Federal Government

Presidential Management Fellows Program PMF Program.gifLast fall, we wrote about the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, which one reader of ours described as “a hidden, relatively-unexploited gem for graduating law students.” You can read the full post here.

Some commenters, who already knew about the PMF program and the job opportunities it offers, were not happy with the exposure. A reader summed up their reactions:

A lot of people are complaining that the competition for the program will now increase due to extra exposure. I guess that can be rough for some people, but overall I think it’s good for the program.

Well, it certainly increased the competition. The number of applications went up — way up….

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Good Luck With That”

Snow NYC blizzard.jpgYay. Snowpacolypse 2.0! Snowmageddon! The Snopture!
(Wait, there’s more….)
Dandruff 2010. The Winter of Our Snowcontent. Weekday of Marital Sex — 2010. Waiting for Snowdot. Entirely Seasonal Weather for February!
(Okay, I’m finished.)
Who has the day off? More to the point, does having a “snow day” even matter anymore?
Telecommunication kills the snow day, after the jump.

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Uncle Sam Wants You if Youre Mentally Retarded.jpgMany job seekers would love to work as lawyers for the federal government but haven’t had luck landing a position. Openings for attorneys on USAJOBS attract hundreds of applicants. In light of massive law-firm layoffs and the relative stability of government employment, high demand for federal jobs is unsurprising. You have to be a positively brilliant lawyer to land a government gig these days.
Or not. If you’ve applied to the U.S. Department of Justice without success, ask yourself: Do I have a normal or above-normal IQ?
If you do, you might be… overqualified. From a Justice Department job posting (emphasis added):

The Civil Rights Division encourages qualified applicants with targeted disabilities to apply. Targeted disabilities are deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental retardation, mental illness, severe distortion of limbs and/or spine.

Quips former DOJ lawyer Ty Clevenger: “Having worked there, I think CRD has plenty of mentally retarded lawyers already. Mostly in supervisory positions.”
Says another tipster who brought this to our attention: “I understand how you can have a few missing limbs or be partially paralyzed and still be a trial lawyer, but someone with an IQ less than 70?!?!!?”
Recruiting mentally retarded lawyers to litigate civil rights cases for the DOJ may take the expression “good enough for government work” too far. But, in fairness, there is a caveat to all of this….

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WilmerHale Wilmer Hale Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis week brought good news from WilmerHale. The firm’s profits per partner climbed by approximately 7 percent last year, from $1.08 million in 2008 to $1.16 million in 2009, according to the National Law Journal.

The increase in PPP was driven, in part, by a dip in partner headcount (from about 330 in 2008 to 318 in 2009). Sometimes a decline in the number of partners is a bad thing, but not for WilmerHale. As co-managing partner William Perlstein explained to the NLJ, it was due in part to “at least a dozen” partners being recruited away by the Obama administration — a testament to the talents and connectedness of Wilmer lawyers.

WilmerHale has a long and distinguished history of sending its lawyers to top government jobs and then taking them back afterward, so the firm’s clients can benefit from expertise and connections developed while in the public sector. The firm boasts such all-stars as former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, who served in the Clinton Administration.

Due in large part to folks like Gorelick and Waxman, WilmerHale has long been recognized as a liberal legal powerhouse. This reputation was further burnished when numerous Wilmer lawyers took prominent positions in the White House Counsel’s office and the Department of Justice last January, after Barack Obama took office.

Despite its reputation as a left-leaning law firm, WilmerHale has also been assembling an impressive team of conservative legal talent, including notable alums of the Bush Administration. Some of these hires are quite recent. They include Carl Nichols, who joined the firm earlier this month after serving in high-ranking Justice Department positions, and Dan Gallagher, a former aide to Chris Cox at the SEC.

That’s right — conservative (or libertarian) lawyers, located squarely to the right of center, many of them card-carrying members of the Federalist Society and/or the Republican Party. At WilmerHale. We kid you not.

We name names, and interview WilmerHale partner Reginald Brown, after the jump.

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uncle sam needs help.jpgLast year, government lawyers were crucified for their prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The DOJ prosecutors’ questionable handling of the case led to its dismissal and some problems for the DOJ’s public integrity unit.
This week marks another big f***-up by government lawyers. But in a different building. The Washington Post reports that the F.B.I. has been busted for breaking the law for years in its collection of Americans’ phone records from Verizon and AT&T:

The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

Among those whose records were searched were reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post. The searches became public when FBI director Mueller called the journalists to apologize. Whoops?

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breakdown broken down car automobile industry.jpgTime to resume our lateblogging — or can we call it early-blogging, in light of the morning hour? — of the Federalist Society’s 2009 National Lawyers Convention. If you’re a conservative or libertarian lawyer (or law student), this is an event well worth attending every year. In addition to the lively and informative panel discussions (which offer CLE credit), the networking is excellent.
Here’s the next panel we attended, on a timely topic given the government’s increasing — and perhaps excessive — involvement in the national economy:
Breakdown of the Public-Private Distinction: Implications for the Administrative State

  • Mr. David Berenbaum, Executive Vice President, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
  • Mr. David G. Leitch, Group Vice President and General Counsel, Ford Motor Company
  • Prof. J.W. Verret, Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. David Zaring, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Moderator: Hon. Ronald A. Cass, President, Cass & Associates, PC
    Summary after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breakdown of the Public-Private Distinction: Implications for the Administrative State”

  • Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgBack in September, we mentioned that interviewees for the DOJ Honors Program were learning of their good fortune. Now the process has proceeded one step further — for some lucky individuals, to completion.

