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Katie Couric CBS News anchor anchorwoman.jpg* Guru gets smacked down for filing a downward facing dog of a lawsuit. Potential defamation plaintiffs, take note. [Bad Lawyer]
* We aren’t the only ones who make grammatical errors; even President Obama does. [Althouse]
* Loyola 2L, 2.0? “Do not attend [law school] unless: (1) you get into a top 8 law school; (2) you get a full-tuition scholarship to attend; (3) you have employment as an attorney secured through a relative or close friend….” [Third Tier Reality]
* Ted Frank: threat or menace? Commenters discuss. [Mother Jones]
* One way to save journalism: cut the $15 million salary of Katie Couric (and others of her ilk), and redistribute it in the direction of NPR et al. [Concurring Opinions]
* We hereby nominate Blawg Review #204 as the 2009 Blawg Review of the Year. [Blawg Review]

Mike Leach Coach Michael Leach.jpgWe don’t know anything about college football, but apparently many of you do — and are eager to talk about the firing earlier today of coach Mike Leach, by Texas Tech University. There are a number of legal angles here.
First, the disputes between Leach and Texas Tech have already resulted in litigation. Earlier this week, following his suspension in the wake of allegations that he mistreated a player, Leach moved for a temporary restraining order and injunction. His motion for a TRO appears here.
There was supposed to be a hearing on the TRO this afternoon, but TTU fired Leach before the hearing. From ESPN:

[Leach's attorney Ted] Liggett said that Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that win, lose or draw in the hearing, Leach was out, effective immediately.

Liggett told the judge there was no need for the hearing on Leach’s request that he be reinstated to coach the Alamo Bowl. Texas Tech plays Michigan State on Saturday in San Antonio….

Liggett said he planned to file a lawsuit on Leach’s behalf against the school “soon.”

“We can guarantee that the fight has just begun,” he said.

A second legal connection, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Mike Leach v. Texas Tech University”

Lawyer of the Year 2009 AboveTheLaw blog Above the Law ATL.jpgThe year 2009 is almost over, but not just yet — which is a good thing. This means we still have time to solicit your nominations for Above the Law’s LAWYER OF THE YEAR.

In 2008, you crowned then-President Elect Barack Obama your Lawyer of the Year. After being named ATL’s Lawyer of the Year, winning the Nobel Peace Prize must have felt anticlimactic.

The year before that, you went in a very different direction. In 2007, the prize was bestowed upon Loyola 2L. For those of you who weren’t reading the site back then, here’s a concise explanation from the WSJ Law Blog (which also named Loyola 2L its LOTY):

So who — or what — is Loyola 2L? For the non-cognoscenti, he, or she, is purportedly a second-year student, or “2L,” at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. And his claim to fame? For over a year, Loyola 2L has beaten a loud and consistent drum of discontent around the Web by posting in online forums about the job prospects for graduates of nonelite law schools.

Loyola 2L turned out to be something of a Cassandra. He was sounding the alarm about the potential perils of going to a non-elite law school — and taking on six figures worth of debt to do so — back in 2007, well before the legal job market really went into the tank.

Back to the present. Instructions for nominating a 2009 Lawyer of the Year, after the jump.

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law firm holiday card contest AboveTheLaw Above the Law.jpgBefore Christmas, we highlighted one law firm holiday card that we particularly enjoyed (from Haynes and Boone). We also invited readers to email us with other holiday cards we might enjoy. We stated that, if we received sufficient submissions, we might even hold a contest.

Lo and behold, we did receive enough entrants. So we are happy to hold Above the Law’s first holiday card contest.

Check out the nominees and vote — you’re stuck in the office between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’re bored — after the jump.

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taser stun gun dont tase me bro.jpg* Ninth Circuit to police: Don’t tase him, bros. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* The AIG email trail could provide evidence for criminal and civil actions related to the company. [Washington Post]
* The Christmas day bomber incident renews the debate over full-body scans and how to strike the proper balance between security and privacy. [New York Times]
* Broadcom will pay $160 million to settle a securities fraud class action over alleged backdating. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The custody battle over Sean Goldman, the 9-year-old boy recently reunited with his father after several years spent in Brazil, may not be over. [CNN]
* Judge Morris Lasker, R.I.P. [New York Times]

Lucas Oil stadium.jpg* Indianapolis city councilman demands satisfaction from the Colts. Or, as the story is playing out in New York, J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! [Indianapolis Star]
* Fugitive taunts cops on Facebook. I like law, I like order, but I like “awesome” even more. [Gawker]
* The Bristol Palin, Levi Johnston custody battle will be waged in public. I predict: ugliness. [Slate]
* Can you spot the pedophiles on MySpace? [True/Slant]
* Instead of fighting to save the iconic Central Park restaurant, Tavern on the Green, let’s fight over who owns the name. That’s the true meaning of Christmas, Wall Street style. [The Deal]
* Does blogging contribute to legal scholarship? I’m not sure, but I can’t actually stay awake through an entire law review article anymore, so I hope I’m learning something from professorial blogs. [Law Librarian Blog]
* It’s always nice to have extra letters following your name when you stick it on a résumé. [Going Concern]

Happy new year 2009.jpgWe thought about trying to curate a list of the most important legal stories of 2009. But then the National Law Journal upped the ante with the Biggest Stories of the Decade.

