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I recently had a birthday. I’m 32-years-old, but my liver has to be at least 60. It’s pretty close to mandatory retirement age. But I’m just getting back from Vegas (full report on twitter) and I can tell you that my liver will not go quietly into the good night.

And so I have a little appreciation for the partners that recently departed Mendes & Mount. A couple of partners there bumped up against the firm’s mandatory retirement age. After a failed negotiation with firm management, the older partners decided to take most of the damn practice group with them and start a new firm. The New York Law Journal reports:

Seven partners at Mendes & Mount have departed to launch a boutique after at least one of the partners failed to persuade the firm to amend its mandatory retirement policy.

The new firm, Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Tucker, Collier, Pagano, Aubert, consists of the bulk of Mendes & Mounts’ aviation practice and will have offices in New York and Los Angeles, said partner Ralph V. Pagano. The firm will be made up of 24 lawyers from Mendes & Mount, including the partners, one of whom joins as special counsel. Mendes & Mount will be left with about 109 lawyers.

“It’s a pretty big break-off,” Pagano said.

How’s that for flexing some muscle? Push me out — I’ll take 24 lawyers and your aviation practice group with me! Screw you guys, I’m going home.

Hey, the older partners gave Mendes an opportunity to reconsider…

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Angela Reinholz: Apparently getting pregnant didn't screw her enough.

It takes balls to file this kind of lawsuit.

A man working for the British firm Eversheds filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit after being fired from the firm. He claimed that the firm should have fired a woman out on maternity leave — but Eversheds didn’t because it was worried that the woman would file a sexual discrimination lawsuit.

Catch-22 for Eversheds? Maybe. The English Employment Tribunal ruled in favor of the laid off man. The Daily Mail (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports:

John de Belin won £123,000 in damages after one of Britain’s biggest law firms ‘deprived him of his livelihood’.

Mr de Belin, 45, was one of two associates facing redundancy from Eversheds’ property division in Leeds. The other was Angela Reinholz, 40.

To decide who would be sacked, the firm undertook an assessment of both Mr de Belin’s and Mrs Reinholz’s abilities, including financial performance, discipline history and absence records.

Mr de Belin was fired in February 2009 after losing by just half a point, scoring 27 out of 39 in the exercise against Mrs Reinholz’s 27.5.

The problem was that Reinholz’s score was “inflated” while she was out on maternity leave…

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Given how desperate legal job seekers are getting, one law firm is doing away with interview niceties.

The job market is like a vast desert. Those crawling through it are desperate for a little drink of employment. In order to get a sip from this firm, though, applicants have to go through some serious hoops.

A tipster says:

Ever heard of an open house interview before? For lawyers, at that?

An immigration firm based in Manhattan’s financial district sent out an interview invitation to applicants last weekend. Here’s the intro:

Date: Sat, May 15, 2010 at 2:02 PM
Subject: Open House Interview

Dear Immigration/Criminal Defense/In-House Counsel Attorney Applicant:

We have received your resume and CV and would like to invite you in for an Open House Interview today from 3-6 PM. During the week it is very busy so this is the main reason. The payscale is $25 per hour or $50,000 per annum, depending on experience, with 30 billable hours required per week on your assigned cases. If selected you will be expected to commence employment on Monday at 9 AM. Our law office is located at the address below.

Please note the time sent; the time of the interview; and the fact that the pay is $50K, “depending on experience.” The relative good news is that if they like you on Saturday, you start two days later. Though you may have to be stripped and searched for lice and a criminal record before entering the building Monday morning.

It gets worse…

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Dick Blumenthal, Connecticut Attorney General

* Civil rights groups file a class-action lawsuit against Arizona over its new immigration law. [Los Angeles Times]

* “Hold up! That’s valuable…” Princeton issues a take-down notice on Elena Kagan’s college thesis. [TechDirt]

* Here’s one way to get into the Ivy League: Harvard undergraduate charged with faking his way into the university. When he knew the ruse was up, he allegedly put in transfer applications (full of untruths) to Yale and Brown. [Boston Herald]

* Money can’t buy you… a good movie review. [Media Decoder/New York Times]

* Is it cruel and unusual punishment to have this lawyer assigned to defend you in a murder trial? [New York Times]

* It depends on what the meaning of the word “in” is. Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal’s talk of serving “in” Vietnam was misleading. [New York Times via Gawker]

* Gay couples should steer clear of Malawi (and 37 other countries in Africa). [Associated Press]

That’s the question the Supreme Court answered in the negative today, in Graham v. Florida. The Court’s opinion was by Justice Kennedy, whose vote usually controls on Eighth Amendment issues, and it was joined by the four liberal justices.

The case generated oodles and oodles of pages and a welter of separate opinions. Thankfully, the AP has a fairly clear and concise summary:

The Supreme Court has ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone.

By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release.

The court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. Graham, now 22, is in prison in Florida, which holds more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for crimes other than homicide.

Florida: where it’s good to be an old person.

Interestingly enough, Chief Justice John Roberts — not known as a bleeding heart — agreed with the majority as to Terrance Graham specifically. Because he concurred in the judgment, the vote on the disposition of the case was actually 6-3.

The back-and-forth between the majority and the dissent gets quite heated at times. Justice Thomas wrote the main dissent, which Robert Barnes of the Washington Post described as “stinging.” But given the power that Justice Kennedy wields at One First Street, it’s generally unwise to attack him too harshly.

So the most snarky exchange did not involve Justice Kennedy, but took place between Justice Thomas and his soon-to-be-former colleague, Justice Stevens….

