Last month, shortly before Christmas, one of our favorite legal blogs — Southern Appeal — breathed its last.
Here is Steve Dillard’s farewell post. Steve, your contributions to the blogosphere will be missed.
We’ll be removing SA from our blogroll. On that subject, with a new year upon us, we’d like to do a periodic update of our link listing. If you’d like to be considered for inclusion in our blogroll — or if you’re already on it, but would like to be removed (perhaps you aren’t blogging much these days) — please email us (subject line: Blogroll).
If you have a blogroll of your own, and ATL isn’t on it already, please consider adding our site to your list. Thanks!
SA: The Curtain Closes [Southern Appeal]
Last month, shortly before Christmas, one of our favorite legal blogs — Southern Appeal — breathed its last.
- Copyright, Drugs, Intellectual Property, Morning Docket, Music, Public Interest, SCOTUS, Supreme Court
* A setback for people trying to download in the land down under. [ZDNet]
* MP3 mom is off the hook, but the kids are still very much on it. [MSNBC]
* “[F]ederal investigators probing steroids in sports can now use the names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, following a ruling Wednesday from a federal appeals court.” [MSNBC]
* “For activists who seek to change the law, nothing works better sometimes than losing a big case in the Supreme Court. This year saw two small, public-interest law firms convert losses in the high court into wins in the court of public opinion.” [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
For being named “Best New Law Blog,” in the 2006 Blawg Review Awards.
We feel we’re in good company. Here are some of the other awardees:
Blogging Persona of the Year: Jeremy Blachman
Best Blog by a Law Professor: MauledAgain
Best Blog by a Law Student: Lawyerlike
Best Law Professor Group Blog: Concurring Opinions
Best Law Student Group Blog: De Novo
Best Blawg Theme: Overlawyered
Congratulations to these and all of the other deserving winners.
Also, check out Blawg Review #89, by clicking here. The #100 milestone is within sight!
Blawg Review Awards 2006 [Blawg Review]
Blawg Review #89 [Blawg Review]
- Ann Althouse, Blogging, Donald Trump, Enron, Holidays and Seasons, Jeffrey Skilling, Maryanne Trump Barry, New Yorker, Non-Sequiturs, Parties
* Donald Trump gives on-the-record comments to a blawg (albeit an MSM-affiliated one). The man is a total media whore. But he’s the little brother of a certain fabulous Third Circuit judge, so we forgive him. [WSJ Law Blog]
(Check out the photos at right. We see a definite family resemblance. Which may or may not be a good thing.)
* Speaking of siblings, our big brother wonders: “Do we smell a Jeff Skilling comeback in the air?” And hits the nail on the head with respect to Malcolm Gladwell, too. [DealBreaker]
* The start of a new year is a perfect time for
blogospheric navel-gazing reflections upon the future of law-related blogging. [Opinio Juris via Volokh Conspiracy]
* As well as New Year’s resolutions. [Nasty, Brutish & Short; Jeremy Blachman; Althouse]
* And raucous law blogger parties. Woo-hoo! [Concurring Opinions; PrawfsBlawg]
- 3rd Circuit, Book Deals, Books, Cleary Gottlieb, Clerkships, Dolores Sloviter, Judicial Divas, NYU Law School, Saira Rao
The devil holds a gavel in this wickedly entertaining debut novel about a young attorney’s eventful year clerking for a federal judge. Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU, but law school did not prepare her for the power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman, who greets her on her first day. While her beleaguered colleagues begin quitting their jobs, Sheila is assigned to a high-profile death penalty case and suddenly realizes that she has to survive the year as Friedman’s chambermaid — not just her sanity, but actual lives hang in the balance.
With Chambermaid, debut novelist Saira Rao breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship and boldly takes us into the mysterious world of the third branch of US government, where the leaders are not elected and can never be fired. With its biting wit and laugh-out-loud humor, this novel will change everything you think you know about how great lawyers, and great judges, are made.
Saira Rao is well-equipped to write about the world of the federal judiciary. She previously clerked on the Third Circuit for Judge Dolores Sloviter — who has been described as a “judicial diva” and a “tough cookie”.
