October 2014

Ann Althouse 2 David Lat David B Lat Professor Ann Althouse Above the Law.JPGWe’re going to be offline for a bit. We’re taping a segment of Bloggingheads TV, in which we’ll be chatting with one of our all-time favorite bloggers, Ann Althouse.
We’re planning to discuss a variety of fascinating topics — including that famous (or infamous?) Hillary Clinton campaign video, a parody of the final episode of “The Sopranos.” Here’s an excerpt from Professor Althouse’s post:

Bill says “No onion rings?” and Hillary responds “I’m looking out for ya.” Now, the script says onion rings, because that’s what the Sopranos were eating in that final scene, but I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion that, coming from Bill Clinton, the “O” of an onion ring is a vagina symbol. Hillary says no to that, driving the symbolism home. She’s “looking out” all right, vigilant over her husband, denying him the sustenance he craves. What does she have for him? Carrot sticks! The one closest to the camera has a rather disgusting greasy sheen to it. Here, Bill, in retaliation for all of your excessive “O” consumption, you may have a large bowl of phallic symbols!

When we hear him say “No onion rings?,” the camera is on her, and Bill is off-screen, but at the bottom of the screen we see the carrot/phallus he’s holding toward her. Oh, yes, I know that Hillary supplying carrots is supposed to remind that Hillary will provide us with health care, that she’s “looking out for” us, but come on, they’re carrots! Everyone knows carrots are phallic symbols. But they’re cut up into little carrot sticks, you say? Just listen to yourself! I’m not going to point out everything.

Brilliant? Insane? Or a little bit of both? We can’t wait to chat with Professor Althouse about her Freudian analysis of the video — and the intense reaction it generated within the blogosphere.
The new Hillary Clinton video is a take on the last scene of “The Sopranos.” [Althouse]
Bill and Hillary Soprano? [YouTube]

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgWhat the heck is going on in the Washington office of Skadden Arps? First we read about the firm’s food stamp recipes, in the hallowed pages of the Washington Post. And now we read about the firm’s in-house fashion show, also in a Post piece:

Legal secretaries, receptionists and an accounting supervisor strutted their stuff on a black runway last week, looking all shades of chic at the Washington headquarters of a major corporate law firm.

In a twist on the seasonal reminder that flip-flops and T-shirts are considered inappropriate summer business attire, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom hosted a lunchtime fashion show on the 11th floor of its downtown offices to inspire employees.

Wearing styles on loan from nearby Filene’s Basement, 12 staff members posed to “Glamorous” by Fergie, and Madonna’s “Vogue.” The clothes, from Claiborne to Klein, were chosen to fit each office personality.

We share the reaction of this reader:

It is a bit troubling that a law firm is giving any sort of fashion advice. It is even more troubling that they think an appropriate source of fashion is the discount retailer Filene’s Basement. Skadden apparently doesn’t share the wealth with its support staff.

Sadly, having seen some Skadden partners who bring home $3 million+ per year, I can attest that they too look like Filene’s Basement regulars.

Query: Was this article, as well as the earlier piece about the food stamp recipes, possibly planted in the Post’s pages by publicists? If so, Skadden might want to think about retaining a new PR shop.
P.S. It’s too bad this fashion show didn’t take place at Akin Gump. We would have loved to see photos in the WaPo of the Akin Gump Escort, strutting her stuff on the runway.
This Dress-Code Reminder Is Runway-Ready [Washington Post]
Earlier: Skadden Raises to… 190K Food Stamps?

State of Louisiana seal New Orleans Above the Law blog.jpgTwo Louisiana lawyers, Michael Fawer and Joseph Bartels — the brawling brothers-in-law we wrote about here — have been disciplined for their altercation. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

After hearing about two hours of testimony, state Judge Raymond Childress found brothers-in-law Michael Fawer and Joseph Bartels in contempt of court for their brawl in the hall outside his courtroom May 7.

“It sounds like something a second-grade teacher would have to break up on the playground,” Childress said. Citing the parking lot across the street, he added, “If you all want to go roll on the gravel, that’s where you need to do it, but not in my courthouse!”

