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, he launched Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges. Before entering the journalism world, he 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 an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as one of the American Lawyer’s Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years; one of the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of pioneers within the legal profession; and one 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 Twitter.
Look, we were not trying to be coy in our last post. We are just trying, as one commenter suggested, not to get our asses sued.
Here is what we can tell you for now. The following facts have been confirmed with multiple sources:
1. Thomas “Tad” DiBiase is a prominent, well-connected assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He served (and may technically still be) the Director of Professional Development for the office, as well as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section.
2. His duties as Director of Professional Development include making sure assistant U.S. attorneys all get their mandatory ethics and sexual harrassment training.
3. Earlier this week, something changed with respect to Mr. DiBiase’s employment status. We haven’t nailed this down yet. But if you send a message to his DOJ email address, you receive the following:
I will be out of the office until further notice. I will not be checking my email. Please call Glenn Kirschner at 514-xxxx regarding any homicide matters.
We’ll have more to share once we hear back from more sources. Since yesterday, we’ve left multiple voice-mail and e-mail messages for Mr. DiBiase (who still has DOJ voice-mail and email accounts); a lawyer we’re told is representing him; and Channing Phillips, the office spokesperson.
Nobody has gotten back to us — but you can’t accuse us of not trying to verify our facts. We are crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s on this one. We don’t want to be accused of reckless disregard with respect to anything.
(You may comment on this post. But please remember that, under Section 230, individual commenters — NOT ATL — bear legal responsibility for their own comments. Thank you.) Earlier: Request for Information: AUSA Tad DiBiase
Poor James Sandman. He’s a partner at Arnold & Porter, one of Washington’s most prestigious law firms, and he’s president of the DC Bar. But ever since he wrote that mean article complaining about associate pay raises, nobody will sit next to him at parties….
(Okay, we jest. The seats next to Jim Sandman were subsequently filled. In fact, he was at our table — and we found him to be a most agreeable dinner companion. There were some associates sitting near him, and Mr. Sandman made no attempt to steal food from their mouths.)
Earlier this week, we attended — and served as the emcee for — the annual benefit dinner of the Asian Pacific American Bar Assocation Educational Fund (AEF).
It was a wonderful event (and not just ’cause we won two Supreme Court bobbleheads in the silent auction). It featured inspiring speeches from Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, executive director of Boat People SOS, and Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii. It was tons of fun. And it raised money for AEF’s charitable and educational activities, including its public service fellowships for law students.
Of course we took lots of pictures. Check out the first batch — more will follow later — after the jump.
We’ve reviewed the excerpts from the Aaron Charney deposition that were attached to Charney’s court filings from yesterday. We’ve culled out some highlights, so you can review them for yourself and reach your own conclusions.
(We realize, of course, that this is just Aaron Charney’s side of the story. But at this point, in the absence of deposition testimony from Gera Grinberg or any S&C lawyers, it’s all we’ve got. Obviously you should read it with the caveat that Charney isn’t exactly a disinterested witness.)
For starters, here’s Charney’s testimony about the alleged “we’ve represented the Nazis” comment by Sullivan & Cromwell partner Gandolfo “Vince” DiBlasi:
Here’s an open thread to discuss compensation developments at intellectual property firms. We’ll kick off the discussion with this tip:
Morgan & Finnegan (following competitors Dickstein, Fitzpatrick Cella, Kenyon & Kenyon, and Fish & Richardson) is now at $160,000/year effective April 1. Most of the associates are in the New York office, so I’m not sure how this affects DC.
This year’s summer class is making more then 25% more than last year’s summer class. (The firm didn’t go to $135K for regular associates until the middle of last summer, and they didn’t adjust summer associate salaries.)
We may have something new and juicy to report in the near future. But we can’t say anything just yet — and must proceed with caution with this item.
The potential story concerns the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in Washington, DC. Thomas DiBiase, also known as Tad DiBiase, is (or possibly was) an assistant U.S. attorney in the office. He served (and may still serve) as Director of Professional Development for the office, as well as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section. He has been described to us as a tremendously talented lawyer, with a bright future and excellent political connections.
Anyway, we are hearing some, er, interesting things about him. We’ve placed some phone calls and sent out some emails, but they have been unreturned so far. We tried contacting Channing Phillips, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; a lawyer we were told is representing Mr. DiBiase; and Mr. DiBiase himself. Nobody got back to us (but we note our efforts for the record).
