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  • 17 Dec 2008 at 11:43 AM
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Michigan 2L Responds

michigan law school strikes back.jpgLast week, we brought you the story of a Michigan 2L that got caught up in a prostitution scandal with a university professor. The story generated a lot of discussion, including some comments apparently generated by the 2L herself.

A long comment was posted in the thread about the 2L, and sent to U-M Law listserve telling the other side of the story:

I’m the girl who got into the mess with the professor. I posted a version of this in the comments on ATL, because using my uniquename email on lawopen means outing myself, which gives the press permission to publish my name. Fortunately, one of my classmates has offered to transmit this message to you on my behalf. Those of you

who don’t know who I am yet will find out soon enough.

We can’t confirm that the 2L in question actually wrote this message. But we can confirm that the message was sent to the entire U-M Law community, and that many of our sources believe the message to be authentic.

Clear as we can tell, the Michigan 2L wants and deserves an opportunity to clear the record while maintaining her anonymity:

It’s difficult reading all of these things written about me without being able to offer an explanation/defense/vignette:

After the jump, you can read the full message.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michigan 2L Responds”

funny-pictures-cat-demands-that-baby-worship-him.jpgNow that we’re nearing the end of the year, it’s a good time to put things in perspective.

While recent posts have focused on what Elie calls “the four hoursemen of the economic crisis” (layoffs, salary freezes, low bonuses, and dissolution), we should always remember that there’s crushing debt, too. ATL can also be a place for hope.

Just last year, a “skinny kid with a funny name” was nominated for ATL Lawyer of the Year . . . and lost to an ATL commenter-prophet with a not-so-funny view of his career prospects.

In honor of that improbable victory by Loyola 2L, today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey calls for nominations for this year’s Lawyer of the Year.

Last year, your nominees included luminaries like Barack Obama (because “I mean, did you see the Obama Girl videos?”), Hillary Clinton (“She’s fabulous.”), Alberto Gonzales, (“Exemplifies why lawyers are so mistrusted in this country.”), Aaron Charney, (“For both the attention focused, success of action, and for the visibility [he] brought to the secondary issue of partner/associate relations (but not those kinds of relations).”), and, of course, the winner, Loyola 2L (“He’s generated the most thoughtful discussion of law school. That, and perhaps the publicity will help him get a job.”).

Submit your nominations for this year’s Lawyer of the Year below.

Also, in honor of Loyola 2L’s victory, we’re adding a bonus question (which may be the only bonus some of you get this year): we’re accepting nominations for the ATL Commenter of the Year, so you can tell us who’s “First!” in your heart.

Of course, even though there’s a spot for you to nominate a Commenter of the Year, you can also still feel free to nominate a commenter for Lawyer of the Year, too. Or, as one commenter in particular might put it, there are . . .

TWO! TWO PLACES TO NOMINATE COUNT LAYOFFULA!!! AH AH AH!!!!!

Update: This survey is now closed. Click here to see the nominees for Lawyer of the Year, and here to see who was nominated for Commenter of the Year.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

Thacher.jpgHard facts are difficult to come by, especially when the firm does not respond to requests for comment. But a tipster reports that Thacher Proffitt & Wood did have an associates meeting yesterday (as expected). At that meeting, we understand that associates were informed that TPW’s litigation department would close on December 31st.

No mention was made of any severance package that would be offered to displaced associates, nor was there discussion of any WARN obligations for the firm. TPW representatives did not respond to requests for comment last night.

Just the other day, we reported:

According to our tipsters, whether or not there is a rescue by King & Spalding, Thacher’s litigation department won’t be a part of it. Word on the street is that the head of litigation is leaving TPW tomorrow.

The head of TPW’s litigation department is Richard Hans. Our sources tell us he is still with the firm during the merger negotations with K&S, but his contact information is no longer available on TPW’s website.

We will keep you posted with any additional TPW news as it comes in. If you have info to share, please email us (subject line: “Thacher Proffitt”). Thanks.

Update (10:25 AM): Multiple tipsters report that Richard Hans is leaving TPW for DLA Piper, his former firm. Word is that he will be taking a few attorneys back with him.

