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Simon Cowell leaving.JPG* A big time judge is stepping down. No, it’s not J.P. “Methuselah” Stevens. [New York Times]
* Spending your 3L year camping outside the Supreme Court sounds like an excellent use of your third year. And it could end up being hilarious. [First One @ One First]
* More evidence that the legal industry is obsessed with U.S. News to it’s detriment. [Minding the Campus]
* It looks like the Trust Company of the West’s suit against Jeffrey Gundlach is not a set up. And yes, listening to Bess slowly read off a list of pornographic DVDs and sex toys is just one of the perks of working at Breaking Media. [Dealbreaker]
* Our west coast debate between Lat and me might not have been Pacquiao v. Mayweather, but it was still a lot of fun. Thanks to all those that came out. [Most Strongly Supported]
* Substance wise, it’s hard to say if merit based compensation is a good thing or a bad thing for minority and women associates. [Ms. JD]
* If you are bored at work, it’s your fault. But don’t despair, I’m sure some shrooms will do the trick. [Going Concern]
* I never make typos on purpose. I swear. Not once. [Barrett Garese]
* I predict the future will be good to Blawg Review. [The Client Revolution via Blawg Review]

Latham Watkins LLP lw logo.jpgLast week, we reported that Latham & Watkins officially raised salaries, all the way back to where they would have been had the firm not frozen salaries in the first place.
Today, we have news that Latham is opening up new offices: one in Houston and one in Beijing.
Ahh, ah, AHHH, ah. Don’t call it a comeback:

Latham continues to rock peers and put suckas in fear, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Latham is Expanding. Where Have I Seen This Movie Before?”

Lawyer of the Year 2009 AboveTheLaw blog Above the Law ATL.jpgVoting has concluded in our LAWYER OF THE YEAR contest. From over 160 comments, we developed a slate of ten nominees. Over 1,600 votes later, we have a winner.

With so many worthy competitors, the voting was close. These were your top three vote-getters, each with over 15 percent of the vote:

  • The Anonymous Laid-Off Big Firm Attorney: Last year certainly created many more laid-off lawyers — almost 5,000 of them, according to conservative estimates — and also brought to light the stories of many individual laid-off attorneys. E.g., Roxana St. Thomas, of Notes from the Breadline; Mark Levy, former chair of the Supreme Court and appellate practice of Kilpatrick Stockton, who took his own life in April 2009.
  • Sonia Sotomayor: In August 2009, this Wise Latina Woman made history, becoming the 111th justice, the third female justice, and the first Latina justice of the United States Supreme Court.
  • A. William Urquhart: Bill Urquhart, a name partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, is one of the country’s top litigators. In October 2009, he sent out a famous firm-wide email urging all Quinn lawyers to show constant vigilance in checking their email. (This spawned the “CHECK YOU EMAILS” meme in ATL comments, from a typo in his email’s subject line.)

So who prevailed? Make your guess, then learn the identity of the 2009 honoree, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s Lawyer of the Year: The Winner”

Willkie logo.JPGOn Friday evening, we created an open thread for discussion of which firms are providing their associates with the customary salary raises, now that a new year is here. We cited Willkie Farr as one notable example of a firm that had not yet told its associates whether they’d be getting the usual salary bumps.
Time to take Willkie off the list of salary laggards. From a WFG tipster:

It appears that Willkie has raised salaries for all classes in keeping with the standard NY scale ($170k for 2008, $185k for 2007, etc.).

The news was transmitted via a one-line email this morning from the Chief Legal Personnel Officer, sent to each class separately, which stated:

“The 2010 salary for the class of [ ] is $[ ].” The recipients were BCC’d and no names were included on the TO or CC lines.

