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optical scan machine.JPGA few hours before the polls close, Virginia continues to be a disaster of disenfranchisement.

Voting machine breakdowns at dozens of sites, affecting voters in all parts of the state, suggest that Virginia election officials were woefully unprepared for the massive turnout that everybody predicted. Right now, Election Protection lawyers are concerned that multiple precincts in Virginia will run out of emergency back-up paper ballots.

Lawyers have asked the state to print more paper ballots because of the shortage. But according to Jon Greenbaum, director of the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, the State Board of Elections has effectively said “let’s wait until the [paper ballots] actually run out, and we’ll deal with it then.”

Way to stay ahead of the curve.

The new tactic for voter suppression is apparently to tell people still waiting in line that “due to the unprecedented turnout, voting has been extended to Wednesday.”

Rock the Vote is reporting that students in Virginia are being targeted with text messages saying “due to the long lines, Obama voters are asked to vote on Wednesday. Thank you for your cooperation.”

More line issues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Election Shenanigans Watch: VA and (Sadly) Florida”

Hughes Hubbard Squire Sanders.jpgThe latest bailout news is making Simpson Thacher’s $300,000 contract to advise the Treasury Department on the $700 billion bailout plan look even more like chump change.

We wrote before about firms that were offered bailout love. Well, Reuters reports that Hughes Hubbard and Squire Sanders are going to get mad bailout love, to the tune of $11 million:

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP have each been awarded a contract for roughly $5.5 million to help shepherd about 2,000 financial firms through the program that would see the government buy company shares, the Treasury Department said on Monday.

Looks like Hughes Hubbard’s strategizing with the acquisition of boutique bankruptcy firm Luskin, Stern & Eisler may have paid off.

Two law firms to help U.S. Treasury dole out aid [Reuters]

The End of Bailout Transparency Already? [BailoutSleuth via WSJ Law Blog]

Earlier: The Firms That Were Offered Bailout Love

Musical Chairs: Hughes Hubbard Is Ready For Some Action

Remember back in 2000 when Palm Beach County’s infamous “butterfly ballot” caused confused voters to vote for Pat Buchanan when they intended to vote for Al Gore?

Do you think they fixed it? Check out today’s Palm Beach County November, 2008 election ballot below.

Palm Beach County Ballot 2008.JPG

What the hell is that? They’re not trying to confuse voters into voting for the wrong person, instead they’ve opted to make it likely that many people will not have their votes counted at all.

In any event, to vote in Palm Beach you need to connect the thingy on the right-hand side to the arrow on the left. Spread the non-partisan word, old ladies deserve to vote too.

Earlier: Election Shenanigans Watch: Pennsylvania and … New Jersey?

Election Shenanigans Watch: All Hell is Breaking Loose in Virginia

notre dame law school logo.JPGAh, Notre Dame. Touchdown Jesus. Gorgeous campus. And … racist Halloween costumes?

Those are the reports we are getting as ND law students try to make sense of the school’s Halloween party. According to a tipster:

[T]he Phi Alpha Delta vice president, a 2L with political aspirations, showed up to this weekend’s Halloween party in black face. That was totally appropriate, right? You know, black face: nasty racist stereotypes, lynching, yes massa, cookies and rainbows, and buckets of interracial love? That kind of appropriate.

Black face. What a statement! Ha ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. … (this racism is killing me inside).

Luckily, an African-American law professor set things right:

Black trash-bag, sign emblazoned with the extremely tolerant logo: “Take me out with the rest of the trash!”, general aura of douchiness. He was apparently “dressed as Barack Obama.”

Nice to have positive role models.

African-Americans Notre Dame law students are calling for the professor to resign. The “black faced” 2L has … not been heard from since.

I can’t wait to see what these crazy kids have planned for Thanksgiving.

Philly republicans denied access.JPGThe TV guys are still focused on Florida and Ohio. Always fighting the last war. So far, things are generally holding up well in those states.

