July 2014

Free online gambling.jpgYou know what would be awesome, if the legal system got its claws out of my online poker “supplementary income” program.

Perhaps the first steps towards the decriminalization of poker have already started. While many states outlaw “games of chance,” the ABA Journal is reporting that some poker players are arguing that anti-gaming laws should not apply to them because poker is a game of “skill.”

A Pennsylvania judge ruled Texas Hold ‘em is a game of skill and acquitted a man who held poker games in his garage, according to CardPlayer.com. And a Colorado jury acquitted the organizer of a poker league after a University of Denver statistics professor testified poker is a game of skill, according to a press release by the Poker Players Alliance.

How is this not a slam dunk argument? Only people who don’t know how to play poker think that it is a game of chance. Luck plays a role, sure, just like in everything else in life.

“Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? ”

Is Poker a Game of Skill that is Legal? S.C. Judge Will Decide [ABA Journal]

White and Case logo.JPGCalifornians, as we understand it, really care about their cars — and their parking spots. So White & Case’s latest maneuver out in Palo Alto could mean war:

White & Case’s Silicon Valley office is in a Palo Alto office complex shared with several other firms. Historically, all the parking, including a large parking garage, has been shared among all firms.

Apparently, White & Case used the downturn in the commercial lease market to renegotiate its terms with the management company. Just after the new year, around a dozen primo parking spots in parking garage were rebranded to indicate that they were for “White & Case guests.” This did not sit well with the locals.

But if you think that White & Case backed down, you’ve got another thing coming. Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Good Exclusive Parking Lots Make Good Neighbors”

SuperBowl logo.jpg* Breaking Media — ATL’s parent company, which Lat now runs — is hiring new writers (about finance and accounting). [DealBreaker]

* Who is going to win the SuperBowl. I already know. See, I have a system. [Sports Judge Blog]

* Military service as a punishment? Yes. Yes. We are “de-volving.” Soon we shall once again open up the great arena deathly gladiatorial combat. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Scalia’s got nothing but funny money. [What About Clients?]

* More reactions to Evan Chesler’s billable hour howling. [Ideoblog]

* Oooh, does Mahatma Blagojevich now get to be disbarred? [Cuban Revolution]

* Whatever has to happen to make the Broadway Thriller not happen needs to happen. [Popsquire]

Fish Richardson logo.jpgYesterday ATL reported that in addition to the 30 staff cuts, Fish & Richardson was in the process of conducting stealth layoffs of lawyers as well.

Today, Fish took those layoffs out of the closet and announced the full scope of its attorney reductions:

Since November of last year, 49 members of our legal staff have left or are in the process of leaving the firm, including four dismissals that were made today, January 30, 2009. Many of these departures occurred as the result of year-end performance evaluations, but others were based on purely economic decisions.

At least the information is now out in the open. Most of the associates we talk to prefer open communication about the state of their firms, so it’s nice to see Fish & Richardson clearly state its reasons for the attorney departures we reported.

We’re happy to bring you the news first; we just wish it wasn’t so sad. Good luck to all the displaced Fish & Richardson associates and staff.

You can read the full firm statement after the jump.

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Muffie Benson Perella Dealbreaker.jpg[Ed. note: This is a cross-post from one of our sister sites, Dealbreaker, which we thought you might appreciate because of its focus on an ATL celebrity: the recently indicted, high-profile litigator, Marc Dreier.]

Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT muffmarkets.com) was an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of a “Bulge Bracket” bank. She holds a B.A. in French and Art from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She concentrated in Contemporary French Poetry at prep school where she was awarded the exclusive premiership of the school’s “French Club.” Today, Ms. Benson-Perella is the Founder and Managing Director of “Muffie on Markets” (http://www.muffmarkets.com), a deep dive into capital markets, finance and investment strategy. She is also the Founder and Managing Director of Muff Cap, LLC., an invitation only, private investment vehicle for non-existent, prestigious and accredited investors only, employing an actively managed, long-short strategy.

There are few things as shameful as the deteriorating state of art and culture in this country. It will come as no surprise to my loyal readers, then, that the subtle, magnificent craft of portraiture appears utterly lost in a thick fog of mediocrity and a pretentious depthlessness. Of course, I can only refer to the latest visual representation of Marc S. Drier (for I cannot bring myself to call it a “picture” or “drawing” much less “art.”)

It is the essence of such representations that their creation at least attempt to rise to the level of their subject. In this case, admittedly, that is a tall order. The almost uniformly elegantly dressed senior partner of Park Avenue law firm Dreier LLP, Dreier presents a rich, complex texture, shot through with conflicts, dark veins of opposing forces, their churning opposition pressing the envelopes of the psyche, yearning for nothing but escape, escape, escape. Contrast the subtle signs of whirlwinds below the impeccable exterior with the rarely seen, but palpable, open, unshorn rouge and we can forgive him his undergraduate transgressions at Yale, for he certainly redeemed himself at Harvard Law thereafter, and this institutional combination, fatal in any weaker, less featured personality, permits Dreier to wear scruff like a bright ascot, an opportunity he occasionally indulges to juxtapose polished Fifth Avenue class with the suggestion that “That whole Yale thing” might not be that far from the surface, even after all these years.

