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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]

champagne glasses small.jpg

What did you miss if you didn’t peruse last Sunday’s NYT weddings section? The marriage of Theodore Roosevelt V, for starters. Also, a whole lot of gayness! We counted seven same-sex weddings on this week’s list, which we suspect is a an all-time high. (And how sociologically interesting that all seven were men marrying men!) None of this week’s same-sex weddings made it into the finals, but LEWW is delighted to reflect (in a rare moment of seriousness) on how much has changed since August 2002, when the paper announced that it would include same-sex weddings for the first time. Long live love!

Here are this week’s couples:

1. Tania Brief and Andrew Ehrlich

2. Jori Finkel and Michael Lubic

3. Laura Millendorf and Mark Yopp

Click on the link below to read all about these legal lovebirds.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.14: Brief Interlude”

chimp communicates with Elie Mystal.jpg* Monkeys are funny. But chimps on a porsche are just weird. [Tulkinghorn / The Lawyer]

* I do not think that word means what John McCain thinks it means. [Firedoglake; Stephen Bainbridge]

* Are firms suffering from a generational divide? [The Complete Lawyer]

* For those interested, USC has started a Charlie Whitebread Scholarship Fund. And the dean pens a nice tribute. [Gould School Of Law]

cat killer stands trial.jpgJoseph Petcka, who had bit part in Sex And The City and an even less useful role as a New York Mets minor league prospect, has been charged with brutally murdering his girlfriend’s cat. His trial started yesterday.

In her opening statement Assistant District Attorney Leila Kermani said:

The defendant, in a fit of anger and rage, beat a defenseless animal to death. The defendant killed Norman [the cat] simply because he was an angry, jealous and drunken bully.

The defense argued that the cat’s death was a tragic accident:

Petcka’s lawyer, Charles Hochbaum, admitted his client kicked the 8-year-old tabby and “swatted him really hard” after the cat bit him, but he said his client did not mean to kill him.

If this guy wasn’t good enough to pitch on those terrible mid-90s Mets teams, it is shocking that this guy could hit a moving cat with anything. The “accident” defense just might work.

Our friend over at Animal Law Blog argues that both participants are idiots:

I can’t help but note a couple of things. One is that AP is reporting that the pair had only been dating six weeks at the time of Norman’s death. What was this guy thinking? That his girlfriend would abandon all other relationships in her life for someone she had been dating for six weeks?

More importantly, the article also says that when Petchka alleged went into his drunken rage at about 3 a.m., ex-girlfriend Lisa Altobelli left the apartment to protect herself but apparently didn’t think Norman was in danger. What was she thinking? Yes, technically, she shouldn’t have to fear for Norman’s safety, but then again, she shouldn’t have had to fear for her own, either.

I don’t leave my dog alone with me when I am drunk and enraged. But that is mainly because I don’t want her to see me cry.

Have fun in that great animal rescue in the sky, Norman. “Accident” or not, we can only hope that you had some kind of dastardly form of rabies crossed with Ebola that is slowly coursing itself through Petcka’s blood stream as we speak.

Prosecutor: Actor killed cat in jealous rage [MSNBC]

Kudos to one New York City District Attorney’s Office [Animal Law Blog]

Sarah Palin Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hottie.jpgTalis Colberg, Alaska’s Attorney General, has stepped into Sarah Palin’s troopergate issues. He is trying to quash subpoenas sent to state employees as part of the ongoing investigation.

But we’re not sure why. He had been running his own investigation, at Palin’s request, since July. Then Palin authorized Stephen Branchflower to run an independent investigation (you have to love the names on these Alaskans). Messing around with the state legislature’s investigation seems outside the purview of normal attorney general duties.

Talking Points Memo thinks that Colberg is acting for political reasons:

[I]t’s worth stressing a point that might be getting lost in the flurry of moves and counter-moves: Colberg is no independent player in this case. In fact, he’s a Palin appointee, who was personally involved in the effort to pressure Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to terminate Trooper Mike Wooten, and who has already led an investigation into the matter at Palin’s behest.

But does the mere fact that Colberg is a Palin appointee mean that he has turned into partisan prosecutor? In his letter arguing against the subpoenas Colberg wrote:

This is an untenable position for our clients because the governor has so strongly stated that the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity.

What is the proper role of state AG’s when the sled hits the slope? Clearly any move that Colberg makes will be interpreted as partisan by the opposition, but does that mean he should recuse himself? Or is it his responsibility to tangle with the legislature over this investigation?

