We always try to come up with a theme for these shows after the fact and this is clearly the “no, you can’t do that” episode. Paul Davis is back and trying to convince the courts to overthrow the government again. Twitter is banning fan accounts for no reason and getting fun letters in response. And the South Dakota Attorney General is ducking behind the law to protect his political career.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Paper Software, LexisNexis® InterAction®, Lexicon and Nota.
Above the Law – Thinking Like a Lawyer
No, You Can’t Do That
Joe Patrice: Hello.
Kathryn Rubino: Hello.
Joe Patrice: Welcome to another edition of Thinking Like –
Kathryn Rubino: Even they’re hot there, didn’t it?
Joe Patrice: It did, this is a thing that you’ve started doing a lot of.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, it kind of throws you off balance and makes you a little unnerved which in my soul I appreciate.
Joe Patrice: Fair enough. Yeah, god last week I really should have done more to try and get Elie back.
Kathryn Rubino: You can’t replace me that easily my friend.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So, this is Thinking Like a Lawyer. I am Joe Patrice from Above the Law.
Kathryn Rubino: I am also from Above the Law.
Joe Patrice: You are –
Kathryn Rubino: But my name is Kathryn Rubino.
Joe Patrice: Oh, is it, all right. Well, good to know. Yeah, so we’re here yet again. Last week obviously was our 200th Episode, so we’re beginning the 201st.
Kathryn Rubino: Sorry, I was doing like my own sound effects because I assumed after last week’s you planned to pushed out the boat on sound effects who you probably were reticent to start them again.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, I — there we go, like it. So, anyway that’s neither here nor there. What is up?
Kathryn Rubino: Well you know, I am — you always have to kind of be wary after a big celebratory episode like the 200th, that the 201st will be a bit of a letdown emotionally at the very least.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, no, I mean I can hear that.
Kathryn Rubino: But I’ve kind of come up with the ultimate story to talk about. Seriously it’s perfect.
Joe Patrice: Oh, oh I see what you’re doing, and I don’t like it.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I need — I thought, I thought pretty hard about that.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So I think what you’re talking about is one of the more fun events of last week’s news was the revelation that Twitter was punishing a Joe Biden pet fan account.
Kathryn Rubino: That doesn’t seem right.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So, The Oval Pawfice, again, if you are not into these sorts of puns this is going to be our –
Kathryn Rubino: You fast forward.
Joe Patrice: You should just fast forward a bit, yeah, no, because this is going to happen a bit. So, The Oval Pawfice which is a website that is in honor of the Champ, Major and Winston the cat, the new denizens of the White House at least on the animal side of things. It’s a Twitter account connected to a website that honors them with pictures and whenever they’re in the news, sends them around and –
Kathryn Rubino: This sounds like some pretty wholesome good-natured.
Joe Patrice: Indeed, and the website attached to it raises money for animal shelters.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s even better. Why, why would they be punished by Twitter. I mean it took Twitter four years before they banned Donald Trump, why are they so quick to pull the trigger on animal shelter fundraising endeavor.
Joe Patrice: It is unclear. They’re — initially they –
Kathryn Rubino: If only we knew.
Joe Patrice: Initially they sent an email saying that this was an impersonation account, which I mean query whether or not you could impersonate an animal because they don’t have opposable thumbs as –
Kathryn Rubino: Let’s be clear there are no animals that are tweeting.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So –
Kathryn Rubino: Put aside any opinion you may have about.
Joe Patrice: Yeah because they’re on parlor. The point is the –
Kathryn Rubino: Pearler.
Joe Patrice: Oh God.
Kathryn Rubino: You made that joke, I stole it from you.
Joe Patrice: Hmm, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: I watched it by learning. I learned it by watching you.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Honestly that one may come up a lot more in this bit. So, so anyway, they originally did that and then they sent a — but which — algorithms can flag people for dumb reasons. We’ve learned this from our coverage of the Bar Exam. However afterwards there was an update that said, oh no, this has been resolved, you’re cool and then followed almost immediately after that with no, no, we have now reviewed this again, you’re illegal and do not reply to this email, we will not monitor at your permabanned.
