Ballard Spahr

* Who is the real John Roberts? Will he forever be known as health care reform’s savior, or the man who disregarded precedent to gut minority voting rights? Hell if we know, so we’ll let you be the judge. [Opinionator / New York Times]

* The man may be a mystery, but one thing’s for sure when it comes to Chief Justice Roberts: it’s fair to say that at this point, he’d sincerely appreciate it if his colleagues would kindly STFU during oral argument. [Big Story / Associated Press]

* Elena Kagan, a justice who was never a judge, is now being praised for her ability to put the law into terms that non-lawyers can understand. That’s a score for law professors everywhere. [New York Times]

* In terms of the Voting Rights Act, while the chances of the current Congress enacting a universal voting law are approximately nil, there are other effective avenues that could be taken. [New York Times]

* On Friday, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay on gay marriages in California, and less than 24 hours later, Prop 8 supporters filed an emergency motion with SCOTUS to stop all of the weddings. Lovely. [NPR]

* Meanwhile, ex-judge Vaughn Walker thinks Justice Scalia’s having joined the high court’s majority on standing telegraphed the fact that he didn’t have votes to uphold Prop 8 as constitutional. [NPR]

* Rubber stamp this: Judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are so upset that they’re being made out as government patsies that they’re talking to the press about it. [Washington Post]

* Whether you think Chevron is “suing [Patton Boggs] lawyers for litigating” or for promoting fraud that “shocks the conscience,” here’s a summary of what’s going on in an epic case. [Washington Post]

* Got a high-profile criminal defense firm? Look out, because you may have captured Biglaw’s eye. Take, for example, Stillman & Friedman, which will be merging with Ballard Spahr. [New York Times]

* Apparently being in your mid-50s is a “good time to [retire]” for law deans who pull in six figures. Ken Randall, outgoing dean of Alabama Law, says he’s “really ready for the next challenge.” []

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpg* Doo-doo diligence? Proskauer Rose and Holland & Knight have both been hit with legal malpractice suits. [Miami Herald via ABA Journal]
* Sometimes ignoring something does make it better. [Ars Technica]
* From the inane adventures in social networking file: Poll on whether Obama should be killed leads to Facebook suspension and Secret Service investigation. [CNN]
* No one wants to prosecute this torture porn case. [Politico]
* The SCOTUS justices will be gazing out toward the Mojave desert this week. [Washington Post]
* An argument for reading the comments section at Above The Law. Cox Smith attorneys are three times as fun as Ballard Spahr’s. [Above The Law comments]

Ballard Spahr.jpgBallard Spahr has revamped its website. It’s clean, it’s fresh, and it has lots of stock photos and little comment pop-ups. One ATL reader urged us to take a closer look:

You guys have to check out the new Ballard Spahr website, it is hysterical. Click on any attorney, there are two pictures, face and body. It looks like a model portfolio or comp card for actors.

We did some clicking in Ballard Spahr’s “People” section, and we can confirm there’s some amusement value to the head shots paired with full body shots.

While we perused, we wondered whether it’s reasonable to ask associates, special counsel, and partners to go beyond the head shot. Some looked happier about it than others. Check out some of our favorite Ballard body shots and take our poll, after the jump.

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Thumbnail image for Ballard Spahr logo.JPGJust last week, Ballard Spahr was sending around inspirational messages to its associates. Today, the firm has decided to cancel its 2010 Summer Program.
Thompson Hine has also decided to cancel its 2010 Summer Program. If nothing else the move should give Rogue Associate an opportunity to comment.
It’s one thing to cancel your entire summer program. But what is surprising about Ballard Spahr and Thompson Hine is that the firms did not make any formal, official announcement about the decision. Instead, students learned the information from their respective law school recruiting offices.
Update (1:04): Now Squire Sanders is also canceling its 2010 Summer Program. More details after the jump.
Here’s the Ballard Spahr “announcement” (via Penn Law School):

Dear Students,
As we near the close of bidding, we wanted to provide you with an update on schedule changes that we received so far today.
Akin Gump went from 40 interview slots in NYC and 40 interview slots in DC to 20 interview slots in NYC and 20 interview slots in DC.
Paul Weiss went from 80 interview slots to 60 interview slots.
Ballard Spahr will not have a 2010 summer program and, as such, has canceled on campus interviews.
All of this information is updated in Symplicity. Please note that we will continue to provide you with updates as is feasible. However, it may not be possible for us to email you with all changes so please be sure to check Symplicity before bidding closes tomorrow, July 21st at 11:59 p.m.

