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michigan law school strikes back.jpgLast week we brought you the tale of lunchtime thievery at the University of Michigan Law School. Two months ago we told you about the international cell phone caper.

Well it’s time to show that ATL can get as good as we give. Our reporting has provoked an angry response from some Michigan Law School students:

I have one question to ask the ATL e-mail forwarder: Why would you want to make a laughingstock out of *the school you attend? In case you overlooked that fact, you go here, friend. As in, you are affiliated with this school, and when ATL and a bandwagon of commentators talk smack about this school, they’re talking about you by affiliation.

It’s not humorous, because–believe it or not–there are actual people with actual jobs centered around fostering good PR about this school. When there are people forwarding embarrassing, curse word-filled e-mails to ATL, or e-mails denigrating poor people, it kind of goes against the grain and makes all of us look bad.

So, maybe you could stop?


Just to be clear, we are fans of Michigan. You will not find a sweater-vest among us. It just never occurred to us that the law school student body had been conscripted into the University Spin Team.

But apparently some students believe that one bad apple spoils the bunch:

Gossip magazines and gossip e-magazines fall short (understatement) of the student body here at Michigan Law. As a student and recipient of AbovetheLaw interview requests, I feel strongly that any contributors from our student body to a gossip column make us ALL look bad. Our allegiance should lie with our Law School (as our future jobs depend a great deal on the University’s prestige) and I encourage my peers to rise AbovetheLaw for the sake of our collective good. We are Michigan Law and We will one day have “the province and duty… to say what the law is.” — Chief Justice John Marshall.

“Son, it’s not about what you are called, it’s about what you answer to.” — My Mom.

A curious dissent from a Michigan law student after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michigan Law School Circles The Wagons (Almost)”

oj wiggles free again.jpgJust to give you fair warning, O.J. Simpson could get off again.

The Juice is on trial for storming into the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas and “liberating” some sports memorabilia at gunpoint. The prosecution would like to make the case about the largely inescapable facts that O.J. and his friends stole the goods and had guns.

O.J. and his lawyer Yale Galanter would like the case to turn on some other factor: persecution, “justifiable” larceny, wookies.

After the train wreck that was Mark Fuhrman, you’d think that any cop investigating O.J. would be on his best behavior. But there seems to be something about police officers losing their collective minds when it comes to O.J.

In testimony last week, detective Andy Caldwell essentially admitted that he turned into the great Cornholio when he found out that O.J. Simpson was prominently involved:

Jurors who have been told to refrain from judging O.J. Simpson on his past heard a recording Thursday of a police employee exulting: “This is great. … California can’t get him. … Now we’ll be able to.”

The recording was made by Thomas Riccio, the star witness for the prosecution.


Maybe this will still work out for Vegas PD. After all, finding 12 people who have not already pre-judged Simpson is practically impossible. But the heart of Simpson’s first brush with the law was shoddy and untrustworthy police work.

Here we go again.

Update (10/04/08): See here.

Vegas police talked of ‘getting’ O.J. on recording [My Way News]

In Session [CNN]

lord of war.gif* Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will be converted into traditional bank holding companies. With all the turmoil in the financial services industry, some attorneys think in-house is the new outhouse and are running back to law firm employment. [National Law Journal]

* “Merchant of Death”/ “Lord of War”/ Russian-guy-who-loves-selling-guns faces extradition hearing in Thailand for U.S. terrorism charges. [CNN]

* Kirkland & Ellis partner sues his wife, her alleged lover, and her dad for giving him herpes. [New York Post]

* There Will Be Blood in the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. In a matter of speaking. Big oilman to testify in corruption case against Stevens. [New York Times]

* Prison escapee and Purpose Driven Life convert Brian Nichols is finally going on trial in Atlanta. Perhaps they should let him sell his story and use the proceeds to pay off all the debt he’s racked up for the Georgia legal system. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

lap dancer and idiot.JPG* Maybe I’m a prude, but I really don’t understand how lap dances are socially acceptable. Somebody walks by and puts their butt in my face. If I give them money, they keep doing it; if I slap it away, I get in trouble? At the very least, shouldn’t it work the other way around? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yes, NYU Law professors, we are laughing at you. No, not with you. At you. [TaxProf Blog]

* Good job, ATL readers. Our collective level of panic forced the eighth-richest man in America to tell his company “get back in there and chill them n***$$ out!” []

* This should be an interesting weekend out in Heller-land. [Heller Highwater]

blackberry mana.JPGBuzzing around the internet today is a ridiculous study from the Chicago Sun Times:

A new survey found that about 35 percent of professionals would pick their PDAs over their spouses if they had to choose.

A surprising 87 percent take their personal digital assistants into their bedrooms, and 84 percent check them just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, according to a work-life survey from Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. Another 85 percent say they look at their PDAs in the middle of the night.

Sounds to me like 35 percent of professionals do not fully understand the ramifications of losing half their stuff.

