A Legal Tabloid - News, Insights, and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession
Managing Editor: David Lat
Editor: Elie Mystal
Assistant Editor: Staci Zaretsky
Contributors: Kashmir Hill, Marin, Mark Herrmann, Jay Shepherd
David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, Washingtonian magazine, and New York magazine. Prior to ATL, David worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he served as book reviews editor of the Yale Law Journal. David has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, a group of innovators within the legal profession, and inclusion as a member of the Fastcase 50, "the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology." You can connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.
Attention young lawyers. We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important announcement:
If you purchased a bar review course from BAR/BRI anywhere in the United States anytime from August, 1997 through July 31, 2006 (the “Class”), you may be affected by a settlement of a class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California called Rodriguez, et. al v. West Publishing Corp., d/b/a BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, Inc., Case No. CV-05-3222 R (MCx).
Okay, you already knew about that — and we wrote about it before too. But here’s the important part: the deadline for filing a Proof of Claim is this coming Monday, September 17, 2007. So if you chucked that form into a big “to deal with later” pile, just like we did, you need to fish it out over the weekend.
More discussion, after the jump.
1. Back in May, Locke Liddell & Sapp, of Houston and Dallas, and Lord, Bissell & Brook, of Chicago, announced plans to merge. Those plans have now been finalized, and the merger will take effect on October 2.
Sadly, they didn’t take our advice about that unwieldy name: the new firm will be known as Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell. More details appear in the Texas Lawyer.
2. Some readers were impressed by the ability to earn $160,000 in Connecticut, by working in the Stamford office of Paul Hastings.
Guess it was too good to last. PH is closing its Stamford office effective December 3rd. We contacted the firm for comment, and they issued this statement:
“As transactions and cases become more sophisticated and global in scope, they require large teams of attorneys and deeper resources. We have decided to consolidate our New York and Stamford offices in order to better serve our client’s growing needs.”
So maybe being from Yale Law School doesn’t make you God’s gift to the legal profession (at least according to this commenter). But we still care about developments at our alma mater — and were intrigued to hear about an urgent meeting, to be held at YLS later today:
TO: The Yale Law School Community FROM: Harold Hongju Koh DATE: September 14, 2007
RE: VERY IMPORTANT: PLEASE ATTEND 12:30 P.M. MEETING TODAY.
If you are in New Haven, I ask you to please attend a very important meeting of the Yale Law School Community in the Law School Auditorium at 12:30 TODAY September 14, 2007. I am sorry not to be able to give you more information at this time; that information will be provided at the meeting. Let me reiterate that this is a very important meeting, and if you are in town and are able, I would ask you please to attend.
What might this be about? We asked our tipster to opine:
My first thought was Doe v. Ciolli. Then I started thinking positive, like someone got appointed to a high position. But Koh as AG under Bush? Nope.
Then I heard from the grapevine that something sad has happened and they need to let certain people know before they inform the whole student body. So now I think it may be a death or rape or something. Hopefully not.
Please feel free to speculate (but responsibly) in the comments. We will let you know when we have more. Update (11:35 AM): We understand that something serious happened to a first-year law student. Please keep your comments in good taste. Thank you. Update (12:40 PM): As noted here, a first-year student was found dead in his apartment last night. We are closing this thread to new comments. Please continue the discussion in the new post.
We broke the news of the Kilpatrick Stockton pay raise earlier this month. Today’s Fulton County Daily Report has an article about it here.
The Kilpatrick move is old news — it was actually announced before Labor Day — but Meredith Hobbs’s piece does contain a helpful summary of where the big Atlanta firms stand:
Alston & Bird sparked this round of Atlanta pay raises on Aug. 1 when it increased associate pay across the board, starting at $145,000 for first-years and rising to $190,000 for seventh years—the same scale that Hunton & Williams instituted in February during the year’s first round of associate salary increases. At that time, most of the city’s big firms increased first-year pay from $115,000 to $130,000. That followed a similar $15,000 pay increase at the beginning of 2006, also sparked by Alston.
Other firms that have announced they will raise local first-year pay to $145,000 in January include Troutman Sanders, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. Jones Day will raise first-year pay to $150,000 at that time.
A fantastic and hilarious email, announcing a name change for a Montana law firm, has been making the rounds. We’d like to reprint it here, but we’ll refrain for now. Instead, read the email and commentary on it here and here.
