It’s Billy Merck again, your favorite
person to shoot spitballs at fill-in for Lat, who’s got a full day away from the blogosphere today.
We start today with some stray Larry Craig news.
First, we certainly don’t mean to imply anything about the deceased chief justice, but there is a creepy resemblance here.
Next, Craig has been forced out of his committee assignments [New York Times], and some of his fellow Republican Senators are calling for his resignation altogether [New York Times].
Finally, we have a couple of takes on the actual criminality, or not, of Craig’s airport restroom activities. The WSJ Law Blog talks with Minnesota law prof Barry Feld about, among other things, whether the sting was entrapment and whether Craig can undo his plea (likely no and no, Feld concludes). And coming to us from LawBeat via the Legal Blog Watch, Mark Obbie wants to know about the kind of evidence usually used to demonstrate criminal intent in these kinds of cases.
Personally, we’re still kind of hung up on the “wide stance” defense. We’ve never heard anyone talk about a wide stance outside of the context of batting in baseball or the line in football. And how wide does a stance have to get before it becomes probable cause? We guess exiting the boundaries of your own stall and making contact with someone else’s foot are good indicators.
* Some of you have asked for more Larry Craig coverage. Here you go. [Blogonaut]
* The latest developments in the bizarre Gene Plotkin insider trading case. You remember — the one involving “a Merrill Lynch junior analyst, a 63-year old retired Croatian underwear seamstress, an exotic dancer, and two former employees from the Wisconsin branch of a BusinessWeek printing press.” [DealBreaker; NYT]
* Here’s a list of “The Ten Worst U.S. Prosecutors” for 2007. If Alberto Gonzales is #1 and Mike Nifong is #3, who’s #2? (Yes, we realize this link is from last week. But thanks for pointing that out to us.) [Bennett Law Firm]
* Speaking of AGAG, what took him so long to leave? Dan Markel speculates that he didn’t want to leave until we were done with our Shanetta Cutlar coverage. But if she gets promoted to head the Civil Rights Division, to replace the outgoing Wan Kim, expect our coverage to resume. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Why would you want to avoid a circus-like atmosphere? Isn’t that the whole point of a celebrity trial? [Daily Business Review]
We realize that it’s still summer. Many of the justices are still traipsing around Europe (or hanging out in the Hampshire, as in the case of Justice David Souter).
It’s also the last week of August, leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend – traditionally one of the slowest, most dead weeks of the year. As some of you have noticed, we’ve been
phoning it in taking it easy here at ATL, too.
But even though nothing is supposed to be happening, it appears that some things are afoot. We’ve been hearing all sorts of cryptic rumors about recent Supreme Court clerk hiring. As former SCOTUS clerk Michael Chertoff might say, we have a “gut feeling” that some hiring has been going on.
Our last open thread on this subject didn’t yield much, but that was over a month ago. Have you heard any Supreme Court clerk hiring news that hasn’t already appeared on ATL? If so, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”). (You can also post a comment, but we prefer email for this subject, so we can pose follow-up questions to you if we have them.)
Thanks for any and all info!
What’s up with all these federal judges seeking to leave their life-tenured quarters? We understand that the pay’s not great (which is why we urge them to marry rich). But being an Article III judge is still nice work if you can get it.
Despite the power and prestige, two federal judges are moving on — temporarily or permanently. First, from the Daily Business Review:
In a highly unusual move, U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins [N.D. Cal. (at right)], a life-tenured federal judge in San Francisco, is prepared to give up his seat and has applied for an opening on the California State Court of Appeal bench.
Jenkins, 54, a moderate Democrat and former state trial court judge in Oakland, Calif., was appointed by President Clinton a decade ago. He confirmed rumors that he has submitted an application with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for the vacancy.
We understand the allure of an appellate over a trial court gig. But still, giving up the federal bench for a state court is “highly unusual” — especially since the state court in question isn’t even the California Supreme Court (the move that Judge Morrison England (E.D. Cal.) was contemplating, before he withdrew his name from consideration).
U.S. District Judge Sam Kent [S.D. Tex.] will take a four-month leave from his Galveston bench for unspecified reasons, according to an order made public Monday.
No one involved would comment on the order, but students of the federal judiciary said it is unusual.
We smell a story here. A little more about Judge Kent, after the jump.
Our series of open threads on Vault 100 law firms is nearing its conclusion. Here are this afternoon’s firms (with Vault prestige scores in parentheses):
76. Bryan Cave LLP (5.095)
77. Schulte Roth & Zabel (5.080)
78. Perkins Coie (5.058)
79. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan (5.022)
80. Patton Boggs LLP (5.015)
Collectively these firms have made several appearances in ATL. We know that Schulte Roth & Zabel partners have nice apartments. And Stroock & Stroock & Lavan has an interesting first-year associate, who sent out this email.
