It has been forever since the last edition of Advice for the Lawlame. In this feature, we take a question submitted to one of NYLawyer.com’s popular advice columns, such as “Advice for the Lawlorn,” and offer our own unique take.
Here’s the condensed version of today’s question:
I am a mentor in my firm to a couple of younger lawyers. My problem is that one talks to me too much about personal issues.
A sticky situation. When you’re a partner, she’s an associate, and you’re having conversations about that “not-so-fresh feeling,” you know it’s time to redefine the parameters of your relationship.
The complete version of this question, plus our “advice” — after the jump.
William “Billy” Wilkins of Greenville is stepping down as chief judge of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a position he has held since 2003….
Wilkins, 64, in a prepared statement Thursday afternoon said he had notified President Bush of his decision to step down effective July 1, 2007.
“It’s time to move on,” he said.
The obvious questions. First, who will replace him as Chief Judge?
Under federal seniority rules, his successor would be Karen Williams of Orangeburg, who would become the first woman to hold that position in the circuit. Williams, 55, is the next senior judge younger than 65.
Judge Williams, you may recall, is a judicial hottie, described by the New York Times as “a tall, slender woman with delicate features and a regal carriage.” Rumored to have both a private plane and a personal shopper, the stylish Judge Williams is known around her hometown of Orangeburg as “Miss Karen.”
(Yes, she’s married. But as a fellow South Carolina native explains, “the first thing one must learn about Orangeburg is that every woman is referred to as Miss,” regardless of her marital status.)
And who might be nominated to the Fourth Circuit to fill the new vacancy on the court? Some speculation appears after the jump.
Christmas is just three short weeks away. Biglaw partners are making their lists, checking them twice, and doling out cash to all associates who are nice.
But no big bonus news has broken yet. We’ve stopped by the message boards, and they’re relatively quiet. There is a rumor going around that a top five firm has made an announcement, but nobody has seen a memo. Nor has the firm in question been named. So we have our doubts.
For those of you waiting to hear about the gargantuan bonuses of investment bankers, so you can be filled with feelings of inferiority and self-loathing, there has been no news on that front either. For our big brother’s latest coverage of Wall Street bonuses, click here.
We reiterate our request for news and gossip about law firm associate bonuses. Please send your tips to us by email (tips AT abovethelaw DOT com, subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”).
(To those of you who are especially paranoid about getting in trouble for leaking information to us, here’s an alternative, “Deep Throat” approach. If you have info to share, send us an email from your non-work account, with a telephone number where you can be reached. Then we’ll call you to get the scoop. There will be no record of our conversation, and nobody will know what we discussed — with the possible exception of the NSA.) Bonuses ARE out… but… [Infirmation] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
People pay attention to a judge’s reversal rate — how often that jurist gets reversed by a higher court. And a high reversal rate is usually regarded as “not a good thing.”
But we kinda admire judges who aren’t overly concerned with their reversal rate. We respect judges who are willing to go out on a limb, who aren’t afraid to take the law in new and interesting directions — no matter what the folks upstairs might think. Such judges play a key role in the evolution and clarification of the law.*
Some of you might criticize such an envelope-pushing approach to judging as improper, even “lawless.” But here at ATL, we call it entertaining!
Meet Judge Melinda Harmon (S.D. Tex.). She’s the trial judge responsible for the jury instructions in the Arthur Andersen prosecution, which the Supreme Court didn’t like so much. And now she’s handed down another interesting ruling:
In a decision that she conceded flies in the face of previous rulings by other courts, a federal judge in Houston has ordered the law firm of William S. Lerach, a leading class-action lawyer, to pay the legal fees and costs of a company he sued.
The company, Alliance Capital, a money management firm, was sued by Mr. Lerach’s firm as part of a large Enron class-action case. The lawsuit argued that Alliance should be held responsible for the Enron fraud because an Alliance official was also a director of Enron.
The federal rules permit awards of fees and costs. But these are usually paid by the parties, NOT by their law firms.
More about this groundbreaking ruling, after the jump.
In about fifteen minutes, the Supreme Court will start hearing oral argument in two big-ticket cases about the use of race as a factor in assigning students to public schools. One case comes from Louisville, Kentucky, and the other from Seattle, Washington.
Expect a packed courtroom — the cases are sexy enough to merit same-day audio — and some less-than-stellar advocacy. From Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
[T]he suspense will [also] focus on Teddy Gordon, the Louisville solo practitioner who will argue against using race. His nine-page merits brief was attacked as “extremely weak” by Columbia Law School professor Michael Dorf, a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy who wondered in a Findlaw column why Gordon should be allowed to “waste everybody’s time” at argument.
The Court may feel the same way. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who sides with Gordon, asked for 10 minutes of Gordon’s half-hour argument time. The Court gave Clement 15 instead, an unusual move. Top practitioners could not persuade Gordon, who has handled the case since 1999, to step aside.
Ouch. At that point, Gordon should have taken the hint. But then again, he can’t be blamed for wanting to tell his grandkids that he once argued before the SCOTUS.
[A spokeswoman for Gordon] acknowledges that he “has never been inside the [Supreme Court] building,” but adds that he did buy a suit for the occasion “from the famous French designer Jacques Penney.”
* You have a right to a jury trial, whether you want it or not. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution via How Appealing]
* Santa’s big behind is gonna make kids want to drink beer?. [CNN]
* Now my case is at the Supreme Court, and I know why; because I got high, because I got high, because I got high… [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s sad when otherwise good people get sucked into the seedy underbelly of the Arizona bingo scene. [MSNBC]
* Nice try, Jane, but a little too late to get your job on the Intelligence Committee back. [Jurist]
Yet another sign that reality television has gone too, too far:
City leaders have apologized after a program on Tempe’s cable channel showed a white police officer telling two black men they could get out of a littering ticket by performing a rap….
[After pulling the car over,] the officer then tells the men that they can avoid getting a littering ticket “if the two of you just do a little rap about — what do you want to do a rap about? Littering? About the dangers of littering.”
The two men agree, and each performs a short rap, laughing afterward. One says, “The dangers of littering, you will get a ticket. If you ain’t wit’ it, you better be experienced.”
The second man raps, “Yo, I just got pulled over ’cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over.”
They got out of the ticket. But query whether they should have been fined for their mediocre rapping.
The cop also pulled over an Asian woman for making an illegal turn. He told her she could get out of a ticket by being a bad driver. Arizona cop had black men rap away ticket [Associated Press via Drudge Report]
* LexisNexis paid someone to conclude that 71 percent of adults who have never witnessed some pot-bellied schmuck leering at a female intern at the office holiday party were probably passed out near the punch bowl, or singing Don’t Stop Believin’ on the karaoke stage. [Martindale-Hubbell’s Lawyers.com]
* And here we were worried that all of these social sites would make shut-ins of our bright young kids. [NorthJersey.com via CrimProf Blog]
* This time, it’s okay to throw out the lawyer with the bathwater. [f/k/a]
* All we know is that the Aristocrats joke is not protected, probably because every version is vile and really not that funny. Of course, many comedians would disagree. [Hollywood Reporter]
Here’s another excellent article from Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. It’s about the role played by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), outgoing chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with respect to the recent habeas corpus legislation (aka the Military Commissions Act of 2006).
If you’re confused about the controversy over this legislation, which has wound its way through both the federal courts and the Senate chamber, the article is well worth your time. It explains recent developments in this complex area of law with commendable clarity.
And it also contains fun bits of color and gossip. We collect a few highlights, after the jump.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!