* Holy Lawsuit, Batman! Professors sue Ave Maria. [AveWatch.org]
* TMI indeed; spare us talk of that burning sensation. Just say you have a doctor’s appointment, and leave it at that. [Nasty, Brutish & Short]
* Just because you’re a 46-year-old man who has never been married doesn’t mean you’re gay. Plamegate prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald — whom we met earlier this month, btw — is engaged. Congrats, Pat! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Milberg Weiss and the Democrats: politics makes for not-so-strange bedfellows. [Overlawyered; Overlawyered]
* Some undergraduates earn cash by selling their class notes online. How long before this trend takes hold in law schools? [Conglomerate]
* Who says Yale Law grads can’t be funny? [Wonkette]
- Arlen Specter, Ave Maria School of Law, Health Care / Medicine, Law Schools, Milberg Weiss, Money, Non-Sequiturs, Paralegals, Patrick Fitzgerald, Politics, Yale Law School
* Holy Lawsuit, Batman! Professors sue Ave Maria. [AveWatch.org]
- Crime, Law Professors, Melvyn Weiss, Michael Vick, Milberg Weiss, Morning Docket, O.J. Simpson, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Technology
* Didn’t they just execute somebody with an electric chair? And this is what gets them in trouble with the Constitution? [Jurist]
* Mel Weiss to be indicted. [New York Times]
* Oh, Al Sharpton, you’re incorrigible. [CNN]
* Judge withdraws jury instruction in Spector case; has he set up an easy appeal if there’s a conviction? [CNN]
As you know, we’ve been doing a series of fall recruiting open threads on the Vault 100 law firms — which, of course, tend to represent large corporate defendants in litigation matters.
But lately plaintiffs’ firms have been on our mind. Like Hewes & Associates, the fictional firm headed by Glenn Close in the new FX show, Damages. Or Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins — which will drop “Lerach” from its name as of August 31st, after the departure of the colorful and controversial Bill Lerach (whose over-the-top farewell message can be accessed here).
We’re not alone in thinking about plaintiffs’ lawyers. The crew over at Illegal Briefs sent in this request:
We’ve been enjoying your recent recruiting posts/threads. We’d be curious to read about folks’ take on plaintiff-side recruiting and work experiences.
We’re curious too. To kick things off, here are some questions:
1. What are associate salaries (and bonuses) like at the big plaintiffs’ firms, like Lerach Coughlin or Milberg Weiss?
2. Law students (a) want to make money, so they can pay off their student loans, and (b) generally have liberal or left-of-center political views. So why do they all go trooping off to firms that defend big corporations? Why not do plaintiffs’ work, where they can stand up for “the little guy” — and make good money, too?
And, from a different reader, an inquiry about another ATL favorite subject:
You should consider including in your updated clerkship bonus coverage the bonuses being paid by a large plaintiff firm such as Lerach. It would be interesting to see if they are matching their corporate adversaries.
So, does anyone have information or opinions to share on plaintiffs’ firms? If so, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
Bill Lerach To Resign August 31 [WSJ Law Blog]
Lerach’s Departure Memo [WSJ Law Blog]
In the wake of name partner David Bershad’s guilty plea, the schadenfreude over the fall of Milberg Weiss continues.
Even ex-paralegals at Milberg Weiss are getting in on the fun. Check out this excerpt, from a comment posted at Roger Parloff’s blog:
[F]or anyone who argues that theirs were essentially victimless crimes, how about the competitive advantage Milberg Weiss has enjoyed over firms who really are ethically defending the little guy? It was this idea of evening the playing field for investors and consumers that made me excited about working for Milberg Weiss in the first place, and I passed up more lucrative offers from Defense firms because of my desire to be able to look myself in the mirror every morning. Too bad my employers did not have the same commitment to honesty.
Oh, and as an additional note on class, [former name partner Steven] Schulman actually had the nerve to e-mail the entire firm to ask if they wanted to support his children’s private school by buying gingerbread houses decorated by the kids for $200 a pop. And then, the night of the firm Christmas Party, he sent out a second-chance e-mail offering them discounted at $150!
Rumor also has it that if you bought Girl Scout cookies from Schulman’s daughter, he’d reach into this secret safe he had in his office, and kick back half of the cash to you…
Only Mel Weiss can save Milberg Weiss now [Legal Pad / Fortune]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: David Bershad
Former Milberg Weiss partner David Bershad has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy count, and to cooperate with the feds in their investigation of his former law firm (in which he was once a name partner). The government alleged that Bershad paid kickbacks to clients to serve as plaintiffs in securities class action cases. See here, here, and here.
The best part of the whole story, from the WSJ Law Blog:
* In the earlier years of the alleged conspiracy, Bershad along with Partners A and B and others, “pooled their personal cash into a fund Bershad maintained in his office at Milberg Weiss, which was used by the Conspiring Partners to supply cash for secret payments to paid plaintiffs and others.”
* According to the statement, “the amounts the Conspiring Partners each contributed were supposed to be approximately proportionate to their respective partnership interests in Milberg Weiss. Bershad kept track of the amounts contributed and of the secret cash payments that had been made to paid plaintiffs.”