Kathryn Rubino: Okay let’s — before we even get to the kind of the law firm part of this, this seems to break my mind a little bit. I don’t understand why after a person — okay, whatever the algorithm is, technology is imperfect, it’s only as good as sort of the programming that went into it, whatever. I cannot imagine why after a human reviewed this would say, oh, it’s not okay to raise money for animal shelters in this way.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, it is unclear. So, Twitter’s terms of service which as you pointed out have been something of an illusory thing over the last several years, but Twitter’s terms of service say that you can’t have impersonation accounts. You can’t be out there saying that you are in fact, you know a President or something like that.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure.
Joe Patrice: You can however have parody accounts if you — and fan accounts, so if you can get around this by having an account that makes clear in its bio, this is a fan page, this is a parody account, something along those lines, those are protected –
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, and that makes a fair amount of sense, because you don’t want somebody reading a tweet to assume that it is the original person if it is not, but if it’s very clear that it’s a fan account, it seems to –
Joe Patrice: Exactly.
Kathryn Rubino: Ameliorate all these issues.
Joe Patrice: Yes. And so, this particular account notes that it is both a fan page and not actually affiliated with the White House. Two of the –
Kathryn Rubino: Nor actually any animals tweeting.
Joe Patrice: Right, putting aside that part, again, which we have now put aside so far that it’s several feet down social distance away. But yeah, so all of the hallmarks of the actual terms of service had been met, what I don’t know as though Twitter was prepared for was the fact that the whole account is actually run by the good folks at Clare Locke. So, it’s being run by one of the foremost media law firm with boutiques operating. Oh yeah, I mean, of course, you hit that when I’m not sitting next to — like you understand that I can’t have the sound board open at all times and also do all the other things I have to do with this show. So like –
Kathryn Rubino: First of all, no I did not.
Joe Patrice: See, she didn’t realize it, so we – yeah, so no, all right.
Kathryn Rubino: Okay, this was a great story before it even became a lost story.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: So our good friends, this media law firm, it seems like the exact opposite of people you want to mess with.
Joe Patrice: Right, so the Clare Locke actually did not respond, they sent their dog to respond. And you know good for the dog, whose name is momentarily escaping me, again with a G.
Kathryn Rubino: Anyway, I’m pretty sure it’s not relevant to the story or is it?
Joe Patrice: I mean — I’m not going to be the one who gets in trouble for not adequately naming who the author of this motion is.
Kathryn Rubino: The dog.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: I think that’s probably sufficient to identify them.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, anyway.
Kathryn Rubino: So they filed a motion or was it a letter or what?
Joe Patrice: They, they sent a letter to the General Counsel of Twitter asking you know what’s going on and filling it shall we say with puns. It’s, yes it’s Gipper is the name of the dog, and it is — it is a really impressive set of puns, like the commitment to the bit for four or five pages is really impressive.
Kathryn Rubino: And you are a big proponent of puns. I’m sure regular listeners of this podcast are aware that you’re pun heavy at times.
Joe Patrice: See, I don’t know as though I am, but I appreciate the art form.
Kathryn Rubino: We didn’t Ad reads about puns.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I did do that. But yeah, yeah, well those weren’t puns really, those were just like jokes that were related to –
Kathryn Rubino: You know some of them are pun.
Joe Patrice: It wasn’t a pun. It wasn’t a pun, it was like you talk about rabbit and say hop on down, like so that’s — I don’t know. Anyway, point is commitment to the bit, go on.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, so for you to be impressed by it, my point was just that it must be truly noteworthy.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, I mean Clare Locke, I feel as though they were getting out assuming there were associates involved who actually may have written this letter and not really just the dog.
Kathryn Rubino: Assuming for a moment, the dog did not actually write this.
Joe Patrice: Assuming. I feel like this was a cathartic moment for the people at Clare Locke, who are obviously much more busy with a $1.3 billion lawsuit that they’re filing against a bunch of people. If you haven’t been following that, they’re the folks who are dominion’s lawyers dealing with all that.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, so they’re –
Joe Patrice: They’re busy.
