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Drew Brees legal expert for Washington Post.jpg* The Washington Post’s newest legal expert: Drew Brees. The New Orleans Saints quarterback weighs in on American Needle v. NFL, which will be tackled by Team SCOTUS next week. [Washington Post]
* The secret to coming out of the closet at a law firm is to come out casually. [The Lawyer]
* Lawsuit of the Day: Don’t mind that brain. [Asbury Park Press]
* Another reason not to go to law school. [Legally Fabulous]
* Conde Nast only likes surgically-enhanced boobs on display in its magazines. [New York Post via Fashionista]
* Who actually thinks teachers should make more than lawyers? [True/Slant]
* Ellen Barkin cleans up divorcing Ron Perelman. [Gawker]
* The judicial system is all good. [John Roberts's End of the Year Report - PDF]
* To do: CHECK YOU FILINGS! [South Florida Lawyers]

sonia sotomayor above the law.jpgThe most recent New Yorker features a profile of the newest resident of the High Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Given the tone of the piece, you might think One First Street is turning into Melrose Place. Journalist Lauren Collins describes Sotomayor as “the first celebrity Justice”: a “diabetic, a divorcée, a dental-bill debtor, a person who, the night before her investiture ceremony, belted out “We Are Family” in a karaoke bar at a Red Roof Inn.”
The profile covers some familiar territory, highlighting attacks on Sotomayor’s intellect during the confirmation process and indignation over her aggressive questioning during oral arguments since taking a seat on the High bench.
Overall, though, it’s more favorable in tone than the profile of John Roberts in the magazine last year. As the WSJ Law Blog notes, Sotomayor comes across as “eminently personable” and as a “stickler for preparation.”
Tina Brown of the Daily Beast, a former editor of the New Yorker, is a bit more graphic in her reaction to the piece for NPR:

Brown says the justice comes across as an “up-from-the-bootstraps woman who loves to bust out a poker game and knock back a scotch.” But, Brown adds, she also comes across as meticulous, rigorous and heavily influenced by her mother, a nurse, who emphasized education above all else…
“Sotomayor is not a great prose styler, not a fancy-flourish merchant,” says Brown. “She’s not a person who’s going to reinvent the philosophical approach to law, but she does believe that the law is to be understood by the common man in the street. And I think that there’s a lot to be said for that, actually.”

We concur with Brown’s ruling on the piece. We’ve excerpted our favorite anecdote from the profile after the jump. Clerking for Sotomayor sounds fun….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor Has Star Power”

Ferrell.jpgHoly crap.
We did not Photoshop this picture. It actually appeared in a New York Times wedding announcement. Chuckle at it, if you must. But know that when you do, you’re fiddling while a venerable institution goes up in flames.
December isn’t a great month to get married, and this December was particularly bad. Still, our final Legal Eagle Wedding Watch couples for 2009 have some surprisingly strong Biglaw credentials. Here they are:

1. Nicole Schreier and Matthew Kaplan
2. Rachel Lu and Jimmy Gao
3. Elizabeth Cronise and Joe McLaughlin

Check out these couples’ bios, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Rabbit, Rabbit”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGOn Monday, a bonus announcement was made by Morrison & Foerster, in an email from chair Keith Wetmore. In New York, the firm is matching the Cravath scale, which is not terribly surprising.
In addition, New York associates will receive a “contribution bonus” to make them whole for the 2009 salary freeze. This was previously spelled out in the February 2009 memo that announced the freeze.
As for the rest of the firm, aside from the indication that there will indeed be bonuses for non-NY associates, it’s something of a non-announcement. MoFo associates outside New York who hit their hours in 2009 will receive bonuses based on a combination of seniority, hours, and performance. These bonuses will be communicated and paid in February 2010.
The full memo, plus discussion of MoFo’s new partner announcement, after the jump.

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Plus news of their new partners.

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
One of the most anticipated cases before the Supreme Court this term is McDonald v. Chicago. McDonald considers whether Chicago’s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. While District of Columbia v. Heller established that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the federal government, McDonald changes the target to the states.
McDonald pits the right to keep and bear arms against the rights of the states to enact gun control laws. Which argument has more firepower?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “FantasySCOTUS: McDonald v. Chicago (Chicago Handgun Ban Case)”

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgSo I’m sitting on a veranda enjoying 70-degree Los Angeles weather, a cuban, and a crisp copy of the Los Angeles Times.* What could possibly make this better?
I’ll tell you: an op-ed in a mainstream publication acknowledging the over-saturation of the legal job market that I’ve been preaching about for months. Today’s L.A. Times piece could have been written by me, it could have been written by a number of ATL commenters, but it was written by a D.C. lawyer who understands the ABA’s role as an absentee professional organization:

Part of the problem can be traced to the American Bar Assn., which continues to allow unneeded new schools to open and refuses to properly regulate the schools, many of which release numbers that paint an overly rosy picture of employment prospects for their recent graduates. There is a finite number of jobs for lawyers, and this continual flood of graduates only suppresses wages. Because the ABA has repeatedly signaled its unwillingness to adapt to this changing reality, the federal government should consider taking steps to stop the rapid flow of attorneys into a marketplace that cannot sustain them.

