October 2014

Barack Obama Senator Barack Obama.jpgSince we’ll be speaking at the University of Chicago very soon, we thought it would be topical to share with you the interesting responses we received to our earlier request for stories about presidential candidate Barack Obama as a U. Chicago law prof.
The general consensus: he’s awesome, as beloved in the classroom as he is on the campaign trail. Several raves appeared in the comments, and we also received some via email. First, from Professor D. Daniel Sokol (who also blogs, at the Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog):

I had Obama as a prof when I was at the University of Chicago for a seminar on race and the law. His title of Senior Lecturer is one that only a few people hold– the others are Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook and Diane Wood — all former Chicago full time faculty members now on the 7th Circuit.

Obama was an amazing professor and in many ways, I wish I could be as effective in the classroom as he was. He engaged students in the material and showed great skill at eliciting good student comments and managing class discussion. Obama also integrated in social science empirical literature into our discussions to better inform some of the normative discussions that we had. I thought he managed intellectual diversity very well, as we had a spectrum of students from libertarians and conservatives on one hand to radicals on the other.

Additional anecdotes, plus a digression on Obama’s views on the Second Amendment and gun control, after the jump.

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Locke Lord Bissell Liddell LLP logo AboveTheLaw blog.jpgHere’s some quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (which has a nice new logo — kudos to their graphic designer). An unhappy tipster tells us:

Jerry Clement’s compensation memo is attached. Also attached is an email from Jerry announcing the departure of eight partners from LLBL’s Chicago office.

These eight partners left yesterday to join DLA. Some commenters inaccurately called these partners “old.” Four are under 45. Two other partners announced their departures on Friday (these two are not going to DLA). Together these ten partners purportedly generated roughly 9-10% of LB&B’s billable work in 2007.

Check out the memos, plus an account of the recent associates’ meeting, after the jump.

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So far, we’ve posted three sets of results from last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on leave and part-time arrangements:
 • your thoughts on whether you would rather work fewer hours for less pay,
 • a running table of firms’ paid maternity leave policies (mirrored here and updated today to add King & Spalding), and
 • a breakdown of part-time and flex-time availability.
Today we’ll discuss a fourth set of results: childcare support. But first, a fresh survey! One reader of the maternity leave results made an interesting point in the comments:

I would imagine these stats to be far less important to working moms than how permissive a firm is with flexible schedules. The maternity leave is a one time deal at the very beginning of the baby’s life, but the child will need the mom to be there for far longer.
Also, family friendly policies such as long maternity leave and flex schedules provide significant benefits to society in general. Firms too benefit in many ways.

Some of yesterday’s results suggest our tipster is right, but which policies really matter most to you? Let’s find out:
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
Find out how law firms fare on childcare options after the jump.

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Kirkland Ellis LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgWe bring you two interesting updates on our friends at Kirkland & Ellis — one important, and one silly.
Let’s start with the trivial, and work our way up. First, from a tipster:

The balkanization of Kirkland & Ellis continues. Why should an “informal, visible network for attorneys to exchange ideas, provide support, and develop relationships” be based on race and/or sexual orientation? What’s next, separate cafeterias and drinking fountains?

A recent email from The Kirkland & Ellis LLP Diversity Committee reads:

Kirkland & Ellis Diversity Networking Forums (Chicago Office)

On behalf of the Diversity Committee, I am proud to announce a new addition to our diversity programming, Diversity Networking Forums. The main purpose of the Diversity Networking Forums is to provide an informal, visible network for attorneys to exchange ideas, provide support, and develop relationships. There will be four Diversity Networking Forums:

Asian Diversity Networking Forum
Black Diversity Networking Forum
Hispanic/Latino Diversity Networking Forum
GLBT Diversity Networking Forum

The Diversity Networking Forums are open to all Chicago Kirkland attorneys. If you are interested in becoming a part of any of these forums, please email Attorney Training and Development at [xxxx] by February 8 and indicate which forums you would like to join.

Note that the forums are “open to all.” We wonder if that language was added to avoid a psuedo-controversy like the one over K&E’s big gay party. We also wonder why you’d join one of these networking forums if you weren’t a member of the group in question. But see “fag hags” signing up for the LGBT group.
Okay, on to the second update. Perhaps in an effort to avoid an Aaron Charney debacle — or, on a smaller scale, a Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy or a Morisseau v. DLA Piper — K&E has enacted a mandatory employment arbitration policy, applicable to all associates. From a tipster:

Kirkland just sent a memo to all of its associates, which they had to sign, reminding them that they were at will employees, and telling them they had to agree to arbitrate any employment dispute. Apparently a response to Charney-gate.

If you’re interested — perhaps you’re a labor and employment lawyer, or a Biglaw partner looking to foist such a policy on the associates at your own firm — check out the memo, after the jump.

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(But don’t dare take us to court if you are one. Instead, please sign our mandatory arbitration policy. Thanks!)”

LaLeshia Walker Alford Judge Laleshia Walker-Alford Louisiana Above the Law blog.jpgGotta love an elected judiciary. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

A Shreveport judge’s excessive use of prescription drugs led her to disgrace the judiciary by missing work, falling asleep on the bench, and at times talking gibberish to convicts, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled in a 7-0 decision that permanently removed her from office.

LaLeshia Walker Alford, first elected to the Shreveport City Court in 1997, was removed from the Caddo Parish bench and ordered to reimburse the state $5,000 for the cost of the investigation that began six years ago.