Correction: Initially we had the 2007 Vault 76-80 firms on this list. We have since fixed the post. Sorry about that!
Please discuss these five firms in the comments. Thanks!
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55; Vault 56-60; Vault 61-65; Vault 66-70; Vault 71-75
Remember the “spicy pony head” comedy sketch that we linked to earlier this week?
Maybe defense lawyer Robin Shellow should some friends over for a Labor Day barbecue. And serve up spicy goat head.
P.S. Fans of Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah might get a kick out of the random expert quote that closes the article.
Severed goat head left at law office [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
If the Nixon Peabody song were lawyer advertising — which, of course, it is not — it would be the best lawyer advertisement ever.
And this, which a helpful reader emailed to us, would be second best:
In case you can’t read the fine print at the bottom — which offers some helpful tips on staying out of trouble with the law, but which should NOT be construed as legal advice — here’s a close up:
Right now you’re probably thinking: This CANNOT be for real.
But it is, dear readers, it is. We confirmed the authenticity of this advertisement with Mr. Peter John himself.
You can check out our short interview with him, after the jump.
As you know, we’ve been doing a series of fall recruiting open threads on the Vault 100 law firms — which, of course, tend to represent large corporate defendants in litigation matters.
But lately plaintiffs’ firms have been on our mind. Like Hewes & Associates, the fictional firm headed by Glenn Close in the new FX show, Damages. Or Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins — which will drop “Lerach” from its name as of August 31st, after the departure of the colorful and controversial Bill Lerach (whose over-the-top farewell message can be accessed here).
We’re not alone in thinking about plaintiffs’ lawyers. The crew over at Illegal Briefs sent in this request:
We’ve been enjoying your recent recruiting posts/threads. We’d be curious to read about folks’ take on plaintiff-side recruiting and work experiences.
We’re curious too. To kick things off, here are some questions:
1. What are associate salaries (and bonuses) like at the big plaintiffs’ firms, like Lerach Coughlin or Milberg Weiss?
2. Law students (a) want to make money, so they can pay off their student loans, and (b) generally have liberal or left-of-center political views. So why do they all go trooping off to firms that defend big corporations? Why not do plaintiffs’ work, where they can stand up for “the little guy” — and make good money, too?
And, from a different reader, an inquiry about another ATL favorite subject:
You should consider including in your updated clerkship bonus coverage the bonuses being paid by a large plaintiff firm such as Lerach. It would be interesting to see if they are matching their corporate adversaries.
So, does anyone have information or opinions to share on plaintiffs’ firms? If so, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
Bill Lerach To Resign August 31 [WSJ Law Blog]
Lerach’s Departure Memo [WSJ Law Blog]
Here’s a random legal / political celebrity sighting, sent to us last night, in real time (at around 8 PM):
I’m riding the Philly-to-DC Acela, and who should be in first class but the original don of the Homeland, Tom Ridge, Esq. A dark horse candidate coming down to be reviewed as a potential AG?
The former governor is looking dapper, in a double-breasted, navy pinstripe suit (although the bluetooth earpiece is too much). He’s carrying only a small leather bag.
Tom Ridge for AG? Not as predictable as, say, Mike Chertoff. But when it comes to picking a new attorney general, we’re all in favor of outside-the-box thinking.
Oh wait, sorry, an update and correction:
Upon de-training, it is clear that Ridge’s bag is a black nylon duffel — not leather. I catch his attention and ask him if he prefers “Governor Ridge” or “Secretary Ridge,” and he responds the former, although “Tom is fine.”
Have you recently seen a legal luminary around town? Please send “Eyes of the Law” sightings to us by email. Thanks.
“I imagine you’re getting a slew of forwards on these cold-comfort NYBOLE [New York Board of Law Examiners] emails, but just the same, here you go. I didn’t have laptop problems myself (knock on wood), but for those applicants who claimed to have their essay answers swapped or overwritten, this might just be salt in the wound.”
And the message:
From: New York Bar Exam Administration
Date: 23 Aug 2007 13:05:43 -0400
Subject: Your July 2007 Bar Exam Essays have all been received.
This will confirm that we are in receipt of all of your printed (and/or handwritten) answers to essay questions 1 through 5 and the MPT
New York State Board of Law Examiners
But apparently some exam takers weren’t so lucky. From a second source:
Any updates on Laptopgate? A friend of mine that took the NY bar at the Javitz got an email yesterday saying that additional information is needed from their computer. That doesn’t sound promising.
We haven’t seen one of these “more information please” emails. Have you? If so, we’d be grateful if you could send it to us by email. If we get one, we’ll post it here. Thanks.
Update: The text of the cryptic email appears after the jump.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bar exams (scroll down)