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* The Kagan battle lines are already being drawn. First up, conservatives will try to call the former Dean of Harvard Law School “unqualified.” [Daily Beast]

* Kash actually has sympathy for men with small penises. A very small, almost microscopic bit of sympathy. [True/Slant]

* Is it important to make friends while in law school? Why not? If you can’t get a job, might as well know somebody who can. [The Lawyerist]

* If you want to know how to cover the impending confirmation process, check out this panel. [National Press Foundation]

* U.S. News law school rankings by judicial clerkships. On this list, NYU Law is considerably below Chicago and Columbia. Not good times below 14th street. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Progressives are less likely to understand basic economic principles. I imagine they are also less likely to care. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

I spend quite a bit of my time tracking complex litigation. I would say that I do it so I can keep material fresh for my blog, but that would not be whole truth. I keep current with happenings in the litigation market for survival. Since I contract often to make my way in this world, knowing when that market is busy or slow is an absolute must.

Well, what a difference a couple of years make. Back in 2008, it seemed like the sky was falling. Above The Law, partnering with Law Shucks, reported almost everyday on associate layoffs. At the time, I was hunting down document reviews as a legal recruiter for a small staffing outfit. Several of my contract attorney friends called me, and most of those calls were very depressing. People were begging for work, having been unemployed for months in a D.C. market that normally kept attorneys steadily working. Many were emotionally upset, having watched their savings dwindle down to their last few dollars. When would the market pick back up? When would the economy turn around?

Now, fast forward to the present. Events in this country are sending litigation toward a perfect storm. I’m talking sea-change. Something we have never seen in this market before. So much so, this next decade may be one of the best for legal technology and Biglaw. I will give you six reasons after the jump.

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When plotting the escape from Biglaw, many associates set their sights on entertainment law. In their Hollywood dreaming, they imagine mingling with the hottest actors, actresses and producers as they write up contracts and negotiate movie and music deals.

We know that many a recruiter is dangling this prospect in front of desperate young lawyers looking for jobs. But the actual entry into entertainment law is not terribly easy, and once you get there, it’s not always so sexy as you might imagine.

One lawyer in Atlanta lived the show biz law dream, though. Cliff Lovette worked in-house for a record company, and then founded his own entertainment law firm. He used to represent some of music’s hottest acts, with Usher and Lisa “LeftEye” Lopes among his clients. He was a regular at the Grammys. He was the subject of magazine feature stories. His law group even had its own MySpace page.

But Lovette is not lovin’ it anymore. Now, the Emory Law grad is on food stamps…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “(Down and Out) Lawyer of the Day: Cliff Lovette”

Everywhere you go, people are buzzing that President Barack Obama has made his choice on the replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens. And the consensus is that the nominee will be Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Politico reports that David, Kash and I will be up late on Sunday:

Look for President Obama to name his Supreme Court pick Monday, and look for it to be Solicitor General Elena Kagan, a former Harvard Law dean. The pick isn’t official, but top White House aides will be shocked if it’s otherwise… The West Wing may leak the pick to AP’s Ben Feller on the later side Sunday, then confirm it for others for morning editions. For now, aides say POTUS hasn’t decided, to their knowledge.

With all the talk about the razor-sharp Judge Diane Wood, the case for the bearded dark-horse Judge Sidney Thomas, and the Republican wet dream (at least, a wet dream within the nightmare of Democratic control) of Judge Merrick Garland, it’s possible that Kagan’s sterling qualifications have been overlooked. She was the front runner, after all.

But let’s remember all of the excellent reasons Kagan was the front runner in the first place…

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Some Courtship Connection dates are more exciting than others. We haven’t had any drinks thrown or boots knocked on the first date yet. But this is New York, and it’s bound to happen eventually.

This column brings you the tales of two couples. One couple had the best of times, and the other had the worst of times. Let’s start with the tragic date. I set up these two top law school grads at top firms, because they named constitutional law and constitutional theory, respectively, as their favorite law school classes, and they had named Supreme Court justices on the opposite sides of the political spectrum as their favorites. I thought that would lead to some sparks. I was wrong.

They met at Scratcher’s in the East Village on a Tuesday night. He said:

I showed up, she was cute, but we just didn’t really click. I don’t have anything bad to say about her, but it kind of felt from the very beginning that we were on different pages. We come from very different backgrounds and had very different political beliefs. Not sure what the idea was in putting a Scalia guy with a Ginsburg girl? When we called it a night, I think we both felt there wasn’t anything there.

The idea was fiery disagreement! Instead, it just resulted in nothing in common and nothing to discuss. She said:

As amusing as the the pairing of an southern evangelical Christian and a liberal from the mid-Atlantic must have seemed to you at the time, it produced rather luke-warm results. We realized pretty quickly that we came from wildly different backgrounds and perspectives and were several years apart in age. It wasn’t unpleasant or awkward, but we just didn’t have anything to talk about.

They both listed themselves as the 26-30 age range. It sounds like she found him immature though.

Before you start thinking I’m a terrible matchmaker, read on. The other couple — a Biglawyer and a law school student — got along quite well indeed. We have our second incident of a kiss on a Courtship Connection date…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Courtship Connection: Duds, Fireworks, and Harry Potter”

Alternative fees may be like teenage sex. There’s more talk than action.

