above the Law blog.JPGWe recently posted about a controversy at the Indiana University School of Law, in Bloomington. A law student at IU alleged that a fellow student punched her in the face and broke her nose.
Not surprisingly, the post unleashed an avalanche of reader responses. Some questioned the accuser’s account of events, while others defended her. You can review the comments, including some by the accuser, by clicking here. (We think this comment does a good job of summarizing the conflicting theories.)
In the interest of providing balanced coverage, since we previously posted the accuser’s side of the story, we now offer another take on the incident. Some of these observations surfaced in the comments to the earlier post; but we realize that many of you may not have read through all the comments, which were voluminous.
These points are paraphrased from an email we received:

1. The accused student didn’t “punch” the complainant. He playfully touched her face during a drinking game. But because she has an especially fragile bone structure, her nose was broken by this contact.

(We are reminded of the proverbial “eggshell plaintiff” from Torts class.)

2. The comments and quotes by the accused, which may sound callous if viewed in a vacuum, were his own way of refuting false accusations. He’s the kind of guy who would respond to such allegations by being inflammatory — to show how, in his view, the allegations are ridiculous and baseless.

3. The accused student is one of the more good-natured and intelligent students at this school. It would be a pity for something like this to possibly ruin his career.

We feel we have now given airtime to both sides. And we hear, both from sources at the school and from the accuser’s blog, that the drama is now dying down. But if you have thoughts on this incident, feel free to share them in the comments.
Update: We won’t stoke the fires further with yet another post about this controversy. But for the record, please note the accuser’s comments on this post (here and here), as well as this post on her own blog.
Earlier: Midwestern Law Students: Not So Nice After All?

Indiana Law Indiana University School of Law Bloomington Above the Law blog.JPGEarlier this month, we paid a visit to the Indiana University School of Law, in Bloomington. We gave a talk to a group of law students, then went out to lunch with some of them. We were impressed by how cool and friendly everyone was.
But IU Law may have a less pleasant side. Some allegations, from a tipster:

Male law student punches female law student in face, breaks nose in 2 places, student complains, university does nothing….

Or something along these lines, details to be fleshed out. Excitement at University of Indiana Bloomington School of Law.

It’s all detailed right here, on Salon.

More details on the punchee’s blog, including frightening comments from the puncher himself:

Stephen said…
I’m the one Liz is accusing of breaking her nose…. Come to my apartment and talk shit. Anyone. Bring friends. In fact, bring weapons.

Come one, come all.

Stephen said…
Yeah, bring it. Get some, bitches!

A fellow law student broke my nose and joked about it on Facebook [Salon]
Dizzy does it…

Earlier: Programming Note: Greetings from the Hoosier State

Mean Girls Harvard LLM Above the Law.jpgLast week we wrote a little bit about internecine warfare going on within the Harvard LLM community. It’s a silly and trivial story — which is, of course, ATL’s stock in trade. So we intend to keep following it.
Today we’re happy to bring you an update. This email went around over the weekend:

From: [xxxx]
Date: 3/24/2007 5:12:01 AM
To: [LLM community]

Dear Fellow LL.M.s,

We would like to bring to your attention, an untoward incidence that augurs badly for the general reputation of the LL.M class. We fear, someone on this forum (God forbid) might be trying to cause antagonism between the diverse members of our community. Following our International Party, the advertisement flyers of this most successful event, were, apparently for the sake of ridicule, sent to a contemptible website — the one for which Dean Kagan cautioned restraint.

Alas, the writer has confused his “contemptible website[s].” The site that was the subject of Dean Kagan’s recent message is the site discussed in this Washington Post article. That site is not ATL (even if, one could argue, there isn’t much of a difference at the end of the day).
More from our irate LLM, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Oh How We Love Those Harvard LLMs”

Remember this flyer, for the recent “International Party” sponsored by LLM students at Harvard Law School?
LLM party flyer Harvard Law School.jpg
Some of you, in the comments to our post, made some disparaging remarks about the English-speaking abilities of Asian LLM students.
But as it turns out, this flyer wasn’t written by the Asians. And many of them found it highly offensive.
For those of you who are curious, we provide the backstory — including an earlier version of the party flyer — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Harvard LLM Community: More Vicious Than the Cafeteria in ‘Mean Girls’”

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