We have no reason to question the authenticity of the email (which apparently went out to the entire membership of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association). But we haven’t verified it definitively either. And we’d like to give William Managhan and Santana Kortum-Managhan the chance to comment, given the salacious nature of the material. How do they fill about all the roomers?
Accordingly, we have phone calls and emails in to the Managhan Law Firm (whose typo-laden website still identifies it as the “Managhan & Kortum-Managhan Law Firm”). We will let you know if and when we hear back from them. Update (7 PM): We have been communicating with Bobbi Bonnington via email. We hope to have more information for you soon. A comedic tidbit…courtesy of Montana [The Amateur Law Professor] Firm Name Change [The Legal Scoop]
reproduced below is an email which we sent yesterday to chicago students who received call backs. it describes an experiment we are going to try this year with the call backs from law schools whose on campus interviews are late in the season (chicago, yale, harvard and texas). instead of having them come back to the firm for interviews, we are inviting them to come to a weekend at a resort in utah. aside from attempting to distinguish ourselves from other law firms, the reasons for trying this are described in the email below. we think those reasons are compelling. however, the proof will be in the pudding.
we have a limited amount of space available for students, partners and associates. we can not invite everyone we would like to. certain of you will be invited to attend the weekend. the invitations will be sent out shortly.
[Aaron Charney is very upset he wasn't invited. Expect to hear from his lawyers shortly.]
the recruitment weekend has generated a lot of buzz on some law blogs already. you may be asked questions by the students who will be coming through the office in the next few weeks. please tell them that this is an experiment. if it is successful, we may decide to expand it next year to two events. also, please be sure to state that the firm will be absorbing all expenses associated with the weekend.
We should hope so. As one commenter noted, “Why Deer Valley in the summer? That’s like going to Vermont in March to see the leaves changing.” What sane law student would shell out his own dough to schlep out to Utah this time of year — other than, say, someone applying to clerk for Judge Michael McConnell (10th Cir.)? (Actually, we hear that Judge McConnell might come out to the East Coast to interview clerkship applicants.)
Anyway, the email sent to the Quinn Emanuel callback-ees appears after the jump.
Back on Tuesday, it was widely rumored that an attorney general nomination announcement was imminent — and that the nominee was going to be former Solicitor General Ted Olson (pictured at right, at his wedding last year).
But we had our doubts. We opined that Olson, confirmed as SG by a narrow 51-47 margin, might be a tough sell in a Democratic Senate.
That opinion looks increasingly solid. From today’s Washington Post:
The Senate majority leader said yesterday that Democrats would block former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson from becoming attorney general, kicking off a spirited nomination debate even before the White House has named a candidate.
“Ted Olson will not be confirmed,” Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. “I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general.”
So it seems that, with respect to Ted Olson, the Dems are throwing down the gauntlet. Why so hostile? Are they upset they didn’t get invited to Olson’s fabulous, star-studded wedding?
More after the jump.
Title: Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Description: This Albuquerque, NM-based company, which makes personal passenger planes, seeks a General Counsel to head overall management of the legal and regulatory functions within the Company and to oversee all legal aspects of its anticipated public offering, including legal compliance with SEC and NASDAQ/NYSE registration and all subsequent reporting requirements. Company is willing to relocate qualified candidate from anywhere in USA to Albuquerque, NM.
Rumor from the secretaries has it that Ashton [Kutcher] and Demi [Moore] might be up there too. Apparently Greg Markel, chair of the litigation department, said the firm let them use the conference room. He was supposed to take his picture with her — and didn’t know who she was until minutes before!
Wow. Are Biglaw partners even more cloistered than federal judges?
It’s no Michael Jackson sighting, but maybe you still care to know. Does that make CWT an “it” firm now?
Sorry, not quite. But it does make up for the bedbug infestation! Update: “Someone here also saw them setting up a ‘stars buffet’ outside of the conference room. LOL!”
Since we’re smack dab in the middle of clerkship application season, let’s turn the spotlight to clerkly compensation and benefits. We hear that some changes may be in the works. From a tipster:
[H]ave you heard anything about progress on a proposal to end/limit/change the salary “matching” program for federal clerks with private sector experience? Several judges I interviewed with mentioned that the salaries for clerks coming from jobs in the private sector (e.g., after a year or more working for a firm) are in flux pending a proposal to eliminate or change the bump that clerks coming from (higher paying) private sector jobs traditionally receive. My understanding is that these clerks traditionally received an increase in their step level within the applicable salary grade. Supposedly a decision on this issue was expected in September.
As a matter of fact, yes, we have. Nothing definitive. But more discussion appears after the jump.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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