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.
Former Sullivan & Cromwell associates take many different career paths. Some join smaller firms or go in-house; some file lawsuits against S&C; and some join government service.
Last week we wrote about the high-powered William A. Burck (OT 1999/Kennedy), who has had his ticket punched by some of the legal world’s top employers: Sullivan & Cromwell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, and the White House Counsel’s office. We announced that Burck was leaving the White House for the U.S. Department of Justice, but we didn’t have information on his new post at the DOJ.
We now have that information, courtesy of some Justice Department tipsters. Burck will be serving as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Alice Fisher. From an internal memo that was circulated on Friday by Fisher:
Bill will be responsible for overseeing and advancing the legislative agenda of the Criminal Division, supervising the Office of Policy and Legislation, and representing the Division before the United States Sentencing Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Courts.
In our prior post about this move, we noted the incestuous nature of conservative legal circles. One of our tipsters had this to add:
Re: incestuousness, note that Dabney Friedrich (nee Langhorne) — a former colleague of Bill Burck at the White House [whose nomination to the federal bench was discussed in the same post] — is married to Matt Friedrich, Alice Fisher’s former Chief of Staff/Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Crim (and now a member of AG Gonzales’s staff).
Whew! Did you get all that?
In light of how well Republicans groom their young lawyers (figuratively and literally), we share this commenter’s interest in learning about high-powered young LIBERAL lawyers. We realize that it’s tougher when your party doesn’t control the executive branch, which is home to so many plum executive appointments (and doles out plum judicial ones). But still, we’re curious. We welcome your comments and emails.
It’s not terribly exciting; but if you’d like to see it, Alice Fisher’s memo announcing the arrival of Bill Burck appears after the jump.
It’s arguably a little derivative of an earlier New York Observer graphic (discussed here). But the textual elements are new, and some of the featured individuals are different.
The illustrations are amusing. They’re perhaps the most “pro-Charney” part of the whole article, since they’re so unflattering to the S&C lawyers, who are drawn to resemble animals. H. Rodgin Cohen looks like a frog, and Alexandra Korry looks like a chimp.
Our further thoughts on the article appear after the jump.
They should have induced delivery by Baker Botts associate Alexandra Walsh, so she would have popped out her baby girl in the middle of trial, before the jury (and preferably during the strongest part of the government’s case, for maximum distraction value).
Delivering a baby in open court would have created a magnificently dramatic scene. And it would have generated an unbreakable bond between defense counsel and the jurors that would have guaranteed acquittal for Walsh’s client, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. After you’ve watched a woman give birth, can you really send her client to the Big House?
Alas, the Libby defense team took a more conventional route. Alex Walsh didn’t go to court last Friday, reporting instead to a Washington-area hospital, where she delivered a baby girl.
More details about Walsh, from CNN:
Walsh — a 2001 graduate of Stanford Law School — was named by Washingtonian magazine last year as one of the “40 top lawyers under 40.” She has focused on white-collar criminal law and appellate cases.
We’ve now finished reading Robert Kolker’s interesting and highly detailed New York Magazine article about Aaron Charney (a piece that we’ve been anticipating for weeks). And we do have a few thoughts on it — besides admiration for Ted Partin’s elegant, black-and-white headshot of a trim-but-borderline-emaciated Aaron Charney, at right.
On the whole, the piece is well-researched and thoughtful. It doesn’t contain THAT much new information for people who have been following this case as slavishly as most ATL readers have. But it’s well-written and engaging, a good read.
Also, it’s commendably balanced. In your reactions to it, some have you attacked it as pro-S&C, while others have criticized it as pro-Charney. This strikes us as evidence of the article’s evenhanded nature. You can view it as either pro-S&C or pro-Charney, depending upon your point of view and what you choose to focus on within the piece.
More detailed thoughts, after the jump.
We’ve given it almost no coverage here at ATL (largely because it doesn’t seem very amusing). But yes, in case you haven’t heard, former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is being tried on perjury charges.
The jury has been deliberating for over two days. And they’ve just lost a member:
The presiding judge dismissed one female juror in her 70s, an art curator, after she disclosed to her peers that she had come into contact over the weekend with information about the case of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff. The foreperson reported it this morning to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who interviewed the jurors and decided the female juror had not intentionally sought to ignore his orders that all 12 jurors avoid contact with media coverage and any other information about the Libby case.
So having contracted the informational cooties, she had to be booted. According to the Washington Post, “Libby and several defense attorneys wore broad smiles at the news of the woman’s removal.”
But why were they so pleased? This juror seemed to be an independent-minded sort:
The juror, who had white-blonde hair and wore large, stylish black-frame glasses and took extensive notes, distinguished herself from her peers at one point during the trial. On Valentine’s Day, the jury filed into the courtroom’s jury box at mid-afternoon, wearing identical red T-shirts with a white heart. She was the only juror who had not donned a T-shirt.
Yup, we watched the Academy Awards ceremony last night. We sat through the whole damn thing. As always, it was overlong. But at least we were struck by inspiration.
It’s only a matter of time before the Aaron Charney story gets turned into a Lifetime Original Movie. And when it does, we have a recommendation for who should play powerhouse partner Alexandra Korry:
Watching this video clip of Meryl Streep’s red carpet arrival last night makes the Korry-Streep resemblance even clearer. It’s all about the lank hair. Furthermore, their heads have exactly the same oval shape, and their facial features are very similar.
To be sure, Streep usually sticks to feature-film work, rather than made-for-TV movies. But she has done SOME television work over the years, for which she has received Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. And wouldn’t the award-fodder role of Alexandra Korry be juicy enough to tempt Meryl over to the small screen?
