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citi field skadden.JPGYou’d think Skadden attorneys would have better things to bill Citigroup for than running around after small-time advertisers. But, then again, there are an awful lot of Skadden attorneys.

Citi-Mobile is an advertising company that utilizes trucks as mobile billboards. Citigroup is a large commercial bank that is trying to ride out the current economic downturn. Skadden wants you to know the difference:

The much bigger Citi, which Skadden rather optimistically describes in court docs as “one of the largest and most renowned” banks in the world, is a little bit concerned that the public will think the financial giant decided to buy a bunch of trucks, paint them crazy colors, and make money by marketing roast beef subs and cameras to innocent pedestrians. So they’re asking a court to prohibit Citi-Mobile (and its parent company Citi-Advertising) from using the hallowed “Citi” name.

For those playing along at home, that means Citi wants no part of a mildly annoying advertising campaign, yet they are willing to pay $20M/year for 20 years to lord their name over the New York Mets? How long before Skadden sues Mets owner Fred Wilpon for non-performance based on the theory that Citi contracted to name a “baseball field,” instead of a cute park where little boys go to choke themselves to death?

Or maybe they’ll just sue City Wok?

Read the full complaint here.

Citi’s Lawyers Never Sleep [Citylife]

recession california associate pay raises.jpgNo real legal angle here since Paulson, Dodd & Co. stopped talking to the lawyers long ago.

But in case you haven’t heard, the $700 billion bailout is going to happen.

Boy, aren’t you glad you elected a Democratic Congress that could stand up to Bush when he goes on television, terrifies millions of Americans, and then intimidates the opposition party into giving him a blank check?

Feel free to defend/slam the bailout in the comments.

Lawmakers Agree on Outline of Bailout [New York Times]

Hughes Hubbard Reed LLP HHR logo.jpgWe mentioned that litigation boutiques would likely be big winners from the market collapse. Some small firms are already cashing in. The bankruptcy boutique of Luskin, Stern & Eisler has merged with Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

There was enough room on the Hughes Hubbard bandwagon for everybody at Luskin. All eight lawyers will be joining Hughes Hubbard’s bankruptcy practice, with name partner Richard Stern becoming the co-chair of the group.

The merger makes perfect sense if Hughes Hubbard is trying to position itself to capitalize on creditor actions coming out of the Wall Street meltdown. Of course, that is not what Hughes Hubbard says they are doing:

Hughes Hubbard says it is merely a coincidence that the deal was finalized after a week of heavy financial turmoil.

“We had wanted to do this for a while,” James Modlin, co-chair of the firm’s lateral hiring committee, tells The Am Law Daily. “Starting last summer, we realized the time was right to bolster our bankruptcy practice. Bankruptcy goes in cycles, and we were thinking this might be a boom time.”

Maybe Hughes Hubbard does own the world’s best Magic 8 Ball. However they planned this acquisition, they got the execution exactly right.

Hughes Hubbard Makes Timely Acquisition of Bankruptcy Boutique []

republican not gop.jpgI think we can all agree that this is not the best year to be running as a Republican. When your party’s leader is a lame duck — clocking in with a sub-thirty percent approval rating — it’s only prudent to keep your distance.

But did Washington gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi go too far in trying to escape the Republican brand? On ballots that have already gone to the printer for the November election, Rossi listed his party affiliation as “GOP Party.” As we’ve previously mentioned, Democrats sued Rossi to force him to use the more common “Republican” label on the November ballots.

Democrats didn’t sue because calling yourself a member of the “Grand Old Party Party” is redundant and annoying. They have actual polling data that shows:

[M]any people don’t know that GOP and Republican mean the same thing. One recent [Stuart] Elway poll indicated Rossi did better among voters if he used the “GOP” label instead of “Republican.”

“There’s no question we were shocked by the Elway poll,” state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said, adding that an internal poll by the party had a similar finding.

While the Democrats have an interesting political argument, their legal argument … does not exist:

A new state law allows candidates to identify their party on ballots as they please (up to 16 characters long), but Sam Reed, Washington’s secretary of state, said he had encouraged candidates “not to do silly things.”

Mr. Reed, a Republican and the defendant in the Democrats’ lawsuit, said G.O.P. — for Grand Old Party — had been used for years and was acceptable.

Game, set, match.

But how “off-message” are Democrats in Washington State? If you are an incumbent Democratic governor, and you think that the GOP is going to take you down in a year where even the Republicans are calling their brand no better than “dog food,” you have serious problems — problems that a naming convention isn’t going to fix.

Leave the courts out of your campaign. It’ll be better for everybody.

Democrats Sue Over ‘G.O.P.’ on the Ballot [New York Times]

Smith v. Reed (pdf) [Ballot Access]

hungry thinking lawyer.jpgWe know you legal folk struggle with your weight. Nearly 70 percent of respondents to Justin’s weighty April survey admitted to putting on the pounds since embarking on the legal track. Maybe it’s because you’re such deep thinkers!

