Latest Stories

buddy caldwell louisiana ag.jpgWith the hurricane season upon us, residents of coastal states are watching the radar and making storm plans. While New Orleans residents are wondering whether it’s safe to go home after Hurricane Gustav, their attorney general wants to make sure it’s affordable to come home.
Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell plans to crack down on price-gougers, after getting complaints about inflated prices for hotel rooms and gasoline. But who isn’t complaining about gasoline prices these days?
From The Daily Advertiser:

The attorney general said that under state law, owners, managers, employees and “anyone who participates in jacking up prices” is subject to a $500 fine and six months in prison on each count of price gouging.
“Like a rattlesnake, first we give a warning,” ["Buddy"] said. But if a business doesn’t comply with the law, “then we bite.”

What’s that sound? It’s the long rattle of the law.
Attorney general targets gougers [The Daily Advertiser]

funny-pictures-cat-packs-himself-for-your-trip.jpgBack in January and February, we asked you whether you worked on Christmas or New Year’s, or Martin Luther King’s Birthday. We learned that about a quarter of you worked on Christmas, almost a third of you worked over New Year’s, and more than half of you worked on Martin Luther King’s Birthday. This summer, we found that 42% of you worked over the Memorial Day weekend, and 40% of you put in patriot hours over the Fourth of July weekend.
In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we continue our exploration of the holidays. Specifically, were you able to devote this Labor Day Weekend to fun, family, and the quizzical contemplation of McCain’s veep pander pick, or did you have to bill?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

Not Hiring sign.jpgWe are receiving great information from the readers on no offers and we continue to follow up with the firms themselves. But one thing that has become very clear is that there will be a lot of 3Ls hitting the recruiting circuit this fall.
Last month, we touched on this issue in the context of OCI cancellation. This month we are hearing that even firms that continued on with OCI decided to flat out reject all 3L applicants, even though they maintained interview slots for 3Ls on their interviewing schedule.
In times like these you’d expect your office of career services to earn its paycheck. Sadly, that does not appear to be happening. No offered 3Ls have been frustrated by the lack of institutional support available at schools around the country.
But it is not like we are living through the Great Depression. There are still jobs out there for good students from good schools. This fall, 3Ls might need to think a little outside the box, but is there any doubt that full time employment awaits all who apply?
Staying on campus while potential employers come to you is a great perk associated with top flight legal education — a perk that is not at all representative of how most people find work.
Our advice is to be proactive in your job hunt. But we’d like to bring the collective knowledge of the ATL community to bear on the matter. If you are a rising 3L who just found out that you didn’t receive an offer, what should you do?
Earlier: More on On-Campus Interview Cancellations

oj-simpson.jpg* Former Tyco execs Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, of $6,000 shower curtain fame, are back in court, looking to overturn their convictions. [Business Week]
* O.J. Simpson, of glove-don’t-fit fame, heads to court in Las Vegas next week for his alleged gunpoint robbery incident. [Associated Press]
* The Republican Convention rolls on. Sarah Palin prepares to speak tonight… [Washington Post]
* … and prepares to speak to Alaskan investigators next month about her alleged abuse of power. [CNN]
* Construing the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act of 1942, Boston Judge Richard Stearns rules that a fraud case against Big Dig contractor employees can proceed. The running of the statute of limitations was tolled during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. [Associated Press]
* An analysis of former AG Alberto Gonzales’s latest problems, in case you “don’t recall.” [Associated Press]

apprentice apprenticeship lawyer baker.jpg

We recently heard a rumor about an associates’ meeting at a top firm, presided over by a partner. Some of the associates complained that they were being overworked. The partner was unsympathetic. His response was more diplomatically worded, but the gist of it was: “In this economy, be grateful you have a job.”
This partner might like the proposal floated last week by Dan Hull over at What About Clients:

If associates get all the benefits of training at my law firm in the first three years, and can’t really add much value anyway, why don’t they pay us?

…. Initially, say, in the first 2 or 3 years, under [this proposal], an associate would be paid in the form of experience of being immersed in learning how to be a lawyer as he or she worked with more senior lawyers. A “trainee” would: (1) be paid either very minimal or at most paralegal-level salaries–don’t laugh, a good paralegal is often markedly more valuable and cost-efficient than a “brilliant” first-year associate–and perhaps some other benefits; or (2) actually pay the law firm a nominal stipend–a “tuition”, in effect, to cover some costs (and risks) of “training”–in a flexible apprenticeship arrangement which could be revisited.

