* A high school teacher admits to taking heroin before teaching. But it was art class, so if he wasn’t on something it would have seemed weird. [Daily Mail]
* Reed Smith issued a statement on the complete meltdown one of its partners had over Twitter. They did not go ahead and tell the partner to “go f@ck himself and die,” so that’s a start. [Roll on Friday]
* Man fleeing police threw a parrot at the police officer to slow him down. The parrot bit the cop. Polly wants some bacon. [The Smoking Gun]
* Anyone read through the new Google Terms of Service? Well, they’re going to start using your name and profile in sharing your endorsements of music and restaurants. Here’s how you can opt out if you don’t want people to know how much you love Ace of Base. [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
* A veteran news reporter is suing the L.A. Times for discrimination after he was fired for not “taking it easy” on former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. The only person who went less easy on Frank McCourt was the former Mrs. McCourt’s lawyer. [Courthouse News Service]
* A financial trader is suing his lawyer brother because he lost a bunch of money investing in real estate from 2004 through 2007. It seems like something more significant might have happened to real estate around 2007. But hey, congrats financial traders! You’re officially worse than lawyers. [Daily Business Review]
* If reviews and endorsements aren’t honest, they undermine the entire process. [Associate's Mind]
* The House stenographer loses it during the shutdown debate. Have any court reporters done the same? [Chaos in the Courtroom]
* Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz of ESPN give an Illinois law student a hard time. The discussion begins at the 34:00 mark. And then they start making fun of the school’s ranking at the 39:00 mark. [ESPN]
It appears that Regan, mistaking the Twitter feed of SCOTUSblog for an official Twitter feed of the U.S. Supreme Court, wanted to weigh in on the Court’s recent decision to hear a challenge to EPA regulations about greenhouse gas emissions. He originally tweeted: “@SCOTUSblog – Don’t screw up this like ACA [Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare]. No such thing as greenhouse gas. Carbon is necessary for life.” After SCOTUSblog tweeted back “Intelligent life?”, Regan dropped the F-bomb. (If you’d like, you can read related tweets over here.)
It seemed odd that a Biglaw partner would use profanity over Twitter (usually such language is reserved for emails from ex-Dewey “f**kwads”). We wondered if Regan wasn’t himself yesterday for some reason, so we reached out to him for comment. Here’s the out-of-office response we received:
I will be out of the office on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 attending a family funeral. I will return to the office on Thursday, October 17, 2013. I will have limited access to voicemail and email.
Our condolences, Steve, but here’s a little tip from your friends at ATL: perhaps you shouldn’t wish death upon others before attending a family funeral. Your behavior last night was très déclassé.
UPDATE (10/18/2013, 12:40 p.m.): We reached out for comment to Reed Smith, which did not get back to us prior to publication, but the firm has now issued a statement to Roll On Friday.
* “We’re in uncharted territory right now.” The federal courts made it through the first week of the shutdown, but they’re approaching “here be dragons” land in terms of funding. [National Law Journal]
* “It would be the most interesting case in decades.” Legal experts debate whether President Obama can ignore the debt ceiling for much longer. [New York Times]
* People are getting out of Biglaw while the getting’s good. Reed Smith’s global managing partner is leaving the firm for a general counsel gig after 13 years at the helm. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Law firm leaders met to discuss how to empower women attorneys, and agreed it’s wise to parade them around in front of clients. Getting to work on those clients’ cases is another question. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers want their client’s prison restrictions to be lifted and are raising a slew of constitutional claims. We think the members of his fan club are the only ones feeling sorry for him. [CNN]
* Judges on the Third Circuit bench must really ♥ boobies. Breast cancer awareness bracelets can’t be banned by public schools if they aren’t lewd and if they comment on social issues. [Legal Intelligencer]
* A bevy of Biglaw firms were involved as advisers in the sale of the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and the Washington Post, including Cleary Gottlieb, Cravath, and Morgan Lewis, among others. [Am Law Daily]
