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Kwame Kilpatrick Mayor Kwame M Kilpatrick Above the Law blog.jpgSadly, I don’t own a Kevlar vest. If I did, I would be coming to you live from Detroit today, because it appears that today is the day that they finally remove Kwame Kilpatrick’s feeding tube.
Mayor Kilpatrick has become an embarrassment to his city, a nearly impossible task given that he represents Detroit. Kilpatrick had an affair with his chief-of-staff, lied about it under oath, and allegedly paid off a police officer to keep it quiet. If Michigan could beat Utah, perhaps Kilpatrick could have flown under the radar, but in this charged political climate the mere appearance of gross incompetence and corruption is enough to get a man in trouble.
The fact that Kilpatrick has held onto his job for this long is a testament to the people of Detroit and their utter hopelessness.
At 10:00 a.m. eastern time, Judge Robert Ziolkowski will rule on whether Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has the authority to fire the embattled mayor. That ruling should set up a very interesting 2:00 p.m. hearing on the mayor’s sexual perjury case. Reports are flying that Kilpatrick will take a deal prior to the latter hearing, in order to avoid jail time.
Most observers believe that Granholm does have the authority to remove Kilpatrick from office under established principles of Michigan law. Kilpatrick’s main defense appears to be that he doesn’t have time to mount a credible defense. The man is busy trying to stay out of jail, how can he possibly focus on serving the citizens of Detroit?
Complicating Kilpatrick’s defense are five lawyers that Kilpatrick wanted to testify on his behalf. They will not, apparently because they enjoy being lawyers and are afraid of losing their law licenses by associating in any way with Kilpatrick.
Granholm has already scheduled an ouster hearing for Wednesday.
Hearings loom as plea talks stumble [Detroit News]
Stakes high today in Kilpatrick legal drama [Detroit Free Press]
Earlier: Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Indicted

Sarah Palin Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hottie.jpg* The Republican Convention kicks off this week in St. Paul. They were worried about Hurricane Gustav, but Hurricane Sarah Palin has been the talk of the weekend. The Republican Veep candidate revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is a baby mama. [New York Times]
*… And O’Melveny and Myers partner Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr. is to blame. Not for the baby, but for the vetting process. [New York Times]
* …And here’s almost everything else you want to know about Sarah Palin and the law. [American Lawyer]
* Former attorney general Alberto Gonzales can breathe a sigh of relief. The Justice Department says he made some mistakes with classified information, but that criminal sanctions are unlikely for him. [Washington Post]
* In Texas, they like their justice blind… and aroused. Judge Samuel Kent has been indicted for federal sex crimes, but he’s going to continue hearing cases. [Houston Chronicle]
* More details in the human trafficking lawsuit against Iraq contractor Kellogg Brown & Root. Worst bait and switch ever. [Courthouse News Service]

Labor Day barbecue barbeque.jpgIt seems that a few of you are reading today — but not many. No surprise there; it’s a holiday. Happy Labor Day!
Here’s a bit about the holiday, from the Department of Labor:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

And that includes Biglaw associates, a sizable chunk of the Above the Law readership. Granted, they’re not a unionized bunch. But with the help of ATL, as well as many other blogs and message boards, associates now have ways of organizing to improve their compensation and working conditions (and to protect themselves against adverse actions, like layoffs).
Speaking of Above the Law, Saturday the 30th was the second anniversary of ATL’s public launch. Happy Birthday to us!
We extend our deepest gratitude to you, our loyal readers, for the site’s continued success (in terms of traffic, revenue, media mentions, and other metrics). We’re grateful to you for your frequent visits to ATL, including all the comments and browser refreshing; your spreading the word about the site, by mentioning ATL to your friends, colleagues, or classmates; and your sharing information and tips with us, by email and in comments.
So once again, Happy Labor Day! If you’re away from your computer, we hope you’re enjoying the holiday. If you’re stuck in the office, you have our sympathies — and we hope you get out of there soon.
The History of Labor Day [U.S. Department of Labor]
Labor Day [Wikipedia]
Earlier: Happy Birthday to ATL — and Happy Labor Day to All!
Letter from the Editor: Welcome to Above the Law

calendar Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re a little late in passing along this news, which is from last month. But when it comes to coverage of certain topics, like start dates and layoffs, we aim for completeness.
An article in Crain’s Chicago Business focuses on delayed start dates at major law firms in the Windy City. Most of the news in the piece was previously broken by ATL. See, e.g., Seyfarth Shaw; DLA Piper.
But there’s one nugget of news:

With starting attorney salaries reaching $160,000 a year, delaying new-hire dates is one way to trim expenses. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, which has 186 attorneys in Chicago and a substantial real estate practice, pushed back starting dates for seven lawyers by two months, to mid-November, a spokeswoman says.