Kathryn Rubino: They’re busy.
Joe Patrice: And I feel like this came in for Twitter, this was a bad move to mess with the law firm in the first place, but then to mess with a law firm who desperately needed a change of pace and the ability to let loose, did set up a great public relations moment for them.
Kathryn Rubino: In my mind, so obviously, I have no idea how this letter was drafted if Gipper was involved or what happened, but in my mind there’s some group chat, maybe Slack or whatever they use internally at the firm where it’s kind of all associates or the entire firm and they’re just for 24 hours to be like come up with the best animal puns and then someone’s just reading through the full list and plugging them into the letter as appropriate. That’s how I imagine this all went down.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: If you work there don’t tell me otherwise. I don’t want to know. Let me believe that this is actually the way it happened.
Joe Patrice: But it really does underscore that there are times in this world where a well-placed letter that you allow the public to see. It may be more powerful than anything you want to do.
Kathryn Rubino: PR is a hell of a drug, right.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, ideally it got plenty of attention, it popped around Twitter.
Kathryn Rubino: Do we have any ultimate result yet. Are they back?
Joe Patrice: You know I haven’t checked it, but because I was busy this weekend, so I wasn’t keeping track.
Kathryn Rubino: Fair enough.
Joe Patrice: But no, it’s – hopefully.
Kathryn Rubino: Hopefully, hopefully, Gipper will be back to tweeting.
Joe Patrice: The firm was involved in doing some work for Gipper. How do you take — I guess you — any bones you’re taking from Gipper you’ve got to — you’ve got to put in a segregated account, like you would.
Kathryn Rubino: Well I think that it’s probably part of their paw bono work, so –
Joe Patrice: Oh, oh. Anyway, assuming –
Kathryn Rubino: I am just giddy that I came up with that one.
Joe Patrice: Assuming they did collect any fees, they would have to put them in a segregated account, which brings us to a discussion about Nota powered by M&T Bank. You went to law school to be a lawyer not an accountant. Take advantage of Nota, a no cost IOLTA Management Tool that helps solo and small firms track client funds down to the penny. Enjoy peace of mind with one click reconciliation, automated transaction alerts, and real-time bank data. Visit trustnota.com/legal to learn more. Terms and conditions may apply.
Kathryn Rubino: So yeah, animal law I guess was weirdly a theme of this past week, because it turned out that a deer was not killed by the South Dakota Attorney General.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: So is that an awkward transition, a little bit.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, so –
Kathryn Rubino: That’s the story that got you real hot last week.
Joe Patrice: Not just last week. So, in the last week probably if you haven’t been following all that closely this story, you might have only heard about it last week when the post started taking up the story of South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravsnborg, Ravesborg, I am not quite sure how to pronounce it. Anyway, taking up that story largely because the Governor’s Office or more accurately the Department of Public Safety but with authorization from the Governor released certain documents of the investigation into the South Dakota Attorney General. A lot of people hadn’t heard about this case before that.
Kathryn Rubino: You’d been writing about it for months.
Joe Patrice: I’ve been writing about it since September because it’s horrifying. The Attorney General of South Dakota killed a guy in September. The AG was driving back from a Trump fundraiser at a restaurant/bar where they went with no masks, way back in September.
Kathryn Rubino: Of course, of course.
Joe Patrice: Because South Dakota second worst in the — second worst in the country. Congrats North Dakota. But so, he was driving back from this fundraiser where they auctioned off, I believe a handgun that had Trump’s name engraved on it, totally normal stuff.
Kathryn Rubino: Wow.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, so they — he was coming back from that event and struck a man with his car. He later when it was discovered that someone was actually dead and authorities got involved, he claimed he thought he had hit a deer.
Kathryn Rubino: That was not deer.
Joe Patrice: Well, we don’t know whether it’s not true. Well it was not true that he hit a deer, and that is correct.
Kathryn Rubino: Right, that part we know.
Joe Patrice: He hit a guy.
Kathryn Rubino: Right.
Joe Patrice: His claim that he thought he hit a deer.
