October 2014

Back in November, Baker Botts told us that they would be moving away from a lockstep associate compensation system and instituting a new merit-based system. Yesterday the firm released the base salary levels for its new four-tiered system. Here’s the statement from the firm regarding the basic changes:

The next phase of a talent management program — moving from a lockstep to levels format to track associate progress at the firm — was announced today by Baker Botts Managing Partner Walt Smith. This new format is the latest enhancement of a multi-year plan to better manage associate development at all experience levels.

“Implementing this program will allow us to remain competitive in our efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest lawyers,” Smith said. “Importantly, it will help us foster an environment that emphasizes the attributes we believe are essential to our firm’s culture.”…

The compensation aspects of the program will be effective August 1, 2010. Base annual salary for entry-level lawyers will remain at $160,000.

The firm wouldn’t officially release the salary levels for more senior associates, but tipsters gave us the inside scoop…

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7th Circuit tells Judge James Holderman to "Hold it, man."

* The Seventh Circuit benchslaps Judge James Holderman mid-trial. [Chicago Tribune]

* Last night, we asked if there was a loophole in the Financial Reform Bill for the SEC with respect to public disclosure requests. The answer: no. [Washington Post]

* Have you wondered what the man who claims he owns a big chunk of Facebook has been smoking? [Forbes]

* Scores of FBI agents cheated on their privacy exams. That explains so much. [Washington Post]

* The House cracks down on drug sentencing disparities. [New York Times]

* A perk of going to law school in Ohio: Bar exam tailgating. [Columbus Dispatch via ABA Journal]

* Phoenix immigration lawyer gives advice on what to do if you are detained. [New America Media]

* Suing for equality in paradise. [Associated Press]

For those of you who are done with the July 2010 bar exam, congratulations! For those of you who still have another day left, our condolences — and good luck.

No administration of the bar is complete without some sort of mishap. The latest tale of woe comes from California. The state that some have called “ungovernable” also seems to have difficulty administering the bar exam.

Find out about goings-on in the Not-So-Golden State, and compare notes on the bar exam experience in different states around the country, after the jump.

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* Saggy pants never hurt nobody. [New York Law Journal]

* Is there a loophole in the Financial Reform Bill for the SEC with respect to public disclosure requests? [Fox Business]

* Puff, puff, pass. That’s some great medicine. [Underdog]

* Dancing lawyers. Look, it’s funny in Canada. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Accountants have to take exams too. Does that make you feel better, bar takers? [Going Concern]

* Thank God the DMCA isn’t a section on the bar exam. (It’s not a section on the bar exam, right?) [Infamy or Praise]

The 2011 Vault prestige rankings are out, giving meaning and purpose to those whose firms ranked in the top 20, and giving those further down the list inferiority complexes. (We’re talking to you, #21-formerly-#18.)

This thread covers the firms ranked #11 through #20. This is your chance to discuss these firms — their upsides and downsides and whether Vault got their rankings right. The Vault site has entries for each firm, similar to the Firm Snapshots in our own Career Center.

The “downers” category for most firms tends to be rather general: they treat me like a number, “long hours,” “unfun,” etc. But someone at #20-ranked White & Case had a very specific complaint about the firm’s lack of tech savvy: “The technology is very outdated. We still run Outlook 2003 and are not allowed to use iPhones. The blackberries we are given are over 2 years old and do not work well at times. The firm is not receptive to these issues.”

Little known White & Case perk: every new associate gets their own Commodore 64 for home use.

What are the reviews for the other firms in this bracket?

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It’s an entry-level luxury vehicle. It’s the sort of car you might see a first-year lawyer driving.

– Jalopnik editor Ray Wert, discussing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Acura TSX. Since Zuckerberg has professed not to believe in privacy and has helped to eradicate it with Facebook, Gawker gave him the paparazzi treatment, and discovered that he (and his car) are not actually very interesting.

This is going to come as a major surprise to many of you, but the Obama administration just won a victory in Federal Court.

I know, it’s crazy, but a federal judge actually sided with the Obama administration’s request for a preliminary injunction that will stay the effects of some provisions in Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. The Wall Street Journal reports:

A federal judge blocked key sections of Arizona’s tough new immigration law on Wednesday, granting the Obama administration’s request for an injunction based on the belief that immigration matters are the purview of the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed to enjoin several provisions, including one that required police officers to check the immigration status of a person stopped for an alleged other violation, such as speeding, if reasonable suspicion existed that the individual was illegally in the U.S.

It’s a preliminary victory of U.S. citizens who happen to look like illegal immigrants in the eyes of Arizona police officers…

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University of Chicago Law Professor and Lake Michigan rescuer, Randall Schmidt

University of Chicago law professor Randall Schmidt and his wife, Kristen Berg, can rightly be called heroes. That’s what you call people who rescue others from plane crashes on Lake Michigan.

Their incredible story was picked up in yesterday’s Chicago Daily Herald:

The Park Ridge couple, who rescued the only known survivor of a plane that crashed into Lake Michigan off the state’s western coast Friday, were on the second to last day of their annual boating trip, finishing breakfast on their 42-foot cabin cruiser, the “Kristin Says,” docked in Frankfort, Mich…

Around 10:15 a.m., after they’d been cruising for about an hour, Schmidt heard a fisherman call the U.S. Coast Guard on the radio about a plane in the water, a few miles off the coast of Ludington, Mich.

At that point the couple took immediate action to help the survivors…

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John Mantooth

Meet John Mantooth. The University of Oklahoma Law School grad and former JAG is running for a district judgeship in Oklahoma.

Now meet John Mantooth’s daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Andrew Schill, creators of a website called Do Not Vote for my Dad. On July 20, Jan Schill wrote:

District 21 judicial candidate John Mantooth is not a good father, not a good grandfather and in my opinion a review of his 37 year record as an attorney in Cleveland, Garvin and McClain Counties reveals that he would not be a good judge.

The Schills are shrill; in their next post, Andrew Schill — another Okie Law grad who worked in Mantooth’s office for a year — lambastes his father-in-law for giving them a crappy Christmas basket, including worm-ridden chocolates…

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Last week, Elie and I debated the subject of liberal bias in legal education. Does it exist? Does it matter? Many of you continued the debate, in the comments.

Since our discussion, a number of notable thinkers have also tackled the topic. They include what we’d describe as the legal world’s answer to the McLaughlin Group, a small gathering of highly opinionated and outspoken pundits: Richard Epstein, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and John Yoo. (This same trio recently debated the bar exam and its utility.)

So what did they have to say about liberal bias in legal academia?

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