January 2011

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

* Professor Carlton Larson has a great new paper exploring possible constitutional limitations on state laws regulating baby names. Could parental rights to name a child “Dumb Motherf**ker,” “Preserved Fish,” or “Latrina” be protected by the First Amendment? [SSRN via Legal Blog Watch]

* Speaking of the Wise Latrina, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a fan of bipartisan seating at the State of the Union. Her colleagues’ email skills? Not so much. [How Appealing]

* Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein on the Rahm Emanuel ruling: “Illinois law is better interpreted to say that before a Washington pol runs again in the midwest he needs some time reacquaint himself with the real world.” [Truth on the Market]

* Congratulations to DLA Piper, which will become the world’s largest law firm after a merger Down Under. [Bloomberg]

* And congratulations to former DLA partner Ted Segal — he’s moving over to regional firm Stradley Ronon, in part because of client concerns over billing rates. [Washington Business Journal]

* Wow, that was fast. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has already settled his lawsuit over olive-triggered dental damage. [Dave Weigel / Slate]

Sean Combs aka Diddy

* This complaint makes Jonathan Lee Riches v. Jared Lee Loughner sound like the height of sanity. A woman is suing P. Diddy, blaming him for the collapse of the World Trade Center. [Radar Online]

* A state transit agency in Virginia that has paid Williams Mullen more than $6.5 million over the past five years might be shifting legal work away from the firm. [Virginian-Pilot]

* You can call Above the Law “the most worst legal website published in the State of New York,” and we won’t sue you for defamation. (Cue jokes about truth as a defense in 3, 2, 1….) [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected].

Dear ATL,

I’m an associate at a mid-sized law firm, and I recently received an offer from a much larger and more prestigious firm. I’ve decided to accept. My question is: should I ask for a signing bonus, and if so, how large? The salary bump from what I’m earning right now is already huge, so I feel greedy asking for more, especially in this economy. But if I can get it, why not, right?

– Money Never Sleeps

Dear Money Never Sleeps,

Here’s a sample of some of the items that landed in my inbox this week: One reader wanted to know whether to ask the firm where she was contracting at to upgrade her to associate. Somebody else requested an opinion on whether law school was still a bad idea given that he currently makes $16,000 a year and manages a coffee shop. And Mint.com, my passive-aggressive personal finance site, emailed me to “let me know” that I was over budget for “Alcohol & Entertainment” expenditures in January. And then I received your question. Yeah….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Should You Ask for Lateral Signing Bonuses?”

In our coverage last month of top law firm partners to work for, Wilson Sonsini did well. See here and here.

(Speaking of Wilson Sonsini partners, the firm recently announced nine new ones — including Rick Frenkel, of “Troll Tracker” fame. Congratulations!)

Not only does WSGR have some great partners to work for, but they will also pay you if you work there. Getting paid is… nice.

How much will Wilson Sonsini associates receive in 2010 bonuses and 2011 base salaries?

Let’s look at the memo that went out yesterday….

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Earlier this week, we told you about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell over its taco fillings. The lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell inaccurately claims to be selling “seasoned beef” when in fact it is selling “taco meat filling.”

We didn’t think Taco Bell would take these allegations lying down. The WSJ Law Blog tells us that Taco Bell lawyers are thinking outside the bun box and contemplating a countersuit.

But today brings news of a more traditional response from the fast food giant: an all-out media blitz to assure customers about the quality of its food.

Taco Bell is issuing press releases, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, and even has their president talking about the Taco Bell “seasoned beef” recipe on YouTube. Sadly, Taco Bell isn’t available on SeamlessWeb here at the office — so I can talk about the ad campaign, but can’t experience it in my belly…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Taco Bell Launches Meaty Offensive Over Its Beef”

This week brought annual reviews and individual bonus news for associates at Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Today (Friday) is payday, so everyone at MLB should know their bonus by now (or fairly soon).

Back in November, firm chairman Francis M. Milone stated that 2010 bonuses would be “substantially larger” than last year. So that set expectations fairly high.