    We heard from one offer recipient from the Civil Division, but we suspect this person is not alone. According to the Key Dates section of the Honors Program website, job offers are being extended from November 6 through mid-December 2009. In mid-December, candidates not selected as finalists will be notified.

    More info about the process, plus the chance to comment, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “DOJ Honors Program Offers Are Coming Out: Open Thread”

    wachtell logo.jpgThe general public really doesn’t understand what top-flight counsel does for their corporate clients. If they did, the pitchforks and torches crowd would be as angry at Wall Street lawyers as they are at Wall Street bankers.
    Friday’s “revelation” about the advice given to Bank of America by Wachtell Lipton illustrates the point. Am Law Daily reports:

    Amid the piles and piles of formerly privileged documents related to the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger, there are a few notes and e-mails from mid-December 2008 showing that BofA’s lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz were saying very different things to their client and to federal regulators.

    What dastardly double talk did Wachtell Lipton allegedly engage in? Corporate Counsel reports:

    The e-mails show that early on the morning of December 19 [Wachtell litigation partner Eric Roth] advised the bank’s chief executive, Ken Lewis, and its interim general counsel, Brian Moynihan, on how difficult and financially risky it would be to try to invoke a so-called MAC — or material adverse change — clause, which would allow the bank to get out of the merger with Merrill.

    But another e-mail from associate general counsel Teresa Brenner to Moynihan, sent several hours later and on the same day as Roth’s e-mail, says, “Eric made a very strong case as to why there was a MAC” during a conference call with some officials from the Federal Reserve.

    J’accuse!
    Pitchforks on parade after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Wachtell in Trouble For Being Good Lawyers?”

    Orrick logo.JPGLast week we wrote about the move of prominent D.C. lawyers Lanny Davis and Eileen O’Connor from Orrick to McDermott Will & Emery. Am Law Daily described the jump as follows: “Lanny Davis, a longtime Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush, is taking his unique practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott, Will & Emery.”

    It’s not the case, however, that the entire practice moved. As noted by one commenter, the rest of the legal strategic and crisis management practice remained with Orrick. Consistent with this, an Orrick spokesperson issued the following statement to ATL:

    We wish Lanny and Eileen well, but Orrick’s law, policy, media, and crisis management practice remains vibrant and strong with continuing plans for expansion and will keep delivering its unique blend of legal, public relations and government affairs counsel to our clients around the world.

    Remaining at Orrick are partners Adam Goldberg, who was co-chair of the practice with Davis, and Joshua Galper. Goldberg and Galper will head the practice going forward. In addition, the associates who work in and with the law, policy and media group are staying at Orrick.

    As for clients, it’s not yet clear which ones will stay with Orrick and which will move to McDermott. “Thankfully, this is a practice where we’ve always had plenty of work, so that’s not an issue,” Galper said. (We’d guess, however, that certain clients closely tied to Davis — like CEAL, the Honduras business group supporting the coup in that country — will travel with him.)

    Get to know Messrs. Galper and Goldberg, and read more about Orrick’s very interesting and unusual practice area, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Look at Orrick’s Crisis Management Practice”

    Presidential Management Fellows Program PMF Program.gifAs we mentioned yesterday, some jobs with the federal government — an excellent refuge from the economic storm — are disappearing even before the application period closes. So we’ll tell you about this next opportunity even before the application period opens (which is tomorrow).

    A tipster tells us:

    I’m a longtime reader of ATL and a big follower of all the useful info and entertaining gossip posted on the site.

    I notice you recently posted about the DOJ Honors program. I was hoping you might consider writing about the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program.

    [T]he PMF program is a hidden, relatively-unexploited gem for graduating law students, and it has not received proper attention by most of the law schools’ offices of career services. While the DOJ Honors program and the Bristow Fellowship got pretty good publicity at my school’s career services office, nobody knew much about the PMF program. I heard about it through a non-law-school source, and had to go to my university’s public policy school for more information….

    [T]he PMF program is one of the absolute best avenues for graduating 3Ls that are: (a) interesting in working for the government; (b) interested in public service; (c) willing to accept a government salary with average tuition reimbursement opportunities; and/or (d) voluntarily or involuntarily not planning to work for biglaw after graduation. Fellows can apply for a position from a wide range of government agencies, including the DOJ, State Department, Department of Defense, USAID, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Department of Education, Federal Elections Commission, etc. These positions are generally not available for public application because of stringent government hiring restrictions (agency preference, civil service preference, veteran’s preference, etc.)

    Sound promising? Read more, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Federal Government Opportunity: The Presidential Management Fellows Program”

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