October 2014

wedding marriage.jpgThat’s the news we’re hearing out of Austin today. When Texas added a constitutional amendment in 2005 banning gay marriage, it may have actually banned all marriage, says attorney general candidate (and former Vinson & Elkins partner) Barbara Ann Radnofsky.
Fort Worth Star Telegram broke the story. Slate sums it up:

A Houston lawyer who is the Democratic candidate for attorney general claims that a 2005 Constitutional amendment that was supposed to ban gay marriages actually took the whole thing a bit further than anyone expected. The amendment states that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” So far, so good.
But then comes Subsection B: “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” That was supposed to ban any form of civil unions or domestic partnership but may have put the legal status of all Texas marriages in doubt.

Texas: 3500 sq ft, a Lexus and babies out of wedlock?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If You Got Married in Texas in the Last Few Years, Are You Really Married?”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGSkadden has decided to match the Cravath scale.
Here’s the scale:

2008 — $7,500
2007 — $10,000
2006 — $15,000
2005 — $20,000
2004 — $25,000
2003 — $30,000
2002 — $30,000

With Skadden and Cravath on the same page, the rest of this bonus season might be devoid of any real drama. Associates will take their $7,500 and up and like it.
Skadden’s move here isn’t all that surprising. Last year, the firm doubled the Cravath payment. While that generated a lot of positive press for the firm, evidently good cheer isn’t something that shows up on the partners’ bottom line.
And you know that Cravath has to be happy about this. Now the firm won’t have to look like it paid low bonuses two years in a row.
We should expect the rest of the top firms to fall in line. Now the question turns to firms that are not in the position of Cravath, Skadden, and Cleary. Will they fall into line with the big boys, or might they go even lower?
Then again, how much lower can this bar really go?
After the jump, check out the memo senior associates got from Skadden about their Cravath bonus.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Skadden Bonuses Are Out … And Not Very Exciting”

New Yorker nobody knows you are a dog.JPGAs an editor of Above the Law, I find the headline below amusing. As a commenter on Above the Law, some of you will find the headline terrifying. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A single vulgar word cost a man his job on Friday.

Well, that’s putting way too nice of a spin on it. It’s not like somebody put in a vulgar comment and then the secret police crashed his cubicle and then kicked him out on the street.
No, the blogger who noticed and deleted the vulgar comment called the commenter’s employer:

A few minutes later, the same guy posted the same single-word comment again. I deleted it, but noticed in the WordPress e-mail alert that his comment had come from an IP address at a local school. So I called the school. They were happy to have me forward the e-mail, though I wasn’t sure what they’d be able to do with the meager information it included.

Armed with the IP address, the IT people at the school quickly found out who posted the comment. The commenter was confronted and resigned.
Would I ever do something like that? No. Because I’m drunk with alcohol, not power.
Let me explain after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Making a Vulgar Comment Now Gets You Fired?”

Obama Nobel.jpgPresident Obama seems to have made up his mind about the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed circus trial that will be coming to a New York courthouse near you. The Associate Press reports (gavel bang: ABA Journal):

Obama, in a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, said those offended by the legal rights accorded Mohammed by virtue of his facing a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”

I’ve argued that Obama isn’t as cool as everybody makes him out to be, but that was certainly some cold-ass rhetoric. “[W]hen the death penalty is applied to him”? Damn brother, you sending in the Wolf too?
Of course, after the jump, the lawyer part of Obama’s brain kicks in and he backpedals like a professional cornerback.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Obama: Starting to Get the Hang of This Whole ‘Prejudging’ Thing”

A tipster just sent in this video from UCLA:

Berkeley students, take note. That is how you cause a ruckus.
The AP reports:

About 200 demonstrators are chanting and marching around a UCLA building where University of California regents are scheduled to vote on a 32 percent fee increase for next year.
Protesters from several UC campuses stayed overnight at a campus tent city to take part in a second day of demonstrations on Thursday.
UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton says 30 to 50 students also have staged a sit-in at an ethnic studies building and have chained shut the doors. They’re peaceful and are being allowed to stay.

Sadly, reports indicate that it is predominately college students that are involved in today’s shenanigans. Are all the law students already mentally beaten?
We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.
Get mad, but stay safe. Rubber bullets hurt like hell.
Protesters gather at UCLA to oppose UC fee hike [Associated Press]
UPDATE: UCLA student protest now in full swing [True/Slant]
Earlier: Berkeley Law Students, How Did the ‘Not Ironic’ Strike Go?

