Billy Merck

Posts by Billy Merck

* Where’s tort reform when you need it? [KMBC-TV]
* Duke players sue. [New York Times]
* Record companies 1, Illegal downloaders 0 (and by 1 we mean $220,000) [Jurist]
* Saudis embrace the idea of judicial activism the rule of law. [BBC]
* Hey PETA: Leave Michael Vick alone! [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Prosecutors don’t take getting caught as a predator well; first there was the guy that Dateline made kill himself in Texas, and now this guy. [ClickOn Detroit]
Update: We posted Non-Sequiturs kinda early, and these links subsequently came to our attention:
* TexasBarTube. [Legal Blog Watch]
* They like us! They really like us! [Blawg Review]
Ok, we’re off to drink beer and watch baseball, which means we’re done for the weekend (thank God, right?). You guys get Lat back next week.

Ok, here’s the final non-top-tier law graduate of the day:
Name: Leon Panetta
Law School: Santa Clara University
Current Position: Co-Director of The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute of Public Policy, and frequent talking head
Why He’s Our Winner: Former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton
And this winner reminds us of an honorable mention, which follows the jump.
Leon Panetta bio [Wikipedia]
The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Co-Non-Top-Tier Law Graduate of the Day”

Calvin Broadus, a/k/a Snoop Dogg.
Because the caption of the case lacked that all-important a/k/a, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Helen I. Bendix didn’t realize with whom she was dealing:

A judge hearing a lawsuit brought by Snoop Dogg against his former record label said Thursday she didn’t realize it involved the famous rapper because court papers refer to him by his real name, Calvin Broadus.

But once she peeped out the manuscript, she saw that it was a must that Broadus drop some gangsta s**t.
Snoop has his mind on the $2 million he says his label Priority Records owes him under a 1998 agreement, and he has the $950,000 advance promised after recording “The Last Meal” on his mind. He also claims the label didn’t consult with him before releasing his greatest hits CD (cover pictured at right).
Now that she knows who Broadus is, Bendix finds the case “very interesting” (the ladies can’t resist Snoop).
Judge to Snoop Dogg: Who Is Calvin Broadus? [CNN]

Ok, so strictly speaking it’s not a lawsuit. It’s an arbitration hearing before a special master pursuant to the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Falcons are seeking to recoup $22 million already paid to Vick in signing bonuses. The Falcons claim that, since Vick knew at the time that he signed the contract and received the bonuses that he was running a dogfighting operation and should have known that that could cause him to not be able to play, he has forfeited the bonuses. The NFL Players Association says once bonuses are paid, there’s no forfeiture, period.
They seem to be almost right. Under the new CBA approved last year, forfeiture of signing bonuses are allowed for only one reason (quoted here from Section 9 (a) of Article XIV of the CBA):

Section 9. Limitations on Salary Forfeitures:
(a) No forfeitures of signing bonuses shall be permitted, except that players and Clubs may agree: (i)
to proportionate forfeitures of a signing bonus if a player voluntarily retires or willfully withholds his
services from one or more regular season games; and/or (ii) that if a player willfully takes action that has
the effect of substantially undermining his ability to fully participate and contribute in either preseason
training camp or the regular season (including by willfully withholding his services in either preseason
training camp or during the regular season or willfully missing one or more games), the player may forfeit
the greater of: (a) 25% of the prorated portion of his signing bonus for the applicable League Year for the
first time such conduct occurs after the beginning of training camp until the end of the season for his Club,
and the remaining 75% prorated portion of his signing bonus for the applicable year for the second time
such conduct occurs during that period that year; or (b) the proportionate amount of his signing bonus
allocation for each week missed (1/17th for each regular season week or game missed).

What do you sports lawyers out there think? Do Vick’s actions constitute willful action that “has the effect of substantially undermining his ability to fully participate and contribute in either preseason training camp or the regular season”? He willfully ran the dogfighting operation, and as a result he has been suspended. Seems to me that the Falcons have a pretty good case.
Special Master Stephen B. Burbank (definitely a top-tier guy; Harvard (twice) and current Penn Law faculty) heard the case yesterday.
Stephen B. Burbank bio [Penn Law]
Falcons Seek $22M From Suspended Vick [KNBC]

We received the following suggestion:

You’ve been profiling a lot of these grads who go into Mega-Corporate Law- how about something different, like, say Government Service?

Great idea! We even like your two candidates, so we’re going to give the award to one of them right now, and then there will be a co-winner this afternoon.
This morning’s winner:
Name: Frances Fragos Townsend
Law School: University of San Diego
Current Position: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Why She’s Our Winner: Moving from a Tier 2 up through the prosecutorial ranks to become Bush’s Homeland Security advisor. Plus, look at that face!
Frances Fragos Townsend bio [The White House]

A standoff between police and a gunman holed up in an Alexandria, Louisiana law office ended this morning with the police shooting and killing the man. During the standoff he shot five people, two of which died. From the New York Times:

Roy identified one of the dead as Joey Giordano, son of attorney Camille Giordano, who was shot but not killed. The other person killed was Marty Fields, a postal worker who was delivering mail to the law firm when he walked in on the shootings, Roy said.

