Department of Justice

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpgOf all the characters in the U.S. Attorney firings drama, Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was not our favorite. When he testified on Capitol Hill, he was earnest, sweaty, and decidedly non-fabulous — unlike Monica Goodling, who took the Senate Judiciary Committee by storm with a dazzling performance.
But even though his government service ended inauspiciously, Sampson has done just fine for himself. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Three Washington lawyers with Utah ties – including the chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – are joining the food and drug practice at the firm Hunton & Williams.

D. Kyle Sampson, a Cedar City native, was Gonzales’ chief of staff at the Justice Department until he resigned amid a controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, a move that spawned congressional investigations. Sampson, who compiled the list of attorneys who were fired, testified for hours before House and Senate committees in public hearings and private interviews.

Before joining the Justice Department he was an Associate Counsel to the President at the White House, was director of personnel for the Bush administration, and was an aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch on the Judiciary Committee. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Chicago University law school.

We wonder if the Mormon Mafia had a hand in his hiring. They are to the legal world what the Gay Mafia is to fashion!
Sampson, ex-aide to Gonzales, joins law firm [Salt Lake Tribune]

jack o lantern pumpkin halloween.jpgSometimes the partners don’t like it if you gorge yourself on “their” candy. But yesterday was different. We hope you had a Happy Halloween!!! (And that you’re not too hungover from last night’s partying.)
How did your firm celebrate this spooky occasion? Seyfarth Shaw went all out:

Halloween treats were served in a mock coffin. The menu included blood-red cupcakes decorated with bleeding fangs and bats to be washed down with Jones soda in limited edition ghoulish flavors (Lemon Drop Dead, Strawberry Slime, and Gruesome Grape).

And you thought paying $145K was scary enough!
Please share amusing Halloween anecdotes — partners in crazy costumes, conference rooms converted into haunted houses, etc. — in the comments. Thanks.
P.S. For your reading pleasure, here’s a Halloween-themed link, from yesterday’s WSJ Law Blog: The Legal Implications of Throwing Eggs. Executive summary: think twice before TP’ing that partner’s mailbox.
Update: The Department of Justice got into the Halloween spirit:

Despite the travails of the Department, our emergency response and preparedness staff are on the job. No, I’m not referring to providing assistance to wildfire-torn California. I’m talking about dressing your children in flame-retardant Halloween costumes and ensuring your home is well lit to ” to prevent injuries to little ghosts and goblins.” Our tax dollars at work! (See email sent out to DOJ employees below.)

The email appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “So How Was Your Halloween?”

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSure, the U.S. Department of Justice has some issues right now. But a great many talented and dedicated people still work for the DOJ — and aspire to work there:

You should do a fall recruiting thread on the DOJ Honors Program. Interviews are happening for the next [few] weeks. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of and get information from interviewees, as well as current and former DOJ attorneys. What do you say?

We say: Sure! Here’s the thread you’ve requested. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Honors Program, here’s a description:

The Attorney General’s Honors Program

The highly competitive Honors Program is only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys. Selection for employment is based on many elements of a candidate’s background including academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time legal employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

More details, including eligibility requirements and a timeline, are available here.

To get things started, we toss out a few possible topics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: DOJ Honors Program”

gym sign gymnasium exercise room law firm Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re an employee of the U.S. Department of Justice, and your name isn’t Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, your job probably doesn’t have many perks. They toss a few four-dollar meatballs your way, and public outcry ensues.
And now you can’t even go to the office gym, thanks to a potential outbreak of staph infections, aka “Staphylococcus aureus.” All three DOJ fitness centers are being closed for “a thorough cleaning” (which makes you wonder how “thorough” the regular cleanings are).
First the rat-ridden day care center, and now this. What next for the DOJ’s beleaguered employees?
These are not the easiest times to be at the DOJ. In the wake of the U.S. Attorneys firing controversy, the Justice Department has been plagued by a leadership vacuum (not just in terms of no Attorney General, but a very high number of acting AAGs). It has also suffered from a loss of public respect and low employee morale.
But no gym? To quote Justice Scalia, “this is really more than one should have to bear.”
The memo, which includes tips for preventing infection that everyone should read, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Government Perk Watch: Germ-y Gyms”

Susana Lorenzo Giguere 2 DOJ Justice Department Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re thinking of moving from private practice to government, you should be prepared to take a hit in perks as well as pay. Sure, your hours will be better — just avoid the S.D.N.Y. — and you might even get a free flu shot. But you won’t have the fancy offices, the swanky lunches, or round-the-clock support staff. Sometimes you’ll have to make your own photocopies.
It is not, however, all doom and gloom. In the past, Department of Justice employees got to enjoy four-dollar meatballs (plus $13,000 in brownies). And now we hear that for at least one DOJ diva, work was a day at the beach — quite literally.
From Al Kamen of the Washington Post:

[T]he acting deputy director of the [voting rights] section, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, has been accused of collecting a $64 per diem, including on weekends and the Fourth of July, while spending half of June and most of July and August with her husband and kids at their beach house on Cape Cod.

