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goldstone.jpgThe 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…

Justice Richard Goldstone to Receive MacArthur Award for International Justice [MacArthur Foundation Press Release]

voting above the law vote.jpg* 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]

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGSo 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.

Comparing HLS to everybody else after the jump.

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rock band 2 weekend.JPGIt’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.

Adriana tennis yes.JPG* David Duchovny believes the Daily Mail got it wrong when they accused him of having sex with his tennis instructor. That’s really the only excuse I need to post this picture of Adriana La Cerva sharing a moment with her tennis instructor. [Popsquire]

* It turns out a crazy man cannot evict George W. Bush from the White House. Shockingly, I’m not talking about John McCain. [Doyle Reports]

* Wendy Savage, corporate counsel at Liberty Mutual, is quickly becoming an internet star thanks to the Beautiful Lawyers of Boston Calender. [f/k/a]

* Even HLS conservatives are kind of liberal when it comes to this election. [WSJ Law Blog]

Philip Bobbitt law professor Columbia Texas.jpgWe have a soft spot for Columbia Law School, especially after our excellent visit there on Wednesday (“our” = Lat + Kash). Thanks to the CLS Federalist Society, the sponsor of our talk, for the warm welcome.

We also have a soft spot for celebrity professors. Meet Columbia law prof Philip Bobbitt — no relation to John and Lorena Bobbitt, presumably — who was recently profiled in the New York Observer:

Through some combination of gossip, online stalking, hounding their teaching assistants and perusing the Facebook group “Phillip [sic] Bobbitt is Our Hero,” students piece together the following:

Professor Bobbitt, who is 60, arrived at Columbia only 18 months ago, after three decades at the University of Texas. He is an eminent scholar of the Constitution and used to teach modern history at Oxford. He’s a former member of the Carter, Bush I and Clinton administrations and an adviser to foreign heads of state.

Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair blurbed his latest book on terrorism, which both current presidential candidates have reportedly read. He’s the nephew of Lyndon B. Johnson. He can blow smoke rings, and sponsors a national poetry prize in honor of his late mother. Also: He rotates seasonally among his homes, and can’t shake his habit of a nightly cigar and scotch-and-soda.

Read more, including words of wisdom from the worldly-wise professor, after the jump.

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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.

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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: JHPII.com. 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?

jhpii.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

Whoops.

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.

OR:

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.

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