October 2014

blackberry crackberry.jpg* The Crackberry class action: it’s only a matter of time. [DealBreaker]
* Interested in Manatt, Phelps & Phillips because of its sexy entertainment practice? Watch out — you might get stuck doing health care law. [National Law Journal]
* A restaurant coalition has filed a lawsuit arguing that the Chicago City Council’s ban on foie gras is unconstitutional. We agree. That stuff is divine. [WSJ Law Blog]
* This has nothing to do with the law — we’re just fascinated by Paris Hilton. [New York Sun]

musical chairs above the law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFLateral moves:
* Corporate lawyer T. Robert Zochowski Jr., to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, from Shearman & Sterling (where he had headed the structured finance group).
* Jonathan Marshall, to Fish & Richardson (as senior counsel), from Weil Gotshal & Manges.
* Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez, to Weil, Gotshal & Manges (litigation/regulatory department), from SAI Abogados.
New partners:
* McCarter & English: Litigator John Hewitt.
NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com]
NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com]

cooley godward logo.gif

Merger mania continues inside the world of Biglaw. Here’s the latest pair of firms to tie the knot:

Cooley Godward LLP, a 445-lawyer law firm known for its representation of West Coast technology companies, plans to merge with Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP, a 110-lawyer New York firm specializing in commercial litigation, bankruptcy and white-collar defense.

The merger, which is expected to be announced today, will become effective Oct. 1. The new firm will be called Cooley Godward Kronish LLP.

kronish lieb logo.gifKronish who? In the Big Apple, a 110-attorney shop doesn’t count for much. There are national firms with New York branch offices bigger than that.
Cooley Godward is a much bigger firm, both in terms of headcount and reputation, than Kronish Lieb. It’s a victory for Kronish that this is being called a “merger” rather than an “acquisition,” and that the Kronish name — although not Lieb — will make its way into the new entity’s moniker.
Seems like Cooley was so desperate for a New York presence that it was willing to make such concessions. And Cooley isn’t what it once was:

During the 1990s, Cooley Godward gained a reputation as one of a handful of go-to law firms for West Coast technology companies in need of venture financing or intellectual-property help. But after the tech bubble burst in late 2000, the firm, like others that had focused on technology, struggled. Its revenue fell, and, in August of 2001, the firm laid off 86 associates. About a year later, the firm laid off 27 more.

So back in her heyday, Cooley could have probably landed herself a much more desirable suitor. But then she gained all that weight, and she let her looks go…
If you have any good scuttlebutt on this merger, please drop us a line (via email).
Law Firms Cooley Godward, Kronish Lieb Plan to Merge [Wall Street Journal]
Cooley Godward, NY’s Kronish Lieb Merging to Create 550-Lawyer Firm [New York Law Journal]

Allison Margolin Above the Law Legal Blog.JPGToday’s Los Angeles Times has a profile of L.A. lawyer Allison Margolin. The article describes Margolin as “star-struck, young and unorthodox,” but also “Ivy League, savvy and successful.”
The title of the piece — “A Law Unto Herself” — may promise more than the article delivers. But there are still some interesting tidbits:

Matt Farrell, a video producer, needed an attorney after he had been charged with growing marijuana. He hired Allison Margolin, “L.A.’s dopest attorney,” on a friend’s recommendation.

Farrell’s first impression was “she was hot.”

Is Margolin “hot”? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — but at the very least, she’s “lawyer hot.” Cf. being “book hot.”

[Farrell's] second [impression] was doubt. She looked too young to be a lawyer.

Then he saw the Ivy League degrees on her wall.

Like actress Reese Witherspoon’s character in the movie “Legally Blonde” — a rich, ditsy Beverly Hills blond who goes to Harvard Law School — Margolin, 28, is the kind of lawyer who might be easy to dismiss. The graduate of Beverly Hills High talks like a Valley girl, preceding adjectives with “like” and using “whatever” as a period.

OMG — this Margolin chick sounds totally rad!
There’s, like, more stuff after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Allison Margolin: “Lawyer Hot””

It’s been a few weeks since our last report on the much-maligned Milberg Weiss. So here’s the latest news about the plaintiff’s class-action firm that everyone loves to hate:

The bleeding continues at Milberg Weiss Bershad & Shulman. [Last] week, four partners — Bruce Bernstein, Brian Kerr, Dan Scotti and Lee Weiss — announced they were leaving. The lawyers are heading to New York’s Dreier LLP, which represents defendants and plaintiffs in securities litigation. The news was confirmed by Mark Dreier, the firm’s managing partner, who says the Milberg transplants will create a class-action group for their new firm. “Primarily, they will look for opportunities to do plaintiffs work,” he says. The four attorneys did not return calls for comment.

