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Hal 9000.jpgWhich firms are on the cutting edge of the digital age? Law and Technology News has an opinion. The publication just released their sixth annual law technology awards:

The awards recognize outstanding innovation by law firms and law departments in their use of technology.

The big winner is Fish & Richardson for most innovative use of technology.

And Joy Heath Rush of Sidley Austin won the award for “Champion” of Technology. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds pretty cool.

Read about all of the award winners here.

2008 LAW TECHNOLOGY NEWS AWARDS [Law Technology News]

sandra day o'connor 2 justice o'connor.jpgFormer SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is on a mission to educate. As reported last summer, she’s working with Georgetown University and Arizona State University on a “free, interactive, web-based program designed to teach and engage students in civics.” It’s called Our Courts, and it’s now live.

By having civics lessons in the form of online games, O’Connor hopes to trick the kids into thinking they’re having fun while they learn about the court system and constitutional rights. It brings back fond memories of The Oregon Trail, and an excuse to play video games in class. Though to be honest, we can’t remember what we really learned from that game, beyond the immense satisfaction of shooting down buffalo.

The site did a half-launch back in the fall, and has since re-designed. The games are still not live, but are promised by the start of the 2009 school year. This was the original home page (we’ve pointed out some elements that we wouldn’t want you to miss):

Our courts avatars 500.jpg

That design is no more. Out with the old, in with the new:

New Our Courts.jpg

Somehow, the avatars are cuter than the real kids. Which home page do you prefer?

Our Courts: 21st Century Civics

Earlier: Sandra Day Gets Her Game On

Elizabeth%20Halverson%20small%20Judge%20Elizabeth%20Halverson%20Liz%20Halverson%20Above%20the%20Law%20blog.jpgThere is justice for Judge Elizabeth Halverson. Her husband is going to jail for three to ten years for beating her with a frying pan.

Not surprisingly, Ed Halverson didn’t go down without a fight:

Before he was sentenced, Edward Lee Halverson, 49, stunned a Las Vegas courtroom with a claim that he struck Elizabeth Halverson at their home Sept. 4 because his wife, who must use a scooter to get around, threatened to stab him.

“If she wouldn’t have pulled a knife on me and threatened me, I wouldn’t have clocked her,” Halverson said. “I defended myself.”

Nice line. But I liked it better when Mr. Blond said it: “If they hadn’t done what I’d told them not to do, they’d still be alive.”

More Halverson tidbits after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Halverson’s Husband Gets 3-10 Years”

  • 15 Jan 2009 at 12:57 PM
  • Uncategorized

Cadwalader’s Link Is Moving to London

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgJust to close the loop on Cadwalader’s London partner defection, firm chairman Christ White sent the following firm wide email:

Seven partners in the London office resigned from the Firm today to join Paul Hastings. The reduction in capabilities in London is unfortunate. However, these departures allow us to rebuild the London office into a profitable operation with a focus consistent with the Firm’s long-term objectives. We start this rebuilding process with a very strong foundation in Capital Markets, Financial Restructuring and Tax led by partners Angus Duncan, Richard Nevins, Nick Shiren and Adam Blakemore. Bob Link will move to London in February to lead the Firm’s rebuilding effort.

So, you’re sending the guy you just ousted to rebuild the London office that just got eviscerated?

Sounds about right.

Earlier: Musical Chairs: Cadwalader Loses More Lawyers

Rachel Kramer Bussel Porn Writer.jpgIn our occasional series on career alternatives for attorneys — i.e., things you can do with a law degree that don’t involve working for a law firm as an associate or contract attorney — we’ve already touched on the writer/author career option. But when we happened upon How I Went From an NYU Law Student to a Smut Writer, we couldn’t help but return to entertaining the idea of book-writing as an alternative career.

