As one of you has noted, our favorite pro se lawsuit, filed back in 2003, has already been decided.
Interested in seeing how the case was resolved? Check out the published opinion: Ward v. Arm & Hammer, 341 F.Supp.2d 499 (2004).
Ted Frank has the link, plus commentary. Click here to satisfy your curiosity.
Because we all love wacky pro se suits: Ward v. Arm & Hammer [Overlawyered]
Earlier: Ward v. Arm & Hammer: What Do You Think?
The Fine Line Separating Pro Se Litigants, Plaintiffs’ Lawyers, and Law Professors
As one of you has noted, our favorite pro se lawsuit, filed back in 2003, has already been decided.
As several of you have reminded us, associates aren’t the only people who work at big law firms. Hence this quick shout-out to staff attorneys. From a reader email:
You’re forgetting about Staff Attorneys. We’re lawyers, but not associates, so we don’t get the associate pay or bonus.
While we are paid significantly less than a first year (think around 50%) to work a 40 hour week, putting in only 40 hours a week would be looked down upon. But if we put in overtime, we get questioned as to whether or not it was necessary. We’re damned either way.While we do get paid for the OT, working OT is the only way to survive in NYC on the base.
[The firm I work for] pays staff attorneys a DISCRETIONARY, bonus on par with that of the ADMINISTRATIVE staff — roughly 3% of the already low salary. However, the bonuses are PURELY discretionary, at the whim of one person, who determines how much each person shall receive. So the “lock-step” system [the firm] prides itself on does not apply here.
The bonus is in the range of one to two weeks’ pay. When the base pay is alrady insanely low for an attorney at a major firm, one or two weeks’ pay is not that much.
So as you Biglaw associates complain about your bonuses, take a moment to reflect upon the staff attorneys. Sure, this year could have been better for you; but then again, it could have been worse.
(Yes, we know what you’re going to say: The staff attorneys don’t have your credentials, don’t work as hard as you do, don’t get in trouble the way you do when things get screwed up, etc. Tell us all about it in the comments.)
Remember this great lawsuit, which we wrote about last week? In case you don’t, here’s a quick recap:
Summary: Pro se litigant George Allen Ward is suing Arm & Hammer and its corporate parent, Church & Dwight, for $425 million. His theory of liability: failure to warn. The company failed to warn him that if he cooked up THEIR PRODUCT, baking soda, with cocaine, he might end up serving a 200-month prison sentence on crack cocaine charges. You can read the full pleading here.
Opinion among ATL commenters was deeply divided. Some found the lawsuit almost offensive in its frivolousness, while others viewed it as presenting a colorable claim.
What do you think? We’d like to know (because commenters aren’t always representative of our entire readership). Time for a quick poll:
|Make Free Online Polls|
In business journalism, there are certain kind of articles that get written and rewritten every year. There’s the “How To Behave At An Office Party” article that always comes with the holidays. There’s the “Office Romance” piece which usually hits around Valentine’s Day. And, of course, there are those “How To Spend Your Bonus” articles that have been popping up all week.
We’re not going to write one of those. (Unless you count this.) Instead, we’re asking you to write one. Well, not a whole article. But we’d like to hear your ideas for bonus purchases. We’re interested in everything from the mundane (paying off your student loans) to the ostentatious. Imagined or real-life stories welcome. We’d just really like to hear what you are or would shell out for with your hard earned bonus bucks.
If Biglaw bonuses were as huge as Wall Street bonuses, then ideas like these might be on the table. But they’re not (even at Wachtell). So you’re probably thinking along more modest lines:
– a flat-screen TV?
– a Mini-Cooper (great for parking in Manhattan)?
– something to improve your flagging sex life?
We’re eager to live vicariously through your purchases of Louis Vuitton luggage sets, your blow-out dinners at Masa, your summer rentals in the Hamptons. You worked your tail off for that bonus; now, savor it. Since you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Please make your consumption conspicuous, in the comments to this post. Thanks — we think…
Bonus Consumption: You Decide! [DealBreaker]
ABC Knows Six Things You Aren’t Going To Do With Your Goldman Sachs Bonus [DealBreaker]
Bonus Spending? [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: Are You Happy With Your Sex Life?
Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
- Ann Althouse, Asians, Barrington Parker, Contests, Hotties, Money, Reality TV, Survivor, Television, Yale Law School, Yul Kwon
Apparently you learn how to survive on a desert island. And how to beat out your fellow competitors for a $1 million cash prize, on one of America’s biggest reality television shows.
Yul Kwon, the newly crowned winner of
“Survivor: Race Wars” “Survivor: Cook Islands,” is a lawyer, former Second Circuit law clerk, and 2000 graduate of Yale Law School. This makes him one of the best-credentialed reality show contestants EVER.
