Media and Journalism

Linda Mason CBS Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgThe plummeting ratings of Katie Couric aren’t the only problem for CBS these days. The network just got slapped with a $50 million lawsuit alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation. From Towleroad (pronounced “toll road,” for those of you not familiar with it):

Dick Jefferson, the CBS News producer who was gay bashed with a group of friends in St. Maarten in April 2006, has filed a $50 million lawsuit against CBS, according to Kenneth Walsh of Kenneth in the 212.

Jefferson says that after the incident he was warned by CBS News Senior Vice President Linda Mason not to speak out about the incident because it was too controversial. After Jefferson suggested to Mason that she was violating the network’s anti-discrimination policies, by “controlling what he wrote in his e-mail messages from his personal account, requiring him to ask for permission to testify in open court against his attackers (they were eventually caught and convicted) and banning him from having contact with his friend and colleague, Ryan Smith, who was still hospitalized from the attack,” he says she engaged in a systematic campaign of retaliation which eventually led to his being fired.

We’re surprised that Linda Mason (above right) isn’t more sympathetic to gay rights. Guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.
For those of you who are interested, a little more on this story appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: CBS Gets Charneyed”

nyo.gifThe New York Observer has their annual summer associate article out today. Aquagirl is heavily discussed, including a shoutout to ATL for coining the nickname. Also referenced, of course, is the $3,000 Skadden summers’ after-party. But then they had to go and get all touchy-feely with the bit about charity and how “chic” being green is. Yuck.
But my favorite is the last paragraph about the meat market that is the associate-summer associate dating game. I love this line:

“[A]ssociates don’t get out of the office much, so when the new summers arrive, it’s like the buffet at Denny’s.

Classy.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Aquagirl (scroll down)
Skadden Cristal Boy

O happy day! Our New York Times op-ed piece, praising the lavish bonuses bestowed upon Supreme Court clerks, has made the Most Emailed Articles list:
Supreme Court 2 bonus babies Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Thanks to all of you who have visited the NYT homepage and emailed this article to your friends and loved ones. And thanks to the bloggers who have linked to our piece and shared their thoughts. E.g.:

1. Jonathan Adler, In Defense of Clerkship Bonuses [Volokh Conspiracy]

2. Ann Althouse, “Harnessing irrational law firm egotism” for the public good. [Althouse]

3. Howard Bashman, The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [How Appealing]

To all the curious Althouse commenters, yes, we are of “Philipino [sic]” ancestry.
Hopefully we’ll climb higher than #21. The top ten would be great. We’ll keep you posted!
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [The New York Times]

We’re nearing the end of graduation season. Sadly, we received hardly any responses to our request for examples of odious graduation gifts. This was the best one:

Worst graduation gift ever: My dad asking me why I only came second in my class and not first. And then no gifts!

If that’s not a recipe for several years of therapy, we don’t know what is.
Nina Totenberg NPR Georgetown Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgDue to the lack of submissions, we have picked out our own worst graduation gift: Nina Totenberg as your graduation speaker.
Because Nina Totenberg, the distinguished legal affairs reporter for NPR, is one of the country’s most celebrated journalists, one would expect graduates — especially law school graduates — to appreciate her as a speaker. But La Totenberg didn’t win many fans with her recent Georgetown commencement address.
Here’s a less-than-favorable review of her speech, from a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center:

I worked very hard, for an extended period of time, to graduate from law school. For better or worse, it represents one of the great achievements I will have in life. And her speech seemed as if she wrote it on the cab ride over from NPR.

I’m disappointed that Totenberg chose to be so lighthearted during what I feel is, for lack of a better word, a “solemn” occasion. It was so lighthearted that it wasn’t even cogent! Ask me how I really feel, right?

I have heard nothing but negative reviews from [my classmates]….

(If you’d like to check it out for yourself, click here to access a webcast. Enjoy.)
Update: This commenter makes a good point. We’ve heard a number of tales about Nina Totenberg’s diva-licious behavior — and we’d love to hear more. Please send them to us by email, and perhaps we’ll do a more detailed write-up on her. Thanks.
2007 Georgetown Law Center Commencement Ceremony [Georgetown University Law Center (webcast)]
Nina Totenberg bio [National Public Radio]
Earlier: Worst Graduation Gifts: Submissions, Please

* Martha steps into the minefield of political incorrectness once more. [Racialicious; The Mercury]
* There’s nothing I like more than old-fashioned, non-partisan fun. Hill interns, this is your chance to make a buck from an illicit affair or two, without resorting to Jessica Cutler antics (because prostitution can tarnish even the best CV). [Taegan Goddard's Political Wire]
* You haven’t heard anything since they filed for separation, and you won’t hear anything now that they’ve filed for divorce. And that’s what makes them worth mentioning. (Plus, I have a total girl crush on Catherine Keener and just a regular crush on Dermot Mulroney.) [Yahoo! News]
* An ice cream man in 2007 is a different breed from his 1953 counterpart. (Although a co-worker once did this to me to drive home the point that he was lost without the former girlfriend who used to do his laundry.) [KOCO]

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThis question gets debated endlessly in the comments here at ATL. Readers argue about real estate prices, billable hour requirements, and the cost of a round of drinks in different cities. Sadly, there’s often a lack of hard data in these disputes.
Well, now we have some real information, courtesy of the National Law Journal:

It may be a stretch to argue that beginning lawyers at big law firms need more money, but those practicing in New York could make a strong case for a raise….

