Deaths

* Seven out of nine sitting Supreme Court justices were silent when it came to the passing of Robert Bork. Justice Antonin Scalia, of course, issued a public statement, as did liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (surprise!). [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* No one ever really doubted that it would take an army of Biglaw lawyers from the likes of Sullivan & Cromwell, Shearman & Sterling, and Wachtel Lipton to handle a monumental deal like the proposed $8.2 billion NYSE/ICE merger. [Am Law Daily]

* Can you coach with Nick Saban and be a Miller Canfield partner at the same time? No. But you can sue (and win!) when the firm allegedly forces you out due to its “culture of fear and intimidation.” [Detroit Free Press]

* Justice Rolando Acosta, who wrote the opinion upholding the dismissal of the class action case against NYLS, rates well among his peers as a nominee for the New York Court of Appeals. [New York Law Journal]

* Peter Madoff was sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, but the judge will probably let him go to his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah before shipping him to the pokey. [Bloomberg]

* Merry Christmas, now go f**k yourself. A federal judge has given a woman in Louisiana free rein to display holiday lights on her roof in the form of an extended middle finger. God bless America. [CBS 3 Springfield]

We learned this morning that Robert H. Bork died. But the era that he ushered in lives on.

It’s sad to remember a man for his most notable failure instead of his accomplishments. Somewhere, Bill Buckner just nodded in agreement. Bork was a U.S. Solicitor General, an accomplished scholar, and of course, a rejected nominee for the Supreme Court.

Bork was an originalist, a crazy, rabid conservative who hated the Warren Court and saw no constitutional problem with forcing me to drink from a separate water fountain — so long as my water fountain was just as good as the white one. For the kids out there, let me tell you that while crazy originalists have come to dominate conservative legal thought, back in 1987, Bork’s views were pretty controversial.

As Solicitor General under Richard Nixon, Bork participated in the “Saturday Night Massacre” (which didn’t sound like such hyperbole back in a time before mass shootings were a regular thing).

During the confirmation process, Bork was candid about his views and opinions. Democrats erected a wall of opposition against him. His nomination was defeated 58 – 42.

Defeating the Bork nomination was probably the worst thing that has happened to the Supreme Court in living memory….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Robert Bork: The Man Who Borked the SCOTUS Nomination Process”

* Oh mon dieu! Cela ne semble pas bon! As confirmed by The Lawyer, Nixon Peabody will definitely be closing its four-year-old international outpost in Paris, France, leaving the firm with only two offices outside of the United States. Triste. :( [Am Law Daily]

* “I just wanted somebody to pat me on the head.” Aww, all this former Winston & Strawn partner wanted was for someone to tell him he was a good boy, so he helped Kenneth Starr launder money. At least he didn’t get jail time. [New York Law Journal]

* Sorry, lady, but when you work in an HR capacity and you publish tripe about gays not being civil rights victims because they “choose” their lifestyle, the Sixth Circuit will just laugh at your appeal. [National Law Journal]

* At least one law school has gotten the point that tuition is too damn high. Starting next year, Seton Hall Law will allow qualifying first-year students to save about 50 percent on the cost of attendance. [Associated Press]

* What are some benefits of taking a gap year between the completion of your undergraduate degree and law school? Well, for one, you might reconsider your decision to enroll. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Robert Bork, former D.C. Circuit judge and SCOTUS nominee, RIP. [Commentary Magazine]

* Change may be coming soon in light of the Newtown shooting, but any talk about new federal restrictions on guns will hinge on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment through the lens of the Heller case. [National Law Journal]

* Joel Sanders and the Steves are facing yet another “frivolous” lawsuit over their alleged misconduct while at the helm of the sinking S.S. Dewey, but this time in a multi-million dollar case filed by Aviva Life and Annuity over a 2010 bond offering. [Am Law Daily]

* Always a bridesmaid, never a bride: Pillsbury has had the urge to merge since February, and now the firm may finally get a chance to walk down the aisle with Dickstein Shapiro. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Income-based repayment is a bastion of hope for law school graduates drowning in student loan debt, but when the tax man commeth, and he will, you’ll quickly find out that the IRS doesn’t have IBR. [New York Times]

* Is the premise of graduating with “zero debt” from a law school that hasn’t been accredited by the ABA something that you should actually consider? Sure, if you don’t mind zero jobs. [U.S. News and World Report]

* Daniel Inouye, Hawaii’s Senate representative for five decades and a GW Law School graduate, RIP. [CNN]

Compassion can be found in the halls of Biglaw.

Despite our occasional curmudgeonly moments, we are generally happy people here at Above the Law, and we love happy stories. Our pages are full of feel-good tales (even if negativity bias causes readers to remember the sad or angry stories more than the happy ones).

Just in the past few months, for example, we’ve written about a law student who rescued an elderly woman from an oncoming train, a prosecutor who came to the aid of hate-crime victims, a law clerk who won a beauty contest, lawyers who have left the law to find success in other fields…. we could go on.

One of my favorite happy stories from our archives involved a partner at Haynes and Boone, Matthew Deffebach, who donated a kidney to the son of a HayBoo staffer. That’s even more noble than giving someone the shirt off your back.

