* 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.
Breaking 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.
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):
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.
The 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.
Does 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?
Earlier 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.
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?
In 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.
The 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…
* 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]
So far we have received letters from the following law schools urging students to accept their offers prior to the NALP deadline: Northwestern, NYU, Columbia, UPenn, UT, Michigan, and even Hofstra. The message from career services departments all across the nation is that firms are oversubscribed, and that some firms are rescinding offers. Sit on multiple offers at your own risk.
Late Friday evening, Harvard Law School — which just completed their extremely late fly-out week process — decided to enter the fray. From an email sent out to all interviewing students:
Important Information about Responding to Offers
You may have heard reports that some firms have rescinded offers to students because their summer programs were full. While some firms have rescinded offers, the vast majority of firms have not engaged in that practice and have no intention to do so. Use good judgment and take the time you need to make an informed decision. Keep in mind that some firms’ summer programs are filling up more quickly than others. If you have any concerns about whether an offer will be held open or any other issues, we suggest that you call the hiring partner or recruiting director so that you are making decisions based on fact.
If you are able to make your decision before the expiration of the 45-day period, we encourage you to do so. Law firms will appreciate your prompt response and so will your classmates who may be in a position to receive an offer from an employer that you have turned down.
It’s not too late to get a date for the weekend instead of sitting at home and playing Rock Band 2. Not too late at all, if you don’t mind putting up with a lawyer. From Craigslist:
Older Attorney Seeks Younger Girlfriend – 39
Call it a mid-life crisis, but I want a younger girlfriend. I’m 6’0″, 195lb., and of German-Italian heritage, divorced with no kids. I’m a former pentathlete, so I’m in pretty good shape. And, I know this is important for finding a younger girlfriend on Craigslist: My apartment looks out over Central Park, I drive a Mercedes-Benz S600, and I wear a $44,000 Breguet watch.
I’m not looking for a “sugar daddy/sugar baby” relationship. I’m not giving anyone an allowance, or paying for someone else’s apartment or car. But, I have a taste for the good life, so there will be a lot of nights out at fine restaurants and vacations to warm places in the winter.
E-mail me with a picture with a line or two about yourself. I’m looking for someone in her early 20s (at least 21), slim, white, and knows how to dress well.
You got that? He is not looking for a sugar baby, just a college student that’s easily impressed.
But maybe some of you are looking for younger partners too:
Perfect on Paper – 24
Here’s the thing, it’s easy for people to lie about themselves, or even tell the truth but spin it. Given that, I can make myself look pretty damn good without saying anything untrue. I’m 24, single, extremely intelligent with a degree from a top ten school, attending a top 5 law school. I play guitar and sing very well, I’ve been in bands and I write lovely little pop songs. I’m cute, in a geeky, part-Jewish kind of way. I write well, I read tons, and I can talk about anything (except for most sports, though sometimes I can fake it.) I can hold my liquor but avoid drinking to extremes. I am funny as hell, with a quick, sarcastic wit. I cook– once I’ve made you breakfast, you’re mine. I am sweet, caring, and sensitive.
Thing is, the way people write about themselves around here, none of that sounds very special, does it? But there is more. Perfect on paper is boring in person, but I’m a lot more complicated than that. I’m insecure, moody, and fairly damaged– I like to think of that as the bitter kick that makes the sweetness all the better. I’m also a little bit more sex-driven than the typical “perfect guy.” That’s probably a good thing too.
I’m not posting a photo cause my friends will mock me endlessly if they see this ad. Of course, I will trade. If you want to get to know me and find out all my dark secrets, just send me an email. Stand forewarned that I like long, thoughtful messages, both sending and receiving them.
Buddy, if you haven’t sealed the deal during the overnight hours, there isn’t much that your breakfast sausage is bringing to the table.
Do you ever notice how well credentialed people who are single refer to their credentials more than well credential people who are in relationships?
Having cast my aspersions on the loveless lawyers, I’m off … to play Rock Band 2. Have a great weekend.
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.