October 2014

Fleeting Bono Supreme Court.jpgWe know you can’t use the f-word as a verb or noun on television. Just to be clear, you can’t use it as an adjective either. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Supreme Court is giving tentative approval to government regulation of the use of even a single curse word on live television.

Somehow, this is all Bono’s fault. Bloody hell.

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.

Court Upholds FCC ‘Fleeting Expletive’ Rule [Wall Street Journal]

Wildman Harrold logo.jpgWhile 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.

Back in January, Wildman laid off approximately ten attorneys.

Layoffs have definitely slowed down this month, but they haven’t stopped. But with summer associates on the way, hopefully forced attrition is almost at an end.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Wildman Harrold Makes Deep Cuts

Marc Dreier Marc S Dreier LLP.jpg* 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]

* Sheppard Mullin’s LA office had a scary Friday. [Contra Costa Times]

US News logo.JPGWe 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?

After the jump, it’s George Washington University Law School time.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2010 U.S. News Law School Rankings (17 – 28)”

Posner.jpgIt’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.

Decision [Federal Circuit]

Slippery Sex Toys Aren’t Inventive, U.S. Court Says [Bloomberg]

Slick Glass Dildos are an “Obvious” Improvement! [The Legal Satyricon]

Judge Posner at the Federal Circuit: Patent on Sex Aid is Obvious [Patent Law Blog]

Squire Sanders logo.JPGWay back in December, long before the cool kids started doing it, Squire Sanders & Dempsey froze associate salaries.

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.

Additional details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff/Salary Cut Watch: Don’t Listen to that Voice Mail from Squire Sanders”

Cardozo school of law logo.JPGWe’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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gender Bias on the Cardozo Law Review?”

deirdre dare expat allen and overy.jpgDeidre Dare was our Lawyer of the Day Weekend back in January. Judging from the traffic on that post, we assume most of you know her story. If not, here are the quick and dirty details:

Dare, a Columbia Law grad, was a senior associate in Allen & Overy’s Moscow office. She was having fun expat adventures and decided to write about them in an online novella that included lots of alcohol, drugs, sex, donkeys, and dwarves. A&O was not a fan of one of its lawyers publishing porn online and made her stop writing it. Then, A&O fired her.

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!

Sex novelist lawyer Deidre Dare sues for being sacked

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.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “(Laid-off) Lawyer of the Day: Sex Novelist Deidre Dare Sues Allen & Overy”


See the World Premiere of this serious comedy about Supreme Court law clerks.

A MORE PERFECT UNION at the East 13th Street Theatre in Union Square.

Tickets just $25 with discount code: ATL25. Click here to purchase tickets.

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgAbove 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 careercenter@abovethelaw.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!

CAREER CENTER – Powered by Lateral Link

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