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During the recession, Mintz Levin froze associate salaries and deferred 2009 summer associates all the way until 2012. Not good times.

But the recession is starting to lift its death grip on law firms and the lawyers who work there, and Mintz Levin is in the mood to share the wealth. We spoke with Mintz Levin Managing Partner Robert Bodian today. He told us that the firm enjoyed a strong fiscal year — which ended this past Saturday:

Revenue and profits per partner were up around 3% [last year].

He said that work was picking up and the second half of last year was good for the firm.

Which means it’s time to give some money back to the hard working Mintz Levin associates…

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On Friday, we told you that NALP released its updated forms on firm offer rates. There is a wealth of information in the NALP data, and an Above the Law reader teased out the summer offer rate information:

I’m sure you’ve noticed, some firms only give NALP multi-office reports, some give multi-office reports in conjunction with their regular single-office reports, and others don’t use it at all, in addition to the domestic/international differences on some firms… Which is all to say that I might have inadvertently double-counted interns and offers at some firms without knowing about it, and the data may not always be parallel between different firms. However, the information from each firm is at least real and, I hope, comprehensive.

The reader compiled offer rate information for the top 50 firms according to Vault. You can really see an offer rate drop off in the bottom half of the Vault 50…

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We’ve still got space for the Summer Associate Kick-Off Party hosted by Practical Law Company. The event is next week, April 13th, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Amity Hall, (80 West 3rd Street). I’m excited because, among other reasons, the party will fulfill my pledge to go to the West Village at least once every summer. I still like to feel cool sometimes.

We’ll be holding a panel discussion about the Do’s & Don’ts Of Being A Summer Associate. You can RSVP for the event by simply emailing us at rsvp@breakingmedia.com.

We’ve already received a fair number of sign-ups from people who will be working in New York this summer. But we wanted to remind you that the event will not be all about the New York market. If you are a Columbia, NYU, Fordham, or other tri-state area law student who will be summering out of state, you guys should stop by as well. We’re also inviting 3Ls that will be first years soon – heck, even junior associates are invited – you’ll all learn something too.

You students deserve some free food and drinks before grueling finals period anyway. Lord knows you juniors deserve some booze too.

Shoot us an email, hope to see you there.

Erlyndon Joseph Lo, 27, graduated from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 2007. Lo is a devout Catholic and has been using his knowledge of the law to fight abortion.

We must add that his knowledge of the law appears to be shaky.

In March, he sued the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to render abortion illegal. He also asked for $999 trillion in damages and $1,000/hour for attorney’s fees. According to his website:

The “CAUSE STYLE:” is ERLYNDON J. LO V. ROBERTS, ET AL. (This is a class action lawsuit, with me versus the 9 members of the Supreme Court.) This cause of action (lawsuit) will take place in the “UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS”. Ultimately, I will win this case without any doubt.

While that case is pending, Lo decided to take another legal action on Friday: seeking a restraining order against police as he planned to use “deadly force” against an abortion clinic that afternoon…

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* Virtual offices unethical? [New Jersey Law Journal via ABA Journal]

* Lil Wayne has a lil’ prison blog. [Gothamist]

* Goodwin Liu bares it all. [Confirm Goodwin]

* Former Judge of the Day Shirley Strickland Saffold refuses to step down in Ohio serial killer case. [Associated Press]

* New York personal injury attorney Marc Bernstein admits to stealing $2.2 million from his clients’ settlement money. [Business Week]

* Dennis Hopper: dying and divorcing. [BBC News]

* Duke Law students have an excuse to be douchey today. [ESPN]

Steven Donzinger has been working on behalf of Ecuadorian natives for seventeen years, representing them in a lawsuit against Chevron alleging the oil company has destroyed their rainforest. It’s a much-covered case, and Harvard Law grad Donzinger has usually been cast as the hero fighting the big bad oil company.

But it looks like Donzinger’s legal team may have done something a little dastardly.

From the Wall Street Journal:

In 2004, the plaintiffs hired Mr. Calmbacher, a Georgia-based biologist and environmental scientist, to help oversee soil and water tests in Ecuador.

Reports signed by Mr. Calmbacher, which were submitted to an Ecuadorean court in 2005, showed high levels of toxins at two sites and estimated the contamination would cost more than $40 million to clean up at these sites alone.

