You Go Girl

Alexandra Korry Alexandra D Korry Alex Korry Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Aaron Charney ATL.jpgWe are huge fans of the delicious Alexandra Korry, the high-powered Sullivan & Cromwell partner who figures prominently in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, the lawsuit brought by gay lawyer Aaron Charney against his former employer.
In the course of our writing about this case, numerous comments have been made about Korry, a mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer renowned for her brilliance and her toughness. Here’s what the S&C website has to say about this magnficent M&A diva:

Alexandra Korry joined Sullivan & Cromwell in 1986 having done stints in journalism and commercial banking. She was elected a partner in 1993.

Interesting! We’re guessing Korry gets her (alleged) pirate’s mouth from her time in journalism, and her business acumen and shrewdness from her time in banking. Back to the S&C site:

Ms. Korry has extensive experience in representing U.S. and non-U.S. clients in a wide variety of mergers and acquisitions transactions, focusing on strategic investments, negotiated acquisitions and dispositions and joint ventures. Among her representations are Microsoft, UBS, Adelphia Communications Corporation, Eastman Kodak, Koninklijke Philips Electronics and Siderca.

Ms. Korry is active in a variety of community organizations, including the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, and is a retired member of the Board of Visitors of Duke Law School.

In light of her involvement with all of these charities and non-profit groups, we’re guessing the answer is yes to this commenter’s question about the Dalton School. Perhaps her kids are or were students there?
Okay, we’ve heard the official law firm take on Alexandra Korry. Now, let’s hear from ATL commenters.
Check out their collected remarks, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Alexandra D. Korry: A Comments Compendium”

tiara diva Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.JPGAs regular ATL readers well know, we’ve been offering wall-to-wall coverage of Shanetta Y. Cutlar. If you’re not familiar with her, Ms. Cutlar is the nightmarish awesomely overachieving diva who oversees the Special Litigation Section (SPL), part of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Shanetta Cutlar is a strong leader with a distinctive managerial style. She drives lawyers and staff away in droves sometimes rubs people the wrong way. But even if it’s lost on her underlings, we appreciate SYC’s deliciousness!
Some of you have wondered whether Chief Cutlar is aware of ATL’s coverage of her and, if so, what she thinks of it. We had heard through the grapevine that she is aware of this site and finds the attention amusing. Now we have more concrete confirmation.
At a recent meeting of the Section Chiefs of the Civil Rights Division, Shanetta Y. Cutlar whipped out a tiara. She then placed it on her head and proclaimed:


This is a clear reference to ATLs’ naming Cutlar our DOJ Diva of the Day — on two separate occasions.
We draw the following conclusions from this tiara incident:

1. Shanetta Cutlar is even more fabulous than we thought. The woman owns a tiara, for chrissakes. And she brings it to meetings of high-level DOJ officials.

2. Shanetta Cutlar has a healthy, self-deprecating sense of humor. The commenters who defend her so earnestly on ATL, like “Life” — see this thread — need to relax. They should follow their idol’s lead, and just laugh it off.

3. Shanetta Cutlar is completely confident in her ability to keep her post. She’s unfazed by the attention she has received, and she’s unfraid of, say, congressional investigations of SPL. She knows she’s not going anywhere.

P.S. Where did SYC get the tiara? On a totally random note, our cousin-in-law is a leading maker of wedding tiaras.

Ed. note: Fans of diversity will be pleased to note that this post has nothing to do with (1) Aaron Charney, (2) Biglaw pay raises, or (3) Shanetta Cutlar.
Above the Law 13 Janice Rogers Brown.JPG
“I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I am NOT a judicial diva!!!”
(Okay, she didn’t say it quite this emphatically. But Judge Brown did repudiate the “judicial diva” label, when we asked her about it during the Q-and-A session.)
Some time ago — we’re too embarrassed to mention when — we attended a lunch talk here in Washington with Judge Janice Rogers Brown, of the D.C. Circuit. As we’ve previously noted, Judge Brown is a leading judicial diva and possible Supreme Court nominee.
It was a great event, and we took lots of pictures, of the impressively poor quality that you’re used to here at ATL. Our write-up, with pics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dining With the Diva: Lunch with Judge Janice Rogers Brown (Part 1)”

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgWe’re so excited. Our girlfriend SYC has made the big leagues!
Shanetta Y. Cutlar, the successful and high-powered lawyer who oversees the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section, is the subject of an article in today’s Legal Times. We’re praised her profusely in these pages; but we’re glad that she’s finally getting her due in the mainstream media.
Some excerpts:

Ty Clevenger, 37, a former Washington Times reporter and line attorney in the section who was fired in October, has accused veteran Section Chief Shanetta Cutlar of being “abusive toward attorneys and support staff,” specifically those hired by Schlozman.

