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* A user’s guide to the snazzy new version of our sibling site, DealBreaker. The redesigned ATL, which will make its debut sometime in the next few weeks, will look similar. [DealBreaker]
* “There is basically a large sector of white workers with arts majors” — e.g., marriage counselors, therapists, and lawyers — “that would otherwise be unemployed were it not for the high rate of divorce.” [Stuff White People Like]
* Lawyers and law professors are suckers for rankings — like the Top 30 Law Prof Blogs, ranked by both visitors and page views. [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of law-prof bloggers, here is Ann Althouse’s photo essay about her experience voting today in Wisconsin. [Althouse]
* Oh, in case you’re wondering, she’s voting for Obama. [Instapundit]
* Seeing as we’re in Chicago this week — the ATL “happy hour” is tomorrow night, details here — we thought we’d give a shout-out to John Marshall Law School. From a tipster:

Since you’re in Chicago, I thought it might be appropriate to promote some Chicago schools while slamming Harvard.

John Marshall just got back from a national competition in Harvard and swept! They took first AND second place.

Congratulations to the JMLS Animal Law Society on its victory. You guys are animals in the courtroom!
Winners of the 2008 National Animal Advocacy Competitions [Lewis & Clark Law School]

burka burqa burkha burqha Dubai Doha UAE Qatar Above the Law blog.jpgSome time ago, we received this request by email:

Is there any way to do a posting or open thread about what COLA biglaw firms are handing out overseas? Specifically, I was interested in what associates are getting to go to Dubai.

At the time, we viewed the topic as rather obscure, of interest to just a handful of people. Why not do an open thread on, say, lawyers in Burkina Faso? (No offense to Burkina Faso.)
But maybe we underestimated the allure of the Middle East — which will, thanks to gushing oil revenues, own most of the U.S. soon anyway. On Sunday, we heard this from a tipster at Latham & Watkins:

Here’s an email that went out to the firm today [about LW opening offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha]. Why Sunday? No idea, but rumors were going around about it, so they probably wanted to make an announcement before it leaked out. [Update: A tipster tells us, "Sunday is the first day of the work week in Dubai. Friday is the day of rest, so the weekend is Fri-Sat, not Sat-Sun."]

Apparently, some Latham corporate associates have been asked if they would go to these new offices for a certain period of time. I have no details, but I hear they are getting handsome benefits and bonuses to go there. With domestic corporate/finance work slow, this is an opportunity for the firm to shore itself up by moving people there from slower offices.

And Latham isn’t the first major law firm to venture into the region in 2008. Late last month, Dewey & LeBoeuf announced the opening of a full-service Dubai office.
Check out the Latham memo, after the jump. And if you’d like to talk about legal job opportunities in the Middle East, please treat the comments to this post as an open thread (because who knows when we’ll post again about this part of the world). Thanks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Latham and Dewey Do… Dubai?
(And an open thread on Middle East opportunities.)”

bodybuilder weightlifter bodybuilding weightlifting Above the Law blog.jpgAn excerpt from an ad in the “legal jobs” section of the Denver craigslist:

The ideal candidate would be admitted to practice Colorado State Bar, and have at least 4 to 7 years experience. Experienced professional demeanor in client contact both in person and on the telephone is a must. Ability to work and adapt in a fast-paced environment is crucial. The candidate should have a very high level of proficiency with MS Word, Outlook, and Excel. Experience with TABS billing software is a plus. Must be able to lift up to 25 lbs. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

Are we witnessing the start of a trend, as the market for legal talent shifts from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market? This isn’t the first law firm advertisement we’ve seen requiring the ability to engage in heavy lifting (quite literally). See also this ad (applicants must have the ability to “carry[] loads of up to 35 pounds”).
Associate for Litigation Group [Denver craigslist]
Earlier: Definitely Not the Job of the Week

baby lawyer attorney Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday, we posted some preliminary results from last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on leave and part-time arrangements. Today, we’re going to get a little bit deeper into the maternity leave data.
We now have more than 600 responses, and roughly three-fifths of respondents have reported that their firms offer twelve weeks of paid maternity leave. Another 17% of respondents are at firms that have adopted an eighteen-week leave policy. Since some of you have been clamoring for charts (and others have been less enthusiastic), a chart showing the overall breakdown of responses is here.
Of course, the number of responses and the number of firms are different animals, so today we’re going to start a running table of firms’ paid maternity leave policies. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Survey Results: Maternity Leave”

