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Kumari Fulbright Facebook Arizona law student beauty queen Above the Law blog.jpgTime for an update on everyone’s favorite law student cum beauty queen cum accused kidnapper, Kumari Fulbright. If you’re not familiar with her story, click here, and read through the ATL archives.
First, from an observant reader, some sad news for those of us who were her Facebook friends:

It looks like Kumari finally realized we weren’t all her friends. Her Facebook page is gone.

Darn it, now we’re down a friend. And just as we’re closing in on the 1,000 friend mark!
Second, poor Kumari Fulbright has been temporarily suspended from the University of Arizona law school. Getting indicted on kidnapping and assault charges will tend to do that to you. One UA alum, who brought the news to our attention, observed:

Well, it took the alma mater long enough to react. I’ve been forwarded this godd**ned story from everyone I know across the country, all with some variation of either (a) UA law students are stupid / crazy or (b) girls in Tucson are ugly / felonious. Stay classy, Arizona.

We object — strenuously. The “felonious” part is not established; she’s been indicted, not convicted. And the “ugly” part is belied by the record evidence. Even though her Facebook profile is gone, we’ll always have that screenshot (above right), which amply demonstrates Kumari’s overwhelming hotness. The way you become a beauty queen is by being beautiful. Who’d have thunk it?
Our Arizona tipster adds:

[T]his story’s insane… It’s been killing me at happy hours or other lawyer gatherings here in Phoenix… Everyone has been taking their swipes at the U. of A law school for the past two weeks!

The school hasn’t made many statements, and I really doubt they will. They’re all touchy-feely down there. I’m surprised they didn’t try to cure her with hugs.

More about the suspension, plus links to news articles, below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kumari, We Hardly Knew Ye”

Hogan Hartson LLP Above the Law blog.JPGBeefing up parental leave policies: everybody’s doing it. It may not be another pay raise, but it’s very welcome news for lawyers at large firms who are trying to balance Biglaw with Big Family (or contemplating such a move).
We’ve written in the past about new leave policies from Simpson Thacher, Latham & Watkins, Davis Polk, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Weil Gotshal. Today Hogan & Hartson joins the 18 Weeks Club.
Memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Hogan & Hartson Announces Enhanced Leave for Childbirth and Adoption”

Last month we asked you which holidays you worked on, or expected to work on, during 2007. About 10% of you reported that you expected to work on Christmas, and roughly 22% expected to work on New Year’s.
In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, let’s find out if you were overly optimistic, pleasantly surprised, or just plain right.
Did the Grinch steal your vacation? Tell us about it in the comments.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

cockroach Biglaw law firm cafeteria Above the Law blog.jpgWe have a lunch meeting today, so we’re going to be offline for a while. We’ll leave you with a food-related post to chew over while we’re gone. Hopefully it won’t cause you to lose your appetite.
Over at Keeping Up With Jonas, Jonas Karp has filed a great investigative report: a look at how various law firm cafeterias fared in unannounced annual inspections by the New York City Department of Health. If you’re hoping for a healthy dose of schadenfreude, you might be disappointed. As Karp writes, “All of the firms surveyed passed their inspections, and none had Serendipity 3-like 100 live cockroach violations.”
Darn. But as Jonas notes, “some firms did a lot better than others.”
Which ones? Read the full post to find out. As you review the results, consider this question: Is cafeteria cleanliness inversely proportional to law firm prestige? Simpson Thacher and Cravath came within a few points of failing inspection, while a perfect score was earned by… Greenberg Traurig!
Maybe GT associates won’t be getting a pay raise anytime soon. But at least their New York office has an immaculate cafeteria.
Feel free to opine on the quality of your law firm’s cafeteria, or any other Biglaw canteen that you have personally sampled, in the comments.
Law Firm Cafeterias: Inspection Results [Keeping Up With Jonas]