After clerking for Judge Sloviter, Saira worked at Cleary Gottlieb. She’s a graduate of UVA and NYU Law School.
“Chambermaid” sounds delicious. We’re counting down the days until July 2007!
Chambermaid: A Novel [Amazon.com]
Saira Rao bio [Findlaw]
Saira Rao profile [Friendster]
Update (4:55 PM): The WSJ Law Blog has put up a post that also links to Saira Rao’s NYP article and the Amazon blurb for her forthcoming novel.
Earlier: Biglaw Associates: Take the Money and Run
- Biglaw, Cadwalader, Department of Justice, Dewey Ballantine, Dickstein Shapiro, Federal Government, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LeBoeuf Lamb, Musical Chairs, Nixon Peabody, Patterson Belknap, S.D.N.Y., U.S. Attorneys Offices, Weil Gotshal
A few of the more prominent moves within this noble profession:
From government to private sector:
* Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is joining Royal Dutch Shell, as general counsel for its “unconventional resources division” (e.g., extracting oil from “oil shale” and “extra heavy oil” — don’t ask us, we don’t know).
(A WSJ Law Blog commenter sniffs: “One would think that she could have secured a more lucrative and high profile job, given her resume.” We agree somewhat on the “high profile” part, but don’t know enough about the filthy lucre associated with this gig.)
* Former assistant U.S. attorney Mauro Wolfe, with whom we used to work, to Dickstein Shapiro. He will be a partner in the firm’s securities practice, in the New York office.
* Mark Paoletta and Andrew Snowdon, to the D.C. office of Dickstein Shapiro (as partner and of counsel, respectively). Paoletta previously served as served as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Snowdon previously served as a lawyer on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. They join the government law & strategy practice.
* The United States Attorney for Connecticut, Kevin O’Connor, has been named associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. His DOJ work will focus on violent crime, gangs, and guns. O’Connor plans to retain his post as U.S. Attorney for at least six months.
* M&A lawyer Michael Aiello, to Weil Gotshal, from Dewey Ballantine (as previously noted).
* Finance lawyer Philip Haber, to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, from Nixon Peabody.
* Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: Seven new partners. Names here (PDF).
* LeBoeuf Lamb: Five new partners. Names here.
* Patterson Belknap: White-collar defense lawyer Daniel Ruzumna, promoted from counsel to partner. Ruzumna served for six years as an AUSA in the legendary Southern District of New York. His final post in the S.D.N.Y. was Acting Chief of the Major Crimes Unit.
The voluminous links are collected after the jump.
- Biglaw, Dewey Ballantine, Dewy Orifice, Law Firm Mergers, Mergers and Acquisitions, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Weil Gotshal
The indefinitely delayed, potentially troubled merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe isn’t being well-received by Dewey support staff.
From a Dewey Ballantine tipster:
As far we non-attorney types go, it seems like more of a hostile takeover than a merger. So far, Orrick management is calling the shots on all the administrative areas of the merger. In the meetings I have been in or have heard about, Orrick is having their way with us.
Many in Payroll, Finance and IT [information technology] have already been given hard end dates. Many others are actively looking for other positions. Orrick has their IT department in Wheeling, West Virginia, whereas Dewey’s IT department is in New York. Having met some of the Orrick IT types and, I believe that the merged firm is going to lose out in that area.
In this merger, Dewey is looking like the receptive partner — the one getting f***ed.
Update: In the meantime, Dewey continues to hemorrhage key lawyers. The WSJ Law Blog just reported that Michael Aiello, who had been one of Dewey’s top M&A partners, has left the firm for Weil Gotshal & Manges.
Top Dewey M&A Partner Decamps to Weil [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Dewy Orifice (scroll down)
- A. Raymond Randolph, Abner Mikva, Adam Liptak, Benchslaps, D.C. Circuit, David Sentelle, Federal Judges, Harry Edwards, Judith Rogers, Laurence Silberman, Patricia Wald, Vicious Infighting
Fun news CAN break over a holiday weekend. Check out this Times article (by the indefatigable Adam Liptak, a Yale Law School alum):
A divided panel of the [exceedingly powerful] United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will soon decide an important case concerning detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, rejected a friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case by [seven] retired [federal] judges. Two former chief judges of the court were among those rebuffed.
