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lawyers hate gas.JPGAtlanta-based law firm Balch & Bingham has decided to let their employees work four days a week in response to high gas prices and gas shortages in some areas. People can take off Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, once the firm figures out how to shuffle things around so that there is adequate coverage on all days. According to the ABA Journal:

Managing partner T. Joshua R. Archer says the idea came to him on Tuesday, as he was walking the halls and overheard a secretary ask the office manager if she could leave early to get in line at a station that she’d heard had gas to sell.

“It seems like a good idea from an efficiency and productivity standpoint,” he tells the legal publication, pointing out that it should be easier to find gas when others are working. Plus, having a full tank reduces stress because it’s one less thing to worry about.

Sounds great. We’re sure that everybody who lives in a commuter suburb can appreciate laying off the gas one day a week.

But there’s a catch:

They also are expected to work the same amount of hours, over four days, as they ordinarily would over five.

Come again?

For the staff that could take advantage of this “perk,” how does a ten-hour day reduce stress?

Here was an opportunity for Balch & Bingham to do something really nice for their employees. You could have given them a half-day off, or a gas credit, or something. But instead it seems like Mr. Archer just came up with a way to get a nice press story without actually helping his employees or costing the firm a single cent.

Even Terri Garr’s “Schooner Tuna” boss was able to figure out the difference between a cheap gimmick and a helping hand.

New Law Firm Perk: Work Shorter Week Until Gas Shortage Ends [ABA Journal]

map pretty.JPGWith all the doom and gloom about the economy, it’s easy to forget that some law firms are doing really, really well.

American Lawyer has come out with their Global 100 rankings (subscription) report. Am Law reports that most stable global firms are based across the pond:

After madly shedding partners, doubling-down their bets on foreign offices, and tightening their management controls, the global Magic Circle practices–Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Linklaters–look a little better-dressed than many of their rivals in the United States. The irony is that the English firms have succeeded by following the lesson of their American peers: They’ve hedged their bets. For U.S. firms, in the past that has meant a healthy dose of litigation and bankruptcy work to balance a corporate shortfall. For the British, the strategy has been geographic: spreading their risk across several continents.

Whatever. Maybe someday you’ll be able to buy back an undesirable position in Yorktown.

The U.S.A. is still well represented when it comes to profits per partner:

amlaw ppp.JPG

Cadwalader’s inclusion on this list is … offensive (the list is based on 2007 numbers), but how about Quinn Emanuel! One of five firms worldwide with PPP over $3,000,000.

The firms with the most revenue after the jump

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Global 100 Rankings: Some Firms Are Doing Just Fine”

keller the mule.jpgJason John Jingleheimer Schmidt Keller is a full service criminal defense attorney. He’s there for you at your arraignment, at your trial, and even when you get the shakes:

According to court documents, Keller, 34, on at least three separate occasions this year, allegedly smuggled heroin, a cell phone and cell phone charger into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail.

Well, what was he supposed to do? Not provide his clients with a reliable hook up? Obviously he gave his clients all the means to acquire this precious substance on their own and only stepped in when nobody else would mule them the needed medication.

Keller’s clients don’t sound like the kind of guys you say no to:

Some of the inmates are members of a violent criminal street gang, the Mexican Mafia, and at least one is known to be Keller’s client, the Arizona attorney general’s office said.

Hopefully, the Mexican Mafia saved some of their contraband to share with Mr. Donkey Esquire.

Defense attorney faces prison contraband charges [East Valley Tribune]

Attorney charged with smuggling heroin, phones into jail [KTAR]

credit crunch fight club.jpgIf there is one factor that ties most attorneys into the current market crisis: it’s called “law school debt.” Almost every young associate has a significant amount of money they still owe their hyper-expensive professional school (and if you don’t, I hope your trust fund is tanking right now). For many, that debt drives them into the open arms of Biglaw.

The National Law Journal reports that current and prospective law students are about to get credit-crunched:

But because banks are doling out less money to lenders, private loans are getting harder to come by, said New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar, who is also chairman of the board of directors of education lender Access Group.

That means it will be more difficult for law school graduates to secure private loans, and graduates will likely pay higher interest rates if they do get a private loan to bridge the gap between graduation and the bar.

Recent law graduates also will be entering the workforce during a slow economy, which means they may spend more time in the job search process.