But what’s worse is that many readers have emailed the story to ATL contending that the numbers for professionals “in the law” would be much, much higher.

Let’s settle this after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “BlackBerry v. Spouse”

treadmill desk 3.jpg
The treadmill desk of Aaron Craig, a litigator at Quinn Emanuel in Los Angeles.

Comparing Biglaw life to a treadmill is a cliché. But to some attorneys around the country, it’s truly the best description of how they pass their days (and nights, and weekends). From the New York Times:

Terri Krivosha, a partner at a Minneapolis law firm, logs three miles each workday on a treadmill without leaving her desk. She finds it easier to exercise while she types than to attend aerobics classes at the crack of dawn.

And she’s not alone. From our law school classmate, Aaron Craig, at litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel in L.A.:

I’m now spending the majority of my billable office hours walking on my treadmill. I set up a monitor directly in front, and hooked up an arm with a keyboard and mouse tray to the frame of the treadmill….

I find that 1.5 mph is best speed if I’m typing — slightly faster if I’m just reading. Billing by the mile, not by the hour….

Check out our interview with Aaron, plus a slideshow of treadmill-desk porn, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Life as Treadmill? Not Just a Metaphor
Say Hello to the Treadmill Desk

wall street bull backside.jpgAm Law Daily reports that H. Rodgin Cohen of S&C is making serious money as the markets collapse.

Cohen has been the man in demand by companies struggling to ride out the latest subprime-related rollercoaster roiling the capital markets. His work this past week alone includes advising Lehman Brothers on its limited options prior to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and counseling AIG in its $85 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. The longtime S&C partner was on a roll even before these events unraveled last weekend–Cohen advised Fannie Mae on its seizure by the federal government on September 7.

Does that “H” stand for “hurricane?” We’ll see if Cohen brings rain to associates come bonus time.

We’ve covered a lot of the law firms that are dancing in the ashes of Wall Street. But new winners are emerging everyday. Simpson Thacher advised the AIG board of directors. Millbank, Paul Hastings, Cravath, and Kelley Drye are just some of the firms that are in on the party known as “creditor actions.” And Clifford Chance handled part of Barclay’s acquisition along with Cleary.

Even government lawyers will get in on the fun, now that Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know the difference between New York State and the power of God.

It looks like there is going to be a lot of work floating around this fourth quarter as people try to make their hours.

But it’s not all candy and coke for big firms these days.

Read about the downside after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Meltdown Fees Trickle In, But Do They Trickle Down?”

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgToday is the day that the U.S. Department of Justice emails applicants to set up interviews for the Attorney General’s Honors Program. Each division is sending out its own letter.

If you didn’t receive one of these emails, well, then you probably didn’t attend the Nobody F**** With the Jesus School Of Law:

Congratulations! You have been selected for an interview by the [redacted] for the Attorney General’s Honors Program.

The Department of Justice is issuing separate Email messages, component by component, to the candidates selected for interviews. Please note that your application was referred to all components you designated as employment preferences. If you do not receive a message from any specific component, then you were not selected by that hiring component for an interview.

Once all component notification messages have been issued, we will send a separate Email message providing instructions on how to schedule your interview. Please follow the instructions in the notification Email message and review the Travel Memo posted at

Thank you for your interest in the Department of Justice and good luck in your interview.

We expect this year’s hiring process to be heavily scrutinized. What should an interviewee do as they walk into that charged environment? Wear a McCain button? Waterboard the receptionist? Or maybe go the other way and give her a hug (and then bus her halfway across town to a superior school district)? Either way, be sure to talk about “change” a lot.

We kid the Justice Department because they’re not nearly as scary as the IRS.

But seriously, what should these interviewees do to secure these important positions? Please share helpful advice on ways that I can kill myself how to ace the interview in the comments.

Earlier: The DOJ Honors Program Hiring Scandal: The ‘Harvard Law Avenger’ Strikes Again?

wolverine in the wilderness.jpgMichigan people, I feel your pain. The seven fumble loss to “The School That God Built, Then Abandoned” was terrible. You guys are trying to enjoy these last days of summer before the arctic wind sends you into underground bunkers. And clearly, you can’t lend out a cell phone/ask for your cell phone back without getting dragged into a heated exchange that is mocked by all.

I understand how in that environment petty slights can turn into glorious insults. You demand satisfaction! But you justice seekers might want to turn somewhere other than the University of Michigan’s law school list-serv. The following email was sent by a 1L who has been on campus for approximately 11 minutes and 6 seconds:

Dear Student Body,

Whoever the SLEAZE is who likes taking people’s lunches (in particular, 1/2’s of subway sandwiches bought on one day and saved for the next) from the refrigerator in the student lounge, STOP. In case you aren’t aware, it’s stealing. Perhaps you’re practicing for a career in corporate law, but law school isn’t the place to practice this particular skill. Also, in case you aren’t aware, here are a few reasons not to do this:

1) Stealing lunches erodes collegiality among the student body.