The (Alexandria) Town Talk newspaper reported that Camille Giordano, bloodied and in boxer shorts, emerged from the building after police arrived and was taken to a hospital. A call to a hospital spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

The Rapides Regional Medical Center identified the other victims as Sam Giordano, an attorney, and Andrea Fletcher Price, the law firm’s secretary.

Sam Giordano, 49, was in serious condition, and Price, 27, was in fair condition, said Courtney Michiels, a hospital spokeswoman.

The law firm involved is The Law Offices of Giordano & Giordano. The motive is unclear, but if this is another case of a disgruntled client taking it out on his attorneys, it is the continuation of a disturbing trend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed.
Police Shoot Man at Louisiana Office [New York Times]
Camille Giordano [LSBA Member Directory]
Sam Giordano [LSBA Member Directory]

bingham.gifNot exactly.
We’ve been receiving a multitude of tips indicating that that was exactly what Bingham intended to do. So we did some asking around, and here is Bingham’s official comment on the situation:

Our hours policy reflects a balance between understanding that billable work is critical to Bingham’s success and that non-billable contributions to pro bono, professional development and firm citizenship are valued and encouraged.

We will be raising the core-hours expectation (which is not a requirement) of our hours policy for next year from 2,000 to 2,100. Core-hours are not solely billable hours. They include non-billable pro bono and creditable hours. The new target includes billable hours, pro bono hours, and up to 50 creditable hours for non-billable firm citizenship responsibilities, such as committee work, etc.

The new core-hours expectation supports Bingham’s continued success while encouraging associates to continue contributing to pro bono and participating in professional development/firm citizenship opportunities. We will be working closely with the firm’s Committee on Associates (which includes elected associate representatives) to flesh out the details of the new core hours policy.

It’s unclear from this whether they already had a “core-hours expectation” in place, or whether previously the 2000 hours was a billable minimum. Either way you slice it, however, there will at least be an “expectation” of more work out of Bingham associates next year, even if some of it is pro bono work (if the previous policy was 2000 “core hours”, then it also included pro bono work, but more will be expected now; if the previous policy was 2000 required billable hours, then 100 more hours are now expected, even if some can now be pro bono work).
So really, despite the nice spin put on it, the answer to the lede question is yes.
Is this going to be a trend at other firms too? Is this the tradeoff that’s going to be required of associates for the salary increases? Let us know if you’ve heard about this sort of thing anywhere else.
Update: Additional explanation, from Bingham partner Tony Carbone, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bingham To Raise Its Billable Hour Requirement?”

mounties-canada-day.jpg* It just got harder to be a police officer in Canada. [Jurist]
* Really? Cause we’ve got caps in Georgia too, and we still are short on doctors, especially in rural areas. Also, heath care costs have gone up. I’m just saying; maybe there are other factors. [New York Times]
* Georgia planning executions despite pending SCOTUS case. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Trial of judge shooter gets moved from Reno to Vegas. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* All you have to do is get one episode of Family Guy pulled, and soon it will be off the air entirely. It’s what happened to Laverne & Shirley. [WSJ Law Blog]

* He likes ‘em young. [WNBC]
* WSJ Law Blog follows SCOTUS comedy. [WSJ Law Blog]
* More Jack Thompson chicanery. [GamePolitics]
* In keeping with the non-top-tier theme, here’s a Tier 4 that’s moving. [WRAL]
* Sorry, Howard Bashman. [Yahoo!]

logo_alston_bird.gifAlston & Bird lost four partners from its Washington office to DLA Piper on Tuesday, according to this report from The Lawyer:

Alston & Bird’s Washington office was rocked yesterday (Tuesday 2 October) by the exit of four partners to DLA Piper, including DC co-managing partner and chair of the firm’s executive committee, Frank Rusty Conner.

DLA Piper logo Above the Law blog.jpgThe departing group also includes the former head of Alston’s legislative and public policy group, Tom Boyd. Boyd joins DLA Piper as co-head of the firm’s government affairs practice in Washington with Governor Jim Blanchard.

The exit of the four partners will be a significant blow to Alston’s corporate ambitions. Conner, at the firm for almost 30 years, was also co-head of its corporate group while the two other, as yet unnamed partners, are understood to be from the corporate group.

Alston lost a fifth partner to DLA Piper in September. If this was the NFL, Alston would be getting compensatory draft picks.
DLA Piper raids Alston for former chair and team []

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