This Law of Attraction is a novel by Allison Leotta, a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. It’s a fun, fast-paced read; I could hardly put it down, finishing it in two sittings. I concur with the blurb by Harvard law professor and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz: “I loved this novel. Law of Attraction is realistic, gritty, and filled with twists and turns. Allison Leotta’s female lawyer character is compelling and engaging. This is a great read for anyone who loves legal thrillers, cares about domestic violence, or wonders how lawyers can live with themselves.”
(Disclosure: I also enjoyed Law of Attraction because it contains an Above the Law cameo. After the protagonist, assistant U.S. attorney Anna Curtis, gets in trouble, her misadventures wind up on ATL (pp. 217-18). The novel even contains fictionalized comments from the peanut gallery of Above the Law commenters — which are hilarious.)
I spoke with Leotta recently, while she was in New York to meet with her agent and do a book reading. We discussed such subjects as why, and how, she wrote her novel; the Department of Justice review process for the book; how she juggles her day job as a prosecutor, her writing career, and being the mother to two kids; and her advice to lawyers who want to become writers.
They had to set the Karate Kid remake in China. If they had set it in modern-day America, Daniel-san would have been mercilessly bullied by the kids from Cobra Kai, he would have killed himself, and the rest of the movie would have been a courtroom drama where Daniel’s parents sought to bring the evil sensei to justice in the form of a multi-million dollar civil suit.
You see, American children apparently have become so fragile, and Americans parents so litigious, that schoolyard bullying is as likely to be settled in a court of law as it is behind a dumpster out back where boys used to handle their disagreements. I used to tell my mother that nobody ever died from embarrassment, but apparently I was wrong. The ABA Journal reports that there’s been a veritable outbreak of children committing suicide in Ohio because they were hounded by mean kids. And that story doesn’t even take into account the Tyler Clementi situation.
And when kids kill themselves, parents are increasingly turning to the courts to stand up to the bullies in a way that used to be accomplished via a flush crane-kick to the face.
It needs to stop. No, not the bullying — which is unavoidable when more than one male competes for whatever status/prestige/sex is on offer — but the tragic overreactions to the bullying, and the accompanying rush to the courthouse steps.
I say this not as an alpha-male with a caviler attitude towards the feelings of others. I say this as a former omega-male who got the crap beat out of me like I stole something from the age of 7 through the point I realized that no girl would ever mate with a guy who couldn’t basically stand up for himself….
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the decision by Philip Markoff, aka the Craigslist Killer, to take his own life. Today we’re seeing another version of that kind of thinking — less high-profile, less fatal, but still pretty harrowing.
The Dallas Morning News reports that a Texas man slashed his own throat — in the courtroom — after receiving a 40-year sentence for assault:
Marcial Michael Anguiano pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for cutting his niece with a butcher knife. After state District Judge Larry Mitchell announced Anguiano’s sentence, Anguiano cut himself with a razor blade.
“As soon as the judge sentenced him, I saw him do something with his right arm,” said Anguiano’s defense attorney, Juan Sanchez. “I turned and he cut himself with something he had brought into the courtroom.”
After Markoff offed himself, Professor Douglas Berman wrote on his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, that from a utilitarian perspective we should be happy about Markoff’s suicide. But here Anguiano’s self-mutilation was a disaster, from a utilitarian point of view, for the state of Texas…
Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.
I was asked to cover the lawsuit filed yesterday by the ACLU against the Obama administration regarding its policy of keeping a “kill list” and, to a larger extent, following up on it. Ashby Jones does a workmanlike summary of the basics here, providing links to background, discussion, and the complaint. Rather than rehash the facts, or lead a discussion of the latest embarrassingly naked moment in America’s long history of civil-rights-shrinkage during dips in the wartime pool, I thought I’d get creative. Sorry.
What follows is a screenplay depicting the rocky relationship between Mr. Anwar al-Aulaqi (pictured), the first American citizen added to the CIA’s naughty list; the ACLU, which, on Anwar’s behalf, alleges that the list and any action thereon violates several sections of the Constitution and international law; and the American Government. As the title suggests, it’s based on the plot and dialogue from Wedding Crashers. Christopher Walken will play the role of America, with Keir O’Donnell (a/k/a “Todd”) playing the role of Anwar. The supporting cast, in order of appearance: Vince Vaughn as ACLU, Owen Wilson as Center for Constitutional Rights, Ellen Dow (think “Rapper’s Delight” in The Wedding Singer) as Righty Conservative, Isla Fisher as Treasury, Bradley Cooper as District Court and Rachel McAdams as Court of Appeals.
I know, I know — it sounds like the perfect third-year law school course. But I’m not talking about a way for 3Ls to get an easy A; I’m talking about the apparent proliferation of law blogs devoted to mixed martial arts (MMA). Writes Bruce Carton of Legal Blog Watch: “I’m not exactly sure what this development means for the current state of legal blogging, but just know this: There are now two blogs dedicated to mixed martial arts law!”
Carton highlights Mixed Martial Arts Law Blog and Fight Lawyer. There’s something perfectly satisfying about lawyers writing about the laws that pertain to beating the crap out of each other. You could imagine cooks writing about what meal you should have before you knock another cook over the head with a frying pan. It just fits very nicely with the profession.
But aside from lawyers writing about MMA, let’s not forget that we’ve seen a number of attorneys actually practice the fine art of choking another man into submission….
Mel Gibson. (In background is his career going up in flames.)
Sorry, Braveheart fans. You can no longer name this movie as your favorite of all time without making women around you shudder in disgust — thanks to the off-screen actions of the film’s barbaric leading man.
Mel Gibson used to be a perfect man crush: squeaky clean Hollywood blockbusting-star, with a big family and serious passion. But now his major hits tend to be for gossip websites reporting on his misdeeds, first with his anti-Semitic rant while being arrested for drunken driving in 2006 (later expunged from his record), then with the end of his 28-year marriage amid accusations of adultery, and now with the alleged battery of and abusive phone calls to his current Russian-musician girlfriend/baby mama.
Gibson usually plays an affable and inspiring good guy in films. But in real-life phone calls to his girlfriend — check out recordings #1 and #2 (with added death threats and heavy panting!) — it sounds like he’s auditioning for a horror movie, using his mouth as a lethal weapon. Here’s a censored version of one of the calls (so you can listen with your kids), from the AP:
Gibson’s girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, taped the calls after Gibson allegedly punched her in the face and broke a few teeth — all while she was holding their love child. California is a two-party consent state when it comes to taping conversations, with $2,500 fines and jail time for those that break the wiretapping law.
Could Grigorieva get in trouble for recording Mad Mel?
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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