But the SCOTUS ruling wasn’t a complete loss for free speech advocates:
But the court, in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, is refusing to pass judgment on whether the Federal Communications Commission’s “fleeting expletives” policy is in line with First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The justices say a federal appeals court should weigh the constitutionality of the policy.
Justice Scalia delivered the opinion for the 5-4 majority.
While the cutting edge firms have moved onto cutting salaries, there are still firms that are getting through their layoffs.
Yesterday, Above the Law learned that Wildman Harrold decided to go through another round of cuts. Here is the firm statement:
We have reduced our associate ranks by 10 and our secretarial staff by 7. The individuals affected by these reductions are all high quality employees and professionals, who have made valuable contributions to our firm. Our diverse profile as a firm remains unchanged by these departures.
* Marc Dreier will plead guilty on May 11. Defense attorney Gerald Shargel said he “wants to enter the plea to demonstrate his acceptance of responsibility and his profound remorse.” Or maybe it’s just because he ran out of money to pay Shargel. [Forbes]
* Forget the office attire debate over suit vs. blazer and skirt suit vs. pant suit. Mexico City attorneys are sporting surgical masks. (And midtown Manhattan firms, watch out. There’s been an outbreak at Ernst & Young’s Times Square office. Okay, not an outbreak. One case. But we feel a strange journalistic urge to fan the flames of panic.) [National Law Journal]
* Is it just us or do the media seem gleeful about the fact that summer associates will actually have to work hard this summer? [Forbes]
* Alleged Craigslist killer and BU med student Philip Markoff could afford a $1,400 luxury one-bedroom in Quincy, but can’t afford an attorney. [Boston Globe]
* Maybe Markoff should burglarize some cars in order to fence stolen property to pay his lawyer. That’s what this Wisconsin teen tried to do. [United Press International]
* No more getting freaky in Chicago. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan demands that Craigslist take down its erotic services section. Like other state AGs, she is doing it in response to the Craigslist killings, but the legal issue is that people are getting freaky for money, and that Craigslist is not donating the profits to charity. [Los Angeles Times]
We are continuing our march through the latest U.S. News law school rankings. So far we’ve learned that students who go to law school in warm weather climates believe their quality of life is much better than what is experienced by students who attend law schools in the Northeast and Chicago. We’ve also learned that the anti-GULC contingent of our readers are vocal and relentless.
The next batch of schools includes some rising stars and one major fade. To refresh your memory:
17. Vanderbilt 18. USC (Gould) 19. Washington (St. Louis) 20. Boston University 20. Emory 20. Minnesota 23. Indiana 23. Illinois 23. Notre Dame 26. Boston College 26. Iowa 28. William & Mary 28. George Washington
Boston University continues its rankings pwnage of Boston College. When are the educationally inclined Jesuits going to bring out the big guns (rulers?) and apply it to the law school? Meanwhile, is Notre Dame really no longer the best law school in Indiana?
It’s an exciting day here at ATL when we can find three excuses to cover the salacious beat (see #1 and #2). Judge Richard Posner brings us our third opportunity.
Judge Posner issued a ruling [PDF] Friday in a patent infringement case involving “sex aids” companies. Posner brings his dry humor and excellent wit to the decision, starting off by defining the nature of the business the plaintiff and the defendant are in:
Both firms produce what the parties call “sex aids” but are colloquially referred to as “sex toys.” A more perspicuous term is “sexual devices,” by analogy to “medical devices.” The analogy lies in the fact that, like many medical devices (thermometers for example), what we are calling sexual devices are intended to be inserted into bodily orifices, albeit for a different purpose.
Never before has patent infringement been so sexy… and sex toys so un-sexy:
The devices are generally in the shape of rods of various curvatures and are made out of rubber, plastic, glass, or some combination of these materials. Until the plaintiffs began manufacturing their patented sexual devices, glass sexual devices were made out of soda-lime glass, the most common form of glass.
We are not as well-versed in the nature of sex toys as is Judge Posner. We didn’t realize there were such things as glass dildos — despite the presence of this commenter in our threads — but apparently there are, and they have been around for a long time. The plaintiffs in Ritchie (Know Mind Enterprises/Topco) v. Vast Resources Inc. claimed to innovate the glass dildo design, obtaining a patent for those made with borosilicate glass (the stuff used by Pyrex). Adding silica makes the devices “slippery,” “lubricious,” and “resistant to heat, chemicals, electricity and bacterial absorptions.” While we like chemistry in bed, electricity might be a bit much.
Ritchie sued Vast Resources for violating its patent, and making their own slippery glass rods. The Seventh Circuit, in Judge Posner’s opinion, reversed the lower court’s decision in the plaintiff’s favor, ruling that Pyrexing sex devices is not patentable. It’s an “obvious” invention, an example of “modest, routine, everyday, incremental improvements of an existing product or process that confer commercial value… but do not involve sufficient inventiveness to merit patent protection.”