Kathryn Rubino: And someone’s dead as a result.
Joe Patrice: Yes. The claim that he thought he hit a deer, we don’t know whether he subjectively believes that or not, but –
Kathryn Rubino: But he did not.
Joe Patrice: But he hit somebody. He denies that he knew. He denies that there was any alcohol involved despite being at a bar for a fundraiser.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure.
Joe Patrice: But what really brought this story, because so first of all this happens, then the investigation concludes with the prosecutors there agreeing to three misdemeanor charges, like illegal lane change is like the charge. There’s no charges that even approach different degrees of involuntary or vehicular manslaughter.
Kathryn Rubino: No, no manslaughter.
Joe Patrice: No, anything.
Kathryn Rubino: So, the fact that someone’s dead is irrelevant, no charges.
Joe Patrice: No leaving the scene of an accident, no anything.
Kathryn Rubino: Which definitely happen, yeah.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, and no misleading authorities, which brings us to where we are now. So that happened. I was very upset about that a few months — a few weeks ago when that was going on, still not a lot of mainstream coverage, mainstream coverage picks up with these revelations that authorities found that the dead man’s glasses were inside the AG’s car, which is where they ended up because he struck him straight on through the windshield, which really puts a lie to the idea that it was a deer maybe, because the idea that you hit something like you may have sideswiped something, that’s critical to the argument that I’m not sure of who, what I hit. Hitting straight through your windshield makes it a lot harder to say I had no idea what I did.
Kathryn Rubino: Also, there are glasses in your car that came from someone, right they’re not yours.
Joe Patrice: Right. And authorities confronted him with this. There’s transcripts of that, that was part of what was getting released. It also puts you in a situation of having it been a direct hit, the question is either you knew that this wasn’t a deer and lied to us and left somebody to die on the side of the road or you were so drunk you had no idea that you had actually hit a person when you did, but —
Kathryn Rubino: Both of them seemed more plausible than he earnestly believed.
Joe Patrice: Right, both bad for him and both issues that the local prosecutors are seeming to totally ignore it.
Kathryn Rubino: Shrug their shoulders at, yeah.
Joe Patrice: That said the local government in South Dakota seems largely outraged by this. The Governor of course released this stuff, it’s all part of an effort to — she called upon him to resign. He said he’s not going to do that because he doesn’t see why he should have to. Respect for laws not a thing, I guess.
So the State Legislature is beginning an impeachment discussion, all of these releases of all of the interviews are certainly damning as far as that goes. He has now secured a Gag Order to prevent anyone else from seeing any of this evidence at this point, claiming that he needs – that his trial would be compromised, even though none of the stuff that’s being released would have any bearing on an illegal lane change trial, which at this point reminder is all that is going on.
And the State Prosecutors consented to this Gag Order really underscoring that they are just as much in the tank for not having anything at right now.
Kathryn Rubino: Right, well maybe they’re the ones who brought the charges, right, so obviously that’s true.
Joe Patrice: Right, they don’t want anything to come out either. That makes them look bad.
Kathryn Rubino: Right. It makes them look awful. I would say query whether or not that’s even a worse look, right. If state prosecutors have this kind of evidence and have these questions on the record they had all of the information, right, but part of me, you know the person who went to law school has respect for the concept of the law and whatnot says, well, releasing this information is not great.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I agree.
Kathryn Rubino: But it’s not sort of the thing you want to see but on the other hand I feel very strongly that the society writ large is better off being aware of this than not.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, the real problem for me is yes, I think that people deserve fair trials and not to have this handled in the media and to that extent it is a bad thing for the government to be releasing investigative data before like the whole thing is done. But these charges of illegal lane change using an electronic device and I can’t remember the third one, but it’s no more damning than those two charges, that trial is not impacted by any of this, these transcripts. The reason these transcripts are being gagged is to push down the road this more public-facing, more political punishment. It has nothing to do with a fair trial, it has everything to do with the impeachment discussion and the resignation pressure. And to that extent it is, while I respect the rule of law argument and say he’s got a point that this stuff shouldn’t be coming out to compromise a fair trial, the reality of the situation is that this is a disrespect of the concept of the rule of law to utilize the — oh I need a fair trial as a way of putting a clamp on something that is irrelevant to whether or not you get a fair trial, but entirely relevant to the actual administration of justice.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, but to devil’s advocate again on the other hand, my guess is that this is the most damning of the information that’s available to be released, right?
