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* Civil rights leaders reflect on Martin Luther King. [ABC]

* The E.U. slammed Microsoft in an antitrust case. [The Washington Post]

* At least ten percent of the Guantanamo population has been deemed innocent, further calling the prison’s legitimacy in to question. [The New York Times]

* SCOTUS added 6 new cases to the docket Friday. Among their upcoming decisions, is whether states should be able to enforce their own non-discrimination lending laws against national banks. [The Washington Post]

* A San Francisco federal judge’s decision revives discussion about the legality of Bush’s wiretapping program. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Kirkland & Ellis will advise billionaire Paul Allen’s Charter Communications Inc. on potential bankruptcy. [Bloomberg.com]

martin luther king.jpgToday we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the pioneering civil rights leader. If you’re not at work, we hope that you are enjoying the day off. (We are around, but will be posting less than usual.)

If you are at work, be proud. We’re pretty sure that equal opportunities to be productive cogs in the capitalist machine, regardless of race color or creed, were part of Dr. King’s dream.

If you are looking for something to do, we suggest that you treat today as an opportunity for public service. You can look up a service project in your area at MLKDay.gov or you can join the incoming president.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service [MLKDay.gov]

indians in the lobby.jpg* Wow. There’s also a blog focused on Native American legal issues. We hope they are making progress on the “Give Us Back Our Goddamn Land v. People Who Couldn’t Hack It In Europe” case. [Native American Legal Update]

* There could be a tax problem with Obama’s mother-in-law living in the White House. Of course, there’s also the “how can you possibly have sex when your mother-in-law lives in the same house” problem, but I’ve never done it with a unicorn so who knows? [TaxProf Blog]

* Which degree better prepares you to be President? A J.D. or a M.B.A.? [Washingtonian]

* Think of it this way Gen Y: maybe someday somebody will write a Greatest Generation book about you! Think about it, isn’t about time we went over and beat the crap out of Prussia again? That’ll end the recession. [What About Clients?]

* Colin Farrell was definitely not on cocaine … at the Golden Globes … during his presentation … we think. [Popsquire]


pay freeze salary freeze pay cut law firm.jpgA solid ice salary freeze is on at Arent Fox:

As a result of this comprehensive review, the Executive Committee (the “EC”) decided that based on global economic conditions, the Firm will freeze associate base compensation at the current 2008 rates for 2009.

But that’s not all:

Additional adjustments to the associate compensation system, also discussed below, include a somewhat more stringent 150-hour cap on non-billable creditable hours that can be increased only in limited circumstances, the reintroduction of a limited deferred compensation (“hold-back”) system, and modifications in the manner that hours are calculated for the purposes of qualification for productivity bonuses.

And if you’re concerned about bonuses:

The Firm will continue to make lump-sum bonus payments for above standard hours. Eligible associates who, during the evaluation year (or such later 12-month period as may be selected by the Firm), record more than 2050 billable hours, 2150 billable hours, 2250 billable hours, or more than 2350 billable hours will be eligible to receive productivity bonuses as follows.

So if you do bill 1950, you’re not getting any bonus at all. In fact at 2050 juniors are only getting $5K (considerably less than what juniors are getting at Cravath). Even 2250 hours doesn’t guarantee you a full Half-Skadden bonus.

No matter how annoyed you are at your firm’s pay structure, there always seems to be at least one other firm willing to pay a little bit less.

And that’s not even the interesting part. More on that after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Arent Fox Takes This Opportunity to Bring Back Deferred Compensation”

Eddy Curry lawsuit.jpgAs you might have heard, New York Knicks atrocious waste of salary cap space star center Eddy Curry has been sued by a former employee. We all knew that Curry was a 6’11” behemoth of a man who is afraid of grabbing a rebound. But some of the allegations contained in the complaint against him are more shocking than his inability to play 20 minutes without needing an oxygen mask:

18. The plaintiff was further subjected to humiliation and intentional acts of sexual harassment discrimination by the Curry during the course of his employment.

19. On more than one occasion in the last year of plaintiff’s employment, Curry approached him, in the nude, and tried to solicit him to engage in homosexual acts with him by telling the plaintiff “look at me, Dave, look” and “come and touch it, Dave.”

And while we’re here:

20. Curry directed the plaintiff to perform humiliating tasks outside the scope of his employment, such as cleaning up and removing dirty towels that he “nutted all over” so that his wife would not see them.

We should say that Curry strenuously denies all of the allegations contained in the complaint. And teammates like Quentin Richardson and David Lee have come to Curry’s defense.

But wait ’till you get a look at the plaintiff’s lawyer, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Hired Help v. Eddy Curry”

Kathryn Ruemmler Kathryn H Ruemmler Kathy Ruemmler Latham Watkins.jpgSuperstar litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler, a litigation partner at Latham & Watkins and an Enron prosecutor before that, has been picked to serve as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Obama Justice Department. That title is a mouthful, but lawyers inside the Beltway know it’s a Big Deal.

The revolving door between the DOJ and Latham swings again. Ruemmler has traded places with another fierce female litigator: Alice Fisher, who rejoined the firm after heading up the Criminal Division.

As for Ruemmler, the government’s gain is Latham’s loss. Says one LW tipster: “She’s a really good lawyer, and a genuinely nice person. We’re very sorry to lose her.”

