Latest Stories

funny-pictures-panda-will-let-you-take-the-bamboo.jpgBack in March, we found that 27% of ATL readers — and a third of ATL readers in New York — thought the Bear Stearns collapse would hurt their careers.
With Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy this morning, and Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America, after “a marathon series of meetings at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz,” we can’t help but wonder how billables at Wachtell and Weil and Shearman & Sterling are going to look this month . . . and how everybody else’s are going to look over the next year (especially if other firms, like, say, AIG, go under as well).
As we asked back in March:

But how will it affect you? Will work slow down as investors circle the wagons, or will there be a regulatory response that actually increases the need for lawyers? Will shareholders’ fear of fire sales increase bankruptcy and litigation work?

In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, let’s find out if your thoughts are any different, now that we’ve had a little post-Bear-Stearns experience to inform our expectations.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

spitting.jpgOklahoman attorney Lewis Moon and Oklahoma County public defender David Bedford got a little wild at a Whataburger on Friday. After being arrested for drunkenly driving through the drive-through backwards, the two decided to mix it up with the coppers. From KTUL 8:

Police say Moon spit on an officer and produced a badge and claimed to be a deputy.
He was arrested on complaints of actual physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, impersonating a law officer, resisting arrest and placing bodily fluids on a law officer.
Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Myers says the badge is not official but is a keepsake given to people who support the sheriff’s department.

We started to issue a sad little “awwww” at the idea of someone presenting the cute little keepsake badge and then spitting on the officer… but then we were distracted thinking about “placing bodily fluids on a law officer” existing as its own charge. That’s an embarrassing one to have on your record. As if you spit in your hand and then rubbed it on the officer. It would sound much more respectable if it were “assaulting a law officer with bodily fluids.” But we digress…
The lawyers kept behaving badly after they were taken into the station and it was caught on film. You know things have gone horribly wrong when “Geek Lawyer” is mocking you.
Two Attorneys Arrested In Warr Acres [KTUL 8]
Wasted lawyers behaving badly [GeekLawyer]

AIG Dinallo Spitzer.gifMake no mistake: the future of AIG is in the hands of Eric Dinallo, superintendent of insurance for New York State.
Insurance companies are regulated by many different agencies, but because so many of the companies are incorporated in New York, the state’s superintendent of insurance becomes the de-facto primary regulator. Dinallo led the charge with bailouts of Ambac and MBIA. According to the WSJ Law Blog:

With AIG gasping for air, these days are Dinallo’s Stanley Cup, so to speak. According to the WSJ, Dinallo (Vassar, NYU Law) “took a significant role” in AIG’s survival talks over the weekend.

Dinallo rose to power under former-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s tutelage. But Spitzer’s infamous downfall almost made him a star. As many know, “Client #9″ was exposed after his liaison with Ashlee Alexandra Dupree in room 871 of the Mayflower hotel in Washington.
Spitzer’s traveling companion earlier that day? Eric Dinallo. The two men were in Washington to give testimony on the how downgrading the ratings of insurance agencies would kill the municipal bond market.
It’s pretty clear that Dinallo did not see anything troubling regarding the former governor, and he has steadfastly refused to say anything about the day Spitzer went down. But to be that close to a train wreck and walk away unscathed speaks volumes of Dinallo’s private fortitude and public character.
AIG’s fate is in the hands of a pretty straight shooter.
Working for the Weekend: Lawyering up Merrill/BoA, Lehman, AIG [WSJ Law Blog]

law firm merger.jpgThe dollar is dead anyway, so why would a law firm look to expand it’s American operation? Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is reaching out to Europe by merging with the German firm of Hölters & Elsing.
Evidently, Hölters & Elsing was looking at a number of American partners, but Orrick offered the best deal. According to Orrick CEO Ralph Baxter:

We are strategically expanding our global platform with the addition of one of the last major, independent law firms in continental Europe’s leading economy.

With this move nearly one-third of Orrick’s attorneys will be located outside of the U.S.
Orrick with retain its traditional name in the U.S., but in Germany the firm will be known as Orrick Hölters & Elsing.
Orrick and Hölters & Elsing Agree to Merger [Orrick]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of law firm mergers.

texting hate.gif* While the vultures descend on Lehman, another big company joins the death watch. Insurance giant American International Group is looking to sell off its major assets. [New York Times]
* Does $10 for unlimited monthly text messaging seem high to you? Maybe it will change. An antitrust class action suit has been filed against the big four: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint-Nextel, and T-Mobile. [Courthouse News Service]
* Roy Pearson is still mourning those lost pants. The appeal in the case of the $54 million pants is set for next month. [Legal Times]
* Are price-gouging investigations during hurricanes the new trend among attorneys general? Florida AG Bill McCollum will investigate gas stations’ response to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Ike in Texas. [Bay News 9]
* New York AG Andrew Cuomo is more concerned about the student loan industry. [The Ticker]