* After surviving a motion for disqualification, Quinn Emanuel will continue to represent Snapchat. A short video of John Quinn laughing his ass off will be available for the next 10 seconds. [TechCrunch]
* Alex Rodriguez, the only MLB player who will be appealing his drug-related suspension, has hired Reed Smith and Gordon & Rees to hit it out of the park during arbitration proceedings. [Am Law Daily]
* Don’t say we never did you any favors: Here are the top 5 mistakes new in-house counsel make from the perspective of outside counsel. Take a look before you make them yourselves. [Texas Lawyer]
* We saw this coming back in June (seventh item), but now it’s official. Prenda Law has dissolved after posting six figures in bonds for various ethical sanctions. Next step, bankruptcy? [National Law Journal]
* “We are a teaching institution. We teach by not having television. We are judged by what we write.” Justices Kennedy and Breyer aren’t ready for their close-ups — they’re adamantly opposed to cameras in the courtroom. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Another thing Justices Kennedy and Breyer are adamantly opposed to is the sequester. They say that these unnecessary budget cuts will hit the criminal justice system where it hurts: its already overflowing docket. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* A liberal film critic took a shot at Justice Clarence Thomas by likening him to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the head house slave in Django Unchained. Methinks this is a RACEIST™ comparison, n’est–ce pas? [Reason Magazine]
* Reed Smith has a new managing partner, Edward Estrada, who plans to “aggressively recruit laterals.” No relation to Erik Estrada, but if he gets a pair of those cool sunglasses, we approve. [New York Law Journal]
* A better deal was reached in the BAR/BRI antitrust case. Say goodbye to the coupons, and hello to $9.5 million in cold hard cash… which means you’re going to get like $80 if you’re lucky. [National Law Journal]
* “This is a very disgusting case.” Why yes, yes it is. A mother is suing because she claims her son ate a used condom off the floor of a McDonald’s play area. It’s doubtful that she approved of the special sauce. [Reuters]
The road to the courthouse is paved with bruised egos. And when the bruised egos belong to lawyers, it’s like hopping into the HOV lane on that road.
One lawyer has filed a suit against his former firm, alleging that they owe him compensation withheld after he let them know he was moving to a different firm.
It’s good to know that partners might get jerked around the same way as associates trying to leave before the bonuses are paid out….
Michael Molinaro, was once the co-chair of the bankruptcy practice at Loeb & Loeb. At some point, he negotiated an agreement with his former firm to transition from “partner” to “of counsel.” Molinaro claims that the firm agreed that this move would not impact his compensation.
But then, Molinaro did something that was sure to ruffle the feathers of his colleagues. He told them he was leaving to join Reed Smith, a firm willing to keep calling him a partner:
By February 2012, around the time Molinaro informed Loeb management that he intended to join the law firm Reed Smith, Loeb refused to provide him with the pay information and proposed a new compensation agreement, the lawsuit said.
Under the suggested pay arrangement, initially proposed on Jan. 23, Molinaro would only get paid in full for 2012 if he continued to work at Loeb “for many months,” the lawsuit said.
On Feb. 1, Loeb executive Scott Cotie wrote Molinaro that the firm was prepared to pay him $160,000 for 2012, but that he would only receive the sum if he signed the new pay arrangement, the lawsuit said.
Molinaro’s suit (UPDATE: A copy of the complaint is available here) seeks information about partner billing and compensation from Loeb & Loeb to allow Molinaro to calculate what he feels he should be paid. Loeb & Loeb describe the lawsuit as meritless.
This sounds lame, but how do lawyers not work this out in drafting the original agreement? As a partner, I’m sure there’s a natural inclination to trust your colleagues and assume you’re not about to get screwed because, technically, you own the company. But take a second and remember that you’re dealing with lawyers and draw upon the wisdom distilled in a choice quote from Futurama:
Friendship to me means that for two bucks I’d beat you with a pool cue until you got detached retinas.
Ted Olson and David Boies: adversaries, then allies, then adversaries again.
