David Lat & Elie Mystal

Posts by David Lat & Elie Mystal

Mel Gibson DUI.JPG* Mel Gibson’s DUI arrest has been officially expunged from the record. It’s almost like it never happened, kind of like Apocalypto. [TMZ]
* The FTC is requiring bloggers who review products to disclose their connections with advertisers. Our sister site Fashionista has some questions. [Fashionista]
* George Washington Law School got the U.S. News law school rankings message. Man, that U.S. News is one powerful magazine. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The dangers of being a process server could make for a movie subplot. [Adventures in Process Serving]
* Is Georgetown Law professor Chai Feldblum, nominated to serve on the EEOC, the victim of a smear campaign? [Re:Act / The NLGJA Blog]
* Mental note: Do not piss off Matt Taibbi. [True/Slant]
* Last call for entries for ATL’s law firm swag contest. (We’ve been disappointed by the submissions so far.) [Above the Law]

erin-andrews-photo.jpg* Next up for Erin Andrews and Bingham McCutchen? Maybe suing Marriot and Ramada. [Legal Blog Watch]
* District Judge Stefany Miley, who replaced district Judge Elizabeth Halverson, is also allegedly a victim of domestic violence. Vegas baby. Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there. [Legally Unbound]
* Silicon Valley lawyer Craig Johnson, founder of Venture Law Group, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]
* We got to him first, but do check out Forbes’s interesting profile of Ted Frank, who’s “on a mission to protect consumers from their own class action lawyers.” [Forbes]
* Apparently Macy’s can’t even afford a shredder. That doesn’t bode well for this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly]
* Social Networks: Friends or Foes? Check out this conference at Berkeley later this month, featuring such folks as Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy and ATL’s own David Lat. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Today is World Teachers’ Day, a.k.a. World “wash your hands and don’t give me swine flu you nasty urchin” Day. [Solo Practice University via Blawg Review]

OMelveny Myers OMM logo.jpgThere has been so much talk about the death of Biglaw that the term has become a cliché. These are challenging times, to be sure. But many firms are in the process of adjusting to the market, by making long-term plans to revise their business models so they can thrive in the future.
One such firm is O’Melveny & Myers. About a month ago, the firm released a five-year strategic plan to its associates and counsel. At a time when some firms are keeping their employees in the dark about long-term issues, O’Melveny — to its credit — decided to let its people know what management is thinking.
Above the Law has obtained a copy of this five-year plan. The document outlines how O’Melveny intends to compete going forward. Instead of aiming for marginal cost savings by making a few cutbacks here and there, the O’Melveny memo tries to rethink the firm’s overall business model — and gives us a chance to talk, once again, about the long term viability of Biglaw.
Let’s take a look into the O’Melveny’s — and perhaps Biglaw’s — future, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The New Biglaw Business Model, According to O’Melveny & Myers”

Serena Williams US Open foot fault threaten line judge.jpg* If you’ll be in D.C. on Wednesday, September 23, come to this panel on New Media and the Law, featuring Lat, Tony Mauro of the National Law Journal, and Matt Welch from Reason magazine. [Georgetown Federalist Society]
* Did Serena Williams threaten that line judge at the U.S. Open? [Junior Ganymede]
* “In defense of Serena Williams.” [Deadspin]
* One associate’s positive outlook on his first week on the job. [Young Lawyers Blog]
* U.S. News ranks economic diversity too. [Tax Prof Blog]
* I’m pretty sure I saw a real-life ad like this while watching reruns of The Practice. [Litination]
* This week’s Blawg Review is devoted to graduates from our Douchiest runner-up.
[Blawgletter via Blawg Review]

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom new.jpgSkadden has decided to significantly reduce the size of its summer class for 2010. In a charming move, the firm told the media before informing law schools and prospective summer associates. Am Law Daily reports:

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is cutting the size of its 2010 summer associate class by half and adjusting its recruitment strategy by making all of its offers on a single day in late September, according to a copy of a letter the firm will send to prospective summers.

Does this give new meaning to the term “half-Skadden”? (Gavel bang: commenter.)

Skadden hired 225 summer associates this year and expects to hire a little more than 100 next year, though the precise figure will depend on offer acceptance rates, says Howard Ellin, Skadden’s recruiting partner.

Good news from the letter: the firm plans to make offers to 95 percent of its 2009 summer associates. Of course, as we previously reported, they won’t be starting at the firm until 2011.
We’ll let you know when Skadden officially releases the memo to the people who are affected by the decision.
Correction: From a Skadden spokesperson:

The letter was sent last week to career services and deans at the law schools where Skadden is interviewing. Some schools already have circulated it to their students. We absolutely did not talk to the media before notifying schools.

By way of explanation, your ATL editors were thrown off by the wording of the Am Law report, which described the letter as one that “the firm will send to prospective summers” (emphasis added).
Update: Skadden to Cut Summer Class by Half, Change Recruiting Process [Am Law Daily]

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgThe new Vault law firm rankings, for 2010, are set to be released later this week. But earlier today, readers sent us this link, which takes you to a page on the Vault website with incomplete prestige rankings for a little over 60 law firms.
We reached out to Brian Dalton, managing editor of Vault, who informed us that these rankings are NOT legit. From Dalton:

These are not the correct rankings. There was a technical glitch on our end and some incorrect rankings have appeared on the site. We will publish the new rankings soon.