Wall St Wall Street investment banking finance financial.jpgIn case you hadn’t heard, Wall Street is in meltdown mode right now. Our colleagues over at Dealbreaker have been working over the weekend and around the clock to cover all the latest developments.
Here are the two big stories from the financial world. First, the top-level parent company of Lehman Brothers, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (But no sleeping in for Lehmanites; they have been informed that they’re still expected to show up to work this morning.)
Second, Merrill Lynch, the investment bank that some feared might be next to go down the Bear Stearns / Lehman Brothers path, has reached a deal to sell itself to Bank of America, for $50 billion.
What do these deals mean for lawyers? Well, at least in the short term, they bring good news: more work. (Over the long term, of course, the news may be less good, as current and potential future clients vanish from the landscape on Wall Street.)
For its bankruptcy, Lehman is turning to Weil Gotshal & Manges, long known for its top-notch bankruptcy practice. From Dealbook:

Weil.gifLehman has hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the law firm that handled Drexel [Burnham Lambert]‘s bankruptcy filing [in 1990]. Harvey Miller, the head of Weil’s restructuring practice, is known as one of the deans of the bankruptcy bar.

In addition, Lehman is trying to sell its more valuable assets, including its broker-dealer and asset-management operations. It appears to be represented in those efforts by Sullivan & Cromwell, according to (subscription).
Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz WLRK AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgMeanwhile, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a powerhouse in financial-institutions M&A, is getting a piece of the action on the Merrill deal. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Merrill / B of A deal was hammered out in “a marathon series of meetings at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the law firm which has long represented Bank of America in its deals.”
Shearman & Sterling logo Above the Law blog.jpgWachtell isn’t lending out their offices for free. As reports, WLRK is indeed representing Bank of America in the transaction (for a fee that will be well into the eight figures — Ed Herlihy doesn’t come cheap). Merrill Lynch is being advised by Shearman & Sterling.
If you’re aware of other winners and losers from these deals, please share what you know, in the comments.
Lehman Announces Bankruptcy Filing For Holding Company [Dealbreaker]
Bank of America Reaches Deal To Buy Merrill Lynch [Dealbreaker]
What a Lehman Bankruptcy Filing Might Look Like [DealBook]
Bank of America to Buy Merrill [Wall Street Journal]

axiom wetsuit guy saves lives.JPGThere is a lot of career angst among Biglaw associates. Especially these days. And legal recruiters often to try to tap into that ennui to convince associates to change firms or lifestyles (and use their services of course).
But we can’t recall a recruiter trying to start an associate revolution. That is pretty much what Axiom tried to do this week. The company launched an ad-campaign specifically targeted at: Shearman and Sterling, Davis Polk, Simpson Thacher, Cravath, Skadden, and Sullivan & Cromwell.
And they did it old-school. They put their company fliers on cars parked outside of the firms offices in both NYC and San Francisco.
The “manifesto,” as Axiom calls it, reads like something out of Jerry McGuire:

We are attorneys who are passionate about practicing law, not billing hours. Attorneys who see time with the family as important as time in the boardroom. Attorneys who solve the legal problems of Fortune 500 companies with the same passion that pushed us through law school to begin with. That’s our axiom. What’s yours?

They even hired the attorney pictured above to walk around New York and San Fran. in a wetsuit carrying a poster-board sign that looks like it was scrawled by Steve Buscemi from Billy Madison.
Did anybody actually see this happening this week?
It’s so close to bonus season, and in this economy we don’t know how many lawyers are willing to jump ship right at the moment. But if you do, remember to take the fish with you.
Full manifesto reprinted after the jump

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Got an Axiom To Grind?”

madden lawsuit.JPG* Now you see this? You see Electronic Arts coming around the corner making their video games, not bothering anybody? Then BOOM, Lucian Bebchuk comes in right here and WHAP knocks EA down with a harassing lawsuit move. [Business Associations Blog]
* See. The police really do hassle people in big cities. [Simple Justice]
* Law Profs? 95%. Biglaw? $22 Million. Never having to say “yes” to public financing? Priceless. [Word of Mouth via Point of Law]
* Yale > The Truth. [Bitter Lawyer]
* … speaking of Yale, at least the Yale Law women get it. [Law Fuel via Ms. JD]
* Go Blue! Screw SCOTUS! [WSJ Law Blog]

champagne glasses small.jpg
For the commenters who yearn to see more “ordinary” couples in the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, we commend this pair to your attention. The groom is a radio personality, and the bride has a JD from Loyola. They seem likable and . . . ordinary. Is this the type of couple our readership craves? Should we devote one slot a week to a Tier-II couple? Designate one column a month as Ordinary Week? Please advise. (This is actually a serious question. LEWW recognizes that we can’t satisfy everyone, but we do aim to please.)
For now, we’ll to continue to celebrate the extraordinary. Our finalist couples have degrees from Harvard, Yale, NYU, Chicago, and other elite schools, some with athletic programs. All three brides toil in Manhattan law firms, and all three grooms serve humanity in important-sounding public-sector jobs. Here they are:

