Martin Lipton

When you think about it, Snoop has a lot in common with Biglaw partners: no matter what they’re doing, they have their mind on their money and their money on their mind. Or maybe that’s what Snoop has in common with law school deans. In any event, what legal writing is sorely lacking is Snoop’s unique vernacular.

So when we discovered — a website that converts web pages into Snoop-speak — we couldn’t help but spend some time converting law school and law firm bios, SCOTUS decisions, and even one of Elie’s ATL articles.

I mean, any site that translates a Supreme Court decision to include, “It aint nuthin but tha nick nack patty wack, I still gots tha bigger sack,” is worth spending a few hours playing around with.

Fo shizzle…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Would Chief Justice Snoop Dogg Sound Like?”

Martin Lipton?

* Former SCOTUS clerks earn more money for having clerked at the high court than SCOTUS justices earn for their yearly salaries. Consider how ridiculous that is. [The Economist]

* As it turns out, the National Security Agency oversteps its legal authority thousands of times each year, but that’s only because it’s a “human-run agency.” [Washington Post]

* Federal judges have come together to bemoan sequestration. “We do not have projects or programs to cut; we only have people.” Eep! Don’t give them any ideas. [National Law Journal]

* Ready, set, lawgasm! The comment period for proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure opened up yesterday, and yet again, e-discovery rules are on the table for debate. [Forbes]

* NYU professors want Martin Lipton to step down from the school’s board of trustees, but the Wachtell Lipton founding partner has had a honey badger-esque response — he don’t give a s**t. [Am Law Daily]

* As was widely expected, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s army of New York City lawyers will soon take the first step to appeal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s stop-and-frisk ruling. [New York Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* A West Virginia judge was federally indicted for attempting to frame his secretary’s husband with drug charges. Did we mention that the secretary is the judge’s ex-lover? Quite dramatic. [Charleston Gazette]

* Consortium: Not just for straight couples. A same-sex couple in Pennsylvania is trying to appeal the dismissal of a loss of consortium claim in light of the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka poseur heir Clark Rockefeller, was just sentenced to 27 years to life in prison in a California cold-case murder. Maybe Lifetime will make a sequel to that god-awful movie. [Toronto Star]

* Jacques Vergès, defender of notorious villains and perpetual devil’s advocate, RIP. [New York Times]

Lana Landis: Give her all your money.

* It’s Alito time, bitch! If you were wondering about any of the cases in which the justice recused himself last year, his latest financial disclosure report is quite telling. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Yet another appellate court has ruled that Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional. Alright, we get it, just wait for the Supreme Court to rule. [TPM LiveWire]

* Hey baby, nice package: With stock awards soaring, general counsel at some of the world’s largest companies had a great year in 2012 in terms of compensation. [Corporate Counsel]

* NYU professors want Martin Lipton of Wachtell Lipton to swallow a poison pill and step down from the school’s board of trustees over his ties to the University’s unpopular president. [Am Law Daily]

* Now that they’ve stopped acting like the doll they were arguing about in court, MGA has put aside its differences with Orrick to amicably settle a fee dispute in the Bratz case. [National Law Journal]

* Who needs to go on a post-bar vacation when you can take a vacation while you’re studying for the bar? This is apparently a trend right now among recent law school graduates. Lucky! [New York Times]

* A man puts assets into his pin-up wife’s name on advice of counsel, she files for divorce, and the firm allegedly takes her as a client. This obviously happened in Florida. [Daily Business Review (sub. req.)]

* David Schubert, the deputy DA who prosecuted Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars, RIP. [Las Vegas Sun]

Martin Lipton Marty Lipton Wachtell Lipton WLRK Above the Law blog.jpgWe should have written about this earlier — in fact, weeks earlier, since it has been up since early August. But sometimes things fall through the cracks, emails get caught in our spam filter, etc. Anyway, better late than never.
From a helpful reader:

check out this blog. it’s sort of a one trick pony, but its good for a laugh and is pretty out there. as a wlrk alum, figured you would get a kick out of it. thanks.

We agree — it’s funny and bizarre. From the inaugural post of The Poison Pill:

This blog is devoted to our hero and idol, corporate law phenom Martin Lipton. Mr. Lipton, name partner in the prestigious and venerable firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, has been practicing law since the mid-1960’s after he graduated from NYU law school, and is considered by most in the industry to be the “dean” of the M&A bar. This legendary advocate is most famous in legal circles for inventing the “poison pill,” a takeover defense now used by virtually all public companies to delay and deter hostile tender offers and other solicited acquisitions.

