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Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgGiven the list of associate “perks” firms could be cutting back on during these tough economic times, the latest news from Fried Frank seems very reasonable. Associates at Fried Frank were told today:

Dear All,

In light of continued turmoil in the financial markets and the wider economy, and the effect it is having on so many we know, we think it is not appropriate to host Firm holiday parties this year.

The Firm has a strong platform and business with which to succeed in this very demanding business environment and continues to be involved in many interesting and challenging matters for our clients. Instead of the parties, the Firm will be making charitable contributions to certain organizations who rely on donations during the holiday season to accomplish their purpose during this time of year and which are feeling the effects of the slowdown in the economy.

Thanks very much.

Valerie Jacob and Justin Spendlove

Despite the success of last year’s bash at Cipriani on Wall Street, this would seem to help associates in two ways. It saves the firm money — without firing anybody. That is an unqualified good.

But also: who enjoys the firm holiday party anyway? It’s just an opportunity for associates to get too drunk and do something colossally stupid that will no doubt end up on Above the Law. (Please don’t cancel the holiday party Mr. Fried and Mr. Frank!)

Seriously though, saving a bit of cash is a good thing for associates. And not for nothing, but giving some extra money to charities during what is sure to be a terrible season for charitable donations is really a great thing to do. During times of economic recession people tend to give less, precisely at times when charities need more.

But it might not be all Salvation Santas at Fried Frank this winter. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fried Frank Turns Holiday Party into a Robin Hood Affair”

We’ve said in the past that most law firm websites are fairly dry, and named the split personality website of North Carolina’s Van Winkle Law Firm as an exception.

Well, another experimental law firm website has crossed our desk, er, computer screen. It belongs to James Hugh Potts II’s Atlanta-based firm: The firm “helps people with catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.” It is interactive, and involves a desk, post-it notes, a napkin with a coffee stain, ancient Tibetan proverbs, pro se-esque bios in “About Us”, and childhood photos of the attorneys with their bios.

We echo the sentiments of our tipster:

If you want a laugh. I think it’s real.

Screenshot below. Check out the interactive version here. What do you think?


It’s like a touchy-feely hybrid of Myst and The Office. We kind of love it.

James Hugh Potts II, Trial Lawyer

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGToday’s installment of our ongoing series about law students who are determined to screw around comes with information about Proskauer Rose’s summer program. According to multiple tipsters, Proskauer is not directly rescinding offers (like Akin Gump did), but they are encouraging students who have received offers to consider other options for the summer.

We’re pretty sure that Proskauer is not alone with these “stealth rescinding offer” phone calls.

For the latest in career services people freaking out, we have a T-5 School, and a top tier school.

From NYU:

After speaking with recruiting professionals at various law firms and participating on a recent NALP conference call to discuss the state of the economy, we would like to address the fall recruiting season. As you are aware, this recruiting season has been seriously affected by the economy. We have been notified by one New York firm that they are rescinding their outstanding offers for Summer 2009. In addition, we have been informed by numerous firms that their summer programs are oversubscribed due to the unprecedented rate of early acceptances.

The obvious impact of oversubscription is that these firms may not be able to extend offers to their entire summer class.

We strongly recommend that you review your options and accept an offer as quickly as possible. Do not wait until the expiration of the offer to make a decision. If you need any assistance in making a decision, please make an appointment to speak with a career counselor.

And from UT:

Dear Students,

We received reports yesterday directly from a few law firms and from some of our students that some 2L summer clerkship offers have been rescinded before the offer deadline. Current market conditions suggest that less deliberation of opportunities and quicker response time to offers is prudent. With unusually high acceptance rates and concern of over-subscribing summer clerkship classes, some firms have decided to rescind outstanding offers once their target class size has been met. While we are directly aware of only a few such instances, we recommend that you make your acceptance offers and communicate those results to employers as soon as possible.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that sitting on offers is a terrible strategy, some law students continue to wear Bad Idea Jeans.

Some of these students weigh in after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Accept Your Offers: Part the Fourth”

recession california associate pay raises.jpgWhenever there is a layoff announcement, some readers point out that lawyers are not particularly good business people.