Among Clevenger’s allegations: Secretaries were ordered not to assist him with an eight-hour typing project, another attorney was publicly berated for using a paper clip rather than a binder clip on a document, and an intern was reprimanded for not greeting Cutlar while passing her in the hallway.

In his whistleblower complaint, Clevenger included a copy of a statement by the intern, Deborah Meiners, 24, to a DOJ ombudsman about the hallway incident.

“I did get the sense that this was a common occurrence,” says Meiners, now a third-year law student, of her treatment.

For those of you who have been wondering if Shanetta Cutlar is aware of her newfound celebrity, the answer is probably yes — now that the Legal Times has contacted her office for comment:

Cutlar’s office referred questions to a DOJ spokeswoman, who issued a statement saying the department is looking into the allegations.

Interesting. Does anyone know what “looking into the allegations” entails?
Is the DOJ conducting a full-blown internal investigation of SPL? Or is it just AAG Wan Kim getting on the phone to Shanetta and saying, “This is all silliness that I don’t need to pay attention to, right?”
We hope the latter. As we’ve previously pointed out, Shanetta Cutlar is just doing her job — and exceptionally well, at that. We hope that a bunch of whiners and crybabies don’t interfere with SYC’s longstanding efforts to vindicate federal civil rights laws on behalf of the disabled, prisoners, and other groups who can’t stand up for themselves.
To Shanetta Cutlar: Congratulations on your shout-out in the Legal Times!
Whistleblower Complaint Filed Against DOJ Civil Rights Division [Legal Times]

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgShanetta Y. Cutlar, a high-ranking official of the U.S. Department of Justice, oversees the Special Litigation Section (SPL) of the Civil Rights Division. As chief of the SPL, Cutlar is a steward(ess) of our nation’s civil rights laws.
And, of course, Cutlar is a great diva — which is why we adore her so much.*
Those who get to see a great diva up close, or to work with one, are truly blessed. So what if divas are difficult? That’s why we call them divas.
It should come as no surprise, then, that working for Shanetta Cutlar comes with a few occupational hazards. From a former employee at SPL:

I loved my position, duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, in time I become a victim of Shanetta’s vicious, often brutal attacks, of constant, uncontrolled rage.

I tried to tolerate and persevere. But eventually the stress began to take a physical toll on me. Down to my last few months or so with the Department, I suffered a bout of diarrhea, each and every morning, before going to work.

My nerves were wrecked. I soon realized I had to seek employment elsewhere outside of the Department.

So I left DOJ and Shanetta. Life is good again.

Color us incredulous. You sacrificed the opportunity to work under an amazing lawyer and leader because, well, you had a touch of the runs?
You need to toughen up. Your “problem” wasn’t anything that couldn’t have been solved with a family-sized bottle of Kaopectate. And a lifetime supply of Depends.
* Sorry, Shalini. We will not apologize for having a weakness for divas. We have loved divas for our entire life, ever since we popped out of one’s womb.
For those of you who care (all six of you), we defend our fixation on divas after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Public Service Announcement: If You’re Joining SPL, Stock Up on Adult Diapers”

Janice Rogers Brown Above the Law Wanda Sykes.JPGLast Friday, we attended a fantastic lunch talk by Judge Janice Rogers Brown (near right; her celebrity doppelganger, Wanda Sykes, is on the far right).
In case you’re not familiar with her, Judge Brown is a leading judicial diva. She’s a former justice of the California Supreme Court and a current member of the D.C. Circuit. In light of her inspirational life story — she’s an African-American female, the daughter of sharecroppers — and her seat on our nation’s most prestigious circuit court, Judge Brown is frequently mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
We’ll have more to write about the event later — plus some of our fabulously horrendous photographs, an ATL trademark. For now, though, we just want to share you the best quip of the day (or the “money quote,” as those political bloggers like to say):

“I have NEVER thought of myself as a diva.”