More details about the proposal, which Hull refers to as a new “Value Movement,” are available in the full post.
Readers, what do you think? A brilliant innovation, sheer lunacy, or something in between?
Should associates pay their law firms in the first 2 to 3 years? [What About Clients?]

manhattan skyline lawfim realtors.jpg* The vetting of Sarah Palin continues. As mayor of Wasilla, she hired Steven Silver. Silver was a client of Jack Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig, then was chief-of-staff for Ted Stevens. [Talking Points Memo]
* The vetting of anybody that has ever laid eyes on Sarah Palin continues. In today’s crosshairs is Thomas Van Flein, the lawyer Palin retained to help her with the ethics investigation involving her in Alaska. [WSJ Law Blog]
* At least realtors care about the struggles of Biglaw associates. [Crain's via New York Observer]
* A lawyer completely forgot about his client for two years. But I bet he’ll remember him now. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
* Marquette University Law School has started a new faculty blog. [Marquette University Law School]
* A barbecue Blawg Review. [Austin DWI Lawyer via Blawg Review]

plaquemines parish levee prisoner inmates.jpgAs was widely reported in yesterday’s coverage of Hurricane Gustav, quick thinking and brute manpower relieved the pressure on a private levee in Plaquemines Parish. The levee protected a subdivision of a couple of hundred homes.
Nearly 400 people participated in saving the levee. Their ranks included residents, first responders, the Army Corps of Engineers… and an unconfirmed number of prison inmates who were pressed into service.
Most of the prisoners from New Orleans and surrounding areas were evacuated well ahead of Gustav’s landfall. In Orleans Parish, about 300 municipal prisoners were simply delivered out of bondage. Only violent municipal offenders were kept in custody and moved with the 2500 inmates held on more serious charges.
Yet there were still enough prisoners on hand to help out when the Plaquemines Parish levee weakened.
We spoke with Pam Laborde, a spokeswomen for the Louisiana Department of Corrections. She could not tell us which parish’s prisoners were involved in the levee saving efforts. However she was not surprised that there was extra muscle on hand.

It’s not unusual in those types of emergencies to hold a few people on a work crew back so that they are able to help perform certain functions keeping the city government working. Whether they run the kitchen or as a work crew for cleaning the roads or that type of thing.

It’s one thing to scrub a latrine, but prisoners who helped to save a levee that protected homes — and potentially saved lives — should merit a “get out of jail free” card.
Laborde did not know the specifics involving efforts of these particular inmates (or their crimes), but she said that generally no such special consideration is given for state prisoners who stay behind and in harm’s way. She did say that if they were municipal prisoners, any time off would be given at the discretion of the individual Sheriffs’ departments.
Not surprisingly, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff “Jiff” Hingle could not be reached for comment.
Lawlessness can be a common occurrence during natural disasters, but apparently not all of it is bad.
Concerns about New Orleans-area levee ease [CNN]

Grand Theft Auto IV MoFo Morrison Foerster.jpgLabor Day is behind us. You know what that means: no wearing white, no gin and tonics, and no qualms about sending summer associate stories to ATL. If you have an SA story to share that we haven’t previously covered, please email us.
This latest tale, posted below, puts the “MoFo” in Morrison & Foerster. These kiddies are badass. As always, please don’t name or provide additional identifying information about them. Thanks.
***********************
This summer MoFo hosted a firm-wide retreat in Napa, first-class all the way — every attendee stayed in a private one-bedroom condo at the host resort, people got spa treatments, went on wine tastings, open bar every night, etc. Once the bar closed, the real troopers would head over to someone’s condo for an after party. The firm covered minibar tabs, so people would stop by their own places and stock up on drinks to bring along. Nothing out of the ordinary, as far as big firm summer blow-outs go.
The only problem with the trip was the tremendous size of the resort. The condos were scattered all across a large compound. Some rooms were miles away from others. The resort provided shuttle service, but often (especially late at night) the shuttles were slow in coming. Very slow. It was definitely a nuisance.
A couple of days into the retreat, two or three summers apparently got sick of waiting for a shuttle to take them to their far off condos at the end of the evening’s after party festivities. One of them was sick and vomiting or something, so they had a sense of urgency. In a haze of drunken entitlement (or perhaps a twisted sense of altruism: their friend was sick!), these summers decided to “borrow” a car from the resort’s valet to drive home.
Audi A6 Morrison Foerster MoFo.jpgThey busted into the valet key box and swiped the keys to an Audi A6 — first-class all the way! — got into the car, and started it up. Luckily for them, before they could get it into gear and get moving, a recruiter got wind of the operation and came RUNNING AND SCREAMING out of the after party. She got them out of the car; the keys were returned to their rightful place.
But the plans of drunken MoFos are not so easily foiled. Undeterred, they RETURNED to the valet box once the recruiter was out of their way, stole the keys AGAIN, and started up the car once more. This time a MoFo PARTNER saw the situation, ran over to the car, and put a stop to the ill-fated scheme.
***********************
What happened to the summers in question? We don’t know for certain, but we’re guessing they got no-offered. While creative problem-solving and taking the initiative are usually desirable qualities for lawyers to possess, stealing cars and driving drunk raise character and fitness issues.