Gibson Dunn lawyers representing Chevron Corp. discovered a typo in those reports: the spelling of Charles Calmbacher’s name. When Gibson lawyer Andrea Neuman (who looks a little like Kristin Davis with short hair) deposed him, she discovered the toxin reports were a bit polluted…

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* Here’s yet another ridiculous aspect of the U.S. News law school rankings. How do you differentiate between 200 schools on a scale of 1 through 5? [Concurring Opinions]

* When offshore lawyers are trying to convince managing partners to send your work overseas, here’s what they say. [TechnoLawyer]

* Texas: the prison rape capitol of the country. Maybe they execute so many people because the prisoners themselves beg for death? [Houston Chronicle]

* Some people still aren’t over Eric Turkewitz’s April Fool’s joke. The people with their panties in bunch strike me as: A) The kind of people who find their houses covered in toilet paper on Halloween, B) the kind of people who wonder why theirs was the only house on the block TP’d, C) the kind of people who mercilessly hunt down the children and prosecute them for vandalism. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Speaking of April Fool’s fallout, the Harvard Record unleashed a doozy. [ABA Journal]

* Lawyers who could ball. [Bitter Lawyer]

* It’s been 300 years since the birth of copyright law as we know it. Surely, it won’t be long now before the internet kills copyright law as we know it and ushers in a new “Statute of Google” age.
[Statements of Interest via Blawg Review]

We’ve been following the legal wranglings between SAC Capital’s Steve Cohen and his ex-wife, Patricia. Why wouldn’t we, how often does an ex-wife file civil RICO charges against a billionaire?

Initially, Patricia Cohen retained civil RICO expert, Paul Batista. Apparently, Cohen and counsel didn’t see eye-to-eye. Batista withdrew the initial suit and Cohen retained Gaytri Kachroo of McCarter & English.

But the drama doesn’t stop there. Patricia Cohen might at times act like she has a little bit too much in common with Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, but it’s Batista who won’t be ignored…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Patricia Cohen’s Ex-Lawyer Wants to Get Paid”

As an undergraduate, I worked for the Harvard College Fund. I made calls to alumni of the college and many of the professional schools asking for money. Yes, scum salt-of-the-earth kind of work.

You learn a couple of things doing that job: don’t let women call people who graduated before 1960 and think that girls still belong at Radcliffe. Make sure your accent is “good for all time zones” (mine is). And most importantly, don’t call up graduates of HLS asking for money unless you can handle rejection well. HLS graduates are more likely to cry about their backbreaking work schedules than voluntarily fork over $20.

Granted, I’m not the best person to ask. I try to avoid giving HLS the money that I already owe them — I’m not about to dip into my pocket to give them anything extra. But I think most people would rather give money to their undergraduate institution than to their law school. College is an experience; law school is a trial.

And that was before the recession.

Now that we’re in a situation of salary deflation and job uncertainty, one imagines that law schools are only getting money from the cold dead hands of recent graduates.

Harvard Law School students recently received an email reminding them about the 2010 class gift. When I was there, such reminders were met with annoyance. But this year, students reacted with outright anger. Are Harvard kids alone on the “I’m not giving you a penny” island?

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It’s the finals in our March Madness. No underdogs made it. In our contest, Cinderallas were sent home from the ball with a glass of shut-the-hell-up:

It’s the nation’s capital vs. the West Coast’s finest. Vote after the jump.

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Over the weekend, the New York Times took employers to task for taking advantage of university kids eager to get work experience. Unpaid internships abound, and the recession has made it easier for corporate employers to cry poor, and bring on free labor.

However, there are strict federal guidelines [PDF] around unpaid internships, and many are breaking the law by giving their eager little beavers noneducational menial work. The folks at the Labor Department are on to this devious scheme:

Convinced that many unpaid internships violate minimum wage laws, officials in Oregon, California and other states have begun investigations and fined employers. Last year, M. Patricia Smith, then New York’s labor commissioner, ordered investigations into several firms’ internships. Now, as the federal Labor Department’s top law enforcement official, she and the wage and hour division are stepping up enforcement nationwide.

While most of the abusive internships are in the exciting worlds of fashion, film, media, and music, there was at least one poor NYU student suckered into cleaning out bathrooms for free at a law firm…

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Last month, we learned that deferred lawyers got along pretty well with their temporary public interest colleagues in New York. Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported that public interest organizations were more than happy to have temporary talent who had their Biglaw dreams deferred for a year:

The opposite ends of Chicago’s legal profession found a way to come together out of economic necessity to partially consume the supply of highly educated young lawyers looking for work. Despite several challenges, the unusual experiment has paid dividends. It also has sparked discussions of whether a more permanent model of apprenticeships can be developed that would train law-school graduates at a lower cost and benefit public-interest legal organizations that are suffering from funding constraints while attending to a greater need because of the recession.

“We absolutely would do it again,” said Robert Acton, executive director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, or CGLA. “It would be a very generous act on the part of law firms.”

Permanent charity from law firms? Don’t bet on it. We’ve already seen evidence that the generous deferral stipends extended to the class of 2009 are being scaled back for the class of 2010.

And really, we shouldn’t expect major American businesses like law firms to be all that charitable. It’s one thing for a firm to encourage its attorneys to take on some pro-bono cases, but really isn’t it the job of law schools to — you know — invest the resources necessary to train young lawyers?

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