October 2014

K&L Gates Kirkpatrick Lockhart Preston Gates Elllis merger merged merging Above the Law.JPGAs helpfully noted by a commenter, the news is now official. As previously rumored, the law firms of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham and Preston Gates & Ellis are getting hitched. The merger will be effective January 1, 2007.
According to the official press release, the new entity will be called “Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP,” but the firm will be BRANDED as “K&L Gates.” Because these days it’s all about the branding, kids.
We’ll have more to say later. For now, we provide you with the press release announcing the merger, kindly sent to us by a law firm publicist. It’s rather lengthy, and it reads like a geography lesson mashed up with a management consultant’s PowerPoint presentation.
(Now we feel like real journalists. We’re getting blast emails from PR folk!)
Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Preston Gates”

stack of bills cash money.jpgWe’re stepping away from our computer briefly. Normally we’d just do so, without comment; but this is bonus season. So if Simpson, Skadden, or some other Biglaw firm makes an announcement while we’re gone, please post it in the comments, with a link to your source. We don’t want to be accused of the capital crime of not having bonus information up immediately (even if that information isn’t verified).
In the meantime, if you’re looking for amusement, read this post by “sandra” at Greedy NY, then the various responses. Hilarious stuff. Is “sandra” for real, or is she a prankster or troll?
Word on the street is that Whachtell [sic] raised the boni bar? [Infirmation / Greedy NY]

stack of bills cash money.jpgAh yes, the legendary bonuses of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Tout le monde wants to know: So, just how big were they?

Very big (and bigger than yours). We can’t give up specific numbers for specific classes, because that might get our sources in trouble (and WLRK is a pretty small firm).

But we’ll just make these general observations:

1. Wachtell Lipton pays base salaries that are at (or even slightly above) market.

2. Earlier this year, they paid out midyear bonuses ranging from $15,000, for the newest associates, to $50,000, for the most senior classes.

3. When you add the midyear bonuses to the year-end bonuses that were paid out earlier this week — on Tuesday, December 12 — every class at Wachtell received 2006 bonus compensation equal or slightly greater than 100 percent of base salary.

4. This year, the percentage of bonus as base varied a bit from class to class. Historically this hasn’t always been the case; when we were there, it was pretty much constant.

Executive summary: Take your base salary, double it, and that’s what your law school classmate who went to Wachtell earned in 2006, “all in” (base salary + mid-year bonus + year-end bonus).

A shameless plug for our former firm, based on the time that we spent there (2000 – 2003), after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Wachtell Lipton Windfalls”


Harry Pregerson Judge Harry Pregerson Above the Law.jpgOr at least a big benchslap upside the head, courtesy of the Supreme Court. Per Orin Kerr:

A lot of people have talked about the Supreme Court’s small docket; Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit is actually doing something about it. He handed down an opinion today in Carrington v. United States that has “Destination: One First Street” written all over it.

Read the rest of Professor Kerr’s devastating critique here. Howard Bashman also doesn’t think highly of the opinion.
Professor Kerr concludes by quoting George Will: “[t]here should be two Supreme Courts, one to reverse the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the other to hear all other cases.” Will’s article was about a “Reinhardt special.” But as Carrington shows, Judge Stephen Reinhardt isn’t racking up reversals all by himself; he gets by with a little help from his friends.
One final note: Carrington gave Judge Consuelo Callahan, the luscious Latina sometimes mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee, the opportunity to write an impassioned, high-profile dissent. Judge Callahan should be grateful to Judge Pregerson for giving her the chance to develop conservative street cred. If she gets nominated to the SCOTUS someday, she should thank Judge Pregerson at her investiture.*
(We’d be curious to hear what Professor Doug Berman, sentencing guidelines guru, thinks of Carrington.)
Update: Professor Berman weighs in. Interesting! Are the conservatives now guilty of putting their policy preferences ahead of the letter of the law?
* Best correction ever, from Slate: “Our article originally identified Consuelo Callahan as Consuela Callahan.”
Because, you know, all Latinas in the state of California are named “Consuela.” They’re all maids. And they’re all played by Lupe Ontiveros in the movies.
Carrington v. United States [Volokh Conspiracy]
Carrington v. United States (PDF) [Ninth Circuit via How Appealing]

stack of bills cash money.jpgThis morning’s news is that Shearman & Sterling announced bonuses that match Milbank. We haven’t confirmed this yet, but we have no reason to doubt it, since it’s what everyone else is doing. If you have a memo, please send it our way.
While we were over at Greedy NY, our eye was caught by this plaintive post:

I hope this year of bonus numbers causes a revolt. But it wont. Because, lets face it we are all total dorks. The guys that never got dates, that got beat up in the playground. Thats why we sit here and take this beating and just gripe about it. As much as we hate bankers, they have the chutzpah to step up and do something about being wronged. We go into law because its a “safe” profession, the one where we are “guaranteed” a job.

Seriously, if you went to a top 5 law school as I did, if you compared the student bodies of our law school and the business school, the B-school students were better looking, more confident. The law school students, on the other hand, were total geeks. The partners know this, since they themselves are dorks and losers and make a living out of getting yelled at by 25 year-old bankers and as such there will be no Revenge of the Nerds this year (or any other year). So lets stop talking as if we are hard.