Adam Key 2 Adam M Key Regent Law School Above the Law blog.jpgOne of our favorite law students in America, Adam Key, is in the news once again. As you may recall, Key is a 2L at Regent Law School, the private, Christian law school in Virginia, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.
Key is currently at war with the Regent administration over free speech issues. The university suspended him. In November 2007, he filed a lawsuit in federal court against the university, claiming violation of his free speech rights.
Now Key has filed a complaint with the American Bar Association, seeking to revoke Regent Law’s accreditation by the ABA. For coverage, check out the Houston Chronicle and the Texas Lawyer.
We recently corresponded with Adam Key over instant messenger about the ABA complaint he just filed (among other topics). If you might be interested, you can read excerpts from our IM conversation below the fold.
P.S. With respect to the title of this post, our favorite Regent Law School student or graduate is Monica Goodling, of course. If you’re on Facebook, join her fan club.
ABA Asked to Examine Accreditation of Pat Robertson’s Law School [Texas Lawyer]
Spring man asks ABA to help him [Houston Chronicle]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on Our Second Favorite Regent Law Student / Grad”

Or a richness of embarrassment. Today we’re going to name not one, but seven Lawyers of the Day.
Our first Lawyer of the Day is Mark Mersel (formerly of Morrison & Foerster, now at Bryan Cave). In case you missed the shout-out in Morning Docket, here’s a bit more, from the WSJ Law Blog:

It’s a litigator’s worst dream — costing your client serious money by missing a filing deadline.

That nightmare was a reality for MoFo, which appears to have cost its client Toshiba America $1 million when it was one-minute late — 1 minute! — in filing a motion for attorneys fees.

For the exciting details — which involve a courier zooming through traffic on a motorcycle, and an unfortunately timed train — read the full post.
The other six Lawyers of the Day are no strangers to these pages. Let’s call them the Qualcomm Six. From the Recorder:

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgSix attorneys in the Qualcomm Inc. discovery fiasco were sanctioned Monday for “monumental” discovery violations and referred to the State Bar of California for possible discipline.

Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder attorneys James Batchelder, Adam Bier, Kevin Leung, Christian Mammen and Lee Patch, and Heller Ehrman’s Stanley Young were sanctioned and harshly criticized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major in a 42-page order. The ruling follows a patent infringement trial Qualcomm had brought against Broadcom Corp.

The attorneys “assisted Qualcomm in committing this incredible discovery violation by intentionally hiding or recklessly ignoring relevant documents, ignoring or rejecting numerous warning signs that Qualcomm’s document search was inadequate, and blindly accepting Qualcomm’s unsupported assurances that its document search was adequate,” Major wrote.

Document production sucks — or, to put it more nicely, it’s a thankless task. It’s time-intensive, mind-numbingly boring, and a general pain in the a**. If you do it right, you’re just doing your job; but if you screw it up, consider yourself screwed. Monumentally.
Six Lawyers in Qualcomm Case Sanctioned for ‘Monumental’ Discovery Violations [The Recorder via Law.com]
Judge rebukes Qualcomm, its attorneys [San Diego Union-Tribune via Blogonaut]
A Litigator’s Nightmare: Late Filing Costs Client $1 Million [WSJ Law Blog]

* Ouch. Morrision & Foerster is one minute late, costs client one million dollars. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The Sneaky Chef sues Mrs. Jessica Seinfeld, author of “Deceptively Delicious,” claiming not-so-delicious plagiarism — and defamation, to boot. [New York Times; AP]
* Opponents of execution by lethal injection have a bad day at the Supreme Court. [Legal Times; New York Times]
* Speaking of the SCOTUS, yesterday it delivered good news to some Dykes on Bikes, denying cert to a “men’s rights advocate” who challenged their trademark registration. [San Francisco Chronicle via How Appealing]

Mark Lanier W Mark Lanier Vioxx Merck Above the Law blog.jpg* Wow, this is wild. Mark Lanier (at right), the prominent plaintiffs’ lawyer leading the Vioxx charge against Merck, gets down and dirty in blog comments (at Overlawyered and elsewhere). [Overlawyered; WSJ Law Blog]
* Lawyer of the Day? Chicago attorney charged with keying a Marine’s car says he merely “rub[bed] past it.” [Snopes.com]
* Upset about your bonus? You’re not alone. Goldman Sachs bankers employees are, too. [DealBreaker]
* For current and aspiring legal academics, here’s a quick wrap-up of last week’s AALS conference in New York. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Michael Saltzman, tax partner at White & Case and author of a well-known treatise, R.I.P. [TaxProf Blog]

summer associate Above the Law blog.jpgThe recruiting season for 2Ls — scooped up by law firms eager to hire them as summer associates, fatten them up at fancy lunches, and get them addicted to a luxury lifestyle — is pretty much over. So now is a good time to take stock of who fared well (and who didn’t).
From a tipster at Sidley Austin (New York):

