April 2014

Great Depression 2 Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother Above the Law blog.JPG* “Are we headed for another Great Depression?” [McClatchy]
* Quelle surprise: Bear Stearns shareholder lawsuit (filed in S.D.N.Y. by Coughlin Stoia). [Bloomberg; WSJ Law Blog (PDF of complaint)]
* Speaking of Bear Stearns, here are some law firms losing out on BSC business. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Tenth Circuit reverses convictions of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio. [AP]
* Harvard Law School will pay the 3L tuition of future students who agree to work for nonprofit organizations or government for five years following graduation. [New York Times via Tax Prof Blog; Harvard Law School (news release)]
* Settlement in Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce (more on this later). [Legal Week]
* SCOTUS to hear Second Amendment / D.C. gun control case today (more on this later too). [New York Times; Reuters]

Jones Day Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe probably won’t cover judicial clerkship bonuses quite as closely as we used to, now that Justin Bernold has put together this handy table of clerkship bonus info. But we did want to bring your attention to one development, since several of you emailed us about it. This message is representative:

Just to let you know, JD has just changed their website to reflect a $50K clerkship bonus. Despite all the bad things said about JD on ATL, they are at least keeping pace with clerkship bonuses. Hope this spurs some positive commentary….

Thanks for providing a great service to lawyers everywhere!

For ATL’s table of clerkship bonuses, which has been corrected to reflect the JD information, click here.
P.S. For the record, we don’t think the Jones Day buzz here has been that bad. Sure, there have been some negative comments, but that’s true of almost every firm under the sun. And we’ve heard from Jones Day defenders as well.
Jones Day – Careers – Compensation [Jones Day]

Leprechaun St Patrick's Day Irish Ireland St Paddy's Day Above the Law blog.jpg* News you can use: when your economic stimulus rebate check — $600 (single) or $1,200 (married), plus $300 per child under age 17 — will be in the proverbial mail. [TaxProf Blog]
* Will London overtake New York as a global financial capital? What are the prospects for a major US/UK law firm merger? Bruce MacEwen reports from London. [Adam Smith, Esq.]
* More apparel inspired by L’Affaire Spitzer. This T-shirt carries a pro-safe sex message. [Cafe Press]
* Speaking of dear old Eliot, he’s featured in a new print ad from Virgin Mobile Canada. [QuizLaw]
* Happy St. Patrick’s Day! But when to celebrate it? And what does it mean to be Irish today? Some reflections from Professor William Birdthistle. [Chicago Tribune]
* Special St. Paddy’s Day wishes to Senator Barack O’Bama. But if the phone rings in the White House at 3 a.m., do you really want a Leprechaun taking the call? [Blogonaut]
* Finally, Daithí Mac Síthigh hosts Blawg Review #151, from Dublin. [Lex Ferenda via Blawg Review]

We just got back from visiting the Supreme Court, where we hung out with the (sizable and growing) crowd of people camped out at One First Street, so they can get seats in the courtroom for tomorrow’s argument in the D.C. gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller (previously discussed here).
We’ll have more in subsequent posts. For now, we pass along this highlight. It’s a video of Alan Korwin and Robert Blackmer — strong supporters of Second Amendment rights, and members of a group called “The Cartridge Family” — singing their own unique version of “That’ll Be the Day,” with alternative lyrics. Check it out:

That’ll Be the Day [YouTube]

Edwards Angell Palmer Dodge Above the Law Legal Blog.JPGWe have confirmed the rumor of layoffs last week at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. Here is what we know:

1. Layoffs did take place at EAPD last week. The number of associates who were laid off was “less than ten,” according to management.

2. Management gave assurances that there will be no more terminations (although they also stated that they could have made deeper cuts than they actually did).

3. The firm posted the following on the intranet, and sent associates a link to the posting: “Although the firm grew in 2007, we did not grow as much as our staffing grew… As a result, today we undertook the very difficult process of eliminating a small number of attorney and staff positions. The decision to let go personnel was very difficult, but necessary given the changes in the economy over the past several months. We believe that these steps ensure that we will remain a strong, successful firm.

(Our source observes: “I’m not sure why they would post it on a website other than to make it difficult to forward.”)

4. Management downplayed the impact of partner John Hooper’s departure.

5. Most people do not know the individuals terminated and the departments affected, although litigation is rumored to have taken the brunt of it.