After the jump, we see that Duke students were the first to learn about the Thompson Hine cancellation.

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Thumbnail image for Ballard Spahr logo.JPGHere at Above the Law, we appreciate and encourage openness from law firms. Law firms don’t have to make quarterly reports to the SEC. But partners, associates, staff, and prospective law students should have as much information as possible about the firms they work for.
So we honestly applaud Arthur Makadon, chairman of Ballard Spahr. He decided to communicate directly with his associates and partners. In the middle of a recession, Mr. Makadon seems to understand the importance of having open communication. We post the following not to make fun of Ballard Spahr, but to encourage other firms to do the same. Here is how Makadon starts off his firm-wide message:

With the year half over, and with significant changes taking place at Ballard, at other law firms and businesses, and, indeed, at virtually every enterprise throughout the country, you understandably must wonder how we are doing. And so I want to take the opportunity in this quarterly message to provide some perspective on where we stand in 2009 and where we expect to be six months from now, two years from now, and a decade from now. Not that any of us wants to skip ahead to this winter; at least here in the East, after sloshing through an unusually rainy spring and enduring a gray and rainy June, we are still waiting to see some consistent sunshine and feel the warmth (and in my case humidity) of summer.

This email is going to be great. More from it, after the jump.

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Mule Crossing.jpgThe Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a former Ballard Spahr attorney has been charged for allegedly smuggling drugs into a jail:

A Philadelphia lawyer was arrested Friday night and charged with trying to take heroin into the Delaware County jail.
Randall J. Sommovilla, 61, of the 900 block of South 11th Street, was charged with possession of contraband and drugs. He was released after posting bail.

Really, it’s surprising that there aren’t more stories like this as laid off lawyers are unable to find new jobs at the salary they are accustomed to.
But maybe Sommovilla’s situation isn’t about his job, it’s about a girl? More details after the jump.

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Salary Cuts.jpgMore evidence of deflation in the legal market comes from Philadelphia. Last week, Ballard Spahr decided to cut associate salaries. Tipsters report that the average cut is 14%, but each individual salary cut is based on class year and other factors. According to one source:

Ballard Spahr cut associate salaries firmwide between approximately $19,000 and $30,000 per year (senior associates being cut more both on a percentage basis and actual dollar basis than junior associates) effective June 16.

The firm would not confirm or deny these reports. Instead a firm spokesperson told Above the Law:

The firm considers compensation a personnel issue. And corporate policy is not to discuss personnel issues with the press.

More details, and an update, after the jump.

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Ballard Spahr logo.JPGAbove the Law has been able to confirm that Ballard Spahr has officially pushed back start dates for its incoming first year associates. A tipster summarizes the details:

On Friday Ballard Spahr told its incoming class that it is delaying start dates until September 2010. There will be a $45,000 stipend offered…. The firm claims it will try to help the incoming associates find these jobs.

We understand that the $45K is in addition to the standard $5K bar stipend the firm traditionally offers.

The firm will not cover health care directly, but there will be a $5,500 Health Benefit Stipend as well.

Getting the money is contingent upon finding a job, but the firm is not limiting the work to public interest legal work. Incoming first years are encouraged to find employment at host of places, doing legal or non-legal work in certain circumstances.

Somebody get Habitat for Humanity on the phone.

In other news, the firm is also shortening the length of its summer program to seven weeks.

This news might be depressing to some law students that have already signed up for Ballard Spahr, but not the ones who were choosing between Ballard and Wolf Block.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of start dates

Nationwide Dissolution Watch: WolfBlock