The unsigned majority decision, for Judges David B. Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph, said the brief violated a 1982 advisory opinion from a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the administrative and policy-making body of the federal court system.
“Judges should insure that the title ‘judge’ is not used in the courtroom or in papers involved in litigation before them to designate a former judge,” the advisory opinion said.
Translation: :”Former judges, you’re not such hot s***. You’re nothing but lawyers with frustrated gavel fetishes.”
The brief was rejected over the dissent of Judge Judith Rogers:
Judge Judith W. Rogers dissented. She said the 1982 advisory opinion was meant to address situations in which former judges acting as lawyers are referred to by the honorific title “Judge.” That practice, if allowed in court, could improperly influence juries, confuse people and make parties to lawsuits lose confidence in the judicial system.
But the situation here, with former judges submitting an appellate brief on their own behalf and with the government’s consent, is different, Judge Rogers wrote. “Indeed, denying the unopposed motion for leave to file may itself create an appearance of partiality,” she wrote.
Liptak points out that (1) Judge Sentelle and Judge Randolph, the judges in the majority, were appointed by Republicans (Reagan and Bush I, respectively); (2) Judge Rogers is a Clinton appointee; and (3) two of the former D.C. Circuit chief judges on the brief, Abner J. Mikva and Patricia M. Wald, were appointed by Carter.
So was the dissing of the brief politically motivated?
Judge Mikva doesn’t think so — but ascribes the decision to even cattier reasons:
Mr. Mikva said the rejection of his brief was motivated by personal animus, not politics. “It’s not political at all,” he said in an interview. “This was clearly aimed at me.”
The judges in the majority, Mr. Mikva said, were furious with him because he opposed allowing judges to accept free trips to resorts for seminars sponsored by private groups.
“They’re so close to retirement age,” Mr. Mikva said of the judges in the majority. “They really should grow up.”
OUCH. Boy do we miss the good old days on the D.C. Circuit!
Pull up a chair, kiddies, and listen to our tale. Back when Abner Mikva was Chief Judge, from 1991 to 1994, the D.C. Circuit went through a period that judicial historians refer to as The Golden Age of Bench-Slappery.
Conservatives and liberals were at each other’s throats — almost literally. Abner Mikva didn’t get along with several of his more conservative colleagues, including David Sentelle and Laurence H. Silberman. During one heated argument, Laurence Silberman reportedly said to Abner Mikva, “If you were 10 years younger, I’d be tempted to punch you in the nose.” How delicious!
Sadly, the Golden Age couldn’t last forever. In 1994, Chief Judge Mikva resigned to become White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton. He was replaced by Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards.
The famously cantankerous Harry Edwards — who once asked a lawyer at oral argument, “Counsel, are you shitting me?” — raised hopes that the Reign of Bitchiness would continue at the D.C. Circuit. But as it turned out, Chief Judge Edwards actually emphasized collegiality during his reign. And the D.C. Circuit — an unfathomably prestigious court, baby steps away from the Supremes — has never been the same.
(For some excellent perspectives on the controversy over the spurned brief, check out this VC post by Jonathan Adler. In the comments, legal ethics experts such as Stephen Gillers and Steve Lubet weigh in.)
Appeals Court Rejects Brief Submitted by Ex-Judges [New York Times via How Appealing]
NYT on Judicial Amicus Brief Rejection [Volokh Conspiracy]
Court Nixes Brief Because Ex-Judges Called Themselves Judges [WSJ Law Blog]
Most major law firms have paid out, or are about to pay out, their 2006 associate bonuses. And we all know what that means: a massive exodus from Biglaw of frustrated midlevel associates (with new flat-screen TVs).
From an unexpected source for law firm news, the New York Post, comes this excellent article:
The city’s largest, most prestigious law firms are suffering from serious brain drain.
Young, Gen-X lawyers in their third to fifth year in the business are walking away from their $200,000-a-year positions in record numbers — at times without another job in view.
The reason? They are unhappy with their Blackberry lifestyle — being tethered to the job 24/7 and having to rush back to the office at a moment’s notice when e-mail orders pop up on the ubiquitous PDA.
