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Palin Vogue.JPGEarlier today, Governor Sarah Palin released her tax returns. It turns out she makes a little more than most “hockey moms” but she’s no Joe Biden. TaxProf Blog breaks down how she stacks up to the other Article II contenders:

Gov. Palin’s charitable contributions do not approach the 10% tithe required by her evangelical church, but they are in line with the average charitable contribution of Americans with her income and they are over ten times greater (on a percentage basis) than Joe Biden’s miserly charitable contributions.

But Paul Caron was also right on the money about another issue: Palin’s failure to report her per diem reimbursement she received as governor of Alaska. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have mentioned these reimbursements before.

Palin tonight responded with authority to these allegations. The campaign released a letter (pdf) from D.C. tax attorney Roger M. Olsen:

Unless employees have reason to know that the W-2 is incorrect, the IRS expects employees to rely on the employer’s W-2 as prepared & filed with the IRS, as Governor Palin did. The income tax aspects of fringe benefits are complex and highly technical, and not subject to second-guessing by laymen. The State of Alaska is confident that its position is correct. Its employees were entitled to rely on that determination, So was Governor Palin.

Sounds like Olsen just called the liberal media “TTT.” Caron points out that Olsen is more qualified to speak about Palin’s tax returns than your average cable news anchor:

Mr. Olsen has a tax LL.M. from George Washington and is a former Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division under President Reagan.

Are there any uber-qualified attorneys that would like to support the Olsen-Palin position? Or stand opposed?

Gov. Palin Releases Law Firm Opinion Letter Justifying Her Not Reporting Per Diem Expenses as Income [TaxProf Blog]

Palin Releases Tax Returns and Financial Disclosure Forms [TaxProf Blog]

Roger Olsen Letter (pdf)

women playboy want wall street.jpg* The real Spiderman gets hit for tax evasion. Times are tough so I guess the IRS can’t just go after black actors and rappers anymore. [TaxProf Blog]

* A chance meeting with Sandy Dee. [Dr. Frank's]

* A sneak peak at the Simpson’s upcoming Treehouse of Horror episode. [io9]

* I knew Eliza Doolittle. Eliza Doolittle was a friend of mine. Madame, you are no Eliza Doolittle. [What About Clients?]

* If your firm’s janitor stops coming around, your firm might be trying to help you. [Law and More]

* The Beautiful Lawyers of Boston Calendar launch party was last night, and their photo gallery is now online. Until GULC does a “women of K street issue” I’m not going to get too interested. [f/k/a]

* I speak from some experience here; when breaking media says they are looking for new writers, they are totally serious. [Dealbreaker]

  • 03 Oct 2008 at 4:19 PM
  • Uncategorized

Skadden/DPW v. S&C: Boom Goes The Dynamite

wall street bull backside.jpgThe deal between Citigroup and Wachovia fell through, allowing Wells Buffet Fargo to swoop in and pick up the ball Citigroup dropped.

Citigroup is considering whether to increase it’s bid for Wachovia or sue Wachovia according to the Wall Street Journal. They might also consider crying themselves to sleep on their huge pillow.

But legal insiders are busy blaming people for the aborted merger between the two commercial banks. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog suggests that Sullivan and Cromwell –counsel for Wachovia on both mergers– attorneys hit the snooze button one too many times:

We lobbed a call over to Wachovia’s lawyer, S&C’s Rodgin Cohen, to find out. Cohen declined to comment on the record. But in looking for clues this morning, we came across this National Law Journal story entitled, “Crisis mantra for sleep-deprived M&A attorneys: don’t sweat the small stuff.

Discussing the feverish pace of three recent billion-dollar bank mergers, the NLJ quoted Cohen in explaining how to put such deals together so quickly: “We all understood, you can’t sweat the small stuff.”

The Law Blog claims that the “small stuff” might be an exclusivity agreement:

Citi claims the letter of intent it reached with Wachovia contained an exclusivity agreement prohibiting Wachovia from trying to lure other bidders. …

An M&A partner at a large New York firm who spoke with us this morning says no. “Quite often, letters of intent don’t include exclusivity agreements.”

Additional winners and losers after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skadden/DPW v. S&C: Boom Goes The Dynamite”

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGWhile law firms try to cherry pick Heller Ehrman’s departing attorneys, some companies are also trying to pick up Heller Ehrman’s business.