1. Jessica Buturla and Caswell Holloway IV
2. Sarah McDonald and Patrick Egan
3. Johanna Greenbaum and David Newman

More on the couples below, including photos.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.7: No Ordinary Love”

biden smiles like he's up to something.JPGJoe Biden released his tax returns, putting an end to the rumor that he simply talks the IRS through his financial dealings during a 22 hour phone call.
Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog points out a curious oversight during the senator’s 35-year career of changing to become more like a Washington insider (isn’t that the line?):

I wonder, though, if the move might backfire because the returns show that the Bidens have been amazingly tight-fisted when it comes to their charitable giving. Despite income ranging from $210,432 – $321,379 over the ten-year period, the Bidens have given only $120 – $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% – 0.31% of their income:

Caron, like most tax professors, is quite a bit better than I am at analyzing tax returns for logical inconsistencies. But what jumps off the page to me is that over a ten year period Joe Biden has barely been able to bank what senior Biglaw associates pull down.
Isn’t the state of Delaware essentially one giant bank? How is that Biden couldn’t cross the $300K barrier until 2005? And what in God’s name happened to him in 2006, when his AGI went down by almost $73,000?
We all know who I’m in the tank for. But seriously, if anything is going to backfire, doesn’t it have to be that this guy says he can help lead the economy out of a recession yet can’t seem to manage his own house much better than a law school professor?
Maybe I’m reading this the wrong way. Maybe Biden is massively wealthy but also savvy enough to hide most of his earnings from the federal government. But that reading seems like it would also be problematic for a guy who will, you know, raise taxes.
Either way, something is not entirely right with those numbers.
Biden Releases 10 Years of Tax Returns [TaxProf Blog]

Homer Simpson Doh Above the Law AboveTheLaw blog.jpgEarlier this week, we created an open thread for the sharing of on-campus interview screw-ups. We then picked out a few favorite tales from the thread, and asked you to vote for the best (or worst?) of the bunch.
Here are the results:
interview idiocy poll results.jpg
You can read the winning story by clicking here.
Many of you seemed to enjoy the horror stories — and they’re informative, too, providing lessons about behavior to avoid. But don’t put too much weight on them. As one commenter observes:

[The problem with these stories] is that they presume that the stupid act in question was the sole reason the person didn’t get a callback. Not everybody at OCI gets callbacks. Plenty of people who don’t do one stupid thing in an interview don’t get callbacks. I suspect that these stories of stupidity are actually rationalizations for rejection.

See also this comment:

People who think they got rejected because they accidentally dropped a business card on their way out are deluding themselves. They tell themselves these bullshit tales of woe because if you think you got dinged because you dropped a business card, then next time you can tuck it into your portfolio tighter. And then you’ll SURELY get the offer! But the truth – that you are getting rejected because you are a mediocre student at a [mediocre] law school who should have tried to get a job at a mutual fund instead of spending $200,000 to learn about community property – that’s a lot harder to fix.

Loyola 2L, we missed you.
So, readers, what do you think? Are interview bloopers irrelevant because there may be other, less conspicuous reasons for not getting a callback or offer (e.g., you just didn’t stand out)? Or are they irrelevant because the hiring process is so “paper driven,” i.e., all about your transcript, resume, and law school ranking?
Earlier: OCI Bloopers By Students: Selected Stories (and a Poll)
OCI Bloopers By Students: Share Your Horror Stories

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgLoeb & Loeb announced the addition of two new partners to their New York office, Kenneth A. Adler and Steve A. Semerdjian. Both partners are Thelen refugees.
As you may have heard, Thelen is limping. Not Lehman Brothers limping (Dealbreaker has the latest on Lehman’s desperation). But Thelen clearly needs something positive to happen for them.
We’ll get back to piling on in the near future, but as Adler and Semerdjian cruise away in their lifeboat, we’re forced to wonder how much partner defections actually mean to working associates.
Not that Thelen is hiring anybody, but if they were would you avoid Thelen because Adler and Semerdjian left the firm? Conversely, are there people out there who are thinking “I wasn’t going to take that call-back with Loeb, but now that Adler and Semerdjian are there, sign me up baby!”
loeb loeb.gifPartner defections mean a lot to partners. But how much of that rain really trickles down to the associate level? Thelen’s troubles were obvious long before partners started floating away. Somehow we can’t see Loeb associates having a truck party just because profits per partner might go up thanks to the new acquisitions.
We’ll see when the bonuses come out if Loeb’s additions are anything more than Thelen’s subtractions.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Thelen

Page 1402 of 17931...139813991400140114021403140414051406...1793