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secrete service west wing.jpgAuthorities are investigating whether men threatened to kill Senator Barack Obama, or if they were just trying to get a date with Jodie Foster. Either way, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid is certain that the potentially meth-addled gunmen posed no credible threat to Obama or the Democratic National Convention.
We have explored the colossal idiocy of making threats against the President before. However, in a news flash to, you know, Germans, Obama is not the president yet. He is not even the nominee of a major party.
What he is, is a “major candidate” and 18 U.S.C. § 3056, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to grant him Secret Service protection and all the other trappings of “dude, not to be messed with.”
Obama has received protection for well over a year, earlier than any other presidential candidate in history.
So, here’s an important safety tip: don’t threaten to harm Obama or McCain or Bob Barr or whomever. Register your displeasure in the traditional way, anonymous comments on various blogs that showcase your cutting wit and deep respect for democracy. The Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor.
U.S. attorney ‘confident’ Obama not threatened [Rocky Mountain News]

Magazines.jpgThe makers of KNOW: The Magazine for Paralegals have another legal publication in the works. A tipster forwarded us an e-mail about a “new magazine for women professionals in litigation.”
Imagining the love child of Glamour and the American Lawyer, we expected to see planned articles on hot courtroom studs and legal fashion faux pas. But it sounds like this publication will be more strait-laced. The email announcement claims the magazine will “be chock full of work style and life style balance articles; address women’s issues in the law firm and in-house legal environment and offer informative pieces on current topics in technology, litigation and e-discovery.”
They’re in the naming phase, and are considering the following. Which two are not like the others?

* Women in Litigation
* Chill
* Woman Litigator
* Trial Mama
* American Litigator
* Spirit, The Magazine for Women in e-Discovery
* Equality, The Magazine for Women Litigators
* Legal Women, A Workstyle & Life Balance Magazine

We’re not excited by the bland “Women in Litigation” options, or anything with “e-Discovery” in the title. But “Chill” and “Trial Mama” are truly ridonculous. ATL Idol Exley’s “Clitigator”, or Lat’s beloved “Litigatrix”, would blow all the other entries away. We welcome better title suggestions in the comments.
Among the options offered, we can’t decide which is the worst. What do you think?


Earlier: We Don’t KNOW How This Magazine for Paralegals Will Do

law school rankings versus tuition cash.jpgLaw school deans continue to show the intellectual backbone of phytoplankton when faced with the big fish over at U.S. News & World Report. As the Wall Street Journal reported this morning (subscription), U.S. News is considering changing their law school rankings formula, and the wailing has already begun.
According to the report, U.S. News is considering counting the LSAT scores and GPAs of part-time students. Some law schools admit under performing students into their part-time programs; that way they can keep the tuition dollars flowing in, without jeopardizing their precious place in the rankings.
Brian Leiter sounded the alarm over this proposed change nearly two months ago (and we also covered it back then). Leiter notes that the proposed change could harm the mission of legal education:

For many, probably most, part-time programs serve older, working students, who might not have time for fancy LSAT prep courses, but who bring levels of dedication, seriousness, and pertinent experience that enrich legal education and the legal profession.

There are any number of reasons for law schools to admit, on a part-time basis, students who are unable to meet grade and test score cut-offs. And there are any number of reasons for U.S. News not to care in the slightest.
There is an interesting debate to be had on whether part-time programs enhance the quality of legal education or the legal profession. Instead, we’re getting marginal law schools trying to game a method of data collection, while a magazine tries to punish the offenders.
It’s just another indication that law school can be reduced to a couple of episodes of Law & Order.
Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter ‘Gaming’ [WSJ (subscription) via WSJ Law Blog]
Proposed Changes to US News Ranking Methodology [Leiter's Law School Reports]

v neck crewneck crew neck sleeveless t-shirt wifebeater.jpgThis post is directed primarily at our male readers. But female readers with opinions about men’s fashion are also welcome to chime in.
To read the question presented, see this post by Bess Levin, over at our sister site, Dealbreaker. For one style columnist’s take on the issue, see here (but it’s a bit of a punt).
Then take our poll below, and share your opinion in the comments. The Dealbreaker post has almost 120 comments thus far. C’mon, ATL readers — we can top that!


