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dont be an asshole.JPGAh, Sullivan & Cromwell. It’s a top law firm — not just in prestige and profits, but also blog fodder. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner who defrauded firm and clients of half a million dollars through expense fraud); Aaron Charney (associate who sued the firm for antigay discrimination, while still employed there).

When people leave 125 Broad Street, they go out with a bang. Today, courtesy of several tipsters, we bring you the tale of another former SullCrom employee who departed under less than ideal circumstances. Let’s call him “DB,” short for “douchebag.”

(To those of you who find the term offensive, we say: if it’s good enough for the Second Circuit, it’s good enough for ATL. Also, we use it affectionately.)

During law school, DB developed a reputation “as a racist, sexist jerkoff who always flaunted the fact that he was wealthy.” Here’s why:

  • His first words upon meeting his law school roommates: “Hi, I’m DB. I’m independently wealthy.”
  • In a class discussion about price discrimination and consumer choice, he said: “Sometimes when I’m in a real hurry, I am forced to fly coach.”
  • At a law firm reception, he said to the attorneys, “Don’t you miss the good old days when there were no girls at a place like this, except for hookers and strippers?”
  • This charming lad then made his way to 125 Broad Street, where he joined GP (general practice; S&C-speak for “Corporate”) at Sullivan. Now, S&C pays well — in addition to generous base salaries and year-end bonuses, they pay supplemental bonuses to senior associates. But DB was unimpressed:

  • “My allowance used to be bigger than whatever I earn from this place. I feel so poor now that I’m working.”
  • Read more about his rudeness, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How To Get Fired from Sullivan & Cromwell (Part 1)”

    Bell Boyd logo.JPGBell Boyd & Lloyd managing partner Nancy Bertoglio has confirmed the layoffs we reported earlier today. She stated that 10 associates were laid off today:

    Like many firms, Bell Boyd is facing unprecedented market conditions and we are taking measures to ensure the firm’s efficient operation and growth. Today regrettably, Management, in individual meetings with associates, asked 10 to leave effective January 1, 2009. The associates affected were representative of practices across the firm, and none were first year associates. All are in the Chicago office. This is a belt-tightening measure that will put us in a better position to ride out the economic storm and remain competitive in what we expect will be a challenging business environment for law firms and our clients.

    Nancy Bertoglio

    Managing Partner

    At least the firm didn’t throw mud on the associates on the way out of the door. This message makes it clear that the layoffs were done for economic reasons, not because the 10 associates were “under performing” in some way.

    Good luck to the most recent additions to the job hunting community.

    Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Katten’s Official Message

    Update: Sonnenschein Confirms Attorney Layoff Numbers

    Nationwide Layoff Watch: Jenner & Block Cuts … Partners

    Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGDechert has just announced the hiring of former Heller chairman Matt Larrabee. His official partnership with Dechert is thought to be a mere formality.

    From Dechert’s press release:

    “Matt’s experience is unusually diverse, with each of his practice areas intersecting with a number of Dechert’s core litigation practices: class action defense, antitrust, fraud claims, and complex commercial litigation,” said Dechert chairman Barton J. Winokur. “Perhaps most importantly, Matt will provide yet another highly experienced and sophisticated first chair litigator to Dechert’s already impressive group of trial lawyers. I think everyone would agree that Matt is one of the most respected trial attorneys in the nation and we welcome him to the firm.”

    One firm’s loss is another firm’s gain. If Dechert ever has to dissolve, they’ve got a new pro in house.

    Read the firm’s full statement after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dechert Picks Up An Interesting Piece From Heller”

    The Chicago market is really tough these days. In the past month, 21 associates lost their jobs with Katten, 25 associates were laid off from Sonneschein, and Jenner Block parted ways with 10 partners.

    A tipster tells us that Bell Boyd’s Chicago office could be the next firm to suffer the layoff bug:

    18 fired this morning, some 1st years, some 4th and 5th years. Firm wide meeting at noon central

    We have contacted the firm, but they have not yet responded.

    We will update you as soon as we can confirm or deny this report.

    Update (3:03): Bell Boyd has confirmed 10 associate layoffs. Please see here for additional coverage.

    Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Katten’s Official Message

    Update: Sonnenschein Confirms Attorney Layoff Numbers

    Nationwide Layoff Watch: Jenner & Block Cuts … Partners

    Toilet.jpgThere are moments in life when one is confronted with the inconsideration of others and can be moved to despise one’s fellow man — e.g., when stepping in discarded bubble gum, or passing through an exhaled cloud of smoke while jogging.

