October 2014

One Dedman School of Law student may be a dead man. He may have picked the wrong person’s wife to have an affair with.

Here’s the set-up: a husband suspects that his wife, a student at SMU Law School, is cheating on him with another SMU Law student.

So the husband sets up a video camera in the SMU Law parking garage… and hilarity ensues.

Oh, and did I mention that the cuckolded husband apparently has cancer? And that his wife looks like a blond hottie? Yeah, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing you’d expect to happen in Texas.

Of course there’s video of the whole thing, which you MUST check out….

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* You know, I think the National Organization for Women should just try to pretend that Hooters doesn’t exist. The restaurant is just going to piss them off; who needs the aggravation? [ABA Journal]

* If you trust legal advice you receive over Twitter, you’ve already lost. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Apparently, Iowa lawmakers see no use in having three independent branches of government. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Pretty cute comic strip on taking the LSAT, but they must have forgotten the panel where the dead grandmother applies hairspray to the correct answer choice. [LSAT Blog]

* Wow, the promissory estoppel guys have been surprisingly ineffective at breaking through the white noise. [Concurring Opinions]

* Dueling is still not cool for lawyers in Kentucky. [Lowering the Bar]

There’s no denying all the good news over at Sidley Austin. The firm just named 28 new partners, up from 15 last year. It recently snagged three leading litigators from Howrey: Gary Bendinger, who served as co-chair of litigation at Howrey, and two of his partners, Gregory Ballard and Kevin Burke.

And as we reported yesterday, Sidley paid out bonuses that made some of its associates very, very happy. Some associates received bonuses that were twice the Cravath scale.

But not all Sidley associates were quite this fortunate — and we have since heard from some of them. We also have the full Sidley memo.

A more balanced view of the Sidley Austin bonuses, plus the full memo, after the jump.

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This shouldn’t come as a shock, but Debevoise & Plimpton just announced its 2010 associate bonuses, and it is matching Cravath.

With so many top firms already matching Cravath — including several in the Vault’s top ten for prestige, such as Skadden, Davis Polk, and Weil Gotshal — is it less likely that Sullivan & Cromwell will try to beat Cravath, since “peer firms” are already signaling that they’d like to just stick with the CSM scale? Or is it maybe more likely, since it would make S&C look that much better in the eyes of prospective hires to trounce multiple rivals in the compensation department?

The Debevoise memo appears after the jump.

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Another person who wasn’t watching the finale of The Apprentice last week? Miley Cyrus. Instead, the 18-year old Hannah Montana wacktress took a break from her usual routine of grinding on stripper poles and groping in 21-and-over clubs to take bong hits at her birthday party at her L.A. home. TMZ has the whole episode on tape, and I urge you to watch, as it will make you nostalgic for dorm parties and WinAmp.

When you heard this news (it broke a week ago; I work full-time, cut me some slack), you were probably as shocked and outraged as I was that such a wholesome young starlet could betray her fans by doing illegal drugs. But just about as you were about to un-follow her on Twitter, “a source connected with Miley” — i.e., her GENIUS publicist — saved the day, announcing that Miley’s activities were perfectly benign: “According to a source connected with Miley … the smoke filling the bong is a natural herb called salvia which has psychedelic qualities.”

PHEW. Because when you work in Hollywood, you tell all the coke dealers to scram and buy fake drugs instead.

But what is salvia?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Is Salvia the New Four Loko?”

Late last night, Congress passed a compromise tax bill that will, among other things, cap the estate tax at 35% (with a $5 million exemption). If not for this compromise, the estate tax would have returned in 2011, at rates as high as 55 percent (with a $1 million exemption).

Hallelujah. Anytime you can save wealthy dead people millions of dollars during a time of crushing federal deficits, that’s something you just have to do. Way to go, Obama. When I voted for you in 2008, really I was just trying to vote for four more years of Bush’s ruinous fiscal policies.

Obama isn’t just saving money for all the dauphins eager to get their hands on their inheritances; he could be saving lives. Duke Law professor Richard Schmalbeck apparently thinks that rich old people might have killed themselves in droves over the next two weeks. Schmalbeck suggests that after spending a lifetime working hard and earning money, hundreds “or even a few thousand” of the aging rich might have committed suicide in the waning days of 2010, in order to pass on as much of their money to their children as they can before the estate tax returns in 2011.

I shudder to think that somebody would commodify their own life in such a way. But then again, I’m not rich. Maybe you only get rich in this country by being the kind of person who would gladly kill yourself if the price is right…

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This experience has been both profound and humbling. I have been able to reflect on my relationship with the universe and despite the physical incarceration of the past year, it has been incredibly emancipating for all other aspects of my being. Everything I have learned, seen, and lived I regard as invaluable in the journey of my life. I embrace this entire experience as a necessary one in the fulfillment of my future and destiny.

Kumari Fulbright, Arizona law student and beauty queen turned convicted felon, in a letter to Judge Michael Miller (who sentenced her last week).

If we were to hold a contest for “Law Firm Whose Name Sounds Most Like That of a Drag Queen,” the clear winner would be Kaye Scholer. Just drop that first “e” to form “Kay Scholer” — doesn’t she sound fierce? Scroll through this list of drag queen names. Wouldn’t Kay Scholer fit right in?

(Hey — this sounds like a fun idea for a post. If you have an idea for a law firm whose name could inspire a drag name — e.g., Morgan Lewis, Proskauer Rose (“Rose Proskauer”), Saxena White — please put in the comments or email us, subject line “Drag Name.” If we get enough submissions, we’ll hold a contest.)

Sorry, where were we? Ah yes, Kaye Scholer. Earlier this week, the firm announced its 2010 bonus schedule.

For the most part, it’s the Cravath scale, with an hours requirement (1950 hours, 1800 billable). But associates who go over 2400 hours (2250 billable) will find something extra in their stockings this year….

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* This Illinois woman can officially tell people that by law her sh*t doesn’t stink. It actually smells like poinsettias. [Northwest Herald]

* A lawsuit that started with a bang has fizzled out in small claims court. Such is life when delicious delicacies detonate on your plate. [San Jose Mercury News]

* The Obama administration is aggressively protecting our lakes from crap. Okay, fine, carp, but I wanted to enjoy at least one Elie moment. [Wall Street Journal]

* Handing out cigarettes like candy to little black kids will not only render you soulless, but also about $81M poorer. [Washington Post]

* Judge Vinson likens forcing people to buy insurance to forcing them to wear clothes. You gotta admit, life would be good if everyone got naked. [Los Angeles Times]

* What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except for herpes. And money laundering, too. That’ll come back with you, especially if you’re a lawyer. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Back in June, we wrote about an amusing effort by Winston & Strawn to rewrite history. The firm edited an historical press release to omit all mention of sketchy lawyer Jonathan Bristol, who joined Winston as a partner from Thelen.

Now Winston has even more reason to be embarrassed by its former partner. Earlier today, Jonathan Bristol was both sued by the SEC, for aiding and abetting fraud, and arrested on federal criminal charges, for money laundering. The civil suit and criminal charges arose out of Bristol’s legal work for Kenneth Starr — no, not the former Whitewater independent counsel, but the money manager to the stars who stole money from his celebrity clients.

(Interestingly enough, Ken Starr the fraudster — he’s pleaded guilty, so no need for “alleged” here — is also a lawyer. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School.)

The indictment against Jonathan Bristol, brought by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, has some juicy details. For example: How much did Bristol earn while at Winston?

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