– Law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen, founder of Adam Smith, Esq., at a panel discussion on law firm/client relationships.

Grover Cleveland is the author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as a New Lawyer, an advice book for attorneys published earlier this year. As a partner at Foster Pepper PLC, one of the Northwest’s largest law firms, he helped many new attorneys learn how to practice law. While at Foster Pepper, he was named a Rising Star for three years in a row by Washington Law and Politics magazine.

Grover now holds an environmental policy position in Seattle. In this role, he has seen the world from the client’s perspective. This broad range of experience both as a supervising attorney and as a client gives him a unique perspective on the skills new lawyers need to succeed. (Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks also incorporates the wisdom of dozens of other lawyers that he interviewed in the course of his research.)

Earlier this week, we chatted with Grover about his book, advice he offers to young lawyers, and the state of the law firm economy, among other topics.

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Nixon Peabody is one of the firms that has moved towards a merit-based pay structure. The firm also cut starting salaries down to $145K a year ago. So you’d think that any information on a Nixon Peabody salary raise would be greeted favorably.

Not so much. A tipster tells us:

I can confirm that I received a raise. I can confirm that it sucks. Anything else?

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. Is anybody feeling like a winner at Nixon Peabody?

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* Did the stock market really plunge yesterday because of a typo? Don’t look at me, I was nowhere near the stock market yesterday! [Newser]

* Getting oil out of water is expensive, but somebody’s got to do it. [New York Times]

* Clifford Chance partner decides to “defect to the dark side.” [Am Law Daily]

* The ABA’s Equal Justice conference is going to be held in Arizona next week. Awkward! The ABA will refund money to those who choose to boycott the conference. [ABA Journal]

* Transparency keeps law firms healthy. [National Law Review]

* At his sentencing hearing, former New York State Senate leader Joe Bruno blames “the lawyers” for his troubles. [Daily News]

* A hung Parliament was the result of the U.K. elections last night. Welcome to the joys of coalition governing. [BBC News]

Morrison Foerster logo.jpgUnlike some firms, MoFo has not given up on the class of 2010. The firm is actively looking forward to welcoming its incoming group of associates, and has started informing them about their start dates.

The firm extended offers to “approximately 65 law students” from its 2009 summer associate class. Their start dates are staggered. Some will get to wear a Halloween costume to the firm. Some will get to be part of the Christmas gift exchange, and some will be starting soon after getting over New Year’s Eve hangovers. MoFo chair Keith Wetmore sent out an email memo this afternoon letting current associates know how many people will be starting when:

Today, we will notify approximately 35 members of the class of 2010 of a November 1, 2010 start date. Approximately 20 members of the class (including a number of those arriving from their clerkships) have been given an accelerated start date of October 4, 2010 due to client demands. The final approximately 25 additional associates will join the class of 2010 on January 4, 2011 based either on their prior election to defer to 2011 or, in a few instances, deferral to align associate staffing with anticipated client demand.

(35 + 20 + 25 = 80. So there are 15 folks mixed in there who are not wearing a cap and gown this May. Some of those starting in January are 2009 grads who took the firm’s deferral package last year. And some of the 20 starting in October will be fresh off the clerkship boat. Yay! Clerks can go home again.)

It sounds like some of these wanna-be MoFoers, who hadn’t previously chosen to defer to 2011, got news of being deferred to January today. But they also got news of a stipend. MoFo is not following the Skadden salary advance lead

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* When it comes to Constitutional interpretation, everybody is partisan. [Bell & Bar]

* A rebuttal to David Lat’s stance on hot tea. I have no opinion on this, my morning beer is never too hot to cause injury. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

*Whenever I think of Charlie Sheen, I think of how sad President Bartlett must be. [Gawker]

* At this point, I think people need to start punishing hotels that do not provide decent Wifi. [Tax Prof Blog]

* No, something offered by Donald Trump is a piece of crap? The Donald? No way, I don’t believe it. [Daily News]

* Accounting fraud doesn’t make for an entertaining Broadway experience. [Going Concern]

* A typo even I wouldn’t make. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* In case you haven’t seen The Onion’s brilliant report on the latest Supreme Court defense of the First Amendment, take a look. [The Onion]

Yesterday I predicted that President Obama will nominate Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir.) to the Supreme Court. My colleague Elie is on record as predicting that Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

Both of these predictions still seem viable, in light of how Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reacted after meeting with Obama yesterday to talk about SCOTUS nominees. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

President Barack Obama invited Sen. Orrin Hatch into the Oval Office for a private discussion Wednesday about his impending Supreme Court pick — and then Hatch immediately drove downtown to the Cato Institute where he ripped the president’s approach to nominating judges….

At a Cato event billed as a speech on health care, Hatch said Obama has clearly looked for qualifications that go beyond a strict adherence to the Constitution.

“Last summer, President Obama talked often about how judges should be guided by their empathy. This year, the buzz phrase seems to be core constitutional values,” Hatch said. “This is the same old thing, just another cloaking device for judges who seek to control the Constitution.”

So what exactly went down at the Obama-Hatch tête-à-tête?

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Plus some thoughts on a second Justice Thomas.

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