Sports and the Law 3 Above the Law blog.jpgThe thirteen commissioners of Miami-Dade County are expected on Thursday to approve a proposal to spend $347 million in taxpayer money to build a new 37,000-seat, retractable roof stadium for the Florida Marlins. This proposal would not only provide a huge subsidy to the team’s much maligned owner, Jeffrey Loria, but it also might violate the Florida Constitution.
According to published reports, the Marlins stadium proposal would require Miami-Dade County to contribute roughly two-thirds of the cost for the new stadium, with the city of Miami contributing roughly 3% ($10 million), and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria contributing 30% ($155 million). According to Miami Today, Mr. Loria would then be allowed to sell the stadium’s naming rights to a third party, expected to fetch him more than $155 million.
A number of Miami-Dade County residents are unhappy about the idea of publicly funding a new stadium for Mr. Loria, who has never invested much of his own money in the Marlins ball club. Recently, on December 5, 2007, Mr. Loria traded away the Marlins’ two most productive players, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis — a move that reduced team payroll to less than $25 million, the lowest in Major League Baseball. For purposes of comparison, the New York Yankees projected 2008 payroll is $213 million. The Yankees, incidentally, are privately financing their new stadium.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Marlins Stadium Subsidy Might Violate State Constitution”

Cass Sunstein Professor Cass R Sunstein Above the Law blog.jpgIf we knew anything about sports, we’d say this is the legal academic equivalent of Major Player X leaving Super-Elite Team Y for Super-Elite Team Z. But we don’t. So we’ll just say it’s one of the biggest law school hiring coups since Harvard Law School snatched half of Feldsuk from NYU.
HLS strikes again — but this time around, the victim of their poaching is U. Chicago (where we’ll be making an appearance later this week, by the way). From the Harvard Law School website:

Renowned legal scholar and political theorist Cass R. Sunstein ’78 has accepted an offer to join the Harvard Law School faculty, Dean Elena Kagan ’86 announced today. Sunstein, currently a tenured professor at the University of Chicago Law School, will begin teaching at HLS in the fall. He will also become director of the new Program on Risk Regulation.

“Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time — the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential,” said Kagan. “His work in any one of the fields he pursues — administrative law and policy, constitutional law and theory, behavioral economics and law, environmental law, to name a non-exhaustive few — would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars; the combination is singular and breathtaking….”

Some tipsters’ takes:

“I imagine a lot of Chicago alums will be annoyed at the least.”

“Yet another high-profile move to HLS. Dean Kagan has done an amazing job these past few years getting big names out to Cambridge. (I’m just annoyed because I decided to take Admin Law this semester.)”

“[W]e just learned that although Martha Nussbaum turned down Harvard and Brown last week, Cass Sunstein ACCEPTED his Harvard Law offer! I’m torn – HUGE get in Sunstein, proving Elena Kagan is unstoppable, but is this trouble for the power couple?”

In December, we attended Professor Sunstein’s 2007 Distinguished Lecture at AEI in Washington, DC (where we’re currently based). We were mighty impressed by the good professor, who wasn’t just brilliant and articulate, but also funny and self-effacing. Congrats to HLS and Dean Kagan on this latest addition to the Cambridge constellation of legal geniuses!
Update: Additional analysis of the Sunstein move from Professor Brian Leiter appears here. It seems that all is well in Sunstein-Nussbaum land. Per Professor Leiter:

[A]s Cass told me, he will be keeping his Chicago apartment and an office at the University of Chicago Law School, and he will also continue teaching part-time at Chicago as the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor of Law (probably in the winter quarters).

Further Update / Correction: Uh, scratch that. As you may have surmised from some of the comments, Professors Nussbaum and Sunstein are no longer an item. Professor Sunstein has a new honey, Professor Samantha Power, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He’s moving to Harvard in part because of this new romance. More details here.
Sunstein, Harvard, Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Nussbaum Declines Harvard, Brown Offers, and Will Remain at Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Sunstein to join Harvard Law School faculty [Harvard Law School]
Cass Sunstein bio [University of Chicago Law School]
2007 Distinguished Lecture: Extremism [American Enterprise Institute]

Here’s something from the ATL mailbag that we thought might be a good topic for discussion. It concerns the professional prospects of staff attorneys at large law firms:

up arrow elevator Above the Law blog.jpgI have a friend that is a staff attorney at a Vault 100 firm. He kind of keeps it a secret. He started at a tiny firm after being on the Law Review of a third tier school. Then he got this job almost two years ago.

I know he is hoping that if he busts his butt and does great work, they will wake up one day and realize: this guy should be an associate! I know from other mutual friends that he is aching to get that response, and would even start as a first-year associate at this place, or of course another Big Law firm, even though he is the equivalent of a third- or fourth-year associate by seniority.

So here is the topic I propose, for guys/gals like him: Is there any shot at his strategy working? Do Big Law firms ever allow or invite a particularly valuable and hard working staff attorney to become a “real associate”? Will the experience he has ever get him in the door at another Big Law firm?

Some of my peers think that once you are pegged as a staff attorney, that is all anyone will ever think of you as, whether at your current firm or other Vault 100 firms. For his sake, I hope that they do allow staff attorneys to become associates.

