Musical Chairs

Shanetta Cutlar Above the Law Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Above the Law.jpgShanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is a world-class diva. We have described Shanetta’s shenangians here and here.
We worship imperious women like Shanetta Cutlar. But some of you are less warmly disposed towards her. Since we’ve started posting about her, we’ve received some interesting emails and comments from readers — including current and former colleagues of Cutlar. See, e.g., these comments.
The list of people who have had some workplace exposure to Shanetta Cutlar grows longer and longer by the week. This is because the lawyers who work under her keep on leaving. The Special Litigation Section has more turnovers than a pastry shop.
Here are some things we’ve heard from tipsters (unconfirmed; if you see errors or have additions, please email us):

1. Morale is perilously low within the Special Litigation Section, and many attorneys desperately want out.

2. Last month, four attorneys left the Section — including one who was there for less than three months. Two of the others had been there for a little over a year.

3. “Another attorney currently in SPL told the DOJ that she will leave [the Department] if she is not transferred out. She has been there for less than six months.”

Goodness gracious. We agree with commenter Who Are These Babies: All of you Shanetta-haters need to just “[s]uck it up.” If you ever leave the DOJ for a law firm, you will have to put up with Biglaw partners who are ten times worse than Shanetta.
SPL minions, heed the words of Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” The next time you pass her in the hallway, say a warm “hello” to Shanetta Cutlar — and thank her for toughening you up.
Earlier: Prior coverage of the Special Litigation Section under Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)

Oops, we left out new partner news from the MC post that we just published. And since half of you probably just made partner at Jones Day, that’s not a good thing.
Here’s the news:
* Jones Day: Forty-five (45!!!) new partners. Names here.
* Kaye Scholer: Four new partners. Names here.
* Stroock & Stroock & Lavan: Three new partners. Names here.
* Vinson & Elkins: Fourteen new partners. Names here.
NY Associates Making Partner, Counsel [NYLawyer.com]
Jones Day Names 45 New Partners [Jones Day]
Kaye Scholer Announces New Partners and Counsel [Kaye Scholer]
Stroock Names New Partners and Special Counsel [Stroock & Stroock & Lavan]
Vinson & Elkins Names 14 New Partners [Vinson & Elkins]

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIF
From government to academia:
* The brilliant Michelle Boardman is returning to teach at George Mason University School of Law. Professor Boardman had been on leave, serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel.
From government to private practice:
* Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, resigned from the Justice Department earlier this week, stating that she plans to return to the private sector.
(Interestingly enough, her alleged beau, J. Steven Griles — a former deputy secretary of the interior, who Interior Department sources say has been dating Wooldridge — has been notified that he’s a target in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation.)
* Bankruptcy Chief Judge Melanie Cyganowski (E.D.N.Y.) is resigning to become chair of the bankruptcy litigation practice of Greenberg Traurig (NY).
From private practice to government:
* Steven M. Cohen, a partner at Cooley Godward Kronish, has been selected by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as his new chief of staff.
Lateral moves:
* White-collar defense lawyers John Moscow and Jack Blum, to Baker Hostetler (NY), from New York boutique Rosner Moscow & Napierala. Moscow and Blum are gurus of the law of money laundering.
* Litigators Michael Armstrong, Paul Rooney, and William Purcell, to the newly opened New York office of Howrey. They come from, respectively, Cooley Godward Kronish, solo practice, and K&L Gates.
* Five litigators, to the new Houston office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, from litigation boutique Edwards, Burns & Krider. Names here.
* Intellectual property litigator Richard Pettus, to King & Spalding (NY), from McDermott, Will & Emery (NY).
* Corporate lawyer Michael Nissim, to Vedder Price (NY), from McDermott, Will & Emery (NY).
Links after the jump.

