According to NPR, Justice David Souter is planning to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of the current Term.
Souter is expected to remain on the bench until a successor has been chosen and confirmed, which may or may not be accomplished before the court reconvenes in October.
Arlen Specter’s switch from Republican to Democrat looms even larger now.
We’ve reached out to the SCOTUS public information officer, but have not yet received comment. (We’re not surprised, though, since we reached out at 10:25 p.m.)
Update (11:47 p.m.): The PIO got back to us:
Justice Souter has no comment.
If true, Souter’s retirement would do little to change the balance of the court. Remember:
An Obama pick would be unlikely to change the ideological makeup of the court. Souter, though appointed by the first President Bush, generally votes with the more liberal members of the court, a group of four that is in a rather consistent minority.
Souter’s retirement is not entirely surprising to regular Above the Law readers. Earlier this month, we — via Underneath Their Robes — told you that Souter hadn’t hired any clerks for the October 2009 term.
Let the jockeying begin for Obama’s first SCOTUS nomination. We invite you to suggest nominees in the comments. Maybe we’ll do a poll…
Update: The BLT has an early line on possible nominees, after the jump.
There is late breaking news from Skadden tonight. Apparently the firm has decided to freeze salaries on its counsels. Here is the memo Skadden counsel received:
Given the current economic conditions and the level of activity within the firm, we have decided that we will not be increasing salaries for counsel in 2009. As always, payment of discretionary bonuses will be contingent upon levels of activity in the Firm’s practice areas, the economic environment as it affects our Firm and individual performance.
We are grateful for your continued commitment to the Firm.
That timing could have been better. But we understand that counsel pay has historically been decided on May 1st, so the firm needed to make a decision.
Skadden has not frozen salaries on associates, and the firm paid top-of-the-market bonuses to its personnel.
The firm has avoided laying associates off during this recession, but Skadden’s Sidebar Program allowed approximately 125 attorneys to take a year-long deferral from the firm.
We’ve all seen commercials where a company promises to meet a competitor’s lowest price on an item. But a Long Island lawyer decided to put one of these guarantees to the test:
In its advertising, Sears vows to match competitors’ prices, but one Long Island lawyer has been walking a long road of disillusionment after the retailer refused to live up to its promises. Back in 2007, when Warren Dank showed employees at a Hicksville Sears ad clippings from competitors selling a 46-inch flat-screen for as low as $2,400–$1,200 less than what Sears was charging for the exact same product–a manager refused to budge on the price. And so Dank found his life’s calling: He drove around to three different Sears outlets in the metropolitan area and was denied the promised discount every time.
This is hero-lawyering at its best. Sure, the remedy might simply be more fine print at the bottom of the screen. And, fine, there could be costs associated with defending against this type of litigation that raises the price of televisions for all consumers. But hey, that’s just more work for more lawyers.
Dank might be stimulating the legal economy, but of course, somebody is going to have to pay:
A lot of people are calling Dank a hero (okay, just us), and he might not disagree, telling the Post: “I’m doing this single-handedly. No one else pushed it this far to go on a crusade.” UPDATE: Mr. Dank just emailed us with the following clarification: “Please set the record straight on your blog that the $100 and/or $300 million is to pay a class action settlement to all of the customers who were deceived and not to me.”
That’s the plaintiff’s bar, hard at work baby! Companies shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep.
Personally, I love jury duty. I’ve never been picked to actually sit on one, but I still hope to have the opportunity one day. It’s a great opportunity to participate in your community.
I know I hold the minority opinion on this. Most people find jury duty annoying, some find it outright insulting.
But few are willing to put it in writing. That’s what makes the jury affidavit below so special.
“I don’t believe in our ‘justice’ system and I don’t want to have a goddamn thing to do with it.” This is why we need states like Montana. It’s important for these people to have someplace where they can go, breed, and keep America just a little bit closer to the edge.
