* Take a look at these pictures and make your own decision. The world waits breathlessly for the birth(date) of Bristol Palin’s baby. [The Atlantic]
* Is the mystique gone from Biglaw? Not so long as Cravath can still pay people in prestige points. [Law and More]
* Would we be better off right now if accountants and other business professionals were part of the partnership at major law firms? [Legal Blog Watch]
* If your looking to supplement your income during these tough times, maybe you should consider being an expert witness. It was marginal for former Gawker and Jezebel writer Moe Tkacik (that’s what she said). [That's What She Said]
First, Dreier is now free on bail. From the Toronto Star (which a tipster tells us is our “best bet” for Dreier coverage in Canada, “as it is the equivalent of the New York Post”):
A prominent New York lawyer walked out of a Toronto court today after posting $100,000 cash bail. Marc Dreier, 58, has been charged with personation with intent. He was represented at today’s bail hearing by lawyer Edward Greenspan.
Greenspan said he was “pleased” his client was released on bail, but that it wasn’t unexpected. “He was charged with a minor offence under Canadian law,” Greenspan said. “The only allegation is that he impersonated another lawyer.”
An ATL source provides context:
Mr. Dreier is apparently out on bail ($100,000 Canadian, or $77,330.93 U.S.). He’s also retained Eddie Greenspan, Canada’s answer to Johnnie Cochran. Mr. Greenspan represented Lord Conrad Black in Chicago and a number of other high-profile cases in Canada. He’s the go to guy if you’re rich, in trouble, and in Canada.
More information and links — about the allegations against Marc Dreier, his extensive real estate holdings, and the demise of Dreier’s summer program — after the jump.
If the second-most profitable law firm in the nation cuts bonuses by 73%, what do you expect regional firms to do?
Today, the management committee at Epstein Becker & Green made a decision that we will probably be copied at regional firms throughout the country. From the EBG internal memo:
The cautiousness of the Firm’s clients regarding their cash position has continued to affect EBG’s cash collections through November. We, like all law firms in 2008, are experiencing a slower pace of payments to the Firm from our clients than in prior years. While we are confident that these monies will be collected over time and we are well positioned for 2009, cash available at year end is, as a consequence, more limited than it has been in years when the economy was stronger.
Reflecting this reality, and on our history of conservative but responsible fiscal management that dictates prudence in retaining our cash reserves and not incurring additional debt for non-capital expenses — thereby protecting the Firm’s position as we enter 2009 — the Compensation Committee has determined that no bonuses will be paid at year end 2008. While we do not make this decision lightly, at a time when many law firms and businesses are engaged in large-scale lay-offs or worse, this decision is, we believe, a moderate response to what are unprecedented circumstances facing our industry.
Remember that a problem many firms are facing right now is that while attorneys keep billing, some clients have stopped paying.
EBG is the first firm that we’re aware of that is offering the “special bonus” of zero. But they won’t be the last. Don’t forget to send us your tips on other mid-sized and regional firms as they make difficult bonus decisions this year.
Read the unabridged statement that EBG attorneys received today, after the jump.
The Wii is a gaming console that has challenged the image of gamers as couch potatoes. Using a remote control with motion sensors, player actually goes through the motions of swinging, throwing, dancing, hitting, and punching (depending on the nature of the game) to get their on-screen character to do the same. Most people love the wii… except when an exuberant swing sends the remote control flying into a $2,000 flat-screen TV, ending the game and smashing the screen.
Many have heard horror stories about remote controls being sent flying. Nintendo added safety straps to their remotes, to keep them attached to players’ wrists. But a Colorado woman claims the straps are defective, allowing controllers to “crash into TVs, walls and children,” and has filed a $5 million class action suit, citing a video game review from IGN.com. From Courthouse News Service:
The named plaintiff claims the wrist strap broke while her 11-year-old son used it properly, and the device flew into her 52-inch flat-screen TV, smashing it. She claims hundreds of other consumers have reported property damages and personal injuries from the failed wrist straps.
