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.
Chef Robert Invine was given a challenging task. He was directed “to prepare a stately array of hors d’oeuvres,” to be served at the Inaugural Ball of Judge Rendell’s husband, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell.
The number of guests: 4,000. The amount of time available to him: 24 hours. Despite the difficulty of the project, Chef Irvine completed his mission.
But we were a little disappointed with the episode, for a number of reasons….
As we head into another weekend, here’s the latest LIST OF SHAME. We’re down to only five firms (Vault 100 ranking on the left, AmLaw 100 ranking on the right):
43. Baker & McKenzie (3)
82. Reed Smith (33)
83. Dorsey & Whitney (68)
86. McGuireWoods (65)
100. Seyfarth Shaw (66)
If any of these firms doesn’t belong on the list, please email us, with supporting documentation (if any).
Please discuss other salary developments in the comments to this post. Thanks.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at last night’s Kennedy Center event, The Trial of Hamlet, presided over by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. It was highly entertaining and quite educational, on a number of subjects: Hamlet, literary criticism, psychiatry, and the art of advocacy, among others.
We’re planning to write more about the evening later. For now, we’ll give you the bottom line: Who won?
The prosecution team consisted of Miles Ehrlich, a former federal prosecutor (and law clerk to Justice Kennedy), and Cristina Arguedas, a California criminal defense attorney. Hamlet was represented by Abbe Lowell, the prominent D.C. defense lawyer, and Catherine Crier, a Court TV host and former Texas state judge. The defense argued that Hamlet should not be held criminally responsible for the killing of Polonius by reason of insanity.
After testimony from psychiatric experts and arguments from counsel, the jury of 12 retired to deliberate. In the end, they emerged deadlocked, voting 6-6 in the case. After receiving the jury’s verdict, Justice Kennedy, without missing a beat, said something like, “Hamlet, please rise. I hereby remand you to the pages of literature, where you will continue to intrigue us for centuries to come….”
Justice Kennedy’s “remand” speech was so eloquent that it sounded scripted. Many audience members were left wondering whether the outcome was rigged — whether the jury was going to be a hung jury no matter what, in order to demonstrate the complexity, ambiguity, and richness of Hamlet as a literary text.
As it turns out, however, the jury vote was NOT rigged. They truly were deadlocked, by the end of their deliberation time (which, due to the schedule for the evening, was admittedly not that long).
And don’t blame Justice Kennedy for their indecision! While the jury was deliberating, AMK was moderating a discussion about the play with the participants in the trial, in front of the Kennedy Center audience.
Despite the frustratingly ambiguous verdict — we must admit, we like our entertainment with closure — we had a good time. More discussion will follow later. If you attended and have thoughts to share, please feel free to email us. Sane or not, Hamlet a hit in Washington trial [Reuters] Earlier: Justice Kennedy and The Trial of Hamlet
Ty Clevenger, a former attorney in the Special Litigation Section (“SPL”) of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is the one who got the ball rolling with respect to colorful anecdotes about Shanetta Cutlar, the charismatic and strong-willed chief of the Section.
Clevenger sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty raising concerns about Cutlar’s leadership of SPL. Shortly thereafter, Clevenger was effectively fired by Cutlar the next day.
As for Clevenger’s letter, the DAG assigned it to Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, for a response. Earlier this month, Clevenger received the following from Wan Kim:
Letters to McDonald’s, complaining about insufficient mintiness in Shamrock Shakes,* receive responses evincing greater concern.
Now we understand why Shanetta Cutlar was comfortable enough in her position to wear a tiara to a recent meeting of DOJ section chiefs. We predict she will remain in power at SPL long after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has left the building (which may not be saying much — but you get our point).
* Yes, Shamrock Shakes are back! We enjoyed one in Miami earlier this week.
More fine blogging from Lavi Soloway — although his latest material is related only indirectly to Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.
Remember LeGal, the gay and lesbian lawyers’ association that got itself into a bit of controversy after its (now former) president, Jack Scheich, came out swinging in favor of S&C?
