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rain forest law firm.JPGThe Texas based law firm of Haynes and Boone moved their Dallas operations into a new “green” office today. Despite the laudable initiative, some lawyers and many support staffers have complained about the new “confines.” Apparently, personal space is at a premium in the new space. Administrative assistants are particularly annoyed, as they will be moved out of cubicles into an open floor plan, “fishbowl” situation.

In addition to the lack of privacy, Haynes and Boone issued new policies regarding how secretaries use the personal space they still have. Most of the new rules meet an accepted standard of “petty.”:

2. There will be a sufficient number of small plants that Gensler will place in appropriate areas around our floors. You may have one 8-inch potted plant in your office or on your desk–none on the ledges.

3. Please do not put any objects or plants on ledges or the tops of your cabinets. Two framed pictures and a small candy dish may be placed on your desk, but no beanie babies on desks.

You’re moving into new environmentally friendly offices, but you’re going to regulate the number and types of plants employees are allowed to have? That’s not directly contradictory, but it’s certainly annoying.

Additional regulations after the jump.

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Charles Fried angry Harvard Law School professor.jpgDoes the legal academy suffer from a dearth of ideological diversity? It’s a question raised by the defection of prominent conservative law professors — including Doug Kmiec and now Charles Fried (pictured), who both held top positions in the Justice Department under Ronald Reagan — to the candidacy of Barack Obama.

From a post on Friday entitled “Charles Fried’s Absurd Obama Endorsement,” by conservative law professor Stephen Bainbridge (rhetorically addressing Fried):

Let me see if I understand this. You throw over the beliefs of a life time and vote for somebody who’s arguably the most radical national ticket Democrat since Henry Wallace because you’re having a hissy fit about Sarah Palin? [Ed. note: In explaining his support for the Obama-Biden ticket, Fried cited McCain's "choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis."]

First Kmiec and now Fried have betrayed the Reagan Revolution. They’ve tossed the principles they purported to hold under the bus to endorse a guy who is the antithesis of those principles and who will burden us with activist judges that will dismantle all the achievements the conservative legal movement won in the last three decades.

Is this a fair critique of Professors Kmiec and Fried? And what do their endorsements say about legal academia?

Read more, after the jump.

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128294720808907500callmahlawyur.jpgEarlier this month, an ATL / Lateral Link survey found that 86% of you were talking about politics in the workplace. And 18% of you reported that a fellow associate had tried to convince you to vote for their favorite candidate.

But are politics just seeping into your workplace, or will you be taking your profession to the polls? As the Obama campaign recruits lawyers to join the world’s largest law firm next week and the McCain campaign recruits its own Legal Response Team, how are you and your firms planning to spend the day?

Will you be policing the polls for pro bono — or billable — credit?

Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

UofC Law School logo.JPGThe University of Chicago Law School is ranked as the seventh best law school in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.

As we have extensively reported, the top-six schools (Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley) have all moved away from letter grading towards a modified pass/fail system, or are contemplating such a move (Yale and Berkeley have had pass/fail systems for some time).

The University of Chicago Law School, which currently has a grading system that defies rational understanding, is the next logical school to face the growing tide towards grade reform. On Friday, an all faculty meeting took place to discuss the matter.

According to tipsters, one professor discussed the meeting with his class. The professor suggested that the administration felt they had to consider the issue with an eye towards remaining competitive with their peer institutions. The professor then asked the class if they shared those concerns:

Interestingly enough, the professor who mentioned this to us did a straw poll of students (mostly 2Ls) and the vast majority were in favor of staying on our current system. It’s not like anyone knows what our system really is/means, so why change it?

The Dean responds after the jump.

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Not So Fast My Friends”

john_mccain.jpgIn a National Law Journal piece published today, Senator John McCain wrote at length about the law.

McCain said he was committed to three priorities:

I want to concentrate on what would be three important priorities in a McCain administration: keeping the Department of Justice politically neutral, focusing law enforcement programs on addressing important issues of the day and appointing strict constructionist judges.

The Justice department line sounds like another clear break from the policies of George W. Bush, a distinction McCain has been making more and more in the closing days of the campaign:

My first objective would be to ensure that the department is, and remains, above the political fray. The department must function with integrity and effectiveness above all else.

More from McCain after the jump.

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goldstone.jpgThe MacArthur Foundation is known for its genius grants– a.k.a. “Out of the blue–$500,000– no strings attached”– that are given to 20 to 40 individuals each year in recognition of incredible creativity and originality.

Last year, the Foundation started giving out a new award: the international justice award for individuals and organizations that have “been transformative forces in the fields of human rights and international justice.” Diplomat, economist and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was the inaugural recipient. Great guy and all, but not an attorney.

