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law firm merger.jpgThis is just a rumor, so take it with a grain — nay, a shaker — of salt. But we hear that Thacher Proffitt & Wood — which has been badly bloodied by the mortgage meltdown and Wall Street crisis, and has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs — is in “serious” merger discussions with King & Spalding.
The idea that TPW might be seeking a white knight shouldn’t be that surprising. Back in July, Thacher’s managing partner, Paul Tvetenstrand, had to deny rumors that the firm was headed for dissolution.
In his email, Tvetenstrand acknowledged that “[l]ike many firms in this unusual market we have had to take steps to adjust to the credit crisis.” One such step, of course, is to take refuge in the arms of someone who’s weathering the storm better. See, e.g., Merrill Lynch / Bank of America.
We reached out to both firms for comment. TPW didn’t get back to us. Kimberly Brooks, public relations manager of King & Spalding, had this comment:

It is our responsibility as a law firm to offer clients the highest level of service possible. As such, King & Spalding regularly explores opportunities that might provide for additional expertise and accessibility.

As a matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors in the market.

So they won’t comment on “rumors in the market” — but maybe some of you would like to? If you have additional insight into this rumor — it’s true, it’s false, it’s somewhere in between — feel free to email us. Thanks.

john_mccain.jpgA few weeks ago we pointed out that 95% of law professors that have made a campaign contributions donated their money to Barack Obama. Those professors teach at some of the top law schools in the country.

But what about the 5% of professors that have contributed to John McCain? It has been previously reported that only Northwestern faculty favored McCain over Obama (regional rivalary between Northwestern and the University of Chicago?). Paul Caron over at TaxProf Blog tells us where to find law professors for McCain:

* Pepperdine: 100% ($3,250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* South Texas: 100% ($1,020) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Liberty: 100% ($555) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Faulkner: 100% ($350) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Marquette: 100% ($303) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Oklahoma City: 100% ($255) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Chapman: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Ohio Northern: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* George Mason: 81.7% ($4,450) to Republicans, 18.3% ($1,000) to Democrats

* Duquesne: 78.9% ($1,500) to Republicans, 21.1% ($400) to Democrats

* St. Louis: 77.3% ($850) to Republicans, 22.7% ($250) to Democrats

* Syracuse: 50.2% ($700) to Republicans, 49.8% ($695) to Democrats

* Alabama: 50.0% ($250) to Republicans, 50.0% ($250) to Democrats

A few tipsters offered an explanation for why the Northwestern faculty favored McCain:

The Northwestern numbers are so skewed to the GOP side because of two profs, Calabresi and McGinnis. The former was my 1L Con Law prof and, despite being incredibly wrong on many issues, is one of the nicest professors I’ve ever had. The latter is moonbat insane.

What about these other schools? Pepperdine professors have contributed more than the maximum individual contribution, so there are at least a couple of McCain supporters out in Malibu. Any idea why the 3-1-0 skews towards McCain?

McCain Law Schools [Tax Prof Blog]

Earlier: Birds That Look Like Law Professors Flock Together

lawyers turned ceos.jpgAssociates often complain that managing partners are elevated because they are excellent lawyers, whether or not they know anything about running a business.

But what happens when lawyers become CEOs of Fortune 500 businesses? According to Corporate Counsel, it’s more poop on a different stick:

Two lawyer-CEOs who were hired amid fanfare a few years ago saw their tenures end during the past year — each with a distinct thud. Last November, Charles Prince III, Citigroup Inc.’s chairman and CEO (and, earlier, its GC), resigned under pressure after four years at the helm. In January, Michael Cherkasky, the CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (and a former prosecutor), ended his three-year reign. Both were hired to tackle their companies’ ethical crises, and their legal expertise was cited as one of their virtues. They were praised for their handling of the legal quagmires, then hounded for months by investors demanding profits. So much for lawyers in red capes.

That sounds like classic American corporate culture. Making “money” for “shareholders” trumps playing it safe and covering your backside.

In fairness, it seems odd to take lawyers schooled in the ancient art of risk-aversion and then ask them to play corporate craps with the best CEOs.

Lawyers’ first, best use after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A Law Degree?
Be A Crappy CEO! “

dc superior court love.jpgSometimes it’s a lonely, lonely world, and you have to grasp at any little flicker of love. Thus exists Craigslist Missed Connections. A tipster noted this recent post from CLMC of the legal love variety. Location: DC Superior Court.

You: Plaintiff – m4m – 33 (DC Superior Court)

Reply to: pers-847863619@craigslist.org

Date: 2008-09-20, 12:02AM EDT

You were one of like three guys in the room (fifth floor courtroom) who were under 50 this morning. Curious to know what your case was about. Coffee? (Name the judge to be sure we were in the same room.)

