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.
Despite the catchy and provocative title we’ve bestowed upon this story, we must confess: We don’t completely “get” the quasi-scandal surrounding the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys around the country.
Well, after reading your informative comments, and in light of subsequent revelations, we’re beginning to get it. The Democrats are having a field day with this — and one can hardly blame them.
More discussion after the jump.
This is a continuation of our prior post, Brokeback Lawfirm: An Insider’s View (Part 1), in which a source who worked in the General Practice (i.e., Corporate) group of Sullivan & Cromwell discussed Aaron Charney’s case against S&C, with the benefit of insider knowledge.
If you haven’t already done so, you should read that post before this one. You can access it by clicking here.
After the jump, our S&C tipster shares his thoughts on Aaron Charney’s claims of retaliation.
Over at Kenyon & Kenyon, the prominent intellectual property law firm, it’s the best of times — and the worst of times.
It’s the best of times for incoming associates, who will be earning the new market rate of $160,000. It’s the worst of times for the ex-Kenyon associates who are now looking for jobs.
Our take is that Kenyon is trying to keep up with the Simpson Thachers (or Fish & Richardsons) of the world, but getting winded by the effort. Yes, it’s raising salaries; but it’s not doing so until much later in the year. And it’s shedding associates at the same time, maybe to free up the payroll for raises.
Here are the details:
1. The firm is raising salaries for entering associates, but it’s not doing so until September 1. Here’s the email:
From: Birde, Patrick Sent: Wed 2/28/2007 3:48 PM To: ~Attorneys (All) Subject: NOTICE: Re: $160k Entry Salary
This is to advise you that our first year associate salary will be raised to $ 160K effective Sept. 1, 2007. Also, the Firm is in the process of revising the pay structure including the bonus system for all Associates and Counsel.
2. The firm has laid off associates. On January 11, the firm laid off 16 lawyers, according to partner Patrick Birde (who kindly responded to a fact-checking email we sent to him).
3. There was a rumor going around that the layoffs were made without warning. But according to Birde, this is incorrect:
[S]ome of the attorneys involved were already on probation and others were aware of issues with the firm brought to light during the review process.
4. The firm informed these 16 individuals that their names would remain on the firm website until March 15. (We’re guessing this was done to facilitate their job searches.)
So that’s the 411 on Kenyon. Feel free to discuss this news — or other associate compensation developments, since our last open thread was a while ago — in the comments.
We have previously compared the fierce competition between Supreme Court correspondents Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times, and Jan Crawford Greenburg, of the Chicago Tribune, to the rivalry between Margo Channing (Bette Davis) and Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in All About Eve.
For decades, Linda Greenhouse has ruled the reportorial roost at the Supreme Court — just as Margo Channing reigned over the New York stage. But just as Channing came to be challenged by a young and attractive newcomer, Eve Harrington, Greenhouse now faces tough competition from Jan Crawford Greenburg.
Perhaps this comparison, much as we love it, must stop here. We don’t want to spoil All About Eve for those of you who haven’t seen it. But let’s just say that Margo doesn’t put up much of a fight when Eve moves into her turf.
Linda Greenhouse, in contrast, is NOT going gentle into that good night. She will NOT pass her tiara graciously to Jan Crawford Greenburg, like a Miss America ending her reign. Greenhouse has no intention of allowing Greenburg to ascend to the post of America’s Next Top Supreme Court Reporter — at least not without a (cat)fight.
How do we know this? Just read between the lines of this “Reporter’s Notebook” item by Greenhouse. It’s snarkily entitled “Alarmism in the Blogosphere” — “blogsophere” being synonymous with “unreliable and dubious rumor-mongering” — and in it, Linda G. goes out of her way to embarrass and even humiliate her younger colleague:
Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News correspondent who covers the court, posted a startling item last week on her blog, Legalities. Under the heading “Faith and Frailty,” she wrote that the “real drama” of an argument concerning the Bush administration’s religion-based initiative came when the argument ended.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s delay in getting to her feet and leaving the bench, Ms. Greenburg wrote, seemed a sign of possible ill health and “made me think I’d better start pulling those possible retirement files together.”
The alarming item quickly made its way around the blogosphere, puzzling court insiders who know that Justice Ginsburg, 73, is in fine health and keeps to a schedule that would exhaust most people who are decades younger….
The explanation is, quite literally, pedestrian. According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg had kicked off her shoes during the argument and could not find one of them.
OUCH. Jan Crawford Greenburg did some phenomenal reporting work for her fantastic new book on the Court, Supreme Conflict. But in a single breezy, casually tossed-off “Reporter’s Notebook” item, Greenhouse makes Greenburg look like a rank amateur.
We conduct a close reading of Greenhouse’s column, after the jump.
