October 2014

Elena Kagan 3 Harvard Law School Above the Law Elana Kagan Elena Kagen.jpgWhat should a female Solicitor General wear to the U.S. Supreme Court? It’s a hot-button issue. For some excellent analysis, see Dahlia Lithwick.
The topic of SCOTUS-appropriate attire for a Solicitrix General keeps coming up. It popped up yesterday in Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s interview with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Monterey.
From an attendee (who stayed at the conference longer than we did; we left the day after our panel):

In case you are not here, David: the solicitor general was just asked what she will wear at the Court, and she declined to say. But Judge Kozinski followed up to ask — expressly on your behalf [David Lat fka Article III Groupie] — whether she would be wearing Jimmy Choos. She said “no,” because the heels are too high to stand in while she argues.

Thought you’d want to know this breaking fashion news!

Shoe groupies: a little bit more, after the jump.

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blank rome summers no offers.jpgObviously, things are not well in Pennsylvania. Ballard Spahr has canceled its 2010 Summer Program. Dechert is laying people off. Drinker Biddle is changing the nature of the Biglaw experience. WolfBlock … does not exist.
So it’s not surprising that people are becoming concerned about another titan of the Philadelphia market, Blank Rome. The firm has cut associate salaries, and it did lay off 79 people back in March.
On Wednesday, multiple rising 2Ls at Penn Law received information that led them to believe that Blank Rome was pulling out of on-campus interviewing at Penn. That made others speculate that Blank Rome’s entire 2010 summer program was in jeopardy.
But sources at the firm — including some partners — contend that the firm is going full steam ahead with its 2010 Summer Program, which will include recruiting at Penn. A firm spokesperson furnished Above the Law with this response:

I can confirm that we are currently scheduled to recruit at Penn and that we will be continuing our summer program.

How did so many Penn students get spooked about the Blank Rome recruiting situation? We investigate after the jump.

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Recovery gov economic stimulus website.jpgA partner at a top New York law firm — we have more partner readers (and tipsters) than you might think — sent us an email with this subject line: “Stimulus Money for Law Firms?” The email directed us to two links on Recovery.gov, the disturbingly expensive website devoted to tracking where the federal economic stimulus money is going.
Almost $900,000 in stimulus money — i.e., your taxpayer dollars hard at work — is going to two top law firms: Debevoise & Plimpton and Paul Weiss. Debevoise is getting $432,680 and Paul Weiss is getting $462,528, both from the U.S. Department of Energy. Links are here and here.
Needless to say, this got us hugely excited. Have things gotten so bad that law firms — even firms as prestigious and profitable as Debevoise & Paul Weiss — need government funds?
Economists sometimes talk about the hypothetical stimulus of the government paying people to dig ditches and then refill them. Is the federal government now trying to jump start the legal economy, by paying law firms to draft merger agreements or summary judgment motions, then send them through the shredder? Has the phenomenon of fake work spread beyond the summer associate class, into the ranks of associates and partners, to be paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars?
Not quite (although that would have been a juicier story). Find out the somewhat boring reality, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Economic Stimulus Money for… Wait for It… Debevoise and Paul Weiss?”


Skip Gates.jpgElie here. On Wednesday, I took a closer look at the woman who called the Cambridge police on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. I wondered if she could be held liable under a good Samaritan statute, and asked if we should hold good Samaritans to a higher standard.
Most readers felt that the woman was beyond reproach. She saw “two black males with backpacks” attempting to enter a house, and most people — including Professor Gates and President Obama — felt she acted appropriately when she called the police.
Legal Blog Watch has published a great analysis suggesting that Gates’s arrest was unwarranted. Even if you take the police officer’s word about what happened inside the house, it was unlikely that a prosecution against Gates for disorderly conduct could have survived (at least based on the evidence we have now; there are rumors of tapes).
I understand that I am hanging far out on a thin limb, but I remain far from convinced that the woman acted appropriately. I do think, hypothetically, that there is a cognizable legal claim Professor Gates could have against the woman who turned him in. Here is the applicable Massachusetts “good Samaritan” statute:

Chapter 258C: Section 13. “Good Samaritans”; liability

Section 13. No person who, in good faith, provides or obtains, or attempts to provide or obtain, assistance for a victim of a crime as defined in section one, shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any acts or omissions in providing or obtaining, or attempting to provide or obtain, such assistance unless such acts or omissions constitute willful, wanton or reckless conduct.

On Wednesday, I suggested that the standard for liability was reasonableness, as opposed to “willful, wanton or reckless conduct.” Obviously, a recklessness standard is much more difficult to prove.
But after the jump, I make my case. And then Mr. David Lat slaps me upside the head makes his case … that I need to be Rule 11-ed right back to Tolerance 101.

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McGill Law logo.JPGIt looks like our little legal meltdown is spreading fear and decreased job prospects to our neighbors up north. A tipster reports that rising 2Ls at McGill Law School are having the same problems as schools in the states:

[A]t McGill this year, only 4 firms are participating in OCIs (Paul Weiss; Ropes; MoFo; Chadbourne Parke) … 2 years ago, there were 24 or 25 (and last year had about 19). I guess the firms don’t want to be paying the extra money for visas, etc. for Canadian students.

