Remember this great lawsuit, which we wrote about last week? In case you don’t, here’s a quick recap: Summary: Pro se litigant George Allen Ward is suing Arm & Hammer and its corporate parent, Church & Dwight, for $425 million. His theory of liability: failure to warn. The company failed to warn him that if he cooked up THEIR PRODUCT, baking soda, with cocaine, he might end up serving a 200-month prison sentence on crack cocaine charges. You can read the full pleading here.
Opinion among ATL commenters was deeply divided. Some found the lawsuit almost offensive in its frivolousness, while others viewed it as presenting a colorable claim.
What do you think? We’d like to know (because commenters aren’t always representative of our entire readership). Time for a quick poll:
We swear we had the idea before reading this Greedy NY item. Truth be told, we didn’t steal it from the message boards. We stole it from DealBreaker:
In business journalism, there are certain kind of articles that get written and rewritten every year. There’s the “How To Behave At An Office Party” article that always comes with the holidays. There’s the “Office Romance” piece which usually hits around Valentine’s Day. And, of course, there are those “How To Spend Your Bonus” articles that have been popping up all week.
We’re not going to write one of those. (Unless you count this.) Instead, we’re asking you to write one. Well, not a whole article. But we’d like to hear your ideas for bonus purchases. We’re interested in everything from the mundane (paying off your student loans) to the ostentatious. Imagined or real-life stories welcome. We’d just really like to hear what you are or would shell out for with your hard earned bonus bucks.
We read the message boards, so you don’t have to. Yes, you owe us big-time.
We’re mainly interested in bonus announcements. But occasionally we notice other items. Last week, we were oddly touched by this post. And today we were moved by these sentiments:
Man, this is depressing. I’ve been following this board for a couple of years as an undergrad and I really thought the partners would step up this year. Unfortunately, they didn’t and now I’m really questioning if I want to go to law school. My plan since my junior year of high school had been to go to law school, but now I don’t think its worth it.
I scored in the top 2% on the LSAT and I’m sure I could get a decent financial aid package at a good school, but if the partners are going to hoard all the money for themselves I think it’s time to give up the dream, go work in finance for a few years, then get an MBA. It looks like that will be a much more lucrative route.
I’m just glad that this board exists so that I can make the right decision now before I get stuck in a dead-end law job at BIGLAW like you guys. Thanks for getting the truth out so that those of us considering law school can make well-informed decisions.
We believe the children are our future — so we fear for the future of the profession. Law just won’t be the same without money-hungry barracudas swimming in the Biglaw waters. No longer going to law school [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
A few quick updates on our former stomping grounds, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit:
1. There’s been some speculation about who might be nominated for the Third Circuit seat previously held by Justice Alito. What we’re now hearing is that it’s probably going to Judge Noel Hillman, a former high-ranking Justice Department official, just confirmed to the District Court (D.N.J.).
This might be surprising, considering that Judge Hillman has barely warmed the district court bench. His investiture as a district judge took place only a few weeks ago.
But nominating Judge Hillman to the court of appeals actually makes political sense for the White House — especially in its current, weakened state. President Bush doesn’t have a great deal of political capital right now, and he’ll be dealing with a Democrat-controlled Senate come January (assuming Sen. Johnson hangs in there).
Picking a nominee who made it through the Senate just a few months ago would be a shrewd move. Since the two New Jersey senators supported Hillman for the district court, it would be awkward for them to oppose him for the circuit court now.
Of course, this is just a rumor. And rumors can be wrong. So stay tuned.
2. Judge Kent Jordan, formerly on the Delaware district court bench, was sworn in as the newest Third Circuit judge on Friday morning. The ceremony was small and private. Judge Jordan was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month, by a vote of 91-0, before the end of the 109th Congress.
3. Another Third Circuit nominee, Judge Thomas Hardiman (W.D. Pa.), may not be as easy a sell as one might have thought. Senate Democrats are tut-tutting him for making political contributions to Republican candidates before he was nominated for his district judgeship.
Call us cynical, but this strikes us as no big deal. Making (perfectly legal) campaign contributions to U.S. senators? How else do you become a federal judge?
Seriously, this is not a new practice. Political patronage goes back to, like, the Jackson Administration. And strategic campaign giving has been engaged in by judicial nominees on both sides of the aisle (PDF).