Hello, mainstream media. As Sam Seaborn might say: Let’s ignore the fact that you are late to the party and embrace the fact that you showed up at all!
After the jump, more public flogging of the ABA.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “No. More. Law Schools!”

raven akram sandberg phoenix cheerleader.jpgWe occasionally write about career alternatives for attorneys here at Above The Law. But as far as we know, cheerleading does not constitute a full-time job. So we’re creating a new “extracurricular pursuits” category for it.

Many lawyers are cheerleaders in a way, seeking to boost their clients’ spirits and fortunes and tout their best qualities. Perhaps that’s why this is not the first time a legal cheerleader has found her way into our pages.

An ATL reader alerted us that Raven Akram, an attorney at Sandberg Phoenix, moonlights as an NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. Sandberg Phoenix is a 65-attorney trial firm with “seriously unbelievable client service.” Akram joined the firm’s St. Louis office in 2008.

Our tipster writes:

I found myself wondering how I would feel as a client if I were at a NFL game and my attorney was profiled on the big screen in a skimpy bikini. I also found myself wondering why an apparently successful attorney would spend her spare time cheerleading for what is objectively the worst team in the NFL.

We imagine clients would feel excited… about having such a hot attorney.

Her firm bio is pretty dry; she’s a Saint Louis University School of Law grad who specializes in business litigation. Let’s take a look at her cheerleading bio (and photo), after the jump.

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obama weatherproof jacket ad.jpg* Obama won’t weather this advertorial use of his image. [New York Post via Fashionista]
* New Jersey follows New York’s lead on gay marriage. [Star Ledger]
* North Face sues South Butt. [South Butt]
* Seven lessons for working with regulators. [Young Lawyers Blog]
* Insider-trading Canadian lawyer Stan Grmovsek gets 39 months. His co-conspirator got death; he killed himself in October. [Globe and Mail]
* Emails between Fed attorneys, AIG deputy general counsel Kathleen Shannon, and AIG counsel at Davis Polk serve to embarrass. [Corporate Counsel]

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWho says “special bonuses” are so 2007? Earlier this week, we reported that Irell & Manella paid supplemental bonuses to its associates that took total bonuses to twice the Sullivan & Cromwell scale.
Today we bring you the news that another firm, intellectual property powerhouse Fish & Richardson, is also going the extra mile on bonuses. From an FR attorney:

Fish & Richardson announced “special” bonuses [last week]. Basically $10K for non-equity principals and $2K for paralegals and administrative staff…. This is on top of the regular bonuses, which is made up of an “hours” component (certain amount of guaranteed bonus per 100 hours billed) and a “merit” bonus.

With all of this added up, some associates’ bonuses blow the Cravath scale out of the water. Happy New Year indeed!

The full memorandum, from president Peter J. Devlin, after the jump.

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love matchmaking sex ivy league.jpg* What is a “significant romantic relationship” these days? The Second Circuit ruminates. [How Appealing]
* Georgia judge resigns after poking a defendant and then some. [ABA Journal via Partner Emeritus]
* Baltimore scores points in its competition with New Orleans and Detroit to be America’s worst city. [Baltimore Sun]
* Six ways the Prop 8 YouTube trial could go viral. [Gawker]
* Calling pedophilia photos “art” is not the best defense. [Bad Lawyer]
* DIHAR challenge ends tomorrow. We’ll announce the winner next week. Good luck! [Above The Law]
* Suspicious packages abound in D.C. [DCist]
* Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: “Don’t pee on me!” [Barry Glazer]

john michael farren.jpgA former Bush Administration lawyer has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling and beating his wife, a counsel at Skadden Arps.
John Michael Farren, 57, served as deputy counsel to the president under Fred Fielding in the most recent Bush administration, as general counsel at Xerox, and as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade under President George H.W. Bush. Since leaving the White House, the UConn law grad returned to Connecticut.
Last night, he made the news there when he allegedly attempted to kill his wife. From the Greenwich Time:

John Michael Farren, 57, of New Canaan, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation after police received a panic alarm from his home shortly after 10 p.m.
Farren was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday. He appeared in court with a large bandage on the right side of his neck and has been placed on suicide watch.

According to CBS News, his wife is Mary Margaret Farren, an energy regulation and litigation counsel in Skadden’s D.C. office.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former White House Lawyer John Michael Farren Charged With Attempted Murder of His Skadden Counsel Wife”

Cahill Gordon logo.jpgLast January, Cahill Gordon & Reindel started the year by cutting approximately 10% of its associates. Sources report that 2010 is off to a similar start.
Says one tipster:

[I]t’s about 20-25 people. Mostly younger associates but some more senior people as well. Standard 3 months severance….
[I]t’s being termed performance based, typical stuff related to year-end reviews, etc. But the subtext and what people are being told is that it’s largely about there being too many people.

We reached out to the firm for comment this morning, but have not yet heard back. One of our tipsters claims that this round of layoffs will make Cahill New York as white as freshly-fallen snow…

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