On its internal site for new summers, the firm releases the list of incoming 2008 summer associate class. It is 38 people long, and one has to assume hiring has likely ended. The list from last year was accessible until recently, and that list was 62 people long. Additionally, NALP data shows the firm’s NYC office had 58 and 54 summers in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

The significant drop in number of incoming summer associates this summer may be a proxy for the economic health of the firm. In a way, it is positive, because it indicates a proactive measure on the part of firm. That is, they aren’t going to risk bringing aboard more summers than they can hire; chances of not getting an offer due to a downturn in business are much lower.

That’s an optimistic take. Most people would read a drop in summer associate class size as a sign of declining recruiting appeal or “mojo” among law students. Saint-cum-superman Barack Obama met his wife while summering at Sidley. Was that fact not enough to sway recruits?
Update: We have contacted the firm for comment and are waiting to hear back from them.
Here are some other things we’ve been hearing (mere rumors, so take with a grain of salt):

1. Wiley Rein: vastly oversubscribed, perhaps due to their topping the Am Law 100 in profits per partner, thanks to the RIM / Blackberry settlement.

2. Wachtell Lipton: our former firm, which we shamelessly plug in these pages, is also hosting a much larger summer class than usual. Office space could become an issue.

3. Kirkland & Ellis: a somewhat lower yield than usual. Some people blame us, but we’ve offered both sides of the story. We also give K&E lots of props around here for their generous bonuses (and awesome summer associates).

So, if you know: How did your firm do in the summer associate sweepstakes? Please discuss, in the comments (or send us email if you prefer). Thanks.
Further Update: Some tips we received via email, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Summer Associate Recruiting Sweepstakes: Open Thread on Winners and Losers”

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re tired of the national lovefest for Barack Obama that is currently underway. It seems that Senator Obama, barely halfway through his first term in the U.S. Senate, can do no wrong — and the divalicious Hillary Clinton, the fabulous former first lady who also has a complete (and highly successful) Senate term under the belt of her pantsuit, can do no right.
Everybody loves Barack. The 2008 election has turned into a run for class president, Barack is the “Cool Kid,” and Hillary is the nerd — the Tracy Flick character from Election.
Lawyers seems to love Obama, especially young, starry-eyed law firm associates. But general counsels have a weakness for him too, as reported today in Corporate Counsel:

The nation’s best-paid general counsel have a clear favorite in the presidential race: Barack Obama. In the run-up to the primary season, the Illinois senator received more money from the in-house legal elite than any other candidate….

A total of 29 GCs in the top 100 have contributed to a presidential candidate so far (five gave to more than one campaign). Eight legal chiefs gave Obama a total of $20,600; Hillary Clinton raised $14,500 from six; and Christopher Dodd netted $13,000 from eight.

And publishers like to throw money at Obama too. From a post over the weekend at Boston Now:

[P]residential candidate Barack “No Experience” Obama apparently has no program for reducing foreign corporate control of the U.S. book publishing industry and other U.S. media industries.

One reason Obama might not want to propose that U.S. anti-trust laws be enforced against German media conglomerates like Bertelsmann AG is that between Election Day 2004 and his swearing in as a Senator, Obama was given a $1.7 million two-book contract by the Random House/Crown Publishers/Alfred Knopf subsidiary division of Bertelsmann AG. By signing his lucrative book contract with the German media conglomerate’s U.S. subsidiary before taking office, Obama did not fall under various requirements for disclosure and reporting that applies to members of Congress who accept money from U.S. media conglomerates.

