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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.

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Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe Lawyer is reporting that seven partners in Cadwalader’s London office have defected for Paul Hastings:

The Lawyer can exclusively reveal that the partners leaving the firm are Karl Clowry, Conor Downey, Michelle Duncan, Justin Jowitt, Tom O’Riordan, Christian Parker and Charles Roberts.

The defections leave US firm Cadwalader with just four partners in London.

Yesterday, we noted that despite CWT’s profits per partner dropping by 30%, managing partner Chris White was still looking forward the firm bouncing back in 2009.

But maybe the London partners weren’t thrilled about the new firm numbers?

An insider suggested the move could prompt Cadwalader to shut down in London altogether: “I’d be bloody surprised if the office was still here this time next year. The office lease is about £2m and none of the partners left bill anything near that.”

It is understood that firm chairman Christopher White … and former chairman Bob Link have flown in to London from New York for crisis talks with the London partners.

Cadwalader defenders share their views in the comments.

Cadwalader London hit by seven-partner walk out [The Lawyer]

Earlier: Cadwalader Profits Per Partner Down 30%

ropes gray logo.JPGRopes & Gray is looking mighty healthy these days. As we reported earlier, there was no freeze for the Boston-based firm; their associates got class year raises as expected. And this week, the New York Observer reports the firm is stretching out its legs in New York, taking a new floor in its 1211 Avenue of the Americas building:

The law firm activated a provision of its 2005 lease of 250,000 square feet that allows it to take an additional floor in the tower… The lease gives Ropes & Gray the 32nd floor, which the Royal Bank of Scotland recently gave up, in addition to the space it occupies on floors 35 through 40 in the 45-story cloudbuster.

Up, up, and away, says Ropes & Gray. While bonus season suggests the New York market sucks is weak, Ropes spokesman John Tuerck says:

We see New York as a key growth market, and this signals our intent to continue expanding there… It’s a core element of our strategic plan to keep growing in New York.

Ropes has a “diversified client base” in New York, says Tuerck, and a good cross section of practice groups there, including (but not limited to) debt financing, IP litigation, government enforcement, and private equity.

More on Ropes’ plans to take over the world (or at least New York, Chicago, and Asia), as well as the Ropes class year raise memo, after the jump.

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[Ed Note: Do you have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com]

pls hndle copy 2.jpgATL –

I’ve just been staffed on a relatively long term project with another associate. She and I went on one date a few months ago and hooked up, but that was it because she is batsh*t crazy. Since then she’s sent me a bunch of “let’s get lunch” emails and has “coincidentally” appeared at happy hour drinks when I’m out with people from the firm. I think this person is unstable and I don’t want to put myself in a position to be sabotaged by her. But I don’t want to appear like I’m rejecting work or that I’m not a “team player.” I also don’t want to make it known that I dated a co-worker. Any advice?

Every Step You Take

Dear Every Step You Take,

Let me get this straight. You still have a job in a law firm. Precious work is being offered to you. You are considering rejecting this precious work because you fear your colleague may be trying to destroy you. Seems reasonable.

Perhaps it’s time to throw caution to the wind and ramp up the auditing sessions, because if you’re actually considering nixing the project, you’re the one who’s “batsh*t crazy.” I’ve crunched the numbers and there is a 100% chance that the partners will hear about it if you reject this assignment. There is a 5% chance that she’ll “sabotage” you at some distant and nebulous time in the future. There is also an 80% chance that you’re describing the plot of Disclosure.

Given these stats, your best bet is to take the assignment and preserve your job now, and worry about Demi Moore stealing your promotion at Digicom later. Email trails are like Kryptonite to jerks, so transact all your business with her via email and you’ll be fine, work-wise. On an unrelated noted, if you want to ensure she gets your “not interested” message, I understand that herpes is an effective deterrent.

Your friend,

Marin

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: She’s Trying to Destroy Me”

foley hoag logo.jpgFirst, some good news for Boston based attorneys. Ropes & Gray has joined the growing list of firms not freezing associate salaries. The firm sent out a whole memo about it and everything:

We are pleased to announce that base compensation for partnership-track associates in 2009 will reflect normal seniority increases as follows

But while things look wicked awesome at Ropes, other Beantown firms are feeling the economic pinch. We received word today that Foley & Hoag laid off 32 people. We understand that the breakdown was 17 associates and 15 staff.

The firm confirmed the news in an email that was sent to ATL as well as all of the firm’s associates:

These current economic conditions have led to over-capacity among our lawyers and staff. After considering all our options, the Firm reluctantly concluded that it needed to reduce its headcount in lawyers and staff by approximately 6%. We have contacted this morning individually all the lawyers and staff who are being asked to leave the firm.

After the jump, tipsters weigh in and we post the full Foley statement.

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muzeview web presence rankings.jpgMuzeview, which calls itself a “competitive intelligence services provider working with professional services firms,” has completed a new analysis of the internet strength of major law firms.

“This new index gives a clear view into the weight each firm gives to its visibility on the Internet, as well as the effectiveness of the effort,” said Paul Gladen, founder and president of Muzeview. “Some firms, such as Morrison & Foerster and WilmerHale, are showing a good profile on industry blogs, which means their Web strategy is paying off in terms of getting the firm discussed among the online legal community.”

The number one firm on the web is apparently Jones Day:

The Index, released today, shows a number one ranking for Jones Day, the Cleveland, OH-based firm with 2,204 lawyers, by no means the largest. DLA Piper and Baker & McKenzie, the two largest US law firms in terms of 2007 revenue and number of lawyers, ranked third and fourth respectively.

Even though the rankings take into account the number of times firms are mentioned on “industry related blogs,” Cadwalader doesn’t crack the top 25. Maybe the perception of some of the CWT defenders doesn’t match reality?

