Musical Chairs

We have just learned that Larry Kramer, Dean of Stanford Law School, will be stepping down from his post at the end of August. Kramer took the top job at Stanford Law in 2004 and helped lead Stanford to overtake Harvard for the #2 spot in the U.S. News law school rankings just a few short weeks ago.

He is leaving his position in order to become president of the Hewlett Foundation, a grant-making organization focused on social and environmental problems. According to his statement to the Stanford Law community, Kramer does plan to continue teaching at the school.

I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more about this in the next few days. For the time being, check out Dean Kramer’s statement, after the jump.

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Nick Allard: no sleep till Brooklyn?

As one Biglaw partner makes plans to leave Brooklyn, putting his $10 million mansion on the market, another partner is packing his bags for Kings County. Nick Allard, chair of the lobbying and election law practice at Patton Boggs in D.C., is heading for the Heights: he’ll be the new dean of Brooklyn Law School, effective July 1.

Going from a law firm partnership to a law school deanship is an unusual move. What’s behind Allard’s career shift? A desire to be closer to Sarah Jessica Parker, who is apparently Brooklyn bound?

Let’s find out….

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In the latest U.S. News law school rankings, which just came out, Columbia Law School and the University of Chicago Law School maintained their respective spots of #4 and #5. This is the third year in a row that both schools have held steady, as you can see from the historical rankings data at Top Law Schools. (Back in 2009, Columbia was #4 and Chicago was #6, with NYU at #5.)

The schools in the so-called “CCN” band — Columbia, Chicago, and NYU — do battle with one another on several fronts. They compete for admitted students, especially ones with high LSATs and GPAs. They compete in job placement, in terms of getting their grads jobs with top law firms or coveted judicial clerkships.

And they compete with each other for attracting star faculty. The University of Chicago just hired away one of Columbia’s top young law professors — a legal academic who has appeared before in these pages….

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The rumor mill has been churning nonstop over the past week about Dewey & LeBoeuf. In our recent stories about the firm, we’ve discussed reports of financial difficulties, partner departures, and possible layoffs of lawyers and staff.

During this time, firm management has remained fairly tight-lipped. But earlier this evening — a Friday evening, of course — the firm broke its silence. Chairman Steven H. Davis sent out a firm-wide memo, acknowledging the rumors and confirming that yes, Dewey will be conducting some layoffs and engaging in other cost-cutting measures.

Let’s take a look at the memo….

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Yes — Firm Is Cutting 5 to 6 Percent of Personnel

Okay, I confess: I made the headline intentionally provocative. You shouldn’t lie at all, and you should absolutely forbid witnesses from lying under oath. (If we, the lawyers, don’t obey the law, who will?)

I’m thinking today about a person who is not under oath and will be sorely tempted to tell an obvious lie. Don’t do that yourself, and advise others that it’s not great idea, too.

When are people tempted to tell obvious lies?

In the corporate context, a quarterly earnings announcement might boldly proclaim that the company earned $1 per share this quarter. The Street expected only 90 cents, so this appears to be great news. But there’s something else tucked into the earnings report that disappoints the analysts: revenue declined; margins compressed; organic revenue growth stalled; whatever. Thus, despite the happy headline, the stock price drops two bucks on the day of the earnings announcement.

The next week, you, or the head of your department, or the head of a business unit, or whoever, has to brief an internal audience about the quarterly results. The speaker will be sorely tempted to tell an obvious lie: He’ll pull excerpts from the slide deck used for the earnings announcement, emphasize that the company beat the Street’s consensus estimate by ten cents a share, and tell the gang that we had a great quarter.

Meanwhile, everyone in the room is thinking: “If we had such a great quarter, why did the stock price crater on the news? Do you think I’m an idiot? Why are you lying to me, and do you lie often?”

I’m no expert in corporate communications, but it strikes me that it’s a bad idea to tell obvious lies. How do you avoid telling obvious lies?

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DLA Piper scouts locations for its Mexico City job fair.

Some major law firms might be closing offices, but others are in expansion mode. For example, Sidley Austin is opening a Houston office, with partners snagged from several other big players in town. And that’s not the only expansion taking place in the southwest.

