Yesterday we received word from multiple reliable sources that Spitzer was planning on getting the whole thing over with last night. We weren't sure, but it sounded like there was to be an evening press conference, during which Spitzer officially resigned and David Paterson was sworn in as governor. But that never came to pass. Now Spitzer has wiped his schedule clean of public events and is hunkered down with advisers. Meanwhile, much of the mainstream media and many political rivals are calling for his head. As the New York Timespointed out, "any politician would have a full-time job just dealing with such revelations." It seems impossible that Spitzer would be able to continue on as governor (in about 24 hours state Republicans will start impeachment proceedings against him), and yet he hasn't resigned. What gives? Some theories:
• In preparation for a day in which he may have to face prosecution over his role in the Emperor's Club prostitution debacle, stepping down from the governorship would be a great trump card. He could use it as a big sacrifice in any deal, saving himself from other punishments like fines, disbarment, or jail time. [National Review]
• He could be destroying documents or evidence, suggests DealBreaker. Though it sounds far-fetched, a private security expert tells them that the reason executives under investigation at big companies are immediately escorted out of the building is so that they can't do that. "They should have the FBI there right now to prevent Spitzer from deleting his hard-drives," their source argues. [DealBreaker]
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• Lawyers everywhere are crossing their fingers for a Michael Clayton Oscar win. "In 80 years, only 10 legal movies or actors playing members of the legal community have taken home gold," a columnist sighs. Awwwwww. Wait a second. We didn't do the math, but isn't that more than like, every other profession? How many people playing bloggers have won Oscars, for instance? Slickster lawyers. Always trying to trick us with their fancy talk. [Law.com]
• Could John Edwards be our next attorney general? [The American]
• The Sean Bell "50-shot" case is set to go to trial on Monday. [NYT]
• Jane Fonda's vocabulary malfunction on NBC's Today show last week might influence the legal battle between CBS and the FCC over Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction in her 2004 Super Bowl halftime appearance. [Legal Intelligencer]
• New York City criminal-defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz receives support for representing the accused murderer of a 7-year-old girl. [NYT]
• Are television shows the reason lawyers get a bad rap? [Law.com]
British litigator-in-training Shivi Ramontar loves living in New York these days. “Everything’s kind of half-price!” she exclaims, chagrined only a little by taking advantage of today’s flaccid dollar (she must be paid in pounds). Ramontar shares her purchases and confesses her favorite city to Amy Larocca in this week’s Video Look Book.
Shivi Ramontar [Video Look Book]
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An alert reader sent us along his very own invitation to be on The Bachelor. '"Apparently they are randomly spamming New York lawyers," says our spy, who works at a top-ten firm. Casting directors are looking for someone "who is successful, good-looking, has an out-going personality, is ready to settle down, is around 6 ft tall and, usually, is between 27 to 36 years of age." Guess you're shit outta luck, shorties! "We've never had an attorney be 'The Bachelor' so we are definitely looking to go that route," the e-mail admits. The producers seem to know a little bit about the law profession — specifically, that good catches are harder to find than you'd think. So they're casting their net wide and offering $5,000 reward to anyone who finds an attorney who could make the show. But though they know a bit about lawyers, it's clearly not enough. Here's the last line of the e-mail: "Please DO NOT forward to the press. We try to make this part of the process as private as possible." Silly casting agents! Don't you know that 50 percent of all law firms' billable hours are spent forwarding private e-mails?
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There's a new chapter in the Subway Superman saga, and it takes what used to be a straight-ahead narrative (one good deed and a few just rewards) into a progressively sadder territory. When Robert Kolker's New York profile last left Wesley Autrey, two weeks ago, he was getting ready to sue his lawyer, Diane Kleiman; Kleiman and her partner had allegedly tricked Autrey into signing a contract giving her 50 percent of his life-story earnings. Now Kleiman is doing what lawyers often do when they're being sued: countersuing.
