frolicdetour

Posts by frolicdetour

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This is the farewell post of FROLIC & DETOUR, who was recently eliminated from ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that picked ATL's new editor. It is marked with F&D's avatar (at right).]
I’ve speculated about whether Sophist and I know each other. Well, we do. We wrote the HLS Parody together. Now I know that Shawn Johnson wasn’t BSing when she said she was thrilled that her team finished 1-2 in the all-around. I got the silver, but they’re playing my national anthem.
Shortly after Elie won his job, I accepted an offer I’d been hoping for. As soon as I wind things up at the firm, I’ll be starting a new job in the law school world. Gold on beam! I think this worked out the right way for everyone. Thanks for the ride.
Love,
Frolic

Update / Clarification: Some commenters have complained about a formatting problem in an earlier version of this post. If you encountered this formatting problem, it’s time for you to enter the 21st century, ditch Internet Explorer, and adopt a better browser, like Firefox (download it here). Or get a Mac.
But just for the record, the formatting error was your editor’s fault, not that of FROLIC & DETOUR. We apologize for the mistake (which you should not hold against F&D).
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After Tuesday’s discussion, readers submitted some beautiful examples of the bureaucratic glory that is character and fitness:

On my 2003 application I reported that I had lived in one location until “June 1996″ and another location starting “July 1996.” I got a call saying I had failed to account for where I lived for almost two months. When I asked them what they meant, they said they were missing addresses for the period between June 2, 1996 and July 30, 1996.

I got grief from C&F for failing to disclose a citation for failure to wear a seatbelt. It was a $10 ticket that I got 6 years before applying to the bar.

And my personal favorite:

When asked why I left the Dean campaign I wrote “Iowa, the Scream.” They asked for more details.

Thanks for the stories. But since this is the last post of ATL Idol, I’m cutting to the chase. It was clear from Tuesday’s comments that readers were more interested in my character than in character & fitness. So let’s talk about that.
To clear up some misconceptions, I’m not Miss Alli/Linda Holmes. I have a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, and I don’t know whether I know Sophist. I really did interview fired biglaw partners who knew I was writing for ATL (Lat knows who they are). I’m done with legal practice whether I’m the Idol or not. And whatever happens this weekend, I’m grateful to all the voters who think my garbage stinks a little bit less than the competition’s garbage. I feel like a bacterium that survived a three-week penicillin bath.
avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpgFinally, I have to address the reader accusation that I am an anti-Semite. I have to admit, this one is true. Those schmucks in my mishpocheh give me nothing but tsuris.
[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]

WilmerHale Wilmer Hale billing rate.jpgWe know that attorneys at top firms like WilmerHale can charge stunning rates — up to $750 an hour for litigation chair Howard Shapiro.
But if you ask them, that’s a bargain.
Wilmer moved for an award of attorneys’ fees after winning a $90 million verdict in a False Claims Act case. The usual lodestar method of calculating fees, logically enough, is to multiply the attorneys’ standard billing rates by the number of hours they spent on the case. But Wilmer argued that its standard billing rates grossly undervalue the superhuman skills of its legal team. It asked the court to perform the lodestar calculation and then award twice the result in attorneys’ fees. In other words, according to Wilmer, its clients who pay by the hour get a 50% discount off the true value of the work.
Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the district court in D.C. didn’t buy the idea that Wilmer’s entire litigation practice is a pro bono program in disguise. The judge kicked Wilmer around for 169 pages before putting the fee petition to rest. He wondered why, if the attorneys had such extraordinary abilities, it took so many of them to get the job done:

Assigning eleven different attorneys to work on one deposition, however crucial the witness, can hardly be characterized as efficient. . . . WilmerHale [used] fifty-two lawyers and thirty paralegals in this case.

