Steven Donzinger has been working on behalf of Ecuadorian natives for seventeen years, representing them in a lawsuit against Chevron alleging the oil company has destroyed their rainforest. It’s a much-covered case, and Harvard Law grad Donzinger has usually been cast as the hero fighting the big bad oil company.
But it looks like Donzinger’s legal team may have done something a little dastardly.
In 2004, the plaintiffs hired Mr. Calmbacher, a Georgia-based biologist and environmental scientist, to help oversee soil and water tests in Ecuador.
Reports signed by Mr. Calmbacher, which were submitted to an Ecuadorean court in 2005, showed high levels of toxins at two sites and estimated the contamination would cost more than $40 million to clean up at these sites alone.
Gibson Dunn lawyers representing Chevron Corp. discovered a typo in those reports: the spelling of Charles Calmbacher’s name. When Gibson lawyer Andrea Neuman (who looks a little like Kristin Davis with short hair) deposed him, she discovered the toxin reports were a bit polluted…
So let’s get inside the not-so-secret world of Jeff Toobin and Casey Greenfield — daughter of television personality Jeff Greenfield and an associate at Gibson Dunn (so there’s a Biglaw connection here too). From the New York Daily News:
One of the media elite’s most whispered-about scandals went public Wednesday when married CNN correspondent Jeffrey Toobin squared off with a woman who says he’s the father of her baby.
Yale-educated lawyer Casey Greenfield — the daughter of eminent CBS News analyst Jeff Greenfield — had a chilly faceoff with Toobin in Manhattan Family Court.
Watch out, Jeff: Casey practices in litigation at Gibson Dunn, recently named by the American Lawyer as Litigation Department of the Year. And if this litigatrix loses, she might take it to a higher court — perhaps aided by GDC’s stellar appellate practice. (Thanks to Ted Olson’s involvement in the Proposition 8 case, Gibson lawyers are acquiring expertise in family and matrimonial law.)
More discussion — plus a better photo of Casey Greenfield, who’s quite attractive — after the jump.
On Tuesday, we tuned in to the late night show debacle unfolding at NBC. On his show that night, Conan O’Brien shared insights about the lawyerly wranglings. From US Magazine:
“Hi, I’m Conan O’Brien, and I’m just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history,” he said during Tuesday’s monologue. “I spent the afternoon at Universal Studios’ amusement park, enjoying their brand-new ride, the ‘Tunnel of Litigation.’”
Noting reports that he is legally prohibited from bad-mouthing the network behind the mess (Jay Leno is taking over O’Brien’s time slot after his prime time show was axed), O’Brien joked in his monologue Tuesday “Nobody said anything about speaking in Spanish.”
He then rails off an insult in Spanish which translates to: “NBC is run by brainless sons of goats who eat money and crap trouble.”
The final deal includes a payout of approximately $32.5 million for Mr. O’Brien and roughly $12 million for his staff, according a person familiar with the matter. The agreement will allow Mr. O’Brien to appear on another network beginning Sept. 1, the person said….
NBC, which is controlled by General Electric Co., will retain the rights to at least some of the comedic material from the show, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal also includes a non-disparagement clause, both for the 46-year-old comedian and NBC, and a provision that was said to bar or limit Mr. O’Brien from appearing on others’ shows for a period of time, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Jay Leno gets to reclaim his 11:35 p.m. show starting March 1. Meanwhile, David Letterman is probably just happy that Leno and Conan are monopolizing the late night news cycle instead of his own legal troubles.
What impact will this $45-million ruffling of the Peacock Network’s feathers have on entertainment law practices?
Two experts opine on what this means for the entertainment law industry, and the major takeaway lesson for talent lawyers, after the jump.
For the first time in a while, insomniacs are tuning into a late night show that doesn’t star Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.
Everyone loves a good fight. The Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and NBC squabble may be more entertaining than Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel have both knocked Leno. Even J-Lo has thrown some punchlines.
The National Law Journal has reported on the lawyers that are part of the fray. Patty Glaser and Kevin Leichter, of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro, are in Conan O’Brien’s corner. Meanwhile, NBC has Gibson Dunn slugging away, having retained power partner Scott Edelman.
The fighters have been trying to figure out what the definition of “The Tonight Show” is — if moved to 12:05 a.m., wouldn’t it be the The Early Morning Show? — and who has ownership of O’Brien’s intellectual property. R.I.P., Masturbating Bear?
The contractual issues may be sorted out any second now, according to the Wall Street Journal….
Welcome to the associate bonus post for Gibson Dunn, which has informed its associates of their 2009 bonuses.