(No, it’s NOT too similar to Streep’s Oscar-nominated turn as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Miranda was icy, feminine, feline. In contrast, Alexandra Korry’s professional success rests upon her acting manly and tough, “like one of the boys.” According to Bob Kolker’s NYM article, Korry is regarded as “brutal” and “very profane.” Those are not adjectives one would apply to the quietly cruel Miranda Priestly.) Oscar arrival: Meryl Streep [WFAA.com (video)] Meryl Streep [IMDb] Alexandra D. Korry bio [Sullivan & Cromwell]
Two more firms drop off the LIST OF SHAME. First, we received this information about Nixon Peabody, on Friday afternoon:
Email came out today, but i do not yet have access to scan it. NYC was bumped to 160, Boston/Wash/CA bumped to 145, Long Island bumped to 115.
Second, over the weekend, Vinson & Elkins announced:
Vinson & Elkins New York matches market. V&E DC adjusts salary in DC for fourth through eighth year associates. Texas offices stay the same. No memo. A voicemail on Sunday.
Sorry, Texans: It’s looking like BigTex is staying put, at least of now. But hey, look on the bright side: in light of your low cost of living and state taxes (or lack thereof), you make out like bandits.
Now that V&E, Dickstein Shapiro, and Hunton & Williams have matched, here’s the latest, official LIST OF SHAME (ranked by Vault 100 placement; AmLaw 100 placement indicated parenthetically):
43. Baker & McKenzie (3)
50. Fulbright & Jaworski (36)
77. Bryan Cave (56)
82. Reed Smith (33)
83. Dorsey & Whitney (68)
86. McGuireWoods (65)
90. Baker & Hostetler (73)
92. Mintz Levin (91)
100. Seyfarth Shaw (66)
Yes, this list is New York-centric (because we have to draw the line somewhere; NYC generally leads the charge on pay raises, and we can’t write about every legal market under the sun). Please feel free to discuss other cities in the comments to this post.
As always, if you see any errors in this list, please email us (with supporting documentation, if any). Thanks.
The New York Magazine piece about Aaron Charney, which we have been eagerly awaiting, is finally out. The article, by Robert Kolker, looks long and juicy (hehe). We haven’t read it yet, but we’re about to. You can check it out for yourself by clicking here.
In the meantime, check out this quasi-artsy, black-and-white, dramatically lit photograph of Aaron Charney. It was taken by Ted Partin. The caption reads: “Aaron Charney at home.”
So THIS is what Aaron Charney’s bedroom looks like. But where are the omnipresent pictures of his mom and dad?
It’s a strangely seductive picture, isn’t it? Aaron’s bedsheets look inviting — they’re practically crying out, “Roll around in us!” They look very high-end; we’d be surprised by a sub-400 thread count.
Do you remember our reader poll — still open, actually — entitled What Should Aaron Charney Do Next? One of the choices was “Pose nude for Playgirl,” but it has received only 9 percent of the vote thus far. In light of this vaguely racy photo, we respectfully suggest that the figure should be higher.
We’ll have more to say about Bob Kolker’s article after we’ve had the chance to read it. Check back soon. Update: More thoughts on the article appear here and here. The Gay Flannel Suit [New York Magazine] Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: What Should Aaron Charney Do Next?
We’ve always admired Harvard Law School. It struck us as a place of high seriousness. It didn’t succumb to the latest trends in legal education. It didn’t train philsopher-kings; it trained LAWYERS, dammit.
So what if its students were kinda miserable? They got the best, most rigorous legal education money could buy. In short, HLS was bad-ass.
But recent events call into question our veneration for Harvard Law School. The Law School seems to be getting squishy on us. They have revamped their 1L curriculum, to place greater emphasis on touchy-feely topics like “international law.” And now we learn this (from an HLS tipster):
HLS is considering renaming the sections, previously assigned numbers (Sections 1 through 7), with actual names. Just when I think people can’t get more ridiculous…
See attached PDF for a Student Government survey. I like how they would consider naming sections after prominent donors!
Here’s our favorite question from the survey:
Our tipster suggested “porn stars, Care-Bears, and favorite sections of the MPC.”
Not bad; but we have two more ideas. Section names should facilitate healthy inter-section rivalry, as well as “trash talking.” Here are our suggestions:
1. Feeder Judges: You might as well name the sections after things HLS students actually care about. That’s why naming them after random dead alumni (see option F) is so stupid. Who wants to be in the “Jonathan Witherspoon IV Section”?
Naming sections after feeder judges makes much more sense. It lends itself well to assertions of team spirit:
“I’m in the Boudin section. Judge Boudin sent all of his clerks to the Court this Term. He rules!!!”
“I’m in the Kozinski section. He sent all his clerks to the Court too. And the Ninth Circuit is way cooler than the First Circuit — what a backwater!”
2. Celebrities With Legal Problems: The beauty of this section-naming scheme is that the category is continually expanding. The well never runs dry. And it’s terribly fun. Who wouldn’t want to be in the “O.J. Simpson Section” or the “Winona Ryder Section”?
Once again, there’s excellent trash-talking potential:
“We’re in the Michael Jackson Section. We’re the Kings of Pop — and of Torts!”
“Too bad you can’t keep your hands off teenage boys. We’re the Anna Nicole Smith section. Sure, we sleep around. But at least the people we sleep with have undergone puberty!”
If you’d like to see the HLS Student Government survey, we reprint it in full after the jump.
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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