* There’s been a changing of the guard at Sidley Austin. Carter Phillips, one of our nation’s preeminent appellate advocates, is now the sole chair of the firm’s executive committee after a one-year stint as co-chair. Congrats! [The Recorder]
* It looks like the trolls attorneys behind Prenda Law got benchslapped in the worst of ways — complete with a multitude of Star Trek references. We’ll likely have more on this later today. [Ars Technica]
* The California Supreme Court just ruined everyone’s high, because it ruled that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Smoke ‘em while you’ve got ‘em, stoners. [Associated Press]
* Justin Bieber is being sued for copyright infringement, along with his musical mentor, Usher. Tween girl mob: ASSEMBLE! Defend your pop idol’s honor; after all, he just needed somebody to love. [Reuters]
On Sunday, Sidley Austin announced a regime change at the firm. Over the next year, veteran Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips will become co-chair and eventually chair of the firm’s executive committee. In 2013 he will replace the current chair, Thomas Cole.
Currently, Phillips is managing partner of Sidley’s Washington D.C. office. He recently argued his 76th case in front of the Supreme Court. I had the opportunity to ask him about the Obamacare arguments last month.
Keep reading to learn more about the transition and to find out what it takes for an accomplished practicing attorney to take on a crucial business role…
* Wal-mart’s going to have a hard time keeping the price of this one down. The Ninth Circuit grants class action status to gender discrimination lawsuit against Wal-mart, with plaintiffs estimated to number two million women. [New York Times]
Okay, so the folks over at TMZ.com don’t chase them around yet. But here at ATL, we adore legal celebrities — and invite you to send in your encounters with them, for our Eyes of the Law sightings column.
Last Friday, for lovers of legal boldface names from the left or the right, William & Mary School of Law was the place to be:
William and Mary Law School (and the College) had a series of speakers of today, all wedged into a very tight schedule. They included:
At noon, former Dean of UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to his talk, so I can’t say whether he talked about the controversy.
At 1 PM, UC Berkley professor (and evil incarnate if you believe some blogs) John Yoo spoke. Yoo said in his introduction that he was being “wedged in” between “the former Dean of UC Irvine” and Stuart Taylor, who was speaking at 2 on his book on the Duke rape case, “Until Proven Innocent.”
We also had a panel on Saturday on “Judicial Modesty,” which included such leading lights as Dahlia Lithwick, Michael McConnell, Carter Phillips and Jeffrey Rosen. See here (PDF).
Quite the weekend for legal geeks! (Er. You know. If I was one of them).
Although this tipster wasn’t at the Chemerinsky talk, other ATL readers were. Check out this video, posted on the blog of the W&M chapter of the American Constitution Society. Isn’t Chemerinsky adorable?
Additional discussion of the Erwin Chemerinsky and John Yoo appearances, after the jump.
We’re a little late on this (and blame our tardiness on associate pay fixation). But here are two interesting tidbits of Supreme Court gossip, from Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
1. Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]
One of Justice Samuel Alito’s incoming clerks, Jessica Phillips — who has been described as “beautiful and brainy” — is the daughter of renowned Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. This means that Jessica “will have no involvement in cases in which her father’s firm, Sidley Austin, participates” — which has ranged as high as 20 percent of the Court’s docket.
(Btw, Jessica Phillips is not the first female clerk whose father also clerked for the Court. Mauro ticks off a list of five daughters of male clerks who went on to become clerks themselves. Check it out here.)
2. New Job for Mrs. Roberts [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times] More on Jane Roberts’ New Job [The BLT]
Lawyer Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has a new job — and it’s not at a law firm. The leading legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced this morning that Mrs. Roberts is leaving Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s D.C. office to become leader of the In-House Practice Group in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s D.C. office.
Inquiring minds want to know: Will Jane Roberts continue to earn more than her husband in her new position?
(That was surely the case in her old job, when Jane Sullivan Roberts was a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop. Even though her most recent post at the firm was Executive Partner for Talent Development, which probably didn’t involve a lot of client-billable work, it would be shocking for a Biglaw partner to earn less than her hubby’s $212,100 salary as Chief Justice.)
[T]here was a large and enthusiastic turnout at Georgetown University Law Center April 26 as the Supreme Court Institute recognized four senior officials of the Clerk’s Office: Chief Deputy Clerk Chris Vasil, Deputy Clerk Gary Kemp, Deputy Clerk Cynthia Rapp, and Denise McNerney, the merits clerk. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stopped by to shake their hands.
Solicitor General Paul Clement extolled the Clerk’s Office…. Sidley Austin’s Carter Phillips seconded the motion, describing McNerney as the most important woman in his life — after those in his family.
Yikes. Carter Phillips is quite a romantic rival. He’s one of the country’s most celebrated Supreme Court litigators; a very wealthy man, as a longtime Sidley & Austin partner; and even a former Supreme Court clerk, to Chief Justice Warren Burger.
But look, underdogs can prevail in these battles for the heart of a beautiful woman. It happens all the time. Like in the movies.
So c’mon, Mr. Craigslist Poster — send some flowers to Denise McNerney, c/o U.S. Supreme Court, One First Street, Washington, DC 20003. We’re rooting for you!
P.S. We’d love to get our hands on a photo of Ms. McNerney. If you can help us out, please email us. Thanks.
P.P.S. No, this Denise McNerney isn’t the one that we’re looking for — she’s too old. We understand that Denise McNerney of SCOTUS fame is in her early 30′s. Clerk Power [Legal Times] Earlier: Desperately Seeking ‘The Supreme Court Clerk of My Heart’ ‘The Supreme Court Clerk of My Heart’: Not Talkin’ About Pam Talkin
In our report earlier today about Supreme Courtships, a forthcoming television show about “the personal and professional lives of six Supreme Court clerks and their supervisors,” we looked back on two failed TV shows about the Supreme Court: “First Monday” and “The Court.”
Judicial groupies were thrilled to see two shows about the Court on national television (despite the many inaccuracies and ridiculous plot lines). But their joy was fleeting.
Now, this correction. Not everyone who follows the Supreme Court was so pleased by the attention from Hollywood.
From a January 2002 article by Tony Mauro:
Complete with James Garner as a chief justice who smokes (like the real one), Joe Mantegna as an Italian-American associate justice who attends Mass (like the real one), and a Court with two women and one black justice (like the real one), ["First Monday"], if it succeeds, will probably impart more information about the nation’s highest court to the general public than a decade’s worth of routine activity by the real Supreme Court.
And that is what worries people like Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, a veteran Supreme Court advocate who is among a small number of Washington lawyers who have seen rough cut tapes of the first two episodes.
“Unbelievably smarmy,” says Phillips, who is not usually given to outbursts of hyperbole. “Vomitous.”
Look, it could have been worse. At least Phillips didn’t use profanity, as he has done before (in open court). He could have called the “First Monday” producers “motherf*****s” and told them to “eat s***.” Instead, he temperately dismissed their show as “vomitous.”
Why was Phillips so upset? Per Mauro:
Phillips confesses that he is a stickler for accuracy, and as such could not abide the slew of details that come out wrong in the show.
For one, the first episode was based erroneously on the premise that it takes five justices to grant review in a case, not four.
Relax, Carter! Look at the glass as half-full. You should have been pleased that the word “certiorari” was even uttered on national television, on a channel other than C-SPAN.
Another issue with “First Monday”:
Garner’s chief justice, an inveterate Oklahoma football fan, precedes the first Court session with a football-huddle-style handshake among the nine robed justices and the rallying cry “Let’s go out there and make history!”
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…
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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