Today’s story might not measure up to that high standard, but it’s another great example of a partner with compassion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: A Compassionate Managing Partner”

* As an in-house compliance officer, there’s only one guarantee: you’ll be paid, and you’ll be paid quite well — we’re talking like six-figure salaries here. Regulatory corporate compliance, on the other hand, isn’t such a surefire thing. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* When it comes to employment data, this law dean claims that using full-time, long-term positions where bar passage is required as a standard to measure success in the employment market is “grossly misleading.” Uhh, come on, seriously? [Am Law Daily]

* “Bar passes and jobs are inextricably tied,” but eight of New York’s 15 law schools had lower bar passage rates than last year for the July exam. Guess which school came in dead last place. [New York Law Journal]

* You know, it may actually be a good thing for a monk to apply to law school right now. It can’t get much worse; after all, the guy’s already taken a vow of poverty. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn officially settled the sexual assault civil lawsuit that was filed against him by Nafissatou Diallo. Given that she thanked “everybody all over the world,” it was probably a nice payout. [CNN]

* Steven Keeva, a pioneer in work/life balance publications for lawyers, RIP. [ABA Journal]

* On the even of the Supreme Court’s conference that will determine whether a gay marriage case will be on the docket in 2013, a federal judge ruled that Nevada can ban the practice in the state. Not fab. :( [BuzzFeed]

* A bankruptcy judge gave Dewey & LeBoeuf’s unsecured creditors the go-ahead to sue the pants off Joel Sanders and the Steves (a moniker for what likely would’ve been an extremely orange band). [Am Law Daily]

* Hostess Brands received final approval to wind down its business and begin selling off its Twinkies to satisfy its creditors, but not before $1.8M in bonuses payouts were authorized. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Foul balls: as if his public tiff with Lance Armstrong and indecent exposure sentence weren’t enough, Clark Calvin Griffith is facing bar discipline over his pervy predilections. [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

* UCLA School of Law recently announced its plans to offer an LL.M. in Law and Sexuality. Now, recall that just one month ago, Justice Scalia advised students not to take “law and _____” courses. [National Law Journal]

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn agreed to settle a suit brought against him by a hotel maid who accused him of rape. We still don’t know the dollar amount, but we bet he kept his aggravated pimp hand strong. [Bloomberg]

* A day in the life of Lindsay Lohan includes an arrest for assault in New York, followed by charges related to a car crash in California. Her legal drama is almost as bad as Liz & Dick. [Daily Dish / San Francisco Chronicle]

* Jerry Finkelstein, former publisher of the New York Law Journal, RIP. [New York Law Journal]

* George C. Kern Jr., Sullivan & Cromwell’s M&A maven, RIP. [New York Times]

Maybe you’ll make partner next year.

Back when I was at the law firm, billing more hours than I knew were in a week, there were people who thought I was “gunning” for partnership. I billed a ton of hours, had basic social skills and a good mentor, and hey, I’d look pretty good in any “diversity” partner puff piece. Just add ten years of sustaining a maniacal pace, learning how to generate rain in a shrinking market, and navigating the political minefield of kissing the right people’s asses, and maybe I could have had a shot.

Suuuure I would have. Making partner at the Biglaw firm that you started with is functionally impossible. It happens so infrequently that setting it as a goal is about as realistic as children saying they want to walk on the Moon when they grow up. The odds were long before the economic crisis that caused partnerships to close their ranks and protect their profits like dragons hoarding treasure.

It’s not going to happen, but trying to get there ruins a lot of people. They can be having perfectly fine, perfectly serviceable Biglaw careers, but then somebody starts dangling the possibility of “partnership” in front of them, and suddenly they are trying to schmooze late into the night and kick their billable hours up into the 3,000-a-year range. And maybe if they’re lucky they’ll be able to get into a less prestigious firm, slog another couple of backbreaking years as “counsel,” and then get equity at some other shop.

Am Law Daily has the story of a man who finally got his shot at the brass ring, was fired over his alcoholism, and died a short while later. It’s a sad and extreme story, but many people fall in all sorts of ways on the path to partnership….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Road to Partner Is Long and Full of Danger”

* Legendary union leader Marvin Miller died today at the age of 95. This is a guy who lost a huge case at the Supreme Court fighting against Major League Baseball, and still found a way to win. He wasn’t a lawyer, but he mastered the law. [USA Today]

* Tax professors weigh in on the fiscal cliff. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Jersey Shore residents are suing over sand dune protection from storms. They’re not suing because they’re weren’t protected enough, they’re suing because the new sand dunes block their ocean view. [Asbury Park Press]

* Yahoo! and NBA lawyers might need to talk about what, precisely, the NBA is endorsing. [Marc Edelman Blog]

* I’m going to go on and vote “no” on the question of whether or not the U.N. should get to “govern” the internet. Wait… I don’t get a “vote” on what the U.N. should do? Well, that sounds like a good reason to go back to not giving a crap about anything the U.N. says. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Looks like the wheel finally came ’round on InTrade. [Dealbreaker]

* The Justice Resource Center, coordinator of the 2013 NYSBA High School Mock Trial Tournament, seeks voluntary attorney-coaches. Help teach young people about the law — and get CLE credit, too! [Justice Resource Center]

* In case you missed this yesterday during the Cravath bonus-mania-palooza, David Kappos, the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, announced that he’d be stepping down from his position in January 2013. [Blog of Legal Times]

* And speaking of bonuses, somebody’s not probably getting one this year, because here come the lawsuits: Hewlett-Packard just got slapped with a securities class action suit as a result of the company’s allegedly fraudulent Autonomy acquisition. [Reuters]

* Will Penn State’s former general counsel be able to testify against Gary Schultz and Tim Curley in post-Sandusky criminal proceedings? Considering she’s “a key witness,” she better be. [Corporate Counsel]

* Of course Vermont Law School is considering offering voluntary staff buyouts, the school has a freakin’ $3.3M budget shortfall. In other news, they’ll be upping LL.M. programs to make up the cash. [National Law Journal]

* Paul Ceglia, the man who claims he owns half of Facebook, has been indicted on federal wire and mail fraud charges. He’ll appear in court this Wednesday, but who knows if he’ll have a lawyer by then. [Bloomberg]

* Jay Jaffe, law firm public relations pioneer, RIP. [PRWeek]

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