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• An MTA worked died yesterday after being hit by the G train at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, the second such incident in one week. His colleague is at Bellevue in stable condition. Worst train in the city. [MetroNY]
• The NYPD is using so-called "scarecrows" — unmanned cop cars — to spook drivers into obeying the speed limit on Belt Parkway, L.I.E., and elsewhere. A spokesman was quick to note that the practice is not related to the department's short staffing. [NYDN]
• The Upper West Side's Claremont Riding Academy, one of the oldest stables in the country, shut its doors Sunday. There were tears, from mothers more so than from daughters. [NYT]
• When we read the headline "New York City Bar Urges Bush Administration to Abandon Restrictions," we were briefly awed by our drinking establishments' political sway. But it was merely our lawyers lobbying the White House to stop placing blame at Guantánamo on, well, lawyers. [WHDH-TV]
• Joe Torre's brother Frank, 75, is getting a kidney transplant tomorrow; he had a new heart put in eleven years ago. One of his daughters will be the donor. [NYP]
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It's the Sex and Love issue of New York this week, and for it six New Yorkers kept Sex Diaries that chronicled their sexual lives (or lack thereof) over a period of seven days. Daily Intel has even more diaries, and today we end our week of sex diaries with a big one. Here's the Bisexual Polyamorist: female, 28, lawyer, Boerum Hill, single. DAY 110:00 a.m.: Arrive for the weekend at a nudist swinger sauna retreat in Maine.
5:00 p.m.: Give an impromptu sexuality workshop. Two grandmothers ask for a G-spot demo.
• This shouldn't necessarily sway anyone's opinion about the Sean Bell shooting, but it's, um, interesting: A drug dealer tells the police he was once shot by Bell. Cops call the story credible (shocker). [NYDN]
• Wesley Autrey, the Subway Superman, gains a Subway Lex Luthor in lawyer Diane Kleiman. Kleiman and her partner have allegedly swindled Autrey into a deal that would give them half of whatever he gets (book advance, speaking fees, etc.). [NYP]
• Jacob the Jeweler is heading to the courtroom on some serious charges: helping launder $270 million in drug money for a Detroit-based crime ring. Now that's cred. [AP via amNY]
• JPMorgan Chase has released a twelve-page assessment that itemizes Brooke Astor's fortune: $41 million in real estate, $23.5 million in stocks, and $816 in the bank. [NYT]
• And the day's Headless Body Award (it's our new, ad-hoc headline-pun prize) goes to Metro New York, for running the gamut from the awesome "Marky Marksman" (a Shooterreview) to the god-awful "An Indie-sent Proposal" (a SXSW feature). [MetroNY]
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Ambulance-chasing in New York just turned into an obstacle course. Under new state rules, lawyers here can no longer freely advertise their awesome settlement-getting prowess ("Lead paint in your house? Over $100 million in damages awarded!") without providing a sober, diet-pill-like disclaimer that "prior results do not guarantee similar outcome." They're also barred from using words like "heavy hitters" or "we'll fight tooth and nail for you" or any of that macho trash talk beloved by personal-injury, medical-liability, and divorce mavens. Fair enough? Not really: The rule defines almost any private or public communication whose purpose is "the retention of the lawyer" as an ad. Thus, it forces firms to mark their mailings, including newsletters and law updates, as attorney advertising — and guess in which folder an e-mail with those words in the subject line is going to end up. Since the rule could be seen as impinging on First Amendment rights, its opponents have formed the weirdest bedfellowship in recent memory: Ralph Nader is getting involved on the lawyers' side, through his Public Citizen organization. That's right: Nader is now fighting on behalf of the shysters. We suspect this is about to get a little confusing but very, very good.
