August 2014

Mayra Lizbeth Rosales Mayra Rosales.jpg* Those Bratz got a spanking, but not as severe a spanking as Mattel hoped. The jury awarded Mattel $100 million, rather than the $1 billion Quinn Emanuel’s John Quinn had requested. [CNN]
* U.S. District Judge John D. Bates rules Harriet Miers must testify before Congress. The big moment could come as early as next month. [Washington Post]
* Eight of the sixty judges sacked by former Pakistani president Pervez Musharaff have been reinstated. The others are still twiddling their thumbs. [BBC News]
* Barry Bonds wants to knock his case out of the park. His lawyers have moved to dismiss most of the government’s case against him for lying to a grand jury about steroid use. [Associated Press]
* In Mexico City, abortion is legal in theory, but not often in practice. Now the Mexican Supreme Court is considering overturning the one-year-old abortion law. [International Herald Tribune]
* Colorado U.S. attorney files charges in the Obama murder plot. The last name of one of the accused is Adolf. [Smoking Gun]
* How is Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick still in office? [Washington Post]
* Update in the case of the alleged half-ton murderess. Her attorney says she’s too fat to have killed her nephew. [CNN]

With the U.S. economy in the toilet, third tier or otherwise, law firms are building up their bankruptcy practices. They’re eagerly scooping up lateral associates in the field — and partners, too. From the American Lawyer:

Raniero D'Aversa Jr Ron D'Aversa Mayer Brown Orrick.jpgA rough 18 months for Mayer Brown got a little worse on Monday, when San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced that Raniero “Ron” D’Aversa Jr., the co-chair of Mayer’s restructuring and bankruptcy practice, would join Orrick immediately.

Considered a rising star of the bankruptcy bar, the 44-year-old D’Aversa — whose book of business is said to exceed $5 million by sources familiar with his work and reputation — will be based out of the New York office of Orrick. The firm placed 27th in this year’s Am Law 100 rankings with gross revenues of $772,000 and profits per equity partner of $1.7 million.

Will D’Aversa be taking clients with him? There’s disagreement on that score. Roger Frankel, the (kinda scary-looking) chair of Orrick’s bankruptcy practice, said that “it’s clear that there will be significant clients moving with him.” But Mayer issued a statement claiming that “no disruption of any client relationships is expected.”
Mayer Brown Loses Restructuring Chief to Orrick [American Lawyer]
Ron D’Aversa bio [Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe]
Raniero D’Aversa, Jr. bio [Mayer Brown via Google Cache]
Earlier: Job of the Week: Bankruptcy Can Be Good

Derek Jeter Clarence Thomas David Tuason.jpg* Every time a law blogger gets sued subpoenaed, our sphincters tighten up just a little bit more. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Students at Delaware’s Widener Law School hoping to take Con Law with Biden may be sorely disappointed. [WSJ Law Blog]
* And here I thought it was impossible to express dislike for Clarence Thomas and Derek Jeter with the same train of thought. [Cleveland Plain Dealer via How Appealing]
* ATL’s comma police keep it together far better than the average bear. [Gawker]

Sarbanes Oxley for Dummies Sarbox SOX book.jpgThe constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, enacted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was recently upheld — decision available here (PDF) — by a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit. But those who challenged the Board’s legitimacy are fighting on.
The appellants will either seek rehearing en banc in the D.C. Circuit or certiorari from the Supreme Court. In their efforts, expect them to draw support from the forceful dissent by judicial superstar Brett Kavanaugh (who is, by the way, familiar with this fine website).
If appellants seek succor from the SCOTUS, their pleas may fall upon sympathetic ears. From our colleague, former Skadden and Latham corporate lawyer John Carney, over at Dealbreaker:

Perhaps the most ominous sign for the PCAOB is the fact that Judge Kavanaugh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who would probably hold the swing vote if the case went to the Supreme Court. His dissenting opinion seems tailor-made to provoke the conservative wing of the court into striking down the board. Unless Congress acts to amend it, we’d bet the autonomous PCAOB is headed for extinction.

You can read the rest of his analysis — which will take you “back to Con Law and the halcyon days of youth,” in the words of one Dealbreaker commenter — over here.
Short Sarbanes-Oxley’s Accounting Board [Dealbreaker]
Free Enterprise Fund v. PBAOB (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit]
Sell Sarbanes-Oxley [New York Sun]
D.C. Circuit Affirms Constitutionality of Accounting Oversight Board [WSJ Law Blog]
Will a Lawsuit Unravel SOX? Firm Brings Constitutional Challenge [WSJ Law Blog]

utah negligent homicide big love.jpgHere’s a fact pattern: teen steals liquor, teen gets hammered, adult is called to help, adult drives teen home, teen dies, adult gets charged with… negligent homicide?
That’s the reality facing Candice Collard. The 24-year-old woman is being charged with homicide in Utah for failing to help Jess “Micade” Horrocks, 14, who died of alcohol poisoning this past April.
The charge seems especially harsh given that Utah has a criminal statute for failure to render aid. Uintah County Deputy Attorney Greg Lamb said that the homicide charge was warranted because Collard “failed miserably in several areas that could have prevented [Horrocks's] death.” Lamb admits that his office is taking a “novel” approach to this case, which should make Collard feel swell.
Collard drove the teen 13 miles to Collard’s home instead of 2 miles to the hospital. Horrocks did not receive medical attention until the next day
In retrospect, obviously, Collard’s choice was unwise. But Collard neither procured the alcohol nor sat there and poured it down Horrocks’s throat.
This charge puts the perverse in legal incentives. When ineffective help puts you in danger of a homicide conviction, wouldn’t you rather roll the dice with a failure-to-render-aid charge?
The “go screw yourself, kid” attitude is something we’d expect out of the Bronx, but Utah?
Woman charged in boy’s alcohol-poisoning death [Salt Lake Tribune via Fark]

