October 2014

Wait, did Charlie Sheen get a Cravath bonus too?

* While Cravath reignites competition over associate bonuses, Howrey associates are starting to wonder if ATL is running any kind of Nationwide Severance Watch. [Washingtonian]

* Is the Cravath bonus big enough that we could call it the “Live Charlie Sheen’s life for a day” bonus? [Radar Online]

* Hillary Clinton completed the “full Ginsburg” on Sunday; we’ll see if S&C goes the full Cravath before the week is out. [Political Wire]

* I’m not surprised a couple of Harvard students were the first ones to try and use computers to get laid back in 1965. Even today, few Harvard students understand that the key to getting chicks to pursue you is to get a job at Cravath. [GQ]

* With the Superbowl in town, Dallas judges are limiting their requests for jurors in an effort to ease traffic. Or they could just tell them that they’ll only be receiving a Skadden bonus for their time; that should keep people from showing up. [Star-Telegram]

Amy Chua

* I’m not in favor of strict constitutionalism, but for the first time in a while, strict Cravathism might be good for the Biglaw market. [Bell and Bar]

* Hearing Larry Summers fight with Amy Chua over how to educate young girls is like hearing Weil Gotshal lecture Cravath on how to be a market leader in associate compensation. [Wall Street Journal]

* This week’s Blawg Review addresses nasty internet commenters. Sounds like the Blawg Reviewers are hearing a lot of stuff from DPW associates as opposed to peer, Cravath commenters. [Koehler Law via Blawg Review]

The venerable firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore — still widely regarded as setting the market for associate compensation at large law firms, even if other places pay more — has announced springtime bonuses. These bonuses are on top of the recent year-end bonuses that Cravath paid in December 2010.

And get this: the CSM bonuses are higher than the spring bonuses previously announced by Sullivan & Cromwell. Wow!!!

For the classes of 2010 though 2008, the bonuses are on the S&C scale. But for the class of 2007 on up (more senior), the Cravath bonuses are more generous than SullCrom’s.

It seems that Cravath has gotten the memo: Cachet is nice, but cash is nicer.

So how generous are the Cravath bonuses for the more senior classes?

UPDATE (8:45 PM): After the jump, we have added a table comparing the Cravath total bonus to the Sullivan & Cromwell / Simpson Thacher / Cleary Gottlieb total bonus.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Cravath Enters the Bonus Wars — and Beats S&C!”

Well this should be fun. Florida federal judge Roger Vinson has struck down the heart of Obama’s health care reform plan, finding that the individual mandate part of the bill is unconstitutional and therefore the whole thing is unconstitutional.

As Ashby Jones points out on the WSJ Law Blog, that makes the score 2 – 2. Two federal judges have upheld the law; two others have struck it down.

You know what that means? It means that very soon America will be operating under the Anthony M. Kennedy health care system. Does Justice Kennedy think that I have a right to health care? Does he think that pre-existing conditions should be covered? Is he comfortable having an entire nation’s health care system held hostage by a few insurance giants?

Exciting questions! I can’t wait to see how a man who nobody elected will decide our medical futures….

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Above the Law’s coverage of small law firms is about to ramp up. We will soon be announcing our two new writers on the small firm beat.

(If you responded to our open call for new columnists, we thank you for your interest. We received a slew of excellent applications, which made the selection process very difficult.)

Also on the topic of small firms, I recently had the pleasure of judging the LexisNexis Ultimate Law Firm Marketing Makeover contest, open to solo practitioners and small law firms across the country. I was joined on the judging panel by legal marketing guru Larry Bodine; Carolyn Elefant, of MyShingle.com; and David Palmieri and Carol Eversen, both vice presidents at LexisNexis.

So who won the grand prize — a suite of LexisNexis law firm marketing services, valued at $50,000?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congratulations to the Winner of LexisNexis’s Small Law Firm Marketing Makeover!”

Judge Gary Sharpe

Do you think there is a child porn “gene”? It’s an interesting scientific question (although I don’t really care, because I don’t believe in genetic determinism). I’m sure that one day science will give us some kind of answer.

But it is not this day. At this point we don’t know if there are any genetic predispositions that explain why sick-ass people are sexually excited by naked children.

This limit in our scientific understanding did not stop U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe from sentencing an offender based on his belief about what science will one day uncover.

Well, the power of judges may be inscrutable, but it’s not absolute. They can’t make entire sequences of DNA show up on demand. They can’t see into the future. And apparently they can’t keep their sentences from being overturned on appeal when they base their decisions on science that does not exist…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Sentence Based on Judge’s Genetic Theories Overturned”

Job openings in the legal industry are up by 97 percent (December 2010 over December 2009).

