August 2014

gunner law school gunner.jpgThe Virginia Senate race between Republican incumbent George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb has been one of the most bizarre and entertaining races in recent memory. To recap, here are some of the things we’ve been treated to in recent weeks:

– the magnificent spectacle of “Macaca”-gate;
– a Southerner’s dramatic discovery of his long-lost Jewish heritage;
– a campaign manager named Dick Wadhams (he’s not gay!); and
– a father placing his son’s penis in his mouth (okay, in a work of fiction).

This is truly an embarrassment of riches. What more could one ask for?
Well, how about a law-related angle? From TJ’s Double Play:

[W]e thought we weren’t going to blog until our memo was done. Then 1L extraordinaire Mike Stark decided to pick a fight with Sen. George Allen and got his ass literally thrown out of a campaign event. Word is that Stark, who runs lefty blog Calling All Wingnuts, apparently began asking rude questions about Allen’s wife (most likely having to do with divorce details and whether or not he spit on his wife) and then Allen’s security tossed him out of the building.

Like any good law student, Stark is making a (federal?) case out of it. From NBC 29:

[O]ne Allen campaign staffer put Stark in a headlock and threw him to the ground. Stark was also removed from the building. Stark was not injured and is pressing charges.

But here’s the best part:

Thanks to a reader for sending us the video, so you can see Stark get thrown to the ground and pinned against a wall. It’s pretty awesome, especially because Stark is a pretty well-known gunner. We’ll see if he’s a little quieter this week. Or in class at all.

Well, at least Stark didn’t get his ass arrested. Because federal judges don’t look kindly upon clerkship applicants with criminal records.
You can read more about the whole incident at TJ’s Double Play and Wonkette.
Macaca Mike vs. Anglo Allen [TJ's Double Play]
Allen Staffers Beat Up Blogger, Nation Celebrates [Wonkette]
Incident at Allen Campaign Stop in Charlottesville [NBC29]

* If your workplace is all about face-time, then use sparingly. [Call In Sick]
* Let’s clean up our cities. First the pigeons, then the homeless. [Newsweek]
* Wild, wild horses…we’ll ride them someday — a celebrity cause waiting to happen. [Vanity Fair]
* Whatever happened to the good old fashioned kegger? Stick to the toga, and nobody (including the Greeks) gets hurt. [Yahoo! News]
* Sometimes, as I learned this weekend, even a lazy, motion-sick girl sometimes has to bill a few hours en route. Next time, I’ll be prepared with the necessary accoutrements. [JD Bliss]
* And because I can’t ignore that it’s Halloween, I’m going to download this Lindsay Lohan mask, complete with what appear to be collagen-filled lips. [Forbes]

thelen reid & priest brown raysman.JPGOn the heels of the Dewey Ballantine/Orrick announcement, news of another law firm merger:

Partners at Thelen Reid & Priest and New York’s Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner voted to combine the two firms Monday, creating a 617-lawyer firm that, based on last year’s revenue, would have placed 56th on the Am Law 100 list.

The firm will be called Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner, and will be co-chaired, for 2 1/2 years, by Stephen O’Neal, Thelen’s chairman, and Julian Millstein, Brown’s co-managing partner.

Number 56? Skadden is hardly quaking in its boots.
The first thing you want to know when you hear about a law firm merger: What are the profits-per-partner at the respective firms?
Here are the numbers, from the WSJ Law Blog’s “wedding announcement” (cute):

Thelen Reid, 82 years old, is originally from San Francisco and has 391 lawyers. Its average profits per partner in 2005 were $850,000, according to the most recent American Lawyer survey. The firm has a prominent project finance practice and has a substantial presence in the construction, infrastructure, and energy industries.

Brown Raysman, 27 years old, is from New York. With 226 attorneys, the firm is known for its corporate and technology practices. Last year’s profits per partner at Brown Raysman were $720,000.

kremlin moscow red square.jpgBut here’s the rub: Thelen Reid has a two-tier partnership structure, while Brown Raysman only has one. Ruh-roh…

[Brown Raysman] partners at the combined firm will be slotted into San Francisco-based Thelen’s two-tier system of equity and non-equity partners….

Millstein [of Brown Raysman] said some of his colleagues will lose equity status, though he wouldn’t say how many. At the same time, he said, some Brown Raysman partners who don’t now share in the firm’s profits at all will be given some equity in the combined firm.