We could offer some snarky quip, but will refrain. Senator Obama complied with all applicable legal and ethical rules. His deal was brokered by Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly, the D.C. superlawyer who brokered a similar book deal for Hillary Clinton, also hammered out right before she took office.
And Hillary is our girl. If loving her is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
Update: This video, in which HRC gets a bit choked up, is awesome. She’s the most effective politically when she’s the most personal. Remember how her political career was launched, after she was humanized as the wronged woman in L’Affaire Lewinsky?
Further Update: In the comments, some of you suggest that this post would be more appropriate for our personal blog. Thanks for the unsolicited advice, which we have taken.
We offer additional thoughts about Hillary, Obama, and the amazing video clip, in this post on our personal blog. The post’s title: “Could this be Hillary’s anti-Scream, her anti-Macaca moment? Could this video clip save her faltering campaign?”
The GCs’ Choice: Obama [Corporate Counsel]
Obama’s $1.7 Million Book Contract [Boston Now]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgBonus season is still with us, although it’s winding down. Announcements continue to trickle in, but at a reduced pace. Going forward, we will combine bonus info into omnibus posts that will go up periodically, depending on whether we have a critical mass of tips.
Here is today’s compilation of associate bonus news — plus a tantalizing email, from Allen & Overy, that raises the possibility of an associate pay raise.
1. Thacher Proffitt & Wood: TPW has been hit hard by the credit crisis. As we reported back in November, they may be laying off associates this month. But at least they’re still paying out bonuses to the folks who are still around:

TPW paid bonuses year end. No standard memo to all, so information is hard to come by. They paid market bonus ($35,000 for class of 2006) with an hours requirement.

There seem to be four tiers: 2100 hours = full bonus, 2000 hours = half bonus, 1900 hours = somewhere between a third and a fourth ($10,000 for class of 2006 associates), and below 1900 hours = no bonus.

2. McDermott Will & Emery. Here’s a follow-up to our prior post on MWE:

They are having a videoconference on the 15th with all associates to discuss compensation. In the meantime, they allegedly are continuing to monitor market data. It appears as if they will try and fix their initial misread of the market, but no one knows when, how or by how much. In some cities, peer firms’ bonuses [were] 3, 4 or 5 times MWE’s bonuses.

3. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel: We previously wrote about the Kramer Levin bonus announcement. Now comes this caveat:

Sneaky to state that everyone gets the special bonus at 2000 hours, but it’s not market. For example, a fourth-year will either get 80k for 2150 or 38k for 2000-2149.

The Kramer Levin memo appears after the jump.
4. Allen & Overy: This is not bonus news, but over at Allen & Overy — or should that be Allen & Oy-vey-ry? — an email went out before the new year telling associates that the firm probably “will not be able to announce associate/senior counsel salaries for 2008 before the year begins.” One source wonders:

Have any other firms mentioned something like this? Do you think management knows something about a pending raise? Why wait, unless they have information about a possible raise?

Intriguing. We’ll keep you posted.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Monday Round-Up
(Plus a Hint of a Base Salary Increase?)”

blawg100_topwinner_gossip.jpgBelated congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Blawg 100 readers’ choice contest, sponsored by the ABA Journal, which were announced late last week. More than 25,000 votes were cast in 12 categories.
We previously wrote about the extremely close race between Overlawyered and Quizlaw, duking it out in the Generally Speaking category. Congrats to Quizlaw, which prevailed by 19 votes.
Also, thanks to everyone who voted for ATL for Best Gossip Blog category, which we won handily. We’re tremendously grateful for your support.
And not just in these blog contests, but on a more general level — through your readership, your comments (even the attacks on us — they’re all pageviews), and your tips and info. The legal blogosophere may be plateauing or reaching a saturation point, as suggested by Orin Kerr and Daniel Solove, among others. But ATL has been growing pretty consistently since its launch, with November 2007 as this site’s biggest month ever in terms of traffic. We thank Cravath for the early Christmas gift of a big traffic boost, in the form of its October bonus announcement, which triggered a bonus season that lasted for two months (and is still going on, to a certain extent).
So once again, congratulations to our fellow winners, and thanks to you, our readers, for your support. We’re looking forward to another great year in 2008.
Readers’ Choice Winners Named in ABA Journal Blawg 100 [ABA Journal]
One More Time with Feeling [QuizLaw]
Has the Legal Blogosphere Stabilized? [Concurring Opinions]
The Blawgosphere in 2007 [Volokh Conspiracy]
Earlier: ‘Tis the Season… for Blog Contests

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