The early election craziness for 2008 seems to be in Virginia and Pennsylvania. We documented some of the problems in VA earlier today, but many of the same problems are happening in Pennsylvania.

In PA, voting machines are breaking down — apparently these things are made of out of the same stuff they use for the space shuttle — and people are voting by paper ballots. PA does have a statewide mandate for back-up paper ballots.

But once again, voters are being told that their paper ballot, which they are using because of a machine breakdown, will be counted as provisional instead of regular.

Counting those ballots as provisional is a violation of state election law. As we understand it, all paper ballots should be counted as regular ballots if voters are using them because of a machine breakdown.

Additional PA problems, and some surprising news coming out of New Jersey, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Election Shenanigans Watch: Pennsylvania and … New Jersey?”

laid off lawyer attorney layoff.jpg

If you’re looking for news (and rumor) about lawyer layoffs, you’ve come to the right place. ATL will continue to cover this beat with a vengeance. In this rapidly changing economic environment, real-time intelligence is invaluable, especially if you’re making major career decisions.

What if you’re looking for a round-up of developments thus far — a list of which firms have done layoffs, when, and in what numbers? In addition to our collected coverage, check out this handy cheat sheet, courtesy of the American Lawyer: The Layoff List. The Layoff List collects layoff-related content from a variety of sources (including properties, the WSJ Law Blog, and yes, ATL).

Happy — or, perhaps more accurately, unhappy — reading.

The Layoff List []

Fellowships.jpgWe’ve been writing about career alternatives for lawyers. With all the layoff news coming out of law firms these days, it’s good to remember that there are things you can do with a law degree other than working for a large law firm. Today, we’re touching on fellowship options for attorneys.

Of course, there are judicial clerkships, the ultimate “de-facto” fellowships for attorneys, and legal academia fellowships (aspiring law professors should check out TaxProf Blog’s compilation). But we are focusing on opportunities for mid-career attorneys, who may want to get away from Biglaw for a year or two, but ultimately want to keep on practicing.

We’re listing a few and encourage you to mention others in the comments. If you’re looking for interesting experiences, and don’t mind a dip in your salary, here are a few fellowships to consider:

  • The White House Fellowship
  • The Supreme Court Fellows
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Fellowships
  • The Skadden Fellowship (not mid-career, but worth mention)
  • More on each of these fellowships, and advice for those thinking about fellowships, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “For lawyers are jolly good fellows…
    A few fellowship possibilities to consider

    virginia bar exam results.JPGIn 2000 it was Florida, in 2004 it was Ohio. Could 2008 be the year that Virginia is the state that embarrasses democracy in America?

    According to a conference call that is still ongoing with Election Protection (the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition) right now voting in Virginia is in pretty bad shape.

    There are reports of polling places opening late and long lines. That is pretty regular stuff.

    But the Director for the national campaign for Lawyers for Fair Elections is saying that the real problems are occurring after the voting machines breakdown.

    Virginia does not have a statewide mandate to have “back-up” paper ballots. However, voters who are able to vote using paper ballots are being told that those ballots are “provisional.”

    According to election lawyers, this is wrong. If you are voting on a paper ballot because of a voting machine breakdown, that ballot should be counted as “regular.” Paper ballots should be counted as regular ballots even if you are voting on a form for “provisional” ballots.

    But election officials are apparently telling voters that any paper vote is provisional. Lawyers are lobbying in Richmond right now to get the state the set their poll workers straight.

    Additional problems after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Election Shenanigans Watch: All Hell is Breaking Loose in Virginia”

    George Mason logo.JPGAs many of you know, there is a flyer going around Virginia telling voters that Republicans vote today, Democrats vote Wednesday.

    We can argue whether voters who don’t know when election day is deserve to vote at all.

    But these tricks are also being used to “confuse” students. At George Mason University, the Provost felt the need to send around this clarification:

    To the Mason Community:

    I hear some troubling rumors, so here are a couple of facts: 1. The election is Nov. 4, for all political parties. The notion that one party votes Nov. 5 is UNTRUE. 2. It is also UNTRUE that any student jeopardizes financial aid by voting.

