Last week, I really got my hopes up that something legally interesting would come out of the Paula Deen fiasco. Deen is being sued by a white lady, Lisa Jackson, for sexual harassment and racial discrimination. That lawsuit led to Deen’s disastrous deposition, which so far has cost Deen her show and sponsors.
After the deposition, which her lawyers foolishly allowed her to give, Deen’s lawyers moved to have the case dismissed for lack of standing. They’re arguing that Jackson has no standing to claim racial discrimination because Jackson is white and Deen allegedly said horrible things only about non-whites.
That’s the kind of interesting legal argument one might make before a damaging deposition wrecks your client’s reputation.
And that might be why Deen’s former lawyers will no longer have the opportunity to make it…
I say “allegedly” not to suggest there’s any question over whether the partner owned the trolling company, but because the partner claims he had no involvement in the decision to sue his firm’s most prominent tech client. Even if he didn’t, it hardly sounds kosher.
Whatever his precise role, he might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling privilege log…
* “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Perhaps AG Eric Holder should’ve quit when he was ahead after President Obama’s first term, because now White House insiders are wishing he’d step down. [New York Times]
* Dewey think Steven Davis will ever live down claims that he brought about the death of a once legendary law firm? No, but at least his $19.5 million mismanagement settlement was approved. [Am Law Daily]
* “What’s disgusting? Union busting? Who’s disgusting? Joe Genova.” Damn. This partner had some issues with Legal Services NYC lawyers on strike outside his office last week. [New York Law Journal]
* With all of the talk about patent trolls, this Morgan Lewis attorney allegedly thought it would be a good idea to get a piece of the action. Oopsie, it sounds like you got some splainin’ to do. [Ars Technica]
* LEAVE THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW ALONE! TJSL alumni appreciate their alma mater so much they’re willing to sign love letters written by the school’s PR flack. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Widener Law is thinking of splitting its campuses into separately accredited schools, but this isn’t a cost-saving measure — neither were the buyout packages offered to professors. [Delaware Law Weekly]
* Alexis Wright, the Zumba instructor who ran a prostitution ring out of her dance studio, will ditch the workout and join the party in jail, because this hot mama was just sentenced to 10 months. [CNN]
* The National Labor Relations Board, now with fewer recess appointments! Partners from Arent Fox and Morgan Lewis were nominated to fill seats necessary for the board’s quorum. [National Law Journal]
* Shearman & Sterling seems to be bucking the Biglaw system. The firm is cutting pay for high earners and increasing it for lower-ranking attorneys. We’ll probably have more on this later today. [Reuters]
* Dentons (formerly known as SNR Denton) recently poached a six-partner team led by Stephen Hill from Husch Blackwell to bolster its white collar practice. Welkom too teh furm, guise! [Am Law Daily]
* “It is technically more legal to screw a walrus than to get gay married.” You know you live in a very sad place when not only do article headlines like this exist, but they’re also CORRECT. [Death and Taxes]
* An American Eagle pilot is facing attempted drunk flying charges. Yes, that’s a thing, but come on now, anyone who’s seen the movie Flight knows you can fly a plane while you’re wasted. [Bloomberg]
* Lindsay Lohan blew off a deposition in Los Angeles yesterday. Cut the girl some slack; she had to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman, which was way more important. [Contra Costa Times]
Around here, one can’t mention the concept of something being “overrated” without reference to one of the weirdest and most enduring ATL comment memes, a play on the late, great Hitch’s assertion that the four most overrated things in life are “champagne, lobster, anal sex, and picnics.” So who are the, um, lobsters of Biglaw?
Last week, we had a look at what our audience considered to be the most underrated Biglaw firms, by practice area. Today, inevitably, we turn it around and have a look at what you’re telling us are the most overrated firms.
Among other things, our ATL Insider Survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with overrated practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, etc.