When we sent a message to Thomas DiBiase’s DOJ email address, we received this Out of Office AutoReply:
I will be out of the office until further notice. I will not be checking my email. Please call Glenn Kirschner at 514-xxxx regarding any homicide matters.
So we must turn to you, our readers. If you have some interesting information to share with us about Mr. DiBiase, please email us (subject line: “Tad DiBiase”). Thanks.
We received the following email from the offices of Michael Kennedy, one of Aaron Charney’s lawyers, with a request to transmit it to ATL readers:
The Law Offices of Michael Kennedy have been contacted by individuals with first hand knowledge about the allegations set forth in the matter Aaron Brett Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Apparently, some witnesses have been apprehensive about coming forward with information.
If you have witnessed any of the events or observed the atmosphere of intolerance, harassment, or retaliation described in that complaint, then we would like to hear from you too. We may be contacted at our office, 212-935-4500, or at CHARNEYINVESTIGATION at GMAIL.COM.
Please note that the posting of this email should not be interpreted as our siding with Aaron Charney in this litigation. We are simply functioning as a clearinghouse for information about the case.
As ATL readers know, we post emails from our correspondents all the time. For example, we previously posted journalist Robert Kolker’s request for information about Charney v. S&C. And if Sullivan & Cromwell or the firm’s outside counsel, Paul Hastings, were to make a similar request of us, we would happily comply.
As reported last month by The BLT and Roll Call (subscription), Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and his wife, Martha Alito, are selling their million-dollar New Jersey home. Here’s the listing.
But if you were hoping to purchase a piece of history, you’re probably out of luck. The judicial manse appears to be under contract.
That won’t stop us, however, from engaging in a little ogling. Here’s what the listing originally looked like, before the photographs were removed:
More about this supremely appealing residence, after the jump.
Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said….
[A recent study showed] that attractive suspects were more likely to be acquitted, despite there being no extra evidence in their favour.
Sandie Taylor, the psychologist who conducted the study, said: “We set out to consider the influence of physical attractiveness and ethnicity of a defendant depicted in a photograph on mock jurors’ decisions of verdict, extent of guilt and sentencing….”
“Attractive defendants are, it seems, rated less harshly than homely defendants, so perhaps justice isn’t blind after all.”
The study showed that while the jurors were swayed by attractiveness, they did not let race cloud their judgment. Black and white suspects were treated equally. When black suspects were convicted, however, they were given longer sentences.
“It is interesting that being an unattractive black defendant only had an impact on sentencing and not on a juror’s verdict of guilt,” Dr Taylor told the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in York.
We’re heading off for a lunch meeting. So we won’t be at our computer when former senator (and trial lawyer extraordinaire) John Edwards holds his noon press conference.
The Edwards campaign hasn’t disclosed what the announcement will be. But according to Ben Smith of The Politico, Edwards “is suspending his campaign for President, and may drop out completely, because his wife has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that sickened her in 2004, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Please use this open thread to discuss anything interesting that happens while we’re gone, including the Edwards announcement. We also hope Alberto Gonzales doesn’t step down as Attorney General while we’re away.
(Actually, maybe AG Gonzales will survive the U.S. Attorney firestorm. It seems that in the past day or two, the departure buzz has quieted slightly. Should Alberto Gonzales be upgraded from critical to stable condition?) Update: Whoops! Even the MSM gets things wrong sometimes. Ben Smith’s mea culpa appears here. Edwards to Suspend Campaign [The Politico] Getting It Wrong [The Politico]
As some of you may have noticed, we have fallen hopelessly behind in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We’re over a month behind. We were hoping to catch up, but we’ve now reached the point where we must admit defeat.
(Do any of you hoard newspapers or magazines that you tell yourself you’ll read “eventually”? And then the pile just gets bigger and bigger, until you finally have to admit that it’s not happening, and take them all down to recycling? We’ve reached that point with LEWW.)
So here’s the thing. As one of you suggested in a comment, we’re putting Legal Eagle Wedding Watch on hiatus. It probably won’t be permanent, but it will likely last at least until the summer months, when lawyer weddings (and weddings generally) go into full swing.
But here’s one possibility we’ll leave open. If we can find a writer who would be willing to take over authorship of LEWW from us, then we will gladly hand over the column to him or her, starting now.
If you might be interested in writing Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, please email us (subject line: “LEWW Application”). Please tell us a little bit about yourself and explain why you’d be the ideal writer for this column. You can write under your own name or a pseudonym. And if you have ideas for taking the column in a different direction, changing the scoring system, etc., that’s fine too — we’d love to hear them. Thanks!
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.