So some equity partners are going to be “de-equitized,” while other non-equity partners will be promoted to equity partner status. Interesting.
The environment over at Brown Raysman must be just delightful right now. Like the Kremlin, right before a big purge.
If you have any dirt about the merger to share with us, please drop us a line.
Partners Bless Thelen Reid-Brown Raysman Merger [The Recorder]
LB Wedding Announcement: Thelen Reid & Brown Raysman [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: At Least They’re Not Merging With Cheetham & Howe

musical chairs above the law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFTons of moves to report today — and these are just the highlights:
New Partners:
* Latham & Watkins — which, as discussed yesterday, is very popular with Supreme Court clerks — has elected 26 new partners, in offices around the country. That’s enough lawyers to start a whole new law firm.
You can check out their names here. If you graduated from law school around 1998, you probably know some of them.
“Magic Circle” Hiring Spree:
The top British law firms — aka the “Magic Circle” firms — continue to cast spells over U.S. practitioners, who have been flocking to their American offices in droves.
* Louis Kimmelman, former co-chair of O’Melveny & Myers’s international arbitration practice, is heading to Allen & Overy’s rapidly growing New York office. Kimmelman regularly appears before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association, and other tribunals.
* Finance lawyers Zarrar Sehgal and Anthony Lopez III, to Clifford Chance (NY), from Milbank Tweed and Cahill Gordon, respectively.
Lateral Moves:
* Corporate and securities lawyer Michael Student, to Brown Rudnick, from Holland & Knight.
* Tax lawyer James Tander, corporate lawyer Patrick de Carbuccia, and real estate lawyer Michael Pollack, to Reed Smith (NY). They come from, respectively, Skadden Arps, Willkie Farr, and Withers Bergman of (New Haven, CT).
Government to Private Sector:
* Sharon McCarthy, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, to litigation and tax boutique Kostelanetz & Fink, as a partner.
Internal Promotions:
* Paul Tvetenstrand, a partner in the structured finance practice group, has been elected chairman and managing partner of Thacher Proffitt & Wood.
Latham & Watkins Elects 26 New Partners [Latham & Watkins]
NY Partners Switching Firms, NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com]
More NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com]
Firm Promotes 26 to Partnership [NYLawyer.com]
NY Practice Leader Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com]

When we surfed over to the WSJ Law Blog a few minutes ago, quickly scanned the page, and saw the photo for this post, we thought it had to do with Yale Law School. But upon closer inspection, we learned we were wrong.

Instead, it was a post about Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum. Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: “The Queen of Toxic Torts.” The superstar litigatrix attended the Supreme Court oral arguments this morning in the Philip Morris punitive damages case.

So why did we think, for a few brief seconds, that the post was about Yale Law School? Here’s why:

sheila birnbaum harold koh harold hongju koh sheila l birnbaum.JPG

Sheila L. Birnbaum [Skadden]
Dean Harold Hongju Koh [Yale Law School]

stephen williams stephen f williams steven williams judge.jpgIf you, like us, find Supreme Court justice sightings more thrilling than Brangelina spottings, you would have died from excitement at the portrait ceremony for Judge Stephen F. Williams.
Judge Williams is the brilliant former law professor who now sits on the venerated D.C. Circuit. Back in the day, before he assumed senior status, Stephen Williams was one of the biggest feeder judges in Christendom. He fed huge numbers of his clerks into Supreme Court clerkships, with an impressively broad spectrum of justices.
The Williams portrait ceremony was held last Friday. Stuart Buck, a former Williams clerk, offers a detailed report. Here is an excerpt:

Portrait ceremonies are evidently a big deal: I’d never been to one before, but it was probably the most legal talent that I’ve ever seen in one room. The entire D.C. Circuit was there, as were six members of the Supreme Court (all except Souter, Kennedy, and Alito).

There was a person I didn’t recognize sitting between Justices Stevens and Thomas. Judge Laurence Silberman later said in conversation that it was Judge Louis Oberdorfer — a long-time and highly respected district court judge who has to be in his late eighties now. [Ed. note: Judge Oberdorfer was also a feeder judge in his time -- especially impressive given that he's "only" a district court judge.]

