Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

If you’ve ever wandered over to Backpage.com and spent a few minutes reviewing the classified ads there, you probably realized that you had just discovered the seedy underbelly of the internet. Rife with ads for adult services — which is arguably just an elegant way of saying prostitution — the website, owned by Village Voice Media, has come under fire for its association with human trafficking.

Leave it to the company’s general counsel, Elizabeth McDougall, to take a stand for these scandalous online ads. After all, it’s great business! Backpage reportedly has a 70% market share for prostitution ads in the United States, generating millions in revenue.

This week, McDougall is taking additional heat from state attorneys general for her statements in an off-color op-ed column published in the Seattle Times. What could she have said that was so controversial?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Village Voice GC Stands Up for Everyone’s Favorite Online Prostitution Ads”

Over the last several months, we have spent a lot of digital ink covering Paul Ceglia’s goofy lawsuit claiming 50 percent ownership of Facebook. In that case, we tend to believe Facebook is in the right.

But now it appears that the social media behemoth has caught its own case of silly litigation fever.

Facebook has taken legal action against the makers of a web-browsing widget that allegedly violates its terms of service. And its Biglaw attorneys may have caught an innocent internet commenter in the crossfire….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Internet Commenter to Facebook Attorneys: What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate”

Each year in January, Fortune releases its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. As in years past, a few law firms have managed to sneak their way onto a list that includes companies like Google, DreamWorks Animation, and Goldman Sachs. With companies like that on the list, you’ve got to wonder (Elie did last year) — do the people at Fortune who make this list have any idea what they’re talking about?

We cover this list every year (click here for our posts in 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007). Like last year, only four firms made the list for 2012.

But which four firms? Which four firms had pay that was high enough, perks that were good enough, and environments that were nurturing enough to make the cut?

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In Grammer Pole of the Weak, we typically tackle issues of English grammar and usage, as well as questions of style (in terms of legal writing, not fashion). Last week, we delved into the fun topic of em-dash spacing, and learned that our readers are essentially deadlocked on whether to use a space before and after an em dash. In the end, using spaces prevailed by a margin as narrow as Mitt Romney’s Iowa caucus victory.

Our latest grammar poll pertains to usage, but it has a political component to it as well. It touches on hot-button issues like affirmative action and racial preferences, about which our readers have passionate opinions.

The question, in a nutshell: What does it mean to be a “diverse” individual?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: The Meaning of ‘Diversity’”

Just when you thought “revenge porn” couldn’t get worse, IsAnyoneUp came along. In addition to posting user-submitted nude photos — often sent in by someone’s angry ex — the site’s proprietor, Hunter Moore, includes a screenshot of the amateur porn star’s Facebook profile page, so that it’s clear exactly who the person is, where they live (and work), and how to contact him or her. It’s not the only porn website where those featured get “poked,” but the only one where visitors get to do the poking.

Those featured on the site have struggled to get their photos taken down — the most successful legal approach so far has been to claim copyright and issue a DMCA takedown notice. Now Facebook is bringing its legal power to bear. Facebook had its lawyers at Perkins Coie send the site a cease-and-desist notice, saying Moore was violating Facebook’s terms of service by harassing users and posting their content without their consent. Moore immediately posted a copy of the letter to his NSFW site, and was excited to send Perkins lawyer Joseph Cutler a response.

“I replied with a picture of my dick,” he told Gawker. Classy.

Continue reading at Forbes.com….

Following a freak earthquake earlier in the week, the East Coast is now bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irene. From the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the boroughs of New York City, people are getting ready for another natural disaster that could prove to be devastating.

And speaking of natural disasters, we hear that some folks in North Carolina received their bar exam results today. Congratulations — you’re first to get your bar exam results this year, and you’re first to get ravaged by Irene.

Hopefully this will all blow over. But in case it doesn’t, it’s important to be prepared.

Let’s see how law firms and law schools are getting ready for Hurricane Irene….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Is the Legal World Preparing for Hurricane Irene? Open Thread”

If you want to run for president in this country, you best have quality legal counsel.

It doesn’t matter which party you are from. It doesn’t matter what your political platform is. It doesn’t matter if you believe Obamacare is exactly like your own health care plan or if you think marriage is a sacred vow shared by a man, a woman, and millions of viewers on The Bachelor. It turns out you still need competent legal counsel.

Biglaw legal counsel, as it happens. Check out the law firms that are advising the 2012 presidential candidates…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Candidates For President And The Law Firms That Love Them”

Big news out of Washington today: Bob Bauer is stepping down as White House counsel. He’s returning to his former firm, Perkins Coie, where he will represent Barack Obama as his personal lawyer and serve as general counsel to President Obama’s re-election campaign. Bauer is being replaced by his top deputy, leading litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler.

Kathy Ruemmler is no stranger to these pages. She’s famous for her role as a lead prosecutrix in the Enron fraud case — and for her fabulous footwear.

Let’s learn more about Ruemmler’s shoes — are they peep-toes? — and review her impressive résumé….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Bob Bauer Out and Kathy Ruemmler In as White House Counsel”

Every year, Fortune produces a list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and every year a handful of law firms make the list. And every year I wonder why some law firms made the list, while others did not, and whether Fortune actually has any idea about what they’re talking about.

We cover this list every year (click here for our posts in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007). Last year, six firms made the list. But this year only four law firms are among the top 100 companies.

Again, I can’t figure out what the two firms that dropped did wrong. But let’s congratulate the four firms that did stay on the list.

So, which firms made the cut?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Annual ‘Best Companies to Work For’ List Includes Four Law Firms”

With fall recruiting gearing up, and the lateral market warming up, we continue our annual series of open threads about the law firms featured in the Vault prestige rankings. These threads provide ATL readers with a forum to discuss the different firms and their various strengths and weaknesses.

The end of the Vault 100 is in sight. We’re covering the firms in batches of 20 now. Here are the firms ranked #61 to #80, which will provide today’s discussion fodder:

61. Greenberg Traurig, LLP
62. Holland & Knight LLP
63. Fish & Richardson P.C.
64. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
65. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
66. Foley & Lardner LLP
67. Perkins Coie LLP
68. Nixon Peabody LLP
69. Patton Boggs LLP
70. Kaye Scholer LLP
71. Hunton & Williams LLP
72. Reed Smith LLP
73. Steptoe & Johnson LLP
74. Chadbourne & Parke LLP
75. Howrey LLP
76. Bryan Cave LLP
77. Lovells (US) [now part of Hogan Lovells]
78. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
79. Crowell & Moring LLP
80. Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

This is a very eclectic group, including a few New York-centric firms, some D.C.-dominated places, and a bunch of national and even international giants.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these shops….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 61 – 80 (2011)”

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