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As we can see from the comments, you’re already all over this NYT story. We linked to it in Morning Docket, but here’s a little more. Andrew Ross Sorkin writes:

Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz WLRK AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgJPMorgan and Bear were prompted to renegotiate after shareholders began threatening to block the deal and it emerged that several “mistakes” were included in the original, hastily written contract, according to people involved in the talks.

One sentence was “inadvertently included,” according to a person briefed on the talks, which requires JPMorgan to guarantee Bear’s trades even if shareholders voted down the deal. That provision could allow Bear’s shareholders to seek a higher bid while still forcing JPMorgan to honor its guarantee, these people said.

When the error was discovered, James Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, who was described by one participant as “apoplectic,” began calling his lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to seek a way to have the sentence modified, these people said. Finger pointing over the mistakes in the contracts began as bankers blamed the lawyers and vice versa.

We don’t have much to add to Ted Frank’s excellent observations. Here’s an open thread for anti-Wachtell schadenfreude.
(They’re big boys — and they send their clients big bills. So the WLRK folks can take a little snark and ribbing from the ATL commentariat.)
Update (11:40 AM): Actually, did Wachtell make a mistake? If so, what exactly was their error? Over at Dealbreaker, our colleague John Carney wonders: “How do you ‘inadvertently include’ a provision everyone is talking about?” (Gavel bang: commenter.)
How Do You Inadvertently Include A Provision Everyone Is Talking About? [Dealbreaker]
The dangers of doing an M&A agreement over a weekend [Overlawyered]
Did Mistakes in the JPM-Bear Contract Help Lead to Renegotiation? [WSJ Law Blog]
JPMorgan in Negotiations to Raise Bear Stearns Bid [New York Times]

guitar_hero_screenshot.jpgIt sounds like Gibson Guitars is pissed that people prefer Guitar Hero remote controllers to real guitars. Gibson is seeking revenge on the hugely popular video game through official legal channels:

The Guitar Hero series has sold more than 14 million units in North America and raked in more than $1 billion since 2005.

Gibson said the games, in which players use a guitar-shaped controller in time with notes on a television screen, violate a 1999 patent for technology to simulate a musical performance.

Gibson wants the games off store shelves and is suing everyone: game publisher Activision, game developers MTV/Harmonix/Viacom/Electronic Arts, and game retailers Wal-Mart, Target, GameStop, Amazon, Toys ‘R’ Us and Kmart.
This post is a public service announcement. Buy Guitar Hero while you can. Or better yet, buy Rock Band, and invite us to come play with you.
Gibson Guitar sues retailers over ‘Guitar Hero’ game [Marketwatch]
Gibson fires Guitar Hero lawsuit at Wal-Mart, other retailers [Engadget via Crave]
Guitar Hero Lawsuit [The New York Times]

Reposa.jpgSome ATL readers may find our Lawyer of the Day posts frivolous, but there are valuable lessons in each one. Texan lawyer Adam “Bulletproof” Reposa has many lessons to impart.
Lesson one: how not to show one’s displeasure with a judge’s ruling. From the Austin American-Statesman:

Adam Reposa, 33, was held in contempt of court by County-Court-at-Law Judge Jan Breland for his “intentional and contumacious conduct during the court’s review of the plea bargain offer to his client before jury trial.”

Reposa, who could not be reached for comment, “made a simulated masturbatory gesture with his hand while making eye contact with the court in response to an objection by the state to his interference with the court plea bargain inquiry,” Breland wrote in a judgment of criminal contempt of court filed March 11.

While we may understand the desire to use the “jerk-off” gesture with a judge who uses the word “contumacious,” we strongly advise against it.
Lesson two: how not to manage your media relations, as reported by a local broadcaster.

When Reposa’s law office was contacted by phone, the person answering said she was instructed by Reposa to tell the media a vulgarity, which won’t be printed here.

We advise “no comment at this time” as a much more respectable way of saying f**k off.
Lesson three: how not to market your legal services. First, do not register with your state bar as “Bulletproof.” Second, do not make terrible YouTube videos.
While we are tempted to make the “jerk-off” gesture, instead we will end with “no comment at this time.”
Austin attorney put in jail after “obscene gesture” in court [KeyeTV.com]
Defense lawyer held in contempt for lewd gesture at judge [Austin American Statesman]

* Professor Akhil Amar: Obama and Clinton can take turns being president. Say what? [Slate]
* JPMorgan could raise Bear Sterns bid to $10 a share. [New York Times]
* IOC engages in “silent diplomacy” with China on human rights issues. [ESPN]
* Radical hippie mom accidentally released from jail for a few days. [CNN]
* AG Mukasey to argue before SCOTUS tomorrow. [WSJ Law Blog]

Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgDespite the recent turmoil in the economy and the stock market, all appears to be well at Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy. A tipster provided us with the highlights of chairman Mel Immergut’s “State of the Firm” address from last week:

1. Primary caregiver leave is now 18 weeks paid.

2. Blackberries will get replaced every two years instead of three.

3. “We’re not getting fired.”