So add Sonnenschein to the list of firms that have delayed start dates for incoming associates. Just like no-offering summer associates, pushing back starting dates is less than ideal. But as we wondered on Friday, such measures may be the lesser of multiple evils (with lawyer layoffs as a greater evil — although some firms have done both).
P.S. Lee Miller might want to coordinate better with his public-relations team. The DLA Piper PR folks previously explained that the change in start dates was made “to provide a uniform start date across all our offices… [and] to have a uniform orientation process.” But Miller tells Crain’s that it’s the economy, stupid:

“Any firm that isn’t careful in this economy is nuts,” says Lee Miller, joint CEO of DLA, Chicago’s eighth-biggest law firm. Mr. Miller says the firm also plans to cut next summer’s recruiting class by as much as one-fifth. “The transactional practices are slower, mirroring the economy, and the capital markets are in turbulent times,” he says.

P.P.S. Today, of course, is Labor Day. Is anyone reading?
Update / Correction: The Sonnenschein start date news was first reported by Bloomberg News on August 5, in a very interesting article on partner pay. As Lindsay Fortado reported, the firm pushed back start dates for 20 of its 24 incoming first-year associates from September to November 15. (The seven lawyers referenced in the Crain’s article appear to be Chicago associates; the firm-wide number appears to be 20.)
Tougher times on the docket [Crain's Chicago Business]
Wall Street Lawyers Ask Bank, Can You Spare $250,000? [Bloomberg News]

Terry Christensen Terry N Christensen.jpgAlong with his colorful co-defendant, private investigator Anthony Pellicano, prominent entertainment attorney Terry Christensen is now a convicted felon. Earlier today, a federal jury convicted the pair on conspiracy charges relating to illegal wiretapping.
Not a great way to kick off a holiday weekend. And not good news for the 110-lawyer firm that Christensen founded — Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro.
(That firm name may ring a bell. Name partner Robert Shapiro famously served on O.J. Simpson’s victorious defense team.)
Private eye Anthony Pellicano, attorney Christensen convicted of wiretap plot [Los Angeles Times via WSJ Law Blog]
Terry N. Christensen bio [Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, LLP]

jury trial John Morgan.jpgWhen it comes to seating juries, desperate times call for desperate measures. Like arresting — and shackling — jury duty deadbeats, which is what’s done in D.C.
Out in Oregon, they conscript jurors from off the street:

A juror shortage forced a judge to look through a phone book before sending sheriff’s deputies out into the street to round up enough people for a trial.

Lane County Presiding Judge Mary Ann Bearden said an unusually large number of criminal trials combined with an equally unusual number of no-shows for jury duty forced her to invoke a little-used state law.

“I dealt with some angry people,” the judge said. “They didn’t think it was fair.”

Their anger is understandable. These folks were out for a nice morning stroll, on a sunny day in August. The next thing they knew, they were jurors on a sex abuse trial — for a man accused of screwing the pooch aggravated animal abuse. And the defendant wasn’t even a federal judge.
Democracy: what a bitch.
Oregon judge tries dialing, rounding up jurors [AP via Seattle Times]

gustav warning.jpg[Ed note: Though Non-Sequiturs is our traditional sign-off, posted at or near the end of the day, we're not quite done -- more posts will follow. We just wanted to give a quick round-up for those leaving the office early.]
* If you happen to be stuck at work over the long weekend, Paul Caron has you covered. It’s much better than trying to figure out which non-contiguous state you like best. [Tax Prof Blog]
* Chief Justice Roberts will be judging a moot court competition. If that sounds odd, consider that the competition is in Florida, home to 27 sweet electoral votes. [BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* The Veoh ruling might not help YouTube as much as they hoped. Maybe they should try garlic to battle with Viacom and Sumner Redstone [Law.com]
* Wait, pole-dancing isn’t exercise but beach volleyball is an Olympic sport? I’m so confused. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Gustav. Seriously. Running away is always a good option when dealing with nature. [Washington Post]

curtis facebook recruiting.JPGFacebook just got a lot less cool, and a lot more LinkedIn. Watch out, for your firm may be coming to F-book soon.
The ABA Journal reports that Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has launched a Facebook page to aid in its recruiting efforts:

Looking for a way to better promote itself to the next generation of lawyers, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has launched a Facebook page as part of its broader law school recruiting efforts.

