sidley.gifThe big news out of Sidley Austin today involves Brian Schroeder, a 2009 Harvard Law School graduate who recently turned himself in for setting fire to a chapel housing the remains of 9/11 victims. Earlier today, the firm told ATL it was rescinding Schroeder’s job offer.

But there are other developments at Sidley too. Regarding start dates for class of 2010 graduates, a source reports:

Sidley Austin sent out letters regarding their deferral program. The details are a January 2012 start date, not optional. Health insurance coverage starting June 1, 2010 (thank goodness), and a stipend of $5000 / month starting January 2011. As usual, no stipend if we work for another law firm, and they reserve the right to call us back early if hell freezes over work picks up.

Sidley declined to comment on its deferral program.

On the subject of being summoned to work before 2011, we’d tell the tipster: hey, it might happen. As you may recall, some Sidley D.C. incoming associates were contacted over the summer and asked to start early.

A year and a half is a long time to be deferred. Hopefully members of the class of 2010 won’t get into as much trouble as Brian Schroeder during their time off.

CORRECTION: As noted in the comments, and confirmed by emails sent to us directly, Sidley is splitting up the class of 2010. Some are starting in January 2012 and some in January 2011 (which is apparently the earliest start date).

Speaking of Brian Schroeder, we wanted to draw your attention to one reader comment that struck us as funny, as well as yet yet another testimonial about him (to add to the prior ones).

Check them out after the jump.

We appreciated this comment, questioning Sidley’s rescission of Schroeder’s offer:

I am really surprised by Sidley’s actions. Wouldn’t having this guy on your firm strike fear into the hearts of opposing counsel? Like, for instance, say Sidley was representing someone who was suing a church, the Sidley partner could say “settle or we will have Brian burn your f-ing church to the ground, I don’t care whose remains are inside.”

(We note for the record, in case you feel guilty about chuckling over this comment, that the remains in the chapel were thankfully undamaged.)

The testimonial about Brian Schroeder that appears below raises an interesting point about internet comments and anonymous commenters:

[A]ll this has very little to do with Brian himself or what he did or why (the bizarre furor over his fake Halloween-costume ballpoint pen tattoos makes that clear enough, as far as I’m concerned). Instead, this seems to me like a headline — “______ burns down 9/11 chapel!” — for which anyone can fill-in-the-blank with whatever vague epithet best confirms their own worldview. “Godless liberal,” “gay radical,” “selfish, entitled Ivy League brat,” “evil lawyer (or, ATL specific: FTT/Biglaw scum)” — Brian is already becoming a canvas onto which anyone can project their existing biases or insecurities.

This is a very astute observation. Aggressive anonymous comments often reveal more about the commenter, and his or her own prejudices and insecurities, than the subject of the attack.

Given the diversity of Team ATL, we are often subjected to racist, sexist, or homophobic attacks. We don’t lose sleep over these comments — and we’d urge Brian Schroeder’s friends not to fret over what’s being said about him online either.

It’s just the internet, after all.

TESTIMONIAL FROM AN HLS ALUMNUS ABOUT BRIAN SCHROEDER

I want to join in the chorus of HLS voices speaking out in Brian Schroeder’s defense. In the 4 years I’ve had to get to know Brian, he’s never been anything but nice, thoughtful, generous, inquisitive, and fun. I can’t defend what Brian may have done, but then again, from what I’ve read in the NY press, he isn’t trying to either. The last few days have been a tremendous shock to me and to everyone that knows him…nothing any of us would have ever seen coming. It’s already clear that Brian will pay dearly for this weekend’s events, both personally and professionally. But I remain convinced that he is a fundamentally a good person and that I am deeply fortunate to know him.

My view, for whatever it’s worth: from both ATL and from other news sources, I very much get the impression that all this has very little to do with Brian himself or what he did or why (the bizarre furor over his fake Halloween-costume ballpoint pen tattoos makes that clear enough, as far as I’m concerned). Instead, this seems to me like a headline — “______ burns down 9/11 chapel!” — for which anyone can fill-in-the-blank with whatever vague epithet best confirms their own worldview. “Godless liberal,” “gay radical,” “selfish, entitled Ivy League brat,” “evil lawyer (or, ATL specific: FTT/Biglaw scum)” — Brian is already becoming a canvas onto which anyone can project their existing biases or insecurities.

The truth is, none of those concepts comes anywhere close to describing who Brian actually is: a smart, funny, kind person, deeply devoted to his friends, to his community, and to exploring, understanding, and ultimately improving the world around him.

Earlier: Sidley Austin Rescinds Brian Schroeder’s Job Offer
Harvard Law Grad Sets Fire to 9/11 Chapel (and His Future Legal Career?)


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