Now THAT is an impressive line-up. It’s the federal judicial equivalent of Ed Limato’s Oscar pre-party, a more star-studded event than the Lori Alvino / Matt McGill wedding — and maybe even than the Ted Olson / Lady Booth wedding. (That second comparison turns on how much weight you assign to SCOTUS justices as opposed to other legal luminaries.)
Anyone have pictures from the ceremony? If so, we’d love to see them. You know how we love pictures.
And while we’re on the subject of judicial celebrity sightings, a quick follow-up to our item yesterday about Justice Alito swearing in his former clerk, Alex Acosta, as U.S. Attorney in Miami. David Oscar Markus has a firsthand account of the event, which you can check out at the S.D. Fla. Blog.
Judge Williams’ Portrait [The Buck Stops Here]*
Acosta Sworn In [Southern District of Florida Blog]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Justice Alito Hits South Beach
Lady and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Wedding Photos That Rock
The Eyes of the Law: Ted Olson’s Star-Studded Nuptials
The Eyes of the Law: Wedding Crashers
* The “s” after “Williams’” is missing in the original. Our views on this dispute are set forth here.

atlantic city skyline rain rainy night.jpgBut if you file a lawsuit, you may be able to win money damages. From the New York Daily News:

Rosalie Druyan wants to stick the Rolling Stones between a rock and a hard place with a $51 million lawsuit.

Shattered when Mick Jagger’s sore throat scrapped the Rolling Stones concert Friday in Atlantic City — four hours before its scheduled start — the Stones superfan from Brooklyn is taking the wrinkly rockers to court.

In a class-action suit to be filed today in Manhattan Supreme Court, Druyan contends the late cancelation cost her and other fans big bucks on nonrefundable hotel reservations, forcing them to spend the night together in cold and rainy Atlantic City.

Before you scoff at the $51 million demand, ask yourself: How would YOU like to be stuck in AC on a rainy Friday night?
Brooklyn Stones Fan Seeks 51M of Satisfaction [New York Daily News]

lesbians and fall foliage.jpgLaw firm recruiting season is winding down, but we remain interested in your job interview horror stories. To read prior stories, click here, then scroll down.
(Note: The “horror” in “interview horror stories” is loosely defined. Stories that are somewhat embarrassing or mildly amusing will suffice.)
Most of our interview horror stories involve interviewees saying or doing stupid things, during their Biglaw interview or at lunch. But sometimes it’s the interviewers who are boneheaded.
This story has been making the rounds at East Coast law schools:

A young woman goes in for an on-campus interview with a large law firm. Her interviewer is an elderly partner at a very conservative, white-shoe kind of place.

The interview is going smoothly. But then the interviewer starts complaining about promising female associates who get married, have kids, and leave the firm.

Such comments are highly improper and/or illegal. There are a number of ways to deal with them, in appropriate yet subtle fashion. But our interviewee decides to tackle this problem head-on:

“You don’t need to worry about that happening with me. I’m a lesbian.”

The stuffy old partner is at a complete loss for words. He’s probably never met a lesbian in his life.

There’s a long, awkward pause. Finally, the partner breaks the silence:

“Have you thought about Paul Weiss?”

Illegal / Improper Job Interview Questions [Cornell Law School]
Top 10 Lesbian Cars for 2006 [About.com]
Earlier: Prior Interview Horror Stories (scroll down)

halloween pumpkin.jpgA friendly reminder from ATL: Today is Halloween. If this slipped your mind, be sure to stop by your local CVS / Duane Reade / RiteAid on the way home, and pick up a bag of miniature chocolates for the trick-or-treaters.
Some lawyers, judges, and law professors get into the Halloween spirit. For example, back in 2004, Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the Third Circuit dressed up as Homer Simpson for Halloween. The Ninth Circuit holds a Halloween party.
We’d love to hear interesting stories about how lawyers are observing Halloween. If you have an amusing anecdote, please post it in the comments, or email us. Thanks.
Judicial SIGHT-ations: Halloween Special Issue [UTR]

* “Colombian Supreme Court: grabbing a woman’s behind is a crime.” [Herald-Tribune via How Appealing]
* One week until elections — there must be some litigation somewhere. [Wall Street Journal via [How Appealing]
* Justice O’Connor spoke in Utah this week, and she and Justice Breyer shed some politico-rhetoric in Washington. [CNN]
(For related links, see yesterday’s MD.)
* A second plea bargain has been reached in the Iraqi civilian murder case. [MSNBC]
* For you trusts-and-estates buffs, check out Kenneth Lay’s will. Notice he leaves much of his assets in the “Ken Lay Trust,” which seems oxymoronic. [Slate]

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