But there is a way to be decent about these things. The people at VentureSource might need to brush up on their etiquette. The venture capital resource group sent out the following email to many of their subscribers, including some people who are still affiliated with Heller Ehrman:

Heller Erman[sic] dissolved its practice last week. This week, dozens of venture capital firms and portfolio companies may be in search of new legal representation.

See all the clients–including their financial details and key contacts–available in VentureSource. You can also use the database to spot other potential clients in every industry and region in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel and China.

Don’t wait: Call me at [redacted] or send me an e-mail to subscribe to VentureSource or set up a personal demonstration.

Position Your Business to Benefit from the Fall of Heller (& Others)

Verily, the funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage table.

Look, Heller is open to poaching. Cooley Godward Kronish is the latest to “benefit from the fall of Heller.”

Cooley Godward Kronish LLP announced today that 15 partners from Heller Ehrman will join the Firm. Ten partners will join Cooley in Silicon Valley, four in Seattle, where Cooley will open an office, and one in Washington, DC. In addition to comprising the core of Heller’s Venture Law Group (VLG) in these offices, the partners joining Cooley include the heads of Heller’s firm-wide business and intellectual property transactions practices, the co-heads of its energy and clean technology practice, the co-chair of its life sciences practice and two VLG co-founders.

Heller receives an apology from VentureSource after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Etiquette Of A Dissolution: Emails You Shouldn’t Send”

Out to Lunch small Summer Associate Lunch.jpgThe halcyon days of summer have passed. Gone are the epic lunches and frequent happy hours with eager summer associates. By the time September rolled around though, many were relieved to get back to work and not feel obligated to while away the hours talking to law students about the merits of firm life.

But now it’s October. And law students will be entering your life again soon. It’s interview season!

Which means more talk of firm merits, and more importantly, more lunches. During a recent online chat with Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema, one lawyer chimed in with a helpful hint for interviewers: Be sensitive to interviewees’ diet limitations.

Washington, D.C.: Tom… I’m an attorney at a huge D.C. law firm… [T]his is interview season. My colleagues and I will be taking hundreds of potential associates out for fancy lunches this fall. And I’m always shocked to hear the places my colleagues sometimes venture for these lunches, and more shocked to see their jaw drop when they realize their choice might not have been welcomed by the interviewee. I adore Rasika [Ed. note: Up-scale Indian restaurant in D.C.], but I would never take a job candidate there. That’s just unfair. Some people don’t like spice; others might be thrown off their game by an ethnic menu. As a vegetarian, I am particularly sensitive to the issue (I remember interviewing at several law firms that took me to the Capital Grille [Ed. note: D.C. Steakhouse] where the only thing on the menu I could eat was the $7 green salad – and consequently half the interview discussion awkwardly revolved around my dietary preferences). I’ve also been tipped onto celiac disease – which a shockingly large number of my colleagues have. So basically, when taking someone on an interview lunch, I pick innocuous, unoffensive “standard” food…. So, to all you attorneys doing interview season right now, think a little about where you take the candidate!!

Tom Sietsema: Good advice re: business meals. Not everyone likes meat, or something foreign, or A Fancy Experience.

We disagree with the Washington, D.C. lawyer. Our thoughts:

  • Interviewers, the restaurant is part of the challenge. If interviewees are totally flustered by an ethnic menu and show it, that’s a sign. Don’t hire them.
  • Interviewees, don’t be a vegetarian. Meat tastes good. [Ed. note: Kash speaks as a reformed vegetarian.]
  • Interviewees, if you are a vegetarian, don’t make it a big deal. We checked out Capital Grille’s menu; D.C. veggie lawyer could have gotten some French onion soup too. Ordering a $7 green salad is a martyr’s move. No one wants to hire a martyr.
  • If you need to choose a restaurant, use ATL’s handy guide, compiled this summer: ATL Round-up: Where the Lawyers Eat Out.

    Another legal lunch comment from the Washington Post food chat, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Interview Lunch Spots: ‘Not Everyone Likes Meat’”

  • The Bailout just passed the House: 263 – 171.

    The party breakdown. Democrats: 172 – 63. Republicans: 91-108.