“We are pleased to be capitalizing on the popularity of the most widely used social networking site,” Nancy Delaney, a Curtis partner who is a member of the firm’s personnel committee, says in a release (PDF) about the page. “As a Firm, we recognized the power of this format of communication and the wide use being made of it by future lawyers.”

Their page has 55 fans at the moment. We would pooh-pooh that, but the Above the Law fan page currently has just 96 fans.
(The ATL group page on Facebook, however, has more robust ranks, with over 800 members.)
Facebook Page is New Twist in Biglaw Recruiting [Robert Ambrogi's LawSites]
BigLaw Firm Recruits on Facebook [ABA Journal]
Curtis, Mallet, Prevost, Colt & Mosle Facebook Page [Facebook]
CURTIS DEPLOYS FACEBOOK PAGE TO HELP ATTRACT TOP LAW STUDENTS [Curtis, Mallet, Prevost, Colt & Mosle Press Release - PDF]

Sarah Palin Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hottie.jpgAccording to the New York Times, John McCain has tapped Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Appeal to disaffected Clinton voters? Trying to lock up the Mike Gravel fan base?
Update: Although Governor Palin is not a lawyer, there have already been several legal issues mentioned with regard to her candidacy. Just last month, her own state legislature opened an investigation into allegations that she tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his state trooper job
Law professor Ann Althouse has already gone on record with a furry opinion about Palin’s credentials.
Without a professional legal background to pontificate on (compare Joe Biden), we here at ATL will continue to scour our sources to bring you the latest on Palin’s positions about the things that matter to lawyers, big and small. Anyone know her views on SCOTUS nominations?
McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate [New York Times]
Alaska’s Palin Faces Probe [Wall Street Journal]

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgFor about a year now, ever since he took a mysterious leave of absence in August 2007, we’ve been following the troubles of Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Tex.). A suspension from the Fifth Circuit, allegations of breastfeeding and BJ requests — it hasn’t been pretty.
Yesterday things got even worse for Judge Kent. From the Houston Chronicle:

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent was indicted Thursday on charges of abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a female employee, making him the first federal judge to be charged with federal sex crimes and the first in Texas indicted in recent history.

Congratulations, Your Honor? It’s a privilege to be FIRST.
The alleged victim — Judge Kent’s former case manager, Cathy McBroom — issued a statement after the indictment came down:

“After a very difficult 17 months, I feel like I have finally been validated. I have listened and read with horror as Judge Kent’s lawyer suggested that what happened to me was ‘enthusiastically consensual,’ ” wrote McBroom, who remains a federal court employee. “I am relieved to find that even federal judges are not above the law, and that sexual abuse in the workplace is never acceptable, no matter the status of the offender.”

Thanks for the shout-out, Cathy!
A little bit more, below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Kent Indicted on Sex Charges”

Stroock Stroock Lavan LLP Above the Law blog.JPGThe tips keep rolling in about firms no offering summer associates. Today’s confirmed casualty report comes from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.
Unlike Wiley Rein, Winston & Strawn, and other reports we’ve heard that suggest firms are coalescing around a 90% offer rate, Stroock made offers to only 80% of their ’08 summer class.
Stroock did not directly confirm this number, but they did not deny it either.
Instead, Stroock communications director Jim Ponichtera focused on a different percentage:

In 2007, Stroock made a strategic decision to increase the size of its
incoming class. Our summer classes were typically in the 28-30 range, and in 2008 we had 54 summer associates. Part of this was due to our decision to increase the class size, and part of this was due to an unexpectedly high acceptance rate of offers to join our summer program.
At the end of the summer, we extended a record number of entry-level offers – over 50% more than in 2007, which is consistent with our current business plan.

You hear that? 50% more offers.
More on the 20% who didn’t make the cut after the jump,

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide No Offer Watch: Stroock Strikes”

comparing.jpgThis marks the end of our review of the firms in the Vault 100. This is the final bunch up for discussion (with prestige scores in parentheses):

91. Lovells (4.494)
92. Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP (4.489)
93. Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (4.478)
94. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (4.459)
95. Kilpatrick Stockton LLP (4.452)
96. Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP (4.439)
97. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP (4.421)
98. Seyfarth Shaw (4.399)
99. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC (4.394)
100. Fenwick & West LLP (4.373)

Discuss. Dissect. Compare. Contrast. Most of all, enjoy.
Earlier: Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009

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