So, folks, what do you think? Our off-the-cuff reaction is that this strategy is a long shot, especially now that the economy is worsening and firms are tightening up on hiring (even of judicial law clerks, who tend to have superb academic credentials).
But that’s just our quick-and-dirty response, backed up by no research. If you have some opinions or, better yet, actual data (either systematic or anecdotal), please post in the comments — or feel free to email us, if you have an especially long and detailed response. Thanks.

Fidel Castro Cuba Above the Law blog.jpg* Is that legal? Apparently so. The Clinton campaign may pursue Obama’s pledged delegates, who technically are not required to vote for Obama. [Politico]
* A portrait of radical Islam in the United States, based on analysis of court cases. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Thomson Corp., aka the folks who bring you Westlaw, gets European regulatory approval to gobble up Reuters Group PLC. [AP]
* Dueling infringement lawsuits involving Motorola and RIM. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Government witness list in Pellicano case contains 244 names, many of them either legal world (Bert Fields) or “real world” celebs (Chris Rock, Sylvester Stallone). [Fox News via Drudge]
* Cuba Libre? Adios, Castro. (But don’t get your hopes up, cigar aficionados — the trade embargo will apparently remain in place, at least for now.) [New York Times]
* And it looks like Musharraf is out in Pakistan, too. [New York Times]
* Judge John Phillips and sports arbitrator Thomas Roberts, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

Seyfarth Shaw LLP logo AboveTheLaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgThe law firm perks keep rolling in. From a source at Seyfarth Shaw:

Following the recent trend of enhanced BigLaw perks, Seyfarth announced changes to their leave policy for associates. Previously, associates were given 4 weeks of vacation per year. Now, associates can now take (at least hypothetically) as much leave as they want so long as they get their work done.

This was a bit of a non-event given that associates can’t even find time to take their original 4 weeks of vacation, but the sentiment was nice anyway.

What Seyfarth associates are really waiting for are the “Associates Meetings” scheduled for this week. Word on the street is that salaries are going up. How much they will go up is the real question.

But don’t get too excited, people — we’re not talking “NY to 190.” Recall that, at least outside New York, Seyfarth is not yet on the $160K scale (at least according to their NALP forms).
The Seyfarth Shaw vacation memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Seyfarth Shaw to… Unlimited Vacation!”

post it flags post it notes Above the Law blog.jpg* Is it okay for a law professor to exclude white students from her review sessions? [Blackprof via PrawfsBlawg]
* Speaking of law profs, students like ‘em hot. And we needed a research paper to tell us this? [TaxProf Blog]
* A utilitarian analysis of the question we raised on Valentine’s Day: Should lawyers date other lawyers? [Law and Letters]
* More on last month’s “pleaded” vs. “pled” debate. We feel vindicated in preferring “pleaded.” [SW Virginia Law Blog; Indiana Law Blog]
* Professor Dan Solove, author of The Future of Reputation, photographed in a pensive state for Money Magazine. [Concurring Opinions]
* Some ruminations on the use of Post-it-brand tape-flags in document review. We can relate, but we’re dating ourselves — isn’t most doc review done on computers these days? [PrawfsBlawg]
* A cycling-inspired Blawg Review (#147, for those of you who are counting). [Rush on Business via Blawg Review]

clock.gifWe received about 600 responses to last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on leave and part-time arrangements. One reader made a very interesting suggestion in the comments:

Justin – how about you keep a list of where law firms are on parental leave? Sort of like the list Lat kept going showing who was being delinquent on raising salaries. Those lists made a big influence at some firms that were reluctant to give associate salary raises – a list like this could likewise make a world of difference in parental benefits.

I like this idea a lot, and while I won’t be calling it a “list of shame,” I’ll be keeping a running table of maternity leave policies, starting later this week. If you’d like to make sure your firm’s info is accurate, please take the survey (which will stay open for a while) or send us a tip.
In the meantime, let’s focus on a slightly different data point from the survey. In addition to questions about leave, which we’ll talk about later this week, we asked whether you would be interested in working fewer hours for less pay if your employer gave you the option. See the results after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Survey Results: Less Billing, Tastes Great?”

mount rushmore mt rushmore presidents day AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgHappy Presidents’ Day! In honor of the executive branch, unitary or not, ATL will be on a reduced publication schedule today.
* Where’s the beef? Not on your grocery shelves, thankfully, as the USDA orders the largest meat recall in its history. [Washington Post]
* Obama woos Edwards. [AP]
* “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay,” plus other representations of Gitmo in popular culture. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* It’s getting hot in here: Pending legislation would require climate change to be taught in California public schools. [San Jose Mercury News via Drudge]
* Municipalities mull ordinances to limit where sex offenders hang out. [New York Times]
* More recusals in the Massey Energy case. Is there anyone left in West Virginia who can hear this case? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Turnout low and tensions high as Pakistan goes to the polls. [New York Times]
* Happy independence day — in Kosovo. [Washington Post]

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