Even lawyers that leave Biglaw for big business have their acumen called into question.

The latest evidence comes from a conference call held between IDT (International Discount Telecommunications) and their investors.

Jim Courter, CEO of IDT, held the call to explain IDT’s quarterly earnings. Courter, himself a former partner at Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand, explained the “disappointing” numbers. Then the call was opened up to questions from the investors.

At that point Thomas Kahn, head of the Kahn Brother’s hedge fund, laid into IDT for losing so much money. After criticizing the firm and their current chairman, Kahn asked to speak with Liore Alroy who is rumored to be the incoming COO of IDT.

And the second question is, Mr. Alroy, if we could hear from him, what his business background is, what his current role is in the Company, and what his role might be, or he think might be going forward? For example, is he going to be the COO of the Company going forward? I think it would be useful for us to hear something from him, because he should understand that a lot of water has gone over the dam, and a lot of things have been said which have not happened, or have not come true. So it would be useful for him to speak a little.

Mr. Alroy responded:

Alright. Business background. My working career starts in 1993 as an attorney. I was with Skadden, Arps for about five years, mostly doing tax work, transactional tax work, I then went on to private practice elsewhere, including on my own. I did a little bit of advising and consulting as a sort of quasi-finance, quasi-tax advisor to some people, and then came to IDT through that consulting role. …

To be honest, I am arms, legs, and body, and a good part of my head into Telecom right now, there is so much to do, and I am keeping so busy with it, I don’t think too much about what my next role is.

The shareholders take swipes at Skadden after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former Skadden Attorneys Questioned on Business Background”

contributing to obama.jpgJust a reminder from the Judicial Code of Conduct: “a judge should refrain from political activity.” And clerks too. Duh, right?

Well, Utah’s chief federal judge seems to have “forgotten” about canon 7 in her excitement about Obama. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Judge Tena Campbell, a President Clinton appointee, donated $100 to the Democratic candidate on Aug. 28, 2007, according to campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The disclosure lists Campbell’s profession as “lawyer” and her employer the “govtt.” The address listed on the contribution is Campbell’s court chambers.

Sneaky. But not sneaky enough.

It wasn’t her only donation. Campbell contributed multiple times for a total of $300, but only her last donation was made public. Campaigns are not required to release the names of contributors until they donate more than $200.


Obama’s campaign returned the 300 bucks. Nominated to the federal bench by Clinton in 1995, Campbell is Utah’s first female district judge.

Being a Democrat in Utah must be a lonely endeavor. At least she has husband, fellow lawyer and “Missing Witness” author, Gordon Campbell, to keep her company.

Utah judge breaks rule with Obama donation [The Salt Lake Tribune]

kagan Court.jpgThe ABA Journal has sounded the starting gun on speculation about the lawyers ready to take prominent roles in the new administration. Depending on the presidential victor, names you know will become names that everybody knows.

Let’s jump into the ABA speculation on an Obama Administration. For U.S.A.G:

Eric Holder: Partner, Covington & Burling.

Holder and Obama have been friends since they hit it off at a dinner party in 2004. He is the consummate Washington insider–a familiar fixture in the Clinton administration, but well-known to Republican administrations as well. Best known as a prosecutor, Holder was fresh out of law school when he was assigned to the newly formed public integrity section of the Justice Department.

ATL’s dark horse pick: Andrew Cuomo. It’s the only way to save the Democratic party in New York, otherwise 2010 will be a bloodbath.

White House Counsel:

Robert Bauer: Partner, Perkins Coie.

He helped represent Minority Leader Tom Daschle during the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and was general counsel to Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign. He’s considered one of the nation’s top experts on the intricacies of campaign finance and writes about it regularly on More Soft Money Hard Law, a law blog devoted to campaign finance.

ATL says: No brainer. Remember, most of Obama’s Senate staff came from Daschle’s staff after Daschle lost his seat.

And the next SCOTUS justice:

Elena Kagan: Dean, Harvard Law School.