Judge Lamberth further ruled that Wilmer’s record-keeping was too vague and sloppy to support awarding even the lodestar amount. Plaintiff’s counsel in the McAfee v. WilmerHale overbilling case must be kicking themselves for not filing in Washington.
Judge Lamberth did note that the members of the Wilmer team were “graduates of prestigious law schools and/or former judicial clerks.” But apparently even members of the Elect — including Mike Gottlieb (OT 2004 / Stevens), Jonathan Cedarbaum (OT 1998 / Souter), and Robert Bell (OT 1981 / White) — aren’t worth $1000+ an hour.
avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpgWilmer’s going to be OK; they’ll get about $7 million of the $20 million they asked for. But we should feel some sympathy all the same. It must be tough to hear that you’re only worth 100% of what the market will bear.
[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
It’s puzzling that lawyers have a reputation as a bunch of thieving shysters. After all, we have to prove our character and fitness before joining the profession. Unlike, say, doctors, lawyers’ unique responsibilities demand high moral standards as well as professional skill. Only the pure in heart can be allowed to carry the briefcase.
Yes, 3Ls, for a mere $815 (0r more), expert bureaucrats will judge your moral merit. Along with the occasional white supremacist, state C&F committees weed out sinners great and small. Unpaid parking tickets? They’re on it. Remember that security deposit on your 1999 summer share? They do.
Maybe you didn’t think that a drunken tailgate from sophomore year would come back to haunt you. But we’ve already heard from several C&F veterans about the long-forgotten dramas that stood between them and their legal dreams:

I worked as a paralegal at a small New York firm in between college and law school. After six months, I got sick of picking up sushi and making copies, so I quit. The firm was furious that I was leaving, and they threatened to do whatever it took to keep me out of the bar. Sure enough, three and a half years later, they told California that I was a liar and not to be trusted. California admitted me anyway. Later in my career, I moved to New York. This firm again told the bar that I was a liar and made as much trouble as they could — almost six years after I quit.

I skipped a lot of class in high school and ended up with a bunch of Fs. I graduated from college with honors, then made it to a top-6 law school, with years of work experience along the way. I was 26 when I took the bar. C&F gave me huge problems over my high school academic record. They made me write a long apology and promise never to do it again. For real.

So readers, what vomit blotches stained your bar applications? How did you have to pay penance? Share in the comments or at frolicndetour.atl.idol@gmail.com, and we’ll discuss on Thursday.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]

Reno 911 sack inspection.jpgA man claiming to be a police detective entered a Longmont, Colo. adult store and demanded to see the X-rated videos for free.
The ponytailed man claimed he was an officer in the “age verification unit,” and he had to ensure that the performers in the porn videos weren’t underage.
“It was inventive on his part, I’ll give him that,” said the real police officer investigating the case.
Somehow, the video clerks weren’t convinced by the man’s business card, which had no name on it. Since the scheme didn’t work the first time, the man tried it a second and then a third time…at the same store. Unfortunately, Randal wasn’t there that day, and the clerks called the cops.
The man may drive a red Dodge neon, which explains why he isn’t getting laid.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Many thanks to those who wrote in about their creepy, sadistic, and otherwise entertaining legal bosses.
Skadden employee Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom.jpgOur first nominee, Judge Suzanne B. Conlon, earned her place in bossal history by firing a clerk for complying with an evacuation order on Sep. 11, 2001.
Read about her competition, courtesy of some long-suffering ATL readers, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “America’s Worst Legal Boss Strikes Back”

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Last year, ATL brought you the story of Ernie Chambers, the Nebraska state legislator who sued God for terrorizing millions of Earth’s inhabitants with earthquakes and floods.
Ernie Chambers 1.jpgThis week, Sen. Chambers appeared before Judge Marlon Polk to argue that the suit should move forward despite his failure to serve notice on God:

“Despite my most sincere, zealous efforts, I could not find a location to serve the defendant,” Chambers said. But Chambers asked Polk to take official notice of God, and the Almighty’s omniscience and omnipresence.

Despite Sen. Chambers’s argument that the defendant had constructive notice of the suit, God failed to make a special appearance. Under Nebraska law, if God did not make himself available, one of His many registered agents could have accepted service of process.
minimum contacts.jpgIn his original complaint, Sen. Chambers did not address the manageability problems inherent in a class action suit with approximately 6.7 billion potential plaintiffs.

