Antitrust

Joran van der Sloot

* Bob Morse announces that new jobs data may be used to change the methodology for calculating law school employment rates. Because Bob Morse has to do the ABA’s job for them. HIYOOOO! [U.S. News & World Report]

* And speaking of employment (or lack thereof), it looks like UDel and SUNY Stony Brook have given up their plans to build new law schools. Did they smarten up and start worrying about jobs like we do? [Washington Post]

* Joran van der Sloot: rolling his eyes at murder charges since 2005. More than a year after his arrest, he’s been charged with the murder of Stephany Flores. [CNN]

* Representing a private company, Cadwalader’s antitrust case against Google got tossed. Even Biglawyers can fail to meet their burdens of proof. [CNET]

* ‘Cause tonight we’re robo-signing like it’s 1999? Mortgage paperwork screw-ups aren’t as new as you think – they’ve been around since flannel was still cool. [Associated Press]

* Remember that Oscar de la Hoya lawsuit? The settlement allegedly included $20M in exchange for getting his heels and fishnets back. You can’t keep a good crossdresser down. [New York Post]

Paul Bergrin

* Paul Bergrin wants to represent himself in his racketeering case. They say that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client, but that’s not the case when you’re considered the Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Hordes of Biglaw lawyers couldn’t stop the DOJ from trying to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. New antitrust issues abound, like “higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products.” They already have a monopoly on crappy coverage. [Am Law Daily]

* The truth? You can’t handle the truth! That, or you don’t really care about it when it comes to Barry Bonds. The big-headed baseball MVP will not face a retrial on his perjury charges. [CNN]

* Sasan Ansari, a convicted killer in Canada, will return to the University of British Columbia to complete law school. Good luck with your character and fitness evaluation, eh? [Vancouver Sun]

Jessica Beagley

* Jessica Beagley managed to avoid jail time at sentencing. Come on, judge, you could’ve at least given her a taste of her own medicine: hot sauce and a cold shower. [WSJ Law Blog]

* BitTorrent porn? On my grandma’s computer? It’s more likely than you think. After this California granny scolded Steele Hansmeier, the lawsuit against her was dropped. She mailed the firm a Werther’s Original in thanks. [Huffington Post]

* Nudity first, names later. I like this sheriff deputy’s alleged style. A girl in Utah is suing over a roadside traffic rendezvous that she says turned into an illegal strip search. [Standard-Examiner]

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an attorney who faced some humiliating — and completely false — allegations. Doesn’t get much worse, I thought.

Wrong. This week we have another intersection of technology and false accusation. But this time, the attorneys appear to be the bad guys.

A recent Canadian court ruling sheds a pretty messed up light on a major technology company and its attorneys, who reportedly conspired to have a former employee — who happened to be suing the company — arrested in the middle of a deposition, on what a judge later found to be bogus charges. Then the company let the man, a British citizen, languish in extradition limbo for nine months, until a judge finally benchslapped the devious corporate lawyers.

Let’s find out more about this super-friendly corporation’s unorthodox litigation strategy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sue a Giant Corporation, Get Rewarded with Audacious Criminal Charges”

Katherine Forrest: You'd smile too if you were this rich.

I recently wrote about Katherine B. Forrest, the celebrated litigatrix nominated to a federal judgeship on the breathtakingly prestigious Southern District of New York. Forrest currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, but before joining the DOJ she was a longtime partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore — a premier, if not the premier, American law firm. Forrest was one of CSM’s most popular (and most powerful) young partners.

Katherine Forrest has a reputation as an incredible attorney, and she has the awards to prove it (see question 8). Not surprisingly, the ABA deemed her “unanimously well-qualified” as an S.D.N.Y. nominee.

So here’s what I wondered: Why did the amazingly accomplished Forrest, a partner at super-lucrative Cravath for over a dozen years, declare a mere $4.3 million on her net worth statement? Granted, $4.3 million is nothing to scoff at; KBF is rich (even by Elie’s standards). But it seemed to me that a lawyer of her distinction, who was a partner at a top firm for such a long time, should be even richer.

Thanks to information from helpful readers who saw my earlier post, I now know the truth. As it turns out, Katherine Forrest is considerably wealthier than that $4.3 million number suggests.

Way richer, in fact. Let’s find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Cravath Partner Nominated to S.D.N.Y. Is Pretty Stinking Rich”

Did you take a BAR/BRI bar exam review course sometime in the past five years? Or are you taking BAR/BRI now, having paid for it prior to March 21? If so, keep reading.

As we recently mentioned, the deadline for joining or objecting to the proposed class action settlement in Stetson v. West Publishing Corp. is fast approaching (May 30). The lawsuit, alleging antitrust violations, was filed against West Publishing, which owns (but is selling) BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, the test prep company owned by the Washington Post. The class is defined as “[a]ll persons and entities who paid for a BAR/BRI full-service bar-review course from August 1, 2006, through and including March 21, 2011.”

Are you a class member? Let’s review your options….

UPDATE (5:30 PM): Please note the updates added to the end of this post.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Signing Up For, Or Objecting To, The BAR/BRI Class Action Settlement”

Katherine Forrest: Why isn't her net worth higher?

As I’ve previously mentioned, one of my favorite parts of the judicial nomination process is the attendant financial voyeurism. Judicial nominees are required to make detailed disclosures about their finances, allowing us to learn about their income and net worth. For example, thanks to her nomination to the Supreme Court last year, we got to learn about Elena Kagan’s net worth.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee released financial disclosure reports for several of President Obama’s recent judicial nominees — including antitrust litigatrix Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest has been nominated to the mind-blowingly prestigious Southern District of New York, perhaps the nation’s finest federal trial court. As a highly regarded lawyer who has won numerous awards and accolades (listed in her SJC questionnaire), Forrest will fit right in if confirmed to the S.D.N.Y. — a superstar among superstars.