    • 03 Oct 2008 at 1:27 PM
    • Uncategorized

    From the Department of Anticlimax: Jenner & Block

    Jenner Block LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.JPGWe weren’t sure we’d do a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the firm-wide meeting at Jenner & Block. But since there was a fair amount of speculation in the comments, as well as requests for updates, we thought we’d close the loop.

    Based on what we’ve heard from our own sources at the firm, we can confirm the accuracy of this comment:

    The conference room was packed- five deep along the walls. Everyone was there right on time. Levy introduces herself. Tells us not to worry about the issues on wall st- they will not adversely affect Jenner’s bottom line. Jenner is having a great year and bonus are expected to be as good or better than last year. Litigation is doing great. Keep up the good work. blah, blah. No merger, or layoffs, no LA office, no moving to Chile. All is good.

    Another source described the meeting as follows:

    It was basically a hand-holding pep talk — a “don’t worry that there will be an all-associates meeting to announce layoffs” meeting.

    When your firm schedules a firm-wide or all-associates meeting, do feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.

    croc needs to eat.JPGHave you ever pulled the wings off of a fly?

    Well, there’s a seven-year-old in Australia that can probably kick your ass.

    The li’ mate hopped a fence at an Australian zoo and spent 30 minutes feeding “Terry,” an 11-foot, 440-pound saltwater crocodile, a diet of zoo lizards.

    By the time he was done, 13 animals worth around $5,500 had been killed, including a turtle, bearded dragons and thorny devil lizards, [zoo director Rex] Neindorf said. Although none were considered rare, some are difficult to replace, he said.

    It’s the circle of life. It’s the wheel of fortune.

    The zoo director expressed horror at the child’s action:

    “In [security camera] footage, the boy’s face remains largely blank,” Neindorf said, adding: “It was like he was playing a game.”

    He’s seven. He was playing a game. The oldest game: evolution. Notice the kid didn’t throw himself into the crocodile pit. Rest assured, if he’s ever in a James Bond style trap, this kid will make it out and eventually bang Jane Seymour.

    Nonetheless, Neindorf insisted that he would sue the kid’s parents:

    “I just want people to learn that they can’t let their children go and run amok,” Neindorf said. “If we can’t put the blame onto the child, then someone has to accept the responsibility.”

    Here at ATL’s mega-office, opinion is split. Our esteemed publisher said: “That kid’s got problems. Real problems. I would not want him playing with my kid.”

    But some of us are all about alpha predators. How often has Terry been locked behind bars while some little gecko has taunted him about car insurance.

    This kid isn’t a killer, he has restored a little bit of the natural order and his parents don’t deserve to be sued.

    Though, the parents they might want to hold off on having a second child. Fratricide, “boy, man, I don’t know.”

    Boy, 7, breaks into zoo, feeds animals to croc [MSNBC]

    cia-logo.jpgBased on popular demand, it is time to take a look at which firms may be struggling heading into bonus season. Would you like to share speculative information about stealth layoffs, declining profits, or an “everybody here is freaking out” environment? This thread’s for you.

    Let’s get the ball rolling with a panicked message we received about Cahill Gordon:

    I work at Cahill Gordon and we’re so f**ked. This junk bond market has collapsed … and representing underwriters of junk bonds makes up at least 75% of the revenues of our firm. Simply put, there’s not any work going on and no sign that it’s coming back. We’ve recently tried to diversify by adding a few litigation partners and a partner that focuses on representing telecom companies in regulatory matters, but, so far, these efforts aren’t coming close to replacing the revenue we’ve lost. I wouldn’t be surprised to see our profits per partner drop by 40%-50% this year – -there’s just no work. Now I understand why Roger Meltzer and his band of associates left [for DLA Piper].

    Cahill declined to comment on this rumor, probably because a 50% drop in PPP is, frankly, “the sort of thing that Miggs would say.” But the junk bond market has collapsed, and we do know that Cahill did a lot of work in that area.

    More speculation, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Rumor Agency: Which Firms Are In Trouble?”

    • 03 Oct 2008 at 10:39 AM
    • LSAT

    Open Thread: LSAT Eve

    lsat advice success.JPGFor aspiring law students, tomorrow marks a crucial step on the prestige whore journey. The LSAT will go a long way towards defining which school you are supposedly “insecure” about not getting into.

