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dracula.jpg* A Guantanamo prisoner and his attorney are boycotting their own trial. They have to be in court, but they aren’t saying a word. It was not the best strategy for voir dire. [Associated Press]

* Musical chairs: Colorado Assistant U.S. Attorney Haley Reynolds to head to Iraq. [Denver Post]

* Edward “frying pan” Halverson pleaded guilty to beating his ATL Judge of the Day Hall of Famer wife, and will spend the next 3 to 10 years in prison. Apparently, the fight was a result of delayed dinner plans. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* Auditors prepare to be sued. They are “classic litigation targets when finances go awry, and the swift collapse of seemingly sound financial institutions is expected to clog the courts for years to come.” [Compliance Week]

* If the Phillies end up blowing this thing, beleaguered Philadelphia sports fans will have an excellent cause of action for secession. [ESPN]

* A tale of a tax lawyer turned Dracula annotator. [Wall Street Journal]

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgWe’ve spent the day collecting our Thelen rumors. This morning The Recorder reported that Thelen chairman Stephen O’Neal has been in talks to move to the D.C. firm Howrey. Apparently, he’s poised to take 30 attorneys with him.

The firm is set to hold an all partner meeting on Tuesday to discuss their options:

A much anticipated all-partner meeting is being held Tuesday, according to a Thelen partner, although the agenda hasn’t been made available to rank-and-file partners. The meeting had been set for last Thursday, but was rescheduled at the last minute.

“It’s certainly clear to us as industry observers that Thelen has reached a tipping point,” said William Nason, a recruiter with San Diego-based Watanabe Nason Schwartz & Lippman. “It’s amazing to us how quickly firms dissolve when they get to that point.”

Distinguishing Thelen from other dissolution targets after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Weebles Wobble, But Does Thelen Fall Down?”

buddy jesus.JPG* Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Patterson, NJ apparently told his flock not to vote for Obama. If a priest speaks to Northeastern Catholics, and it is neither Christmas nor Easter, does he make a sound? [TaxProf Blog]

* New York City raised the fine on people who refuse to pick up after their dog for the first time in 30 years. The fine now stands at $250. The fine should be $1,000 and your neighbors being allowed to poop in your shoes for a week. [Animal Law Blog]

* Salient advice disabusing 1Ls from the notion that they will get a Biglaw job.

[Build a Solo Practice]

* Hang-overs should be unconstitutional as against public policy. [Foggy Monocle]

* This is the time of year when intelligent life forms migrate to warmer climes. Blawg Review is an intelligent life form. [UCL Practitioner via Blawg Review]

ted stevens guilty.jpgBreaking from CNBC, CNN, and NYT, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been found guilty on all seven counts of making false statements on Senate disclosure forms.

More to come.

Update (4:24): The jury started to deliberate Wednesday. On Monday jurors noted a discrepancy between the indictment and the evidence. According to CNN:

The indictment accuses Stevens of checking “No” in response to a question about whether Stevens or his family had “any reportable gift … more than $260″ in 2001. But the form introduced as evidence in court shows he checked “Yes.”

The prosecution argued that the discrepancy was a mere typo, while the defense argued that the typo required the judge to throw out a specific count of the indictment. The judge was angry about the error:

But he did say the defense proposal went too far, instead deciding to tell the jury to match the available evidence with the appropriate charges in the indictment.

“The indictment is merely a charging document, it is not evidence. You must consider all the evidence and my instructions to determine if the government has proven each element in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Stevens (R) is locked in a re-election battle in Alaska. Conventional wisdom was that Stevens would either lose his race or get drummed out of the Senate if he was found guilty. Politico reports:

And even if he wins reelection, Stevens could face an expulsion from the Senate. Of the four sitting senators who were convicted of crimes while in office, only one — Sen. Truman Newberry (R-Mich.) — continued to serve after being found guilty, and he was eventually hounded out of office in 1922 by senators seeking his expulsion.

The lead prosecutor for the Department of Justice was Brenda Morris, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center who received her JD from Howard University. Brendan Sullivan (JD GULC) of Williams and Connolly represented Stevens.