We’ve reported that some firms have pushed back their starting dates, which will likely cause recent graduates to rely even more heavily on loans.

But as with everything else going on in the markets right now, nobody really knows what is going to happen. The WSJ Law Blog asks a pertinent question:

We know that those bar-takers with BigLaw jobs lined up can ask their firms for a hefty advance on their first year salaries. But others must rely on private loans to fund the two or three month stretch between graduation and the bar exam. We’re curious: Have rates on those loans gone up? Are post-grads still relying on them?

After the jump, it’s time to talk about solutions:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The “Fight Club” Solution”

  • 02 Oct 2008 at 12:33 PM
  • Uncategorized

Jenner & Block’s Mystery Meeting

Jenner Block LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.JPGRemember the mystery meeting held last month at Covington & Burling? It seems that Jenner & Block is following in Covington’s footsteps, announcing an “all associates” meeting for 5 p.m. today that has set tongues wagging.

In times of high anxiety, firm-wide meetings make people nervous. It’s a little early for bonus discussion, so what might be in the cards? A merger? Layoffs?

We reached out to the firm for comment. Jonathan Groner, a Jenner spokesperson, described the upcoming event as simply a regular meeting with associates, held in the ordinary course. He declined to discuss the agenda for the meeting, citing its internal nature.

Should Jenner associates be worried? Probably not. What we’re hearing is that the meeting will bring good news. Word on the street is that it’s being held to tell everyone — in the wake of Heller Ehrman’s collapse, and general economic turmoil — that Jenner is doing just fine. Managing partner Susan Levy will offer words of reassurance to all assembled. [FN1]

So the meeting is expected to be a non-event. But if it turns out to be more momentous, we will let you know.

[FN1] With respect to Susan Levy, one tipster tells us: “Yay to Jenner for selecting a female managing partner. She may not be able to see Russia from her office in Chicago, but she was ready to lead from Day 1.”

(By the way, speaking of Jenner and gender, the firm was recently honored by Working Mother as one of the best law firms for women.)

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGAccording to our poll Tuesday, the majority of you prefer a traditional A,B,C,D grading system over a modified Yale system like the ones adopted by Harvard and Stanford.

Apparently, NYU law students agree that A,B,C,D is the best way to go.

In The Commentator, NYU Law School’s student newspaper, Andrew Gehring vehemently disagrees with the changes adopted by HLS and SLS:

Attempting to provide content to [Stanford Law School Dean Larry] Kramer ‘s claim about “pedagogical benefits” is a more or less futile exercise. I can see no way for a grading system that essentially just eliminates the +/- aspect of the standard system to have an impact on a professor’s teaching style, so the claim about “innovation” seems hollow. (Even if we accept that the system refocuses students on learning–which I’ll dispute momentarily–it seems like professors always teach to get their students to learn, not to get the best grade.) And there’s no more freedom for “designing metrics of evaluat[ion]” under the new system than there would be under a traditional system that isn’t tied to a curve.

Wow. Tell us what you really think.

One tipster suggests that NYU is just feeling like an old, bald man shopping for a corvette:

NYUs student magazine published an editorial slamming Harvards new grading policy and defending NYUs/Columbias traditional approach, which to me seemed very interesting and a standard pattern in NYUs general inferiority complex.

More kvetching from NYU Law after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NYU Law Freaks Out Responds To Grade Reform”

Earlier this week we reported on Sarah Palin’s apparent inability to name more than one important SCOTUS case.

Some commenters felt that we should reserve judgment on Palin’s judicial knowledge until we had “confirmation” about those opinions. Some people also questioned what her VP opponent, Joe Biden, might say under similar circumstances.

Well, now we have video:

Some key excerpts for those who cannot play the video after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Joe Biden And Sarah Palin Discuss Roe v. Wade”

video_camera.jpg* The Senate is ready to bail out. Senate-approved rescue plan will go to the House on Friday. [Washington Post]

* SCOTUS will not revisit its decision on the death penalty for child rapists. Still unconstitutional. [Washington Post]

* “How would you like to be Osama Bin Laden’s lawyer?” [Doyle Reports]

* Two Neiman Marcus employees were having sex at the office. Their manager installed a camera to catch them. Then he fired them. And showed the tape to a few people, including a nationwide online database of security personnel. It’s so wrong, but so right. [Chicago Tribune via AmLaw Daily]

* DUI attorney charged with DUI. Doh. [Overlawyered]

* The Magic Circle firms are better prepared for the economic downturn than their U.S. counterparts. [American Lawyer]

* Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s husband pleads not guilty to attempted murder. With a frying pan. In the bedroom. [Las Vegas Sun]

above the law logo.JPGThe U.S. economy may be going down, down, down — but traffic on ATL is up, up, up. When it comes to your new editor, Elie Mystal, it seems that you like him, you really like him (which is not surprising, since you picked him, through the ATL Idol contest).