We wonder if the connection has been made and if M33 has explored all the details of the plaintiff’s “case.”

You: Plaintiff – m4m – 33 (DC Superior Court) [District of Columbia Craigslist]

Earlier: ATL Coverage of Craiglist Postings

funny-pictures-your-cat-will-sleep-for-food.jpgWe received 964 responses to our ATL / Lateral Link survey on whether you’re looking for work, and one thing is pretty clear: if you’re a 2L right now, there’s a pretty good chance that the associates you meet in your callbacks don’t actually want to be there.

A whopping 45% of respondents who had been practicing for at least a year said that they were either already looking for a new job or about to start their search.

Specifically,

  • 27% said they were looking for a new job right now,
  • 12% said they were getting their resumes ready, and
  • 6% plan to get their resumes ready just as soon as they receive their bonus checks.

But not everybody’s looking to leave right now. Another 14% of practitioners said that they weren’t planning on looking for a new job . . . because they had just started one.

Even among incoming associates, there was a surprisingly strong tendency toward jumping ship. 14% of respondents in the Class of 2008 are already looking for new jobs, and another 2% are getting their resumes ready.

And third-year law students are also looking around, as 28% of 3L’s said they were interviewing again this fall. Of these, 62% said they were no-offered, and another 5% said they received a cold offer from their summer employer.

Are You Looking For A New Job Right Now? Breakdown By Class

Class

Yes      


I’m getting my    
resume ready.    
I’ll get my resume    
ready once I    
get my bonus.    
No, I just accepted    
an offer or    
started a new job.    
Before 2000  
40%
18%
-
18%
2000
25%
-
-
25%
2001
28%
4%
4%
14%
2002
40%
9%
3%
20%
2003
36%
8%
6%
8%
2004
21%
21%
9%
10%
2005
24%
14%
8%
23%
2006
30%
9%
8%
12%
2007
24%
11%
7%
9%
2008
15%
3%
-
67%
2009
28%
2%
-
66%

Additional discussion, including a breakdown by practice area, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Looking For A New Job?”

michigan law school strikes back.jpgLast week we brought you the tale of lunchtime thievery at the University of Michigan Law School. Two months ago we told you about the international cell phone caper.

Well it’s time to show that ATL can get as good as we give. Our reporting has provoked an angry response from some Michigan Law School students:

I have one question to ask the ATL e-mail forwarder: Why would you want to make a laughingstock out of *the school you attend? In case you overlooked that fact, you go here, friend. As in, you are affiliated with this school, and when ATL and a bandwagon of commentators talk smack about this school, they’re talking about you by affiliation.

It’s not humorous, because–believe it or not–there are actual people with actual jobs centered around fostering good PR about this school. When there are people forwarding embarrassing, curse word-filled e-mails to ATL, or e-mails denigrating poor people, it kind of goes against the grain and makes all of us look bad.

So, maybe you could stop?

Thanks.

Just to be clear, we are fans of Michigan. You will not find a sweater-vest among us. It just never occurred to us that the law school student body had been conscripted into the University Spin Team.

But apparently some students believe that one bad apple spoils the bunch:

Gossip magazines and gossip e-magazines fall short (understatement) of the student body here at Michigan Law. As a student and recipient of AbovetheLaw interview requests, I feel strongly that any contributors from our student body to a gossip column make us ALL look bad. Our allegiance should lie with our Law School (as our future jobs depend a great deal on the University’s prestige) and I encourage my peers to rise AbovetheLaw for the sake of our collective good. We are Michigan Law and We will one day have “the province and duty… to say what the law is.” — Chief Justice John Marshall.

“Son, it’s not about what you are called, it’s about what you answer to.” — My Mom.

A curious dissent from a Michigan law student after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michigan Law School Circles The Wagons (Almost)”

oj wiggles free again.jpgJust to give you fair warning, O.J. Simpson could get off again.

The Juice is on trial for storming into the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas and “liberating” some sports memorabilia at gunpoint. The prosecution would like to make the case about the largely inescapable facts that O.J. and his friends stole the goods and had guns.

O.J. and his lawyer Yale Galanter would like the case to turn on some other factor: persecution, “justifiable” larceny, wookies.

After the train wreck that was Mark Fuhrman, you’d think that any cop investigating O.J. would be on his best behavior. But there seems to be something about police officers losing their collective minds when it comes to O.J.

In testimony last week, detective Andy Caldwell essentially admitted that he turned into the great Cornholio when he found out that O.J. Simpson was prominently involved:

Jurors who have been told to refrain from judging O.J. Simpson on his past heard a recording Thursday of a police employee exulting: “This is great. … California can’t get him. … Now we’ll be able to.”

The recording was made by Thomas Riccio, the star witness for the prosecution.