New York Law Firms Struggle With New Restrictions on Advertising [NYT]
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• Proenza Schouler's Target line was available online for four hours yesterday (three days before its official debut), causing mass Internet shopper hysteria. [Fashionista]
• Snejana Onopka, one of the poster girls for the current Save the Models movement, is rumored to be skipping New York Fashion Week. [FlyPaper]
• Jordan Scott, former designer at Betsey Johnson and child of the East Village, will launch his first collection during Fashion Week. [British Vogue]
• Sullivan & Cromwell lost about 30 percent of its associates in 2004 and 2005. It might take more than a raise to fix that. [WSJ]
• Don't despair, associates! Where Simpson Thacher goes, Milbank Tweed, Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss, Cleary Gottlieb, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft are sure to follow. [Above the Law]
• Long Island lawyer Gary Berenholtz, who once exposed a corrupt Brooklyn judge, stole money from clients and his partner's widow to fund fine dining and finer vacations. [NYP]
• The New York Stock Exchange will trade almost exclusively electronically by the end of today; investment firms will continue to lay off floor traders. [WSJ]
• The New York City employees' pension fund is the lead plaintiff in a suit against Apple Computer Inc. for overcompensating executives with illegal stock options. [Reuters]
• We've been good little New Yorkers, and we're getting a $1 billion tax cut. Mayor Bloomberg has unveiled his talking points for tonight's State of the City address, and an upbeat bunch they are: a booming economy, a $2 billion surplus, and his own 75 percent approval rating. [amNY]
• Barack Obama is officially in the running for '08, and the Post picks the unusually restrained "Barack Is On Track" while the News goes nearly incomprehensible with "Hil Better Not Look Barack." [NYP, NYDN]
• A lawyer is suing Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the city's most prominent law firms, for discriminating against him because he was gay and retaliating when he lodged an internal sexual-harassment complaint. What is this, 1993? [NYP]
• Naomi Campbell pleaded guilty to throwing a cell phone at her maid. The move resulted in a sentence of five days of community service, which Campbell will eventually get around to (after fashion shows in "California, Brazil, London, Paris and Milan.") [NYT]
• And in another celebrity-justice vignette, Jerry Seinfeld was ordered to pay $100,000 to his real-estate broker, whom he stiffed after she refused to give him a house tour on Shabbat. Strange, this sounds like more of a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. [Newsday]
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In this era of hedge-fund riches, word is, the perks of life at a white-shoe law firm are seeming meager by comparison. And here's some proof: Dewey Ballantine, whose big-name clients include Fortune 500 companies like Walt Disney, Sony, and GE, has previously held its annual holiday party in fancy-pants venues like Lincoln Center and a rented-out Madame Tussauds. This year's fête, on the other hand, will be held in the company cafeteria — and that's leaving some grumbling litigators. "Even my kid's high school has the good sense not to hold the prom in the gymnasium," sniffs one. The big question is where future merger partner Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is having its end-of-the-year shindig — and if this is a bad omen for what's to come. Plus, wonders another disgruntled Dewey worker, "Does this mean the partners are taking their annual trip to Brighton Beach this year instead of Bermuda?"
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Plaintiff: Amy Seiler
Defendants: Harry J. Mulry Jr.; Gregory G. Shaub, doing business under the firm name Mulry & Shaub L.L.P.
Accusation: A paralegal toils for a small law firm and gets bouts of "stomach distress, headaches and disagreeable fits of temper." Oh, and don't forget those "digestive upsets."
In a lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn Federal Court, Amy Seiler says her bosses at Mulry & Shaub in Port Washington negligently dragged their feet in hiring a replacement for an outgoing receptionist. And so for the next two months, Seiler was forced to work two jobs for the price of one.
But instead of quitting, Seiler stuck around for a "nightmare" at work that boiled over into "heated exchanges and accusations concerning baseless allegations of errors." The bosses, Seiler claims, wanted to force her out instead of hiring more staff.
"It's bizarre, unfortunate," Steve Coleman, an Atlanta police officer, was saying about New York attorney Andrew Gardner.
Gardner, 39, was a litigation partner at Fried Frank. He had been an undergrad at Harvard and had gone to NYU for law school. He lived in Armonk with his wife and three kids. And he was found dead, a presumed suicide, on Monday.