The allegation, made to the department inspector general apparently by someone linked to the Boston regional office, was that Lorenzo-Giguere made “multiple” government-paid trips to the Cape and that she improperly said that “her presence on Cape Cod was necessary pending litigation in Boston,” which was in the courts over the summer….

The complaint also alleged that Lorenzo-Giguere “spent little time in Boston” this summer and did little work on the case. Also, what supervision and oversight she provided was done by phone to Boston while she “remained on the beach,” and she would have been able to do this from her office in Washington.

C’mon, folks — cut Susana some slack. Her kids needed her; building sandcastles is no easy task. And she probably looks great in a swimsuit, too.
More about Ms. Lorenzo-Giguere, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “For DOJ Diva, Work Is a Day at the Beach”

Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgOn Tuesday, we reported on several sightings of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in the vicinity of 13th and F Streets here in Washington, DC. Now we know what he was doing in that part of town:

[F]ormer AGAG has retained George Terwilliger of White & Case to represent him in the investigation surrounding his mismanagement of Justice. White & Case is on 13th between F and G.

So it looks like George Terwilliger, who was considered but passed over for AG, will get to clean up after Alberto after all.
Alberto Gonzales Hires Defense Attorney [AP]
Judge Alberto Gonzales’s Latest Hire [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Alberto Gonzales

Joseph Russoniello Joe Russoniello Cooley Godward Kronish Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgBack in June, we predicted that veteran litigator Joseph Russoniello, of Cooley Godward Kronish in San Francisco, would be nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. Months later, no nominee has been named. As the folks over at Legal Pad noted last month, it’s a bit strange — especially since Ruossoniello’s background check was apparently completed some time ago.
Meanwhile, the office remains in the capable hands of the well-regarded Scott Schools, who will be officially appointed as interim United States Attorney later this week.
But don’t expect Schools to stick around forever. We hear that he’ll be heading over to take a high-level job at Main Justice (possibly in the Deputy Attorney General’s office).
It seems that Schools will be missed in the Northern District. From a source in the N.D. Cal.:

People seem to like him, and he makes an effort to get to know line AUSAs. He shows up at social events, like baby showers and happy hours, which I think is a huge change from former leadership.

If you have any info on these personnel changes, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
Northern District of California Announces Appointment of Scott N Schools as Interim United States Attorney [N.D. Cal.]
Say It Is (or Isn’t) So, Joe [Legal Pad]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: A New U.S. Attorney for San Francisco?
U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello? Not So Fast

Here’s our latest legal celebrity sighting, for our occasional Eyes of the Law feature:

I’ve seen Alberto Gonzales walking the streets near Metro Center three times in the last month. Today he was walking with a blonde woman who was keeping a comfortable distance and not saying much. She looked like someone I should recognize, but didn’t.

Hmm… Might it have been Monica Goodling?
Or maybe not:

Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgI think the blonde woman may have been his wife? [Ed. note: Our source directed us to the photo at right.]

All three times have been right around the intersection of 13th and F Streets. Today he was walking west on F Street, and the last time I remember he was walking south on 13th Street. He was with someone then too, but it was a man, and so obviously not his wife. Can’t remember the time before that.

Any idea what he’s up to these days? BTW: he looks taller on TV, but then again I guess everyone does.

True; the celebrities we’ve met generally look smaller in real life. But there are some exceptions. E.g., Bill Clinton (who is taller in real life than you’d expect).
Have you seen a famous lawyer or judge out and about lately? If so, please email us. Thanks.
Update: We now think we know what Alberto Gonzales was doing in that part of town. See here.

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgAre you trying to remember whether any of your law school classmates or colleagues clerked for former judge Michael Mukasey (S.D.N.Y.), President Bush’s nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general?
Well, you’re in luck. Every single one of Judge Mukasey’s former law clerks signed a glowing letter of recommendation for the judge, in which they praise him as a jurist and mentor and urge his speedy confirmation as AG. Their letter was transmitted to the Senate last night.
You can check out the letter, including the list of signatories, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michael Mukasey’s Former Clerks: They Like Him, They Really Like Him”

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve done relatively little about the nomination of former judge Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. While the WSJ Law Blog was dredging up his third-grade book reports — okay, not quite, but some college newspaper articles that he may or may not have written — we didn’t have much. But now we’d like to atone for that, with a piece we just did for the New York Observer.
We speculate that Michael Mukasey might be in D.C. longer than he might expect, especially if his good friend Rudy Giuliani wins the presidency (and possibly even if fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton does). We discuss how he might have come to be picked as AG, despite not being a D.C. denizen like Ted Olson, Laurence Silberman, or George Terwilliger:

Mr. Mukasey was simply more of a known quantity to the White House than the typical Beltway outsider. The White House staff includes three former assistant U.S. attorneys from Manhattan, as well as other ex-New York lawyers who regularly practiced before Mukasey as a judge. Among the New Yorkers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Mukasey enjoyed great respect, and was viewed as ideologically acceptable too, especially on war on terror issues.

The rest of the piece, including a discussion of what might be called the Curse of the Southern District (from President Bush’s point of view), is available here.
Mr. Mukasey Goes to Washington [New York Observer]
An Old Friend Joins Giuliani in a Spotlight [New York Times]

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