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Conde Nast Building Four Times Square 4 Times Square Skadden Arps Above the Law blog.jpgWondering where to spend New Year’s Eve this year? Well, if you’re in New York City, do you have any friends over at Skadden? Surely you must. Considering that the firm recently passed the 2,000 attorney mark, everyone has friends at Skadden (if they don’t work there themselves).
From an internal email by “New York office guru” Wally Schwartz, posted at the Skadden Insider blog:

Since our 4 Times Square office is located in such close proximity to New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration many employees have rung in the New Year by viewing the festivities from our offices. For the most part these gatherings have been enjoyable and appropriate. However, during last year’s celebration there were several problems caused by an excessive number of guests, and, in some cases, excessive drinking.

[T]he following policies are being implemented for this year’s celebration:

Each employee is limited to inviting a maximum of three guests, each of whom must be registered with security….

Guests must be accompanied, or met, by their Skadden host in order to be admitted.

No alcohol will be permitted.

A New Year’s Eve celebration without booze? That sucks.
Moral of the story: If you’re spending New Year’s Eve at SASMF, get royally trashed before showing up at Four Times Square.
No vodka in the Skadden lemonade [Skadden Insider]

* Oral argument in New Jersey v. Delaware. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF) via How Appealing]
* I’ll have a Joey Bag of Lawsuits. [AP via Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* TB Andy didn’t hurt anybody. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Grandpa got screwed over by a lawsuit … [AP via Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Pakistan lets (almost) everyone go, but will the rule of law return? [Jurist]

This episode gives new meaning to the term “flip phone.” A cell phone that went off during court proceedings caused one judge to, well, flip out. From the NYT’s City Room blog:

Robert Restaino Judge Robert M Restaino Rob Restaino AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe next time you pass through the city court system in Niagara Falls, N.Y., remember to turn your cellphone off.

Today, the Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended the removal of a judge in Niagara Falls City Court who had, what the commission’s chairman, Raoul L. Felder, called, “two hours of inexplicable madness” when a cellphone rang in his courtroom.

Specifically, on the morning of March 11, 2005, the judge, Robert M. Restaino, was presiding over a slate of domestic violence cases when he heard a phone ring in his courtroom. He told the roughly 70 people in the courtroom, according to the commission’s report, that “every single person is going to jail in this courtroom” unless the phone was turned over.

Look, we hate cellphones ringing at inappropriate times as much as the next guy. But was Judge Restaino’s reaction a tad over the top? We suggest — with respect, Your Honor — that you’re a few beeps short of a ringtone.
Read what happened next, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Robert Restaino”

Crocodile Dundee Paul Hogan Above the Law blog.jpg* Paul Tvetenstrand, managing partner of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, talks to the Wall Street Journal’s Jamie Heller about the imminent associate layoffs (previously discussed here). [WSJ Law Blog]
* Our law school classmate, Professor Lior Strahilevitz, has a fascinating new article coming out in the Northwestern University Law Review: “Reputation Nation: Law in an Era of Ubiquitous Personal Information.” [SSRN via Concurring Opinions]
* Outgoing American Red Cross president Mark W. Everson would have been our Lawyer of the Day (except the former IRS commissioner is not a lawyer). [Washington Post]
* “The High Price of Meat Loaf.” [New York Times (second item)]
* Attention Loyola 2L: rising stars of legal academia are about to descend upon your law school. [PrawfsBlawg]
* For those of you old enough to remember Crocodile Dundee: “That’s not a Blawg Review — that’s a Blawg Review.” Here’s Blawg Review #136, courtesy of Aussie Peter Black. [Freedom to Differ via Blawg Review; see also Blawg Review (video plug)]

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgAs regular ATL readers will recall, Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Texas) is currently on leave from the bench (although still collecting his $165,200 salary). The Fifth Circuit suspended him after allegations of what it described as sexual harassment.
But Judge Kent’s troubles may not be over yet. From the Galveston County Daily News (via How Appealing):

A woman who has accused U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of unwanted sexual touching will have her case reheard by a disciplinary panel of the 5th Judicial Circuit, her attorney, Rusty Hardin, said late Monday.

Late that afternoon, Hardin gave the panel summaries of interviews his team did of 20 people who have had contact with Kent. Hardin claims those interviews show that Kent has misbehaved toward women since shortly after he was named to the federal bench in Galveston in the early 1990s.

Hardin said he and his client are asking that the panel refer the matter to the Judicial Council of the United States with a recommendation that Kent be impeached.