Posner is a judge on the Seventh Circuit but sat on this Federal Circuit case by designation. Like us, Posner likes writing on salacious topics. After all, having penned the book Sex and Reason in 1992, Posner is a judicial sexpert.
Having already frozen salaries, Squire Sanders is now cutting them outright. Tipsters report that the firm has announced a 10% reduction in associate salaries across the board. The cuts will start in May.
You’ll remember that Squire Sanders was very reluctant to raise salaries in the first place. So it’s not entirely surprising that the firm is showing no hesitation to cut salaries given the opportunity.
But just in case some Squire Sanders associates think about complaining, the firm also fired a number of people.
We’ve been bringing you a number of stories about law students melting down as the recession, finals, swine flu, and a spate of year-end elections takes its toll on America’s next generation of lawyers.
The latest missive comes from a female Cardozo student who accuses the Cardozo law review board of gender bias. It turns out that this student lost an election to be Editor-in-Chief of the Cardozo law review.
But it also turns out that the executive board of the Cardozo law review has no female members.
The situation is so surprising that school officials have organized a meeting of all the law review 2Ls to discuss this matter. Unfortunately, the student who lost the Editor-in-Chief election will not be able to attend. Fortunately (for Above the Law readers), she decided to commit her thoughts to email:
I believe the journal does have a problem with gender bias in elections that we should address. It was striking that, for the second year in a row, the executive board does not have a single female member. It also stands out that, of all the editorial board positions with input into the article selection process for both the Law Review and de novo, not a single position is held by a woman.
The all-male composition of the most influential positions on the editorial board is at odds with the composition of the journal. It is also at odds with the objective performance of the female members of the staff. Of the thirty-seven Vol. 30 staffers, sixteen (43%) are women and twenty-one (57%) are men. The results of the blind Note-selection process mirror these statistics: of the sixteen Notes selected for publication in Vol. 31, seven (44%) were authored by female staffers and nine (56%) were authored by male staffers. Statistics are not available by which I could objectively assess the quality of staffers’ C&Sing work. However, the Note publication rates suggest that, when blind judging is applied, female staffers perform as well as male staffers. This objective fact regarding the quality of female staffers’ Notes is not reflected by the results of the past election. I believe there were well-qualified female candidates for the executive board and other editorial board positions who were overlooked.
Are law reviews still just an elaborate old boy network? You’d think not, you’d hope not, but this student provides other compelling stats after the jump.
And the firm, unwisely perhaps, revealed exactly why it fired her (instead of just silently including her in the 10% layoff sweep, which resulted in the booting of many in the Moscow office, including Deidre’s Russian boyfriend). From a firm statement published by the Lawyer at the time:
Following our normal disciplinary process, we found that Ms Dare’s behaviour – in publishing the material she did in the professional name under which she practises, and the way that she has responded to a number of reasonable requests from us since – was unacceptable and totally at odds with the standards of behaviour that we expect from all of our people.
We’ve therefore terminated her employment.
Well, Deidre e-mailed us this morning with an update on her situation:
I know how you all love to hate me, so I thought you’d be interested in the following news!
Obviously, Deidre doesn’t know us well, if she thinks we would hate a lawyer-turned-porn-writer. We couldn’t imagine much out there that we’d rather write about. While we wait for her to accept our Facebook friend request, we’ll tell you a bit more about what Deidre’s up to these days.
Hint: rather than legal memos, she’s penning lines like, “I am a dirty girl. I am dirty in bed and I’m happy to be dirty anywhere else if the need arises.”
Above the Law is a valuable resource for lawyers planning their careers. Faithful ATL readers know that the site contains important and useful information about the nation’s leading law firms, in terms of culture, compensation, and a whole host of other metrics. If you’d like to know about law firm layoffs, bonuses, or start dates, to name just a few examples, ATL is there.
Now we’re providing you with a resource for researching your favorite firms in a more systematic fashion. Together with our friends at Lateral Link, we have created a brand-new Career Center. To check it out, click here.
The site has a few sections. In Firm Snapshots, you can view profiles of individual firms. In Firm Comparisons, you can compare different firms on various metrics.
To keep the information in the Career Center accurate and up-to-date, we’ll be asking for your help. Please register for full access to the site. If you’re a lawyer at a firm included in the Career Center, you’ll be asked to answer short survey questions about your firm when you visit. We’ll aggregate and update our data each time a new visitor logs in to the site. By providing users with the ability to generate detailed firm reports, both individually and on a comparative basis, the Career Center offers attorneys a new way to navigate the law firm landscape.
If you are a recruiting director at a featured firm, please take a few minutes (if you have not done so already) to review the content of your firm profile for accuracy. If you have any corrections or updates, or general feedback about the Career Center, please email them to email@example.com. Our goal is to present data that is dynamic, continually updated, and accurate, differentiating our Career Center from other outlets.
We hope that the new Career Center will be a valuable resource to ATL readers. Enjoy!
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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