After covering the Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy hearing on Wednesday morning, I walked a few blocks uptown to the Second Circuit for another exciting event: oral argument in the closely watched Argentina bondholder litigation. It was a Biglaw battle royal, pitting Ted Olson, the former solicitor general and current Gibson Dunn partner, against a tag team of top lawyers that included David Boies, Olson’s adversary in Bush v. Gore (and ally in Hollingsworth v. Perry).
Here’s my account of the proceedings, including photos….
[T]he Second Circuit held arguments in the Argentina sovereign debt case. This case is … I mean, you kind of had to be following along, but quick summary: back in the day Argentina defaulted on some old bonds, and exchanged most of them at a discount into new bonds, which it’s been making payments on.
Elliott Management [through affiliate NML Capital Ltd.] bought a bunch of old bonds, which Argentina has not been making payments on, and sued Argentina to make them pay the old bonds pari passu ["on equal footing"] with the new ones. Elliott won in a lower court, and then sort of won on appeal, and then Argentina raised some mind-meltingconsequences in the lower court, and then Elliott won again anyway, and now it’s back up on appeal again, and the oral arguments were yesterday. Also there’s a boat.
For a more detailed look at the substantive issues involved, see Matt’s full post, Felix Salmon’s insightful analysis, and the links collected at the end of this post. But this summary should suffice for now.
The Second Circuit is housed in the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, a stunning, Classical Revival structure designed by Cass Gilbert (who also designed the U.S. Supreme Court building). The recently renovated courthouse features a six-story courthouse base (click to enlarge):
And a 30-story tower of power:
When I arrived at the courthouse, I began to get nervous….
Here at Above the Law, we’ve been writing about the “Biglaw boys’ club” for quite some time. According to the latest report compiled by the National Association of Women Lawyers, when it comes to firm life in the fast lane, women continue to have difficulty ascending to the ranks of firm leadership. In fact, that study concluded that in the Am Law 200, women hold only 20 percent of the positions on firm governance committees. What’s worse is that only four percent of Am Law 200 firms have a firmwide managing partner who’s a woman. So much for girl power.
But when it comes to Am Law 100 firms, the American Lawyer recently conducted a similar study, and the results were less than awe-inspiring — in their discussion of the results, the editorial staff go so far as to refer to it as “the law of small numbers.” Lovely. Apparently the glass ceiling is still strong in Biglaw.
So what does the leadership hierarchy look like for women in the Am Law 100? Let’s find out….
Ninety-three of the firms that make up the Am Law 100 responded to questions about women in leadership roles, and the results speak volumes about women’s overall stature in their firms. Here’s more from Am Law:
As our in-depth interactive chart shows, it was a tale of ones and twos among many of the chief governing committees. Almost 80 percent of the 92 firms with a chief governing committee reported a committee with two or fewer women; 42 percent reported a committee with only woman partner.
Well, that’s depressing. The Am Law chart is available here. If you’d like the quick and dirty facts, here are the top ten Am Law 100 firms in terms of the percentage of women on their management committees:
Am Law calls Fulbright, Reed Smith, and Shook Hardy “outliers” because their female partners represented more than a third to half of the firms’ executive committees. As for the rest, here’s how one female partner put it: “There is still a moat around the top management, and that keeps the power to a small group of men.”
Meanwhile, that small group of men keeps offering up logic that reminds us of the transparency argument against law schools: we know we can do better, but everyone else is doing it this way. That small group of men was also chock full of explanations, the most-cited being that there aren’t enough women partners (perhaps they mean equity partners — last we checked, women made up just 15 percent of partners of that variety), and that there aren’t enough women rainmakers (likely because those men are hogging all the work, at least according to this Greenberg Traurig suit). Notice the “blame the woman” trend here?
Sure, some women leave the law or transfer to flexible hours to attend to family matters, but that doesn’t mean that the women who remain are any less competent than their male peers. Give them a chance to shine.
If you’re interested in Judaism, Supreme Court clerks, or both, there’s a video for you after the jump….
I find Orthodox Jews who are boxers or professional basketball players more impressive than Orthodox Jews who clerked for the Supreme Court (shocking, I know). In case you’re curious as to who is the first Orthodox Jewish woman to clerk for the Supreme Court, watch this video: