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Lake Placid.JPGIn case you haven’t been following along, it appears that the NY Board of Law Examiners website is unavailable or unstable. It’s preventing exam takers from accessing their scores.

But how many? Please answer the poll below so we can see how many people are waiting for an oxygen mask to drop down from the ceiling.

Try to remain patient people, I’m sure that NY BOLE had no idea so many people would be visiting their website today.

Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe LLP Above the Law blog.JPGThe legal community is still buzzing with reaction to the news of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s layoffs of 40 attorneys — while White & Case sacrifices blood and treasure to the altar of “good timing.”

We don’t want to pile onto Orrick, we know a lot of good people that work there. But Ralph Baxter’s interview with the AmLaw Daily today is … a little weird.

Yesterday, we noted that Orrick’s layoffs come a month after they acquired a bunch of Heller Ehrman partners. Baxter addressed that issue specifically with AmLaw … depending on your definition of “addressed”:

What do you say to people who will look at your decision to hire 27 former Heller attorneys in early October, a month before this decision?

You take these two facts together (the Heller hirings and the layoffs), and you get a focused picture of Orrick. We’re bullish about the future, bullish about the role of lawyers in global finance, and we are boldly taking action to diversify Orrick’s practice. All of the Heller lawyers who joined us were in practice areas that are litigation-oriented. Compared with the layoffs, it’s apples and oranges. They are mostly partners, and they bring business with them.

Allow me to translate:

You see, there are these things called Apples. And man, let me tell you, Apples are the future. But unfortunately, there are these other things called Oranges, and Oranges are so obsolete, so yesterday. Really, IN THE FUTURE, the only thing Oranges will be good for is Juice. So we said, screw it man, let’s make some Juice. Let’s make some now! Because the future is now. Apples and Pulp bro’. Don’t sleep.

Other highlights from Baxter’s interview after the jump.

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W.T. Sherman a Drunk Hero.JPGLast month, Moore Van Allen laid off 20 staffers. This month, the bell tolls for attorneys.

Associates and partners have confirmed that 20 attorneys we laid off from MvA on Wednesday.

Is there going to be a Charlotte “legal market” still standing in 2009?

We reported last month that Dewey LeBoeuf closed their entire Charlotte office, displacing 11 attorneys.

All of these hits to the Charlotte market make sense, since we no longer have a banking industry or, you know, money. But still, right now Charlotte looks like Sherman just came into town.

… Maybe there will be some Reconstruction work that Charlotte based attorneys can pick up?

Update (12:00): This should probably go without saying, but we now also have reports that MvA has canceled its 2009 summer program.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Is Katten Cutting Fat?

Dewey & LeBoeuf Closes Charlotte Office


eapd no offers but fair.JPGOne of these days, I’m going to be able to lead off with some good news for attorneys or support staff. But it is not this day.

Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge has confirmed layoffs of a number of support staffers:

We have been engaged in a long-term review of our cost structure and due to improvements and efficiencies with our technology and processes, we determined that lower staffing levels are appropriate.

Meeting and exceeding our clients’ needs remains our top priority. We, like other law firms and businesses, continually strive to best position the firm. We felt it necessary to take proactive measures to align our talent with our client needs

We understand that 50 staffers were laid off: 25 from the Boston office, and 25 across all other EAPD offices. The firm said that no associates were laid off as part of this long-term review.

The firm could not provide us with information about the severance package offered to staff.

Some EAPD back story after the jump.

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These Things Never Happen On Boston Legal”

Larry Johnson.jpg* Felons can join the Army but not the New York police force. But New York State Supreme Court Judge Henry Kron wants to change that rule for Afghanistan war veteran, Osvaldo Hernandez, who served a year on Rikers Island for gun possession before joining the Army. [New York Times]

* Former O’Melveny & Myers partner Ron Klain (a.k.a. Kevin Spacey in Recount) is Joe Biden’s pick for chief of staff. [Politico]

* Woman suing Kansas City Chief running back Larry Johnson (not Grandmama). After she rejected his advances, he allegedly spit his drink in her face, threatened her life, and ordered his bodyguards to administer a beatdown. [Courthouse News Service]

* Mormons, Prop 8, and an unidentified white, powdery substance. [Los Angeles Times]

* New North Carolina senator is not a sore winner. Senator-elect Kay Hagan drops her suit against Senator-not-for-long Elizabeth Dole. Hagan had sued for defamation after Dole ran a TV ad accusing her of being “godless.” [CNN]

* Skadden sues Thelen. [American Lawyer]

New York Statue of Liberty.jpgNew York first-year associates have been driving us insane with their anticipation of bar exam results being posted this week.