Jury finds Stevens guilty on corruption charges [CNN]

Jury: Stevens guilty on seven counts [Politico]

Something is going on over at Thacher Proffitt & Wood.

This summer, the firm had to deny a rumor of possible dissolution. The word is that the firm took an especially tough beating when the bottom fell out of the housing and credit markets. In September, just a week after Lehman Brothers collapsed, we reported that Thacher Proffitt was looking for a white knight to save them (King & Spalding).

Today brings word that Thacher Protfitt abruptly closed their office in White Plains, New York. The firm declined to comment on the closing, but this picture was on the door of the firm’s (former) White Plains office (thumbnail image; click to enlarge):

Thacher Proffitt Wood White Plains.JPG

A tipster reports:

Presently, there are no attorneys or support staff anywhere in the office — just boxes, empty ones being filled, and filled ones being shipped out.

Update: Back in April, we passed along a rumor that the White Plains office would be closing. The firm denied this, but the closing has now come to pass.

Where did all the cowboys go? After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Thacher Proffitt & Wood Abandons White Plains”

rain forest law firm.JPGThe Texas based law firm of Haynes and Boone moved their Dallas operations into a new “green” office today. Despite the laudable initiative, some lawyers and many support staffers have complained about the new “confines.” Apparently, personal space is at a premium in the new space. Administrative assistants are particularly annoyed, as they will be moved out of cubicles into an open floor plan, “fishbowl” situation.

In addition to the lack of privacy, Haynes and Boone issued new policies regarding how secretaries use the personal space they still have. Most of the new rules meet an accepted standard of “petty.”:

2. There will be a sufficient number of small plants that Gensler will place in appropriate areas around our floors. You may have one 8-inch potted plant in your office or on your desk–none on the ledges.

3. Please do not put any objects or plants on ledges or the tops of your cabinets. Two framed pictures and a small candy dish may be placed on your desk, but no beanie babies on desks.

You’re moving into new environmentally friendly offices, but you’re going to regulate the number and types of plants employees are allowed to have? That’s not directly contradictory, but it’s certainly annoying.

Additional regulations after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Haynes and Boone: ‘Green’ Offices. ‘Orwellian’ Controls”

Charles Fried angry Harvard Law School professor.jpgDoes the legal academy suffer from a dearth of ideological diversity? It’s a question raised by the defection of prominent conservative law professors — including Doug Kmiec and now Charles Fried (pictured), who both held top positions in the Justice Department under Ronald Reagan — to the candidacy of Barack Obama.

From a post on Friday entitled “Charles Fried’s Absurd Obama Endorsement,” by conservative law professor Stephen Bainbridge (rhetorically addressing Fried):

Let me see if I understand this. You throw over the beliefs of a life time and vote for somebody who’s arguably the most radical national ticket Democrat since Henry Wallace because you’re having a hissy fit about Sarah Palin? [Ed. note: In explaining his support for the Obama-Biden ticket, Fried cited McCain's "choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis."]

First Kmiec and now Fried have betrayed the Reagan Revolution. They’ve tossed the principles they purported to hold under the bus to endorse a guy who is the antithesis of those principles and who will burden us with activist judges that will dismantle all the achievements the conservative legal movement won in the last three decades.

Is this a fair critique of Professors Kmiec and Fried? And what do their endorsements say about legal academia?

Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Academia: Will the Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?”

128294720808907500callmahlawyur.jpgEarlier this month, an ATL / Lateral Link survey found that 86% of you were talking about politics in the workplace. And 18% of you reported that a fellow associate had tried to convince you to vote for their favorite candidate.

But are politics just seeping into your workplace, or will you be taking your profession to the polls? As the Obama campaign recruits lawyers to join the world’s largest law firm next week and the McCain campaign recruits its own Legal Response Team, how are you and your firms planning to spend the day?

Will you be policing the polls for pro bono — or billable — credit?

Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

UofC Law School logo.JPGThe University of Chicago Law School is ranked as the seventh best law school in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.

