We have been following the sad tale of a University of Michigan 2L and a U-M professor who got caught up in a prostitution scandal. Yesterday, the Michigan 2L responded to some of the comments that have been made about her.
Today, the professor involved asked ATL for equal time and an opportunity to tell his side of the story. In a letter entitled: “Have you considered whether she may be simply lying?” and sent to the entire law school, the professor says:
I wish to raise with you the claim that, for whatever reasons, your student is simply lying. Allegations must be substantiated with facts; here are the facts as they emerge from the police report (which, as I am sure many of you know, anyone is entitled to get from the police).
We reprint the letter in full after the jump.
And just to be clear, this will conclude our coverage of these events. Both parties have had an opportunity to say their piece, and we’d like to leave it at that.
We’ve previously reported on law firms having difficulty getting clients to pay their bills. It’s not just happening to firms working on deals that go bust; it has also happened to a firm representing a celeb after his marriage went bust. From Am Law Daily:
Blank Rome is suing rapper/actor/activist Mos Def for over $60,000 in unpaid legal bills stemming from his 2006 divorce from Maria Yepes.
The couple ended their 10-year marriage that year in a Brooklyn court, with Judge Sarah Krauss pleading with them to settle their differences outside her courtroom.
Reports say that the Brooklyn-born Mos Def (real name: Dante Smith) owes the money to Blank Rome in the form of unpaid fees and retainers. The Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy award-nominated entertainer retained lawyers from the firm’s well-regarded matrimonial practice, which advises high-end clients on divorce, mediation, property distribution, paternity, visitation rights, and trusts and estates.
This is Mos Def’s second month in a row of legal troubles. In November, Las Vegas police issued an arrest warrant after Mos got in a scuffle with a photographer. In more bad news, his portrayal of Chuck Berry in the recently released music biopic extravaganza Cadillac Records was panned by the Los Angeles Times.
We wonder if this will make him rethink the title of his upcoming album, rumored to be titled Ecstatic.
Let’s say you meet a woman. You like her, she likes you, and eventually you move in together. She helps around the house and, you know, “helps” with other things too. Let’s say that over the course of a year, you “spend” $10,500 on that woman.
How would you explain where that money went, to say an account or on your tax forms?
Well, if you are Mr. Howard Shih of California, you call the $10,500 “wages” and try to get a tax deduction.
That is the situation that the U.S. Tax Court recently wrestled with. Except the proceeding was not directed at Mr. Shih for claiming a deduction, instead the case was about whether the woman (Ms. Jue-Ya Yang) should have reported the $10,500 as “income.”
(Dear God: That whole “The Law” idea you had is brilliant. What a great premise for your “Earth” sitcom. Don’t change a thing! It’s comedy gold.)
After the jump, TaxProf Blog walks us through the difference between wages, gifts, and illicit prostitution.
We are pleased to announce that the Firm will award year-end bonuses to associates and counsel as follows. Bonuses will be based on previously communicated criteria and are expected to be paid in January 2009. Associates who joined the Firm subsequent to January 1, 2008 and prior to October 1, 2008 will receive a pro-rated portion of the bonus.
The reference to “previously communicated criteria,” we’re told, is a reference to CWT’s hours requirement.
* A couple is suing United Airlines for “overserving” the husband by serving him red wine every 20 minutes on the flight. They say this is what caused him to beat his wife on the way to customs. [Chicago Tribune]
* “Federal judges in some parts of the United States are delaying the swearing-in of new citizens, apparently so that courts can keep millions of dollars in naturalization fees paid by immigrants, according to a new government report.” [The Washington Post]
* A Rhode Island family sued their cable provider for hooking up the Playboy channel, which plays hardcore porn. [Courthouse News Service]
* Investors in Madoff’s ponzi scheme might be able to get back some of their money by filing for a U.S. tax refund. As if the U.S. government isn’t paying out enough money these days…[Bloomberg.com]
* The high court in Europe says a UK couple should be bound by the ruling of judge in southern Cyprus that they demolish their vacation home. The house is built on land that belongs to a Greek Cypriot who claims it was taken from him during the Turkish invasion in 1974. [BBC News]
To balance out word of the robust O’Melveny bonuses, here’s some bad news out of California. Earlier this week, Gunderson Dettmer (boy I miss “ad”venture capital) laid off a number of junior associates. As veterans of the heady dot-com days may recall, Gunderson put itself on the map back in 1999 by leading the charge to $125,000 starting salaries.
