In recent reports proving that it’s possible to take the concept of “hands on” client contact a bit too seriously, the Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that solo practitioner Ronald Pierce will have to pay a $1.5 million verdict against him for having an affair with a client’s wife. As the ABA Journal has reported, Pierce was hired in 1997 to represent Ernest Cook and his wife, Kathleen, in a medical malpractice case. Soon thereafter, Pierce started having an affair with Kathleen and the Cooks subsequently divorced—at which point Pierce promptly married Kathleen.
The cuckolded Cook appears to be having the last laugh, however, winning the million-plus verdict in his suit against Pierce for “intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and alienation of affection.” And as for Pierce? He claims he saw it coming, recently telling the National Law Journal that he “expected to lose the case” because he wasn’t allowed to present oral argument on appeal. “I knew I was going to get screwed,” he said.
Oh, Pierce, we won’t even try to top that one. Thanks, though—and we hope it was worth it. [ABA Journal]
I just got my wisdom teeth out, was still in lots of pain, popping vicodin, but like a neurotic pussy, I came to work anyway. My plan was to check in, clean up a few loose ends, then get the hell out of there and go to bed. Until Paul M., the world’s lamest partner, walked into my office and “asked” me to go to the printer and review a document. I quickly explained my medical plight, but he didn’t give a shit. “If you’re in that much pain, why aren’t you in bed?” So I popped a few more vicodin and went to the goddamn printer to proof the stupid S-3. I was there until 4 a.m. The next day, instead of giving me a thank you, he said I missed two major typos and “need to commit myself to the firm or get the hell out.”
Report your tales of Associate Abuse. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
He’s baack! Roy Den Hollander, “a Manhattan lawyer and a self-described antifeminist,” who in the past year has sued nightclubs for favoring women by offering ladies’ night discounts and has sued the federal government over a law that protects women from violence, is now targeting Columbia University. According to recent reports, Den Hollander filed a federal class-action lawsuit on Monday against the university not only for offering women’s studies courses, which he “sees as discriminatory toward men,” but also for “using government aid to preach a ‘religionist belief system called feminism.’”
The lawsuit is far from new territory for Den Hollander, a former associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, who now devotes much of his private practice to representing men in, as he puts it on his MySpace page, “battl[ing] the infringement of Men’s Rights by the feminists and their allies.” Den Hollander has explained that part what “helped tweak his anger toward feminists and laws he sees as favoring women” was repeatedly being turned away from nightclubs like Lotus and China Club for not having enough cash to pay the higher guys-only cover charge when he started to “get back in the social life” after being dumped within months by a woman he brought over from Russia and married.
Aw, now we feel bad. We were all geared up to call out Den Hollander as nothing more than a self-styled Gloria Steinem for the repressed douchebag meathead set, but we guess if we were an over-the-hill Big Firm reject who couldn’t even afford the cover charge at some bridge-and-tunnel club that hasn’t been popular since 1991—no less convince a Russian mail-order bride to stick around for a couple of months—we’d hold a bit of grudge against the ladies, too. [WSJ Law Blog]
Say it ain’t so! Despite our initial skepticism, reports have confirmed the truly unimaginable: Britney Spears has stiffed her lawyers. Court documents have shown that the fallen pop star recently racked up almost half a million dollars’ worth of legal bills in her custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline—in addition to the quarter mil she’s already agreed to pay to his attorneys.
The lawyer with the biggest gripe against Spears is apparently Stacy D. Phillips, who states in court filings that she is owed nearly $407,000 for four months of work—after, she claims, already writing off $125,000 in fees for the singer. The Los Angeles court commissioner has yet to approve any payments to Phillips or the other jilted lawyers, and, in another shocking twist, the attorneys currently representing Spears have indicated that they “intend to contest Phillips’ bill.”
Hm, good call. One quick question for the new attorneys, though: Ever hear of a thing called precedent? Might be worth looking into—just ask these guys. [HuffPost]
QA partner invited me to dinner party this Saturday night. Didn’t say much else, like who else is coming, what the dress code is, etc. Should I wear a sport jacket? Bring a gift? P.S. I’m a 28-year-old man and live in L.A.