A spiritual presence was palpable in the courtroom, as Judge Polk displayed the patience of a saint in dealing with the matter.
God declined to comment for this story, citing an ongoing investigation into the fate of Sen. Chambers’s soul.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Demanding bosses come with the territory in our line of work. Several less-than-loving legal employers have been profiled here on ATL, and you’ve shared some fine examples of bossal abuse. But until today, we’ve never undertaken a search for the worst boss in the legal profession.
Skadden employee Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom.jpgThis week, we want to find the ultimate briefcase-hurling, insult-spewing master of the legal boss’s art. ATL will get the ball rolling by offering the first nominee:
Senior Judge Suzanne B. Conlon, a living legend of the Northern District of Illinois, is a true judicial diva. She even fired a staff member who refused to carry the judge’s lunch up 17 flights of stairs on a day when the elevators weren’t working. But those in the know tell us that Judge Conlon didn’t reach the pinnacle of her achievements in bossery until September 11, 2001.
Judge Conlon is famous for her punctuality and for her ruthless enforcement of deadlines. So when federal marshals evacuated the Dirksen courthouse that sunny morning, she stayed put in her chambers. One clerk began to make made preparations to leave, per the instructions of the guys with guns. Judge Conlon decreed [paraphrasing]: “It is a TUESDAY, you are here till SIX, and if you leave, don’t come back.”
So he left and didn’t come back.
Can you top this, readers? We bet you can. Tell us why your boss (or former boss) deserves the Worst Legal Boss honor at frolicndetour.atl.idol@gmail.com or in the comments. We’ll select the most outstanding candidates and post the full list of nominees on Thursday.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Sadly, some of the juiciest summer scandals in Biglaw history occurred prior to the advent of Above the Law. Though some of us at ATL may be loathe to admit it, many of them occurred when this year’s 2Ls were still in high school. So far, this year’s pink-cheeked and diligent class is failing in its duty to generate entertainment for the rest of us. So let’s all step into the Wayback Machine and visit the glory days of summer scandal.
Mr Peabody.jpgPicture it: summer, 2000. First-year salaries recently hit $125,000…the dot com boom is a boom, not a bubble…offers will follow summers as day follows night. And a Boston tech firm called Testa Hurwitz had not yet gone to the Great Courtroom in the Sky.
The marquee event of Testa’s lavish summer program is a Duck Boat tour of Boston and the Charles River. Summers, associates, and partners alike enjoy some fine beverages and then set out for some amphibious sightseeing.
Under the influence of free champagne, a Harvard summer (naturally) decides that it would be hilarious to drop trou and moon his friend in the neighboring boat. Once his pants are down, however, he experiences some confusion about where he is, just as Nature begins to sing her siren song. Is that a life preserver in front of him, or a urinal? In front of the entire firm, the summer leans against the railing and takes a piss in the Charles.
It wasn’t easy to do in those days, but… no offer.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Why was ATL so fascinated by Shinyung Oh? Partly because it was juicy drama, and partly because she’s practically the only lawyer who’s given the world a straight story about a big-firm layoff. Partners and associates alike accept severance packages that keep them quiet, and while you can’t blame them for taking the cash, no one else can learn from their experience. We all figure that firms’ PR departments are feeding us BS when they claim that layoffs have always been part of the annual review process, but we haven’t had any eyewitness testimony on that point.
Today, ATL breaks the silence with an exclusive insider’s view of partner layoffs. Out of the dozens (hundreds?) of AmLaw 100 equity partners who’ve lost their jobs in this recession, we found a small number who were willing to talk to ATL about their experiences. According to their co-workers, our sources were well liked and doing good work when the axe dropped … they just didn’t have clients of their own. The picture they painted for ATL includes one piece of good news: well-informed young lawyers (i.e., ATL readers) have a pretty good understanding of how partners have become vulnerable to layoffs. On the other hand, it’s no cause for celebration that we were right about how dismal the picture has become.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Partnership: What’s in a Name?”

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