Thinking makes you hungry, says Science Daily. A Canadian research team has found that intellectual work, that stuff lawyers do so much of, causes a substantial increase in caloric intake:

The research team, supervised by Dr. Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.

The researchers had already shown that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6% and 29.4 % increase, respectively, compared with the rest period.

Perhaps you can fight the bulge by thinking less hard. Another option is to get an in-work work-out with a treadmill desk — Quinn Emanuel’s Aaron Craig logs five to six miles a day at the office.

If resolved to keep the paunch, the intellectual fatties can at least take comfort in knowing that the thin lawyers are the dumb ones. [Ed. note: There was no substantial increase in caloric intake as a result of coming up with that bit of logic.]

Thinking People Eat Too Much: Intellectual Work Found To Induce Excessive Calorie Intake [Science Daily]

michigan law school strikes back.jpgHonestly, we are not trying to pile on Michigan. We know how obsessed some of their students are with their U.S. News law school ranking. But perhaps the law school administration has taken things too far in their attempt to make Michigan the “champions of the west.”

From TaxProf Blog:

Michigan’s new Wolverine Scholars Program — in which [University of] Michigan undergrads with a minimum 3.80 GPA are admitted to Michigan Law School if they agree to not take the LSAT. The rankings benefit is that there is no LSAT score to report to U.S. News, while the minimum 3.80 GPA will boost Michigan’s median 3.64 GPA, which counts 10% in U.S. News’ methodology.

Look Michigan, if you are going to try to rig something, at least have the decency to do it under the cover of darkness.

To a UM college student with a 3.8, the Wolverine Scholars Program looks like an interesting example of game theory. But to the rest of us, it looks a straight bribe. It’s like Michigan Law School is saying: “Please, please, please don’t take the LSAT. Because if you get a 167 we probably have to accept you anyway. And if you get a 175 you will better deal us for a lobster dinner.”

The Big Ten strikes back, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “University Of Michigan Law School: Please Stop The Insanity”

vacation memo from a turkey.jpgWe here at ATL are big believers in push-back. Tell the partners and your colleagues about your personal needs and desires, and try your best to take some control over your work schedule. The firm can survive without you.

But the theory behind successful push back is that you are not the most important person at the firm. It seems that one first-year associate didn’t learn that lesson. He sent out the following “vacation memo,” after just three days at the firm:

1. I will depart for vacation on Wednesday, November 26th (the Wednesday before thanksgiving). I plan to return to the office on Tuesday, December 2nd (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving).

2. In case of emergency, I will be staying at [redacted]. I can best be reached on my cell phone at [redacted]. I will be visiting my parents, and their house has a landline [redacted].

3. The secretaries in my pool will open my mail. These are [redacted].

4. I will be answering my own phone at the numbers listed above.

5. I currently have received no matters, though this will undoubtedly change by Thanksgiving.

6. I will send out an update and official vacation memorandum with this information a week before Thanksgiving.

Some helpful advice, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Does A Turkey Write A Vacation Memo?”

randy yellow hat.jpg[Ed Note: This is the third and final installment in the Curious Case of Randy, a rather eccentric law firm partner. You can read Part 1 over here and Part 2 over here.]

Weeks pass, and Randy continues to be randy. Stopping by my office no less than three times a day. Gawking at the summer associates as they get their lunches downstairs. I kind of just check out.

I decide to ignore him, figuring that eventually he’ll go away. I do, however, find myself staring at his chest each time he comes in and interrupts me. I’m looking for milk. Or the emergence of breasts. But I don’t recall seeing anything. I think the pills must have gotten that problem under control — but not the other thing. He’s so antsy and manic — sometimes I thought he might start touching himself in my office. Anyway, here it comes, and I’m not lying.

Several weeks later, as February approached — the month that I have always contended is the cruelest month (not April, as T.S. Eliot alleges) — Valentine’s season begins. I tend to ignore all this heart/love crap because I think it’s stupid. I was never one to send out Valentine’s Day cards, even in elementary school. I rejected it. I mean, I can barely say I love you to my parents or my boyfriend; I’m certainly not going to say it to some random person. And I doubt my meatball (non-lawyer, a big plus) boyfriend will do anything anyway.

So I walk into my office at 9:00 a.m., maybe 9:30 actually, on February 14th. There is a large, blood orange, inter-office envelope on top of my desk. I figure it’s my expense report or the report of my billable hours, which I haven’t met for two months. As I open it, however, a pink something falls out. I turn it over. It is a homemade Valentine, constructed out of pale pink construction paper, topped with an old-school white doily, and on it, there is a poem written by a dark purple crayon. My first thought is, how cute; it must be from my partner’s daughter, Rose.