To be sure, these survey results need to be taken with some buckets of salt — we realize that, for some, answering this question might be a chance to take an easy shot at a more successful rival or competitor. Of course, there are crazy people who will tell you that such paragons as Benjamin Franklin or Tom Brady are “overrated,” but that probably says more about the person making that statement than anything else. But that said, these survey responses are a fun glimpse at which firms Biglaw attorneys think are more sizzle than steak….
Apparently also underrated? The corporate group at Cahill Gordon, according to the ATL audience. Cahill received the most mentions as having an “underrated” corporate group in our ATL Insider Survey. Biglaw has a fairly stable roster of alpha dogs in each practice category (Weil in bankruptcy, Wachtell in M&A, etc.), but we wondered which firms’ practice groups deserve more recognition. So, among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with underrated (and overrated) practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, tax lawyers do the same for tax groups, and so on.
Read on and have a look at the top three underrated firms in each practice area:
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….
Congratulations to Ted Cruz, who will most likely be the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Texas. Cruz, who is currently a partner at Morgan Lewis, just won a runoff election for the Republican Senate nomination. Considering that Texas hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, the general election is probably Cruz’s to lose.
Cruz, 41, defeated a formidable opponent in the primary: Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 66, who had the advantage of wide name recognition thanks to nine years in his current statewide office. Dewhurst, a wealthy businessman, also had money on his side: he outspent Cruz by about three to one. But Cruz — an amazing college debater, known for making his opponents wet themselves (he and I know each other through debate circles) — knows how to fight. And to win.
Ready for some résumé porn? Read on to learn about Cruz’s Texas-sized achievements….
As we mentioned earlier today, retired partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf received some potentially good news. These former partners, whose unfunded pensions were supposed to be funded out of firm profits, will have a voice in the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings. As reported by the WSJ Law Blog and Am Law Daily, the U.S. trustee’s office has appointed an official committee of former partners (in addition to the standard official committee of unsecured creditors). The four ex-partners on the committee are David Bicks, Cameron MacRae, John Kinzey, and John Campo.
What prompted the move? As legal consultant Edwin Reeser, whose analysis of the Dewey situation recently appeared in these pages, told the WSJ, “The retired partners have uniquely separate interests which warrant consideration as a special class of creditors.”
It’s nice that they have a seat at the table, but will the ex-partners end up with any money at the end of the process? That’s less clear. As Jerome Kowalski, another law firm consultant, told the Journal, “There has never been a law firm bankruptcy that resulted in any payment being made to the equity partners… They’ll have zero sway other than perhaps some moral imperatives, and moral imperatives don’t have much play in bankruptcy courts.”
The unsecured creditors might have more luck than the former partners. Who’s on the unsecured creditors’ committee?
Columbia University Law School: 8/12
Cornell University Law School: 8/6
Duke University School of Law: 8/15
Duquesne University School of Law: 8/22
Fordham University School of Law: 8/21
George Washington University Law School: 8/13
Georgetown University Law Center: 8/13
Harvard Law School: 8/14
Howard University School of Law: 8/13
University of Florida, Levin College of Law: 8/14
New York University School of Law: 8/14
Northwestern University School of Law: 8/19
Rutgers University School of Law, Camden: 8/15
Rutgers University School of Law, Newark: 8/13
Santa Clara University School of Law: 8/15
Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law: 8/13
Stanford University Law School: 8/28
Temple University, Beasley School of Law: 8/15
University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law: 8/5
University of California, Davis School of Law: 8/12
University of California, Hastings College of Law: 8/6
University of California, Hastings College of Law (Tax): 8/6
University of California, Irvine, School of Law: 8/8
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law: 8/8
University of Chicago Law School: 8/27
University of Houston Law Center: 8/22
University of Illinois College of Law: 8/14
University of Miami School of Law: 8/14
University of Michigan Law School: 8/19
University of Pennsylvania Law School: 8/12
University of Pittsburgh School of Law: 8/20
University of San Francisco School of Law: 8/12
University of Southern California Law School: 8/7
University of Texas School of Law: 8/15
University of Virginia School of Law: 8/14
Villanova University School of Law: 8/16