Now THAT is what we call partnership. Complete trust and cooperation. Working together towards a common goal.
Who says there’s no honor among thieves?
Milberg Weiss’s Bershad to Plead Guilty [WSJ Law Blog]
Bershad Agreement: The Personal Cash Fund [WSJ Law Blog]
Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Securities Case [New York Times]
- Biglaw, Crime, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg Weiss, Money, Plaintiffs Firms, Steven Schulman, William Lerach
After we mentioned the departure of indicted partner Steven Schulman from the indicted law firm Milberg Weiss, some of you had funny things to say. See, e.g., this comment.
As it turns out, there were reasons unrelated to federal criminal charges for Steve Schulman to leave Milberg. From Legal Pad:
Schulman’s deal with the firm required that upon his departure, he receive a sum based on Milberg’s income during his last year at the firm. With 2005 a considerably better (as in, indictment-free) year for the firm than 2006, the partner had a real incentive to leave. Indeed, we’re told that by departing before the end of 2006, he’s in line to get about $5 million more than if he had waited.
It’s all about the benjamins, baby. You can take the lawyer out of the plaintiffs’ firm; but you can’t take the plaintiffs’ firm out of the lawyer.
And that $5 million could come in handy if Schulman does strike a plea deal — something that, according to lawyers familiar with the case, has not happened yet, but very well could. We hear that Schulman is open to the idea, and his switch of attorneys earlier this year — from the NY brawler Ed Hayes to former federal Judge Herb Stern — would seem to lend itself to negotiations. The hitch is that if he were to flip, Schulman would probably have to offer up a superior or two, namely Melvyn Weiss or William Lerach.
Very interesting. We know many lawyers who have worked with Judge Stern, and some say that at times he can be difficult, controlling, and arrogant (although you’d be too if you were an ex-Article III judge). But it’s certainly true that he’s not as much of a street-fighter as Ed Hayes, one of the deans of the Mafia defense bar (along with Bruce Cutler and Gerald Shargel).
The prospect of Schulman flipping on Mel Weiss or Bill Lerach is dizzying. The glee among Fortune 500 general counsels and Biglaw securities lawyers — and the Schadenfreude among less successful plaintiffs’ lawyers — would be boundless. Happy Kwanzaa!
5 Million Reasons to Quit Milberg [Legal Pad / Cal Law]
Partner at Law Firm Resigns to Focus on Criminal Charges Against Him [New York Times]
Steven G. Schulman bio [Milberg Weiss]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: 12.13.06
- Akin Gump, Dewey Ballantine, Dewy Orifice, Eliot Spitzer, Kramer Levin, Laurence Tribe, Milberg Weiss, Musical Chairs, New Jersey, State Judges, Thomas Goldstein, White House Counsel, White-Collar Crime
It has been a while since our last round-up of notable moves within the legal profession. So there’s a lot to report today:
Law Firm to… Prison?
* Former Milberg Weiss name partner Steven Schulman resigned from the firm to pursue “new ventures.” The most important of these “ventures” will surely be fighting federal charges of making illegal payments to plaintiffs in past cases.
Law Firms to In-House:
* Securities lawyer Stephen Cutler is leaving his partnership at WilmerHale to become general counsel of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the banking giant. From a tipster who works in securities law: “This is a big deal.”
Colleagues of Cutler described the JP Morgan gig to the WSJ Law Blog as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. Translation: Who wouldn’t want to make mid- instead of low-seven-figures?
* Another WilmerHale departure: J. Kevin McCarthy is taking over as top lawyer of the Cowen Group, an investment bank.
Government to Private Sector:
* Former New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah Poritz joins the Princeton office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, as of counsel. She stepped down from the New Jersey Supreme Court in October, after reaching the mandatory retirement age.
* David Nocenti, current counsel to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, will become counsel to the governor effective January 1.
* Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, the renowned constitutional scholar and SCOTUS litigator, is entering into a consulting arrangement with Akin Gump.
Akin Gump is developing a Supreme Court practice. Earlier this year, they added young SCOTUS superstar Tom Goldstein to their line-up.
* Securities-enforcement lawyer Chuck Davidow, to Paul Weiss (DC), from WilmerHale.
Another loss for WilmerHale — on top of the previously reported departure of Paul Eckert for the White House Counsel’s Office.
Why are so many partners leaving WilmerHale? A Hillary Clinton administration is still two years away.
* IP lawyer Joseph Gioconda, to DLA Piper (New York), from Kirkland & Ellis.
* Corporate lawyer Eric Lerner, to Kramer Levin, from Katten Muchin Rosenman.
* Tax lawyer Thomas Giegerich, to McDermott Will & Emery (NY), from Dewey Ballantine (about to merge with Orrick to form Dewy Orifice).
* Bryan Cave: Eleven new partners. Names here.
Due to the sheer number of links today, we’ve placed them after the jump.
- John Paul Stevens, Milberg Weiss, Morning Docket, Prisons, Shopping, Supreme Court, Tobacco / Smoking