Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

Sometimes, firm publicists need to understand that it’s more about shoulda than coulda. Sure, you could put your entirely capable but not necessarily media-trained new chairperson in front of a camera to film an awkward welcome video, but that doesn’t mean you should. The buzzword-driven types probably shouted “New Media!” and “Video is the Future!” or some such and cajoled this lawyer in front of the camera.

What we ended up with are some of the worst line readings since Attack of the Clones….

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FYI Jami and Therese: On Wednesdays, we wear pink!

* SCOTUS justices added 11 cases to this term’s docket yesterday following their megaconference earlier this week. Alas, no same-sex marriage cases have been added yet. [New York Times]

* The Fifth Circuit allowed Texas to enforce its new abortion clinic restrictions. The only thing that will stop its “devastating impact on abortion access” is SCOTUS intervention. [MSNBC]

* Two more women just joined the ranks of the highest tier of Biglaw firm leadership. Congrats to Jami Wintz McKeon of Morgan Lewis and Therese Pritchard of Bryan Cave. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Gibson Dunn poached a prominent partner from U.K. firm Ashurst following his fall from grace as its leader last year. He’s thrilled to work for “one of the strongest U.S. firms around.” [Am Law Daily]

* The Thomas Jefferson School of Law may be “California’s worst-performing law school,” but it certainly performs well in terms of providing entertainment for those who are big fans of schadenfreude. [City Journal]

* Many schools pay their grads to count them as employed — but not UNC Law. Its career services office is aware that “jobs don’t grow on trees,” but hey, at least they’re trying to be transparent. [Daily Tar Heel]

* The DOJ is looking to retry an accused Somali pirate. They’re totally on top of piracy as long as it doesn’t take place here. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* Yesterday we posted our holiday tipping thread, heavily citing Corporette’s Kat Griffin. Now she’s posted her own guide and we’re linking to it. It’s like Inception up in here. [Corporette]

* Why fashion gets knocked off: delving into the world of design patents and trade dress. [Fashionista]

* Comparing the modern NSA to the intelligence-gathering techniques employed during the American Revolution. Interesting stuff, but a total cover-up job. Where’s the discussion of Ben Franklin’s “electric kite drones,” eh? You must think we’re pretty naïve, Logan Beirne. [Fox News]

* Incredibly sad, but also incredibly fascinating: if a child is rendered brain dead by a possible medical mistake, should the state honor the wishes of the family to keep the kid on life support even though every day on life support makes an investigation into the cause of death harder? [CNN]

* Loyola University Chicago introduces a new curriculum to give students an opportunity to get real-world experience with a judge or practicing lawyer before graduating. A law school focusing on training lawyers to be lawyers? This isn’t all that surprising when you look back at Dean Yellen’s previous work. [Loyola University Chicago]

* Congratulations to Therese Pritchard on her election as the first female chair of Bryan Cave. We’re big fans… until you fail to leak your bonus memo to us first. The ball’s in your court now Pritchard. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The venerable Green Bag is parting ways with GMU Law. Thankfully, it has already found a new home. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Former White House attorney John Michael Farren who we reported on a lot in the past about beating his wife nearly to death… was found liable for beating his wife nearly to death. So that happened. [News Times]

Getting laid off must really suck. The victim is not only left without a steady income and with a blemish on the résumé, but with a deep sense of betrayal. Trusted co-workers and team members who provided positive feedback one day turned a cold shoulder the next.

And worse, the person being let go is rarely the “proximate cause” of this career black mark. The economy takes a bad turn, or some partner has botched a case and lost a key client, triggering a layoff.

That’s a recipe for depression.

But it’s important not to let that depression reach the level of “calling former colleagues and threatening to kill them.”

Unfortunately, federal prosecutors say a top law school graduate didn’t get that message…

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The preferred methodology for phone threats.