Today, Craigslist brings us the latest example of a (soon-to-be) lawyer trying to make it work in this difficult economy. Here’s the ad:
I am an experienced law student willing to answer your legal questions. The fee is $5 per question. To take advantage of this offer email your question to [Redacted]. You will then get a response with your answer. Must pay through PAYPAL ACCOUNT. ALL EMAILs must include the following information:
NAME ADDRESS TELEPHONE NUMBER CITY/STATE YOUR QUESTION
Now, it’s been a while since I took the MPRE, and I was all kinds of hung-over when I passed it. But isn’t there some kind of — I don’t know, rule — about giving legal advice when you are not a lawyer?
Seriously though, he doesn’t “hold himself out to be a lawyer,” so maybe that helps?
Either way, Bert J. van der Werff is just a guy trying to make some money during rough times. We speak with the student after the jump.
It appears that the out-of-state tuition at the University of Texas School of Law could be on the rise. The school’s website lists that the proposed non-resident tuition for the 2009 – 2010 academic year is $43,858. That is over a 10% increase from last year.
Is UT riding the wave of this year’s strong showing in the U.S. News law school rankings? Perhaps. But don’t blame the UT administration for the hike. UT is a public institution. As such, if you remember your middle school civics class, the school has very little control over its own tuition. A UT-Law spokesperson explains the situation:
Last year (March, 2008), the Regents set tuition at the University of Texas for the 2008-2009 academic year (this year) and the 2009-2010 academic year (next year). This year’s tuition for new, non-resident students was $39,642. The amount the Regents approved last year for tuition next year for new, non-resident students, $43,858, is a 10.6% increase over this year. The amount listed on our website for 2009-2010 is correct.
The Texas legislature is currently considering a number of tuition bills, some of which could affect the tuition charged next year, but we don’t have any idea how these deliberations will come out as of now.
After the jump, let’s take a deeper look at how Texas plans to make money off of law students.
[Natalie] Cedeno claims the atmosphere at the company changed substantially after Penthouse Media Group acquired Various Inc., the operator of Adult FriendFinder and other websites, in 2007 and changed its name to FriendFinder Networks. Various was buttoned-up, she says, despite operating websites where users planned hookups. Penthouse, by comparison, was pure frat-boy raunch — an attitude which culminated in an incident where a Penthouse Pet draped her boobs on an unwilling female employee in a staged photo meant to humiliate her.
We’re not entirely sure of all the details, but there appears to be a very sad situation developing at Kilpatrick Stockton in D.C. today. Everybody in Kilpatrick’s building received this email this morning:
Please remain in our space until further notice. Metropolitan Police Department are currently responding to an unconscious male with a gunshot wound to the head on the 11th floor of Kilpatrick & Stockton. We are contacting building management to determine further information.
We will keep you posted. Thank you.
Kilpatrick is located at 607 14th Street, NW in D.C.
After the jump, we have another email from building management and a statement from the firm.
Update (1:54 PM): We also have reports from tipsters, after the jump.
Dan DiPietro, client head of the Law Firm Group of the Citi Private Bank, doesn’t think we’ve seen the end of lawyer layoffs. In the American Lawyer, he writes:
Among our 175-firm sample, head count for fiscal 2008 was up 4.5 percent from fiscal 2007. I showed the flash report of our sample to a colleague of mine who lends money to Fortune 100 companies. Her response? “So, Dan, the way law firms make money is to grow head count when demand drops?” This is a neat way of summing up the problem firms faced as they entered 2009–too many lawyers chasing too little work.
But I thought that all the struggling firms have already laid all the attorneys they could afford to spare?
With fairly aggressive layoffs evident in all but the top New York-headquartered firms, the decline in bonuses, and no foreseeable movement in salaries, expense growth will moderate, if not decline. This should net out to a 5-10 percent decline in profits per equity partner from 2008 levels. (After the meeting, several managing partners told me I was still too optimistic. To them and others at top New York firms I say: “Think layoffs.”)
The pessimism expressed at that meeting has been repeated to varying degrees in the 16 regional roundtables that my colleague Cindy Tambourine and I have just completed throughout the United States and in London. To put it simply, the mood in the U.S. outside of New York is grim; in New York it’s grimmer; and in London it’s the grimmest.
After the jump, are there any non-layoff paths to recovery?
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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…