We’re happy to report that an actual lawyer has received the award this year. Congratulations to Justice Richard Goldstone, of South Africa. He gets $100,000 and can recommend non-profit recipients for an additional $500,000.

The MacArthur Foundation’s announcement says Goldstone has received the award for his work as chief prosecutor of the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, “the first of their kind since Nazi war criminals were tried at Nuremberg following World War II.” He focused on prosecuting top political and military perpetrators and filed genocide and crimes against humanity charges against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in 1995.

“Since the early 1990s, we have witnessed the emergence of a system of international justice that is growing stronger with each new case tried in a regional court or UN tribunal and with each investigation opened by the International Criminal Court. It has given me tremendous pride and satisfaction to have played a role in ensuring that the perpetrators of mass atrocities have more reason today than ever to fear being brought to justice,” said Goldstone.

Goldstone is no stranger to the U.S. He has taught international law at Harvard, NYU, and Fordham.

See, international law is not completely worthless. It may be worth less than a year in Biglaw, but still…

Justice Richard Goldstone to Receive MacArthur Award for International Justice [MacArthur Foundation Press Release]

voting above the law vote.jpg* Juror dismissed in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens. We hope she was the violent one. [New York Times]

* Yet another strip club lawsuit, but this time there are strips clubs on both sides. Déjà Vu and Little Darlings claim that competitors urged cabbies to divert potential clients by telling them the two clubs were “dumps full of old hogs and chicks with bullet wounds.” [Courthouse News Service]

* Sarah Palin is “going rogue.” And she’s a “diva.” And she “sees herself as the next leader of the party.” Unnamed McCain aides tell all! [CNN]

* Malaysia’s former prime minister finds himself shut out of the public space thanks to the press censorship he helped perfect as leader of the country for 22 years. So now he’s blogging. [International Herald-Tribune]

* While McCain and Obama duke it out in the battleground states this week, their legal teams prepare to wage voter fraud battles in courtrooms across the nation. [Reuters]

* New York finds private attorneys scheming their way into state pensions. [Newsday]

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGSo far we have received letters from the following law schools urging students to accept their offers prior to the NALP deadline: Northwestern, NYU, Columbia, UPenn, UT, Michigan, and even Hofstra. The message from career services departments all across the nation is that firms are oversubscribed, and that some firms are rescinding offers. Sit on multiple offers at your own risk.

Late Friday evening, Harvard Law School — which just completed their extremely late fly-out week process — decided to enter the fray. From an email sent out to all interviewing students:

Important Information about Responding to Offers

You may have heard reports that some firms have rescinded offers to students because their summer programs were full. While some firms have rescinded offers, the vast majority of firms have not engaged in that practice and have no intention to do so. Use good judgment and take the time you need to make an informed decision. Keep in mind that some firms’ summer programs are filling up more quickly than others. If you have any concerns about whether an offer will be held open or any other issues, we suggest that you call the hiring partner or recruiting director so that you are making decisions based on fact.

If you are able to make your decision before the expiration of the 45-day period, we encourage you to do so. Law firms will appreciate your prompt response and so will your classmates who may be in a position to receive an offer from an employer that you have turned down.

Comparing HLS to everybody else after the jump.

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rock band 2 weekend.JPGIt’s not too late to get a date for the weekend instead of sitting at home and playing Rock Band 2. Not too late at all, if you don’t mind putting up with a lawyer. From Craigslist:

Older Attorney Seeks Younger Girlfriend – 39

Call it a mid-life crisis, but I want a younger girlfriend. I’m 6’0″, 195lb., and of German-Italian heritage, divorced with no kids. I’m a former pentathlete, so I’m in pretty good shape. And, I know this is important for finding a younger girlfriend on Craigslist: My apartment looks out over Central Park, I drive a Mercedes-Benz S600, and I wear a $44,000 Breguet watch.

I’m not looking for a “sugar daddy/sugar baby” relationship. I’m not giving anyone an allowance, or paying for someone else’s apartment or car. But, I have a taste for the good life, so there will be a lot of nights out at fine restaurants and vacations to warm places in the winter.

E-mail me with a picture with a line or two about yourself. I’m looking for someone in her early 20s (at least 21), slim, white, and knows how to dress well.

You got that? He is not looking for a sugar baby, just a college student that’s easily impressed.