That’s right, you heard me–not only is Mr. Lipton a skilled and accomplished lawyer, he is an inventor as well. We also hear that he is a marvelous ballroom dancer, but have yet to receive confirmation on this point.

You can read the rest of the post over here.
Could this blog turn into the Biglaw equivalent of the Fake Steve Jobs blog, which developed into a sensation of the business world? Stay tuned.
The Poison Pill

popcorn microwave popcorn Seattle Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAt our former law firm, the making of microwave popcorn was strictly prohibited. Marty Lipton didn’t like the hallways smelling like a movie theater. As we previously observed, “When you’re trying to close a billion-dollar deal, a sudden hankering for a 32-ounce Coke can be very distracting.”
So… Is the City of Seattle about to follow suit? Details here.
City of Seattle may ban microwave popcorn [ via Drudge Report]
Earlier: Fun With Internal Memos: Submissions, Please

Martin Lipton Marty Lipton Wachtell Lipton WLRK Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s some news about an unusual move at our former employer, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (at right: founding partner Marty Lipton).
From the American Lawyer (via the WSJ Law Blog):

After losing two partners in recent months, Wachtell Lipton has quietly hired Michael Segal, the former cohead of executive compensation and benefits at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, who will start on Monday.

The move is an unusual one for Wachtell, which has rarely sought out lateral partners. In the firm’s 42-year history, just two other partners have lateraled into the firm. In 1997 antitrust partner Ilene Knable Gotts joined from Foley & Lardner. And in 1977, tax specialist Peter Canellos (now of counsel) joined as a partner from Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Some random observations:

1. After the recent losses of executive comp partners Adam Chinn (to an investment banking boutique) and Michael Katzke (to a career in social work — good for him), the firm had to make a high-profile hire in this niche. It’s a specialized area that is critical to WLRK’s flagship M&A practice.

2. For many years, Wachtell’s general policy against lateral hiring extended to associates as well. But they’ve been taking on lateral associates with increasing frequency in recent years. So if you’re working at another firm, but like the idea of a 100 percent bonus, send in your résumé.

3. Antitrust queen Ilene Knable Gotts, one of the two lateral partners mentioned above, is a diva with a capital “D.” And she works insane hours, even by Wachtell standards (as do her associates).

In addition, here’s an interesting profile of WLRK founder Marty Lipton, from our friends on the other side of the pond. Good stuff.
In a Rare Move, Wachtell Brings on a Lateral [American Lawyer]
US Top 50/New York: What Marty Says [Legal Week]
Wachtell Lipton Hires a Lateral! [WSJ Law Blog]

* Having your cake — and screwing it, too? [Overlawyered]
* If your cake contains trans fats, Judge Posner — who’s rumored to enjoy grapefruit for dessert — will take it away from you, and dump it in the trash. [Becker-Posner Blog]
* Marty Lipton’s theory of executive compensation: “I make tons of money, and I’m just the hired help. So client CEOs should make even more!” [Reuters]
* Chief Justice John Roberts: the boy who cried “constitutional crisis”? [Slate via How Appealing]
* This is lame. If everyone’s a name partner, then no one’s a name partner. [WSJ Law Blog]
* We suspect that the percentage of bad bosses is higher in the legal profession. Lawyers aren’t trained to be managers. And suck at it. [Workplace Prof Blog]
* The New York Court of Appeals: some tricky picking for Eliot Spitzer. [Judicial Reports]
* It’s about time that we had a litigatrix in the White House! [New York Times]

* In the 7th grade, we abided by the “one best friend” law, so we could totally pledge our loyalty to just one dog who also definitely wouldn’t steal our boyfriend. [New York Times]
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel admits to an incident of youthful “corruption,” but would you have rather she bartered sexual favors for her driver’s license? We’re letting this slide too. [The Times]
* We hear freshmen housed in state school dorms are joining the lawsuit. [Los Angeles Times]
* Since all of my disposable income after rent, I-Pod upgrades and therapy goes to clothes, I for one can say that status is one of the more noble causes a person can embrace. I mean, honestly, without fashion, 90% of third world kids would be unemployed. [University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog]
* Honor among greedy bastards: Corporate greedy bastards deserve their obscene paychecks, says greedy bastard M&A lawyer Martin Lipton. [Reuters]
[Ed. note: Please note that this post is signed by Stella Q. Some of us were very happy to receive obscene paychecks courtesy of Mr. Lipton. (And if Wachtell Lipton's midyear bonuses are any indication, year-end bonuses at the firm will be especially obscene this year.)]

eric rosof eric m rosof above the law.JPGgregory e ostling greg ostling gregory ostling above the law.JPGmartin arms martin j arms martin je arms above the law.JPGWachtell Lipton, the obscenely profitable and dazzlingly prestigious New York law firm, just elected three lawyers to its millionaires’ club partnership. By firm tradition, the partnership vote takes place on Election Day each year.