Additional discussion, plus a reader poll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Samuel Kent: A Bigger Horndog Than Bill Clinton?”

recycling environmental eco friendly law firms Above the Law blog.jpgAt least it’s a better way to spend the firm’s money than a theme song (mp3). From The Recorder:

Nixon Peabody has appointed a chief sustainability officer, hoping not only to reduce the firm’s environmental impact, but to increase its impact on clients. Carolyn Kaplan, a counsel in the firm’s energy and environmental practice, will spend at least a quarter of her time in the new position.

So what exactly will Ms. Kaplan do in this new gig? Send around annoying firm-wide emails telling people to recycle those reams of useless Westlaw print-outs? Tell associates to turn off the lights when they leave their offices (even if it will tip off the partners to their departures)?

Kaplan said the position has two aspects: looking internally at ways to reduce the firm’s production of CO2, or its carbon footprint, and determining how attorneys can use the firm’s experience to better understand clients dealing with environmental regulation and related issues. Both of those could make the firm greener in the financial sense, too, she said.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Everyone Is Greener at Nixon Peabody”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgWe had been hearing rumors this morning of associate layoffs at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. The rumor mill was claiming that somewhere between 30 to 40 associates were given pink slips by TPW.
As is so often the case, the truth is somewhat different, but the rumors not completely unfounded. Thacher Proffitt has not laid off any associates just yet, and certainly not as many as 40. The firm has, however, notified a smaller number of associates — namely, 24 non-first-year associates — that their being laid off in January is “a near certainty.” It is also encouraging first-year associates in its Structured Finance and Real Estate practice groups to look for other opportunities.
In response to inquiries from us, TPW issued this statement, through a spokesperson:

It is no secret that the credit crisis has deeply affected our Structured Finance and Real Estate practices, which are large practices in our Firm. Therefore, we have taken the painful step of notifying 24 associates in those practice areas that if we do not see a substantial improvement in the market, it is a near certainty that they will be laid off in January strictly for economic reasons.

These associates are good, hardworking lawyers that any law firm would be fortunate to have. Unfortunately, these associates are working in areas that are currently slow and that will not be active for some time to come. We are delaying a decision on economic layoffs for as long as we can; however, we believe it would be unfair to the associates potentially affected to give them no warning of this possibility. We are encouraging these associates to seek new opportunities and, should they leave the Firm, we will compensate them through the end of March.

In addition, we have offered first-year associates in our Structured Finance and Real Estate groups a four month severance package should they leave the Firm. They are under no obligation to take this offer, [which] is strictly voluntary; however, we feel it is in these associates’ interest to explore other opportunities as well, as we are concerned that we will not be able to provide them with the best work experience at this formative stage of their careers.

We thank Thacher Proffitt for getting back to us so quickly. And we commend the firm for its candor about the possible layoffs, as well as its praise for the affected associates as lawyers.
If you have any associate layoff news that has not been previously reported, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Nationwide Layoff Watch”). Thanks.

Maximilia Cordero small Jeffrey Epstein Dealbreaker Above the Law blog.JPGWe’re confused. And we’re guessing we’re not alone.

We have provided extensive coverage of Cordero v. Epstein, in which model Maximilia Cordero alleges that high-profile financier Jeffrey Epstein took advantage of her when she was underage. To add to the suit’s salaciousness, the New York Post previously claimed that Maximilia Cordero was born a man — to wit, Maximillian Cordero (b. 1983).

Now Cordero has turned around and sued the Post. She has filed an exhibit with the court casting doubt on the Post’s claim that she was born a man — but oddly enough, she’s not raising the gender issue in her lawsuit. From DealBreaker:

Cordero and her lawyer (and alleged sometime boyfriend) William Unroch have filed a lawsuit against the Post, claiming it engaged in a smear campaign coordinated with Epstein’s flack Howard Rubenstein (who is also the publicist for the Post).

Radar has all the dirt, but here’s the dirtiest bit:

“Conspicuously absent from the accusations is the Post’s revelation that Cordero was born a man. A source tells Radar that the initial filing of the suit by Unroch includes as an exhibit a birth certificate, which showed Cordero being born Maximilia Cordero, a woman. Reached by phone this weekend, Unroch (with Cordero commenting loudly in the background but declining to come to the phone), called the Post’s behavior ‘outrageous’ but refused to address Cordero’s birth gender or the authenticity of the birth certificate originally filed. ‘She’s a woman,’ Unroch tells Radar. So, why not go after the Post’s gender claims?