Childress fined each man $100, gave each a suspended sentence of 24 hours in jail and ordered them placed on probation for 90 days. He also required them to attend an anger-management class and perform four eight-hour days of community service.

Meanwhile, on a much more serious and sad note, former judge Larry Manzanares — previously discussed here — took his own life last week. More details are available from the Denver Post.
Lawyers fined for fight [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Judge’s death rocks colleagues [Denver Post]
Earlier: Lawyers of the Day: Michael Fawer and Joseph Bartels
Judge of the Day: Larry Manzanares

* Saving Inmate Sizemore. [CNN]
* Paris is once again free to flash her vag and make us wonder why she’s famous. Except that we hear she’s changed her life or something. What a drag. [CNN]
* The EPA doesn’t have to consult with the FWS about the ESA before handing over the NPDES program under the CWA to a state. Got it? [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* Judge tries to help Verizon and Vonage get along. [Fulton County Daily Report]

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft CWT bed bugs bedbugs Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.jpgWe hear that Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is a tough place to work these days. Over the past few years, CTW’s profits per partner have skyrocketed — but such growth has come at a price.
Today the firm is much more of a business, and much less of a partnership. Collegiality is down, and billable hours — as well as associate dissatisfaction — are up.
But these aren’t the only problems plaguing Cadwalader. A source forwarded us an internal CWT email, with this introductory squib:

Just received this from a friend over there. As if the crushing leverage and abuse weren’t enough, CWT has BED BUGS….

Don’t believe us? The office-wide email, sent out about an hour and a half ago by firm chairman Robert O. Link Jr., appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Cadwalader Overrun By Bed Bugs!!!”

* See lawyer. See lawyer commit career suicide on YouTube. Run lawyer run. [Threat Level / Wired Blogs]
* “This is the type of case that a mentally challenged pro se plaintiff would file.” And no, this has nothing to do with Judge Roy Pearson’s $54 million lawsuit over a pair of pants. [New York Times]
* Speaking of which, we previously linked to the legal defense fund for the Chung family, the defendant dry cleaners sued by Judge Pearson. If you’re in D.C. on July 24th, you can attend a fundraising event for them. [Support the Chungs]
* Former Stroock managing partner, Thomas Heftler, R.I.P. [New York Newsday via WSJ Law Blog]

Fifth Circuit interior designer Abovethelaw Above the Law tabloid blog.JPGAre you a Texas law firm associate who is sick of tired of working long hours for low pay? Are you looking for a more creative position, one that would offer you more “hands-on” experience?
Then you might be interested in working for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — still for low pay, but probably for better hours. And we’re not talking about some run-of-the-mill law clerk gig.
The circuit is looking for an in-house interior designer. How fabulous! And no, we’re not joking. Check out the job posting by clicking here (PDF).
Okay, so you don’t have the requested “bachelor’s degree in interior design.” But surely a J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school, plus the requested ability “to move light furniture,” would be just as good.
Yeah, you’d have to move to New Orleans, but that’s not too far — still within the Fifth Circuit. In terms of specific job responsibilities, the most difficult one is probably “procuring furniture and furnishings utilizing federal procurement guidelines.”
That should be construed as “decorating courthouse spaces in halfway decent fashion, using furniture manufactured by federal prison inmates.” And remember — Martha checked out of the Big House a long time ago.
If that’s not worthy of an episode of Top Design, we don’t know what is.
Interior Designer / Space Planner (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit]

Happy Texas Unhappy Texas Above the Law blog.jpgWe did a post on associate salaries in the Texas markets last month. But since a number of you have been clamoring for another, and we haven’t done one as part of our recent series on various non-New York markets, here’s another post going out to the Lone Star State.
In our last Texas post, we included some starting salary information for various Texas offices. Today we’re going with a different theme: compression. From a Texas tipster:

Leaving aside the fact that the large Texas-based firms (and many national firms with large Texas presences) are playing a game of petrified chicken on the latest round of raises, I have seen no coverage at all on the massive compression resulting from the last round of raises. These firms at issue are some biggies: Baker Botts, Vinson & Elkins, Akin Gump, Fulbright, etc.