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgIn his defense in the Wall Street Journal (subscription) of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, America’s Firingest Law Firm™, Ashby Jones wrote:

[W]hile it might take several months to determine the full damage, so far the firm hasn’t seen large groups of partners bolt for the door, a phenomenon that can create a mini-panic at a firm and result in the loss of entire practice groups. Of course, the handsome partnership payouts provide good incentive to Cadwalader partners to stay put. And while Cadwalader might never be called a “collegial” place, its partnership is at least cohesive. It consists of a manageable 114 lawyers located predominantly in lower Manhattan.

Make that 113 lawyers. From a press release issued today by Steptoe & Johnson:

Andrew Perel Andrew J Perel Cadwalader CWT Steptoe Johnson.jpgSteptoe & Johnson LLP, a pre-eminent international law firm, today announced the addition of Andrew J. Perel as a new partner in its New York office.

Mr. Perel, former Chair of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s Environmental Practice Group, will also become the resident member of the management committee of Steptoe’s New York City office and that office’s representative on the firm’s Executive Committee.

“Andrew is the ‘go to’ environmental lawyer in New York. He is a leader in his field and highly respected nationally. Through his practice, he provides Steptoe with additional entrée into the financial services clients that are the backbone of every New York law firm practice,” said Steve Fennell, head of Steptoe’s Litigation Department.

Is Perel’s departure an isolated occurrence? Or could it be the first of several partner exits? Time will tell.
Andrew J. Perel Joins Steptoe as Partner in New York Office [Steptoe & Johnson (press release)]
Andrew J. Perel bio [Cadwalader via Google Cache]

do_not_urinate.jpgOur Lawyers of the Day are do-gooders by day, but public-urinators and face-spitters by night. Brendan Relyea and Michael Pate hail from the Legal Aid Society of New York; their bad behavior at a Brooklyn bar made its way into the pages of the New York Post:

A Legal Aid defense lawyer dropped his briefs in a Brooklyn bar and made a motion to relieve himself – sparking a brawl that landed him and a colleague in legal trouble of their own, The Post has learned.

We almost stopped reading after that terribly punny lede paragraph, but we managed to persevere. Relyea has been charged with public urination, and both are charged with assault, menacing and harassment.
Details of their wild night in Brooklyn, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers of the Day: Brendan Relyea and Michael Pate”

chad johnson name change Palin kids.jpgCincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson legally changed his name to “Ocho Cinco,” his preferred nickname since 2006.
Johnson Ocho Cinco wears the number 85 for football related activities, making the new name multicultural yet entirely redundant.
As we’ve previously reported, sometimes changing your name to or away from something stupid can be difficult. But luckily for Mr. Cinco, Florida’s name changing laws are straightforward, provided you have $40.
These might be the kind of laws that Governor Palin’s kids would want to look into. Here are Todd Palin’s thoughts on naming conventions, via People Magazine:

Sarah’s parents were coaches and the whole family was involved in track and I was an athlete in high school, so with our first-born, I was, like, ‘Track!’ Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. That’s where I grew up, that’s where we commercial fish. Willow is a community there in Alaska. And then Piper, you know, there’s just not too many Pipers out there and it’s a cool name. And Trig is a Norse name for “strength.”

As soon as my parents are too addled to care, I’m changing my name to Max Power.
Bengals wide receiver changes last name to Ocho Cinco [ESPN.com]
Earlier: What’s in a Name? Quite a Lot, Rules New Zealand Judge

yale law school.jpgYour outgoing editor is a Yale Law School grad, and your incoming editor is a Harvard Law School grad. So the two schools’ rivalry in the rankings is a subject of interest — and good-natured trash-talking — here in the office.
In a provocative post entitled Is the End Near for Yale’s Dominance?, Professor Brian Leiter writes:

[T]he awakening of the sleeping giant Harvard Law School under Dean Kagan’s tenure and its entry into the lateral market has meant that Yale now faces real competition at the very top. Add to that Yale’s chronic vulnerability–namely, its location–and the eagerness of both Columbia and NYU to hire almost any Yale faculty member at the drop of a hat, and it does mean that Yale Law School will have to work harder than a generation ago to remain on top.

Yale will continue to be helped, to be sure, by the small school bias of US News, which has insured (through the per capita expenditures measure) that YLS has remained #1 in US News even in years when HLS has higher reputation scores. And until the changes in faculty quality translate into changes in clerkships and academic placement, one suspects that YLS will continue to have its pick of prospective law students for the foreseeable future.

Professor Bill Henderson agrees — and has the empirical support to back it up.
Read more, below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will Harvard Overtake Yale in the Rankings? Don’t Hold Your Breath”

Page 1387 of 17701...138313841385138613871388138913901391...1770