Kathy Ruemmler isn’t just a genial genius; she’s stylish, too. From the WSJ Law Blog, reporting on a day of the Ken Lay trial:

Speaking of footwear, the boldest fashion statement of the day — possibly rivaling O’Melveny paralegal Bill Evans’s goth getup for the gutsiest sartorial move of the week — came from the government’s Ruemmler. The deputy director of the Enron Task Force, who won convictions against four Merrill Lynch bankers in the 2004 Nigerian Barge case, paired a conservative gray suit with stunning 4-inch bright pink stiletto spikes.

Litigatrix indeed. Just because you work for the DOJ doesn’t mean you have to shop at DSW.

There’s a lot of diversity in Obama’s Department picks so far. Eric Holder, nominated to serve as Attorney General, is African-Amercan. Elena Kagan and Dawn Johnsen, nominated to serve as, respectively, Solicitor General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, are women.

The full memo about Ruemmler’s move, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Kathy Ruemmler from Latham Back to DOJ”

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Twenty-seven-year-old hottie marries much older non-hottie: Normally a match like this would be explained by the groom’s (1) job at Goldman, (2) trust fund, or (3) peerage. But no, this groom is (drumroll) the associate dean for finance and administration at Yeshiva’s Cardozo School of Law. This is how bad the economy is, folks: Attractive women are marrying associate deans of non-T14 law schools.

Here are this week’s finalists:

1. Adrienne Lockie and Adav Noti

2. Inna Dexter and Benjamin Nussdorf

3. Arlene Hong and Darren Duffy

For our analysis of these couples, click on the link below.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 1.11: Dream Dean”

blank rome summers no offers.jpgLast night and this morning, tipsters informed us that significant layoffs were taking place at Blank Rome. A firm spokesperson is now able to confirm the news:

As we continue to focus on helping our clients manage through these challenging economic times, and in order to position the Firm for continued success in 2009, it is important that we take the necessary steps to adjust our attorney and staff complements in the context of our clients’ current and anticipated needs. These are purely economic decisions – this is a group of talented attorneys and staff who have made valuable contributions to our Firm.

Our tipsters report that at least 12 associates and staff have been let go so far. But:

Also, there is an unconfirmed report that when this ends the total of layoffs will be 50. Good lord.

The firm could not provide us with official numbers of how many people will be let go by the end of the day.

But we do understand that the layoffs will affect all departments and class years — we know some non-equity partners have already been shown the door. Blank Rome’s Philadelphia office was hardest it, but layoffs happened in New York as well.

Maybe if Mos Def would pay his bills, this wouldn’t be happening.

Read the full firm statement after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Blank Rome Lays Off 12 … So Far”

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgGoodwin Procter just came out with their 2008 bonus news. Like other peer firms in Boston, Goodwin is going with a Cravath scale, though the firm does have a 1,850 hours requirement:

For 2008, we maintained our bonus eligibility threshold of 1,850 hours, though many of our peer firms set significantly higher thresholds for bonus eligibility this year. Attorneys who met the 1,850 threshold, which could be achieved through billable and pro bono work, were considered for bonuses, taking into account the factors noted above.

One very interesting note is that stub-first years will be receiving no bonus at all:

Target bonuses by class are listed below. Individual bonus awards may be above or below the targets based on the mix of relevant factors and will be prorated as appropriate for leaves. Because of their short tenure, attorneys in the class of 2008 who started in October were not included in the bonus program this year.

Onto the salary freeze after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Goodwin Procter Adopts Cravath Scale
… And A Salary Freeze”

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGKaren Sloan over at the National Law Journal has an interesting report on how the economic crisis continues to cause pain to the nation’s law schools:

Instead of an expected 1% budget increase, the dean of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law learned that she would need to cut about 2% of the budget for the current academic year. The reductions were necessary because the Pennsylvania government — facing a major budget shortfall — was preparing to cut funding to the university by more than 4%.

Great. Just when the declining legal market might suggest (ahem) a reduction in law school tuition costs, budget shortfalls make it almost certain that legal education will remain ridiculously expensive.

And if public schools are feeling the pinch, you best believe that private schools are crying tears of poverty all over your tuition check for this semester. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Economic Downturn Continues to Hammer Law Schools”

Cleary Gottlieb logo.jpgWe know what Cleary is doing for associate compensation: they are paying Cravath bonuses but have decided against freezing salaries. Is anybody interested in what the partners will be taking home this year? According to AmLaw:

Gross revenue is up roughly 8 percent to $965 million; profits per partner increased about 12 percent to $2.4 million. Revenue per lawyer, however, was basically flat, down less than 1 percent.

$2.4 million in this economy? Where do I sign up?

More on Cleary and money after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cleary Gottlieb Profits”

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* A “court” upheld the government’s authority to tap international phone calls and emails without a warrant. [The Washington Post]

* Would-be Attorney General Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing went well yesterday, and he will go for more today. [The Associated Press]

* Marc Dreier, the lawyer who sold hedge funds phony investments, wants to be released on bail. [Reuters]

* The Senate released the second portion of the bailout fund yesterday, giving Obama a tidy $350 billion to get the economy back on track. [The New York Times]

* In an effort to rally lending, President-elect Obama’s advisors are considering drastic proposals that would take toxic assets of bank balance sheets. [Bloomberg]

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