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locke lord logo.JPGWith all the attention focused on the 2009 summer class, and current associates getting laid-off, and full service law firms dissolving, we’ve kind of lost sight of the 2008 summer class. Many of them have still not made a decision about their future employment.

We’ve received reports from multiple tipsters that say Locke Lord’s Houston office made offers to less than 50% of their summer class:

I thought you should know that [Redacted] Locke Lorde in Houston, TX only extended offers to 14/30 of their 2L summer associates – including no-offers to some who had spent their 1L summer with them.

As we understand it, 27 of those summers were 2Ls.

Apparently the relationship between Locke Lord and their 2008 summers was one of mutual unhappiness. We’ve been told that of the 14 offers, only four have been accepted at this point.

You’d expect a little better than 4 out of 14 in this market.

A “profile” of one of the summers that did receive an offer after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide No Offer Watch: Locke Lord’s Sub-50% Offer Ratio”

kramer levin logo.JPGThis is not the best time to be losing Bankruptcy rainmakers. But according to the ABA Journal, that is exactly what is happening to Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. The three partners are: David Feldman, Eric Wise and Matthew Williams. David Feldman was formerly the co-chair of Kramer Levin’s bankruptcy group.

Gibson Dunn’s press release heralding the new hires reinforced the trio’s rainmaking capacity:

“This group has an established practice and a tremendous reputation in the distressed debt arena and will give Gibson Dunn a strong foundation in this growing area,” said Michael Rosenthal, Co-Chair of the Business Restructuring and Reorganization Practice Group.

Update (3:51): As many commenters pointed out, bankruptcy superstar Luc Despins is leaving Milbank for Paul Hastings. According to the National Law Journal:

Luc A. Despins, well-known in the profession for his representation of the creditors’ committee in the bankruptcy of Enron Corp., is the latest marquee name to be poached as firms rush to ramp up restructuring practices in response to the worsening economy.

According to our sources at Milbank, no associates will be leaving with Despins. The firm could not be reached for immediate comment.

Bankruptcy lawyers are the new IP attorneys. They’re very much in demand.

Kramer Levin Bankruptcy Trio Jumps Ship to Gibson Dunn [ABA Journal]

Top Milbank Bankruptcy Partner Leaves for Paul Hastings []

Gibson Dunn Adds Three-Partner Bankruptcy and Distressed Debt Group in New York [Gibson Dunn]

Scarlet Pumpkin Sign.jpgWe previously discussed Maryland’s Halloween sex offender ordinance, which requires convicted sex offenders to turn off their lights and display the sign (shown to the right) warning children to stay away on Halloween.

Missouri has a similar law. They require sex offenders stay inside between 5 and 10:30 p.m., prohibits them from participating in Halloween related activities, and wants them to turn down the lights and post a “no candy here” sign.

According the WSJ Law blog, District Judge Carol Jackson struck down parts of the law yesterday. In particular, the judge was concerned with the vagueness of the law:

Apparently, Judge Jackson was concerned that in some cases, parents could be punished for Halloween activities with their own children, such as “carving a pumpkin in the privacy of your kitchen with your 5-year-old child.” She questioned whether such parents might have to send their kids away on Halloween to avoid prosecution. “It’s not too much to expect criminal laws to be clear,” she said.

The judge did not note what many of our commenters already have: telling sex offenders to turn down the lights is a terrible idea.

Seriously, the whole thought process behind trampling civil liberties requiring these extra regulations for convicted sex offenders is the fear about sex offender recidivism. If we are truly worried that sex offenders are ticking time bombs waiting to explode all over little children, shouldn’t their houses remain well-lit at all times?

Also, why should sex offenders be forced to stay home on Halloween? It seems like a great time for them to fulfill their Megan’s Law requirements, just like Will Forte suggested.

Halloween & the Law: Targeting Sexual Offenders [WSJ Law Blog]

Earlier: The Scarlet Pumpkin

economy freezes over.JPGA firm-wide memo from Charlie O’Neil, managing partner of Chadbourne & Parke, announced that the firm was instituting a legal and non-legal hiring freeze in response to the economic downturn.

The lengths O’Neil went to try and bury this important piece of firm information are slightly amazing. The firm-wide email was entitled “How Are We Doing?” and the first 4 paragraphs read like the “Yay Us” emails we’ve seen from firms like DPW and STB.