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musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFLots of interesting moves, both actual and rumored, to report upon today.
Possible promotion:
* Elena Kagan, the popular (and hot) dean of Harvard Law School, is being considered for the presidency of Harvard University.
In government:
* New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is on a hiring spree (just like his successor as AG, Andrew Cuomo). Lloyd Constantine, who currently heads a 40-lawyer firm, will serve as a senior advisor to Spitzer. Debra Bachrach, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, will direct the state’s Medicaid program. Joseph Baker, bureau chief for health care under AG Spitzer, will take over as deputy secretary for health and human services.
“You’re Fired”:
* Former Apple in-house lawyer Wendy Howell was discreetly discharged, late last year, for her role in the options backdating fiasco.
Reunited and it feels so good:
* Structured finance lawyers William Cullen, Janet Barbiere and Bola Oloko, to Thacher Proffitt & Wood, from Sidley & Austin. The trio left Thacher Proffitt together in 1997 (back when Barbiere and Oloko were still associates; they were recently promoted to partnership at Sidley).
Other lateral moves:
* Bankruptcy lawyer Steven Wilamowsky, to Bingham McCutchen, from Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Headhunters at Harvard May Pick a Woman [New York Times]
NY Bankruptcy Partner Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com]
NY Trio Returns to Firm They Left in the ’90s [NYLawyer.com]
Spitzer Taps Three NY Lawyers to Fill Key Positions [NYLawyer.com]
Apple Quietly Canned Lawyer Who Backdated [The Recorder via Law.com]

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFNothing huge today, like yesterday’s news about Harriet Miers’s departure; but a few interesting moves. The two most noteworthy ones involve transitions between the public and private sectors:
From politics to private practice:
* Asa Hutchinson has rejoined Venable’s Washington office. Hutchinson — a former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Republican congressman, and chief of the DEA — left the firm in March 2006, to run (unsuccessfully) for Arkansas governor.
From private sector to government:
* New York’s brand-new Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, snags another former federal prosecutor for his “dream team.” Henry Greenberg is leaving the Albany office of Greenberg Traurig to serve as Cuomo’s counsel.
Law firm news, after the jump.

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musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFSome other noteworthy moves within the legal profession (besides Chief Judge David Levi’s selection as Dean of Duke Law School):
Within government:
* This is big news: the new Attorney General for New York, Andrew Cuomo, has hired Barbara D. Underwood as his solicitor general.
Underwood has a resume to die for. She has served as counsel to Eastern District U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf, as chief assistant U.S. Attorney in the E.D.N.Y., and as principal deputy solicitor general over at the Justice Department (under President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno).
Surprise surprise: Barbara Underwood is among the Elect (OT 1970/Marshall). We hear that she beat out other former Supreme Court clerks to win the New York SG job.
The fact that so many high-powered people were vying for the gig shows that state solicitor general posts are acquiring more and more cachet. Being an ex-SCOTUS clerk is rapidly becoming a requirement for these jobs. E.g., Ted Cruz in Texas (OT 1996/Rehnquist); Kevin Newsom in Alabama (OT 2000/Souter).
The rest of today’s transitions, plus links, after the jump.

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musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFA few of the more prominent moves within this noble profession:
From government to private sector:
* Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is joining Royal Dutch Shell, as general counsel for its “unconventional resources division” (e.g., extracting oil from “oil shale” and “extra heavy oil” — don’t ask us, we don’t know).
(A WSJ Law Blog commenter sniffs: “One would think that she could have secured a more lucrative and high profile job, given her resume.” We agree somewhat on the “high profile” part, but don’t know enough about the filthy lucre associated with this gig.)
* Former assistant U.S. attorney Mauro Wolfe, with whom we used to work, to Dickstein Shapiro. He will be a partner in the firm’s securities practice, in the New York office.
* Mark Paoletta and Andrew Snowdon, to the D.C. office of Dickstein Shapiro (as partner and of counsel, respectively). Paoletta previously served as served as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Snowdon previously served as a lawyer on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. They join the government law & strategy practice.
Within government:
* The United States Attorney for Connecticut, Kevin O’Connor, has been named associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. His DOJ work will focus on violent crime, gangs, and guns. O’Connor plans to retain his post as U.S. Attorney for at least six months.
Lateral moves:
* M&A lawyer Michael Aiello, to Weil Gotshal, from Dewey Ballantine (as previously noted).
* Finance lawyer Philip Haber, to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, from Nixon Peabody.
New partners:
* Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: Seven new partners. Names here (PDF).
* LeBoeuf Lamb: Five new partners. Names here.
* Patterson Belknap: White-collar defense lawyer Daniel Ruzumna, promoted from counsel to partner. Ruzumna served for six years as an AUSA in the legendary Southern District of New York. His final post in the S.D.N.Y. was Acting Chief of the Major Crimes Unit.
The voluminous links are collected after the jump.