ADon’t do brain surgery here, buddy. Wear what you’d wear to dinner at AOC on a third date with a cute chick. Done. As for a gift? Yeah, sure. No upside in showing up empty-handed, right? But keep it simple. Like a nice, moderately expensive bottle of Cabernet. Or some fancy cupcakes. But don’t go overboard. Spend about $50. And do not bring scented candles or patchouli.
Internet fame isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Seattle attorney Shakespear Feyissa, whose college paper’s online edition published allegations of his suspension for alleged attempted sexual assault back when he was a student at Seattle Pacific University in 1998. Now, as reports tearing through the legal blogosphere are explaining, the online story has been cached in Google and “easily uncovered for anyone who searches his name.”
Feyissa is now trying to convince his alma mater to remove the article from the paper’s online archives, explaining that “with that popping up every time someone searches his name, [he] cannot escape the shadow of the accusation of attempted sexual assault, even though Seattle police closed the investigation and he was never charged.” The paper’s current student editors aren’t budging, but Feyissa isn’t backing down, explaining that he’s haunted by “what people will think of him” after reading this article. “Do you know how many girls, after they see that, we go on a date and they don’t want to see me again?” he asked.
When reached for comment, girls across Seattle have gingerly pointed out to Feyissa that while finding out a potential boyfriend has an Internet rep as an accused sexual attacker is indeed never a plus, it nonetheless pales in comparison to realizing you’re dating a guy named Shakespear. [Overlawyered and Seattle Times]
Oh, actors and their sort-of-bands—can they ever really do any harm? Turns out, if you’re Virgin Records/EMI and the band in question is headed by doll-face actor Jared Leto, then, yes. Leto’s vanity-project-cum-band, 30 Seconds to Mars, apparently signed a five-record deal with Virgin/EMI back in 1999—but funnily enough, the band has only come out with two records so far, the last one way back in 2005. Remarkably, the label is a little peeved about the pace and has recently filed suit against the band for breach of contract, seeking damages “in excess of $30 million.”
Leto and his bandmates, though, are fighting back, claiming that you can’t be legally bound to a contract for more than seven years under California law. This appears to be a law that Virgin is unfamiliar with, however, because a spokesperson for the label has recently explained, “We hope to resolve these matters amicably and put them behind us so we can continue working in partnership with the band to take them to even greater levels of success.” Which would involve, we can only presume, having someone aside from the band’s label knowing who the hell they are. [Radar Online]
It’s that time of year again—the legal community is abuzz with news that the Vault 2009 law firm rankings are out. In a testament to the thriving, ever-evolving nature of Big Firm life, the list of the top five “most prestigious” firms hasn’t changed one hair over last year’s rankings:
1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
3. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
4. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
5. Davis Polk & Wardwell
And to those of you working in firms who didn’t make the top five, don’t despair—as one egalitarian blog pundit recently noted, “the prestige rankings will tell you nothing about the quality of your work experience.” So true. You don’t need Vault to tell you that whether you’re working at Wachtell, Skadden, Cravath or any other “prestigious” megafirm law factory, the quality of your work experience is pretty much guaranteed to rank somewhere between zero and…well, zero. [Above the Law]
In an interview with Rev. Rick Warren on Saturday, Barack Obama stated that had he been president at the time, he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. “I don’t think that he, I don’t that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation.”
Careful, Barack. Don’t start throwing legal rocks when you live in a glass political house. Remember, you’re only four years removed from the Illinois State House, and you don’t really have any significant Senate or real-life experience. Then again, when you can talk like he can, you can probably say whatever the hell you want. [WSJ Law Blog]
Craig Robinson, 36, who plays Darryl the warehouse foreman on The Office, is facing felony drug charges, stemming from an arrest during a June traffic stop. According to the criminal complaint, the actor was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance. The “substance” allegedly was amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana.
Though Robinson’s rep had no comment, his employer at Dunder Mifflin stated that Darryl can no longer suffer the annoying banter, smug witticisms and knowing smiles between madly-in-love co-workers, Jim and Pam. “He just needs to get high to deal with all that cuteness,” Scott said. “It’s not a big deal. And I can assure you that it has absolutely nothing to do with him being black.” [E Online]