There is a brazen yet subtle boldness in Dreier, the kind of audacity that mounts his brilliant deceptions in full view of the world, in the fishbowl of a glass-walled conference room, taunting the prospect of discovery as office staff who might at any time recognize him, call him the wrong name, plunge him into drowning, downward spiraling agony, walk by and casually glance through ethereal walls of glass that offer scant protection. The pulsing rhythm of office traversal, and throbbing mechanics of discovery. And who can deny the social genius of targeting Canadian Teachers and U. S. Real Estate firms as the foils of a fraud designed to sap the savviest of hedge funds? The very fabric of his machinations: wry social commentary.

Read the rest of the post, and comment, over at DealBreaker.

champagne glasses small.jpg

Some of our friendly commenters frequently gripe about the high number of Rabbi-officiated weddings featured in this space. They’ll be delighted to know that only one of our three weddings this week is a straight-up Rabbi wedding. The others were jointly officiated by a Rabbi and a Mennonite minister and a Rabbi and a bankruptcy judge. Yay for diversity!

Here are this week’s lucky finalists:

1. Harper Fertig and James Robinson

2. Marion Ringel and Joshua Panas

3. Julie Hootkin and Benjamin Schneider

Read all about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 1.25: Plane-Spoken”

start date.jpgLast summer, we started an official Nationwide Start Date Watch as a few firms decided to trim costs by delaying the start dates for incoming associates. Why bring in new kids at $160,000 a pop when there’s no work to give them?

In 2008, Powell Goldstein, Thelen, Thacher, and Heller pushed their start dates back to January ’09 (though it was not enough to save the latter three firms); Seyfarth Shaw, K&L Gates, Shearman, and DLA Piper pushed their start dates back from September to October; Pillsbury pushed back to October, with bonus incentives offered to those who were willing to start even later; and Sonnenschein and WolfBlock asked associates to start in November.

This summer, firms may not have to “delay” start dates. Based on reports from a few 3Ls, it looks like late fall may be the new norm for start dates.

Start dates are in late October for new associates at Clifford Chance and Milbank Tweed, and November for new associates at Morrison & Foerster. (Though with Wednesday’s layoff news, MoFo-bound law grads are just happy to have start dates.)

Later start dates are good news for those who want to take nice, long bar trips, and bad news for those who want to start building their bank accounts as soon as possible. We’re wondering how widespread this trend is. If you’re a 3L with an offer letter in hand, please take this poll about when you’ll be officially entering Biglawdom.

Check out the results of the poll.

Earlier: Previous ATL coverage of Start Dates

law firm merger small.jpgIn early December, we reported that K&L Gates was engaged in merger talks with Bell Boyd. Today, the firms made it official. An email just went out to K&L Gates associates from Peter Kalis:

Colleagues:

We wrote you in December to announce that our firm and the Chicago-based law firm Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP were in discussions with a view to combining the two firms. We are now pleased to report that the two firms’ partnerships have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the combination. I have appended below the news release that is being distributed to media outlets throughout the world. Please feel free to forward the release outside the firm to clients and other friends of the firm with your own message instead of mine. Thanks.

Pete

You can read the official press release after the jump.

Good news on a Friday? Yay!

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Blackstone Group logo.jpgHow hard up is the Blackstone Group? According to Cityfile, they have been reduced to stealing news:

[The Financial Times] filed a lawsuit against Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group on Wednesday for sharing an FT username and password instead of setting up separate accounts for its employees.

Look, I know that the financial industry is kind of tanking right now, but dear God it’s not like publishers are rolling in it.

I’m also pretty sure that the Financial Times would have given Blackstone a good group rate if they had just asked.

Apparently, this problem with Blackstone has been going on since long before the financial crisis:

Officials at the FT became a bit suspicious when they realized a very industrious Blackstone employee was accessing thousands of articles a day; a subsequent investigation turned up evidence Blackstone had been engaged in the fraud since as far back as 2002.

Have you ever stolen a newspaper that is sitting outside a neighbor’s apartment door? Every time you do that an angel kills a child in an orgy of blood. Don’t do that anymore.

Schwarzman: Too Cheap to Pay for a FT Subscription! [Cityfile]

Crab-Hands Going Down [Dealbreaker]

Quinn logo.jpgNobody needs to worry about Quinn Emanuel dissolving. Check out Quinn’s profit numbers as reported by AmLaw and The Lawyer:

In tough times, it’s good to specialize in bet-the-company litigation. Revenue at 400-lawyer Quinn Emanuel Urquardt Oliver & Hedges was $441.9 million in 2008, up 15 percent from 2007′s $384.5 million.

Profits jumped 10 percent, from $237.5 million in 2007 to $260 million last year. Profits per partner–already near the top of the Am Law 100 in 2007–rose 11 percent to $3.3 million. Quinn Emanuel has 78 equity partners.

In December, we reported that Quinn Emanuel’s bonus structure was very good for high billers but not so good for people low on hours.

After the jump, tipsters weigh in about Quinn’s 11% PPP increase.

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