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Andrew Cuomo Andy Cuomo Attorney General New York.JPGShortly after we predicted that he’d be making some personnel announcements, Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General-elect, made some personnel announcements. From the AP:

Cuomo, the eldest son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, named Robin Baker as his executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice. Baker was the deputy chief of appeals for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan Southern District of New York. She has worked in that office since 1996, prosecuting gangs, terrorism, organized crime, narcotics, and other criminal cases.

Eric Corngold was named executive deputy attorney general for economic justice. He has served as chief assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan since 2005. He headed the office’s business and securities fraud unit from 1999 to 2005 and its general crimes unit from 1997 to 1999.

Baker and Corngold are impressive hires. They’re veterans of the S.D.N.Y. and E.D.N.Y., two of the most prestigious prosecutor’s offices in the country (recent setbacks notwithstanding).*
Correction: Thanks to “Ferris Reynolds” for this observation. Contrary to the AP report, Corngold was an AUSA in the Eastern District of New York, not the Southern District of New York. See, e.g., here and here.
Two other key Cuomo appointments announced today: Mylan Denerstein, head of legal affairs for the New York City Fire Department, was named executive deputy attorney general for social justice; and Jenny Rivera, of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, was named special deputy attorney general for civil rights.
* There appears to be a mini-trend of tristate attorneys general looking to federal prosecutors’ offices for talent. On the other side of the Hudson, Stuart Rabner, New Jersey’s new attorney general, has recruited from his former office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark. For example, he picked John Vazquez, one of the U.S.A.O.’s most promising young prosecutors, to serve as his Special Assistant for criminal justice matters.
Cuomo Hires A Staff [The Politicker via The Daily Politics]
Cuomo names four appointments to attorney general’s office [Associated Press via Newsday]
Earlier: Coming Soon: Andy’s Kids

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFThe latest collection of moves within the profession:
From government to private sector:
* George Bundy Smith, former judge on the New York Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court (duh) — to Chadbourne & Parke, as a litigation partner.
Lateral moves:
* “A little ditty, about Jack and Diane”: M&A lawyer Jack Bodner, bankruptcy lawyer Dianne Coffino, and bankruptcy lawyer Ben Hoch, to Covington & Burling (NY), from Dewey Ballantine. We hear that this trio is “extraordinarily nice.”
Dewey Ballantine is in the process of merging with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe — a combination that has been delayed (and might possibly fall apart).
Covington will soon unveil plans for new office space in the fancy, Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building. It may be the coolest move since the Skaddenites got to shack up with the Conde Nasties (but there are probably fewer hotties among the ink-stained wretches of the Times than the staffers of Vogue).
* Duane Morris launches its Baltimore office by snagging three partners and an of counsel from DLA Piper: Jay Gordon Cohen, Keli Isaacson, George Nemphos, and Wilbert Sirota (of counsel).
On the Comeback Trail?
* You can’t keep a good woman down: Star Jones, the prosecutor turned television personality, is doing a radio show (after getting booted from “The View”). Good luck, Star!
Star Jones: a star reborn? [Miami Herald]
At Last, Star Jones Reynolds’ Dramatic Comeback! [Gawker]
NY Lawyers Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com]
Firm Opens Baltimore Office With Raid [NYLawyer.com]
Three More Walk Away From Dewey [WSJ Law Blog]

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFIt 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.
Government Promotion:
* David Nocenti, current counsel to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, will become counsel to the governor effective January 1.
Academia-Biglaw Alliance:
* 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.
Lateral Moves:
* 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).
New Partners:
* Bryan Cave: Eleven new partners. Names here.
Due to the sheer number of links today, we’ve placed them after the jump.

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