The bottom line is that whatever happened between Palin and her family and her office, nobody will be satisfied until all the facts are brought to light in an impartial way. But is there anybody left to investigate that isn’t biased one way or the other?

Trooper-Gate’s Attorney-General Problem [TPM]

feamle attorneys make less than men.jpgThe U.S. Census Bureau reports that women in legal occupations earn 51% of what men earn.

That is not a typo.

Some people will no doubt say something like “women are secretaries and men are attorneys,” before clubbing their mates into submission. But according to the report:

[T]he salary gap was the largest among judges, magistrates and other judicial workers, with women earning an estimated $69,500, compared to men’s $108,100, or about 64 percent of their salaries.

Women attorneys earned a median of $93,600, or about 78 percent of men’s median earnings of $120,400.

We briefly mentioned yesterday that female paralegals only earn 93% of what their male counterparts make. Given the proportion of females to males that work as paralegals, that income disparity screams of day-to-day sexism.

These additional numbers may speak to larger systematic problems facing women in the legal profession. Lockstep pay should smooth out gender inequality when it comes to salaries, so long as women are getting promoted and making partner on par with their male counterparts. Clearly, this is not happening.

And the “women get pregnant and have babies while men toil away all the live long day” argument is a poor one. Women who have left the profession to start a family are not artificially dragging down the salary numbers, since they are “out” of the profession. And surely we don’t think that women who take a “survival of the species” time-out and then come back to work should be penalized.

78 cents on the dollar for female attorneys? 51 cents on the dollar for all females in the profession? Those numbers are embarrassing. That is all.

Women in Legal Occupations Earned 51 Percent of Men’s Salaries, Says Study []

recession california associate pay raises.jpgA few days ago, we asked whether going in-house was still a viable option for Biglaw associates. Today we look at whether those who leave can ever come back.

The National Law Journal did a follow-up piece on Bear Stearns attorneys who weren’t able to move over to JP Morgan after the merger. They report (subscription):

Many refugees from Bear Stearns have landed at law firms, including Bingham McCutchen; Venable; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; K&L Gates; and Katten Muchin Rosenman.

“It’s like a port in the storm right now,” said one former Bear Stearns attorney who has landed at a law firm and asked not to be identified.

But as one commenter points out, moving back into Biglaw isn’t easy:

To get back in to BigLaw from most in-house positions is extremely difficult. If you work in a niche, like government contracts or FDA, it improves your chances significantly. However, if you are just a general corporate attorney at a company and are looking to get back in a firm, there’s little shot.

Going back to the firm will likely get even more difficult as additional attorneys from Lehman and Merrill Lynch flood the midlevel market. But we can expect that displaced in-house counsel will try to get back into Biglaw, because in this market, “job security” is the Holy Grail.

Do law firms actually provide a “safer” alternative? After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In-House Counsel: The Prodigal Son Or The Red-Headed Step-Child?”

Eliot Spitzer Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitute prostitution Above the Law blog.jpgThere is so much blame to go around over the AIG debacle that even “Governor John” Eliot Spitzer is getting knocked around.

Remember Attorney General Spitzer orchestrated AIG founder Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s resignation, back in 2005. But since then some of the charges against Greenberg have been dropped, while Greenberg continues to fight other allegations.

Greenberg was but one of many “triumphs” Spitzer notched on his bedpost as Attorney General. His zealous prosecution of wall street corruption catapulted him to fame, higher office, and (we now know) abject hypocrisy.

But as the AP points out, it may be a little too easy –and partisan– to blame Spitzer for AIG’s collapse:

“I think the AIG problems were probably even bigger than Hank Greenberg and Eliot Spitzer,” said Professor James D. Cox of the School of Law at Duke University. “I would hope that something of this scale _ which is mammoth, both the bailout and the problems that led up to it _ are bigger than just politics.”

Columbia Law Professor John Coffee blames AIG’s troubles on AIG owns practices: “Ratings agencies don’t downgrade anyone because Eliot Spitzer doesn’t like them.”

Spitzer didn’t break Wall Street, but his particular path to power should be a warning to future attorneys general. Sticking up for the little guy is all well and good. But you shouldn’t use the office to get nice copy for future campaign ads.

Are you listening Andrew Cuomo? Prosecutors are supposed to tackle “corruption” because it is their job, not because it’s a resume builder for higher office. It’s a rule we think both parties should be able to follow.

Analysis: Some see Spitzer role in AIG’s crisis [Associated Press]

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