But maybe some of you are looking for younger partners too:

Perfect on Paper – 24

Here’s the thing, it’s easy for people to lie about themselves, or even tell the truth but spin it. Given that, I can make myself look pretty damn good without saying anything untrue. I’m 24, single, extremely intelligent with a degree from a top ten school, attending a top 5 law school. I play guitar and sing very well, I’ve been in bands and I write lovely little pop songs. I’m cute, in a geeky, part-Jewish kind of way. I write well, I read tons, and I can talk about anything (except for most sports, though sometimes I can fake it.) I can hold my liquor but avoid drinking to extremes. I am funny as hell, with a quick, sarcastic wit. I cook– once I’ve made you breakfast, you’re mine. I am sweet, caring, and sensitive.

Thing is, the way people write about themselves around here, none of that sounds very special, does it? But there is more. Perfect on paper is boring in person, but I’m a lot more complicated than that. I’m insecure, moody, and fairly damaged– I like to think of that as the bitter kick that makes the sweetness all the better. I’m also a little bit more sex-driven than the typical “perfect guy.” That’s probably a good thing too.

I’m not posting a photo cause my friends will mock me endlessly if they see this ad. Of course, I will trade. If you want to get to know me and find out all my dark secrets, just send me an email. Stand forewarned that I like long, thoughtful messages, both sending and receiving them.

Buddy, if you haven’t sealed the deal during the overnight hours, there isn’t much that your breakfast sausage is bringing to the table.

Do you ever notice how well credentialed people who are single refer to their credentials more than well credential people who are in relationships?

Having cast my aspersions on the loveless lawyers, I’m off … to play Rock Band 2. Have a great weekend.

Adriana tennis yes.JPG* David Duchovny believes the Daily Mail got it wrong when they accused him of having sex with his tennis instructor. That’s really the only excuse I need to post this picture of Adriana La Cerva sharing a moment with her tennis instructor. [Popsquire]

* It turns out a crazy man cannot evict George W. Bush from the White House. Shockingly, I’m not talking about John McCain. [Doyle Reports]

* Wendy Savage, corporate counsel at Liberty Mutual, is quickly becoming an internet star thanks to the Beautiful Lawyers of Boston Calender. [f/k/a]

* Even HLS conservatives are kind of liberal when it comes to this election. [WSJ Law Blog]

Philip Bobbitt law professor Columbia Texas.jpgWe have a soft spot for Columbia Law School, especially after our excellent visit there on Wednesday (“our” = Lat + Kash). Thanks to the CLS Federalist Society, the sponsor of our talk, for the warm welcome.

We also have a soft spot for celebrity professors. Meet Columbia law prof Philip Bobbitt — no relation to John and Lorena Bobbitt, presumably — who was recently profiled in the New York Observer:

Through some combination of gossip, online stalking, hounding their teaching assistants and perusing the Facebook group “Phillip [sic] Bobbitt is Our Hero,” students piece together the following:

Professor Bobbitt, who is 60, arrived at Columbia only 18 months ago, after three decades at the University of Texas. He is an eminent scholar of the Constitution and used to teach modern history at Oxford. He’s a former member of the Carter, Bush I and Clinton administrations and an adviser to foreign heads of state.

Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair blurbed his latest book on terrorism, which both current presidential candidates have reportedly read. He’s the nephew of Lyndon B. Johnson. He can blow smoke rings, and sponsors a national poetry prize in honor of his late mother. Also: He rotates seasonally among his homes, and can’t shake his habit of a nightly cigar and scotch-and-soda.

Read more, including words of wisdom from the worldly-wise professor, after the jump.

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Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgGiven the list of associate “perks” firms could be cutting back on during these tough economic times, the latest news from Fried Frank seems very reasonable. Associates at Fried Frank were told today:

Dear All,

In light of continued turmoil in the financial markets and the wider economy, and the effect it is having on so many we know, we think it is not appropriate to host Firm holiday parties this year.

The Firm has a strong platform and business with which to succeed in this very demanding business environment and continues to be involved in many interesting and challenging matters for our clients. Instead of the parties, the Firm will be making charitable contributions to certain organizations who rely on donations during the holiday season to accomplish their purpose during this time of year and which are feeling the effects of the slowdown in the economy.

Thanks very much.

Valerie Jacob and Justin Spendlove

Despite the success of last year’s bash at Cipriani on Wall Street, this would seem to help associates in two ways. It saves the firm money — without firing anybody. That is an unqualified good.

But also: who enjoys the firm holiday party anyway? It’s just an opportunity for associates to get too drunk and do something colossally stupid that will no doubt end up on Above the Law. (Please don’t cancel the holiday party Mr. Fried and Mr. Frank!)

Seriously though, saving a bit of cash is a good thing for associates. And not for nothing, but giving some extra money to charities during what is sure to be a terrible season for charitable donations is really a great thing to do. During times of economic recession people tend to give less, precisely at times when charities need more.

But it might not be all Salvation Santas at Fried Frank this winter. More after the jump.

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