In 1999, President Clinton tapped Kagan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, only to have the nomination blocked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then controlled by Republicans. But many think an Obama administration wouldn’t hesitate to tap her for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Sonia Sotomayor: Judge, 2nd Circuit.

She was first appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, then to the appeals court by President Clinton. In 1995, she won the gratitude of baseball fans by issuing an injunction against team owners, setting the stage for the end of the eight-month strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

ATL’s pick: Dean Kagan. Sotomayor would be an easier confirmation to be sure. But we once suffered a Socratic demolition at the hands of then Professor Kagan in a 1L CivPro class, earning her enduring respect. More substantively Sotomayor has an excellent chance to pull a Justice Souter once she’s on the Court. She’s maybe the appropriate choice if Kennedy moves on, but if Obama is replacing Stevens he’d better tap Kagan.

McCain’s administration after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Poised To Rule The World”


* The media talk about Obama and the expected clean sweep of the government has pumped up Democratic tires so much that they think they can do the impossible: appoint two Democrats to the Texas Supreme Court. [Dallas Morning News]

* The McCain-Palin efforts to recreate Florida 2000 in every state failed in Wisconsin. It’s a shame because the election has gone by way too fast, don’t you think? A mere 20 months? It is not enough. The media needs more. [New York Times]

* Regulators in Hong Kong will investigate failed investment devices that Lehman Brothers arranged. []

* Crystal Mangum, the stripper who claimed to be attacked by three Duke Lacrosse players, has written a memoir asserting that she was telling the truth. [Associated Press]

* Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend Rafaello Follieri was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. Everything about Follieri and his case is irrelevant, except for the fact that he dated Hathaway. [abcnews]

* New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is requiring an energy company to be honest to its investors about the financial risks of climate change. The Environmental Defense Fund is giddy with this regulatory victory. [Market Watch]

UC Irvine logo.JPGAt UC-Irvine, you get what you pay for:

The new law school at the University of California, Irvine has dropped its original name, the Donald Bren School of Law, and plans to offer full tuition scholarships to students who enroll in the school’s first semester in fall 2009.

This is excellent, because what we need right now more than anything are additional law schools.

UC-Irvine intends to focus on public interest law. It makes sense that students won’t have any debt, since they are going to have a hard time earning money.

According to an assistant dean at the new law school, the full-ride offer should give Irvine a competitive advantage:

Originally, the school … had planned to offer full tuition scholarships to about half that class; but, in an effort to lure high-quality students and compete with other top 20 law schools, UC Irvine School of Law has expanded that program, he said. While the law school has not yet determined the cost of its tuition, each scholarship is anticipated to be about $100,000, given an estimated rate of about $33,000 per year,

Let’s play a little game: what is the highest ranked school you would turn down to go to UC-Irvine for free? Stanford? Boalt? Bangladesh?

Statistically insignificant evidence is sure to follow.

Irvine, Calif., law school gets new name, offers first class full tuition scholarships [National Law Journal]

Reporting the Law A Year End Review.jpg
Last week, we attended and reported on a talk at UVA Law School by Dahlia Lithwick, who discussed covering the Supreme Court. Now we bring you coverage of another interesting event, featuring more navel-gazing by legal journalists:

Reporting the Law: A Year-End Review
New York Law School

Moderator: Brian Lehrer, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC

Panelists: Emily Bazelon, senior editor, Slate; Dirk Olin, editor, Judicial; Dan Slater, lead writer, WSJ Law Blog; Candace Trunzo, editor in chief, Star magazine.

The two lawyers on the panel, Bazelon and Slater, are pretty young things — and were smartly dressed for the occasion. Bazelon, whose features are reminiscent of Christy Turlington’s, wore a white v-neck blouse and well-tailored brown sweater. Slater, baby-faced yet lantern-jawed, wore a gray suit with a blue windowpane pattern, a blue patterned shirt, and a dark navy tie with pink stars (très preppy).

Oh, sorry — we got distracted by the superficial. We have more substantive comments as well.

If you’re interested in the legal media, you can read about the panel discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reporting the Law: A Year-End Review”

goldman logo.jpg* An A.U.S.A has been immortalized in district court as “The Fat Girl.’