Here’s how it worked after last year’s round of national raises: First years in Texas got a big increase, from about $110k to $135k. 2nd and 3rd years also got around a $15k increase. And that’s pretty much where it stopped. 7th years received a $5,000 raise, to about a $185,000 base. To put that in perspective, it’s about 50% less than a 7th year currently makes (at the same firm or a national that pays a uniform scale) in LA, NYC, DC, etc. That is, a 7th year at BB in Texas makes $185,000; a 7th year at BB in NYC makes $275,000. Sheeeeeit! And don’t look for explanations in billing rates. The vast majority of work done in Texas by these firms is billed at national rates — the same charged in DC and LA (though maybe 10% less than in NYC).

The point: screw the first years! They now make only $50,000 less than the folks up for partner. Not that partnership chances have increased.

Counting on you to get the ball rolling!

Franky, relatively broke and senior in Texas

Feel free to bitch and moan — or, if you’re not from Texas, to remind them that they pay no state income tax and have a relatively low cost of living — in the comments. Thanks.
Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Unhappy, Texas

Linda Mason CBS Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgThe plummeting ratings of Katie Couric aren’t the only problem for CBS these days. The network just got slapped with a $50 million lawsuit alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation. From Towleroad (pronounced “toll road,” for those of you not familiar with it):

Dick Jefferson, the CBS News producer who was gay bashed with a group of friends in St. Maarten in April 2006, has filed a $50 million lawsuit against CBS, according to Kenneth Walsh of Kenneth in the 212.

Jefferson says that after the incident he was warned by CBS News Senior Vice President Linda Mason not to speak out about the incident because it was too controversial. After Jefferson suggested to Mason that she was violating the network’s anti-discrimination policies, by “controlling what he wrote in his e-mail messages from his personal account, requiring him to ask for permission to testify in open court against his attackers (they were eventually caught and convicted) and banning him from having contact with his friend and colleague, Ryan Smith, who was still hospitalized from the attack,” he says she engaged in a systematic campaign of retaliation which eventually led to his being fired.

We’re surprised that Linda Mason (above right) isn’t more sympathetic to gay rights. Guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.
For those of you who are interested, a little more on this story appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: CBS Gets Charneyed”

Sharon Nelles Sharon L Nelles Sullivan Cromwell Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgIf you’re looking for the latest scoop on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, there’s another site to check out in addition to the usual suspects. Please extend a warm welcome to the newest Charneyblogger: Keeping Up With Jonas!
While we were away last week, Jonas reported on a fabulous new addition to the S&C legal team:

Sullivan and Cromwell partner Sharon L. Nelles filed a notice of appearance yesterday in the Aaron Charney v. Sullivan and Cromwell case.

Do we overuse the term “fabulous” around here? Oh maybe. But Sharon Nelles has been certified as “fabulous,” by the mainstream media:

Perhaps most important point about this development, Ms. Nelles was selected by The American Lawyer as one of “The Young Litigators Fab 50″ — 50 litigators under 45 who are expected to be “leading the field for years to come.” Since this case will be around for a long time, a very long time, Sullivan was smart to select a lawyer predicted to have staying power.

So Charney’s lawyers had better watch out. Charney’s legal team, which includes Dan Alterman and Michael Kennedy, consists of experienced and well-regarded attorneys. But we don’t know if we’d call them “fabulous” — especially in light of their unfortunate fashion choices.
(If you’re really into this case — we’ll admit we’re getting a little bored, in the absence of new allegations about “bending over,” fabricated evidence, and Nazis — check out Jonas’s summary of the parties’ squabbles over discovery. It’s available over here.)
“Fab 50″ Litigator Joins Charney v. Sullivan and Cromwell Drama [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Charney Seeks Court’s Assistance in Setting Timetable [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Sharon L. Nelles bio [Sullivan & Cromwell LLP]
Earlier: Congratulations to the Fab Fifty: A Constellation of Young Legal Superstars

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