Called out on ATL on Friday evening; raises announced by Monday morning. Anything else we can help you out with?
Earlier: Open Thread: Firms That Have Raised Salaries As Usual

Me football young and healthy.JPGYes, I have my Al Bundy-esque stories of high school sports glory. You’re not going to believe this, but I used to be a tailback. 4-year letterman, 3-year starter, with a sub-5.0 forty time good enough for D-III, probably could have made a D-II team if I really wanted it.
Yes, I used to … care.
But, by the time I got to Biglaw my athletic days were long gone (Mmm … college). By the time I got to Biglaw, I could pull a hamstring walking from my seat at Shea to the hot dog stand (Mmm … hot dogs). When I was a summer associate, a colleague broke his collar bone running out a grounder at the firm outing. I vowed that would not be me. Sitting is the better part of valor. So, I stayed clear of firm organized (non-beer pong) sporting events and leagues.
But I was glad they existed. Hyper-competitive people who are not me should release some of that energy on athletic fields and gyms instead of unleashing all of it in the office.
Sadly, this recession means cutbacks. Am Law Daily reports that one of the things being axed is firm sponsored teams in lawyer sports leagues:

New York’s Lawyers Athletic League, for instance, has seen the number of teams in its winter basketball league drop about 30 percent over the past two years, from 142 to 100. Participation in Los Angeles’ primary legal industry sports league, the Landau Lawyers League, has also experienced a decline in participation levels for its softball and basketball leagues. And in Houston, the basketball, softball, and football leagues organized by the city’s young lawyers association have all gotten smaller over the past 18 months.
One big reason the Houston leagues are shrinking: some firms simply don’t want to pay the entry fees required to field teams.
“The bigger firms don’t seem to have pulled in the reins,” says Earl Spencer, a lawyer with Weingarten Realty Investors who chairs the Houston Young Lawyers Association’ sports committee. “But at smaller firms, where 400 or 500 bucks makes a difference, there is more reluctance now.”

Even at firms that can afford to participate, the optics of paying for employed lawyers to have fun, while recently laid off lawyers cash unemployment checks, are not good.
Additional details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Recession is Hurting Lawyer Sports”

gay marriage skadden.jpgBecause when you want to argue against average Americans having access to a basic civil right, you want to make sure nobody sees you doing it. From the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court is blocking a broadcast of the trial on California’s same-sex marriage ban, at least for the first few days.
The federal trial is scheduled to begin later Monday in San Francisco. It will consider whether the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban approved by California voters in November 2008 is legal.
The high court on Monday said it will not allow video of the trial to be posted on, even with a delay, until the justices have more time to consider the issue. It said that Monday’s order will be in place at least until Wednesday. Opponents of the broadcast say they fear witness testimony might be affected if cameras are present. Justice Stephen Breyer said he would have allowed cameras while the court considers the matter.

Whatever. I’d be more worked up about this, but I’m still waiting for FIFA to realize that there is a thing called instant replay. Old people, organizations, and institutions tend to react really slowly to obvious technological changes.
UPDATE: After the jump, SCOTUSblog opines on why the Court mandated the delay.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prop 8 Blackout”

Elena Kagan 3 Harvard Law School Above the Law Elana Kagan Elena Kagen.jpgYou can’t go two clicks on the internet today without hearing something about the new term of the Supreme Court (or the NFL playoffs, or porn). I’ve got to agree with the WSJ Law Blog’s Ashby Jones that the most interesting SCOTUS related piece comes via Bloomberg and talks about Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s willingness to defend shareholder rights. The Law Blog summarizes Kagan’s pro-shareholder stances:

Exhibit A: In a case against Merck, Kagan’s office is asking the court to let shareholders wait longer to sue companies for securities fraud. The justices are considering whether to allow a lawsuit by investors who say the drugmaker deceived them about the risks posed by its Vioxx painkiller.
But Exhibit B is the case folks are buzzing about: Kagan and SEC lawyers are urging the court to ease the way for investors to sue mutual fund managers over their fees. The fund industry aims to avert more lawsuits by the 90 million investors who together hold $11 trillion in U.S. mutual funds.