What caused her to utter this sentence? During the Q and A, we got up and asked her (among other things): “Judge Brown, you’re a fabulous judicial diva. But you’re stuck on a court that focuses on administrative law. Do you feel that being on the D.C. Circuit cramps your diva style?”
This was just one of several delightful moments from a great event. We’ll provide a more detailed report later.
Calendar of Lawyer Division Events [Federalist Society]
Fili-BUSTED! Magnificent Judicial Divas [UTR]
Earlier: The Courtroom of Style: Judge Janice Rogers Brown

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpg[Ed. note: It seems to be pure luck as to why we've been allowed to access this post through Movable Type, even though we can't access other ones or create new posts. So please refrain from asking us why we're publishing this rather than more salary coverage. Thanks.]
For those of you who have no interest in Biglaw pay raises, here’s a bit of counterprogramming about Shanetta Cutlar.
In case you’re not familiar with her, Shanetta Y. Cutlar is the Chief of the Special Litigation Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. She’s a high-ranking DOJ official, and she’s a colorful boss. Click here for a summary of her managerial quirks.
Ever since we started writing about her, lawyers who used to work under her have been emerging from the woodwork. They’ve been sending us a steady stream of stories about their time working for “SYC.” Here’s the latest, concerning a Shanetta Cutlar institution called “Docket Review”:

Has anyone told you yet about “Docket Review” — or rather, the Spanish Inquisition, which was probably less painless? Dear God, thinking back on it makes me cringe.

When you first arrive in the office, everyone warns you about it. Never, EVER miss Docket Review; be AT YOUR DESK when summoned for your meeting, or face the wrath of Shanetta; and NEVER tell her you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s nothing short of terrorizing.

Docket Review happens four times a year. During this time period, everyone is stressed out, and nobody gets any work done. In short, the entire Section is in an uproar — for days.

The process begins when an email goes around about DR scheduling. This immediately triggers a stampede of people going to the staff assistant’s office to sign up — it’s insane.

When signing up for Docket Review, there’s an elaborate strategy involved. Some people like to get it over with as soon as possible, so they sign up for the very first slot. The main concern is not to go immediately after certain people that you know will have a bad one, placing SYC in a foul mood. Another dreaded spot is the time slot right before lunch.

In advance of your Docket Review meeting, you have to write up a memo summarizing the status of your cases. This stupid memo must comply, to the letter, with certain SYC specifications. It must be uniform and perfect, down to the spacing and formatting, and completely free of typos — as if you were filing it in Court.

At the appointed hour, you are summoned to SYC’s conference room. This is, by the way, “her” conference room. No one else can ever use it, even if she’s not using it herself or even if she’s out of town.

When you enter the SYC conference room, Shanetta is seated at the far end. Her deputies are lined up on both sides of the table, and you’re on the other end. Surprisingly, there’s no spotlight, but you feel like one is glaring down on you anyway.

During the meeting, the deputies are COMPLETELY SILENT. They’re in the room, but they’re not permitted to talk. It’s just you and Shanetta.

Docket Review is a total game of “Gotcha.” SYC asks you a question she already knows the answer to, listens to your response, twists your words, and then somehow turns it all around on you — so you look like an incompetent fool.

Here I must begrudgingly give her credit. Making you look like you know absolutely nothing about your own cases, even though you’ve been toiling away on them for months, is a peculiar kind of art form. And Shanetta is a master of it.

Rarely does a Docket Review go well. As a matter of fact, going well is the exception, certainly not the rule. Some reviews have ended in screaming matches that carry on down the hall. After several confrontations with one particular attorney, he was quickly moved by the front office to a different section, out of open season.

Another attorney, who came up with the brilliant idea of telling Shanetta he was leaving the Section during his Docket Review, was escorted out of his office by the FBI a few days later.

(Admittedly, there may have been some cause for that. He had told Shanetta that he wished the Section was like “a cartoon world,” in which he could toss a bowling-ball shaped bomb into her office….)