‘It’s a slam dunk case whether she was born a cat, a dog, or a space alien,’ Unroch says.”

You can see why we’re confused. And our confusion has only grown since someone sent us a copy of the exhibit mentioned by Radar — namely, a birth certificate showing that Maximillia Josephine Cordero, born on November 15, 1982, was born a “Female.”

You can check out the birth certificate for yourself — please note, we take no position on its authenticity — after the jump.

Epstein’s Accuser Accuses Page Six Of ‘Raping’ ‘Her’ All Over Again [DealBreaker]
Epstein’s Accuser Sics Law Dog On Page Six [Radar / Fresh Intelligence]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Maximilia Cordero: Maybe Not a Man?”

Taj Mahal India small outsourcing Dell computers document review Above the Law blog.jpgThe law firm of Seyfarth Shaw cordially invites its associates… to toast their own obsolescence. Check out the invite below, for “a cocktail reception to welcome the group of attorneys visiting from Manthan Services in Bangalore, India.”
Our tipster wonders: “Why pay first-years $160,000 a year for legal research (or document review), when you can use a lawyer from India at a fraction of the cost?”
Earlier: Nationwide Worldwide Pay Raise Watch: Mumbai to $8,160?
Seyfarth Shaw Manthan Services Bangalore India Above the Law blog.jpg

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgTo respond to yesterday’s question: No, it’s not all over. There’s still some gas left in the associate bonus watch tank.
Last night brought an a bonus announcement from Hughes Hubbard and Reed. It’s a somewhat complicated bonus system, based on a system of “tiers.” A tipster identifies these highlights:

Tier 1 = 1950 hours
Tier 2 = 2100 hours
Not certain about tier 3 or 4
Class of 2004, 2005, and 2006 get $7500 for reaching 1950, plus half of special bonus
No pro-rated bonus for class of 2007

The associates we heard from are unhappy with the bone Old Mother Hubbard has thrown them:

“HHR has managed to make the ‘special bonus’ tied to billable hours. That kind of sucks. Glad to see that they are increasing them for next year though.”

“It is a disappointing day for Hughes Hubbard associates, as bonuses are far below market. Still a great place to work, though.”

You can check out the Hughes Hubbard bonus memo, which announces the firm’s 2007 bonuses as well as its “enhance[d]” bonus system for 2008, after the jump.
Update: In response to the commenters, here’s a note on our methodology. If a firm is on either the Am Law 100 or the Vault 100, we’ll run their bonus announcement. HHR is #85 on the Vault 100.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Hughes Hubbard and Reed”

* Apparently the President of the United States is somehow involved in the judicial nomination process. [The Weekly Standard via How Appealing]
* Too much litigation? Blame all those conservative trial lawyers. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Vick’s state trial date will be set today. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Nevada tries to smoke out some justice. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* How tough can you be on protestors at a free speech debate? [BBC]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgTake this with a grain shaker of salt. It’s based on an anonymous, uncorroborated comment, which appeared on another blog.
But for what it’s worth, from Eric Turkewitz’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog:

The New York State Board of Law Examiners managed to foul up this year’s bar exam, as readers of this space know, by losing many of the essay answers that had been submitted on laptops….

[T]he results were made known 11 days ago, and the examiners claimed to have taken educated guesses on the missing results [by extrapolating from how affected exam takers did on other parts of the test]….

[O]ver the holiday weekend, this anonymous comment appeared on my site, claiming that credit was given for an essay with no answer, and the same credit was given for an essay with a great answer. And there was no indication that this person was told his/her essays were part of the missing ones:

“Here’s a fair summary (having taken the test, having intense problems down loading and uploading the test) and failed: I left one NYS essay blank. (Ran out of time) I received a 3/10. That’s odd… But then, on the essays I KNEW — KNEW so well that I was practically jumping for joy as I took the test — I received a 3/10 on those as well.”

“BOLE claims they have informed all those who had computer essays lost — I suspect not. I have written away for my answers and I will be intensly [sic] interested to see how that blank esay [sic] scored a 3/10… I suspect they were ALL blanks, because of the uploads.”

“If anyone else is in this prdicament [sic], please chime in. There are a few attorneys that specialize in this, and I’ve contacted a few.”

Very strange. Does anyone have a similar experience to share? Or is this commenter off his or her rocker?
How, Exactly, did New York Grade That Bar Exam? [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

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