Why worry about potentially messy government regulation of business when you can just sue the bastards?
More details from the Bloomberg article after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elena Kagan: Solicitous of Shareholders”

Great Gatsby book cover.jpgIt’s been a while since we debated which class of associates got screwed over the most because of the global economic meltdown. Is it the class of 2009? That was the class who enjoyed the first round of (sometimes indefinite) incoming first year deferrals. Maybe you think the class of 2010 is most screwed? That class ran into reduced (or canceled) summer programs, fewer hiring opportunities, and reduced salaries.
I don’t think the class of 2011 qualifies. Those people have had every opportunity to read the writing on the wall and adjust accordingly.
But what about the class of 2008? Remember them? That’s the class where a lot of people were just straight up fired. Some of those people saw their careers end before they even began. The website Visualize Law has a very interesting chart about what happened to people in the class of 2008.
Let’s take a look after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Class of 2008: The ‘Lost Generation’ Revisited”

Conan Leno.jpg* Does moving Jay Leno back to 11:35 trigger Conan O’Brien’s (allegedly huge) buyout clause? [USA Today]
* I think the city of New York has an unhealthy interest in my diet. [ABC News]
* All rise … for a fun SCOTUS term. [National Law Journal]
* Ted Olson makes the conservative case for gay marriage. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Deposed football coach Mike Leach sues Texas Tech for defamation, wrongful termination, and fraud. [LubbockOnline]
* Once again, law school applications are on the rise. [New York Times]
* Chicago trains are still safe for adults. [Courthouse News Service]

Cookie Monster oreo hotel minibar is this ethical.jpgWe asked Randy Cohen, author of The Ethicist column at the New York Times, the following question:

When I checked into a hotel in California, I was starving, so I ate the $6 box of Oreos from the minibar. Later that day, I walked down the street to a convenience store, bought an identical box for $2.50, and replenished the minibar before the hotel had a chance to restock it.

Was this proper? My view is “no harm, no foul.” In fact, my box was fresher: the Oreos I ate were going to expire three months before the box I replaced them with.


The Ethicist slapped us down, in today’s NYT. Do you agree with him?
Read more, and take a READER POLL, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Ethical Transgression: The Oreo Thief?”

pink slip layoff notice Above the Law blog.jpgEd. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks, which has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.

The year isn’t off to a good start, but it’s the same bad news it’s been for a while. Focus is increasingly turning to the underemployment rate, rather than the unemployment rate.

It’s the same old denominator problem. Unemployment looks not bad (relatively speaking) at first glance – it was flat at 10.2%. But 661,000 people left the US labor force last month and a similar number of jobs were lost. Had the denominator remained constant, unemployment would have been 10.4%. Overall, 1.7 million Americans left the workforce in the second half of 2009, which was a 1.1% decline, and the workforce as a percentage of total population hit the lowest point since 1985.

That could make for an interesting contrast – the unemployment rate may increase as disaffected people become optimistic about their prospects and re-enter the workforce, even as jobs aren’t actually opening up at the same rate. So higher unemployment may well be a positive indicator, to the extent it results from an increase in the denominator, rather than another decrease in the numerator. In other news, ignorance is strength and war is peace.

But last year is last year, and we’ve already recounted its failings vis a vis law-firm layoffs.

What’s happening now? After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Week in Layoffs: 01.09.10″

lolmoney.JPGWe’ve been reporting on firms that have announced pay freezes for 2010, but at some firms, the salary outlook for 2010 is still unclear.
For example, associates at Mayer Brown and Willkie Farr are huddled in the dark, not sure if they’re freezing. From a junior Willkie associate:

I’m a second-year associate at Willkie. I just learned that traditionally, associates are told about their imminent salary bumps at their year-end evaluations. I’ve discussed it with some friends, and nobody has heard anything about salary freezes or bumps at WFG.

And from an MB associate:

Mayer Brown’s still frozen. Granted they’ve put off addressing salary raises until February in the past, but we got our first 2010 paychecks today with no raises, and not a peep from the partnership to let us know they’ve even considered the issue. As of now I’m two years behind where I’d be at Dechert. This sucks.

We can’t confirm whether salaries at these firms are frozen for the year, but we can encourage a conversation about firms that are raising salaries. We hear from a Paul Weiss associate, for example, that an email went out letting them know salaries there are warm. Our tipsters says that PW checks this month will have the “usual bump” up.
Here’s an open thread for discussion of raises as usual. Who’s warm and toasty this January?

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