[Begging the Question]

* You can raise taxes on the rich as much as you like. They’re not going to pay them.

[TaxProf Blog]

* A juror in Ted Stevens’s trial is having violent outbursts during jury deliberations. (Insert Trig Palin joke here). [WSJ Law Blog]

* Morocco requires prospective adoptive parents to convert to Islam before they can have a child. I suppose lying is a skill all parents should have. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Just so you know layoffs aren’t confined to the legal community, Goldman Sachs … dear God. I’m switching all my investments into guns and ammo. [Dealbreaker]

Panther black.JPGPerhaps one Pittsburgh School of Law student agrees with Obama and believes that wealth should be redistributed from the rich to the middle-class. Perhaps the student believes in McCain’s policy of redistributing wealth from the rich to the super-rich. Whatever is going on at Pittsburgh, we have another case of a dirty lunch stealer.

From the Pitt Law listserv:

Please allow me to set the scene: Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 4:25pm, I placed a white plastic bag in the farthest refrigerator from the entrance of the student kitchen in the law school basement. Within this bag were two items: 1) at the bottom was a $2.99 microwave dinner (ravioli with marinara sauce); and 2) on top was a $6.99 container of spicy tuna sushi. I then went to class.

When I returned to retrieve my bag at 6:30pm, a mere two hours later, I discovered that someone had opened the refrigerator, opened my bag, lifted up my sushi, and then borrowed my microwave dinner. I say “borrowed” because I assume that no one who managed to get accepted to law school would consider stealing a $2.99 frozen dinner from a classmate who just spent almost 10 hours in the Barco Law Building. I further assume that whoever decided they really needed to borrow my meal of ravioli and cheese goodness will be returning it to me post-haste. Although I would prefer that my dinner is replaced exactly, I will also accept the

Chicken Chow-Mein Dinner by Lean Cuisine.

I appreciate everyone’s full cooperation in this matter.

I thought this sort of thing only happened at Michigan. Now I’m thinking that it is a “battleground state” problem.

This close to the election, I expect Obama and McCain to weigh in shortly.

Earlier: The Voracious Wolverine

Tulane steals Mr. Rogers shoe.JPGI had no idea that the Mr. Rogers’s shoe fiasco would turn into a three day story. I imagine that Stephen Griffin, Vice Dean of Tulane Law School, is a very nice man. He probably even helps his landlady take out her garbage.

But his handling of this issue has been nothing short of mystifying.

You might remember that when Vice Dean Griffin was begging for the shoe, he said:

Until close of business tomorrow (Wednesday) we are taking a “no questions asked” approach to this situation. Our primary goal is simply the return of the shoe. If you know anything about this incident, please report it to Dean Netherton or myself. You can also communicate with SBA President [redacted]. You can report anonymously if you wish. If the shoe is returned to Dean Netherton’s office by close of business tomorrow, the Museum will not turn over the matter to the NOPD. If it is not, the Museum will turn over the matter to the NOPD.

Well, today he sent around another email to Tulane Law students:

Because the item was returned, the museum will not file a criminal complaint with NOPD. At the request of the Law School administration, TUPD is investigating the incident under the University Code of Student Conduct.

Vice Dean Griffin

Not surprisingly, Tulane students are a little pissed:

According to another Vice Dean, the thief will likely be kicked out of school. Seems a little unfair given the “no questions asked” terminology of the last email.

Honestly, what are you doing Dean Griffin? I get that you only “promised” not to turn the thief over to the police, but “no questions asked” doesn’t really comport with “you’re getting expelled.” Don’t try to pull clever legal jujitsu on a community full of soon-to-be lawyers.

And don’t try to pass the buck to the “law school administration.” You are part of the law school administration. If you spoke out of turn initially, you’ve got to own up to that and probably apologize.

Why would anybody trust you after this? Sure, you got the shoe back and maybe it’s good to expel a “bad-apple,” but you’re hurting the community that you are supposed to represent.

Earlier: Update: It Is a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Tulane Law School: Showing Mr. Rogers How They Roll In Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood

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