    One Yale Law School student had a moment like this in the ladies’ restroom, and she has blasted the student list-serv urging greater consideration in the future.

    Here is an excerpt:

    Dear Prissy Chicks of YLS,

    WHY do you squat over the toilet seat and splatter it with pee instead of just sitting on it like everybody else — or at least cleaning up after yourself? I just went to the ladies room downstairs by the ATM and two of those friggin toilets were liberally spritzed, thanks to your selfish carelessness. Consider:

    1. Yes, toilet seats at our school come into contact with the asses and thighs of many many people. But your ass and thighs are not alone in this world!!! Would it kill you to put your naked buttcheeks on the toilet seat, anyway? It’s not like you’re going to be eating off them! By squatting above the toilet seat and cattily spraying everywhere, you force sensible women to deal with your uric carnage. You either make that toilet unusable, or make the braver women wipe off your peepee…

    You might not want to sit on the toilet seat, but *nobody* wants their bum and thighs to be dampened by your prissy potty puddles.

    The hazard of being a female. There have been many replies to this, reproduced after the jump. We wanted to highlight this comment, scoring a point for Harvard in the YLS / HLS debate:

    You’d think a school with the resources of YLS could tend to its most basic sanitation requirements. (Harvard provides free tampons in the women’s restrooms, and perhaps their toilets function, as well.)

    Full angry e-mail — with detailed instructions on bathroom use, and myriad replies — after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Prissy potty puddles’ on the Yale Law School list-serv”

    Will Work for Food 3 Above the Law blog.JPGWe’ve reported that firms with “oversubscribed” summer classes are calling up 2Ls and encouraging them to not accept their 2009 summer associate offers. Unlike Akin Gump’s move, the tactic is a clever dodge around the NALP guidelines. As we understand it, firms are not committing these “cold offers” to email, instead using the telephone and avoiding a paper trail.

    Career services departments are trying to cope with this new law firm tactic. Some Michigan students received this email from their career services dean:

    Hi. It is my understanding that you have an offer from White and Case in New York. After talking to contacts in the New York legal market, it appears that White and Case may have over-hired for next summer and has a particularly large class. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to take another offer if you have one.

    According to the WSJ Law Blog, White & Case claims ignorance over why Michigan would send out this email:

    A spokesman for White & Case told the Law Blog: “We don’t know, honestly, why a law school career services office would send out these letters. No on has talked to us about the situation, and we’ve certainly not encouraged anyone to send out letters to students.”

    Notice how White & Case did not say “we intend to honor every summer associate offer we’ve made.”

    We have been consistently encouraging 2Ls to accept their offers sooner rather than later. Many career services departments have echoed that advice. White & Case joins Proskauer as one of the firm that has been “outed” as telling people that they should look elsewhere for offers, but we suspect that many firms are doing this.

    After the jump, speculation about other firms.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Accept Your Offers Part 7:
    White & Case v. Nervous T-10 1L?

    Morgan Lewis.JPGA central theme running through this week’s bonus speculation was that bonus decisions would be made much later this year than last year. As first reported here, Cravath kicked off the bonus season last year on October 29th, 2007. But in 2006, Milbank didn’t get the ball rolling until December 8th.

    The first solid information that bonus decisions could be made a lot later this season came in today from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. MLB associates were notified that bonuses would not be paid before the holidays via a firm wide email.

    Read the email after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis Pushes Back Bonus Decisions”

    Biden speaks to Phillies fan.JPG* Nebraska doesn’t want your teenagers or kids from other states. The legislature will hold a special session to fix its safe-haven law. [New York Times]

    * The DOJ declares Delta and Northwest Airlines man and wife. [Pacific Business News]

    * Washington Judge Roger Fisher doesn’t want anything to do with scalded monkeys. [Seattle Times]

    * A crazy different take on the effect of the financial crisis on law firms. It’s boom time for lawyers? [Los Angeles Times]

    * Dell gets slapped with a $500 million class action suit, accused of discriminating against women and firing workers over 40. Well, come on, it is a tech company… [Dallas Morning News]

    * It took a 46-hour baseball game, but Philly has their first champion since Rocky IV. Sober up by Tuesday okay? [ESPN]

    gay marriage skadden.jpgUnless something very strange happens, California’s electoral votes are already spoken for. In fact, we might know the next President long before the California polls close.

    But regardless of the national election, there are many reasons why Californians should go vote on November, 4th. For many, Proposition 8 (the initiative to ban gay marriage) will be the signature issue on the ballot.