This Is Serious [Dealbreaker]
V-neck or crew? The choice isn’t so simple [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

comparing.jpgWe’re entering the second half of the Vault 100. This is part of a series of open threads to discuss the firms considered to be the profession’s most prestigious. Because we know you love prestige. And the opportunity for “TTT” accusations. [FN1]
Here’s the next bunch of firms, with prestige scores in parentheses:

51. Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (5.851)
52. Dechert LLP (5.838)
53. Vinson & Elkins LLP (5.822)
54. Goodwin Procter LLP (5.815)
55. Jenner & Block LLP (5.778)
56. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (5.728)
57. Alston & Bird LLP (5.715)
58. Fish & Richardson P.C. (5.706)
59. Cooley Godward LLP (5.692)
60. Irell & Manella LLP (5.635)

doughboy.jpgVault notes that attorneys at Pillsbury are treated to “freshly baked cookies.” But they also have to put up with being referred to as “Pillsburians” by Vault.
Compare, contrast, discuss… and if you’re at Pillsbury, have a chocolate chip cookie for us.
Earlier: Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
[FN1] We periodically get e-mails asking for the definition of “TTT,” which appears so often in comment threads. As the uninitiated have surely gathered, it’s a derogatory term. Likely originating on AutoAdmit, it stands for “third tier toilet.” For more, see Urban Dictionary.

michelle obama convention speech.jpg* Some of you might have already noticed, but a former Sidley Austin associate had a big night. [ABA Journal; MSNBC]
* More reasons to dump Internet Explorer if you haven’t done so already. [Res Ipsa Blog]
* Maybe instead of professional responsibility, they should teach “internet scams for dummies” in law school. [ABA Journal]
* I’m pretty sure we were promised tactile feedback toys back in Real Sex 1. I’m sure we’ll get them just after the flying cars start rolling off the assembly line. [Legal Pad]
* Fun with Biden over at Legal Times. At this point, if his convention speech comes in under the 8-hour mark, he will claim victory. [BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgAs we reported last month, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner is on the prowl for a merger partner. And just like a divorcée plunging back into the dating market, the firm is taking steps to make itself more attractive.
Like changing its name. From the firm’s press release:

In a move to present a clear and strong brand in the legal marketplace, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, an international Am Law 100 law firm, announced today that it is shortening the legal name of the firm to Thelen LLP.

The name change will be effective September 9 and will better reflect the firm’s 80-year history as one of the world’s premier law firms. A single corporate identity also has the added benefit of consistent branding in the domestic and global markets in which Thelen operates.

There are other advantages, too. As reported in today’s National Law Journal, name partner Jeffrey Steiner just defected to DLA Piper. This follows the departures of name partners Peter Brown (to Baker Hostetler) and Richard Raysman (to Otterbourg Steindler). Scrubbing their names from the firm name makes sense (and may have been required).
It’s much safer for the firm simply to be known as “Thelen.” Max Thelen isn’t going anywhere.
Thelen Announces New Firm Name [press release]
Defections continue at Thelen [National Law Journal]
Thelen Faces Departures During Merger Search [Legal Times]
Thelen, It Rhymes With Wheelin’ [WSJ Law Blog]

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgAs we reported last month, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner is on the prowl for a merger partner. And just like a divorcée plunging back into the dating market, the firm is taking steps to make itself more attractive.
Like changing its name. From the firm’s press release:

In a move to present a clear and strong brand in the legal marketplace, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, an international Am Law 100 law firm, announced today that it is shortening the legal name of the firm to Thelen LLP.

The name change will be effective September 9 and will better reflect the firm’s 80-year history as one of the world’s premier law firms. A single corporate identity also has the added benefit of consistent branding in the domestic and global markets in which Thelen operates.

