Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

This morning’s offerings include the usual assortment of Brits playing catch-up on Conrad Black’s most recent travails. Among these, The Times’ James Bone offers a brutally arch, though, as always, entertaining summary. On the margins of the case, the prosecutors continue to take laps of honour celebrating their much-prized victory. Eric Sussman recently flew into town and was rumoured to have palled around at the Toronto Star. And Julie Ruder, whose folksy summing-up at trial was the subject of rave reviews, turns up in the most recent edition of Crain’s Chicago Business magazine’s annual list of “forty under forty.” The theme this year is “my favourite hour.” Ms. Ruder’s preference?

“To unwind, she likes to chat with her son Jack, six, about the new chess moves he’s learned and listen to her daughter, Ashley, four, read from her favourite books. The first hour of the evening after she arrives home ‘isn’t much time in the scheme of the day, but it’s very comforting,’ Ms. Ruder says. As a recently divorced mother, Ms. Ruder makes a point not to miss that hour, no matter how demanding her work. ‘I have to be pretty good at being efficient at my job,’ she says. ‘I don’t waste a lot of time during the day.’ It’s always worth the effort. ‘No matter what happens, if you have a bad day in court or simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed, this always makes me feel better,’ she says.”

All of which seems like, well, motherhood. Later in the article, however, things take an odd turn. In explaining why she gave up a lucrative partnership in private practice to join the DOJ, Ruder offers the following:

“Ms. Ruder’s children were part of the reason she became a federal prosecutor in 2004, soon after she made partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she specialized in commercial litigation. Once they were born, ‘it started to become more important to me how I was actually using those hours away from home. Was it making a difference for anyone and was it fulfilling for me?’ The short answer was no. ‘I didn’t care so much who won. I didn’t have some passionate belief that my clients shouldn’t turn over documents as part of litigation,’ she says. So, despite a sense of loyalty and affection for the firm, she left.

Ms. Ruder figured out quickly she had made the right call. She had been in the office for two weeks when she was assigned a child pornography case. The file suggested a school principal might be molesting a young boy in his home, but Ms. Ruder was having trouble getting a warrant executed and wasn’t sure where to turn. A colleague sent her to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who made a call to get the search started. Within hours, the child was rescued and the principal arrested. ‘I thought this was amazing,’ she says.”

In other words, the most powerful federal prosecutor in the United States cuts through a bunch of red tape and exercises his authority, all of which Ms. Ruder finds “amazing.” I’ll say.

Conrad Black loses retrial bid: Source [Telegraph]

Conrad Black facing lengthy jail sentence after judge upholds fraud conviction: Source [The Times]

Forty under forty interactive: Source [Crain’s Chicago Business]