Admittedly, Rachel Kramer Bussel never actually became an attorney, as she dropped out of NYU Law before completing her J.D. She recently guest-blogged on Jewcy, a “premier Jewish media and entertainment outlet for progressive free-thinkers.” There, she explained why she traded the Bluebook for blue balls books:

Today I want to share how I went from an NYU Law student to the editor of 24 anthologies ranging from spanking to foot fetishes to exhibitionism to crossdressing. You could say it’s all because of Monica Lewinsky. She was the protagonist of my first published story, called “Monica and Me,” written circa 1999. It was a fantasy about, well, Monica and me, about what would happen if I (or rather, my narrator) met her at a booksigning.

Thanks to Google Books, you can read an excerpt from Monica and Me. Warning: After she described Monica as “ever-luscious” in the first paragraph, we found it hard to continue reading.

I took something true (my crush on her) and turned it into fiction for a book of celebrity sex fantasies called Starf*cker. That was just as I was leaving law school, uncertain about my future (I never graduated from law school). I went on to work at various administrative jobs, and kept on writing in my spare time. I wrote and submitted and [sic] erotica story every few months, many of them true, about my budding sexual explorations, and found getting published to be a thrill I fast became addicted to.

In addition to writing and editing porn, she teaches writing workshops. Bussel claims that you can eroticize just about anything. She says that two of the exercises in her workshops are “write a story involving a chair, and write a story involving George W. Bush.” The chair seems easy, but putting Bush in a porn story is just wrong. Right?

If you’re thinking about a foray into porn writing yourself, we offer an exercise of our own. Write a story eroticizing a massive doc review, your managing partner, and creative billing codes. Good luck!

How I Went From an NYU Law Student to a Smut Writer [Jewcy]

Earlier: Career Alternatives for Attorneys

Russian layoffs.jpgAre there stealth layoffs going on in Russia?

A tipster reports:

I would like to bring your attention to the Moscow market. Moscow has a satellite office of nearly every major US firm, and every major UK firm. Most Moscow offices are between 20 and 35 associates, though some British firms are 100 strong. As you might guess the downturn has hurt the Russia market just as bad, if not worse than the US and UK. Law firms have started to fire/layoff associates, though they are not “playing by the rules.” In other words, they are firing people in underhanded ways, because they do not think there is any reputation risk. I suspect this is due in large part to the fact that the vast majority associates at these firms are Russian, and Russian associates do not necessarily read US/UK legal blogs (though some do).

The U.K. blog RollonFriday reports:

Things look just as bleak for Clifford Chance’s Moscow associates as those in London. Russia has been hit hard by the credit crunch, and the ex-pat lawyers who moved there are being mercilessly dispatched.

The firm shed some 30 lawyers in the run up to Christmas as part of an exercise designed to trim the office’s numbers by 20% before year end. Insiders say that associates have been asked to sign agreements waiving their rights under the Russian labour code. Those who agreed to sign apparently only got three weeks’ pay – whereas those said no got up to six months’ salary.

If anybody has more information on the Russian purge, send in your information to ATL.

…and takes the axe to Moscow [RollOnFriday]

Eric Holder Attorney General Eric H Holder Eric Himpton Holder Jr.jpgThe confirmation hearings for Eric Holder as attorney general just started.

We’ll try to keep an eye on it for you and update you with interesting news and notes. Especially when the Specter in the punch bowl speaks up.

So far Holder has said the word “independent” twice and now we’re going through the list of black people who were shot in the sixties.

Update (10:31): Let me paraphrase question 1:

LEAHY: Waterboarding mutherf***** do you believe in it?

HOLDER: Waterboarding is torture.

LEAHY: Gonzales! Are you named GONZALES?

HOLDER: Waterboarding is torture.

Update (10:56): Round 1 of Specter v. Holder involved both fighters feeling each other out. Lots of clenching, no haymakers:

SPECTER: Let me remind everybody who Marc Rich is and why he’s a terrible person.

(time passes, seasons change …)

Mr. Holder, did you know about this?

HOLDER: Nope. My bad.

LEAHY: Time!

Score the round 10-10.