Earlier: Nationwide Dissolution Watch: Is TPW Finally Done?


no spitting.jpg

* Conversations about impeachment of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich were postponed until today so that Blago’s lawyer Ed Gerson could be present, or so that prosecutors could make sure that the impeachment committee could interfere with his criminal case. [The New York Times]

* Judges tighten their belts. Gov. Patterson of New York praised New York’s judiciary for presenting such a tight budget request, despite the influx of financially-related cases. Maine’s judiciary didn’t see any cuts in the budget, but the Gov.’s failure to grant them a shortfall could make cases take longer. [Law.com]

* Former Amgen Inc. patent lawyer Darrell G. Dotson, who claims that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the company’s unethical activity, will be able to pursue his case in court, a Superior court judge rules. [The Los Angeles Times]

* Marc Dreier’s law firm, “scandalized” by his fraud charges, will file for bankruptcy. [The Associated Press]

* The recent killings of three Latino immigrants prompted Latino leaders to ask Congress to extend the federal hate crimes law. [FOX]

* Sarasota city commissioners abolish the city’s law against spitting. [The Associated Press]

Latham Watkins LLP lw logo.jpgMaybe Latham & Watkins was never into this whole “____ to $160K” thing to begin with. When Latham finally raised salaries across the board back in May 2007, we reported:

Well, it appears that Latham has been shamed into giving into the “hysteria” surrounding associate comp.

As we’ve discussed, Latham’s associate salary freeze essentially cancels out the pay raise from 2007. Whether you call it a salary freeze or a pay cut, Latham chairman Robert Dell is calling it sound business. The Blog of the Legal Times reported this quote from the chairman earlier today:

We are modifying associate compensation as part of a prudent business strategy in the face of challenging economic times. All associates moving to the next class year on January 1, 2009 will continue to receive the same base compensation as they received in 2008. We are confident that our business strategy, our diverse practices and our strong global platform will serve our clients and our firm well as we all face the challenges of a difficult business environment in 2009.

More discussion, including a salary chart that Lat prepared to show just how bad L&W associates must be feeling today, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Latham & Watkins Salary Shenanigans Follow-Up”

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgAllen & Overy, recently named by American Lawyer as the firm with the sixth-highest revenue in the world, just decided to pull a Half-Skadden:

Bonuses will be paid at the end of January.

Class of 2008: $17,500 (pro-rated)
Class of 2007: $17,500
Class of 2006: $20,000
Class of 2005: $22,500
Class of 2004: $25,000
Class of 2003: $27,500
Class of 2002: $30,000
Class of 2001: $32,500

I hear that one good way to keep revenues high is to pay your employees as little as the market will bear.

Good job A&O. Way to keep up appearances. There’s no way we’d deny you time in the spotlight just because you sent out a bonus announcement around the close of business.

Read the full memo after the jump.

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Spitzer Slate.jpg* Eliot Spitzer is now a columnist for the Slate. Who’d he have to **** to get that job? [GapperBlog]

* There’s nothing here that regular ATL readers don’t already know about, but here’s NPR’s take on our legal community, with a little help from me. [NPR]

* I’ve got an innovative solution to layoffs: stop hoarding all the money in the partnership ranks. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]

* Mark Herrmann does a much better job of writing his own non-sequitur lead-in than I could. “Your appeal was denied. U will B executed Saturday. Thx. :)” [Drug and Device Law]

* Goldman Sachs. 1% tax rate. If Obama doesn’t fix this, I’m writing in Khrushchev in 2012. [TaxProf Blog]

* It’s been a banner year for celebrities in trouble with the law. [Popsquire]

Reed Smith.jpgWhile the Latham & Watkins salary freeze came as a shock to most in the Biglaw community, Reed Smith associates have known for days that their salaries would remain frozen in place.

Reed Smith laid off 115 people two weeks ago. Individual salary memos started going out to the remaining Reed Smith associates last week (Reed Smith makes salary decisions known on a person-to-person basis). Not surprisingly, most people are not getting 2009 raises.

Because of the individualized nature of the salary information, we can’t say that nobody at Reed Smith will be receiving a raise. We can say that nobody we’ve talked to has received a full raise, expects a full raise, or is hoping for anything other than having a job when the calendar flips over. A couple of people we talked to will be getting a small salary bump, but nothing at the normal level for their class.

Did somebody say something about bonuses? Our Reed Smith sources don’t expect to get that either. There hasn’t been any official announcement, but the rumblings around the firm all point towards the “special bonus” of $0. Though, one tipster points out that there are enough bonus complications that the firm might be able to avoid the negative press associated with a $0 bonus:

RS doesn’t give end-of-year bonuses. All of our bonuses are dependent on hours or performance or are related to profit sharing. Everything is discretionary, except profit sharing, which is based on the firms performance, and well, we know where that is.