Here is, by our count, the list of firms that have openly acknowledged layoffs or “layoff-esque” personnel moves (e.g., buyouts of the “leave or you’ll probably be laid off” variety): Cadwalader, Clifford Chance, Dechert, Edwards Angell, McKee Nelson, and Thacher Proffitt.
If we’re missing a firm, please email us. Please include some documentation of the firm acknowledging the layoff or other personnel action, internal or external (e.g., an email from firm management, a link to a news article, etc.). Thanks.
Update: Confirmation and additional information from TheLawyer.com.
Earlier: What’s Going on at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge?
Edwards Angell UK escapes layoffs [The Lawyer]

elena kagan 1.gifUnder the leadership of the beloved Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School continues to raid other schools for law professor talent. Word on the street is that another big hire is in the works. This past weekend, Dean Kagan crowed about her coup before a group of admitted students, saying it would be announced later this week.
We checked for news and gossip over at Leiter’s Law School Reports, the definitive source for information about senior-level appointments in legal academia, but didn’t see anything. Any guesses as to who will be snatched by HLS next?
In addition to the Harvard name (and endowment), Dean Kagan has other weapons in her arsenal for doing battle in the recruitment wars. She wooed Feldsuk with a million-dollar mansion, and Cass Sunstein with a million-dollar bab[e]. What fabulous prizes will Kagan bestow upon her latest hire?
Feel free to speculate and opine in the comments, or by email. Thanks.

In last week’s ATL / Lateral Link surveys, we asked you whether you would want to work in a different city, whether, knowing what you know now, you would still want to work where you do, and where, if you could go to any other firm, you would choose to go.
We received 1,189 responses to last Monday’s survey on whether you would want to work in a different city. A whopping 88% of respondents said they would consider moving to a new city to practice. Sixty-eight percent cited a better lifestyle as a reason to move, while 45% would move for more money. Thirty-eight percent of respondents would move for a better practice, and 35% would be willing to move to be closer to friends or family. Only thirteen or fourteen percent, however, would move to be closer to a spouse or significant other, suggesting that most respondents are either single or willing to be.
Responses: Would you consider moving to a new city to practice?
would you move.jpg
Where would you go? The Bay Area was the most popular destination, chosen by twelve percent of respondents. Another nine percent chose London. Eight percent would move to either the Pacific Northwest or Washington, DC. Six percent chose LA, Texas or Chicago. Five percent chose Boston, New York or Atlanta. Less than four percent would move to Paris, Hong Kong or Dubai to practice, and only a handful would consider Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, or Frankfurt. Quite a few people wrote in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Denver, Miami, and San Diego as their preferred destinations, putting them in about the same range as Tokyo.
Can you get there without updating your resume? Maybe not. Only a third of respondents thought their current firm would allow them to change offices. A quarter said no, and the rest weren’t sure.
Our ATL / Lateral Link surveys about whether, knowing what you know now, you would still want to work where you do, and where, if you could go to any other firm, you would choose to go are both still open, but you can sneak a peek at the results so far after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Survey Results: Have Resume, Will Travel.”

gun.jpgThe Supreme Court gets to enjoy the media spotlight this week as it dives into the always contentious Second Amendment. An article in Sunday’s Washington Post has a good breakdown of the issues at stake:

The nine justices, none of whom has ever ruled directly on the amendment’s meaning, will consider a part of the Bill of Rights that has existed without a definitive interpretation for more than 200 years.

“This may be one of the only cases in our lifetime when the Supreme Court is going to be interpreting the meaning of an important provision of the Constitution unencumbered by precedent,” said Randy E. Barnett, a constitutional scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. “And that’s why there’s so much discussion on the original meaning of the Second Amendment.”

Facing the highest firearm murder rate among the States, the District of Columbia passed a law in 1976 virtually banning the possession of handguns. As a sidenote: The District also changed the name of its basketball team from the questionably violent “Bullets” to the “Wizards” in 1997.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the ban last year, and now SCOTUS has got to get up in it. In a Wall Street Journal column this month, Laurence Tribe revealed that he will do a little happy dance if the Court decides narrowly. Moderation…yawn…

Using a case about national legislative power over gun-toting in the capital city as a vehicle for deciding how far Congress or the state of California can go in regulating guns in Los Angeles would be a silly stretch.

Chief Justice John Roberts, ever since his days as a judge on the court of appeals, has virtually defined judicial modesty by opining that if it is not necessary for the court to decide an issue, then it is necessary for the court not to decide that issue. For this reason, and for the further reason that the scholarship on the reach of the Second Amendment and its implementation is still in its infancy, the court should take the smallest feasible step in resolving the case before it.

