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Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession Above the Law blog.jpgAre you concerned about diversity (or the lack thereof) at America’s top law firms? Have you been wishing for a handy resource that would rank the Biglaw shops by their performance on diversity metrics, as well as other measures, such as billable hours and pro bono work?
Well, you’re in luck. Later today, Building a Better Legal Profession will be issuing just such a report. Here’s a blurb for their upcoming press conference:

Over one-third of all large law firms in Manhattan don’t have a single African-American partner. Nearly half of all large law firms in Washington, D.C. don’t have a single Hispanic partner. One firm doesn’t have a single LGBT partner or associate in either office. On October 10, find out who.

Building a Better Legal Profession, a national grassroots coalition of law students, will release its first report on the status of the legal profession. The groundbreaking study compares the largest law firms in each of the top six legal markets (New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Northern California, and Southern California) by various metrics. The report ranks firms by billable hours, pro bono participation, and demographic diversity (percentages of partners and associates who are female, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and LGBT).

On hand at the press conference will be statements of support from Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, and Prof. Deborah Rhode, former chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Media: Please contact Andrew Bruck or Prof. Michele Landis Dauber for more information and sample rankings.

To get a sense of the rankings, click here (PDF), for a report card showing how D.C.’s top law firms stack up on diversity, or here (PDF), for the New York law firm diversity rankings.
The leading firm for diversity in Washington (with an overall grade of B+; almost all the firms earn C’s or worse): Nixon Peabody! Remember, they hired lots of minorities to sing their theme song (mp3).
For those of you here in D.C., consider attending today’s press conference (we’ll be there):

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 — 12:30 p.m.
National Press Club
13th floor, Zenger Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC

Very exciting. Congratulations and thanks to Building a Better Legal Profession!
Law Students Building A Better Legal Profession [official website]
Diversity Report Card: D.C. [PDF]
Report on Big Law Firms [National Press Club]

* Thomas, J., dissenting. [CNN]
* Arbitrator awards Atlanta Falcons $20m Vick bonus. [Yahoo Sports]
* The case of the missing mayor comes before a court. [MSNBC]
* Kiefer Sutherland, tortured into confession for DUI, gets 48 seasons in jail. [MSNBC]
* Michigan Dems and DNC clash as candidates pull out of unsanctioned primary. [CNN]

Boalt Hall UC Berkeley Law School Above the Law blog.jpgAttention, ATL readers — your wit and wisdom are needed. From Cal Law (via Blogonaut):

Boalt Hall School of Law has hired San Francisco brand consulting firm Marshall Strategy Inc. to poll students, faculty, alumni and others in aid of devising a “single brand” name for the school, a Boalt spokeswoman said.

San Francisco Bay Area locals call the school Boalt Hall. But outside of California, that colloquialism often draws blank looks. Thus, what has been dubbed the “identity project”—to come up with a more readily identifiable name for the prestigious law school.

The school officially goes by University of California, Berkeley School of Law, according to spokesperson Susan Gluss. But in its its newsletters, Web pages, and other places, there are “about a dozen different names and iterations.”

Speaking of “a dozen different names,” that’s what we’d like from you. In the comments to this post, please offer suggested new names for Boalt Hall. We’ll pick the ten or twelve we like the most, hold an ATL reader poll, and forward the winning nomination to the Boalt Hall administration, for its consideration.
Our personal nomination: the Marsha Berzon School of Law, named after the distinguished and delicious Ninth Circuit judge (and Boalt Hall alumna). But whether our pick prevails will be up to you, the readership, when we hold the poll. We look forward to receiving and reviewing your nominations.
Josh Keesan Joshua Keesan Berkeley Law School Boalt Hall Above the Law blog.jpgP.S. While we’re talking about Boalt Hall, an ATL shout-out to the talented (and handsome) Josh Keesan, Boalt ’09, who composes and performs clever songs with legal themes. From a tipster:

Forget Nixon Peabody, Boalt has the newest singing sensation. Check it:

This kid is the love child of Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Mayer. Plus, in the aftermath of the Nixon Peabody atrocity, your readers need something to cleanse that awful taste in their mouths/ears.

He’s taken Boalt by storm. The screams of his groupies at the annual public interest auction last year were deafening. So, give the West Coast some love, and post it!

More about Josh Keesan from the WSJ Law Blog. Maybe Boalt Hall could be rennamed the “Josh Keesan School of Law”?
Boalt Hall School of Law Will Change Name by January [Blogonaut]
Boalt Hall Looking at a Name Change [The Recorder via Yahoo News]
Law Blog Rocker of the Day: Boalt Hall’s Josh Keesan [WSJ Law Blog]

Joseph Russoniello Joe Russoniello Cooley Godward Kronish Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgBack in June, we predicted that veteran litigator Joseph Russoniello, of Cooley Godward Kronish in San Francisco, would be nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. Months later, no nominee has been named. As the folks over at Legal Pad noted last month, it’s a bit strange — especially since Ruossoniello’s background check was apparently completed some time ago.
Meanwhile, the office remains in the capable hands of the well-regarded Scott Schools, who will be officially appointed as interim United States Attorney later this week.
But don’t expect Schools to stick around forever. We hear that he’ll be heading over to take a high-level job at Main Justice (possibly in the Deputy Attorney General’s office).
It seems that Schools will be missed in the Northern District. From a source in the N.D. Cal.:

People seem to like him, and he makes an effort to get to know line AUSAs. He shows up at social events, like baby showers and happy hours, which I think is a huge change from former leadership.