However, in the sixth paragraph, O’Neil gets to the part where he talks about keeping control over firm expenses:

That said, expenses have been under constant review and we have taken a number of steps to better position us for the remainder of this year and next. Among the more significant is the decision to delay much of the planned technology upgrade. We recognize the need to improve technology and certain of the more important upgrades will continue. Others, including the upgrade to new desktop computers and software, will be postponed. We will review this decision in 2009 as the economic picture becomes clearer. Should conditions improve we will begin the upgrade sometime in 2009; otherwise it will be delayed until 2010. We will be issuing new guidelines pertaining to controls over Firm business expenses, including travel. We will also more closely monitor and limit certain other expenses which in a more robust economy might otherwise be acceptable We have also instituted a freeze on hiring legal and non-legal personnel. To the extent a practice area has need of additional legal personnel, we will seek to temporarily shift lawyers from a less-busy practice area to assist, rather than hiring laterally. We will take the same approach with non-legal personnel and departments. We welcome your thoughts on other cost saving measures.

Catch that? I bet O’Neil hopes you didn’t.

More after the jump, including the full Chadbourne memo and the firm’s response.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hiring Freeze at Chadbourne & Parke
Adventures In Burying The Lead”

mark badgett.jpgA piece of general advice for judges, lawyers, presidential candidates, and almost everyone else: avoid using the terms “you people” and “that one.” They tend to raise hackles. And get you removed from the bench.

From Courthouse News Service:

The North Carolina Supreme Court removed Judge Mark H. Badgett from the bench after he ordered a Hispanic man accused of domestic violence to pay child support when none was requested, saying “you people always find a way,” and, “I don’t know how you treat women in Mexico, but here you don’t treat them that way.”

After defendant Floyd Mandez Carreon objected, Badgett ordered a deputy clerk to take Carreon’s wallet from his pocket, hand over $140 in cash to Kathy Mendez Carreon, and let her take down Floyd’s Social Security number.

Ordering a deputy clerk to rob a defendant isn’t kosher? Another “whoops” moment after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Mark Badgett”

Harvard Law School seal logo.jpgWhen Harvard law school announced that they would be dropping their letter-grading system in favor of a pass/fail system, we noted that the school had not yet decided how to apply the new system to current law students:

But the crucial question is whether this new system will be applied retroactively to the classes of 2009 and 2010.

Well, today Harvard decided. After discussing the pros and cons of applying the new system to current 2Ls, Dean Elena Kagan announced:

In light of these strong arguments on both sides of the question, the School will adopt something of a middle course, suggested by a number of second-year students. (I should note that second-year students offered several other creative approaches to the issue, and we seriously considered all of them.) In 2008-09, members of this class will continue to receive traditional grades. In 2009-10, members of the class will receive grades under the new grading system, with the result that the entire school in that year will operate on this new system. Graduating honors will continue much as now, based on performance from all three years. This approach will allow students in the position I have described above to show the kind of improvement in their academic records most easily recognized by judges and other employers (because based on the same metric). At the same time, it will enable the entire Law School, including members of the class of 2010, to participate in, and gain the educational benefits of, the new system beginning next year. I understand that some may view this solution as akin to cutting the baby in half, and it will disappoint some students on both sides. But it seems to me to respond appropriately to the most powerful concerns on either side and thus to represent a judicious, even if by no means perfect, resolution of the issue.

This is a big difference from what Stanford instituted this September. Remember, SLS decided to retroactively apply their modified pass/fail system to the 1L grades of current 2Ls.

Harvard’s balancing act is designed to give 2Ls the best chance at getting jobs and clerkships in this tough market. But transcripts of 2010 law school graduates will still look … a bit weird. At least 2010 SLS transcripts will all be on the same system, somehow.

Which do you prefer?

Read Kagan’s full memo, including her discussion about what happens to 3Ls and LLMs, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “HLS Grade Reform: Splitting the Baby Was The Only Call”

Associate Bonuses law firms Above the Law.JPGA year ago tomorrow (Wednesday), Cravath kicked off the 2007 bonus season by announcing bonuses which ranged from $35K to $60K and “special” bonuses that ranged between $10K and $50K.

Don’t expect Cravath to come out of the gate early this year. We asked Cravath whether they would be bonus leaders this year, but they declined to comment, citing their longstanding policy of not talking about associate compensation issues.

But remember how surprisingly early last year’s bonus announcement was for Cravath. In 2007 they announced on October 29th, but in 2006 they didn’t announce until December 11th. In ’06, Milbank came out with the first bonus announcement, but they waited until December 8th to announce.

From what we are hearing, bonus announcements could come even later in 2008 than they did in 2006. Sources are telling us that their firms are trying to wait until the last possible minute to announce bonuses. Managing partners are still trying to lock down their fee collections, which are lagging given the economic difficulties.

In addition, some firms are still trying to figure out which clients will exist going forward.

With all the uncertainty, late bonus announcements seem likely.

More bonus speculation after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: Associate Bonus Speculation”

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.

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