The fabulous Forrest currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. She joined the DOJ last October — a commendable public-service commitment that required her to relinquish her partnership in one of America’s mightiest and most prestigious law firms, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. When she left to pursue government service, Forrest had been a Cravath partner for over 12 years (since 1998), and had been with the firm for about 20 years in all (since 1990).

At the time of her departure for the Justice Department, Katherine Forrest had been taking home hefty paychecks for decades. First she was an associate at Cravath, which pays its people quite well, in case you hadn’t heard. Then she was a partner at the firm (reportedly one of the most well-liked and most powerful younger partners) — from 1998 to 2010, a period in which average profits per partner at CSM routinely topped $2 million and occasionally exceeded $3 million. And remember that Cravath is a lockstep partnership with a reported 3:1 spread, meaning that the highest-paid partners make no more than three times as much as the lowest-paid partners. So it’s not possible that she was earning, say, $400,000, while other partners were earning millions (which can be the case at firms with higher spreads).

In light of the foregoing, what is Katherine Forrest’s net worth, according to her Senate Judiciary Committee financial disclosures? Not as much as you might expect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Cravath Partner Turned Judicial Nominee Has Underwhelming Net Worth”

As we reported last month, it looks like Leeds Equity Partners will be acquiring BAR/BRI, the well-known bar exam preparation business, from West Publishing / Thomson Reuters. If you’ve taken a bar exam prep course, odds are that you took BAR/BRI — although there are alternatives, such as BarMax and Themis (disclosure: ATL advertisers, whom we thank for their support).

If the deal goes through, Leeds will get its hands on what would seem to be a very good business. BAR/BRI courses aren’t cheap, at a few thousand a pop (often paid by law firms, which aren’t very price-sensitive). And since BAR/BRI has had its bar-prep infrastructure in place for a long time — curricula, instructors, etc. — its marginal costs for each new teaching cycle aren’t that high. In short, BAR/BRI seems like a money-making machine.

(Note: This analysis about the economics of BAR/BRI is somewhat speculative. Please correct us, by email or in the comments, if we’re wrong.)

But Leeds will also inherit complaints about BAR/BRI. Some are of the consumer variety — e.g., the website going down when people were trying to pick their course locations, the date by which books must be returned in order to get deposits back being set too early, unfair late fees, etc.

And some complaints are of the legal variety, in the form of antitrust class actions alleging collusion between (1) West Publishing, the owner of BAR/BRI, and (2) Kaplan Inc., the test prep company owned by the Washington Post Company that is known in the legal community for its LSAT courses. One of the lawsuits alleges “that BAR/BRI agreed not to compete in the LSAT business and that Kaplan agreed not to compete in the bar review business, thereby allocating to BAR/BRI the market for full-service bar review courses in the United States.” (Now, of course, Kaplan has its own full-service bar review course.)

To the legal complaints we now turn. You should follow along, since there might be some money in it for you….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “BAR/BRI Class Actions: Open Thread”

Earlier this evening, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson (D. Minn.) ordered an end to the NFL lockout. Football is back on! Maybe! Or not! Not at all? Who knows?!?!?!

Yes, Judge Nelson ordered an end to the lockout today. Watching ESPN is like a trainwreck for those who crave certainty in their news reports. The NFL has already said it will appeal and seek a stay of Judge Nelson’s ruling.

If a stay is granted, well… we’re back to the lockout status quo. If a stay is not granted, then all hell will break loose and the NFL will be broken up into a bunch of Baby Bells? I think? I think that’s the implication of all the antitrust stuff that’s floating around?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Our Long National Football Nightmare Is Not Over, But Maybe?”

David Doty

Since Japan is about to sink, drown, or blow up, you might have missed the fact that 32 or so billionaires officially can’t figure out how to share profits with a few hundred millionaires. That’s right, the National Football League — the most successful sports association ever — is in a stage of lockout. The owners and the players can’t agree, and now both sides have lawyered up and are heading to court.

The NFL owners have locked out the players, and the players have asked for an injunction preventing the lockout. Welcome to Brady v. NFL.

Naturally, I’m on the side of the marginally greedy, financially illiterate players over the unimaginably greedy, financially irresponsible owners. Bill Simmons perfectly captures the real core of this fight that the owners are picking with their employees.

And there are all kinds of funky legal issues swirling around the case: the player’s union “sham” decertification, the NFL’s T.V. revenue war chest they should have been sharing with the players all along, and enough Sherman Antitrust Act angles to fill a casebook.

And there’s legal star power: as we mentioned this morning, David Boies has joined the fight on the side of money grubbing owners who would happily sacrifice the long term health of their employees for some more short term profits.

But this morning we should focus on the man who could be “the Decider,” U.S. District Judge David Doty. The man has such a history of frustrating the NFL owner/oligarchs that simply getting the case into his courtroom could force the owners back into negotiating in good faith. We should know more about this guy.

Remember, the 1994 Major League Baseball strike was settled by a judge — and her name is Sonia Sotomayor — only she’s got a better title now. Just saying….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty: The Man Who Holds Football By The Balls”

Yesterday we passed along a rumor that Barbara Werther and some of her colleagues in government contracts were leaving Howrey. We have since received additional confirmation of this report. According to one source, Werther informed Howrey partners of her departure on Thursday, and her office was cleaned out on Friday.

As we previously mentioned, a meeting with associates and firm chairman Robert Ruyak was also scheduled for yesterday. What happened on that conference call?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey Holding Up This Weekend? Some Updates”

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