If you have any info on these personnel changes, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
Northern District of California Announces Appointment of Scott N Schools as Interim United States Attorney [N.D. Cal.]
Say It Is (or Isn’t) So, Joe [Legal Pad]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: A New U.S. Attorney for San Francisco?
U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello? Not So Fast

necktie 2 sex doorknob Above the Law blog.jpgAn attorney sent this office-wide email to the entire Washington office of Arnold & Porter:

To: [D.C. office of Arnold & Porter]
Subject: Did you leave your tie on my chair?

I know this may sound ridiculous, however, I’m not sure how to handle this unusual situation. I don’t know where it came from, but this morning I found a tie on my chair…

If you left it here and would like it returned, please let me know. My general apologies for this interruption in your day.


Question for sender: Is your office chair all sticky today?

Here’s our latest legal celebrity sighting, for our occasional Eyes of the Law feature:

I’ve seen Alberto Gonzales walking the streets near Metro Center three times in the last month. Today he was walking with a blonde woman who was keeping a comfortable distance and not saying much. She looked like someone I should recognize, but didn’t.

Hmm… Might it have been Monica Goodling?
Or maybe not:

Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgI think the blonde woman may have been his wife? [Ed. note: Our source directed us to the photo at right.]

All three times have been right around the intersection of 13th and F Streets. Today he was walking west on F Street, and the last time I remember he was walking south on 13th Street. He was with someone then too, but it was a man, and so obviously not his wife. Can’t remember the time before that.

Any idea what he’s up to these days? BTW: he looks taller on TV, but then again I guess everyone does.

True; the celebrities we’ve met generally look smaller in real life. But there are some exceptions. E.g., Bill Clinton (who is taller in real life than you’d expect).
Have you seen a famous lawyer or judge out and about lately? If so, please email us. Thanks.
Update: We now think we know what Alberto Gonzales was doing in that part of town. See here.

Ballard Spahr Andrews Ingersoll LLP Above the Law blog.jpgFrom a Philadelphia tipster:

“Since you posted the Blank Rome raise, you might as well post this raise regarding Ballard Spahr as well.”

Ballard Spahr is an Am Law 100 firm. So sure, we’re happy to post their associate pay raise memo.
Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Ballard Spahr Raises”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGOf course it does. Check out this post, with a handy chart, over at Empirical Legal Studies.
Here’s an excerpt from Professor Bill Henderson’s excellent analysis:

The median salary spread for a 1st year associate at a 2 -25 lawyer firm versus a 500+ firm is $77,000. When the reference group is a 51-100 lawyer law firm versus 500+, the differential is still a substantial $55,000 per year. Cumulatively, for all eight years of the associate track, the spread amounts to $631,000 for 2-25 vs. 500+ lawyer firms and $524,000 for 51-100 vs. 500+.

In other words, the bimodal distribution discussed in an earlier post appears to hold fairly steady during the first several years of a young associate’s career. In fact, most 8th year associates at firms smaller than 250 lawyers are making less than a 1st year associate at a 500+ lawyer firm.

This is just the start of a much more detailed post, in which Professor Henderson compares working hours and quality of life at big firms versus small firms. Check out the whole thing over here.
Pay and Workweek Differentials by Law Firm Size [Empirical Legal Studies]

David Otunga Sidley Austin I Love New York Above the Law blog.jpgLaw firms love free publicity. Especially law firms that have been in the news for having to pay $27.5 million to settle age discrimination claims by former partners.
Or maybe not:

David Otunga, a 2006 graduate of Harvard Law School and former associate at Sidley Austin, appeared in the first episode of I Love New York 2 on VH1 last night.

In case you’re not familiar with the show, here’s a synopsis:

“Tiffany “New York” Pollard is jumping back into the dating pool to find the man of her dreams. A fresh crop of twenty men are brought together to compete for her heart and this time the selection process has a twist….some of the chosen contestants vying for New York’s heart have been hand-picked by online users and some have been chosen by Tiffany’s outspoken mother, Sister Patterson.”

Back to our tipster:

[Otunga] was brought in as one of three or four “Mama’s Boys” (potential suitors selected by New York’s mother) and nicknamed “Punk.” He told New York that he was perfect for her, since he was an HLS grad and a lawyer at “one of the top law firms in the world.”

Unfortunately, that law firm — Sidley Austin — didn’t appreciate his appearance on the show, and the firm recently “suggested” to him that it may be in his best interest to pursue his “acting career” instead of his legal career. He’s no longer on the firm’s webpage.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sidley Hates on Old People, Reality TV Stars”

bonsai tree S&C Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgThink of law firm recruiting as a war. America’s top law firms are engaged in a battle to the death, vying for the best young legal minds in the country. And in this war, Sullivan & Cromwell is bringing out the heavy artillery.
Sources report that S&C is sending its offerees… BONSAI TREES!!!
We asked one bonsai tree recipient to speculate on what S&C is trying to say with these gifts:

There’s no message with them (other than a “Compliments of Sullivan & Cromwell” card). Bonsai trees live a long time. Perhaps they want us to grow old with the firm?

Or maybe to “bend over” like a bonsai?
Another theory: “[M]aybe it is a test to see if we can keep them alive by the time the summer rolls around.”
Interesting. Perhaps the firm can give a special prize to the S&C summer associate with the best bonsai tree at the start of the program?
More about S&C’s odd horticultural booty, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sullivan & Cromwell to 190K Bonsai Trees!”

* Oregon teacher sues for right to bring gun to school. [MSNBC]
* Banks scarier than criminals? [Red Tape Chronicles]
* Marion Jones returns gold medals. [ESPN]
* Hillary spars with questioner over interpretation of Senate’s Iran resolution language. [CNN PoliTic]

In case you haven’t noticed, we aren’t publishing today (even though many of you, except for the government workers among you, are probably at work). For more explanation, see this post, over at our big sibling site.
Happy Columbus Day! We’ll see you tomorrow.
Happy Columbus Day! [DealBreaker]

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