* Bad boy! After last week’s dramatic bench performance by Justice Samuel Alito, the Alliance For Justice, a liberal watchdog group, is petitioning the Supreme Court to adopt and adhere to a code of conduct. [National Law Journal]

* There’s been a changing of the guard at the Supreme Court, where Scott Harris will be stepping into the role of Clerk of Court in September. Here’s hoping he can fill William Suter’s shoes. [Supreme Court of the United States]

* If you’re in-house and searching for the best outside counsel, you may be best served by going to one of these Biglaw firms. But which were the “absolute best”? Take a wild guess. [Corporate Counsel]

* “Let’s record this as a threat…” If you say so. Wherein a former Bryan Cave attorney gets federally indicted for threatening to murder a colleague still employed at the firm. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* And just like that, the tide keeps on rolling. With the departure of Kenneth Randall, Alabama Law has appointed Professor William Brewbaker as acting dean until an interim dean is chosen. [AL.com]

Ed. note: Welcome to the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, a recurring feature that gives notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as information about their firms and themselves.

Don Lents is chair of Bryan Cave LLP. His practice focuses on M&A, corporate governance, and securities law, with particular emphasis upon multinational and domestic mergers. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.

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Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the firms that the Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. These are the firms that corporate clients turn to when they’ve got bet-the-company litigation. From Exxon Mobil to Apple to Walmart, and everywhere in between, these are the clients with the deepest of pockets, and if you care at all about the business end of the law, then this is a list that you should care about.

But this time around, the list looks a little different. Due to the state of the economy, general counsel are now looking for more ways to reduce costs, and are constantly seeking out alternative fee structures. The firms on this year’s list may have been the ones that were most amenable to such changes.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at which firms topped this year’s list….

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Killer cups?

* Dewey know how much it costs to keep this failed firm on life support while its remaining partners try to collect D&L’s unpaid bills? A little more than $2M a month, according to the latest reports. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Former Missouri senators — including two Am Law 200 partners — are asking begging Rep. Todd Akin to step aside so the Republicans’ chances of securing the Senate seat aren’t legitimately raped. [Am Law Daily]

* Howrey going to explain this one to the judge? The defunct firm is blaming a deadly forklift accident at a document-storage warehouse for hindering its wind-down process. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]

* “No matter what they said, it’s not material? Is that what you’re alleging?” It figures that a Skadden partner argued that employment statistics were irrelevant in the fraud class action suit against Brooklyn Law School, but at least the judge attempted to set him straight. [National Law Journal]

* Alaska is suing to overturn federal oversight of its elections, because the portions of the VRA aimed at protecting African Americans aren’t applicable if you can see Russia from your house. [Chicago Tribune]

* An official at ICE is suing because his boss, a woman, allegedly “created a frat house-type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.” Pledging totally sucks, bro. [New York Times]

* Psst, we think we know what Victoria’s secret is, and she’s no angel. According to police, she’s got a very bad temper, and if you deny her money for booze, she may strangle you to death with her bra. [Daily Mail]

* Jerome Richter, former Blank Rome litigation department chairman, RIP. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Advanced technology designed to thwart aggressive air conditioning.

When we do stories about law school weather problems, they usually involve the facilities being too hot for the students. That’s because air conditioning costs money, and law schools don’t like to spend money on current students.

But once you get out of school and start an office job (or “win the lottery” as people from the class of 2011 call it), the problem isn’t going to be that your office is too hot. The problem is going to be that your office blasts the AC so high that you’ll think you’ve been running around a hedge maze at the Overlook (just click on the link, millennials).

That’s right, for a lot of lawyers, it’s freezing up in here. And since we’re talking about lawyers, you know we’re talking about people who like to bitch….

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For most luxury shoppers, a trip to Neiman Marcus is the stuff that dreams are made of. After all, bags overflowing with designer merchandise can usually put a smile on any face, no matter the cost. But for others, such a shopping excursion just serves as a reminder of all the sex, lies, and betrayal that go hand-in-hand with a bitter divorce.

Because apparently when your husband stops in to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise year after year, it’s essential for your former personal shopper to allegedly swipe his “credit card” — over, and over, and over again….

At least that’s what one divorcée in Texas is alleging. She filed suit against Neiman Marcus after the luxury retailer refused to take back $1.4 million worth of gifts that she attempted to return after discovering her ex-husband’s alleged affair….

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