We realize that Yul was working as a management consultant at McKinsey before joining the show. But he’s still a member of the California and D.C. bars, so we’ll claim him as one of our own. Congratulations, Yul!
P.S. Yul certainly has the best body of any YLS grad we’ve ever met. Not that we’ve seen so many Yalies shirtless. But you know what we mean — Yul Kwon is formidable competition.
P.P.S. Ann Althouse was rooting for Ozzy. But she also thought that Yul was cool, and sends her congrats as well.
Update: In response to this comment, we did some fact-checking. We can now confirm, as previously suggested, that Yul Kwon clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker, Jr., on the Second Circuit.
Yul Kwon Survivor bio [CBS]
Survivor: Yul Kwon of San Mateo “represents” in win [Mercury News]
Kwon tops `Survivor’ heap: Brains beat brawn in `Cook Islands’ finale [Chicago Tribune]
Earlier: “First Thing We Do, Let’s Vote Off All the Lawyers”
We’re glad to see that kids today have their priorities straight:
Children under 10 think being a celebrity is the “very best thing in the world” but do not think quite as much of God, a survey has revealed.
The poll of just under 1,500 youngsters ranked “God” as their tenth favourite thing in the world, with celebrity, “good looks” and being rich at one, two and three respectively.
Ah, the wisdom of babes. We’re glad to see they agree with us: “There is nothing more important than fame.”
This finding amused us:
“[K]illing” and “wars” head the list of the “very worst things in the world”, followed by drunks, bullies, illness, smoking, stealing, divorce and being fat. Dying is in tenth place.
Nice to know that the world’s youth have such healthy attitudes towards issues of weight and body image. They apparently subscribe to this adage: “Better dead than well-fed.”
Being a celebrity is the ‘best thing in the world’ say children [Daily Mail via Drudge Report]
Earlier: An Open Letter to the Empress of Palo Alto
We read the message boards, so you don’t have to. Yes, you owe us big-time.
We’re mainly interested in bonus announcements. But occasionally we notice other items. Last week, we were oddly touched by this post. And today we were moved by these sentiments:
Man, this is depressing. I’ve been following this board for a couple of years as an undergrad and I really thought the partners would step up this year. Unfortunately, they didn’t and now I’m really questioning if I want to go to law school. My plan since my junior year of high school had been to go to law school, but now I don’t think its worth it.
I scored in the top 2% on the LSAT and I’m sure I could get a decent financial aid package at a good school, but if the partners are going to hoard all the money for themselves I think it’s time to give up the dream, go work in finance for a few years, then get an MBA. It looks like that will be a much more lucrative route.
I’m just glad that this board exists so that I can make the right decision now before I get stuck in a dead-end law job at BIGLAW like you guys. Thanks for getting the truth out so that those of us considering law school can make well-informed decisions.
We believe the children are our future — so we fear for the future of the profession. Law just won’t be the same without money-hungry barracudas swimming in the Biglaw waters.
No longer going to law school [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
- 3rd Circuit, Federal Judges, Judicial Nominations, Kent Jordan, Noel Hillman, Politics, Senate Judiciary Committee
A few quick updates on our former stomping grounds, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit:
1. There’s been some speculation about who might be nominated for the Third Circuit seat previously held by Justice Alito. What we’re now hearing is that it’s probably going to Judge Noel Hillman, a former high-ranking Justice Department official, just confirmed to the District Court (D.N.J.).
This might be surprising, considering that Judge Hillman has barely warmed the district court bench. His investiture as a district judge took place only a few weeks ago.
But nominating Judge Hillman to the court of appeals actually makes political sense for the White House — especially in its current, weakened state. President Bush doesn’t have a great deal of political capital right now, and he’ll be dealing with a Democrat-controlled Senate come January (assuming Sen. Johnson hangs in there).
Picking a nominee who made it through the Senate just a few months ago would be a shrewd move. Since the two New Jersey senators supported Hillman for the district court, it would be awkward for them to oppose him for the circuit court now.
Of course, this is just a rumor. And rumors can be wrong. So stay tuned.
2. Judge Kent Jordan, formerly on the Delaware district court bench, was sworn in as the newest Third Circuit judge on Friday morning. The ceremony was small and private. Judge Jordan was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month, by a vote of 91-0, before the end of the 109th Congress.
3. Another Third Circuit nominee, Judge Thomas Hardiman (W.D. Pa.), may not be as easy a sell as one might have thought. Senate Democrats are tut-tutting him for making political contributions to Republican candidates before he was nominated for his district judgeship.
Call us cynical, but this strikes us as no big deal. Making (perfectly legal) campaign contributions to U.S. senators? How else do you become a federal judge?
Seriously, this is not a new practice. Political patronage goes back to, like, the Jackson Administration. And strategic campaign giving has been engaged in by judicial nominees on both sides of the aisle (PDF).
