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.
For those of you who are new to ATL, welcome to Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. In this recurring feature, we review the wedding announcements in the storied society pages of the New York Times, pick out three couples in which one spouse is a lawyer, and then score them numerically — on their credentials, families, looks, and “couple balance.” Each week, we declare a winning couple. The winners then square off in our “Couple of the Month” contest.
Due to competing claims on our attention — e.g., associate pay raise news — we’ve fallen a few weeks behind in LEWW. If you can think back that far, please cast your mind back to early January….
The weekend of January 6-7, the first wedding weekend of the new year, was a busy one. The most notable nuptials: the marriage of Ann Leventhal and Judge Jon O. Newman, of the Second Circuit. Numerouslegalblogs took note of it.
But there were other lawyer weddings that weekend. Here are the three that we will review and score:
We’ve confirmed the fact that Wilmer Hale has raised associate base salaries, in Washington and New York. We don’t have a memo, though, because associates received personal latters.
More about what we’ve learned, plus an open thread for your comments, after the jump.
And he was VERY prestigious…
In case you don’t visit ATL in the evenings (even though we post at all hours), please check out this post from last night: Please Stop Forwarding the Gallion & Spielvogel Link To All Your Friends, While Laughing Your Ass Off.
It concerns the website of Gallion & Spielvogel, a highly esteemed boutique law firm founded by former associates of the extremely well-regarded, exceptionally international law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. G&S is now representing associate Gera Grinberg — y’know, the guy who allegedly had an “unnatural relationship” with Aaron Charney — in connection with Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.
As one of you suggested, we reached out to Edward Gallion and Steve Spielvogel. We inquired into the death of their delightful website.
Check out our correspondence to them, after the jump.
We’re so excited. Our girlfriend SYC has made the big leagues! Shanetta Y. Cutlar, the successful and high-powered lawyer who oversees the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section, is the subject of an article in today’s Legal Times. We’re praised her profusely in these pages; but we’re glad that she’s finally getting her due in the mainstream media.
Ty Clevenger, 37, a former Washington Times reporter and line attorney in the section who was fired in October, has accused veteran Section Chief Shanetta Cutlar of being “abusive toward attorneys and support staff,” specifically those hired by Schlozman.
Among Clevenger’s allegations: Secretaries were ordered not to assist him with an eight-hour typing project, another attorney was publicly berated for using a paper clip rather than a binder clip on a document, and an intern was reprimanded for not greeting Cutlar while passing her in the hallway.
In his whistleblower complaint, Clevenger included a copy of a statement by the intern, Deborah Meiners, 24, to a DOJ ombudsman about the hallway incident.
“I did get the sense that this was a common occurrence,” says Meiners, now a third-year law student, of her treatment.
For those of you who have been wondering if Shanetta Cutlar is aware of her newfound celebrity, the answer is probably yes — now that the Legal Times has contacted her office for comment:
Cutlar’s office referred questions to a DOJ spokeswoman, who issued a statement saying the department is looking into the allegations.
Interesting. Does anyone know what “looking into the allegations” entails?
Is the DOJ conducting a full-blown internal investigation of SPL? Or is it just AAG Wan Kim getting on the phone to Shanetta and saying, “This is all silliness that I don’t need to pay attention to, right?”
We hope the latter. As we’ve previously pointed out, Shanetta Cutlar is just doing her job — and exceptionally well, at that. We hope that a bunch of whiners and crybabies don’t interfere with SYC’s longstanding efforts to vindicate federal civil rights laws on behalf of the disabled, prisoners, and other groups who can’t stand up for themselves.
To Shanetta Cutlar: Congratulations on your shout-out in the Legal Times! Whistleblower Complaint Filed Against DOJ Civil Rights Division [Legal Times]
A few more confirmed announcements of associate pay raises have rolled in. We collect and reprint them after the jump, where you should also feel free to continue the discussion from yesterday’s open thread. Thanks. Update: If you read the earliest version of the post, please note that we have added quite a bit of new material to it since we first published it. Refresh your browser to see the latest additions.
Shanetta Y. Cutlar, a high-ranking official of the U.S. Department of Justice, oversees the Special Litigation Section (SPL) of the Civil Rights Division. As chief of the SPL, Cutlar is a steward(ess) of our nation’s civil rights laws.
And, of course, Cutlar is a great diva — which is why we adore her so much.*
Those who get to see a great diva up close, or to work with one, are truly blessed. So what if divas are difficult? That’s why we call them divas.
It should come as no surprise, then, that working for Shanetta Cutlar comes with a few occupational hazards. From a former employee at SPL:
I loved my position, duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, in time I become a victim of Shanetta’s vicious, often brutal attacks, of constant, uncontrolled rage.
I tried to tolerate and persevere. But eventually the stress began to take a physical toll on me. Down to my last few months or so with the Department, I suffered a bout of diarrhea, each and every morning, before going to work.
My nerves were wrecked. I soon realized I had to seek employment elsewhere outside of the Department.
So I left DOJ and Shanetta. Life is good again.
Color us incredulous. You sacrificed the opportunity to work under an amazing lawyer and leader because, well, you had a touch of the runs?
You need to toughen up. Your “problem” wasn’t anything that couldn’t have been solved with a family-sized bottle of Kaopectate. And a lifetime supply of Depends.
* Sorry, Shalini. We will not apologize for having a weakness for divas. We have loved divas for our entire life, ever since we popped out of one’s womb.
For those of you who care (all six of you), we defend our fixation on divas after the jump.
We have to step out for a bit. We’ll probably be back online later tonight; but our later posts may not necessarily be salary information.
So feel free to treat this post as the end-of-day open thread. Have at it, folks!
And if you can confirm a rumored announcement, please email us. Thanks! Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)
As we mentioned earlier today, word on the street is that Sullivan & Cromwell has hired veteran employment litigator Zachary Fasman (at right), chair of the employment law practice in the New York office of Paul Hastings, to represent S&C in connection with Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.
That rumor has now been confirmed. We emailed Zach Fasman for comment, and we received this response:
I can confirm that I have been retained by Sullivan & Cromwell in this matter. I cannot provide any further comment.
As we’ve learned from emails, comments, and our tracking software, many of you are new to Above the Law. Welcome!
Here at ATL, we have a long and distinguished tradition of “hotties contests.” We’ve previously held contests for America’s hottest ERISA lawyers, law school deans, and 3L students at NYU Law. They were all huge hits within their respective communities.
Why do we hold hotties contests? Well, for better or worse, the legal profession is ruled by brains. Focusing on beauty provides a welcome respite from the credentials obsession that infects the law (and that we, of all people, are very guilty of — especially with respect to Supreme Court clerks).
As the old saying goes, “Looks aren’t everything.” But neither are brains. Lawyers need to be reminded that there are things that matter in life besides where you went to law school or which judge you clerked for. E.g., How good do you look shirtless?
(In the case of Harry Potter, aka actor Daniel Radcliffe (at right — photo via Drudge), the answer is: Pretty damn good.)
Hence our ATL hotties competitions. Our last beauty contest took place a long time ago; it’s time for a new one.
We’ve received a number of different suggestions. We’ve narrowed the list down to two choices, which we will now poll you on:
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!