Issuing a narrow decision would disappoint partisans on both sides and leave many questions unresolved. But to do anything else would ill-suit a court that flies the flag of judicial restraint.

Supreme Court vs. the Second Amendment may be as exciting as a Duke vs. UNC basketball game. People are camping out overnight to watch the argument tomorrow! A tipster on location reports that there are already 14 people in line, the first one having arrived at 5:30 a.m.
Of course, no decision’s expected until the end of the term in June. While we wait, we’ll keep challenging people in bars to name all the Supreme Court Justices. And watch Charlton Heston movies.
D.C.’s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court [The Washington Post]
Sanity and the Second Amendment [Laurence Tribe in the Wall Street Journal]
Laurence Tribe to High Court: Restrain Yourself [Wall Street Journal Law Blog]

bedbug bed bug Cravath Swaine Moore LLP Above the Law blog.jpgHiring partners and recruiting coordinators at Wachtell and S&C, it’s time to break out the champagne:

CRAVATH HAS BEDBUGS!!!

Yes, that’s right. The Worldwide Plaza headquarters of Cravath, Swaine & Moore — perhaps the country’s most prestigious law firm, and one of its most profitable — has some unwelcome visitors. And no, 2L interview season ended months ago.
Here’s what we’ve learned, from multiple sources at CSM:

Cravath Swaine Moore LLP Above the Law blog.JPG1. An email was sent around Cravath last week about the presence of bed bugs at the firm.
2. A few bedbugs were found on two floors, the 21st floor and the 41st floor, which are being fumigated.
3. Two employees had bedbugs in their apartments and told the firm, which caused the firm to investigate.
4. The 21st floor is a paralegal / administration floor, but the 41st floor is a litigation floor — which means that one of the two employees may be a lawyer.
6. Both of the employees are still with the firm (i.e., they have not been fired, like the poor soul at Cadwalader who, rumor has it, got canned after self-reporting).
7. The email about the bed bug problem was protected against forwarding or copying.

Apparently Cravath and Cadwalader have something in common other than the Bear Stearns deal. [FN1]
As you may recall, in June 2007, Cadwalader reported a bedbug problem. A few months later, they announced lawyer layoffs.
Are associate layoffs like bedbugs? Will they start off at relatively less prestigious firms — we say “relatively,” since Cadwalader is still plenty prestigious (#26 on the Vault 100) — and move all the way to the top of the list? Will Rodge Cohen and Ed Herlihy be scratching themselves furiously as they negotiate the next big bank merger?
Words of wisdom to incoming Cravath summer associates: go to as many events as you can, and spend as little time as possible at the Death Star. May the force be with you.
We contacted Cravath, which declined comment through a spokesperson. If you have anything to add on the situation, please feel free to email us. Thanks.
[FN1] The bedbug email went around Cravath before the JP Morgan Chase / Bear Stearns deal was initiated. So there would be no merit to a conspiracy theory that Cadwalader gave the cooties to Cravath by sneaking them into a box shipment destined for Worldwide Plaza.
Earlier: Breaking: Cadwalader Overrun By Bed Bugs!!!

plane.jpgWe have another Lawsuit of the Day involving the perils of sleeping, from the Star-Telegram’s airline blog.

A 21-year-old Harris County woman filed a $200,000 lawsuit against American Airlines alleging employees on a flight to Los Angeles from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport failed to protect her while she slept from another passenger who masturbated to her and ejaculated in her hair, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Tarrant County.

Anyone who’s seen the movie Red Eye knows flight attendants are oblivious to women being terrorized by strange men on planes.
Here are the traumatizing details:

The woman slept most of the flight, but awoke about 20 minutes before landing when the pilot announced the plane was on descent into Los Angeles. When the woman opened her eyes, she saw that an unknown man had moved into the seat next to her and was staring at her as he masturbated, the suit states.

The woman turned toward the window in embarrassment and in an act of nervousness began to run her fingers through her hair where she noticed “a substantial amount of an extremely sticky substance in her hair,” the suit states.

We are tempted to remark on possible new definitions of red eye flight had she not turned away, but we think one tipster who sent this story along said it best:

This sounds like a sticky situation…

Woman files lawsuit against AMR because passenger next to her masturbated while she slept [Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Sky Talk via Drudge]
Woman Sues American Airlines Over Masturbating Passenger [Consumerist]

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