Joe Patrice: Hopefully, I mean, well, I don’t know hopefully, but yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure. I guess I have no idea, but making educated guesses here, it seems to me that if you were the one who was releasing this information, you’re going to start with the biggest one.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: You’re going to start with the big doozy, especially if your goal is to either put pressure on for additional charges or for political ramifications, impeachment that sort of thing, social sciences has proven that people mostly remember the first thing they hear about any given story. So you want them to have sort of the biggest headline, the most shocking detail to be out there and I think — and also I mean, the fact that the dead man’s glasses was in the AG’s car is, is that a shocking reveal.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Right, it is the dun, dun, dun moment right here. So I certainly hope that that’s the most shocking information that exists and yeah, I don’t know, but this seems awful.
Joe Patrice: Yes, it is truly awful. It has played out as a really tragic story, not only –
Kathryn Rubino: Someone is dead.
Joe Patrice: Not only the man’s life, but then a person whose job it is to be the symbol of law in law and order in a state refusing to accept responsibility for anything.
Kathryn Rubino: Right.
Joe Patrice: Pushing this down, hijacking these concepts of fair trial as a way of keeping his political career alive, just really kind of a slow motion continuing tragedy that is still going on. We don’t have a resolution yet, we’ll know more in future.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, on developing story.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, still yeah. Anyway, there is no good transition out of that.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, sometimes you have awful stories and you know.
Joe Patrice: How have law firms weathered previous economic downturns and come out stronger on the other side. LexisNexis InterAction has released an in-depth global research report confronting the 2020 downturn, lessons learned during previous economic crisis. Download your free copy at interaction.com/likealawyer to see tips, strategies, plans and statistics from leaders who have been through this before and how they’ve reached success again.
Kathryn Rubino: So, another big story of this past week, I think we’ve actually both written about Paul Davis.
Joe Patrice: Paul.
Kathryn Rubino: Paul.
Joe Patrice: Paul Davis is becoming — I mean an early contender for the Above the Law Lawyer of the Year Award.
Kathryn Rubino: It is, it is just barely March.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I know.
Kathryn Rubino: But yes. Yeah, I mean listen if you don’t know his name, what have you been reading for the last few months.
Joe Patrice: Paul Davis came to our attention originally because he was a lawyer who was –
Kathryn Rubino: January 7th is when I first learned his name.
Joe Patrice: It was January 7th, so you can guess why he came into the news. He was identified at the riot and it turned out he was an Assistant General Counsel and –
Kathryn Rubino: And Head of HR.
Joe Patrice: Head of HR, problematic.
Kathryn Rubino: Which really hurts my mind sometimes to think about, Goosehead Insurance.
Joe Patrice: At an insurance company, they promptly dismissed him given all of his problem which on the one hand you say good move, on the other hand you say, I’m not sure that the break happened just on January 6, how did this person rise to this job in the first place.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, sure. And more than just being identified as attending the Capitol on January 6th, he also posted social media posts that where he boasted about being tear gassed and said you know, what we’re trying to do is get into the Capitol right here or something along those lines. And yeah, I mean he says now that he did not storm the castle, he was peacefully protesting, but again that footage is what it is. But so yeah, he was fired then he decided to put his law degree to good use and filed a case where he named every single politician as a defendant as well as Mark Zuckerberg and he sought to have the entire 117th Congress overturned saying that there were violations of voting rights acts and civil rights violations.
Joe Patrice: But he had a plan for what we would do. Obviously if you did strike down the entire U.S. Government that would strike you as a — it would be a problem but he has a plan for dealing with the –
Kathryn Rubino: Gondor has no king.
Joe Patrice: Yes, Gondor doesn’t have a king. His position is that in the Lord of the Rings, Gondor was able to survive not having a king by turning over power to the stewards and he said that maybe that’s what we should do.