It appears that Milbank has effectively made a “no layoffs” promise. It learned that lesson the hard way:

Mel stressed that in the last downturn, they had slowed hiring, and then found themselves at a loss for mid-level associates when things picked up later. So the plan is to continue to hire new people (our summer program is the largest to date at 100+) and retain, but not really hire laterals.

Will other firms make a similar pledge? We’ll see.

Zach Scruggs Dickie Scruggs Hottie Scruggs Above the Law blog.jpg* A cool job opportunity for a college senior or recent undergraduate with an interest in the law: work for noted Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein. [SCOTUSblog]
* A cool job opportunity for C students with a “sick sense of humor”: work for the Rockstahl Law Office in Twin Falls, ID. [Idaho State Bar - Job Announcements (top entry for 3/20/08)]
* A lesson in how to open a judicial opinion, from Judge Alex Kozinski. [Southern Appeal]
* A tip for legal bloggers: don’t fetishize pageviews. [Law and More]
* A guilty plea from Hottie Scruggs (pictured). [WSJ Law Blog]
* Stuff White People Like: $350,000 book deals. [New York Observer]

Carl McGee Carl Stanley McGee Governor Deval Patrick Above the Law blog.jpgFor the record, here’s some follow-up on two Bay State lawyers previously discussed in these pages, who have been cleared of the charges against them. At least to some extent.
First, remember Carl Stanley McGee (right), who was arrested after being accused of going down on a 15-year-old boy? Earlier this week, Florida prosecutors decided to drop the case.
Apparently the teen had trouble identifying McGee. But maybe he also learned that it’s bad form to complain about getting a BJ. Unless teeth are involved.
Second, remember the handsome Gary Zerola (below right), named a “Most Eligible Bachelor” by People magazine, and accused of rape and attempted rape by three different women? One of the cases against him went to trial, and he was acquitted (back in January; we missed the news when it came out).
Gary Zerola 2 Most Eligible Bachelor rape Above the Law blog.jpgA second trial is currently underway. In that case, as reported in today’s Boston Herald, Zerola’s defense team argues that the victim wanted to shakedown their client for $150,000.
The third incident, which is the one that we wrote about, has not yet gone to trial.
Sex Case Against MA Guv’s Aide Dropped [AP]
‘Most eligible bachelor’ acquitted in attempted rape case [Boston Globe]
Zerola team: Alleged victim sought $150G [Boston Herald]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Carl Stanley McGee
Most Eligible Bachelor Becomes Considerably Less Eligible

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky Popeo Above the Law blog.jpgCan’t we all just get along? This is our second story today about an associate claiming discrimination by her law firm. No wonder Kirkland & Ellis has adopted a new mandatory arbitration policy.
From Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly:

An associate in the employment, labor and benefits section of the Boston firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination charging that colleagues discriminated against her because of her gender and status as a wife and mother.

Mintz, Levin associate Kamee Beth Verdrager also alleges in her MCAD filing against the firm and ML attorneys Robert M. Gault, Donald W. Schroeder and David Barmak that she was the target of retaliation when she complained about the treatment accorded her by certain members of the employment section and that she was subsequently demoted and placed on probation.

Commenting on behalf of the firm, Public Relations Director Gina Addis said that “the reality is from time to time allegations like these are made against all businesses, including law firms. Our firm has and will deal with any such allegations in the ordinary course and at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum.”

More discussion, including highlights from Verdrager’s complaint, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘I suppose we have your honeymoon to blame for this?’”

Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpg1. Playgirl Magazine invites Spitzer to pose: If Eliot Spitzer weren’t the scion of a super-rich New York real estate family, maybe he would take Playgirl up on this offer.
2. Ashley Alexandra Dupre was 17 in “Girls Gone Wild” videos: Quips our tipster of Joe Francis, “And he thought he saved $1M…”
Open Playgirl Casting Call to Eliot Spitzer [Playgirl Magazine Blog]
Attorney: Spitzer escort was 17 in ‘Wild’ videos [AP]

Kenneth Horowitz Kenneth S Horowitz Kenny Horowitz Curtis Mallet Prevost Above the Law blog.jpgThe markets are closed today for Good Friday, which is why it’s a reduced-publication day here at ATL (and our sister sites, Dealbreaker and Fashionista). We’re ready for the holiday weekend to begin — and so are most of you, we’re guessing. We have a few more posts to publish, but things are winding down around here.
To start the holiday weekend off on the right note, here is a heartwarming tale: lawyer couple saves family from fire! Hopefully this will improve the standing of the legal profession in the eyes of the public. Read the full story over at Newsday.
We’re not sure where Helene Horowitz works (and some cursory online searching didn’t yield an answer). But Kenny Horowitz (pictured) is a real estate associate at Curtis Mallet.
ATL salutes Helene and Kenny Horowitz for their heroism. Maybe they can get pro bono credit for this?
Family of 6 OK after escaping burning house [New York Newsday]
Kenneth Horowitz [Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle]

Clifford Chance LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgPoor Clifford Chance. It seems they just keep on getting sued. First this. Now this, from the New York Sun:

A Haitian woman is suing one of the world’s largest law firms for $75 million, claiming that the firm used her only as window dressing because of her race, fired her for complaining about it, and finally blacklisted her in the New York law community.

Caroline Memnon, who is black, says in the lawsuit that despite her $125,000 salary as an associate at the New York office of London-based Clifford Chance LLP, she was never given any real work….

After firing her in 2002, Clifford Chance, known at the time as Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, “surreptitiously ‘blackballed’ [her] within the community of New York law firms,” the suit says….

“We believe this claim to be without merit and will be contesting the case,” a Clifford Chance spokeswoman said.

Did Clifford Chance “blackball” her? Or did they just give her a less-than-stellar job reference, which employers are certainly entitled to do? [FN1]

Two other law firms, Chadbourne & Parke and Manatt Phelps & Phillips, both offered Ms. Memnon employment and then withdrew their offers, according to the lawsuit….

[Ms. Memnon] was hired by Sullivan & Worcester’s New York office and began working in February 2007. Sullivan & Worcester terminated her employment that March, though she billed 143 hours in her first three weeks there, which is above the firm’s expectation of 150 hours a month, the suit says.

The shortness of her stay at Sullivan makes one wonder if other issues are at work here. Could Caroline Memnon be another Charlene Morisseau — although probably less fabulous, since the divalicious Morisseau is in a class by herself?
[FN1] Does anyone else remember that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David “recommends” someone for a job with Richard Lewis? Larry intends to make the recommendation a tepid one — “recommend,” in scare-quotes — but Richard doesn’t pick up on that. Law firms may be more attentive to such nuances.
Woman Sues Law Firm Over Blacklisting [New York Sun]

Job of the Week

Here is today’s Job of the Week, brought to you by Lateral Link. Since the beginning of March, over 400 new attorneys have been accepted into the Lateral Link network. If you are not already a member, you can join to take advantage of their unique member benefits.
Position: In-House Counsel (Financial Services)
Location: Dallas, TX
Description: The Company is seeking an exceptional attorney, with 4-10 years of experience with either a top-tier law firm or leading financial services/money manager/investment advisor, to join the in-house legal team in its Dallas office. This is a unique opportunity, outside of Wall Street, to broaden your skill set within a complex, best-in-class, alternative asset manager. The attorney will work in one or more of the following areas depending on his/her expertise, areas of interest, and the firm’s areas of need:
· Investments (public and private equities, bonds, loans, ISDA/derivatives)
· Fund formation and fund marketing (both registered and exempt funds)
· Bankruptcy and distressed investments
· Regulatory and Compliance (’33 Act, ’34 Act, both ’40 Acts)
The Company offers world-class compensation and benefits. The cash compensation package is made up of competitive base pay and a performance bonus (well in excess of law firm compensation). The Company also offers a generous profit-sharing plan allowing employees to share in the success of Company’s funds. Health insurance is industry-leading, with no insurance premiums or deductibles. The Company’s talented professionals share a passion for excellence, commitment to teamwork, and pride based on the firm’s track record in the alternative investment industry. The culture is entrepreneurial and not hierarchical, professional yet informal and fun. The Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Job Code: 8291
For more information, please see position #8291 on Lateral Link.

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