Mr Pink no tip.JPGSomewhere Mr. Pink is smiling. The Express-Times reports:

Moravian College senior Leslie Pope and John Wagner, a Lehigh University graduate student, were handcuffed and transported from the Lehigh Pub to Bethlehem police headquarters Oct. 23 after failing to pay a mandatory 18 percent gratuity.
Pope and Wagner, members of a party of eight during happy hour, refused to pay a $16.35 service charge on top of their $73.87 tab because of what they say was shoddy service as well as a surcharge that was nearly 5 percent higher than the 18 percent listed on the menu.
“Gratuity is thanking you for your service,” Pope, 22, said. “You can’t give us terrible, terrible service and expect a tip.”

These kids don’t have any idea about what they’re talking about. These people bust their ass. This is a hard job.
According to Pope and Wagner the service was really bad. After the jump, a tipster throws out some counterclaim ideas.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is it Illegal Not to Tip?”

northwestern law school.gifA couple of days ago, we mentioned the new Super Lawyers Law School Rankings. The list ranks law schools by their number of Super Lawyer alumni. At the time, we noted that a potential flaw with the magazine’s methodology was that it is just looking at raw numbers. The rankings aren’t adjusted for class size.
Northwestern Law placed #18 on the list. That’s not too bad if you care about things like rankings. The school placed higher than other traditional Top-14 law schools like Stanford, Duke, and Cornell.
But Northwestern Law Dean David E. Van Zandt does care about rankings. He cares about them a great deal. And while #18 is certainly respectable, it wasn’t quite enough for Dean Van Zandt. Here’s part of his email to Northwestern law students:

As you know, I am a proponent of rankings in general and believe they provide a useful source of consumer information for applicants as well as employers. While their methodology needs improving, I applaud Super Lawyers Magazine for developing a ranking that is based on career performance outputs.

So — in a brilliant exercise of Descartian rationale — Dean Van Zandt changed the list. He (or somebody that works for him) went and changed the methodology to make Northwestern look even more awesome.
Let’s check out Super Lawyers according to Van Zandt after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Northwestern Law Adjusts Super Lawyers Rankings and Is Pleased with Itself”

outsourcing biglaw aba tsunami.gifIt appears that Magic Circle firms have fallen in love with outsourcing. Most American associates will hope that like Mad Cow disease, the outsourcing craze stays on English side of the ocean. The Lawyer reports:

Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the first magic circle firm to outsource legal work as an increasing number of UK firms embrace legal process outsourcing (LPO) in a bid to reduce their overheads.
The firm has partnered with LPO provider Integreon to outsource basic litigation document review to teams in New York and Mumbai, in what could generate a 30-50 per cent cost saving.

Anybody think we’ll see some geographic hypocrisy in the comment thread? Outsourcing to New York = good, outsourcing to Mumbai = bad? Or will everybody simply agree that outsourcing = apocalyptic?
After the jump, The Lawyer has an excellent chart that shows us where British firms stand with regards to outsourcing.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “British Firms Catch Outsourcing Fever”

Thumbnail image for plane.jpg* Duke law grad Stanley Hilton, 60, sues San Francisco Airport (and some 500 others) for $15 million for ruining his life. The airport noise, which sounds like “bombs dropping in a war zone,” caused his marriage and career to fall apart, he alleges. [San Mateo County Times via San Francisco Chronicle]
* The Ninth Circuit rules that L.A. public defender is entitled to health benefits for his same-sex spouse. [Mercury News]
* ‘I don’t. Furthermore, I am pressing charges.’ New Jersey attorney Steve Hallett accuses woman of harassment after she runs a fake engagement notice. [Trentonian]
* Eric Holder still feeling the heat from his decision to try 9/11 masterminds in a civilian court. [Chicago Tribune]
* … Some questions about the trial that are actually interesting. [Concurring Opinions]
* Terrorist attorney Lynne Stewart is heading to jail. [Associated Press]
* Say it ain’t so, H&H. [Associated Press]

Berkeley Law School Boalt Hall.jpgYesterday, we told you that big tuition hikes could be coming to schools in the University of California system. But we didn’t know that Berkeley students had a plan to do something about it. They’re going out on strike! With university workers who want a raise! Or something!
Hey, it’s the Berkeley way. When they are pissed about something, they protest. It’s better than the Harvard way; when we’re pissed about something, we ask Daddy to fire somebody.
[Yale way = invite SCOTUS justice to speak about the issue, ask justice only clerkship application questions. UT way = shoot it. NYU way = wait to see how Columbia handles the problem. I could go on and on.]
The protest was scheduled for today. Those hardcore Berkeley students were even asking professors to reschedule classes so more people could participate in the strike.
(Wait for it)
Yes, you read that correctly. Students wanted to strike, but didn’t want to risk missing class.
After the jump, the Berkeley law blog, Nuts & Boalts explains the problems with this plan:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Berkeley Law Students, How Did the ‘Not Ironic’ Strike Go?”

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