Kathryn Rubino: My thing is, okay, this has obviously gotten a lot of the bug buzz, right, Hobbit loving lawyer, right, because he uses a fictional example to say what should happen in the event of actually overturning the entire system of government that we have.
Joe Patrice: Sure fictional.
Kathryn Rubino: Now who was being naïve. But, but here’s the thing. It’s because, you know there’s a steward in Gondor.
Joe Patrice: Denethor II, yeah just throwing that out there and we’re gone.
Kathryn Rubino: Okay, nerd check over here’s got does what it does, but here’s the thing. There have been stewards IRL, like –
Joe Patrice: Well, yeah you could have like Prince Regents and stuff like that.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure.
Joe Patrice: It really only works in a monarchical system, but yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Well sure, it’s not our form of government. Agree, but you don’t even have to go to fiction is my point. There are two fundamental problems; one is we’re not a monarchy, two is we are real, right?
Joe Patrice: Right, yes.
Kathryn Rubino: So you could have you could have boiled it down to one problem if you wanted.
Joe Patrice: Anyway, well that case he got fired from.
Kathryn Rubino: He did get fired from a bunch of — for a several of the plaintiffs there and not all.
Joe Patrice: And then he’s trying to get law fees for the paw bono work that he did there.
Kathryn Rubino: I see what you did, you brought it right back.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah, I know. So he is trying to get legal fees from that but now he has filed a new lawsuit, now his new plan does not involve anyone from middle earth, it instead involves a situation where Trump –
Kathryn Rubino: Well, it’s a rehash of the original complaint, yeah.
Joe Patrice: Very similar like arguments, yes, but now the plan is that if the government does anything in the intervening period here Trump gets to write an objection that the court will say, oh well, then that’s –
Kathryn Rubino: I mean no.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Where’s he going to write it, he’s banned from Twitter.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s as good as he gets.
Joe Patrice: Yes, so that’s plan, but Paul Davis is back. He is now got this new theory.
Kathryn Rubino: He’s like a real character.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. One wonders when the vexatious litigation hammer falls down on this, but for now –
Kathryn Rubino: Well, I mean the judge in the case has already said, that he thought the underlying case was “without merit”. So my guess is we don’t have very long to beat up on Paul Davis, but you know as long as he keeps on filing motions, I will continue to write it.
Joe Patrice: Right, we’ll get there, but you know hey, sometimes you look at the U.S. Government and you think maybe, maybe it would be better if no, not really necessarily, but you know if you got rid of the government you could streamline administrative tasks.
Let’s hear from our friends at Lexicon.
Advertiser: Here’s a message just for the attorneys out there. So you passed the bar, joined a firm or even built your own. Now, are you finding out you are doing more administration than actual law practice? Lexicon can help. Lexicon is a legal services and technology provider with over a decade of experience streamlining administrative tasks, like time keeping, HR, billing, client intake and more. So you can focus on maximizing billable hours and increasing client satisfaction. Call 855 for Lexicon or visit lexiconservices.com/go to learn more.
Kathryn Rubino: That was smooth, smooth like silk.
Joe Patrice: So yeah, that was basically all that was going on. The one thing that I thought was worth an extra bit of conversation, you wrote some bit about Gordon Caplan.
Kathryn Rubino: Yes.
Joe Patrice: Yes, and we never really got a chance to talk about that because the 200th episode happened. So, Gordon Caplan formerly of Wilkie.
Kathryn Rubino: Right, former Chair of Wilkie.
Joe Patrice: Yes, who was the highest profile person.
Kathryn Rubino: As a lawyer.
Joe Patrice: As a lawyer podcast clearly the most important person involved in the Varsity Blues Scandal, I think there were some sitcom people also, but –
Kathryn Rubino: And Becky who –
Joe Patrice: Yeah, clearly from our perspective Gordon Caplan being the most important involved. But you got an update on him as he’s now — he’s also been a guest of this particular show.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah.