We especially appreciated the article’s deadpan subhead: “Absences, gibberish on bench recounted.”

So how did this all get started?

Alford, a Tulane Law School graduate who was re-elected in 2002, fell under state investigation after an anonymous complaint May 27, 2002, accused her of missing work regularly, canceling court without any notice, and presiding on the bench impaired, inarticulate, and at times nodding off. At one point, Alford threw a 15-year-old boy into an adult lock-up after fuming over his poor report card….

Dozing off on the bench? No big deal. One well-regarded federal judge has his clerks bring him a pitcher of ice cubes and a glass while he’s on the bench, so he can chew on ice to stay awake.

But napping on the bench is just the tip of the iceberg for Judge Walker Alford. Check out some excerpts of her judicial gibberish, after the jump.

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Seyfarth Shaw LLP logo AboveTheLaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgWe’ve confirmed the news, which surfaced previously in the comments, about the pay raise announcement by Seyfarth Shaw. Here’s what one source told us:

The Chicago office had an all-associate meeting [yesterday]. First- and second-year associates will stay lockstep — $145K for first years, $155K for second years — while third- through eighth-years will get “market” base salary ranges. Not clear where anyone will fall in the ranges yet, since we don’t find out until the week of March 3.

The bonus pool remains the same as last year, which means no “extraordinary” bonuses. (But there seems to be room to reward top performers one way or another.)

The managing partner of the office made a crack about sending him anonymous questions by posting them “on Wikipedia,” so perhaps it’s time for a higher profile for you.

Additional information, including ranges for selected classes, after the jump.

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Vicki Iseman John McCain sexy lobbyist Above the Law blog.jpg* Supreme Court, in nearly unanimous decision (RBG dissent), protects medical device makers from lawsuits, finding suits preempted by FDA approval. [New York Times; Drug and Device Law; Riegel v. Medtronic (PDF)]
* NYT report links John McCain to a comely female lobbyist, Vicki Iseman (who bears a resemblance to his wife Cindy; see picture). [New York Times]
* Is this her Alamo? Clinton debates Obama in Texas tonight. [Houston Chronicle]
* Will Mel Weiss of Milberg Weiss cut a plea deal? [WSJ Law Blog]
* An update on the William & Mary firestorm that we covered earlier: prominent D.C. lawyer Robert Blair resigns from the W&M governing board. [Washington Post]
* Nicolas Cage in Face / Off with IRS. [TaxProf Blog]
* Former AIG CEO wins court victory over key document discovery. [DealBook / NYT]
* Online writer sues NYC over press passes. [New York Sun via Drudge]

Eric Krautheimer Eric M Krautheimer Alexandra Korry Alexandra D Korry Above the Law blog.jpgFrom a blast email we received yesterday from Sullivan & Cromwell (yes, we’re on the S&C distribution list):

Please note Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s representation of Microsoft (U.S.) in its proposed US$ 44.6 billion acquisition of Yahoo! (U.S.), announced February 1, 2008. The S&C team on the transaction includes corporate/M&A partners James Morphy, Duncan McCurrach and Alexandra Korry in New York and Eric Krautheimer in Los Angeles.

If you followed the Aaron Charney saga as obsessively as we did, you’ll recall that Krautheimer and Korry were the tale’s two main villains — partners who, even if not harboring antigay bias, weren’t exactly the most fun people to work for. From an associate’s perspective, working on a high-profile deal for this dynamic duo must be super-exciting, but not without its challenges.

Michael Clayton George Clooney Above the Law blog.jpgProgramming note: For those of you in Chicago, we’ll be having a little ATL “happy hour,” starting in about half an hour. We’ll be hanging out in the Loop, at Miller’s Pub (134 S. Wabash btw. E. Adams and E. Monroe), from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Swing by and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood.
* Keen observations and provocative reflections about Michael Clayton, which Yale Law grad Patrick Radden Keefe describes as “an indictment of the mercenary universe of white-shoe law firms and a devastating—and unusually accurate—look at the demoralized lives of the lawyers who work for them.” [Slate via WSJ Law Blog]
* We usually dislike law firm ads with animal themes. But this one, for Womble Carlyle, is pretty darn cute. [copyranter]
* A sex-ed license? So what’s the equivalent of parallel parking on the licensing test? [PrawfsBlawg]
* Judge sentences molester to hell. Commenter: “That will teach him. My wife is the cook there.” [Syracuse.com]

calendar Above the Law blog.jpgResults are still flowing in from last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on leave and part-time arrangements. So far, we’re up to almost 700 responses, and we have received quite a few tips about maternity leave.
The running table of firms’ paid maternity leave policies that we posted yesterday has now been updated to include new information on Heller Ehrman, Nixon Peabody, Kaye Scholer, Cahill Gordon, Kirkland & Ellis, Freshfields, Kramer Levin, Thelen Reid, Goodwin Procter, and to correct information on Winston & Strawn and Mayer Brown.
Today, let’s talk about how associates view their firms’ policies, and also explore the availability of part-time, flex-time, and other alternative work/life-styles.
Overall, it looks like firms have room to improve:

  • Roughly 30% of respondents of either gender felt that their employer’s part-time and leave options were adequate, but 42% of female respondents and 28% of male respondents disagreed.
  • Fourteen percent of female respondents said that they felt uncomfortable asking for leave or part-time status, a discomfort shared by eighteen percent of male respondents.
  • Most other respondents weren’t sure, but only twelve percent of male respondents and five percent of female respondents didn’t care.
  • Discussion continues, after the jump.

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