James Sandman James J Sandman Jim Sandman Above the Law Blog.jpgRemember James Sandman? Oh no, you don’t? Well, surely you remember the Arnold & Porter partner’s infamous essay, The High Price of Escalating Associate Salaries, which he wrote while president of the D.C. bar.

Jim Sandman’s article, dishing out harsh criticism of law firm associate pay raises, did not endear him to ATL readers. In a near comments clusterf**k, he was condemned as the greediest of greedy Biglaw partners (along with other epithets not fit for printing here).

Well, maybe Sandman has gotten a bad rap. After all, he was public-spirited enough to serve as president of the D.C. bar. When we met him at this party, one of many charitable functions he attends, he didn’t have horns growing out of his head.

And now we hear that he’s leaving his lucrative partnership, to toil in the considerably less profitable precincts of the D.C. public school system. He’s accepted a position as General Counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools, and he’ll also be a member of Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s senior leadership team to the DC School Board.

Read the A&P memo announcing Sandman’s departure, from firm chairman Thomas Milch, after the jump.

ARNOLD & PORTER LLP — MEMORANDUM

From: Thomas Milch
To: Arnold & Porter LLP
Subject: Jim Sandman

With very mixed emotions, I am writing to let you know that Jim
has decided to accept a new position as General Counsel for the
District of Columbia Public Schools and a member of Chancellor
Michelle Rhee’s senior leadership team to the DC School Board. He
will be the chief legal officer for a public school system that has
141 schools, 50,000 students, and 11,000 employees. Like many of the
country’s largest urban school systems, DC’s has had major problems
for many years; for example, 27 of the schools have been deemed
failing under the No Child Left Behind Act. DC’s new Mayor, Adrian
Fenty, has made the DC public schools his top priority. In June, he
received authorization to take over the schools and immediately
brought in Chancellor Rhee, a charismatic and determined leader in
education, with a mandate to revolutionize the system. The
difficulties she faces are enormous, and many of them present hard
legal issues.

This is exactly the kind of major public interest challenge that
would capture the imagination of Jim Sandman, and just in talking with
him about it, I could feel his excitement about taking it on. I will
save for later trying to articulate in words his remarkable and
longstanding contributions to the firm, contributions that have become
embedded in who we are as an institution. For now, please join me in
wishing him the very best in his new position.


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