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.
Last week we posted this photo, with captions:
“Speaking of asking people out, have you ever seen a tax law professor bust a move?”
“Well, now you have.”
For the record, these captions can be read in more than one way. Was Professor Paul Caron hitting on Professor Shari Motro (profiled here)? Or was it the other way around?
Within the legal blogsophere, Professor Caron is a total rock star. And what’s a rock star without groupies?
(Digression: Speaking of Professor Caron, he has prepared this handy list of teaching fellowships for aspiring law professors. It’s a great resource for those of you interested in legal academia.)
By the way, after we chastised Professor Caron for wearing a button-down shirt with a suit, the good professor wrote us as follows:
I showed my students your comment about the button down shirt and asked them to vote on whether your fashion sense was correct about button down shirts with suits — maybe it is a Midwest v. East Coast thing (or perhaps they were just sucking up to me), but the students voted 85% v. 15% in favor of the button downs.
Update/clarification: We can’t believe we even have to do this. But for the record, a “button-down shirt” refers to a shirt with a button-down collar.
Time for an ATL reader poll:
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?
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
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…
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