    We have reported on attorneys from Orrick and Proskauer staking out positions on Prop. 8. Yesterday, the Daily Journal did a thorough breakdown of Prop. 8 campaign spending.

    The California Marriage Protection Act has prompted more than 2,600 attorneys, judges and law professors to write checks totaling at least $1.6 million, but the committees that oppose the measure received 14 percent more money from the legal community than those who support it, an analysis by the Daily Journal shows.

    No Biglaw firm took an “official” stance on the issue, but the Daily Journal reported that attorneys at Knobbe Martens, Sheppard, Mullin, Latham & Watkins, Richter & Hampton and Kirkland & Ellis led in terms of individual contributions.

    Additional Prop 8 campaign info after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Countdown to California’s Prop. 8 Showdown”

    Penn Northwestern head to head.JPG* A head-to-head comparison suggests that Northwestern has a better J.D. program than Penn. But if Northwestern students ever meet a Penn kid with an épée, they’d better run. [Prawfs Blawg]

    * Boston lawyer hottie interacts with her adoring stalkers fans. [f/k/a]

    * Ex-Thelen Chairman Richard Gary seems to lay the blame squarely at the feet of Brown, Raysman and Steiner, who departed for DLA Piper before the end. [Legal Pad]

    * Between the financial meltdown and the possible ascendancy of Barack Obama, are New York City lawyers still relevant? [Law and More]

    * The interaction between law and literature. [New York City Bar]

    Mr. Mom washes kids.JPGYou never know where you’ll find sexism in our society and our profession. It knows no party or ideology.

    But it has no place in court. In a decision yesterday, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner took a shot at a plaintiff’s attorney who thought this was still 1950.

    The case, Thorogood v. Sears Roebuck, was perfectly set up for a sexist wisecrack by an attorney cheap enough to take it. The case involved stainless steel clothes dryers that nonetheless caused rust stains on some clothing. A massive class action suit was mounted against Sears because “stainless steel” was not used for every part of the appliance.

    During oral argument, the plaintiff’s attorney suggested that the all-male bench “ask their wives” about the problems associated with rust stains from dryers.

    Posner did not find this funny. Writing for the majority (and holding for Sears) Posner shot back:

    At argument the plaintiff’s lawyer, skeptical that men ever operate clothes dryers–oddly, since his client does–asked us to ask our wives whether they are concerned about rust stains in their dryers. None is.


    Prior ATL articles have shown that some men really expect their wives to do all the laundry, but they are a dying breed (I think). There’s no way that attorney would have joked about women washing clothes if there was a woman on the 7th Circuit panel.

    Hopefully, getting smacked around by Posner will teach this attorney that he should not make sexist remarks in open court regardless of the gender diversity on the bench.


    Earlier: And No, She Doesn’t Do Windows

    Freeborn video series.jpgChicago firm Freeborn and Peters has upped the stakes in the crazy, fun website competition. Their career site promises associates the opportunity to “thrive in an open, supportive, collegial culture.” A series of recruitment videos have firm attorneys and partners in starring roles and are a testament to the firm’s unorthodox culture. Check them out here– they are long, but worth it.

    Our favorite video is “Attorney Lunch,” featuring attorneys snoozing, taking shots of coffee, and whistling while they march, as well as an evil partner who misdirects said attorneys to an e-discovery seminar instead of a “weekly gathering of attorneys with free food and drink.” We are left wondering though why Freeborn attorneys have such paralegalish days: making photocopies and re-stacking boxes of document production.

    Another video, “Bags,” ends with the exhortation: “Work Hard. Play Hard.”

    Our tipster came across the videos while job hunting, and captured our reaction well:

    I’m still not entirely sure what I think of them as a recruiting tool. On the one hand, they’re completely hilarious, especially for a law firm, and I thought it made the firm look like a fun place to work. On the other hand, I could see how a lot of people would think the videos portrayed the associates as unprofessional (doodling and bored while on the phone with someone, looking unprepared while taking a deposition, etc.). So I think it completely depends on how you think they struck the balance between good humor and professionalism. I’m sort of amazed that the firm put the videos up on its website at all, but ultimately I think it was a good thing they buried the videos on the associate recruiting page where potential clients most likely wouldn’t look!

    The videos are funny, but Freeborn, a 120-attorney firm specializing in bankruptcy, real estate, and regulatory law, is definitely taking a risk with them. What do you think? Do they work?

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