The lesson, as always, if your firm recently picked up a bunch of Thelen attorneys, or a bunch of Heller attorneys, things are not going well.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Reed Smith Cans Staff, Associates, ‘And Your Little Dog Too’

Howrey and Reed Smith: Latest Beneficiaries of Thelen’s Shutdown

We’ve covered gift-giving by lawyers, to their secretaries and administrative support staff. Now, it’s time to move on to gift-giving to lawyers.

This is an open thread to discuss best gifts for lawyers. Perhaps you can e-mail the post out to friends and relatives instead of compiling the hated gift wish list.

Scale of justice bling.jpgTo get your creative juices flowing, here’s a few ideas we came up with:

For the lawyers who like bling: Profession Gifts offers this pin up as “a beautiful clothing accessory that makes both a professional and fashion statement.” Indeed.

For the lawyer doing doc review around the country: We hate stripping down to go through airport security and unloading the contents of our carry-ons. While the shoes, the belt, and the metal bustier still have to be shed, laptops can stay in their bags according to a TSA policy change made this summer. The catch is that you have to have a special “checkpoint-friendly” bag (via USAToday). Here are some bags fitting the bill from The Week.

attorney work product baby bib.jpg

For those who work so hard that they never see their kids: It’s nice to remind the little ones of their absent parents. For Counsel has a whole section of “Gifts for Lawyers’ Babies and Toddlers.” We like the idea of branding the little one with this bib.

For the lawyer with lots of weird stuff on his or her desk: We might recommend Supreme Court Bobbleheads (if you can get one) from the Green Bag. Scalia’s up for grabs on eBay at the moment. Current bid: $102.50.

blindfold copy.jpgFor the kinky lawyer: A “justice is blind” blindfold.

So here’s an open thread to discuss what you want this year (besides a Skadden-sized bonus). What do you recommend giving to legal folk this holiday season?

Dechert logo.JPGWe started getting reports this morning that Dechert let go a number of secretaries and legal assistants. But the numbers from our tipsters were low, very low. The Legal Intelligencer just reported that Dechert has in fact laid off an amazing 72 staffers.

A firm spokeswoman confirmed that Dechert has laid off 72 administrative staff across its U.S. offices. She wouldn’t get into details about which positions or how many in each office, but said the cuts were basically proportionate across the firm’s 11 U.S. offices.

The 72 administrative positions account for about 12.6 percent of the firms 570 U.S. staff members. Dechert has around 1,045 attorneys firmwide and the spokeswoman said there are no plans to cut any more staff or any attorneys based on what they know at this time.

An attorney tipster moves straight to the problem associates at Dechert are all worried about:

[I]t’s not like we can have less secretaries unless there are less lawyers…

Dechert has come to the layoff buffet early and often. In October, there was a lot of contention about how many attorneys Dechert has been stealthily getting rid of. At least the staff layoffs are being properly announced.

But then again, Dechert staff also got to feel a little bit of that “Dechert style” on their way out the door. More after the jump.

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After stealthily laying off at least 30 associates, the Fried Frank bonus announcement should come as no surprise:

FF bonus memo.jpg

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses.jpgNobody expected Fried Frank to break into Skadden territory on bonuses. But at least there is a nod towards the reason for paying the low-end bonuses championed by Cravath:

Current global economic conditions have presented new challenges for our clients and your contributions play an important role in our ability to work together to meet these challenges.

Let’s close off the Fried Frank loop after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Fried Frank Wades Into Half-Skadden Pool”

Facebook logo MySpace Friendster Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYou can use Facebook to accumulate friends, poke strangers, and tag photos. And if you’re a lawyer in Australia, you might be able to use it to serve a complaint.

Our legal friends in the Land Down Under have made an interesting ruling. From the Associated Press:

A court in Australia has approved the use of Facebook, a popular social networking Web site, to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan.

The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack’s application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by e-mail.

The lien notice could have been sent by Facebook messaging–the judge specified that posting to a Wall was not kosher–but the couple got wind of the plan in news reports and took their profiles down.

We love rulings that legitimize the use of Facebook in the workplace. Next up: legal notice via gchat?

Australia OKs Facebook for serving lien notice [Associated Press]

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