Here are some of the consequences:
The big-firm brain drain is also giving partners a major case of agita — forcing them to do the yeoman grunt work usually assigned to associates. In addition, the firms are being forced to scramble to fill the mid-level talent void. Some are even doing the previously unheard of — hiring from second-tier law schools.
Oh no — ring the alarm! As the Book of Revelation teaches, when Fortune 500 document dumps are being reviewed by Cardozo rather than Columbia grads, the end is near.
Lawyers, Fun & Money: Brain Drain Hits Major Law Firms [New York Post]
P.S. If you’re an outgoing Biglaw associate wondering what to do next, check out this exciting job opportunity.
P.P.S. We’ll close our associate bonus poll shortly. If you haven’t already voted and would like to do so, click here.
- Deaths, Eliot Spitzer, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Gerald Ford, John Roberts, Money, Monica Lewinsky, Morning Docket, Politics, Sex Scandals, William Lerach
* The nation mourns President Gerald R. Ford. Federal government employees and stock exchange workers thank him for a four-day weekend. [Washington Post; Associated Press]
* Plaintiffs’ class-action lawyer William Lerach claims that firing him would cause “delay, duplication of effort and extra costs.” So does hiring him. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A new year, an old question: Are federal judges underpaid? Maybe; maybe not. [New York Times; Washington Wire; SCOTUSblog; National Review Online (via How Appealing)]
(We think Chief Justice Roberts is being a bit alarmist. Is it truly a “constitutional crisis” that Sidwell Friends doesn’t accept payment in prestige?)
* This seems sensible. But since when has the Senate cared about common sense? The
inefficiency quirkiness of that institution is why we love it so. [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
* Can New York Governor Eliot Spitzer live up to the hype? Several scandals have at least given him a lot to work with. [New York Times]
* WaPo columnist Richard Cohen shares our love for Monica Lewinsky. Why can’t the media give her the respect that she’s entitled to? Making double entendres about oral sex is no way to treat a lady. [Washington Post]
Welcome to 2007! Don’t forget to date your checks, memos, and other documents with the correct year.
If you were out of the office last week — and aren’t a federal government employee, with the day off to mourn President Ford — welcome back to work. We hope you had a good holiday and enjoyed your week off.
We’re resuming our normal publication schedule today. After we dig ourselves out from underneath an avalanche of spam, and get ourselves caffeinated, we’ll be back to our usual antics. So check back soon!
National Day of Mourning for President Gerald R. Ford [White House]
IRS Opts Out of Today’s Day of Mourning for President Ford [TaxProf Blog]
- 2nd Circuit, Biglaw, Blogging, Death Penalty, Deaths, John Paul Stevens, Morning Docket, Perverts, Saddam Hussein, SCOTUS, Sex Scandals, Supreme Court, Videos
(Yes, this is ridiculously late. But we hope, for the love of God, that you don’t rely upon us for real legal news. News aggregation is not our primary purpose, and there are many other sites that do it better and faster.)
* Now that President Ford has passed away, everyone must write the obligatory article about his long-lived SCOTUS appointment, Justice John Paul Stevens. [Chicago Tribune, ABC News, Los Angeles Times, WSJ.com; all via How Appealing]
* State bars tend to give government lawyers a wide berth. So when a bar brings ethics charges against a prosecutor, you know something stinks to high heaven. [Associated Press]
* Videotaping an execution is pretty grotesque. But then again, it’s probably no more disturbing than this video. [CBS News]
* You can accuse the Catholic Church of many things; but selective application of their teachings is probably not one of them. The Vatican opposes the death penalty even for Saddam Hussein. [Associated Press]
* Speaking of death penalty cases, the Supreme Court’s incredible shrinking docket may be getting even smaller. [SCOTUSblog]
* Biglaw + Racial Issues = Lively Blog Comment Threads. [Overlawyered; WSJ Law Blog]
* Tax lawyers at Cravath aren’t the only ones with a weakness for underage girls. [Associated Press]
* Oyez, oyez: Interested in an administrative gig that pays over $150K? The Second Circuit is seeking a new Clerk of Court. [2nd Circuit (PDF) via How Appealing]