The moment has finally come. Results are up as of 9 a.m. today. Unfortunately, the overeager result seekers seem to have overwhelmed the page. It is down as of 9:14 a.m.

We hope all the gunners who have been clogging our inbox achieve the ultimate bliss of passage today.

Voyeurs have to wait until Monday for the results to go public.

Earlier: Prior ATL Coverage of Bar Exams

Howrey logo.JPGThe Recorder is reporting that Howrey will take on 40 lawyers from Thelen’s prestigious San Francisco construction practice:

The group — which Howrey characterized as “most of the construction practice” from Thelen — includes Thelen Chairman Stephen O’Neal, construction practice head John Heisse II, D.C. office managing partner Andrew Ness, San Francisco partner David Buoncristiani (who handles matters for client Bechtel), Los Angeles partner Robert Thum and D.C. partner David Dekker. Most of the 18 partners and about 25 associates and of counsel are in San Francisco and D.C., and the rest are in New York and Los Angeles.

Hmm… Thelen attorneys, Chairman Stephen O’Neal, Howrey — where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah! You’ll remember that the Recorder initially broke the story on O’Neal’s flirtations with Howrey.

Immediately after Thelen dissolved, we mentioned possible options for the firm:

Option 1 is the plan they have arguably been pursuing: breaking up the firm practice group by practice group to interested parties. As we reported yesterday, this is the best option to save associate jobs. However, that plan is dependent on Thelen’s banks signing-off on the plan and maintaining their line of credit. Did Stephen O’Neal’s aggressive and ultimately public pursuit of his own lifeboat at Howrey scuttle that option? Once everybody is told that the managing partner could be leaving in ten days, why would other potential suitors compete for full Thelen practice groups? Instead, it’s easier to wait for an official dissolution and cherry-pick the rainmakers. This is what happened to Heller.

I’ll pause until the Thelen people stop screaming and hitting things.

Read about other Thelen landing places, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey and Reed Smith: Latest Beneficiaries of Thelen’s Shutdown”

Lady and the tramp.JPG* The Disney-induced anthropomorphism of pets and the stunning decline in standards for law schools has come to its logical conclusion. There’s now a dog with a J.D. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Lawyers are rats! But only in Canada. [Law is Cool]

* Somebody did actual research to determine that “narcissists” lead most major law firms? Next, somebody should study whether lawyers are “risk-averse” or “risk-loving?” [ABA Journal]

* Morgan Stanley memo warning employees not to leak Morgan Stanley memos is leaked by Morgan Stanley employee to Dealbreaker. Because that’s just how Bess rolls in the 2-1-2. [Dealbreaker]

* Counteroffers are a bad idea. Just ask the experts. [Lateral Link]

skirt above the knee.jpgIf all the news about lawyer layoffs has gotten you thinking about career alternatives, here’s a business idea for you. From the ABA Journal:

Being well-dressed costs money. But for a lawyer, looking tailored and professional in an attractive, well-fitting suit is a worthwhile investment, Tony and Tara Costanzo say.

That message has put the 30-something married couple in business, helping several hundred clients including numerous lawyers in the New York area, order the right clothes without ever having to shop for them….

The Costanzas will meet busy clients as and where needed, and once held a clothing consultation in a courthouse restroom. Then they order the right clothes, in the right size. Ready-made suits start at just under $500; custom-made suits begin at close to $1,000 for men and $1,500 for women.

In the middle of a recession, the Costanzos — no relation to George — somehow have hordes of poorly-dressed attorneys willing to pay exorbitant prices for consultations in courthouse lavatories. When the going gets tough, the tough get new wardrobes.

Our tipster remains skeptical:

It seems as though the fashion bar would be much lower these days. After all, your adversaries are probably so worried about losing their jobs that they are likely to be wearing last year’s fashions — or other horrifyingly dated apparel, like a suit from back in the days when men were boldly exploring “skinny pants.”