2) Stealing lunches inconveniences the person from whom you steal by forcing them to go get lunch elsewhere, thereby wasting time and resources.

3) Stealing lunches can cause an additional inconvenience with having to buy lunch elsewhere. For most of us, the couple dollar loss isn’t really the issue, but imagine not having your wallet with you on a day when someone has stolen your lunch? You must either do without or seek out somebody to borrow from, both of which are annoying.

If you’re really so poor you can’t afford lunch, the law school will provide you with an emergency loan. If you’re just a sleaze, either take an ethics class or come talk to me.

Well allow me to retort.

1) I once got robbed and to make myself feel better, I called it “sharing” instead of “stealing.”

2) Isn’t forcing someone to get their lunch somewhere other than Subway kind of a good thing?

3) Not having your wallet? The only guys I know that don’t carry around their wallet whenever they leave the house are super rich or homeless. Which one are you?

The rest of the maize and blue electronically punch this guy after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Voracious Wolverine”

skirt above the knee.jpgA few female readers have asked us to direct your attention to this poll at fashion and lifestyle blog Corporette:

How short of a skirt can a professional woman get away with?

According to the votes in so far, “professional women” can get away with skirts that stop just above the knee. Does the same apply to the legal profession? We’ll let you debate in the comments.

Meanwhile, we know that some of you would like every post under the sun to tie into the volcanic meltdown that is Wall Street. According to the “economic skirt theory,” women these days should be in skirts that brush the ground. Per a July article from the New York Times:

Although designers always dismiss the correlation between skirt lengths and financial markets as a fashion historian’s fantasy, the parallels are striking. Hemlines rose to dizzying heights in the financial and social whirl of the roaring 1920s — revealing women’s legs for one of the first times in recorded history. Then came the bear market and bare was out — except for low backs on the floor-length gowns that dropped hemlines just before the 1929 Wall Street crash.

Given the way things are going, maybe they’ll start designing woman’s skirt suits with trains?

Poll: How short is too short for a skirt? [Corporette]

Bulls, Bears and the Bellwether Hemline [New York Times]

law firm merger.jpgNixon Peabody and Thelen continue to make googly eyes at each other. But if Nixon keeps dancing and talking instead of making a move, there might not be any Thelen left to merge with.

As The Recorder reports:

Bingham McCutchen plans to announce on Monday that four D.C. attorneys from Thelen are moving over: Partner Carl Valenstein — recently listed on Thelen’s Web site as a member of the firm’s partnership council — as well as partners Jerome Akman and David Vidal-Cordero, and senior counsel Rebecca Hartley.

I don’t know who any of those people are, but it’s safe to assume that the laws of “subtraction” still apply to Thelen. It’s not like Nixon (or anybody else) is going to merge with the Thelen associates. A book of business is very different from an active Facebook page.

At least Thelen is trying to get the word out that not all of their partners are up for sale:

Two Thelen partners made a point of showing solidarity with their firm Thursday afternoon.

[Michael] Hallerud said that he’s been with Thelen for more than 13 years and has “no interest in going anywhere,” adding that the San Francisco office is “a family place.”

Another partner, [John] Heisse, replied in an e-mail: “As I have told what seems to be every headhunter in the continental U.S., I have no intention of taking my practice to any other firm. If your article has the effect of stopping their calls, then I appreciate your help.”

It’s awesome that Mr. Heisse is in such great demand. But wouldn’t it be nice if he put in a good word for whatever mid-level has been doing his dirty work for the past few years? Something like:

Hey Mr. Recruiter for a firm with much more stable financials. I’m sticking with the date I came with, but you might want to call up Tippy Highflower whose a 6th year in our San Fran office. She’s great and a future star, and based on the bottle of Zoloft I just saw her eating for lunch, I bet she could use some reassurance about her future prospects.

Associates need lifeboats too. Sometimes just knowing that you have one can help you weather the storm.

Merger or No, Gems Remain in Thelen’s Ranks []

Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Nixon Peabody + Thelen = Nixlen Thelpea?

sparks_plus.jpg* The financial crisis has everyone reeling. Here’s a good American solution: sue! [Bloomberg]

* Paul Clement may have to suspend his rubber hose business for now. He and fellow former DOJ-er David Ayres are getting sucked into the Abramoff legal abyss. [Washington Times]

* It’s “the fiercest battle in products liability law today.” SCOTUS will tackle federal pre-emption this fall. [New York Times]

* The National Law Journal has an article on your responses to one of Justin’s recent surveys. Go, you! Unfortunately, the news is depressing. [National Law Journal]

* Attorneys general are not big fans of a new MillerCoors alcoholic energy drink, Sparks Red. Will they go after bartenders who mix Red Bull and vodka next? [Business First of Columbus]

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