This is why we were unimpressed with Salon’s “four-month investigation” showing that, lo and behold, politicians reward their contributors with federal judgeships. We could have told you that in four seconds.
Noel L. Hillman bio [FJC]
Senate Confirms Kent Jordan to 3rd Circuit, Replacing Senior Judge Jane Roth [Legal Intelligencer]
Judge Kent Jordan Confirmed to the Third Circuit [How Appealing]
Kent A. Jordan bio [FJC]
Another Bush judge on the hot seat [Salon.com via How Appealing]
Thomas M. Hardiman bio [FJC]
Riding Circuit — In a Taxicab? [Underneath Their Robes]
Non-Scandal [Committee for Justice Blog]
According to this post at Greedy NY, the New York office of Ropes & Gray has matched the market bonuses, with respect to its most junior classes (who are paid lockstep bonuses — more senior classes are not).
Here’s the posting, which includes some non-NYC compensation figures (since some of you have been asking after them):
Matches for lockstep classes. Bonuses were actually $5K higher in Boston, D.C. and California offices to make up in part for lower $135K salaries in outside NYC. Above class of 2004 is not lockstep.
Class Bonus Total Comp
2006 $30,000 $175,000
2005 $35,000 $180,000
2004 $40,000 $195,000
Class Bonus Total Comp
2006 $35,000 $170,000
2005 $40,000 $175,000
2004 $45,000 $190,000
We’d be interested in hearing about firms with significant pay differentials between their New York and non-New York associates.
A number of big firms — e.g., Skadden and S&C — pay their associates the same nationwide. At Ropes, if the above data is correct, the total compensation difference is only $5K. This seems negligible, especially given the high cost of living in New York.
(This Ropes data sounds reasonable to us, but we haven’t verified it independently. If you’re at Ropes and believe any of this to be incorrect, please drop us a line.)
Ropes matches [Infirmation / Greedy NY]
Breaking news: The Second Coming is almost here!
Don’t believe us? Check out the official press release:
[T]he disasters and plagues that are described in the Bible are about to happen. The immediate future will be difficult for everyone, but the result will be that people acknowledge the true Christian God and follow his commandments. The cities will be like Heaven on Earth and God Himself will come and live with us.
The first plague to happen in the immediate future will be a tsunami affecting the East Coast of America. Unfortunately, even Christians who are expecting these events seem unwilling to accept that they are about to happen. If this belief persists, the death toll for the East Coast will be extremely high.
A tsunami? We respectfully dissent.
When the first plague arrives, it will hit a law school library. Maybe locusts in the Am Jur volumes, or LLM students breaking out in boils.
Why? Strange things have been happening at law school libraries lately. Like the “mystery smell” at the NYU library. And now the “Jesus” freak at Emory Law School:
From: “Katherine Brokaw” [email address redacted]
Date: December 15, 2006 2:37:38 PM EST
To: [Emory Law School classes of 2007 - 2009]
Subject: [ELS 2008-announce] stranger in library last night
Last night a white male, approximately 40, was disruptive in the library. He was wearing a Jesus t-shirt, a black leather jacket, black cowboy hat with the word “perfect” in silver. We are told he claimed to be the attorney general of the United States.
If you see him in the library or in Gambrell, please notify Operations or Security, or the staff at the Circulaton Desk in the library who will call the appropriate people. Thank you — Dean Brokaw
So that’s what John Ashcroft has been up to lately.
(Besides appearing on The Daily Show — on which, by the way, he was surprisingly charming and funny.)
The Second Coming [press release, via Yahoo! Finance]
The Daily Show: John Ashcroft [TV.com]
Earlier: Breaking: Mystery Smell Hits NYU Law Library!!!
That’s what we’re hearing, from sources within the firm.
This isn’t terribly surprising, since Cleary Gottlieb — despite being an A-list firm — tends to be a follower, not a leader, on associate compensation. Unless you’re talking about Italy.
If you have a Cleary bonus memo or table, please send it our way. Thanks.
Update (10:02 AM): That was fast; thanks. The Cleary Gottlieb bonus memo, after the jump.
- Cars, Celebrities, Death Penalty, Environment / Environmental Law, Gay Marriage, Morning Docket, Music, New Jersey, Politics, Porn Names, Prisons, Sentencing Law, Trademarks
* Solitary confinement, cruel and unusual? Cruel, perhaps, but not that unusual. [St. Petersburg Times via How Appealing]
* Florida and California decide to take a little break on the whole lethal injection thing. [CNN]
* New Jersey Legislature does what New Jersey’s Supreme Court told them to. [FindLaw]
* Mariah Carey is concerned that people might be confused and think that she is someone who uses sex to make money….oh, wait a minute… [FOX News]
* Global warming is such a nuisance. [Jurist]