A Sign of Hope for More Hiring, New York Times

(Speaking of jobs, Above the Law has a new jobs board. If you’re looking for a new job, check out all the listings over here. If you’re an employer with a position you’re looking to fill, please email winnie@breakingmedia.com. Thanks.)

Confucius say: "Sit down and watch my home video of my Carnival cruise or I'll sue you."

Chinese New Year is this week (February 3rd). May the year of the rabbit bring you health and good fortune. Holiday preparations are well underway, and hopefully people will take the time to reconnect with family and friends.

And if you don’t visit your parents, they might sue you. A new proposal from the Chinese Civil Affairs Ministry seeks to mandate parental visits from Chinese children. And if the children don’t regularly visit their parents, the parents can sue.

We shouldn’t look at this as a new law: it’s just a modern update on an ancient law. Old people have long tried to find ways of forcing their kids to pay attention to them. Some societies use laws, others use the magical threat of eternal damnation. Some parents merely trust that their own skills in psychological torture will keep the kiddies hanging around on the off chance that one day mommy or daddy will be “proud” of them.

But as modern medicine artificially extends life, every society is wrestling with the problem of what to do with old people nobody cares about anymore. China has a long history of trying to regulate the most intimate of familial interactions, so when you think about it, this proposal isn’t really shocking…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tiger Mothers’ Hoping to Sue the Children Who Grow Up to Hate Them”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

It’s odd to be one of the legal world’s shoulders to cry on.

This began when I went in-house a little more than a year ago. I started getting calls from lawyer-friends asking me how I’d managed to pull this off and how they could replicate the move. Then Lat and Mystal invited me to write this column, and complete strangers started to pose the same questions to me.

It’s like being Ground Zero for the disaffected.

This gives you a skewed view of the world, because folks who are delighted with their jobs don’t chime in (or, at least, don’t chime in to express disaffection). But being on the receiving end of so many bad vibes does make you sensitive to how many unhappy lawyers exist.

This made me a keen observer last week at a presentation about how workforce happiness affects operational results….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Human Resources and the Law”

* Lawyers, just as an FYI, downgrading from a Porsche to a Beamer won’t make you look poor. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* Representing Porsche and then punching another lawyer in the head? That’s another story. [Times-Tribune]

* Repeal this, bitch. The Ninth Circuit has politely flipped the DOJ the bird over its request to suspend a DADT lawsuit. [Washington Post]

* Stiffing a stripper after getting a stiffy is just bad form – $32,000 worth of boners plus interest ain’t cheap. [New York Post]

* Being asked to “gay it up” on American Idol isn’t so bad. Ryan Seacrest makes $15M a year for doing that. [Toronto Sun]

* Patent laws might change, but I’m more interested in the invention in the picture. What’s a Lapkin? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* After striking out against Irving Picard, the Mets are looking to sell. “MAYBE FINALLY THESE MORONS CAN SELL THE TEAM ALREADY!!!! SELL THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!” [New York Daily News]

* The first rule of law in Egypt is that you do not talk about rule of law in Egypt. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Ed. note: Gabe Acevedo will be covering LegalTech for Above the Law this year. If you are interested in communicating with someone from ATL about LegalTech coverage, please contact Gabe at gabe@gabesguide.com. Thanks.

The pregame show for LegalTech New York 2011 has been in full swing the last few weeks. Vendors and their PR reps have been constantly reaching out via emails, text messages, phone calls, and smoke signals, to contact industry experts, “thought leaders,” law firm decision makers, members of the media, and, perhaps most importantly, knuckleheads like me. All are doing their best to generate “buzz” before they announce their new products, alliances, services — fill in the blank as you see fit — at the conference.

Then, at 9:00 AM on Monday, LegalTech New York will open with what I am certain will be a riveting keynote address from Gabriel Buigas, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Hewlett Packard, entitled Legal vs. IT: Turn the Battle into a Solution to Meet Compliance. At that point, everything will reach a crescendo.

Well, not exactly.

Don’t get me wrong; I am sure Gabriel Buigas will give an excellent speech. But the real action will begin at 10 AM, when the doors to the exhibit hall open. That is when all hell breaks loose, and hundreds of technology vendors will be eagerly waiting to share with you the great news about their respective companies.

With that as a backdrop, here is some of what I expect to see at this year’s LegalTech….

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