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Tomorrow is a very big day for almost 20 California lawyers. From Blogonaut:

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgA federal district court has ordered 14 California lawyers to explain why they should not be sanctioned for their “exceptional misconduct” on behalf of Qualcomm in a lawsuit that the San Diego wireless company lost. All of the lawyers subject to the order were from the Cupertino law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder or the Heller Ehrman law firm’s offices in Menlo Park and San Diego, the San Diego Tribune is reporting.

Five additional lawyers have been drawn into the proceedings since the order was issued, so the fate of 19 attorneys rests on the outcome of an October 12, 2007, 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. Magistrate Barbara Major, the newspaper reports.

We previously wrote about the underlying discovery snafu over here.
Both Heller Ehrman and Day Casebeer have been the subject of gossip recently. Last month, Heller Ehrman was rumored to be carrying out staff layoffs in California (believed to affect up to 90 people). If you know anything about this, please email us.
Update: Oops, sorry, don’t know how we missed this article from The Recorder, reporting on Heller axing 65 administrative staff positions nationwide. No attorneys were laid off.
As for Day Casebeer, rumor had it that they were rescinding offers to incoming associates. But it appears that this was inaccurate, as rumors sometimes are. When we contacted the firm, they had this comment:

We are delighted that eight new associates will join us this Fall and that two have already started work. It’s a record class for us. Far from rescinding any offers, we remain very interested in resumes from others interested in joining our practice.

Especially if you’re experienced in electronic data discovery.
Federal Court Brings Written Charges of “Exceptional Misconduct” Against 14 Lawyers [Blogonaut]
19 lawyers face sanction hearing [San Diego Union-Tribune]
Recovered Emails Bedevil Qualcomm in Court [Wall Street Journal]
Heller Says Slowdown Not Behind Layoffs [The Recorder via Law.com]
Earlier: Benchslap of the Day: The Qualcomm Debacle

Seyfarth Shaw LLP AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgOr maybe it is. From a tipster:

Several offices of Seyfarth Shaw met yesterday and today to discuss the results of the Am-Law Mid-Level Associate Survey, as well as those from an internal survey distributed. [T]he data revealed in these surveys reflected a considerable level of dissatisfaction from associates regarding a variety of areas, and [discussion was held] to cover some of the things the firm is doing to address them (as discussed at the Partners retreat in late September).

When this non-descript “Associates Meeting” was announced last week, most of the associates believed it was to discuss that fact that Seyfarth was finally going to get off ATL’s List of Shame and raise to 160k. However, to our surprise, the whole issue of salaries was completely glanced over. It was merely conveyed that the Compensation Committee was still compiling data regarding recent “market trends in compensation” and would be “meeting” (not necessarily deciding anything) in December.

Seyfarth really continues to amaze….

Okay, so you’re getting below-market pay (except in New York, where associates start at $160K). But look on the bright side — at least your firm makes awesome videos! From an earlier message:

I am not sure how you can get your hands on this, but Seyfarth Shaw did a professional-quality “MTV-Cribs” spoof for the opening of its new Chicago office last fall where Steve Poor (managing partner) walked around in a Hugh Heffner-style smoking jacket showing off the firms new office space. It was clearly a joke (unlike the Nixon Peabody fiasco) and the firm showed it to the new first year associates during first year orientation. However, I would pay money to see that video again….it was hilarious!

If any of you has a copy of said video, or knows how one might be obtained, you know where to reach us.

Jacques Vergès Jacques Verges Terror's Advocate Above the Law blog.jpgWe always get excited about law-related movies. E.g., Michael Clayton; A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar. If you hear of any in the pipeline, please let us know.
Today we’re pleased to present an exclusive clip for the upcoming release by Magnolia Pictures, Terror’s Advocate, which opens in theaters tomorrow. Here’s a brief blurb about this legally-themed film:

TERROR’S ADVOCATE is a controversial documentary that explores the legal practices of the charismatic and devious-until-proven-innocent French lawyer Jacques Vergès. He is best known for defending Carlos the Jackal and members of the Nazi party. In addition, TERROR’S ADVOCATE features the recently arrested former Khmer Rouge Second in Command, Nuon Chea.

“Jaw-dropping and all the more amazing for being true.” A.O. Scott – NY Times

“A riveting drama. This fascinating drama is fresh and epic” – Time Magazine

An Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival.

You can check out the ATL exclusive clip, an interview with this rather charming defender of terrorists, by clicking here. Additional information, including the official trailer, is available at the film’s website.
Terror’s Advocate [film clip]
Terror’s Advocate [official website]
L’Avocat de la terreur [IMDb]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAfter Sullivan & Cromwell announced its new bonus program for senior associates, we received a bunch of messages like this one:

Can you please do a thread to see if other NYC firms have matched or plan to match the S&C recent bonus pool system for senior associates? Seems like there’s been no reaction to this by any other firms.