In September, Elie’s first full month on the job, the site received a record number of unique visitors (over 325,000) and pageviews (almost 4 million). Congratulations to Elie and the rest of the ATL team — associate editor Kashmir Hill, survey czar Justin Bernold, wedding watcher Laurie Lin, advice columnist Marin, and last but not least, crowd favorite Hope Winters.

More importantly, we extend our deepest thanks to you, our readers. This site would be nothing without you — and your many visits (keep refreshing those browsers), comments (even the nasty ones — a pageview is a pageview), and tips (please keep ‘em coming, by email).

Let’s keep on having fun — or as much fun as can be had during these tough times. NY to 190!

(Or, more realistically, NY to the Milbank promise. But that may be wishful thinking. Word on the street is that half a dozen major New York law firms plan lawyer layoffs in the first quarter of 2009. Stay tuned to ATL; we’ll bring you all the latest developments, as they happen.)

P.S. September 2008 was also a record month for ATL’s sister sites, Dealbreaker and Fashionista. Congrats to them as well!

P.P.S. Dealbreaker is actively seeking additional full-time writers. To apply or learn more, see here. Thanks.

Cristina Schultz.jpegWe recently reported on Stanford Law School’s new grading system. Does it involve dollar bills? Or leaving book prizes on bedside tables?

Cristina Warthen (née Cristina Schultz) — aka the Stanford Law Escort, now married to David Warthen, the filthy rich co-founder of Ask Jeeves — is back in the news. From the San Jose Mercury News (via TaxProf Blog):

A Stanford law school graduate suspected of paying off her costly student loans by running a high-priced escort service has now been hit with federal tax evasion charges.

In court papers filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court, prosecutors allege that Cristina Warthen failed to pay taxes on more than $133,000 she earned as a prostitute in 2003, jetting off as a call girl for clients in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and other cities. The government has charged her with felony tax evasion for failing to pay about $25,000 in federal income taxes.

Warthen’s business as a reputed high-priced hooker was first revealed several years ago, when the federal government searched her then-home in Oakland and seized more than $61,000 in cash suspected to be linked to her escort business. Court papers allege that starting in 2001, Warthen, then Cristina Schultz, used the name “Brazil” and advertised her escort services on a Web site,

Brazil. Great beaches. And waxing.

A little bit more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ask Jeeves: Why Was Your Wife (Stanford Law ’01) Indicted for Tax Evasion on Prostitution Proceeds?”

Boies the thinker.jpg* David Boies reflects on his culpability for the last 8 years. [Superlawyers]

* There are some delightful exemptions in the bailout bill that the Senate will vote on later tonight. [Dealbreaker]

* No death penalty unless you actually murder somebody. State-sanctioned killing has gone so soft. [SCOTUSblog]

* What judges really talk about. [Wage Law]

* Online research just got a little bit easier thanks to Zotero. [Futurelawyer]

* If you are a 3L without an offer, getting laid might help you pass the time. [Ridiculum]

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIt’s been a few days since we checked in on the slow breakup of Heller Ehrman. But today brings news of a coveted partner picking his soft landing. The Daily Journal reports:

Top antitrust litigator Robert G. Badal will be departing Heller Ehrman for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s Los Angeles office, which he plans to join as a partner on Friday.

Badal is Heller’s first Los Angeles partner to publicly confirm that he is leaving the troubled firm since it began its dissolution last week.

Badal, also an intellectual property litigator, was vague about whether he is bringing other Heller attorneys with him. … “There may be a few people from Heller that might join Wilmer over time,” Badal said.

Badal called Heller’s dissolution “regrettable” and said that he chose Wilmer Hale because of its strong Asia practice.

After the jump we see if Heller associates and staff can get some soup.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Anatomy of a Dissolution: Heller Ehrman’s Long Goodbye”

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