Find out what the poem is about, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Curious Case Of Randy: Part 3″

republican not gop.jpg* President Bush wants lawmakers to hurry up and pass the $700 billion bailout plan. Sounds like taxpayers are going to be paying back those $600 economy stimulation rebates and then some. The Dems agree to drop the provision giving greater authority to bankruptcy judges. [New York Times]

* Democrats sue in Washington to force “G.O.P.” gubernatorial candidate to embrace his “Republican” identity. [New York Times]

* Guantanamo prosecutor quits, citing ethical concerns. [Washington Post]

* Kudos to these four law firms. Covington, Arnold & Porter, Katten, and Pillsbury make Working Mother magazine’s best employers list. [National Law Journal]

* Who would have thought a gas mask would be needed for a DUI arrest? [WSAZ]

* Gibson Dunn’s Ted Olson will appear before SCOTUS for the 50th time this fall. One secret to his success: St. Michael the Archangel. [Legal Times (subscription req.)]

* ATL’s former bling-bling lawyer of the day, Gabriel Schwartz, was robbed of property worth only $63,000, by his random-lady-friend-turned-thief. [Associated Press]

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGAt yesterday’s shareholder video conference, the leadership of Heller Ehrman assured the partnership that their line of credit was still open. That doesn’t mean that they can survive, just that they still have some time to make their next move.

Meanwhile, after the meeting, Heller Chairman Matthew Larrabee finally communicated with associates and staff:

To: All-Hands

I am profoundly sorry that I have not been in direct communication with you recently. We realize that there has been a lot of news coverage about our firm, and it is wrong to have that be your source of information. We have been focused on urgent and significant issues that are facing the firm and carefully considering our options. We also have been focused on trying to get answers to the many questions that we know need to be addressed.

While that may explain some of the private meetings and small-group discussions that have been held recently, we know that there has been a lengthy gap in communication that needs to be filled as soon as possible.

To that end, we are planning to hold meetings with everyone before the end of this week via video conference and/or local, in-person discussions. You will receive an invitation to participate as soon as we can finish gathering important information we know you seek.

Again, I apologize for not communicating with you sooner. We realize the anxiety that you are feeling and we are doing everything we can to find answers to your questions.


But what is left to say? As one tipster put it:

[T]he whole place here is nuts. I’m kinda soaking up a salary until a decision gets made, but we’re operating under the assumption that we’re gonna fold.

Pour a shot on the ground for Heller? Probably in a few weeks for sure.

A wise man once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Take heart Hellerites, the long dark of dissolution is almost at an end.

All By Myself single alone lonely National Singles Week.jpgAre you still stuck at the office, settling in for a long evening of work, and thinking about what to order from SeamlessWeb? Maybe you goofed off all day because you have nobody to go home to at night.
(We know what that’s like. It’s why we’ve been covering the ATL night shift lately.)
Fellow single people, we wish you a Happy National Singles Week (September 21-28). From the San Francisco Chronicle:

There are 92 million unmarried Americans, and this is their week.

Since the 1980s, the third full week of September has been National Singles Week. Started by Ohio’s Buckeye Singles Council as a way to recognize the role singles play in society, it is now known as National Unmarried and Single Americans Week. According to the U.S. census, the adjusted name acknowledges that many unmarried Americans do not identify with the word “single” because they have partners or are widowed.

Many of them are also rejecting the stereotyped notion that they’re living in hope of the perfect spouse appearing, a Disneylike vision in a reality-show world. They’re creating a grassroots effort to obtain equal rights in health care access, taxation and other areas while demanding that they be seen as living their lives in full.

And equal rights in law offices, too. Single lawyers: How many times have you had to pick up the slack or hold down the fort for a colleague who left work early for an anniversary dinner, daughter’s ballet recital, or Valentine’s Day celebration?
Read more — plus take a reader poll, concerning whether single people or married people make better Biglaw employees — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Happy National Singles Week!
(And: Do single people or married people make better law firm employees?)”

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIt looks like the shareholders of Heller Ehrman will finally get the latest information about what’s going on at the firm. We just received this message:

To: All Shareholders

We are holding a FW SH VC today to provide you with as much information as we can. Although we will not have answers to all your questions, we plan to update you on our “bank discussions, plans for an orderly transition (or wind down) of our business and larger opportunities for our people”.

We realize all of you are very busy. Please make every effort to participate in today’s meeting. Thank you.

Heller is starting to look like a supernova that happens in slow motion.

The email has caused some members of the Heller community to speculate on the obvious question: are we getting paid this week?

Whether it’s “an orderly transition” or a “wind down,” the future of Heller could be known in the next few hours.

Will We Get Paid This Friday? [Heller Highwater]

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