Nice.

Maybe this will still work out for Vegas PD. After all, finding 12 people who have not already pre-judged Simpson is practically impossible. But the heart of Simpson’s first brush with the law was shoddy and untrustworthy police work.

Here we go again.

Update (10/04/08): See here.

Vegas police talked of ‘getting’ O.J. on recording [My Way News]

In Session [CNN]

lord of war.gif* Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will be converted into traditional bank holding companies. With all the turmoil in the financial services industry, some attorneys think in-house is the new outhouse and are running back to law firm employment. [National Law Journal]

* “Merchant of Death”/ “Lord of War”/ Russian-guy-who-loves-selling-guns faces extradition hearing in Thailand for U.S. terrorism charges. [CNN]

* Kirkland & Ellis partner sues his wife, her alleged lover, and her dad for giving him herpes. [New York Post]

* There Will Be Blood in the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. In a matter of speaking. Big oilman to testify in corruption case against Stevens. [New York Times]

* Prison escapee and Purpose Driven Life convert Brian Nichols is finally going on trial in Atlanta. Perhaps they should let him sell his story and use the proceeds to pay off all the debt he’s racked up for the Georgia legal system. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

lap dancer and idiot.JPG* Maybe I’m a prude, but I really don’t understand how lap dances are socially acceptable. Somebody walks by and puts their butt in my face. If I give them money, they keep doing it; if I slap it away, I get in trouble? At the very least, shouldn’t it work the other way around? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yes, NYU Law professors, we are laughing at you. No, not with you. At you. [TaxProf Blog]

* Good job, ATL readers. Our collective level of panic forced the eighth-richest man in America to tell his company “get back in there and chill them n***$$ out!” [Bloomberg.com]

* This should be an interesting weekend out in Heller-land. [Heller Highwater]

blackberry mana.JPGBuzzing around the internet today is a ridiculous study from the Chicago Sun Times:

A new survey found that about 35 percent of professionals would pick their PDAs over their spouses if they had to choose.

A surprising 87 percent take their personal digital assistants into their bedrooms, and 84 percent check them just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, according to a work-life survey from Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. Another 85 percent say they look at their PDAs in the middle of the night.

Sounds to me like 35 percent of professionals do not fully understand the ramifications of losing half their stuff.

But what’s worse is that many readers have emailed the story to ATL contending that the numbers for professionals “in the law” would be much, much higher.

Let’s settle this after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “BlackBerry v. Spouse”

treadmill desk 3.jpg
The treadmill desk of Aaron Craig, a litigator at Quinn Emanuel in Los Angeles.

Comparing Biglaw life to a treadmill is a cliché. But to some attorneys around the country, it’s truly the best description of how they pass their days (and nights, and weekends). From the New York Times:

Terri Krivosha, a partner at a Minneapolis law firm, logs three miles each workday on a treadmill without leaving her desk. She finds it easier to exercise while she types than to attend aerobics classes at the crack of dawn.

And she’s not alone. From our law school classmate, Aaron Craig, at litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel in L.A.:

I’m now spending the majority of my billable office hours walking on my treadmill. I set up a monitor directly in front, and hooked up an arm with a keyboard and mouse tray to the frame of the treadmill….

I find that 1.5 mph is best speed if I’m typing — slightly faster if I’m just reading. Billing by the mile, not by the hour….

Check out our interview with Aaron, plus a slideshow of treadmill-desk porn, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Life as Treadmill? Not Just a Metaphor
Say Hello to the Treadmill Desk

wall street bull backside.jpgAm Law Daily reports that H. Rodgin Cohen of S&C is making serious money as the markets collapse.

Cohen has been the man in demand by companies struggling to ride out the latest subprime-related rollercoaster roiling the capital markets. His work this past week alone includes advising Lehman Brothers on its limited options prior to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and counseling AIG in its $85 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. The longtime S&C partner was on a roll even before these events unraveled last weekend–Cohen advised Fannie Mae on its seizure by the federal government on September 7.

Does that “H” stand for “hurricane?” We’ll see if Cohen brings rain to associates come bonus time.

We’ve covered a lot of the law firms that are dancing in the ashes of Wall Street. But new winners are emerging everyday. Simpson Thacher advised the AIG board of directors. Millbank, Paul Hastings, Cravath, and Kelley Drye are just some of the firms that are in on the party known as “creditor actions.” And Clifford Chance handled part of Barclay’s acquisition along with Cleary.

Even government lawyers will get in on the fun, now that Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know the difference between New York State and the power of God.

It looks like there is going to be a lot of work floating around this fourth quarter as people try to make their hours.

But it’s not all candy and coke for big firms these days.

Read about the downside after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Meltdown Fees Trickle In, But Do They Trickle Down?”

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