Expect an official announcement tomorrow; we bring you the news today. The three lucky, talented, and hardworking new partners are:

Martin J.E. Arms (litigation; pictured inset, left);
Gregory E. Ostling (corporate; pictured inset, center); and
Eric M. Rosof (finance and restructuring) (pictured inset, right).

The promotions take effect on January 1, 2007. Upon information and belief, newly minted Wachtell partners take home seven-figure paychecks in their first year of partnership. This shouldn’t be that surprising, given that (1) average profits per partner at WLRK were $3,790,000 in 2005, and (2) Wachtell partner compensation is lockstep by seniority (except for a handful of senior partners, including Messrs. Wachtell and Lipton, who are “off the grid”).

We used to work at Wachtell Lipton, so we can pass along random tidbits about this high-powered trio:

Martin Arms: We worked a lot with him on the Silverstein/World Trade Center case. Very smart; British-born, and retaining a hint of Englishness; worked extensively with Herb Wachtell (an obvious plus in the partnership race).

Greg Ostling: He was in corporate and we were in litigation, so we didn’t get to know him terribly well. We’d see him around the halls. Snazzy dresser; good-looking.

Eric Rosof: We sat next to him and shared a secretary. Nice guy; a bit on the quiet side, almost shy; extremely hard-working (even by Wachtell standards).

Martin, Greg, and Eric: CONGRATULATIONS!!!

(And if we ever grab drinks sometime, you’re buying… ;-))

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThis just in: Earlier this month, M&A powerhouse Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz bestowed generous “mid-year bonuses” upon its associates. The dough was distributed “without prejudice” to Wachtell Lipton’s legendary year-end bonuses, which in recent years have come in anywhere between 40 to 80 percent of an associate’s base salary. (WLRK’s base salaries are already at the top of the New York market.)

Your next question: How much? We hear that associates who graduated law school in the class of 2000 received a midyear bonus of $40,000, and associates who graduated in the class of 2002 received $30,000. So we’re guessing that the bonuses were distributed in $5K increments, with class of 2001 associates getting $35,000. (But perhaps the more senior people received bonuses reflecting bigger jumps; Wachtell, like many other top firms, likes to reward those who stick around.)

If you’re thinking that $40K doesn’t sound like that great a bonus for billing 3000 hours, please remember: This is just mid-year beneficence from Marty Lipton and Herb Wachtell. Year-end bonuses at Wachtell Lipton are expected to be better than ever, owing to the firm’s banner year on the corporate side. Back in the summer of 1998, believed to be the last time the firm doled out midyear bonuses (equal then to two months’ base salary), the end-of-year bonuses roughly equalled base salaries for associates. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, WLRK bonuses are lockstep based on seniority — they’re not tied to hours or to an assessment of the associate’s merit.)

What does Wachtell’s move mean for associates at other top New York firms? Well, probably not much — WLRK has always been in a class of its own in terms of compensation, paying bonuses that are more like investment banking bonuses than law firm bonuses.*

But Wachtell Lipton’s move could at least do this: It could prevent firms that raised base salaries earlier this year from “undoing” or “taking back” those raises, by reducing year-end bonuses by a commensurate amount. Now that Wachtell is taking in money so fast it’s GIVING it away — to its own associates — it would ill behoove Cravath and Sullivan to pull such a cheap trick on their associates. In the wake of Wachtell’s midyear bonuses, a top firm that raised associate salaries earlier this year, but then tried to keep total associate compensation unchanged by cutting year-end bonuses, would suffer a definite “shame sanction.”

Disclosure: Yes, we once worked at Wachtell Lipton, from 2000 to 2003 (i.e., we missed some of the fattest years). And yes, we are depressed this morning.

* Yes, obnoxious-lawyers-turned-obnoxious-bankers, we know: I-banking bonuses are often a multiple (x2, x3, etc.) of the banker’s base salary. Banker bonuses frequently run into the seven figures — unlike Wachtell bonuses, which at least have the decency to stay within six figures. And don’t get us started on the hedge fund people…

Earlier: Prior Skaddenfreude coverage (scroll down)