The complaint cites the editor in chief of IGN.com, who received a promotional game, and claims he “personally witnessed and observed the following while the Wii video game was being used in its intended and advertised manner: ‘so one of the girls in particular really was having a good time and really got into this game, and she was going for the full arcing motions likes you see in those commercials …’ and ‘before you knew it this Remote, with strap on, and I made sure that bad boy was strapped to her wrist, because Nintendo’s warned me so many times. It actually flew out of her hand anyway, broke, out of her hand, the strap actually ripped, it went like this, flying at mach speed I think, BAM!, hit our wall, put an indent in our wall.”
The complaint cites Nintendo’s instructions for the controller, including, “The key is to pump the Wii Remote and Nunchuck back and forth in your two hands as rapidly as possible without abating” and “Swing hard to make sure you clear the net!”
Nintendo should probably reword that, “Pumping your wii remote as rapidly as possible, but not at mach speeds.”
After another craptasticical week for lawyerdom, here’s your weekly dose of wedding cheer. Unfortunately, like many of the firms we cover on ATL, LEWW has been forced to make some difficult decisions. We had to show one set of newlyweds the door–entirely for performance-related reasons, of course, because LEWW doesn’t do layoffs.
The future of the Detroit’s Big Three is looking grim, as Congress has turned tight-fisted in response to the automakers’ request for $34 billion to stay alive. Chrysler is getting ready to throw in the towel, and has chosen Jones Day to do the throwing.
Chrysler LLC has hired the prominent law firm Jones Day as bankruptcy counsel, according to several people familiar with the matter. The firm was hired several weeks ago to help the ailing auto maker prepare for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Jones Day bankruptcy maven Corinne Ball, a partner in the New York office, will lead the effort should Chrysler fail to secure a $7 billion capital infusion by the end of the year.
Jones Day co-head of restructuring Corinne Ball is handling the case, said the people familiar with the matter. She has worked on other automotive bankruptcies, such as that of auto-parts supplier Dana Corp., and many cases involving the United Auto Workers union. She represented GM in its acquisition of Korean auto maker Daewoo.
AmLaw noted the possibility for this major coup for the Jones Day team. This will be a massive deal. Sad for Detroit and the general economy. But what’s not these days?
Legal Week is reporting that Clifford Chance has done the predictable thing and slashed associate bonuses to half of what they were in 2006:
The US arm of the magic circle firm will award bonuses ranging from a pro-rated $17,500 (£12,000) for first-year associates to $32,500 (£22,000) for eighth-year associates – a significant decrease on last year, when the firm awarded bonuses ranging from $35,000 (£24,000) to $65,000 (£44,500).
In October, we reported on Clifford Chance’s layoffs of 20 litigation associates. But at the time we noted that the financial health of the firm had been strong in 2007:
Interestingly enough, Clifford Chance recently snagged the #1 spot on the American Lawyer’s list of top-grossing global law firms (ranked by 2007 revenue). Will its proactive response to economic turmoil help CC keep the top spot for 2008? Or are the cuts a sign of deeper troubles at the firm?
Because Half-Skadden low balled the market on associate bonuses, we can’t tell if today’s announcement is indicative of “deeper troubles,” or if Clifford Chance is just being a prudent bonus follower? Certainly, Clifford Chance wasn’t going to leave bonuses at Skadden levels so soon after firing attorneys. That would have just seemed irresponsible.
So far, the Cravath bonuses have set the floor. We’ll see if any firm wants to take it to the basement.
OJ Simpson, who walked away a free man after one of America’s most sensational murder trials, was today sentenced to 15 years in prison for a botched attempt to recover sports memorabilia.
The sentence was handed down today by Judge Jackie Glass. The judge largely ignored Simpson’s pleas for leniency, which in and of themselves were hilarious:
“I just wanted my personal things. I was stupid. I’m sorry. I didn’t know I was doing anything illegal. I thought I was confronting friends. I thought I was retrieving my things. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody and I didn’t mean to steal anything,” Simpson said.
As a general rule, when I’m confronting “friends” I leave my glock back at the safe house. But maybe O.J. confused real life with Grand Theft Auto IV.
But the best line was the way O.J. began his address to the court:
“I stand here today sorry, somewhat confused. I feel apologetic to people of state of Nevada,” Simpson began.