This post is going to look a lot like the recent Sidley bonus post. Bonuses at Gibson, like those at Sidley, are individualized and individually communicated. This is especially true for the non-New York offices. (We understand that New York is a bit closer to lockstep and somewhat more hours-driven, but not completely so.)
As we understand the GDC bonus system, it’s basically run on a grid. Associates in a given class year are divided into categories, based on the usual metrics (e.g., billable hours, quality of work, etc.). Associates in the middle category receive a bonus that’s basically in line with the New York market-level bonus for their class year. Associates in higher categories get bonuses above NYC levels — sometimes as high as double the New York market, we hear. Associates in lower categories get a below-market bonus — or no bonus at all.
Some quotes from Gibson sources, after the jump.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. From our sister site, Going Concern:
[A] judge in Seattle has allowed a revised lawsuit to proceed that lists “Washington Mutual officers and directors, underwriters, and the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche” as defendants.
The revised lawsuit was trimmed down to a “concise” 267 pages from the original 388 that the judge described as “verbose” and “disorganized”.
“Verbose” and “disorganized” would also describe many lawyers we know. On the defense side, though, it’s an all-star cast. From Am Law Litigation Daily:
The lineup for the defendants includes Simpson Thacher & Bartlett attorneys Barry Ostrager and Rob Pfister for former WaMu officers; Ronald Berenstain of Perkins Coie for former WaMu outside directors; Barry Kaplan of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger; Peter Wald of Latham & Watkins for Deloitte; and Jonathan Dickey of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for the underwriters.
Even though we are moving out of the Vault top ten, we are still firmly in the land of law firms that everybody recognizes.
To refresh your memory, here is the next batch of firms on the Vault list:
11. Williams & Connolly 12. Debevoise & Plimpton 13. Paul Weiss 14. Gibson Dunn 15. Sidley Austin
Williams & Connolly was crowned the safest firm by Above the Law readers in March. And so far, the firm has worn its crown with grace and style. No layoffs to report at this small dynamo. It’s something to consider during this recruiting season.
After the jump, the Paul Weiss / Gibson Dunn troll fight starts in 3 … 2 … 1 …
We’ve written about numerous lawyers turned reality TV stars here at ATL. When we’ve done so, we’ve identified them and/or their employers by name. E.g., Jeremy Anderson (Hunton & Williams / The Bachelorette), Charlie Herschel (Weil Gotshal / Survivor), Victor and Tammy Jih (O’Melveny / Quinn Emanuel / Amazing Race), Yul Kwon (McKinsey / Survivor), David Otunga (Sidley / I Love New York), etc.
If you voluntarily appear on a nationally televised reality show, whether as a contestant or a friend or relative of a contestant, it’s a bit ridiculous to complain of privacy violation, isn’t it?
The Fox Reality Channel has launched a rip-off twist on Bravo’s very successful “Real Housewives” series: Househusbands of Hollywood.
From the New York Daily News:
The reality series, premiering Aug. 15 at 9 p.m., features five stay-at-home men who run the house while their wives head to work.
It features former L.A. Dodger Billy Ashley; aspiring actor Danny Barclay; former “A Different World” star Darryl M. Bell, who’s married to “Cosby Show” actress Tempestt Bledsoe; one-time “Gentleman Bandit” star Charlie Mattera, and Grant Reynolds, husband of “Good Day LA” anchor Jillian Reynolds.
The working woman behind househusband and aspiring actor Danny Barclay is a “high-powered Los Angeles attorney.” The New York Times focuses on the Barclays in its write-up of the episode premiere, due to the morning to-do list that Danny Barclay gets from his wife via e-mail every day, and his sad man-cave in the garage:
Fox Reality describes Katherine Barclay as a “high-powered attorney.” A check with the California Bar Association turned up no trace of her; a Fox publicist said Ms. Barclay practices under another name, which she would not provide, citing “client sensitivities and upcoming trials.”
Thanks to tipsters, we’ve managed to do what the Times couldn’t: identify Katherine Barclay. Find out which firm she’s with, and see clips from the first Househusbands episode, after the jump.
LEWW often hears complaints about the elitism and snobbery of the NYT’s wedding coverage (and, by extension, our coverage of the coverage). “What about all the couples who didn’t meet at Harvard?” critics cry.
In response, we’d like to point you to this Vows column from mid-June. Roughly twice a year, the NYT covers the wedding of what it presumably considers “average Americans,” seeking thereby to demonstrate that its weddings sections isn’t only for privileged Ivy Leaguers and their wealthy parents. This one, for example, features a pregnant bride and at least one electronic monitoring bracelet. Enjoy.
And now, this week’s legal eagle finalist couples (six people, six Harvard degrees, zero ankle bracelets):
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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