I have a better idea: let’s take Michelle Obama’s self-congratulatory lead and start a recession-friendly wardrobe consulting business, to dress the desperate — but still fashion-conscious — in bargain finds from J. Crew and the Gap.

We leave you with a fashion tip for these troubled times: when it comes to skirt length, go long.

(Or maybe not? See these musings from our little sibling site, Fashionista.)

Consultant Helps Harried Lawyers Avoid Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions [ABA Journal]

Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions: Experts Offer Tips on Debugging the Dress Code [NYLawyer.com (registration required)]

Costanzo Clothiers [official website]

Sager UT Law.JPGThe University of Texas School of Law (tied for 16th on your U.S. News scorecards) is apparently not content with their status. They want to be elite. “They’re smart, not dumb, like everybody thinks. They’re smart and they want respect Michael!”

They think they’ve found just the right person to take them to the next level: Dean Lawrence Sager has promised to add $200 million to the UT-Law endowment by 2014. That would nearly double the school’s current endowment, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

Sager, 67, was recruited to UT in 2002 in part for his prowess in building a law school’s reputation from the ground up — something he did in his previous job at New York University’s law school. That reputation is packaged, almost disguised, by a disarming personality as exuberant as the tangled head of hair that often looks as if it will take flight. Law school staffers say they love his frequently wicked humor.

Hair and humor is all good, but $200 million? In this market? It sounds like a tough sell.

And the reason for this push, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would You Give This Man $200 Million? Texas Is Counting On It.”

law firms screwed.JPGPartners at top D.C. firms are worried that they might not be getting bonuses this year, just like associates. The Washingtonian reports that management might not be able to reward their partners as they have in years past:

Usually firm managers try to lowball revenue estimates and then surprise partners with a bigger-than-expected bonus. That final paycheck will come after the first of the year, after all bills and accounts for 2008 are tallied. Many law firms are worried that adjustments will be small or that revenues will not make the estimates. So end-of-the year cost cutting has been rampant.

If associates could get squeezed out of a bonus for simply doing all the work that came across their desk, then we hope partners aren’t expecting huge payouts for bringing in barely enough rain to fill a shot glass.

It’s fashionable to call associates greedy, entitled, warm buckets of spit whenever the markets tank. But now some partners are complaining about not being able to retire to their golden encrusted nursing homes as they had planned.

Firm leaders say that some partners scheduled to retire late this year have postponed their plans because of drops in the value of their IRAs and other retirement vehicles.

Are we living in a bizzaro-world where the pain will be spread evenly between partners and associates? Read more after the jump.

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Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe LLP Above the Law blog.JPGWe received reports this morning that Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe was planning to make deep cuts into their structured finance, real estate and corporate departments.

We’ve been able to confirm that Orrick is laying off 40 associates and 35 staff members today. The structured finance and real estate departments are expected to be the hardest hit. Associates were notified by chairman Ralph Baxter via email (which included a video).

Despite Orrick’s refusal to respond to our multiple requests for comment all morning, we can also report that displaced attorneys are getting two weeks notice plus five months severance. That is better than the severance package offered by White & Case on Tuesday.

Orrick was willing to speak with the WSJ Law Blog. The firm told the WSJ that they tried to avoid cutbacks for as long as possible:

Throughout 2008, we have done all we could to avoid today’s action: we have redeployed lawyers to different practices and we have cut expenses. Unfortunately, our staffing levels in the affected practices still remained too high given the economic environment our clients and we face.”

While the firm contends that these moves were taken solely in response to the economic crisis, a tipster tells us that the real reason was “to maintain PPP [profits per partner] of $1.5 million in 2009.”

So sad — and surprising. Orrick, you might remember, was one of the first major firms to raise associate salaries to $160K outside of New York. After Orrick moved, the rest of California followed: Latham, Gibson, OMM, even Thelen (kind of).

Just last month, we reported on how some firms (including Orrick) were using the market downturn as an opportunity to acquire productive lawyers and good clients. Baxter was highlighted in the WSJ article. And two weeks ago, Orrick stood behind its previously announced 2008 bonus structure.

But apparently some people had to go. We understand that the layoffs will affect multiple offices.

Update (2 PM): The firm finally sent over its statement. Check it out after the jump.

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