Several big law firms in the last few weeks have boosted salaries for first-year associates in large cities in the West to match the $160,000 that their New York beginners receive.

A “nationalization” of their practices is the reason many firms give for paying the same amounts in different locations. But a look at the cost-of-living differentials shows that the copycat compensation is creating some significant pay disparities among associate ranks.

Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Is New York Worth It?”

Steven Spielvogel Edward Gallion Spielvogel boutique law firms Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe New York Times is a world-renowned news publication. It is exceedingly prestigious. Coverage in its pages is highly coveted.
But the Gray Lady may be a bit easy. Why else would she go down on Gallion & Spielvogel, our favorite pair of S&C refugees turned eminently pedigreed barristers?
From this morning’s NYT:

Steven Spielvogel, a lanky 40-year-old lawyer who, with his angular looks and jet black hair, resembles Ric Ocasek of the 1980s band the Cars, has been on something of a tour of his own.

He has been promoting a network that connects small law firms around the country and the world. The idea is to give the better small law firms a way to compete with the big national and global firms.

Since starting the International Network of Boutique Law Firms, in 2004, Mr. Spielvogel has been knocking on doors and setting up lunches to persuade the lawyers at small firms with prestigious résumés to start a local chapter.

The rest of the puff piece proceeds to fellate Steve Spielvogel and the INBLF in print. It’s accompanied by an awesome pic of Spielvogel, striking a pose in Rockefeller Center (and looking like Luke Wilson, to his credit).
But why isn’t Spielvogel in a tuxedo? And where’s his partner in crime, Edward R. Gallion?
More mockery news analysis, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gallion & Spielvogel Strike Again”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGIn addition to our ATL work, we write freelance pieces for print publications. In the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, we have a short write-up about the incoming class of Supreme Court clerks. Here’s the lede:

After the Supreme Court enters its summer recess this month, a new wave of eager young legal scholars in training will arrive. The Supreme Court’s 37 law clerks—the brilliant legal minds who assist the justices in selecting cases for review, preparing for oral argument, and drafting opinions—will hand over their duties to a new crop of clerks.

Demographically, the incoming class looks like those of past years—mostly white, mostly recent law-school graduates, with impressive academic records earned from the nation’s top law schools.

With eight clerks apiece, Harvard and Yale dominate the list, as they typically do. But there are some surprises. Northwestern, with three clerks, ties with Stanford and the University of Chicago for third place. Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law claims its first clerk since 1981.

Fourteen of the 37 incoming law clerks are women, twice the number during the previous term, when the low number of female clerks—seven of 37—generated controversy.

You can read the whole piece by clicking here.
P.S. Can you help us fill in the blanks for the October Term 2008 law clerks? Please check out this post; if you see missing info, please email us (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”). Thanks!
Women Gaining in Court-Clerk Contest [Washingtonian]

Thanks to commenter “legal beagle” for drawing our attention to what currently graces the Drudge Report. Our annotations appear in red.
Drudge Report TB Andy Speaker Andrew Speaker Andrew H Speaker Abovethelaw.JPG
Matt Drudge, you are a genius.
Exclusive: Diane Sawyer Speaks to TB Patient [ABC News via Drudge Report]

All About Eve 2 Linda Greenhouse Jan Crawford Greenburg Jan Greenburg Jan Greenberg Jan Crawford Greenberg Above the Law.JPGDo we exaggerate the rivalry between Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times’s veteran Supreme Court correspondent, and comely up-and-comer Jan Crawford Greenburg, who covers the Court for ABC News?
Maybe. We have a weakness for the dramatic, in case you haven’t noticed. But even if exaggerated, there’s no denying the tension between these two formidable female journalists.
Linda Greenhouse recently spoke at a litigation department luncheon at Willkie Farr in New York. And in her remarks, she threw down the gauntlet before Jan Crawford Greenburg.
Here’s what La Greenhouse had to say about Supreme Conflict, the bestselling book penned by her young rival (emphasis added):

“In her book, Jan Crawford Greenburg wrote, I think quite improbably and without any evidence, that Justice Thomas is the ideological heavyweight anchoring the conservative side of the court…”

“Jan Crawford Greenburg got a lot of mileage out of that statement in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, but I just don’t think it’s true.”

WOW. What did Willkie Farr feed Greenhouse for lunch? Fancy Feast?
An interesting account of the rest of Greenhouse’s remarks, from an ATL reader who was there, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greenhouse v. Greenburg: The Catfight Continues”

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