Take DLA Piper. When we last checked in with them, the firm’s Baltimore office was operating under third world conditions. The toilets weren’t working.

This led me to joke about a fictitious DLA Guadalajara office.

Evidently, my imagination failed me. It’s not “clear parody” if it’s something that could possibly happen. Next time we joke about a DLA expansion, we need to go to straight fiction. We need to start making DLA Mustafar jokes. Because expanding to Mexico just got real….

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The mega-firm of Baker & McKenzie has a global footprint, with 70 offices in 42 countries. It’s one of the world’s largest law firms, in terms of both headcount and revenue.

But are Baker’s 70 offices about to become… 69? For weeks, reports have been circulating about the possible demise of the firm’s outpost in San Diego. As you may recall, this little office is home to big drama.

Let’s look at the latest news about Baker in San Diego….

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Professors Richard Epstein (left) and John Yoo

* Are you still trying to make sense of the conflicting opinions in United States v. Jones, the GPS tracking case recently decided by the Supreme Court? Professor Barry Friedman has this helpful round-up. [New York Times]

* Elsewhere in law professors opining on SCOTUS, what do Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo predict the Court will do regarding Obamacare? [National Review Online]

* A Spanish CFO, a Finnish tax lawyer, and a moody Hungarian CEO walk into an Amsterdam coffee shop…. [What About Clients?]

* Musical chairs: prosecutor Greg Andres is leaving DOJ for DPW. [DealBook]

* In case you missed this fun Friday story, it got picked up by MSNBC today. [Digital Life / MSNBC]

* Did your law firm give you an iPad? Are you wondering what to do with the darn thing? Here’s an idea, after the jump….

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I believe the defendant failed a saving throw against berserker, so when he killed those people he didn't know right from wrong.

* Dressing shrinks as wizards when they testify would be an AWESOME idea. I’m serious. Why can’t we have this? And titles, too. “Your Honor, I call Dr. Freud — Ph.D in weakness management and keeper of the sacred staffs of Ivory guard — to the stand.” [Overlawyered]

* iTextbooks! Could be awesome, could widen the gap between the rich and the iPoor. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Old lawyer accidentally smuggles a gun onto a plane, mainly because security — which noticed said gun — forgot to stop her. TSA doesn’t make us more safe, folks. It just makes us more molested. [Daily Mail]

* Apparently, LLMs go great with Brazilians. The people, not the grooming. Or maybe both — I don’t know, but I was only asked about people. [Live Mint]

* To be clear, putting slavery analogies into our math problems is bad… unless you are a college basketball or football star trying to work out how much you got paid in free tuition for last night’s game, versus how much the university made off of the performance of your team. Then the analogy is “apt.” [CBS Atlanta]

* White people problems, written by a former Cahill Gordon associate who quit to take a job in television. [Funny or Die]

* Additional impressive hires by an elite litigation boutique. How long before MoloLamken ends up on somebody’s hot list? [MoloLamken]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer has a challenge for you: “I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman.” [Dealbreaker]

* It’s not often that Cravath partners leave for other firms, but it happens. Jeffrey Smith, former head of the environmental practice at Cravath, recently decamped for Crowell & Moring. [Am Law Daily]

* Former Bush Administration DOJ official John Elwood, now a partner at Vinson & Elkins, breaks down the Office of Legal Counsel’s recently issued opinion on recess appointments. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Blawging, Flawging & the Mathematical Theory of Information. Also: what do laser hair removal in D.C. and lemon law in Wisconsin have in common? [Associate's Mind]

* Are Americans finally waking up to the higher education bubble? [Instapundit]

Professor Ann Althouse: birthday girl.

* It appears that Joseph Rakofsky, whose handling of a criminal case drew critical comment, struggles on the civil side too. Justice Emily Goodman returned a proposed order of his with this notation: “Decline to sign. Papers are incomprehensible.” [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* If you’re a trusts and estates lawyer or a reader of fiction, consider checking out this well-reviewed new novel by Patrick James O’Connor, which takes the form of an extended last will and testament. [Amazon (affiliate link)]

* Happy Birthday, Professor Althouse! [Althouse]

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