In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The deputy general counsel at Verizon Wireless is taking the reverse commute and moving to a job at a law firm after spending 24 years in-house. John Thorne started at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington, D.C., this week.

Thorne was involved in a lot of high-profile antitrust cases while he was with Verizon and said he chose to take the job at the law firm because wanted “to do new things.”

So, here’s our question for you:

What are the top reasons an in-house attorney would move out-of-house when many do the opposite — move in-house after many years at a law firm?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

‘Pukemon’ goes to jail

I wrote back in May about Matthew Clemmens, a New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to vomiting on another fan at a Philadelphia Philies home game.

Clemmens was sentenced Friday to 30 to 90 days in jail and 50 hours of community service for his actions. Clemmens apologized in court to the off-duty police officer who was his target. But Judge Kevin Dougherty wasn’t impressed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Your apology, I believe, was feigned,” Dougherty said, as Clemmens stood stone-faced, both parents at his side. “I don’t know if you were trying to hit a home-run with your friends that day … but you struck out.”

The analogy probably should be ruled in an error, but you have to give the judge credit for his community service suggestion — cleaning bathrooms at Citizens Bank Park.

A different kind of assault

If I used the terms “baseball” and “vomit-inducing” in the same sentence, you’d think I was talking about the Orioles, right? In most cases, that would be correct. But not today, when a New Jersey man “admits to vomiting assault at Phillies game,” as the headline says.

Matthew Clemmens’ guilty plea will most likely result in probation when he is sentenced at the end of July, prosecutors said.

The incident happened during an April 14 game. Clemmens and friends were sitting behind an off-duty police officer and his two children, doing the things that give Philly sports fans a bad reputation. When one of Clemmens’ friends was ejected, prosecutors said he answered a cell phone call by saying, “I need to do what I need to do. I’m going to get sick.”

At that point, Clemmens stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on the dad and one of the daughters. (Really.)

Clemmens’ uncle offered a kind-of defense for his nephew a few days later, saying Clemmens was feeling queasy from a few extra beers and “he accidentally vomited, putting his hand in front of his mouth, and vomited on the person in front of him, which was the wrong person.”

Police are still searching for the right person.

Villanova Law dean was almost Maryland’s

Not mentioned in this AP story about Mark Sargent, the Villanova Law dean who resigned last week for “medical and personal” reasons after he was caught leaving a purported house of prostitution, was how close he came to being the current dean of the University of Maryland School of Law.

The timeline: In June 2008, Maryland Law Dean Karen Rothenberger said she would step down one year later. A search committee was formed to find her replacement.

That November, Sargent was intercepted at the Kennett Township, Pa., home whose owner recently pleaded no contest to running a house of prostitution. Sargent cooperated with the investigation and was not charged, police say.

This January, the search committee presented its list of five finalists for Rothenberg’s post. Sargent made the short list.

He took himself out of the running the following month, apparently telling Maryland his family would rather be in Philadelphia.

Last week, though, he resigned from Villanova. His involvement in the prostitution case was revealed by The Philadelphia Inquirer over the July 4th weekend.

Kind of makes you wonder how much the search committee knew, and when they knew it, doesn’t it?

p.s. The top spot at Maryland ultimately went to Phoebe A. Haddon, who started at the law school last week. Welcome, Dean.

Bon Jovi headlines rockin’ court opinion

With the Court of Appeals on its summer break, I will have no more chances for a while to keep tabs on the annotations in Judge Glenn T. Harrell’s opinions.

Fortunately, I was alerted by Assistant Legal Editor Christina Doran of a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia who picked up the slack. Judge Michael M. Baylson wrote an opinion last month in a lawsuit involving the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul and a former employee.

The Soul are partially owned by Jon Bongiovi – better known as Jon Bon Jovi, better known as the lead singer of Bon Jovi. That led Baylson to reference five Bon Jovi songs and multiple football terms in his first two and last paragraphs of the opinion. Sample sentence: “[T]he Philadelphia Soul… rose in a ‘Blaze of Glory’ to win the 2008… Arena Bowl and then was ‘Shot Through The Heart’ when its 2009 season was canceled by the League due to financial problems.”

Baylson thanked his law clerk in a footnote for helping with the Bon Jovi song titles. It should be noted, however, that “Shot Through the Heart” is popularly misidentified as the title of a song actually called “You Give Love A Bad Name.”

“Have A Nice Day” (and holiday weekend!).

HT: QuizLaw (second post down from June 30).

Don’t keep mummy waiting

Want a shortcut to Tut?

You should. The Franklin Institute advises you to get to the museum 90 minutes before the time stamped on your $32.50 ticket for “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” and one look at the line snaking up three floors to the exhibit hall is all the explanation you need.

On our Labor Day weekend trip to Philadelphia, my husband and I cheerfully estimated it would take at least another hour, and possibly two, to get from the back of the line to the leather ropes at the front. I say “cheerfully” because we were doing the math while we breezed past the huddled masses (doing our best not to make eye contact as we passed them by, and passed them by, and passed and passed and passed them by), thanks to the VIP passes that came with our hotel package.

You say “elitist,” I say “efficient.” And not a little serendipitous. When we booked the package, we knew the VIP passes were untimed — meaning you can see the exhibit whenever you choose — but we didn’t know that VIPs get their own separate line. (There were four people in ours.)

Which means you can spend 90 minutes waiting in line, or spend the same 90 minutes enjoying a champagne brunch of eggs Benedict and lemon-ricotta pancakes with mixed berries at the Four Seasons, followed by a 10-minute stroll past the Swann Fountain to the museum and into the VIP queue.

Other hotels offer one-night packages starting at $185 per couple. You’d spend almost half of that on two “timed” tickets and parking at the Franklin Institute, if you can find a spot.

Sure, Ben Franklin may have been big on that whole penny-saved, penny-earned thing.

But what would the Boy King do?

—BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor, Law