We bring you more word of postponed start dates for incoming associates. The latest comes from the Philly firm of WolfBlock, as first reported in the Philadelphia Business Journal:

WolfBlock Wolf Block Schorr Solis Cohen.jpgIn response to the economic slowdown, Wolf Block has delayed the start date of its entry-level lawyers for two months. The firm said all but one of eight recent law school graduates were told not to report for work until November 10 rather than the normal start date shortly after Labor Day.

Hiring partner Andrew Chirls said the first-year associates, who get paid $135,000 a year, will receive a $5,000 stipend to tide them over.

That works out to $2,500 a month, or $30,000 on an annual basis. But hey, at least they don’t have to work for it.
If you’re interested, there’s more — including info about summer-associate offer rates — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Start Date Watch: WolfBlock”

secrete service west wing.jpgAuthorities are investigating whether men threatened to kill Senator Barack Obama, or if they were just trying to get a date with Jodie Foster. Either way, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid is certain that the potentially meth-addled gunmen posed no credible threat to Obama or the Democratic National Convention.
We have explored the colossal idiocy of making threats against the President before. However, in a news flash to, you know, Germans, Obama is not the president yet. He is not even the nominee of a major party.
What he is, is a “major candidate” and 18 U.S.C. § 3056, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to grant him Secret Service protection and all the other trappings of “dude, not to be messed with.”
Obama has received protection for well over a year, earlier than any other presidential candidate in history.
So, here’s an important safety tip: don’t threaten to harm Obama or McCain or Bob Barr or whomever. Register your displeasure in the traditional way, anonymous comments on various blogs that showcase your cutting wit and deep respect for democracy. The Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor.
U.S. attorney ‘confident’ Obama not threatened [Rocky Mountain News]

Magazines.jpgThe makers of KNOW: The Magazine for Paralegals have another legal publication in the works. A tipster forwarded us an e-mail about a “new magazine for women professionals in litigation.”
Imagining the love child of Glamour and the American Lawyer, we expected to see planned articles on hot courtroom studs and legal fashion faux pas. But it sounds like this publication will be more strait-laced. The email announcement claims the magazine will “be chock full of work style and life style balance articles; address women’s issues in the law firm and in-house legal environment and offer informative pieces on current topics in technology, litigation and e-discovery.”
They’re in the naming phase, and are considering the following. Which two are not like the others?

* Women in Litigation
* Chill
* Woman Litigator
* Trial Mama
* American Litigator
* Spirit, The Magazine for Women in e-Discovery
* Equality, The Magazine for Women Litigators
* Legal Women, A Workstyle & Life Balance Magazine

We’re not excited by the bland “Women in Litigation” options, or anything with “e-Discovery” in the title. But “Chill” and “Trial Mama” are truly ridonculous. ATL Idol Exley’s “Clitigator”, or Lat’s beloved “Litigatrix”, would blow all the other entries away. We welcome better title suggestions in the comments.
Among the options offered, we can’t decide which is the worst. What do you think?


Earlier: We Don’t KNOW How This Magazine for Paralegals Will Do

law school rankings versus tuition cash.jpgLaw school deans continue to show the intellectual backbone of phytoplankton when faced with the big fish over at U.S. News & World Report. As the Wall Street Journal reported this morning (subscription), U.S. News is considering changing their law school rankings formula, and the wailing has already begun.
According to the report, U.S. News is considering counting the LSAT scores and GPAs of part-time students. Some law schools admit under performing students into their part-time programs; that way they can keep the tuition dollars flowing in, without jeopardizing their precious place in the rankings.
Brian Leiter sounded the alarm over this proposed change nearly two months ago (and we also covered it back then). Leiter notes that the proposed change could harm the mission of legal education:

For many, probably most, part-time programs serve older, working students, who might not have time for fancy LSAT prep courses, but who bring levels of dedication, seriousness, and pertinent experience that enrich legal education and the legal profession.

There are any number of reasons for law schools to admit, on a part-time basis, students who are unable to meet grade and test score cut-offs. And there are any number of reasons for U.S. News not to care in the slightest.
There is an interesting debate to be had on whether part-time programs enhance the quality of legal education or the legal profession. Instead, we’re getting marginal law schools trying to game a method of data collection, while a magazine tries to punish the offenders.
It’s just another indication that law school can be reduced to a couple of episodes of Law & Order.
Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter ‘Gaming’ [WSJ (subscription) via WSJ Law Blog]
Proposed Changes to US News Ranking Methodology [Leiter's Law School Reports]

v neck crewneck crew neck sleeveless t-shirt wifebeater.jpgThis post is directed primarily at our male readers. But female readers with opinions about men’s fashion are also welcome to chime in.
To read the question presented, see this post by Bess Levin, over at our sister site, Dealbreaker. For one style columnist’s take on the issue, see here (but it’s a bit of a punt).
Then take our poll below, and share your opinion in the comments. The Dealbreaker post has almost 120 comments thus far. C’mon, ATL readers — we can top that!


This Is Serious [Dealbreaker]
V-neck or crew? The choice isn’t so simple [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

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