This morning brings some big news in the world of bankruptcy law. From the WSJ Law Blog:
You can go home again, especially if you’re Harvey Miller (at right). The legendary bankruptcy lawyer is expected to rejoin to Weil Gotshal, whose partners are scheduled to vote on his return tomorrow.
“I would be delighted to have Harvey back, but it’s premature at this stage to comment on his rejoining the firm until the partnership votes on the issue,” says Stephen Dannhauser, firm chair.
Before decamping to investment bank Greenhill & Co. in 2002, Miller had spent the previous 33 years at Weil, building its bankruptcy department into one of the most prominent debtor-side practices in the country.
And from a little bird (so consider this to be nothing more than rumor at this point):
It appears four bankruptcy partners are leaving Weil and moving to Cadwalader (apparently to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$). Partners include Deryck Palmer, John Rapisardi, and George A. Davis.
Could the return of Harvey Miller to Weil be related to the (rumored) departures of these younger partners?
We are following up on this rumor and will let you know what we find out.
UPDATE: Harvey Miller’s return to Weil is official. The WGM press release is available here. A longer version of the release, which was circulated by email at Weil, appears after the jump.
Here’s some juicy gossip about the case that everyone can’t stop talking about: Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. Some of this information has previously appeared elsewhere, but this letter nicely synthesizes everything.
It’s long, so we’ll post it in two parts. Here’s the first installment:
While I’ve hesitated until now to write, your coverage of Aaron Charney’s lawsuit has been extremely entertaining, if often wildly inaccurate.
Like many current and former associates at S&C, I’m torn between my indifference towards Aaron (who was standoffish at best and somewhat obnoxious at worst) and my recognition of some genuinely negative aspects of the firm as portrayed in his complaint. But ultimately I have to come down on the side of the firm, because from where I sit Aaron’s story — while it may be peppered with, or “larded”, with some actual facts — doesn’t really paint a picture of discrimination or retaliation.
First of all, I think the idea of S&C being anti-gay as an institution is completely laughable. I’ve even heard fellow associates express concern that — all other things being equal — being straight is a liability when it comes to making partner. I’ve never heard a homophobic, racist or sexist comment, although I’ve heard rumors of a few. It’s rumored as well that Aaron himself made a homophobic comment or two in his more deeply closeted days. Who knows. Maybe I just inspire caution in this regard.
This has nothing to do with Sectiongate. It’s actually about something of greater significance, if that can be believed.
Alex Angarita — a Harvard Law School graduate, former associate at O’Melveny & Myers, and star of the “Survivor: Fiji” reality TV show — has been arrested. From TMZ.com:
“Survivor: Fiji” star Alex Angarita faced off with a judge in Los Angeles County Superior Court today after cops claim he attacked a peace officer who responded to a 911 call on February 9.
According to the felony complaint, Angarita, a Harvard Law grad, “used threats and violence to deter and prevent” two officers from performing their duties. The 28-year-old reality star was charged with two felony counts of resisting arrest, one felony count of battery with injury on a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. It is unclear why the police were called, but the National Enquirer reports that Angarita was involved in a “brawl” with his girlfriend.
Angarita spent three hours behind bars at a Los Angeles County Jail, before he was released on $20,000 bail.
We have obtained a letter that Snell & Wilmer partner Tracy Fowler sent to Judge Dale Kimball (D. Utah) concerning Timestampgate.
Our source for the letter expressed the following opinion (opinion! opinion! no verifiable statement of fact!):
Attached is a letter Tracy Fowler sent to Judge Kimball explaining that he is “shocked and embarrassed” that his firm was caught for the SECOND time [allegedly] trying to deceive the court. Not surprisingly, Fowler claims to have no knowledge of what transpired and assures the court that Snell & Wilmer is undertaking a thorough investigation.
The fact that the letter came from Fowler, the partner on the case in question, rather than the managing partner of Snell & Wilmer is kind of like the fox assuring the farmer that he will conduct a thorough investigation into the hens missing from the hen house.
We hope you noticed the colorful rhetoric and hyperbole employed by our source’s “hen house” comparison — which, as noted, is merely opinion (opinion! opinion! no verifiable statement of fact!).
One could hold a very different opinion based on the same facts. For example, one could argue that it was most logical for the letter to come from Tracy Fowler, rather than some other Snell & Wilmer partner, because Fowler is lead counsel in this case.
Okay, enough preliminaries. The letter appears after the jump.
Our prior post about the propriety of wearing a shirt with a button-down collar with a suit provoked vigorous debate in the comments.
The sentiment in the comments was, on balance, running against this look. And we personally disfavor it as well. But in our reader poll, a majority of you deemed this pairing acceptable:
So the button-down-shirt proponents have prevailed. But considering the closeness of the vote, you might want to avoid this look if you can, out of an excess of caution.
P.S. Commenter Sartorialist, are you reading this? If so, can you email us? We’d like to ask you something. Thanks. Earlier: Button-Down Shirts With Suits: Hot or Not?
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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