This is why we were unimpressed with Salon’s “four-month investigation” showing that, lo and behold, politicians reward their contributors with federal judgeships. We could have told you that in four seconds. Noel L. Hillman bio [FJC] Senate Confirms Kent Jordan to 3rd Circuit, Replacing Senior Judge Jane Roth [Legal Intelligencer] Judge Kent Jordan Confirmed to the Third Circuit [How Appealing] Kent A. Jordan bio [FJC] Another Bush judge on the hot seat [Salon.com via How Appealing] Thomas M. Hardiman bio [FJC] Riding Circuit — In a Taxicab? [Underneath Their Robes] Non-Scandal [Committee for Justice Blog]
According to this post at Greedy NY, the New York office of Ropes & Gray has matched the market bonuses, with respect to its most junior classes (who are paid lockstep bonuses — more senior classes are not).
Here’s the posting, which includes some non-NYC compensation figures (since some of you have been asking after them):
Matches for lockstep classes. Bonuses were actually $5K higher in Boston, D.C. and California offices to make up in part for lower $135K salaries in outside NYC. Above class of 2004 is not lockstep. New York
Class Bonus Total Comp
2006 $30,000 $175,000
2005 $35,000 $180,000
2004 $40,000 $195,000 Other Offices
Class Bonus Total Comp
2006 $35,000 $170,000
2005 $40,000 $175,000
2004 $45,000 $190,000
We’d be interested in hearing about firms with significant pay differentials between their New York and non-New York associates.
A number of big firms — e.g., Skadden and S&C — pay their associates the same nationwide. At Ropes, if the above data is correct, the total compensation difference is only $5K. This seems negligible, especially given the high cost of living in New York.
(This Ropes data sounds reasonable to us, but we haven’t verified it independently. If you’re at Ropes and believe any of this to be incorrect, please drop us a line.) Ropes matches [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
Breaking news: The Second Coming is almost here!
Don’t believe us? Check out the official press release:
[T]he disasters and plagues that are described in the Bible are about to happen. The immediate future will be difficult for everyone, but the result will be that people acknowledge the true Christian God and follow his commandments. The cities will be like Heaven on Earth and God Himself will come and live with us.
The first plague to happen in the immediate future will be a tsunami affecting the East Coast of America. Unfortunately, even Christians who are expecting these events seem unwilling to accept that they are about to happen. If this belief persists, the death toll for the East Coast will be extremely high.
A tsunami? We respectfully dissent.
When the first plague arrives, it will hit a law school library. Maybe locusts in the Am Jur volumes, or LLM students breaking out in boils.
Why? Strange things have been happening at law school libraries lately. Like the “mystery smell” at the NYU library. And now the “Jesus” freak at Emory Law School:
From: “Katherine Brokaw” [email address redacted] Date: December 15, 2006 2:37:38 PM EST To: [Emory Law School classes of 2007 - 2009] Subject: [ELS 2008-announce] stranger in library last night
Last night a white male, approximately 40, was disruptive in the library. He was wearing a Jesus t-shirt, a black leather jacket, black cowboy hat with the word “perfect” in silver. We are told he claimed to be the attorney general of the United States.
If you see him in the library or in Gambrell, please notify Operations or Security, or the staff at the Circulaton Desk in the library who will call the appropriate people. Thank you — Dean Brokaw
That’s what we’re hearing, from sources within the firm.
This isn’t terribly surprising, since Cleary Gottlieb — despite being an A-list firm — tends to be a follower, not a leader, on associate compensation. Unless you’re talking about Italy.
If you have a Cleary bonus memo or table, please send it our way. Thanks. Update (10:02 AM): That was fast; thanks. The Cleary Gottlieb bonus memo, after the jump.
* Solitary confinement, cruel and unusual? Cruel, perhaps, but not that unusual. [St. Petersburg Times via How Appealing]
* Florida and California decide to take a little break on the whole lethal injection thing. [CNN]
* New Jersey Legislature does what New Jersey’s Supreme Court told them to. [FindLaw]
* Mariah Carey is concerned that people might be confused and think that she is someone who uses sex to make money….oh, wait a minute… [FOX News]
* Global warming is such a nuisance. [Jurist]
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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