And when they do, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Still, even if these rankings are wrong, it’s always fun to gawk. While we wait for the official list to be produced, here are the top five firms on the apocryphal list (note the absence of Cravath):
Vault 2010 top5.JPG
After the jump, more faux rankings.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pregaming the Vault Rankings: Incorrect Rankings Appear on Vault Website”

Skip Gates.jpgElie here. On Wednesday, I took a closer look at the woman who called the Cambridge police on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. I wondered if she could be held liable under a good Samaritan statute, and asked if we should hold good Samaritans to a higher standard.
Most readers felt that the woman was beyond reproach. She saw “two black males with backpacks” attempting to enter a house, and most people — including Professor Gates and President Obama — felt she acted appropriately when she called the police.
Legal Blog Watch has published a great analysis suggesting that Gates’s arrest was unwarranted. Even if you take the police officer’s word about what happened inside the house, it was unlikely that a prosecution against Gates for disorderly conduct could have survived (at least based on the evidence we have now; there are rumors of tapes).
I understand that I am hanging far out on a thin limb, but I remain far from convinced that the woman acted appropriately. I do think, hypothetically, that there is a cognizable legal claim Professor Gates could have against the woman who turned him in. Here is the applicable Massachusetts “good Samaritan” statute:

Chapter 258C: Section 13. “Good Samaritans”; liability

Section 13. No person who, in good faith, provides or obtains, or attempts to provide or obtain, assistance for a victim of a crime as defined in section one, shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any acts or omissions in providing or obtaining, or attempting to provide or obtain, such assistance unless such acts or omissions constitute willful, wanton or reckless conduct.

On Wednesday, I suggested that the standard for liability was reasonableness, as opposed to “willful, wanton or reckless conduct.” Obviously, a recklessness standard is much more difficult to prove.
But after the jump, I make my case. And then Mr. David Lat slaps me upside the head makes his case … that I need to be Rule 11-ed right back to Tolerance 101.

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Thio Li Ann Visiting Professor NYU Law School.jpgDetails are still sketchy, but word on the street is that Dr. Li-ann Thio will not be coming to NYU Law School this fall. It appears that Dr. Thio has voluntarily decided not to serve as a visiting professor.
As many of you know, Dr. Thio has been heavily criticized by some in the NYU community (and beyond) for the allegedly anti-gay views she professed as a member of Singapore’s Parliament. But up to this point, Dr. Thio has enjoyed the support of Dean Richard Revesz and the NYU administration.
We previously reported that early returns showed low student registration for Dr. Thio’s classes this fall. A petition protesting her appointment garnered over 800 signatures. It’s too early to tell if any of this affected her decision to withdraw.
We will let you know when we receive official word from the law school or Dr. Thio.
UPDATE: The official announcement is now available. Check it out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Dr. Thio Is Not Coming To NYU Law
Update: Official NYU statement now available.

Cahill Gordon logo.jpgThings could be better over at Cahill Gordon. In May, the American Lawyer noted Cahill’s fall from the Am Law 100, the nation’s 100 largest law firms by revenue. Until its recent tumble, Cahill had been on the list for 24 consecutive years.
Back in January, we reported that Cahill Gordon laid off approximately 10 percent of its associates. At the time, we mentioned that first- and second-year associates were spared from the winter cuts.
Well, it appears that the wheel has come around. Multiple independent sources report that Cahill laid off a number of associates last week. Our sources report that junior attorneys were the focus of this round of cuts:

It seems without warning many 2nd years were let go [last Wednesday].

Another tipster reports:

Second years out the door [last week]. I guess the January reprieve was just temporary.

At least second years received some extra pay. The firm did not respond to our request for comment, but we understand that laid-off associates did get a severance package.
And the sacrifice of Cahill second years could preserve the salaries for all of the remaining Cahill associates. More details, plus a reader poll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Cahill Gordon, Round 2″

summer associate drunk drinking fired.jpgThis afternoon, we told you about a summer associate from Harvard Law School who has already been fired from his firm. After the story went up, the HLS 2L called Above the Law to “set the record straight.” He has a different version of what went on during his brief stay at McDermott, Will & Emery.

According to the former summer associate, who asked that we maintain his anonymity (so please don’t name him in the comments), he was let go because his work visa hadn’t yet come through. As many of you know, non-citizens need to have a work visa in order to work — and get paid — in America.

But according to the HLS 2L, his work authorization papers were delayed because MWE didn’t tell him he’d be able to start working as a summer associate until late February. In case you’re wondering, you cannot apply for a work visa until you know when you will actually be working (in terms of specific dates). The HLS 2L did apply for the work visa in late February, but he’s still waiting for the papers to come through.

As the HLS 2L put it:

I was never officially a summer at McDermott, so I really wasn’t fired.

More details about the HLS 2L’s “heated conversation” with a MWE partner, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “We Know Where the HLS 2L Worked This Summer
Ex-summer associate cites visa dispute.

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