Meanhwhile Sen. Herbet Kohl (who also owns the Milwaukee Bucks) wants to know if Holder can ball with Obama. As commenter #5 might point out “that question would never have been asked if Holder was white.”

More updates after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Eric Holder: It’s On”

Morgan Lewis.JPGThanks to the power of “the internet,” I’m able to remind you that in October the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius informed associates:

As in past years, base compensation adjustments will continue to be effective as of January 1 and will be reflected in your January paycheck.

In fact, I reminded you just last week that Morgan Lewis previously stated:

As in past years, base compensation adjustments will continue to be effective as of January 1 and will be reflected in your January paycheck.

But yesterday, Morgan Lewis decided:

We have taken a number of steps to manage our business conservatively. One of these is a decision to maintain of counsel and associate base salaries for 2009 at the same levels as those individual lawyers were paid for 2008.

In response to the question “how do you feel about this,” a morning tipster said:

I feel like I hate these lying f****** s***eat*** f***s.

Agent Kujan, meet Keyser Soze.

Read the full MLB memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Morgan Lewis Freezes Even Though They Said They Wouldn’t”

slot machine.jpg

* Jackpot! “A Mississippi woman thought she had won a slot machine jackpot when a display lit up $1 million, but the casino says the maximum payout was clearly posted: $8,000.” [The Associated Press]

* Eric Holder, President-elect Obama’s appointed attorney-general, will have his confirmation hearing today. Senate Republicans are expected to accuse him of partisanship. []

* London’s Clifford Chance signed a “best-friends” agreement with India’s AZB promising that they will recommend each other to international clients. [The Financial Times]

* Female lawyers, hold on to your pay checks. Today the Senate will discuss equal pay for equal work. [The Rutland Herald]

* Be nice to your secretary. A former office manager/secretary at a Madison, Wisconsin firm admitted to embezzling $57k from the firm. She says she took the money to pay for financial troubles, but later admitted she spent some of it gambling at casinos. [The Capital Times]

* For all those legal nerds interested in Prop. 8, check out this column by George Will. []

* The Minnesota Senate recount might have been unconstitutional. [The Wall Street Journal]

california dreaming.jpgWhile David Lat’s west coast rampage continues — he just finished speaking at UCLA — the good people from the Federalist Society furnished us with a podcast of Lat’s lunch talk yesterday with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.).

If you weren’t able to make it yesterday, or you live in the part of the country that the Sun God Ra has marked for eternal suffering, check out the podcast below.

Update: A write-up of the talk is available here.

A Judge in Full: Personality and Jurisprudence [Federalist Society]

Ninth Circuit Judges Remain Collegial, Kozinski Says [Metropolitan News]

Everything is bigger in texas.jpg* Things lawyers like might include austere legal tomes or presidential biographies. But really, the tipping point has reached the tipping point and has now fully jumped the shark. We need to stop drinking the kool-aid and throw the tipping point under the bus. [Litination]

* It looks like the new DOJ will be well versed in the first amendment. And hey, that’s the only one that really matters right? [Underdog]

* This whole “does having a blog generate business” question is at least generating a lot of blogger buzz. Good job Mark Hermann. And rest assured, if I ever get arrested trying to get my glaucoma medication through airport security, I’m coming to you for representation. [Legal Blog Watch]

* American Idol is suing the Palazio’s Men’s Club in Texas over “Stripper Idol.” You know what that means … Texas stripper photos! And since some commenter apparently thinks I’m cool with sexism, enjoy the beefcake. [Popsquire]

Seyfarth Shaw logo.jpgIn December, Seyfarth Shaw laid off 30 attorneys. Today, the wheel came around to a number of staff:

As a result, we have made the very difficult decision to reduce the number of support staff positions in a limited number of offices, including ours. In Chicago, this has affected nine secretaries and five members of local department staff. A total of approximately 25 employees have been affected across the Firm.

A tipster reports:

Old ladies and people with 10+ years experience.

Read the full Seyfarth memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Staff Layoff Watch: Seyfarth Shaw”

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