Judicial Notice (10.07.23): A Stroke Of Genius
The latest legal 'geniuses,' Kirkland's giant new partner class, the lawyers on the SBF trial, and other legal news from the week that was.
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Apologies for the lateness of this installment of Judicial Notice, which I usually send out as the weekend draws to a close. It’s not because I was observing a three-day weekend; I meant to publish yesterday but was thrown off by an attack of Transient Global Amnesia (TGA), a sudden, temporary interruption of short-term memory. It’s a strange and unusual condition during which a person is alert and lucid, but unable to form new memories (a bit like what Guy Pearce’s character suffers from in Memento, if you’ve seen that movie).
During my TGA episode on Saturday night, I repeatedly mentioned to Zach that a close relative had experienced TGA, which made the experience somewhat less frightening for both of us (and makes me think that I inherited this condition). I told Zach about this relative 32 times (he counted), since each time I told him, I immediately forgot that I had. I also told Zach—dozens of times, and among many other things—“I feel like Admiral Stockdale.” (If you’re not old enough to get that reference, watch this clip.)
Fortunately, my TGA has resolved itself, which typically happens within 24 hours. So, on to the news—the legal news that is the focus of Original Jurisdiction.
Lawyers of the Week: Ian Bassin, Andrea Armstrong, E. Tendayi Achiume, and Imani Perry.
Congratulations to Ian Bassin, Andrea Armstrong, and E. Tendayi Achiume, the latest lawyers to receive $800,000 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, aka “genius grants.” Bassin, 47, co-founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, is described by the Foundation as “a lawyer and democracy advocate working to strengthen the structures, norms, and institutions of democratic governance in the United States.” Armstrong, 48, a law professor at Loyola New Orleans, “is an incarceration law scholar bringing much-needed transparency to incarceration practices in the United States.” Finally, Achiume, 41, a professor at UCLA Law, “is reframing foundational concepts of international law at the intersection of racial justice and global migration.” As noted by the ABA Journal, which profiled them, they all happen to be Yale Law School graduates.
[UPDATE (10/10/2023, 10:27 a.m.): The ABA Journal missed this, so I did too—but as a reader kindly pointed it out. “I think you may have omitted another lawyer from the group of 2023 MacArthur Fellows: Imani Perry. We at Georgetown Law are immensely proud!” Per the Foundation, Professor Perry “is an interdisciplinary scholar and writer giving fresh context to African American social conditions and experiences along dimensions of race, gender, and politics.” Although she holds a J.D. from Harvard and an LL.M. from Georgetown and began her teaching career at Rutgers Law, her current appointment at Harvard is in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which might explain why the ABA Journal missed her. I apologize for the omission—and I have revised the heading of this section to include Perry as a Lawyer of the Week.]
The other lawyers in the news fall under the headline of “Trumpworld lawyers in trouble.” Attorneys at the Minneapolis firm of Parker Daniels Kibort have moved to withdraw from representing Trump ally Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, in various defamation actions related to the 2020 election. Why? Apparently Lindell owes them “millions,” which he has informed them he won’t be able to pay. Another Trump defender, former New York U.S. attorney and mayor Rudy Giuliani, has a serious drinking problem—now being investigated by Jack Smith, the special counsel prosecuting the federal election case against Trump. If Trump viewed Giuliani as habitually drunk (and there’s evidence to suggest that he did), it could undermine Trump’s attempt to invoke an “advice of counsel” defense.
The week did bring good news for one Trumpworld apostate, Michael Cohen. Trump dismissed without prejudice the $500 million lawsuit he filed against his former “fixer,” alleging defamation and breach of confidentiality. A Trump spokesperson said the former president “decided to temporarily pause his meritorious claims” against Cohen, while Cohen claimed that Trump was trying to avoid being deposed—which would have happened today, had the suit not been dismissed. According to Cohen, Trump’s “attempt to hide from routine discovery” confirms that “this case was nothing more than a retaliatory intimidation tactic.”
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