I know things have been tough for lots of top American law schools, but imagine only have four firms to interview with. That’s not competition, its a deathmatch between you and every other student.
Good luck, Canucks. You might not get legal jobs in America, but apparently you’ll always have a health care system that works better than ours.
Earlier: More Trauma For Duke Law School Students
OCI Update: Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner At George Washington

Morgan Lewis.JPGWe are living in a bizzaro world. Check out this fact pattern:
There’s a partner at Morgan Lewis with 18 years of experience. Morgan Lewis cancels its entire 2010 Summer Program. Partner leaves Morgan Lewis. For a more lucrative gig? No. He leaves to be the new head of career services at UVA Law School.
UVA Law has just hired Kevin Donovan, a former litigation partner at Morgan Lewis.
First of all, who leaves a partnership for a career services gig?
Secondly, the irony of a partner at a firm that just refused to hire rising 2Ls being in charge of finding jobs for rising 2Ls is rich. Is this some kind of twisted Marshal Plan? First you bomb it, then you build it?
After the jump, let’s take a look at Mr. Donovan’s qualifications and vision for UVA law students.

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souter2.jpg* Making law is hard to do: health care reform probably won’t pass before the August recess. [Washington Post]
* Why is New Jersey so ethically challenged? [WSJ Law Blog]
* The investigation into Michael Jackson’s death may be evolving into a manslaughter probe. [AP]
* Gatesgate update: The Cambridge police chief comes to the defense of the arresting sergeant (but Commissioner Haas also promises a review of the Gates case). Some officers want an apology from President Obama for his remarks. [Boston Globe]
* Justice Souter isn’t heading off into Salinger-esque New Hampshire seclusion just yet. First he will address the ABA at its annual meeting in Chicago next month. [The BLT]
* Speaking of Salinger, an appeal is being taken by Fredrik Colting, the Swedish author whose book based on “The Catcher in the Rye” has been blocked from publication here in the U.S. (Colting is represented by Edward Rosenthal and Frankfurt Kurnit — who also, by the way, sometimes represent your friends here at Breaking Media). [Am Law Daily]
* Bad news for laid-off lawyers (current and future): the recession is placing the unemployment benefits system under great strain, and some states are in violation of standards set by federal law for timely processing of claims. [New York Times]

Marc Dreier courtyard.jpgA certain big-time lawyer turned big-time fraudster — Marc Dreier, aka “Mini-Madoff” — will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars. He must miss his days of house arrest, when he got to hole up in 34C — not just a great bra size, but also a great apartment — at One Beacon Court.
That apartment is no longer his. The New York Law Journal reports:

The luxury midtown Manhattan apartment of disgraced attorney Marc S. Dreier was sold at auction for $8.2 million, about $2 million less than the $10.43 million he paid in 2007.

The sale of the condominium at 151 E. 58th St. came just one week after Southern District Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced Mr. Dreier to 20 years in prison for orchestrating a multi-year Ponzi scheme that fleeced more than $400 million from clients of Dreier LLP and investors to whom he sold bogus promissory notes.

Forty-six bidders registered for the auction held at Southern District Bankruptcy Court. In just five minutes, the price of Mr. Dreier’s 3,000-square-foot apartment in the Bloomberg Building at One Beacon Court rocketed to $8.15 million from an initial bid of $3 million.

Eight million isn’t chump change. But look at everything the buyer is getting!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Marc Dreier’s Penthouse Goes for $8.2 Million”

A reader sent this Craigslist ad along, noting the “uninhibited freedom of expression afforded to smaller firms” in their advertising as opposed to “uber-processed biglaw ads.” Yes, MidLaw and SmallLaw, thank you for providing the fuel for our Adventures in Lawyer Advertising series.
ninja for hire.jpg
The advertising California-based firm, Le Pelletier, has one of the strangest websites we’ve ever seen. There is only one attorney listed: the firm’s managing partner, Erin Carlstrom Pelletier. Her LinkedIn profile says she is a Yale undergrad, Pepperdine Law ’08 grad, who apparently started her own firm.
In case you can’t read it, here’s an excerpt from the ad:

Do you need a stealthy warrior specially trained in the unorthodox arts of law? How about a team that can sneak under the cover of darkness to silently assassinate your debt? Le and Pelletier, LLP can be your ninja! We will stalk your enemies like a shadow and strike before they ever knew what hit them.

The rest of the text and some gems from the firm’s site, after the jump.

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Sarah French Fox 61.JPG* Here’s an in-depth analysis of the Big Boob Fridays. It’s an analysis of the complaint, not the boobs. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
* Note to men in Miami: Please stop falling in love with porn stars, it always ends badly. [MSNBC]
* Oakland imposes a tax on marijuana. All that has to happen is for Oakland to become more prosperous than San Francisco thanks to this tax, and pot will be legalized everywhere. [The Stimulist]
* Statistics back up the anecdotal evidence that lawyers like social networking. [Young Lawyers Blog]
* It’s always sad when Stockholm Syndrome really takes hold and the captors force people to explain why they are in law school. [Jeremy Schacter's in Law School]
* Instead of trying to look busy, I think associates should go the other way. I think people should just sit in lawn chairs drinking cheap domestic beer right outside the assigning partner’s office until somebody gives you some freaking work, just to go away. [Litination]

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