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.
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]
Thank you, Sullivan & Cromwell, for not settling this case and putting the mess behind you. The ongoing saga of Aaron Charney v. S&C is providing lawyers across the country with hours of entertainment.
Each week brings some exciting new development or salacious revelation. And yesterday’s hearing in New York Supreme Court, before Justice Bernard Fried, was no exception to this rule.
Discussion and links, after the jump.
Some of you have wondered about the drop-off in ATL coverage of our favorite DOJ diva: Shanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (“SPL”). Cutlar has been previouslydescribed in these pages as “deliciously imperious” and “a great diva,” and we’ve published a number of colorful stories about her.
We haven’t written much about Shanetta Cutlar lately because we haven’t gotten many new tips about her. Perhaps she’s keeping a low profile these days?
Fortunately, more grist for the SYC mill may be on its way, courtesy of Capitol Hill. From a tipster:
House Judiciary has an oversight hearing for Civil Rights next week. Not sure what day, but I’m trying to find out. I think SPL may be discussed.
And from another source:
The “scandal” of the firing of the US Attys will be the camel’s nose — a way to have full blown congressional hearings on DOJ, especially Civil Rights.
Oooh, exciting! We do hope that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees start sniffing around the Special Litigation Section. Maybe Chuck Schumer will become our truffle pig, unearthing tasty morsels about Shanetta Cutlar and her reign over SPL.
If you have any info about the upcoming oversight hearing — or, for that matter, any updates on what Shanetta Cutlar has been up to lately — please email us. Thanks. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)
A friendly warning to Peter Lattman and the WSJ Law Blog: “Hey guys, step off our turf!”
In a post this morning comparing President Bush’s purge of U.S. Attorneys with President Clinton’s, the WSJ Law Blog includes the graphic at right, showing three different WSJ “hedcuts” of former Attorney General Janet Reno. They pose the following “Law Blog Bonus Question”: “Which of Reno’s three dot-drawings do you prefer?”
Despite the attempt to mask the inquiry as focused on “dot-drawings,” we see this post for what it really is. It’s a clear incursion into our blogging territory: evolving hairstyles of legal celebrities (e.g., Judge Janice Rogers Brown).
So back off, guys! We leave the options backdating and Vioxx litigation to you. Why can’t you leave the hair and make-up of former AGs to us?
WSJ Law Blog readers agree with us. Right now there are a ton of comments to the post, but only two address the “Bonus Question” — which one of them criticizes as “rather inappropriate.”
Inappropriate for an MSM blog about “law and business, and the business of law”? Sure. But certainly not inappropriate for an online legal tabloid.
Time for a poll. We know that ATL readers are very knowledgeable about hair. But just to be perfectly clear, in the graphic at right, the hairstyles are (left to right) Janet With a Perm, Janet With a Part, and Janet With Bangs.
Okay, ‘fess up. You didn’t follow the Scooter Libby trial that closely. It struck you as kinda confusing, kinda boring.
You didn’t read that much about the trial while it was going on — maybe an article on the day of opening arguments, and an article or two after the verdict. Whenever the Libby case came up at cocktail parties, you tried to steer the talk towards Britney’s shaved head, afraid of your ignorance being exposed.
Live in fear no longer. Just read this excellent Talk of the Town piece by Jeffrey Toobin, which tells you all you need to know about the case, in clear and concise fashion.
(We heart the MSM! They write about stuff like the Libby trial, so we don’t have to.) Talk of the Town: Verdicts [New Yorker]
Where did the nation’s leading lawyers and judges go to law school?
Here is the Lawdragon 25 Leading Law Schools, based on where members of the Lawdragon [rankings of top lawyers and judges] graduated law school….
Lawdragon reports on lawyers nationwide, with a heavy emphasis on the states where there are the most practicing lawyers: California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Florida and Massachusetts. Schools that produce the leading practitioners in those states thus show up in our ranking more prominently than in other assessments. That still shouldn’t obscure the significant impact the University of Texas, Georgetown and UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall have in their markets. And while Columbia and NYU get plenty of recognition for the excellent legal education they provide, they have enormous impact in the nation’s most important legal market, New York.
Finally, the plaintiffs’ lawyers and judges. We’ve got a philosophy that they count too, which explains in part the placement of regional juggernauts like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, University of Miami, UC Hastings and Fordham Law School in the Lawdragon 25. Bottom line: if you want to get great training to actually go practice law, you have a range of choices, some of which might surprise you.
Lavi Soloway’s eyewitness account is available here. Good stuff!!! There are a number of juicy new revelations, which we’ll have more to say about in a subsequent post.
In the meantime, feel free to discuss the case and developments from the hearing in this open thread. Our main reaction: We’re disappointed to learn that Edward Gallion is no longer involved in this matter (and might find himself in a bit of hot water, too).
Messrs. Gallion & Spielvogel, you will be missed. What Happened to the Notes Taken at the Settlement Conference? [Soloway]
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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, 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.