    Peter N. Stearns


    But there is some back and forth after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Election Shenanigans Watch: Virginia and George Mason”

    The Chicago office of Kirkland & Eliis is taking an extraordinary step for a major law firm. They are closing early:

    kirkland ellis logo.JPGThe Chicago office will have an early closure tomorrow, November 4, to ensure the safety of our occupants as large crowds are anticipated in the area. Senator Obama is expected to be staying at the nearby Hyatt Hotel and Senator Biden is expected to be at the Fairmont. Street closures are rolling depending on crowd size, but are not known fully at this time. Columbus is already closed. Therefore, we are cancelling both our 2nd and 3rd shifts tomorrow and will shut down our offices at 3:30 p.m. Shuttle buses begin service at 2:35 p.m.

    All employees must check with their supervisor, attorney or manager before departing. Please contact your manager or supervisor with questions. Normal operations resume at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 5. Thank you.

    “Safety?” Does K&E think Obama supporters might start eating Biglaw associates?

    The email isn’t specifically directed at lawyers, but if the concerns are great for support staff, attorneys must be similarly “at risk.”

    Are any other Chicago area firms genuflecting to Obama today? Are any (ahem) Arizona firms making sure they stay out of McCain’s way? Let us know.

    iStock_000005179735XSmall.jpg[Ed. Note: Check back throughout the day for election shenanigans updates.]

    * Vote. Even if your boss tells you that clocking a full fourteen-hour-day at your miserable law firm is more important, remember that this is a historic election no matter who wins. Check out this fun New York Times piece on election night.

    * In some states, people waiting in line after the polls close may not get to vote. [Abc News]

    * Federal attorneys nationwide are in charge of processing reports of any voting problems on election day. Here are some numbers to call: [Courthouse News Service]

    * Just in time for the election, Sarah Palin was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Troopergate scandal. [Los Angeles Times]

    * The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a dispute between the broadcast networks and the Federal Communications Commissions over a government ban of “fleeting expletives.” The FCC prohibited bad language, after Cher, Bono, and Nicole Richie used profanity at awards ceremonies in 2002 and 2003. [The Associated Press]

    * “Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. scaled back their proposed Internet-advertising agreement to win support from U.S. antitrust officials.” []

    * More recession madness: Law firms everywhere are discounting their fees. But most lawyers don’t care because they practice for love of the law, and money is no object. []

    bush kerry ev map.JPGAs some of you might have heard, there is an election happening tomorrow; a Presidential one, so we’ve been told.

    Ever since Bush v. Gore, elections have become a potential legal matter as much as anything. Tomorrow, we’ll be bringing you updates on the various electoral shenanigans as they happen. Check out some of the latest opportunities for post-election litigation at Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog.

    If it is close, we could end up in court for weeks. Georgetown University Law Center has already contemplated the disaster.

    But, during this brief calm before the biggest gambling event of the fall, we offer you a little game: Beat the ATL Editors, Election Edition. Win the (anonymous) respect of your peers by out predicting the ATL brain trust.

    There are polling numbers that indicate that as many as 11 states are “in play” heading into Tuesday: PA, VA, NC, FL, OH, IN, MO, ND, MT, CO, and NV.

    Vegas has set the over-under at 325 Electoral Votes for Barack Obama.

    Off of that line, I’m taking the under.

    I’ve got Obama coming out of this with 324 EVs. Of the 11 in play, I see Obama picking up: PA, VA, FL, IN, and CO.

    I’ll believe that the Bradley-effect doesn’t exist the minute it stops existing. Obama dropped ten points in a day in the New Hampshire primary. Why? Because Hillary cried and “found her voice?” Sure. “Call me” when Harold Ford Jr. wins that Senate race in Tennessee.

    Kash and Lat weigh in after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Predictions: Beat the ATL Editors”

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