Did the MLB bonuses live up to the hype?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis & Bockius”

I know lots of guys fantasize about boinking “barely legal” teenage girls. Not me, I like women: fully formed, adult women. There’s just something unseemly about older men salivating over girls who could have been in high school a year ago. Call me crazy, but it’s just more interesting as an adult to be intimate with other adults.

Similarly, I like my lawyers to actually practice law. There’s something unseemly about watching market forces turn law school graduates into glorified paralegals and secretaries. Call me a prude, but there’s just something gross about seeing young, nubile attorneys going around begging for document review positions. These people spent three years of their lives and six figures of their (or someone else’s) money to get law degrees; they should have something to show for their efforts.

But even if I don’t like to look, I can’t deny that this is happening. We are all living in a time that will be studied by future generations: a time when attorney career paths bifurcated, between traditional partnership-track associates and what I’ll call “barely legal” career paths….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Graduates: Welcome to Your ‘Barely Legal’ Future”

* Rahm’s back. And now you’re all in big BIG trouble. [Chicago Tribune]

* It was a resounding victory for Rahm Emanuel, but two justices didn’t think the majority needed to benchslap so hard. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* No more jokes about Allen Stanford. Still, that picture reminds me of a Geto Boys album cover. [TPMMuckraker]

* All your Facebook pics are belong to us. [Reuters]

* Arizona is like that racist uncle who won’t shut up about immigrants and refuses to leave even after peeing in the corner of your mom’s dining room. Don’t act like your family is better than mine. [Arizona Republic]

* So this kid dumped a piano onto a sandbar off the coast of South Florida, all for a college application. The art school equivalent of a 180. [New York Times]

Developments are flying fast and furious out of Howrey. Yesterday we passed along reports that Howrey’s merger talks with Winston & Strawn were off. Today we’re hearing that they might be back on (or that they never stopped in the first place).

According to the U.K.-based Legal Week (via the ABA Journal), the talks are ongoing. The parties are represented by Thomas Fitzgerald, managing partner of Winston, and Sean Boland, vice chairman of Howrey. Winston is apparently attracted to antitrust at Howrey, an area where Winston wants to expand.

Corroboration of continued Winston / Howrey discussions from a U.S. source, plus some interesting internal emails from Howrey leadership, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey Going to Make This Merger Happen?
(Plus two interesting internal emails.)

* An interesting interview with Professor Benjamin H. Barton about his new book, The Lawyer-Judge Bias in the American Legal System, which demonstrates what many laypeople suspect: namely, that the legal system is rigged to benefit lawyers over the public. Professors Barton and Reynolds discuss why this might be the case and also compare the legal to the medical profession in this respect. [Instavision with Glenn Reynolds / PJTV]

* Eric Turkewitz channeling Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “Look, let’s be blunt here. Who is in a better position to pay the costs of an injury if a city bus injures people? Our strapped city budget, or the victims?” [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Obama says drug legalization is worth a debate. For those scoring at home: we can talk about legalizing drugs, but we can’t talk about controlling guns. [Huffington Post]

* Meanwhile, Florida criminalizes… bath salts? Bonobo Bro has the winning blurb: “Check out this example of the brocist nanny state trying to get in the way of spring break, bath salts that have cocaine like effects and a few other of the principals this great nation was founded on.” [WJHG]

Fred Thompson

* Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana won’t seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. [Politico]

* Speaking of former Republican presidential hopefuls, Fred Thompson prepares to lobby on behalf of trial lawyers. Seriously. Cancel Law & Order and the universe starts breaking down. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The number eight proves lucky for one taker of the New Hampshire bar exam — and the number $140,000, not so lucky. After passing the NH bar exam on his eighth try, the debt-laden lad gets dinged on character and fitness — a familiar tale by now. [Legal Profession Blog via ABA Journal]

* Gotta love it when Jamie Dimon gets catty. [Dealbreaker]

* A corporate partner in the Moscow office of Baker Botts apparently took his own life. John Sheedy, R.I.P. [Am Law Daily]

Springtime for Hitler? No, silly — Springtime for Associate Bonuses! And just like the (in)famous “show within a show” from The Producers, this production is a huge hit.

This afternoon, Cleary Gottlieb announced spring bonuses on the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. They’re payable on April 29, just like those of Simpson Thacher.

What else is there to say?

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