Gunderson did not respond to multiple requests for comment, made yesterday and today, so we don’t have an official number of new people looking for work. But two sources claim that the firm laid off half of its first-year class (five out of ten associates) on Monday, plus an additional but unknown number of more senior attorneys. These layoffs are, according to a tipster, “on top of performance-related attrition / dismissals throughout the fall.”
Some of those laid off this week were stub first-years, i.e., class of 2008 from law school. As Chris Rock might say, “here today, gone today.”
This should not come as a great surprise, but let’s go ahead and close the loop. From the WSJ Law Blog:
Nearly two weeks ago, mere hours after Marc Dreier was arrested up in Canada for allegedly impersonating an in-house lawyer at a pension fund, lawyers at the eponymous law firm were heralding its doom. “It’s over,” said one litigation partner at the time.
On Tuesday, the predictions came true; Dreier LLP filed for Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy court in Manhattan. In its petition, filed by Stephen Shimshak and Brian Hermann at Paul Weiss — where the receiver in the case, Mark Pomerantz, also hangs his hat — Dreier claims to have liabilities tallying between $10 million and $50 million.
The best reading in the petition is the list of creditors. Seems Mr. Dreier hadn’t been keeping up with the firm’s bills. Among those allegedly owed: the landlord of 499 Park Ave. ($908k); West Publishing ($441k); American Express ($323k); PR firm Van Prooyen Greenfield ($274k); ABM Janitorial Services ($89k); and AT&T ($81k).
Seriously, though, it’s a good sign for the firm, even if it may not be a lucrative engagement — the Treasury press release reports that “total cost for the firm’s services is not expected to exceed approximately $500,000.” It raises the possibility that rumors of the firm’s demise are greatly — well, maybe not greatly, but somewhat — exaggerated.
It’s getting ugly out there. For the first time since 2005, associate bonuses at Wachtell Lipton have dipped below 100 percent of base salary.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the subject, here’s how bonuses at WLRK work. First, they’re lockstep, not tied to any billable-hours requirement or performance review. Everyone in the same class receives the same bonus.
Second, Wachtell bonuses are calculated as a percentage of base salary. Sometimes the percentage is the same from class to class; sometimes it’s not. In 2006, for example, there were divergences from year to year. When there are divergences, they generally favor seniority, with more-senior associates receiving bonus percentages that are higher than those given to juniors.
In 2006 and 2007, total bonus compensation at Wachtell (including midyear bonuses in 2006) clocked in at or above 100 percent of base salaries . This year, however, the bonus percentage sank below that threshold. We don’t have the exact number, but we’re hearing around 70 percent of base salary — “good” and “better than expected,” say two sources, but not as good as recent years.
(If this figure isn’t consistent with what you know, please email us. Please mention the class year that is the basis for your information, since sometimes the bonus percentage varies from class to class. Due to that variability, plus the lack of a firm-wide bonus memo, bonuses at Wachtell are less transparent than at other firms.)
Recall also that Wachtell base salaries are on a scale that is slightly above market. First-year associates at WLRK earn a base of $165,000 rather than the usual $160,000 (no Latham shenanigans here). A base salary of $165,000 and a 70 percent bonus would bring total compensation for a (non-stub-year) first-year to just over $280,000.
A Wachtell associate earning under $300,000 is a sad thing. But these are sad times.
Even the Wachtell holiday party was scaled back. More details, plus predictions about the firm’s future, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.