We’re not that familiar with the Dreier firm — don’t they make ice cream or something? But it does strike us as odd that the firm represents plaintiffs and defendants in securities cases. Sounds like a recipe for client conflicts.
Milberg Weiss Watch: The Bleeding Continues [WSJ Law Blog]

dwarfs are crazy.jpg

And now, a dispatch from our ancestral homeland, the Philippines:

A Philippine judge who said he consulted imaginary mystic dwarves has failed to convince the Supreme Court to allow him to keep his job.

Florentino Floro was appealing against a three-year inquiry which led to his removal due to incompetence and bias.

He told investigators three mystic dwarves — Armand, Luis and Angel — had helped him to carry out healing sessions during breaks in his chambers.

The court said psychic phenomena had no place in the judiciary.

So what’s poor Judge Floro supposed to do now?

[The Philippine Supreme Court] advised Floro to look for other jobs in areas where he will be successful, but not in the judiciary.

The obvious suggestion would be for him to become a psychic. But we think he’d make a great TV judge, a la Judge Judy or Judge Alex. Dwarf-driven decisions would have just about as much legitimacy.
Dwarfs can’t help ‘paranormal judge’ [Manila Standard]
Judge with spirit ‘pals’ dismissed [Manila Times]
Filipino ‘dwarf’ judge loses case [BBC News]

legal eagle wedding watch david lat above the law legal blog law blog david lat david lat atl.JPGWow — a whole lot of lawyers got married last weekend. And some of them are very impressive people. Like William Michael, a Yale law grad who will be clerking for the prestige-oozing Second Circuit. And Matthew Schwartz, who clerked for Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.) from 2002 to 2004 — and lived to tell the tale…
But in order to make it into this week’s Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, both members of the couple needed to be lawyers (since Legal Eagle Wedding Watch prefers all-lawyer couples, and things were that competitive this week).
So neither Mr. Michael nor Mr. Schwartz made it past the velvet rope. Here are this week’s contestants:

1. Dara Kestenbaum, Scott Freling

2. Elizabeth Oyer, Geoffrey Wyatt

3. Sharmila Sohoni, Christopher Egleson

Find out this week’s winner of “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch,” after the jump (i.e., click on the “continue reading” link below).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: August 20, 2006″

Donald Thompson Judge penis pump Above the Law.JPGJudge Donald Thompson — remember him? The Oklahoma state court judge who was packing a penis pump underneath that robe? Well, here’s the latest development in his fall from grace:

A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison….

At his trial this summer, his former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified that she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times during trial between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he also used a device known as a penis pump during at least four trials in the same period….

Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson’s robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.

Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson’s robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.

“All rise,” indeed.

Judge Gets 4 Years for Exposing Himself [Associated Press]

* A federal judge in Detroit — Judge Anna Diggs Taylor (E.D. Mich.) — has struck down the NSA warrantless wiretapping program as unconstitutional. The Justice Department is appealing. [New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times]
* A federal judge in Washington, D.C. — Judge Gladys Kessler (D.D.C.) — has ruled against major cigarette manufacturers in the government’s racketeering suit against Big Tobacco. She imposed new restrictions on cigarette manufacturing (but didn’t go as far as the Justice Department would have liked). Federal judges sure are busy these days! [New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times]
* John M. Karr’s claim of involvement in JonBenet Ramsey’s murder: confession, or crazy talk? [New York Times]
* Merck loses the latest Vioxx trial, in federal court, and a prior Merck win in state court is tossed out by a judge. [Wall Street Journal]

shira scheindlin judge.jpgWe briefly linked to this item yesterday, but now we have a little more to add. Here’s what the New York Post reported:

[Organized crime defendant John "Junior"] Gotti helped Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin celebrate her 60th birthday by serenading her from his seat at the defense table yesterday.

“I led the attack,” Gotti said outside of court. “Everyone was saying, ‘We’re going to sing, we’re going to sing,’ and then they started chickening out.”

The bizarre and unusual birthday celebration was carried out in the courtroom – which was mysteriously closed to the public – before jury selection in Gotti’s racketeering trial resumed for a third day.

What makes this even more unusual is how the judge reacted:

Later in the day the judge got some chuckles when she agreed to excuse a potential juror who had plans to travel to Paris to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday. “I’m particularly sympathetic to 60th birthdays,” Scheindlin said.

It’s surprising to hear that Judge Scheindlin took things so well. Although she’s not related to “Judge Judy” (a.k.a. Judge Judith Sheindlin — different spelling), one couldn’t be blamed for thinking so. The Honorable Shira has a reputation has a holy terror. She works her clerks like dogs, berates them frequently, and sometimes even makes them cry. Don’t pee on her robe and tell her it’s raining!
So Judge Scheindlin’s good-humored reaction to the in-court birthday festivities is somewhat unexpected. Guess it just goes to show that even the toughest judge can be buttered up with birthday wishes.

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