As we have extensively reported, the top-six schools (Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley) have all moved away from letter grading towards a modified pass/fail system, or are contemplating such a move (Yale and Berkeley have had pass/fail systems for some time).

The University of Chicago Law School, which currently has a grading system that defies rational understanding, is the next logical school to face the growing tide towards grade reform. On Friday, an all faculty meeting took place to discuss the matter.

According to tipsters, one professor discussed the meeting with his class. The professor suggested that the administration felt they had to consider the issue with an eye towards remaining competitive with their peer institutions. The professor then asked the class if they shared those concerns:

Interestingly enough, the professor who mentioned this to us did a straw poll of students (mostly 2Ls) and the vast majority were in favor of staying on our current system. It’s not like anyone knows what our system really is/means, so why change it?

The Dean responds after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grade Reform Comes to the University of Chicago?
Not So Fast My Friends”

john_mccain.jpgIn a National Law Journal piece published today, Senator John McCain wrote at length about the law.

McCain said he was committed to three priorities:

I want to concentrate on what would be three important priorities in a McCain administration: keeping the Department of Justice politically neutral, focusing law enforcement programs on addressing important issues of the day and appointing strict constructionist judges.

The Justice department line sounds like another clear break from the policies of George W. Bush, a distinction McCain has been making more and more in the closing days of the campaign:

My first objective would be to ensure that the department is, and remains, above the political fray. The department must function with integrity and effectiveness above all else.

More from McCain after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “McCain Speaks About the Law”

goldstone.jpgThe MacArthur Foundation is known for its genius grants– a.k.a. “Out of the blue–$500,000– no strings attached”– that are given to 20 to 40 individuals each year in recognition of incredible creativity and originality.

Last year, the Foundation started giving out a new award: the international justice award for individuals and organizations that have “been transformative forces in the fields of human rights and international justice.” Diplomat, economist and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was the inaugural recipient. Great guy and all, but not an attorney.

We’re happy to report that an actual lawyer has received the award this year. Congratulations to Justice Richard Goldstone, of South Africa. He gets $100,000 and can recommend non-profit recipients for an additional $500,000.

The MacArthur Foundation’s announcement says Goldstone has received the award for his work as chief prosecutor of the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, “the first of their kind since Nazi war criminals were tried at Nuremberg following World War II.” He focused on prosecuting top political and military perpetrators and filed genocide and crimes against humanity charges against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in 1995.

“Since the early 1990s, we have witnessed the emergence of a system of international justice that is growing stronger with each new case tried in a regional court or UN tribunal and with each investigation opened by the International Criminal Court. It has given me tremendous pride and satisfaction to have played a role in ensuring that the perpetrators of mass atrocities have more reason today than ever to fear being brought to justice,” said Goldstone.

Goldstone is no stranger to the U.S. He has taught international law at Harvard, NYU, and Fordham.

See, international law is not completely worthless. It may be worth less than a year in Biglaw, but still…

Justice Richard Goldstone to Receive MacArthur Award for International Justice [MacArthur Foundation Press Release]

voting above the law vote.jpg* Juror dismissed in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens. We hope she was the violent one. [New York Times]

* Yet another strip club lawsuit, but this time there are strips clubs on both sides. Déjà Vu and Little Darlings claim that competitors urged cabbies to divert potential clients by telling them the two clubs were “dumps full of old hogs and chicks with bullet wounds.” [Courthouse News Service]

* Sarah Palin is “going rogue.” And she’s a “diva.” And she “sees herself as the next leader of the party.” Unnamed McCain aides tell all! [CNN]

* Malaysia’s former prime minister finds himself shut out of the public space thanks to the press censorship he helped perfect as leader of the country for 22 years. So now he’s blogging. [International Herald-Tribune]

* While McCain and Obama duke it out in the battleground states this week, their legal teams prepare to wage voter fraud battles in courtrooms across the nation. [Reuters]

* New York finds private attorneys scheming their way into state pensions. [Newsday]

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