Well, last night LeGal held its big annual dinner. At this gala event, big law firms cough up dough for insurance against anti-gay bias lawsuits tables to show their support for the organization. (We wrote previously about the hideous invitation for the dinner over here.)
We weren’t able to attend last night’s festivities, ’cause we were spending quality time with Justice Kennedy. But Lavi Soloway was there. His party write-up, with photos, appears here.
There was a rumor floating around, several weeks ago, that Aaron Charney was going to make an appearance at the LeGal dinner. We were, for obvious reasons, excited about this possibility. It might have given rise to some deliciously awkward moments — since his former employer and current adversary, S&C, bought a table and turned out in force.
Alas, based on Soloway’s coverage, it appears the answer to “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” was “Not Aaron Charney.” If Charney had been there, surely Soloway — who knows what Charney looks like, having seen him at the big hearing earlier this week — would have mentioned it.
So what happened to poor Aaron? Was he stuck at home, scrubbing floors like Cinderella, while his mean S&C stepsisters danced the night away at the Ritz-Carlton?
Looking ahead, will the Aaron Charney saga have a fairy tale ending? Might Charney’s newfound fame bring him to the attention of a sugar daddy Prince Charming — a boyfriend so rich he can afford to drop his lawsuit against S&C? Will S&C break down and settle the case, placing a glass slipper on Charney’s (presumably large) foot,* thereby transforming him from an unemployed ex-Biglaw associate into a millionaire plaintiff princess?
To find out the answers, just stay tuned to ATL. We will continue to cover even the most trivial developments in this litigation with obsessive zeal.
* We speculate that Charney has large feet because we hear that he’s tall and thin — as you can sort of see from this photo, by Lavi Soloway. NYC Lesbian & Gay Lawyers Hold Annual Dinner [Soloway] Earlier: Beware the Ides of March
As we’ve mentioned before, Lavi Soloway has posted some great coverage of yesterday’s hearing in Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. He offers detailed discussion of the arguments before Justice Bernard Fried, his impressions of them, and original photos.
You can access Soloway’s two posts here and here. They’re well worth your time.
Some excerpts, with commentary from us, appear after the jump.
We didn’t receive this information from a verified source at the firm, so please treat it as unconfirmed. We’re going to fact-check this information “blog-style”: we’re going to throw it out there, then wait for somebody to tell us it’s wrong (or to confirm it).
Anyway, here it is, from an email from an anonymous source:
On Tuesday, Williams & Connolly LLP raised its salaries across the board, retroactive to January 1. Starting salary for first-years is now $165,000.
You’ll note that these numbers are higher, at least in the most junior years, than what appears to be the new standard for Washington: 145/155/170/190. They’re also higher, at least in the first three years, than the new NYC scale (which also applies to the D.C. offices of New York firms): 160/170/185.
But this is consistent with the Williams & Connolly pay scale of years past. Their base salaries are somewhat higher than market; but they don’t pay year-end bonuses.
As noted, if you know this information to be incorrect — or if, on the other hand, you can confirm — please email us. Thanks! Update: The information appearing above, concerning Williams & Connolly, has been confirmed.
Former media magnate Conrad Black is currently on trial in federal court in Chicago. Lord Black (at right) stands accused of fraud, racketeering, tax violations, obstruction of justice, and money laundering — serious stuff. He’s being defended by Edward Greenspan, one of Canada’s most colorful trial attorneys.
Greenspan — who went to law school with Black, by the way — can already claim the distinction of being “among Canada’s most famous lawyers.” And now “Fast Eddie” can add a new prize to his mantle: ATL Lawyer of the Day!!!
Greenspan recently got benchslapped in open court by a judicial hottie — and he clearly deserves some recognition for this achievement. For the gory details, we refer you to our big sibling, DealBreaker.
Congratulations, Mr. Greenspan! We look forward to more antics from you as the trial progresses. Conrad Black Defense’s Routine Needs Tweaking [DealBreaker] Où est Monsieur Black? [DealBreaker]
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:
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.
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.