Fashionista editor Britt Aboutaleb opined: “he’s probably thinking to himself how did i get away with murder and now I’m going to jail for something retarded”
The latest layoff news comes from Seyfarth Shaw. The firm’s Executive Committee sent around a firm-wide email this morning:
As part of our planning for 2009, we have reviewed our staffing in light of market conditions and expected client needs — for now and for the coming year. While we continue to anticipate a solid 2008, we believe there is a need to exercise prudent business judgment and respond to what economists predict will be a continued challenging economic climate in the year ahead.
One of the decisions we have made has been to reduce legal headcount by approximately 30 attorneys and other time keepers across our offices. We believe this is the best course of action for the Firm in light the economic downturn. These are very difficult decisions to make and, we know, hard news to learn.
It’s another classy letter that sends a clear signal to the legal community that former-Seyfarth associates were let go only because of the terrible economic climate that is hurting everyone.
As we understand it, the firm cuts hit the New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston offices.
We don’t know if this will have any impact on the long standing rumor of a merger between Seyfarth Shaw and Squire Sanders. But Seyfarth’s decision comes just two weeks after Squire Sanders announced layoffs of … 30 attorneys. Make of that what you will.
Read the full Seyfarth Shaw announcement after the jump.
We spent a lot of time documenting the recruiting struggles for Harvard Law School students. Comparatively speaking Yale Law students seemed to do pretty well. The school did not send around an “accept your offers” email to students, and it appears that most Yale students who wanted jobs in Biglaw did okay. A tipster reports:
It doesn’t seem that the economy has hurt anyone too badly. Nobody said that they got dinged by any firm they really wanted…everyone seems to have a handful of offers from various firms they’re happy with.
Despite the placid exterior that comes from being at the top and knowing it, even mighty Yale looks like it’s ready to make some concessions to the general market strife. The school is now contemplating moving their fall recruiting program to August, prior to the start of classes:
The Law School is considering moving the Fall Interview Program from September to the latter half of August prior to the start of classes. A number of factors have influenced this decision, including proposed changes to the law school calendar for 2009-10; the National Association for Law Placement’s new timing guidelines governing interviews; recent developments in the financial markets; and the shift to Early Interview Week programs by many law schools. In contemplating this change, student feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to hit reply to this email and answer the following question:
I _________ (would/would not) recommend that the Law School move FIP from September to August.
Feel free to provide comments here. In addition, Deans Sharon Brooks and Megan Barnett will be offering drop in sessions next week (at dates and times TBA) for students who wish to provide their comments in that manner.
Please reply by Monday, December 8, 2008.
Evidently, all of the cackling you heard from schools that start fall recruiting in August was based on some objectively positive results.
Meanwhile, the Crimson Behemoth moves in the same direction after the jump.
More details have emerged in the story we broke last night, concerning the arrest of high-flying New York litigator Marc Dreier, founder and managing partner of Dreier LLP.
In the comments to our post, some of you wondered about the lack of MSM coverage. The story has now been picked up by the New York Post, the New York Times’s City Room blog, and the WSJ Law Blog (all of whom mention ATL — thanks for the shout-outs).
The founder of a high-profile Manhattan law firm – and close friend of retired Giant Michael Strahan – has been arrested in Canada on charges of criminal impersonation, The Post has learned.
The powerful white-shoe lawyer, Marc Dreier, 58, was arrested on Wednesday and is cooling his heels in a grimy jail cell just west of Toronto.
We had also heard the impersonation allegation, but held off on mentioning it until we had more details. One source tells ATL that the alleged impersonation stemmed from Marc Dreier’s attempt to secure a loan. When credit markets get tough, the tough get… new identities?
The Post also reports that Dreier was arrested on Wednesday; we reported the arrest took place Tuesday. According to City Room, the arrest took place late on Tuesday night (11:25 PM).
More from the Post:
“He is in provincial custody in Maplehurst Correctional Complex,” said an employee at the Ontario pokey. His bust stems from his alleged role in a multimillion fraud case, a source told The Post.
A detective for the Toronto Police Department confirmed Dreier’s arrest but said he couldn’t provide specific details about the nature of the criminal impersonation charges because the investigation was still ongoing.
Additional details, from news accounts and from ATL sources, after the jump.
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The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
This year, the Trust Women conference will take place 18-19 November in London. From women’s economic empowerment to slavery in the supply chain and child labour, this year’s agenda is strong and powerful. Speakers include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and many other influential leaders. Find out more about Trust Women here.