Joe Patrice: Like he has been on this podcast before.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, you can go back and listen to that episode too. But yeah, so he had pled guilty to a bunch of charges, all that had taken place already, but that was not sort of the end of the potential consequences. He was — his license was on the line, but he avoided disbarment and an Ethics Panel said that he would just be suspended for two years dating back to the date of his original interim suspension. So he will at some point in the future be able to practice law again and yeah, he said you know I’ve destroyed my life. It was a bunch of letters from folks saying, he’s such a great person, this is his first ethical lapse. It has more to do with his personal life than his professional one.
So, the court was convinced or the Ethics Panel rather was convinced and decided not to drop the disbarment hammer.
Joe Patrice: I mean, yeah, which I understand, well, as in the reason he was on this show in the past was for kind of heroic pro bono work.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure. That’s actually very interesting. We have had — when I originally published the story we did have a bunch of reaction, folks being like oh, it’s only because he’s rich or was rich and powerful has a lot of powerful friends, that they’re making this decision. A lot of people just kind of angry about it in general, but I think that is an interesting kind of counter that he could potentially use his license in service of really public service and public good works. So making sure he still has that ability in the future at some point might be useful.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I certainly think that the recognition of what he did wrong and why, it was in the quotes that you had of his, was useful.
Kathryn Rubino: And he kind of puts the blame very much on big law-ish culture saying that that kind of striving for perfection and that, things are never good enough unless everything’s perfect, the perfectionism that is widely seen throughout big law and frankly has lots of — lots of repercussions within the industry, right. We have terrible incidences of mental health issues of addiction issues and I think a lot of the underlying causes are rooted back to the types of people who are drawn to elite legal practice and a lot of the behavioral tendencies that are reinforced by big law, and I think that this notion of perfectionism and elitism has a lot of negative consequences, and that’s how in Gordon Caplan’s particular life they expressed themselves. But he admits that you know I ruined my life.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Well indeed. Now he was a litigator, right?
Kathryn Rubino: He was a litigator, yeah.
Joe Patrice: See can’t really do much with that, but if you work with contracts and don’t use contract tools, you’re missing a lot. Save time, make more money and do a better job for your clients with Contract Tools by Paper Software. Contract Tools is the most powerful word add-in for working with contracts. Thousands of lawyers all over the world rely on Contract Tools every day for every kind of deal. Visit papersoftware.com to watch a demo and get a free trial.
So, Kathryn we’ve made it through another episode of this show.
Kathryn Rubino: 201.
Joe Patrice: 201.
Kathryn Rubino: 201 is in the books, baby.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, okay fair enough. So thanks for listening to the show. You can always be subscribed to the show, that way you get the episodes as soon as they drop. You should be giving it reviews, stars and write some things, that all shows engagement and that’s all valuable for us. You should be reading Above the Law. As always you should follow, I’m @josephpatrice, she’s at @kathryn1, the numeral one, on Twitter. Maybe she will even tweet something this week who knows.
Kathryn Rubino: Hey, I’ve been much better about using my Twitter.
Joe Patrice: I mean being better than zero is certainly a thing.
Kathryn Rubino: First of all –
Joe Patrice: It’s an infinite improvement.
Kathryn Rubino: First of all, we are still going to applaud even small changes in behaviors, first of all.
Joe Patrice: Are we?
Kathryn Rubino: I am, I am listening.
Joe Patrice: Wow, well done.
Kathryn Rubino: You are a dick.
Joe Patrice: Yes. At next —
Kathryn Rubino: Anyway, my point is, well as listen, Rome is not built in a night, small changes lead to bigger changes in your life. It’s 2021, we need to take the w’s wherever we get them.
Joe Patrice: Fair enough, all right. So, you should be listening to also The Jabot and the Legal Tech Week, Legal Technology Journalist Roundtable that we’re on. You should be checking out the other LTN shows and with all that, I guess another shout out back to Contract Tools, Lexicon, Nota powered by M&T Bank and LexisNexis InterAction, and with that I think we’re good to go.
Joe Patrice: Apparently, you don’t get peace this week.
Kathryn Rubino: Peace.