There are other advantages, too. As reported in today’s National Law Journal, name partner Jeffrey Steiner just defected to DLA Piper. This follows the departures of name partners Peter Brown (to Baker Hostetler) and Richard Raysman (to Otterbourg Steindler). Scrubbing their names from the firm name makes sense (and may have been required).
It’s much safer for the firm simply to be known as “Thelen.” Max Thelen isn’t going anywhere.
Thelen Announces New Firm Name [press release]
Defections continue at Thelen [National Law Journal]
Thelen Faces Departures During Merger Search [Legal Times]
Thelen, It Rhymes With Wheelin’ [WSJ Law Blog]

Jimmy Page.jpg* It appears University of Iowa political science professor Arthur H. Miller has met an untimely end. [Ace of Spades HQ; TaxProf Blog]
* Joe Biden’s reputation for never shutting up is already the stuff of legend. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* More expectation management with Biden. [Supreme Dicta]
* Oh, now I see, those summer outings were really tests. [Portfolio]
* No theme from Blawg Review this week, but at least now we know why Jimmy Page and his titanium replacement hips were invited to the closing ceremonies. [Texas Appellate Law Blog via Blawg Review]

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGCorporette has entered the fall interviewing fray with their own top ten list of interviewing tips.
They really seem to think that successful interviewing requires effort, preparation, and study. They suggest keeping detailed notes on every conversation you have, networking, and even setting up Google and Westlaw alerts so you are up to speed on the latest legal news.
I know that the economy is in bad shape, but I’m not sure that turning into a crazy stalker person is the right way to go.
Then again, following Corporette’s guide is probably better than showing up hung-over and asking for a Bloody Mary.
The problem with any interviewing “advice” is that it needs to be tailored to the person. If you are socially awkward and talk like Michael Phelps, you probably want to rehearse everything you are going to say beforehand and speak only when forced. If you have Jerry McGuire-esque living room skills, you want to keep your head in the moment and trust your instincts.
Memorizing 15 fun-facts about every partner at the firm is an option, but there is no one path to success.
10 Things About … Interviewing [Corporette]

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP logo.jpg“My Gump, my Gump, my lovely Akin Gump. Check it out….
What’s going on at Akin Gump? That seems to be what many of you are wondering, based on some comments posted to a recent open thread featuring the firm:

“What is happening to Akin Gump DC? I saw that a bunch of lit partners just left.”

“I’ve heard the same thing…. Akin appears to be losing tons of partners and the DC office is rumored to be in turmoil. It does, however, have Tom Goldstein, which is sure to attract gunners who think they’ll be arguing cases in three years.”

“I read somewhere that the changes at Akin are part of some larger strategic plan. Anyone know anything about that?”

As a matter of fact, yes — Kim Eisler does. He writes, over at Washingtonian:

Over the past few months, 950-lawyer Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has lost about 45 lawyers, including two of its rainmakers, Michael Madigan and Richard Wyatt Jr. Tensions are said to be high, with partners in the New York office unhappy that the Washington lawyers are not producing their share of revenue. To increase productivity, Akin Gump pushed out 5 percent of its lawyers who, in management’s view, were not generating enough income. The firm also closed its office in Taipei, one of 12 it maintained outside of Washington, and insiders predict the money-losing Beijing office will be next to go. The China offices have been expensive failures in the eyes of New York partners, who are pressing Washington to stop the bleeding….

The firm still has several stars, including criminal-defense lawyers John Dowd and Michele Roberts, Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein, and lobbying-practice head Joel Jankowsky, and is counting on them to pull Akin Gump out of its tailspin.

These boldface names are familiar to the ATL readership. John Dowd is the defense lawyer of Monica Goodling (and the former boss of the Akin Gump Escort). Tom Goldstein, the celebrated SCOTUS litigator, was a judge on ATL Idol.
To read more about comings and goings at Akin Gump, check out Eisler’s complete piece, available over here.
Clock Is Ticking for Strauss’s Firm [Capital Comment / Washingtonian]
Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 31-40 (2009)

associate layoffs cost money.jpgThis weekend, the New York Times explored the cascade of sadness left behind after massive layoffs. Aside from fear, the Times noted that there can be a productivity downgrade that shows up in real economic terms.

Too often, their anxious and overworked remaining employees become risk-averse and unproductive, or leave for other jobs. As companies hire new workers or turn to outside vendors to compensate, the short-term savings from layoffs can evaporate.

The National Law Journal also has some stern advice for layoff-happy firms. According to Bruce McEwen of Adam Smith Esq., “law firms that slash associate numbers in hopes of keeping profits-per-partner high may be headed for trouble.”
What else law firms can try, beyond going to $190K, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Layoffs Cost Money”

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