February 2010

pink slip layoff notice Above the Law blog.jpgEd. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks, which has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
How many times have we heard this before?

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly increased last week, a sign that the economic recovery will be uneven as the labor market struggles to rebound.
Initial jobless applications rose by 22,000 to 496,000 in the week ended Feb. 20, the highest level in three months, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance gained and the four- week moving average of weekly claims jumped close to a three- month high.

At least it’s not just the employment sector that’s reporting bad news.

In the last week alone, reports on new and existing home sales, jobless claims, durable goods orders, consumer confidence and manufacturing have all missed expectations. Worries about a Greek debt default spreading to other vulnerable European nations have resurfaced — after quieting for a few weeks.

On the other hand, fourth-quarter earnings were spectacular compared to year-ago numbers. The financial sector, which spins off so much legal work, dragged overall earnings up 201% compared to last year – even without that segment, earnings were up 16%. It’s not clear yet whether strengthening corporate financials will be able to recover over the drag of economic data.
Meanwhile, it was all quiet on the law-firm front this week. Details after the jump.

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They’re overlawyered. They’re poisoned by lawyers.


Harry Markopolos, on what’s wrong with the SEC.

Thumbnail image for Courtship connection.jpgWe encourage you to put your love life in our hands. We’re accepting participants in Courtship Connections through Sunday. We have nearly 100 lone legal eagles thus far. Over 60% of respondents are between the ages of 26 and 30, with slightly more females (53%) than males.
This weekend is the last chance for New Yorkers to sign up. We’ll start playing Cupid in March. For those who have already responded, look forward to an email from us soon.
Satisfaction is not guaranteed, but we’ll do our best. If you’re NYC-based, single, and into the legal type, fill out our survey.
Earlier: Getting Back Together with ATL Courtship Connections (Calling all single New York lawyers….)

Sonnenschein logo.jpgToday is the last day at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal for Marc Zwillinger and Christian Genetski — the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of SNR’s internet practice group. Their bios have already been removed from the Sonnenschein website (our links go to cached versions), and if you email them — as we did, to confirm the news — you receive an out-of-office auto-reply announcing their departure (and providing contact info for their new firm).

They’re leaving to start a boutique law firm, Zwillinger Genetski LLP, which opens for business on March 1. Zwillinger and Genetski will be joined by several associates and staffers who are currently at Sonnenschein.

“We are very excited about our new firm,” Marc Zwillinger told ATL. “As for our departure, it couldn’t be more amicable.”

How amicable? Let’s find out.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Sonnenschein Internet Practice Group Leaders to Launch New Boutique”

Vancouver Olympics logo.jpg* Sorry, I can’t think of anything less important than the stupid Winter Olympics. I wouldn’t grant anybody a continuance in order to participate in reindeer games. [BL1Y]
* Blackmailing people into having sex with you is wrong. I do not support sexual extortion. Is that clear? Okay. Now, please take a look at this teen, he’s an evil genius. [Wired]
* Dechert is being shamed in England. [Roll on Friday]
* If you defer happiness, it might leave your sorry ass and find other employment. [WSJ Law Blog]
* I just assumed every contestant on The Bachelor had a sex tape. [Popsquire]
* How to avoid having sex while in law school. [Legally Noted]
* Gawker thinks Lat’s latest porn fetish requires immediate medical attention (last item). I got to watch him do it in a train station on the way back from Boston. It’s … pretty disturbing. [Gawker]

University of Maryland School of Law at Baltimore.jpgToday brings some updates in the controversy concerning the compensation of Karen Rothenberg, former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law. From this morning’s Baltimore Sun:

State university system officials have asked the former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law to return $60,000 in unauthorized compensation and have referred questionable payments totaling $410,000, which were revealed by a state legislative audit, to the attorney general’s office for review.
Chancellor William E. Kirwan revealed those actions and apologized for the audit’s findings at a hearing Thursday before the House subcommittee on education and economic development. He pinned responsibility for the $410,000 in payments on the recipient, former law dean Karen Rothenberg, and on David J. Ramsay, departing president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

And Chancellor Kirwan really threw President Ramsay and Dean Rothenberg under the bus….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former Maryland Law Dean Asked to Return ‘Questionable’ Compensation — But Will She?”

Nyenke-Robinson.jpg
LEWW congratulates Caroline Nyenke and LaRue Robinson, who narrowly edged out Tracy Zuckerman and Ryan Van Grack in Couple of the Year voting to take the 2009 crown. Unfortunately, we have no trophy to award them, but maybe someone will be moved by this honor to buy Caroline and LaRue that cutlery set they still need.
On to our remaining January couples:

1. Chingwin Pei and Adam Pyonin
2. Emily Scharfman and David Menchel
3. Michelle Ko and Tony Wong

Read all about these lawyer newlyweds, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Couple of the Year! (Plus New January Couples)”

NALP logo.JPGIf it seems I’m hard on the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), understand that it is out of love. We want NALP to succeed. We want them to gather reliable information from law firms; we want them to provide reasonable guidance for law students, schools, and firms. Having an organization like NALP sounds like such a good idea.
As my Dad used to say, “these occasional beatings hurt me more than they hurt you.”
But when NALP releases new provisional recruiting guidelines that address approximately zero issues regarding law firm recruiting, it’s hard not to go to the woodshed and start looking for switches. Here’s the headline news from NALP:

The NALP Board of Directors has announced provisional timing guidelines for the 2010 recruiting cycle, adopting a 28-day rolling response deadline for candidates not previously employed by the employer, and a November 1 response deadline for candidates who have been previously employed by the employer.
This decision comes on the heels of months of member outreach and industry dialogue about the legal industry’s recruiting processes. In a communication to its membership earlier today, the Board reported on the actions taken during its meeting yesterday.

The “old” NALP guideline provided for a 45-day open offer period. So, for those playing along at home, it took NALP a global economic recession and months of discussion for it to shave two and a half weeks off the open offer period. I’ve seen deck chair rearrangements more decisive than this….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Meet the New NALP Recruiting Guidelines, They’re Substantially Similar to the Old NALP Recruiting Guidelines.”

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
In the four months since I launched FantasySCOTUS.net, nearly 4,000 people have signed up, and made nearly 8,000 predictions for the 81 cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. When designing the system, I decided to allow people to make predictions up until the moment a case is decided by the Supreme Court. On days when opinions are handed down, I lock down the voting once I see that the Court has issued an opinion for a specific case. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced Maryland v. Shatzer at 10:00 a.m. I did not lock down the votes until around 11:30 a.m. In this period, several members changed their votes to get more points.
Really? Cheating on a Fantasy League with no cash prizes? What would motivate someone to do this? And what should I do about it?

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Thumbnail image for Red Cross public interest deferral stipend.JPGLast week, we wrote about an interesting claim made by Russ Ferguson in the American Spectator. The Georgetown Law grad suggested that fellow deferred grads who had a taste of the sweet nectar of the public interest lawyer lifestyle may not be willing to swallow Biglaw when the time comes. Even with a six-figure salary to help it go down.

We were skeptical. Law Shucks thinks he’s batsh*t crazy. However, when we polled the deferred — in our admittedly unscientific survey — a third of them said they were done with Biglaw:
Public interest deferral stipend poll results.jpg
That made us wonder. If you bail on Biglaw, what are the firm’s expectations when it comes to that $40k – $80k in go-away-and-play-for-a-year money?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If You Bail on Biglaw, Do You Have to Repay Your Deferral Stipend?”

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