Whether you agree or disagree, it’s one of the most well-written and thoughtful postings we’ve read in a while (although, to be sure, the standards for message-board discourse aren’t set very high). If you have any reactions, please feel free to add them in the comments.
Shearman announced this morning [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
No revenge of the nerds [Infirmation / Greedy NY]

* The feds and the ACLU wrangle over a classified document. Is such use of the grand jury subpoena creative, or improper? [New York Times]
* A Swift (& Co.) crackdown: federal raids on meatpacking plants in six states result in over 1,200 arrests on immigration charges. [Associated Press]
* MoveOn and those Swift Boat Veterans get fined. [New York Times]
* “Seventh Circuit reinstates claim asserting that … members of the plaintiff classes have bought products or services from some of the defendants that they would not have bought had the defendants not concealed their involvement in slavery.” [How Appealing]
* Girls Gone Wild guy gets community service for filming underage women. [MSNBC]
* “College Student Gets Mother-in-Law to Co-Sign $10,000 Loan to Buy Apple Computer, Has $7,800 DOI Income When He Repays Only $2,200 After Taking High-Paying Job at Microsoft.” [TaxProf Blog]
* A British police inquiry rejects conspiracy theories concerning the death of Princess Diana, concluding that the 1997 car crash was a “tragic accident.” [Associated Press]
* Does anyone know if “ABV D LAW” is taken? [WSJ Law Blog]

dna lab laboratory Above the Law.jpgThings that make you go hmmm:

DNA testing in the Duke lacrosse rape case found genetic material from several males in the accuser’s body and her underwear — but none from any team member, defense attorneys said in court papers Wednesday.

The papers were filed by attorneys for the three lacrosse players charged, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. They complained that the information about DNA from other men was not disclosed in a report prosecutors provided earlier this year to the defense.

The testing was conducted at a private laboratory for the prosecution.

“This is strong evidence of innocence in a case in which the accuser denied engaging in any sexual activity in the days before the alleged assault, told police she last had consensual sexual intercourse a week before the assault, and claimed that her attackers did not use condoms and ejaculated,” the defense said.

Two reactions:
1. We haven’t read the papers in question, and we don’t know the discovery timetable set in this case. But at first blush, this DNA information sure sounds like evidence that would be subject to disclosure under Brady v. Maryland. When was the prosecution planning on getting around to sharing it?
2. “[G]enetic material from several males,” but none from any of the defendants? ICK. Deeply troubling. And we apologize if you find this gauche or un-PC of us, but we can’t help wondering: Exactly how many is “several”?
Lawyers: DNA Not Linked to Duke Athletes [Associated Press via Instapundit]
Earlier: The Duke Rape Case: The DNA Evidence

stack of bills cash money.jpgAs you can see from the time of our first post of the day, we’ve been in front of our computer for about twelve hours. Our eyes hurt. And we’re hungry.
We need to stand up. Maybe we’ll be really daring and leave our apartment.
Hence this open comment thread. Some of the biggest Biglaws — Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss — have already announced their bonuses. But if Skadden comes along and blows the top off the bonus market while we’re gone, please post it in the comments (along with a link to your source).
We’ll follow up when we return. Thanks.
P.S. We realize this is unlikely. First, Skadden will probably do what everybody else has done, and match the market bonuses (as set last week by Milbank). Second, based on the buzz over at Greedy NY, it seems that a Skadden announcement will probably come tomorrow.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)

Hole Celebrity Skin Above the Law.gifWe’ve been so obsessed with law firm bonus developments that we missed the happy news earlier this week about Courtney Love, one of our most favorite celebrities.
At long last, Love’s legal troubles are behind her. From the music news website liveDaily:

A judge terminated Courtney Love’s probation and dismissed three misdemeanor charges against the singer Monday (12/11), ruling that Love had successfully battled her substance-abuse problems.

Love, 42, sobbed as Los Angeles Superior Court judge Rand Rubin pronounced the ruling that effectively wiped her legal slate clean, according to an Associated Press report.

“Thank you for not taking me into custody,” Love reportedly said in court. “Thank you for giving me an opportunity. You’ve been a good, fair judge. Sorry for crying.”

After the hearing, her lawyer, Howard Weitzman, made this statement:

“Courtney stepped up to the plate, turned her life around and is on the road to releasing her new record and hopefully getting hired to act in films. I’m happy I could help.”

Right now we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Wonderful news, just in time for the holidays. Congratulations to both Courtney Love, for getting her life and career back on track, and Howard Weitzman, for obtaining such an excellent result for his client.
(Will Weitzman be able to do the same for Nicole Richie? We shall see…)
P.S. We’re not being saracastic in describing Love as one of our favorite celebrities. Her tabloid exploits have led people to overlook the fact that she’s a phenomenally talented singer and actress. Just listen to Celebrity Skin, one of our favorite albums, and Live Through This, which Rolling Stone and Time have both declared to be one of the greatest albums ever (and correctly so).
And don’t forget Love’s remarkable star turn as Althea Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe). It would be great to see her return to acting.
Judge ends Courtney Love’s probation, charges dropped [liveDaily]
Courtney Gets a “Hole” Lotta Love in Court [TMZ.com]

* This is beautiful and noble. Painting with your butt — or, rather, using your butt as a type of giant rubber stamp — not so much. [Richmond Times Dispatch]
* Not all law students are holed up in the library 24/7, but it’s clear that cramming has taken a lot out of Legal Bachelor’s game. [Chicks Dig Law Students]
* Hmmm. I actually agree with Scalia here. (Well, if you are the inspiration for a Christmas season movie starring Will Smith, you could raise a kid on nothing but love and hope.) [Crime & Federalism]
* Your words-of-the-day: racewalker, Hooman, and the universal favorite, law school gunner. And to think I’ve been out of law school for only a few years. [Urban Dictionary]
* We should remind Evel Knievel that Jesus didn’t sue. And while we’re on the subject, why do I know who Evel Knievel is? [Likelihood of Confusion]

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