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* If your sandwich is a “footlong,” come up with something else to call it. [WSJ Law Journal]

* Orin Kerr’s heading to the Hill to help Senator John Cornyn come up with some questions for Elena Kagan. [Volokh Conspiracy; Politico]

* BLT has posted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire for Kagan, while Slate has the version of the questionnaire they’d really like her to fill out. [Slate]

* Poor 3Ls are not the only ones who get confused by companies with names that make them sound like law firms. Judges get tripped up sometimes too. [Going Concern]

* Cute bags lead to ugly lawsuit. [Fashionista]

* A round-up of last week’s legal news, including fights over the Internet and our genes. [A Clatter of the Law via Blawg Review]

* The generation that wants to own what they do has issues with Biglaw. [Bar and Bench]

Back in February, we wrote about various compensation developments over at Pillsbury Winthrop. At the time, the firm said it was considering moving away from a lockstep model in favor of a more performance-based compensation system.

The firm has not yet killed killed lockstep — a move that has historically generated mixed to negative reviews from associates at other firms. Instead, it has done something that has proven much more popular.

Last month, the Pillsbury dough boy baked up some delicious-smelling pay raises. Nothin’ says lovin’ like money from the oven!

So, what are the details?

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When I was an academic, I’d sometimes get a little feeling of excitement when I had an idea that was, I hoped, fresh…. [W]hether anyone should act on that idea is a very different question.

Cass Sunstein, the Harvard law professor now heading the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

We don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who hurt themselves in stupid ways. When we’ve featured personal injury firms in our lawyer advertising feature before, it’s usually been to make fun of them.

In this case, the personal injury firm, Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman, is in on the joke:

Their commercials got picked up by the New York Times earlier this year. The firm’s other humorous commercial can be found over at Copyranter.

Apparently, humor pays dividends. According to its advertising agency, the Levinson Trachtenberg Group, the commercials and the buzz around them have increased client leads by 25 percent.

When lawyers advertise: NYC edition [Copyranter]
Lawyers Use Humor to Plead Case [New York Times]

Summer is just around the corner, with Memorial Day just a few weeks away. Summer associates are starting to arrive at law firms. Meanwhile, in government, many law clerks are getting ready to leave chambers. Summer is traditionally the season when clerkships turn over. (At the Supreme Court, July is the magic month for the changing of the guard.)

What does this mean? Well, it means that clerks need to start thinking about their post-clerkship plans. Many will return to law firms where they summered or worked full-time before clerking. But others — such as clerks who got no-offered as summer associates, or who weren’t happy with their prior firms — are looking for new opportunities.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the job market for law clerks is improving. One friend of mine, who took a second clerkship last year after having a tough time finding a position with a law firm (despite excellent credentials), went back on the job market a few weeks ago — and promptly wound up with three offers.

But not all clerks are sitting pretty….

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There’s a long tradition of seeking Supreme Court love via Craigslist (see here and here). And the tradition continues.

From a Craigslist posting entitled 40-something SJM ISO Elena Kagan (we’ve added some links to clarify various references):

I’ve had a crush on you for almost twenty years (and you deservedly made fun of me when I got tongue-tied in front of you), but it never seemed appropriate to move on it. Either I was dating someone, or you were in another city…

But now! Our careers seem to have settled in DC. I’m single. Politico and Eliot Spitzer tell me you’re single. We have so much in common: I love the law (even civil procedure!) and can’t get enough of it. I like books and baseball and poker and New York City and Medici pizza. I admire Thurgood Marshall. Like you, I love the Federalist Society. My mother was the first bas mitzvah in her Orthodox synagogue, but I’m relatively non-observant. We disagree on some First Amendment issues, to be sure, but I’ll never ask you to watch a dogfighting video. Ok, you’re smarter than me, but I’m no slouch (like you, I turned down Yale Law), and I’m cool being Mr. Ginsburg to your Ruth Bader if you are.

This is not a joke. I am gaga for Lady KaGa. I understand you have other priorities in the next few weeks, and Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald would be scandalized if we started dating, but I’ve waited for you this long, I can wait until after the inevitable investiture. Just send me a signal: mention your love of the Mets in your opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I’ll know to send you a dinner date invitation for the first Friday in October. We’ll go for Chinese food at a restaurant better than City Lights.

Finally, some suspense for the Kagan hearings: Will she mention the Mets? Tune in and find out.

We interviewed the Craigslist poster about his wacky plan….

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Judge Jed Rakoff: A bank's nightmare?

Since Judge Denny Chin is moving on up to the Second Circuit, the S.D.N.Y. cases pending before him have to be redistributed. Lawyers for Bank of America, which has 15 civil shareholder lawsuits on Chin’s docket, sent the chief judge a letter requesting that the cases be reassigned using a lottery system. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Cleary Gottlieb, Davis Polk, and Wachtell Lipton all signed the letter.

Why did they need to send this special letter? Because they were scared of B of A landing again in the lap of Judge Jed Rakoff, says the Wall Street Journal:

Judge Rakoff disappointed bank executives last year when he rejected a $30 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had charged the bank with misleading shareholders about bonuses paid prior to the Merrill merger. The New York judge reluctantly approved a new $150 million agreement in February but called it “half-baked justice at best.”

One of the pending shareholder cases accuses the bank of failing to “disclose billions in Merrill losses before shareholders approved the deal in December 2008.”

Apparently, the lawyers debated whether or not to name Judge Rakoff in their letter, thus making it clear that he was the particular judge they hoped to avoid. They ultimately decided to name names.

They were successful in steering their cases clear of Rakoff, though the chief judge claims the letter wasn’t a factor in her decision to assign the cases to Judge Kevin Castel (aka the John Gotti judge). How did she decide?

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