Rather than telling you what was most important, we’re enlisting Google Analytics to tell you what was most popular at Above The Law this year, based on pageviews and traffic. After AboveTheLaw.com itself, the most clicked ATL url was our Layoffs tag, reflecting one of the most important ongoing stories here this year.

Hopefully, that’s not the case in 2010.

So what were the most popular posts at ATL in 2009?

10. Now this is a cover letter: ‘Unemployed J.D. Candidate’ sent his resume and transcript to Bingham McCutchen, as well as a cover letter compiling the praise he has received from other top firms in their rejection letters. Points for creativity, but Bingham wasn’t impressed enough to hire him.

The rest of the top ten, after the jump.

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2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGLast week, Kramer Levin announced its bonuses. The firm is paying bonuses on the Cravath scale, to associates “in good standing.” So it looks on the surface like a market match.
But the memo contains the following language worth noting:

As has been our practice, eligibility to receive the Year-End Bonus will be based on merit and achievement of hours thresholds (which are expected to be the same as the last couple of years); associates who do not satisfy these components may be eligible to receive Year-End Bonuses in lesser amounts.

Do these merit and hours requirements keep a significant number of associates from receiving the full bonus? We don’t have enough data points to say; feel free to discuss in the comments. Also note that bonuses won’t be paid for a while — not until February 15, 2010.
The full memo appears after the jump.

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Lateral Job search.jpgEvery time a firm cuts pay or does something that associates perceive as crappy, people hop on Above the Law and claim that they will be leaving said firm at the earliest opportunity.
Then other, meaner commenters hop on and say: “Leave? You can’t leave. Nobody is hiring. Mwahahahahahaha.” After reading those comments, presumably the associates who want to leave go home, cry, and take a Xanax.
But when we speak to recruiters, here and there, they report that the lateral market is picking up. According to The Recorder, recruiters expect that things will pick up even more in the New Year:

After a rough 2009 for most firms, partners are busy behind the scenes checking out their options, according to a couple of recruiters we checked in with.
“Anybody who has been waiting to make a move will be ready once they know where the numbers are,” said recruiter Stacy Miller Azcarate. “I have so many people who have said, ‘I’m going to call you in January.’”

Yay?
Who is planning on moving? Details after the jump.

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Thumbnail image for old judge.jpg* AIG’s general counsel cashes out. [Marketwatch]
* Scathing report issued in the death of 37-year-old lawyer, Sergei L. Magnitsky, in a Moscow prison cell. [New York Times]
* Judge Charles Bernstein wants to stay on the bench and is claiming that forced retirement is unconstitutional. [Daily Record and Baltimore Sun]
* Job watch in South Dakota? [Main Justice]
* What’s next for Robert M. Morgenthau? [New York Times]
* This is not the way to serve coffee to a judge. [Fox 59]

TSA new regs.jpg* Admit it, as soon as you heard about the thwarted Christmas Day terrorism you thought: “Christ, what stupid thing is TSA going to make me do next time?” I’m supposed to go to L.A. in ten days. I figure I’ll just show up at the airport naked carrying a vial of Propofol so that I can knock myself out before the colonoscopy. [Professor Bainbridge]
* This is an excellent visual representation of the U.S. News law school rankings. [Visualize Law]
* A Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge tried to benchslap JPMorgan and its CEO Jamie “He who is called I Am” Dimon. I think this Brooklyn judge is about to feel the business end of a lightening bolt. [New York Law Journal]
* I tried not to laugh at this. I failed. [Tax Prof Blog]
* The best Christmas movie? Putting aside the well worn classics, I’m just going to throw this out there: The Ref. “Your husband ain’t dead, lady. He’s hiding.” [Ideoblog]

pyramid scheme capstone small.jpgOver the course of 2009, we covered attempts from a number of firms to replace lockstep associate compensation with a “merit based” compensation system. We have seen firm after firm (and consultant after consultant) claim that clients really care about how law firms pay their associates. And who can disagree with a term like “merit?” DLA Piper put it this way in its defense of its new, merit-based system:

At its core, this new system forces differentiation and rewards outstanding performance.

Right now, merit-based compensation is certainly winning the branding war against lockstep. There are certainly very good arguments in favor of merit compensation.
But there are also good arguments in favor of lockstep. There are reasons why lockstep is still the choice of firms considered to be the best in the country. If merit-based compensation is just a thinly veiled attempt to cut total associate compensation, that’s one thing. But let’s not forget that lockstep has some serious upside for associates, partners, and yes, clients.

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