Why do we suspect that he’s not the only person who has harbored that particular fantasy?
Earlier: Prior coverage of the Special Litigation Section under Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)

As we recently noted, both Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards are distinguished lawyers and public servants.
But it’s time for them to bow out of the 2008 presidential race, in recognition of the inevitable: Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton is UNSTOPPABLE!
Liz Taylor Backs Hillary Clinton for White House Above the Law.jpg
Divas of Yale Law School, represent!!!
Update (3:48 AM): Now running at the top of the Drudge Report:
Elizabeth Taylor endorses endorsement Hillary Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton Above the Law.jpg
Liz Taylor backs Hillary Clinton in presidential race [Reuters via Drudge Report]
Hillary Clinton 19 Points Ahead of Barack Obama [Time]
Poll: Many Black Voters Don’t Identify With Obama [CBS News]
Earlier: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Lioness Roars, “I’m In”

Hillary Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton Senator President Drudge Report.jpg

The big news of the weekend: the announcement by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that she’s opening a presidential exploratory committee. This is, of course, the first step towards a (now inevitable) White House bid.
If you haven’t done so already, check out Senator Clinton’s videotaped announcement. It’s excellent.
Senator Clinton’s intelligence, work ethic, experience and toughness all lie beyond the dispute. But the video highlights her charm, conviviality, and sense of humor. Regardless of whether you’re a Hillary fan or Hillary hater, we think you’ll be impressed by the video.
It’s very well-produced. The nice touches include the lovely side table, featuring pink roses and a discreet photo of her and Bill; Senator Clinton’s deft invocation of her Midwestern roots, replete with a Midwestern accent (listen to how she says “part”); and, of course, her flawless make-up. She looks great even in extreme close-up — which can’t be said for most of us. Can you believe she’s 59 years old?
There is a legal angle to this paean to Hillary (Yale Law School class of 1973). Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Lioness Roars, “I’m In””

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Eumi Choi Eumi Choi Above the Law.jpgWe enjoy reading your comments. Well, some of them. See, e.g., here, here, and here.
But some we find rather mystifying. Like this comment on How Yummy Is Eumi?, our profile of high-powered federal prosecutor Eumi Choi, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Commenter “Barbara” wrote:

This post, like the SF Weekly article it references, was planted by a group of disgruntled (and racist) former and current AUSAs who constitute the best-coordinated insurgency outside of Iraq. They are a group of uppity Caucasians hell-bent on controlling the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They hate Eumi because she is Asian — and ergo, is not one of them.

Note how this posting focuses on Eumi’s race. Many of the insurgents’ private talk about Eumi is also borderline racist — e.g., referring her as “Dragon Lady.” Interestingly, these insurgent AUSAs who now whine about having to “follow directions” were themselves the most autocratic dictators around during the Shapiro/Mueller administration, when THEY were in power.

Even more interesting is how very little anyone discusses the impoverished morals of the insurgent AUSAs. Four of them had affairs with other AUSAs while married to other people. One of the harshest critics of Eumi and Kevin Ryan left his pregnant wife for another AUSA. Everyone is so fascinated by the fact of a powerful Asian female being under attack that nobody — least of all the legal press, which is incapable of anything other than acting as a mouthpiece for the disgruntled — has paid any heed to the fact that the Caucasian stonethrowers are themselves living in brittle glass houses.

We don’t understand this commenter’s ire towards our post. We praised Eumi Choi as a “tough, smart, no-nonsense” prosecutor, as well as a “strong Asian woman.” We also described her as “fabulous” and “yummy.” What part of that was unclear?
(Also, for the record, we’re Asian ourselves — and were raised by a mom who’s a lot like Eumi Choi. So we obviously have no problems with powerful Asian females or Asian lawyers in positions of power.)
Despite our issues with this comment, we did enjoy the dirt it dished out — especially the allegations of extramarital affairs galore. The U.S.A.O. for the N.D. Cal. sounds as incestuous, fractious, and trashily dysfunctional as “Melrose Place.”
If you have more juicy gossip about the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco — concerning Eumi Choi, her adversaries, or the battles going on between them — please do share with us.
(Hint to people who want to buy us a Christmas gift: the first season of “Melrose Place” is now out on DVD.)
Earlier: How Yummy Is Eumi?

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