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.
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.
* Slate debates Sen. Craig’s arrest and plea. [New York Times]
* DC Madam seeks new counsel. [CNN Poli-Tick]
* Federal court, using wooden gavel, upholds NYC metal bat ban. [ESPN]
* Artist arrested for burning Burning Man man. [MSNBC]
So whatever happened to people caught up in the recent, ill-fatedadministration of the New York bar exam? One test taker wrote us:
“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. To: [redacted]
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)
We linked to this interesting MSNBC article, about possible replacements for outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in Morning Docket.
We’d now like to link to it again, and draw your attention to the very end of the article. Doug Kmiec, a top Justice Department official in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, is quoted as follows:
“[T]he president might be well advised to pick a senior court of appeals judge appointed by Reagan; perhaps, Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit, Kenneth Ripple of the Seventh Circuit, or Edith Jones of the Fifth.”
[Kmiec] said, “The integrity of these individuals is unquestioned; by virtue of judicial office, they have been freed of partisanship for some time, yet, by virtue of appointment, would be acceptable to the base of the President’s party.”
Judge O’Scannlain for Attorney General? What a fabulous idea!
Having clerked for Judge O’Scannlain, we’re admittedly biased. As we previously wrote:
During two decades of distiinguished service, Judge O’Scannlain has established himself as a shining star in the federal judicial firmament. We had the honor and pleasure of clerking for Judge O’Scannlain during the 1999-2000 judicial year. He was a wonderful boss to us and our co-clerks, and he continues to be a great mentor and friend to this day. (He’s also quite handsome, in a Paul Newman sort of way; see photo at right.)
But you don’t need to be a former O’Scannlain clerk to recognize the soundness of Kmiec’s reasoning. (As for the other two judges Kmiec mentions, we’re not that familiar with Judge Ripple. Judge Jones, while diva-licious, she might be a tough sell to a Senate controlled by the Democrats.)
So we hereby issue this official ATL endorsement: Judge O’Scannlain for Attorney General!
(Psst, Nixon Peabody peeps: Can you do up a theme song?) Senate confirmation hearings promise drama [MSNBC]
Lawyers are living large, not just in Miami and New York, but in Washington, too.
The Luxury Homes column, in the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, features the recent real estate purchases of two prominent lawyers. First up: political and legal commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a pretty amazing resume (UVA Law, Clarence Thomas clerkship, Skadden), especially by radio personality standards:
Conservative pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham sold a three-bedroom, four-bath Colonial rowhouse on 28th Street in Woodley Park for $1.3 million. Built in 1922, the renovated home has an in-law suite, two kitchens, and a skylit master bedroom. The Laura Ingraham Show is broadcast on 340 radio stations nationwide.
Very nice. Next up: another conservative legal celebrity, Fred Fielding:
White House counsel Fred Fielding and his wife, Maria, sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Colonial in Arlington’s Country Club Hills for $1.8 million. The house has embassy-size entertaining rooms. Before joining the Bush administration in January, Fielding was a senior partner at Wiley Rein (formerly Wiley Rein & Fielding).
Despite the “embassy-size entertaining rooms,” a sub-$2 million house seems a tad underwhelming, especially for a former name partner of 2006′s most profitable law firm. Are the Fieldings trading up to bigger digs?
Using a combination of internet resources, we tracked down what we believe to be the houses in question, on Zillow. You can check out the listings, with pics, after the jump.
The latest post in our series on perks / fringe benefits isn’t a “perk” per se. But it is, like true perks, a non-monetary factor that some people may take into account when choosing between law firms.
The topic: eco-friendliness, or how “green” a law firm is. From a tipster:
I think you should do a feature on which law firms are promoting eco-friendly office environments / business practices. With the country’s increased environmental awareness, I think it could help both law students and attorneys decide where to work. Here are two examples:
A week has passed since our last bit of clerkship bonus news.
Have you heard anything on this subject that we haven’t previously reported? If so, please note it in the comments, or email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus Watch”). Bonus question: With respect to the Dewey Ballantine / LeBoeuf Lamb merger, whose clerkship bonus policy will the new entity adopt? Dewey pays a flat $50,000 clerkship bonus, while LeBoeuf pays a $50K bonus for one clerkship and a $70K bonus for two years of clerkship experience.
Oh! Whooo! Aye. Yeah, yeah, yeaaah! Oh! Hey! Ooh, ooh, yeah!
We press on with our open threads on Vault 100 law firms. Sure, these next five firms are ranked by their Vault prestige scores (indicated parenthetically). But in our opinion, every one of them is a winner:
Please accept our apologies. After breaking the story on Friday afternoon, we kinda dropped the ball on the merger of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf Lamb.
We’ll write more about this transaction later. Sadly, we have to head offline for a bit. But in the meantime, here’s an open thread for people to discuss the merger.
We’ll get the ball rolling with a press-release-type statement that was sent to DB interviewees:
After receiving a callback from Dewey, the recruiting department sent me and all similarly-situated recruits the heads up: The new firm, to be dubbed “Dewey & LeBoeuf,” is set to roll out, “subject to approval by the partners in both firms.”
Below is the email that I was sent. I apologize if you’ve already been notified.
The email, from Dewey Ballantine partner Henry Ricardo, appears after the jump.
Congratulations to Nixon Peabody. All of the “winners” at that venerable law firm are winners once again. VH1′s Best Week Ever just named the firm’s non-theme-songsong its Favorite Jam of Summer ’07!
We kid you not. See here:
“Everyone’s a Winner at Nixon Peabody” is officially our Favorite Jam of Summer 07! The type of tune that makes you want to get out the Bartles & James, brush n’ braid your long gray hair, tear off your stirrup pants and miniature horse cardigan, and make out with your 77-year-old husband on a nude beach somewhere in Pueto Vallarta.
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding”….
As our friends at Wonkette quipped, “it was all just a simple he said/he said misunderstanding! Because Larry Craig was under the impression that the other gentleman wanted to have anonymous sex with him in an airport bathroom.”
Okay, we have to go chase after a bunch of other stories right now. But you can follow the Larry Craig sex scandal at Wonkette. And Matt Drudge is having a field day with the story, too:
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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