Twenty Bitter Ends of 2008

Bitter years come and go, but 2008 was one for the record books. Here are the moments and personalities that made 2008 a wonderfully bitter year to remember.

1.  Bitter Bump & Grind

Illinois lawyer Scott Robert Erwin’s decision to cut his legal fees for a stripper in exchange for nude dances cost him a 15-month suspension. But we’re pretty sure that if Erwin had been classy enough to knock off more than $534 from her $7,000 legal bill, the stripper probably wouldn’t have filed a complaint in the first place.  [ABA Journal]

2.  Bitter D’oh!

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, is a pretty smart guy. But apparently he didn’t know that if you post porn on your website people will find it, and they will mock you.  [Los Angeles Times]

3.  Bitter Law School

Bernie Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme took more than $50 billion out of the economy. But $3 million of that belonged to NYU Law School, which has filed suit to get back some of its missing change. Good luck with that.  [ABA Journal]

4.  Bitter John

After resigning in disgrace because the feds caught on to his whore-mongering, Eliot Spitzer was succeeded by David Paterson, who promptly got out ahead of the story and confessed to his own extra-marital affairs. Stay classy, Albany.  [New York Daily News]

5.  Bitter Bankruptcy

You can argue the pros and cons of the bailout well into 2009, but for all those institutions that got (or will get) a helping hand from Uncle Sam, the bitterest has got to be the defunct Lehman Brothers, which learned the hard way that it was too small to live.  [MarketWatch]

6.  Bitter F-ing Lawyer

Attorney Jeffrey Mehrens wore a t-shirt that read “Let the f—ing begin” to a police station where his client was being held. Intercourse did not ensue. But Mehrens, who said he chose the attire to highlight the disadvantages faced by his client, did manage to escape disciplinary charges.  [ABA Journal]

7.  Bitter Clerk

Michael Stebick was sentenced to two years probation, 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for his role in securing prostitutes for a New York trial judge for whom he’d clerked. Stebick also lost the motor home he used to transport the working girls.  [WSJ Law Blog]

8.  Bitter Hustlers

San Antonio lawyer Ted H. Roberts, who extorted $100,000 from his wife’s lovers, lost his appeal. Roberts and his wife Mary (also a lawyer) scammed men they found on adult dating sites. Roberts used the men’s’ illicit activities with his wife and the threat of civil suits to dupe the Lotharios into paying the couple hush money. In the end, Roberts learned the hard way that if it’s hard out there for a pimp, it’s even harder for perpetrators of ridiculous schemes.  [MySanAntonio.com]

9.  Bitter Blago

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich had this thing that was “f-ing golden.” Easy come, easy go, Blags.  [Salon]

10.  Bitter Bluff

If you’re going to rig an online poker game, don’t scam a lawyer. The Washington Post and 60 Minutes broke the news of rampant cheating on two popular poker sites, but it was Serge Ravitch, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, who went all in to take down the con men.  [ABA Journal]

11.  Bitter Burning Sensation

Kirkland & Ellis partner Frederick Tanne’s divorce suit may help him ditch his bride and get the marital home, but it won’t help him banish the herpes he allegedly received from his wife, Amy. We hope he remembered to ask for a steady course of Valtrex in his prayer for relief.  [New York Post]

12.  Bitter Impersonation

“Hi, I’m the attorney for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. No, I just look like Marc Dreier. I get that a lot actually.” [WSJ Law Blog]

13.  Bitter Blabber

Choose your inebriated words carefully. That’s the takeaway from a tryst between a Washington state lawyer and judge. After judge Colleen Hartl yapped about her love jaunt with lawyer Sean Cecil at a 2007 holiday party, the amorous attorney was temporarily banned during part of 2008 from appearing before her honor.  [ABA Journal]

14.  Bitter Naughty

U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham, chief of the federal court in Colorado, resigned after allegations surfaced that he had viewed porn on government computers and asked a former prostitute to lie about their affair. But what likely made his position totally untenable was the nickname area lawyers quickly gave him—Judge Naughty.  [ABA Journal]

15.  Bitter Trick

Stanford Law School grad Cristina Warthen should have paid better attention in criminal procedure.  If she had, the alleged prostitute (who ended up marrying AskJeeves co-founder David Warthen after reportedly working off her student loans as a call girl in 2003) would have learned that even if you get away with the crime, you’ll never escape the tax man. Uncle Sam is the ultimate pimp who always wants his cut.  [ABA Journal]

16.  Bitter Orgy

Max Mosley, the head of Formula One racing, won $119,021 in damages in a British privacy case over a News of the World article that falsely claimed he had participated in Nazi-themed orgies, acting in the role of a concentration camp prisoner. The judge in the case ruled “there was no evidence that two orgies in which he took part had any Nazi theme.” For those keeping score at home, that means Mosley was paid nearly $60,000 per orgy.  [ABA Journal]

17.  Bitter Bets Off

Arelia Margarita Taveras, a former lawyer and TV commentator, sued seven casinos for failing to stop her compulsive gambling that led to $1 million in losses and the end of her law practice. Let’s see what kind of odds a jury gives her. [ABA Journal]

18.  Bitter Chutzpah

James Colliton, aka the “Lolita Lawyer,” sued his former firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Colliton had previously plead guilty to statutory rape and patronizing a prostitute. He filed suit against Cravath for $1.45 million, charging that the firm owed him back pay and had caused him emotional distress by monitoring his communications.  [ABA Journal]

19.  Bitter Bayside Tiger

Isaac Lidsky, a former child actor on the TV show Saved By the Bell: The New Class earned the honor of a Supreme Court clerkship for retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (and later Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Mr. Belding has officially confirmed that Lidsky is the first Bayside alum to achieve a SCOTUS clerkship.  [ABA Journal]

20.  Bitter In Memoriam

“Deep Throat” is no longer with us. Mark Felt, the man who helped Woodward and Bernstein take down Richard Nixon, passed away in 2008.  [The New York Times]

Check out other lists, tallies and scores to settle in Bitter by Numbers.

Michael Estrin, one of the founding editors and writers for Bitter Lawyer, is a writer, journalist, and author of Murder and Other Distractions, a novel about a dead ex, casual sex, tacos, and killer Internet traffic. Follow him on Twitter or check out Bitter Lawyer's interview with him.

4 Comments

  1. Alex Hump

    December 29, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Most stories are about lawyers who got into trouble for not keeping it in their pants.  Guys have to learn how to be more suave, like me, and avoid these problems.  Making it to the honey hole shouldn’t be as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest.

  2. Anonymous

    December 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    According to the article, New York Law School is the one involved with the Madoff thing.  Different from NYU.

  3. Bittersweet

    December 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    quite a bitter end to a bitter year….

  4. Ben Dover

    December 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Yea, the big school took my contribution and gave it to some hump who lost it all.  Next time they ask for a contribution, I will tell them to Bend Over; I’ve been taking it up the ass for years as a bitter lawyer; I will ask them how it feels.

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