Check out the top 25 after the jump and see if your firm is one that people like to talk about.

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funny-pictures-hourglass-cat.jpgWe received over 2,200 responses to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, which asked you how many hours you billed last year.

In fact, we received more responses than most of you billed hours.

Although today’s Am Law Litigation Daily points out that litigation in federal courts actually rose by 9 percent last year, that doesn’t appear to have done much for your timesheets.

The table below compares your 2007 hours and predictions for 2008 (from our November survey) with the actual experience you reported on Monday.

Results: How many hours did you bill in 2007 and 2008?

 Billable Hours   2007      2008 
(predicted) 
  2008 
(actual) 
Less than 1600     3.29%   7.93%   14.32%
1600 – 1699     2.58%   6%   5.75%
1700 – 1799     3.99%   5.61%   7.36%
1800 – 1899     8.45%   7.54%   9.37%
1900 – 1999     11.5%   16.44%   13.6%
2000 – 2100     22.54%   21.08%   18.11%
2100 – 2199     12.68%   14.31%     11.11%
2200 – 2299     11.03%   6.77%   7.98%
2300 – 2399     12.44%     5.42%   4.64%
2400+     11.5%   8.9%   7.76%

Back in 2007, roughly 70% of respondents billed at least 2000 hours last year (not counting associates with stub years), with over a third billing at least 2200. And over 11% — almost one in eight associates — were in the 2400+ zone.

But by November, almost 20% of associates thought they would fall short of 1800 hours for 2008. Even so, less than 8% feared they would not make 1600. And roughly 56% of associates still expected to hit at least 2000 hours in 2008. More than a fifth of respondents thought they would even reach 2200.

Reality was a bit less kind:

  • A crushing 14% of respondents fell short of 1600 hours, almost twice the number predicted back in November.
  • More than a quarter of respondents, 27%, could not make 1800.
  • And a little less than half of associates, 49.6%, broke 2000.

But even these numbers may paint too rosy an economic picture. As one commenter pointed out:

I billed over 2000 hours, but had over 300 pro bono this year.

Another suggested that this year’s performance will be much weaker than last year’s:

Hitting 2000 hours for 2008 was doable because the bulk of the slow-down didn’t occur until September/October. Only because I had very high hours before then was I able to just barely hit 2000 hours for the year. 2009 will be much worse. I’m worried.

Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.

You know, as long as you’re not billing anything today.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

live free or die from taxes.jpgMonday, the New York Supreme Court upheld a state statute requiring online retailers to collect taxes from New York residents.

The law applies to companies that don’t have offices in New York, but have at least one person in the state who works as an online agent — someone who links to a Web site and receives commissions for related sales.

It seems to me that freedom loving liberals and tax hating conservatives can agree that this decision heralds the end of the internet has we know it. What’s next, collecting taxes from porn sites? Instituting an e-stamp on emails? Government has been trying to get a taste of all that internet money for a long time. Don’t fool yourself, this decision opens the door for all kinds of government levies on the free flow of information and services on the web. Today, it’s a regressive tax on consumers. Tomorrow, it’ll be a two cent per word “sin tax” on text messages.

SCOTUS? Obama? Are there any “people’s employees” that are actually going to stand up for the people on this issue?

I keep using this term because it continues to be appropriate, but what we are seeing is Shock Doctrine decision making. Power players are using the financial crisis to force decisions through the system that people would never stand for under ordinary circumstances.

Officials estimated the state would gain nearly $50 million in the next two years from the tax. New Yorkers, like residents of many states, are currently on an honor system to report their online spending when they file state tax returns.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. And the New York Supreme Court just took down the energy shield. Beware, the AT-ATs are coming.

NY Court Clears Way for Taxing Online Sales [TaxProf Blog]

Court to Amazon: Keep Collecting Sales Tax [New York Times]

Amazon.com v. New York State Department of Taxation.pdf

funny money.jpg

* The Madoff case will garner lawyers lots of money in fees. “This is a financial 9/11 for our clients” said a Proskauer Rose litigation partner, licking his lips. [Bloomberg.com]

* Meanwhile, the U.S. is challenging the New York Judge’s decision to keep Madoff free on bail. [Bloomberg.com]

* Legislators in Maine are introducing a bill that would recognize same-sex marriage. [The Boston Globe]

* Obama and Biden will visit the Supreme Court this afternoon to meet with the Justices and get a tour. The elephant in the chambers: Obama and Biden voted against Roberts’ confirmation. [The Washington Post]

* Al Franken asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to let him get to the Senate without waiting for the resolution of opponent Norm Coleman’s legal challenge. His lawyers argue that Senator’s will need Franken for comic relief in the midst of our trying times (just kidding). [The Associated Press]

* Dozens of suspected terrorists released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism says the Pentagon (gulp). [CNN]

Nixon Peabody logo.JPGWith all the layoffs rippling through the Biglaw community, we are likely to see more lawsuits from attorneys directed at their former employers.

Right now, Nixon Peabody is in the spotlight. A former associate is suing the firm. The National Law Journal reports:

Henry Har, now an associate in Holland & Knight’s San Francisco office, claims that he was wrongly fired from Nixon Peabody in 2008 because of his sex and gender, and because he is Asian-American. …

Har, a graduate of New York University School of Law, originally worked in Nixon Peabody’s San Francisco office and moved to the Los Angeles location in September 2007. His complaint states that the Los Angeles office had a “drastically different working environment” from the San Francisco office and that attorneys in the office “demonstrated inappropriate and offense behavior towards ethnic minorities, women and homosexuals.”

The firm responds after the jump.

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