    It’s all too easy to say that the LSAT is a terrible way to judge success in law school and beyond. All standardized tests are silly at some level. Some claim that the LSAT is racially biased, and most people agree that people that can afford expensive test-prep courses do better than those that can’t afford those classes.

    But, in a blatant attempt to get up in Brian Leiter’s grill, let’s put together an argument that the LSAT is the best measure of law school success that has yet been invented.

    The LSAT does capture a couple of key law school skills, the most important of which is the logical reasoning sections. A lot of time is spent in law school playing a game of, “one of these kids is doing his own thing, one of these kids just doesn’t belong.” Spotting weak or incorrect arguments guarantees you a law school B, before you go to class or crack a case book.

    And for practicing attorneys, making weak, faulty, or altogether nonsensical arguments is half the ball game. “My client’s gross misstatements about oil are much more like Justice Holmes’s correct statements about water, therefore my client’s statements were actually correct.” Good lawyers know a fallacy when they see it and when they use it.

    The reading comprehension section is a bit, meh. But reading is fundamental to everything a lawyer does so at least the section is fair.

    The games are a very accurate indicator of issue spotting and fact development. All the games are is a three step process that you’ll see on every law school exam: here are some rules, here are some facts, tell me what happened. And what is fact development other than putting various concerns in their appropriate boxes (or binders as it were)?

    Love it or hate it, the LSAT tests some very basic thought processes that law students and lawyers will use everyday. Maybe it’s not an indicator of future success because people can be trained, but it’s a great indicator of whether you “think like a lawyer” or not.

    Some tips for LSAT success after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: LSAT Eve”

    sandra day o'connor 2 justice o'connor.jpg* Senator Biden and Governor Palin had their cage match last night in St. Louis. If you played a drinking game around the word “maverick,” you may have a hangover today. The New York Times lets you relive the magic and review the transcript. [New York Times]

    * Sandra Day O’Connor addresses the economic crisis, lamenting the number of judges who don’t know squat about complex business issues. [Washington Briefs]

    * DOJ lawyers withheld evidence from the defense in the corruption trial of Senator Ted Stevens. Judge Emmet Sullivan no longer has confidence in “the government’s ability to meet its obligations to ensure a fair trial,” but the show will go on anyway. [Washington Post]

    * O.J. Simpson case goes to the jury. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Nebraska safe-haven law was created for Dumpster babies, but it’s netting a bunch of Dumpster teenagers. [New York Times]

    * “Lounge entertainer.” Is that what they’re calling it these days? [On Point News]

    The Vice Presidential debate just ended, and there was a lot more “law” than one might have expected.

    The best legal sparks flew over the Constitutional powers of the office of Vice President. Palin came out of the gate first when asked about her role as Vice President:

    I’m thankful the Constitution would give a bit more authority to the Vice President if that Vice President chose to exert it in working with the Senate.

    Biden said that he would be the “point person” for Obama’s legislative agenda with Congress.

    But then both candidates were asked if they agreed with Dick Cheney’s contention that the Vice President was not solely governed under Article I. Palin said:

    The Founding Fathers were very wise there in allowing to the Constitution much flexibility to the office of the Vice President … so I do agree with him.

    Biden said:

    Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American History … Article I defines the role of Vice President.

    That sounds like a fairly large legal distinction.

    Later, Biden returned to the Supreme Court in the context of things he has changed his mind on over the course of his career. When speaking about his criteria for confirming justices, Biden said:

    It took me five years to realize that the ideology makes a huge difference … It matter what your judicial philosophy is and the American people deserve to know it.

    He then went on to trumpet his objections to Robert Bork.

    So, we know at least one VP candidate favors litmus tests. Palin acknowledged no moral issues which she has ever had to compromise on.

    But one issue that will be really fun to some of the lawyers who have enough to work to do to still be on the job at this late hour, was Biden’s views on the bankruptcy courts. Biden wants to allow bankruptcy judges to not only re-adjust interest rates, “but also the principal that you owe.”

    Palin said that she supported that as well. But she then went back to an unasked question about energy.

    What did you guys think? We think that this VP power thing will be the dominant legal story coming out of tonight.

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