Does this mean the other firms no longer offer top-of-the-market compensation for senior associates?

We’re not aware of any other New York firms matching the S&C move. But we hear that Skadden is… establishing a committee!
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Else Is Paying Senior Associate Bonuses? Bueller, Bueller…”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgThis firm-wide email was sent out by Skadden Executive Partner Robert C. Sheehan about 15 minutes ago:

From: Robert Sheehan
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:50 AM
To: EVERYONE EUROPE DL; EVERYONE NORTH AMERICA DL; EVERYONE PACIFIC RIM DL
Subject: Another Milestone

MEMORANDUM

October 11, 2007

TO: All Personnel

FROM: Bob Sheehan

RE: Another Milestone

Sometime in the last few days our contingent of attorneys passed the 2,000 mark. This is a remarkable achievement for any firm, but for one established not so very long ago (e.g., I was the 30th attorney here when I arrived in 1969), it is an indicator of astounding success.

Congratulations to all of us, past and present, for helping to make Skadden, Arps the success that we have become. Special thanks go to Messrs. Skadden, Arps and Slate for their decision to form the Firm on April 1, 1948 and for the decision to hire Joe Flom as their first associate later that year.

Two thousand souls, fed into the billable-hours machine that is Skadden. But accredited U.S. law schools graduate over 40,000 students a year, some of whom have souls, so there’s still room for growth.
Onward and upward, SASMF!!!
Update: We’ve just learned that Mr. Sheehan went to our alma mater, Regis High School. Deo et Patriae — et Skadden!

Adam Key Adam M Key Regent Law School Above the Law blog.jpgThe most famous student or graduate of Regent University School of Law, the conservative law school founded by the American televangelist Pat Robertson, is probably the fabulous Monica Goodling. If you’re on Facebook, you can join her fan club here.
But a husky, heavily tattooed freak-show 2L is giving La Goodling a run for her money. From the Virginian-Pilot:

Regent University officials have threatened to discipline a law student for posting on his Facebook page an unflattering photo of Regent President Pat Robertson.

The student, Adam M. Key, defended his action as constitutionally protected free speech in a 14-page legal brief he presented to the dean of the law school.

Regent officials gave Key two choices: publicly apologize for posting the picture and refrain from commenting about the matter in a “public medium,” or write a brief defending the posting. He faces punishment that could include expulsion.

Key, a second-year law student, said he refused to apologize and “be muzzled” by the university, so he composed the document, which includes citations from noted First Amendment cases.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Regent Law School in the News Once Again”

* Politician busted for cheating in marathon. Seriously. [Sports Illustrated] [FN1]
* iPhone sued over exclusivity. [MSNBC]
* Hospital employees suspended for violating HIPAA after Clooney visit. [CNN]
* Suspected killer escapes to St. Martin, so far evades extradition. [CNN]
[FN1] Shameless plug: Speaking of marathons, David is running the New York City marathon next month, to raise funds for cancer research. If you’d be willing to support him with a tax-deductible donation, please click here.

Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgOn Tuesday, we reported on several sightings of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in the vicinity of 13th and F Streets here in Washington, DC. Now we know what he was doing in that part of town:

[F]ormer AGAG has retained George Terwilliger of White & Case to represent him in the investigation surrounding his mismanagement of Justice. White & Case is on 13th between F and G.

So it looks like George Terwilliger, who was considered but passed over for AG, will get to clean up after Alberto after all.
Alberto Gonzales Hires Defense Attorney [AP]
Judge Alberto Gonzales’s Latest Hire [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Alberto Gonzales

Robert Birmingham Professor Robert L Birmingham Above the Law blog.jpg* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]

E Duncan Getchell Jr Fourth Circuit Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s tough being a federal judicial nominee. Your entire legal career is gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and every mistake or misstep is brought to light, no matter how minor.
From the ABA Journal:

A lawyer nominated to a federal appeals court was lead attorney on an $8 million appeal that got tossed because the trial transcript was not filed by the deadline.

E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods asked the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal anyway, but the judges refused, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Getchell’s five-page brief did not explain the reason for the failure, except to say there was a “miscommunication or misunderstanding.”

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about whether trial counsel or appellate counsel (Getchell) should have filed the transcript. From the Virginian-Pilot:

The fact that Getchell’s firm filed the post-trial motions three weeks after the verdict “kind of suggests the baton was passed,” said William S. Geimer, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University Law School who teaches civil procedure.

“It’s definitely the law firm’s responsibility,” Geimer said. “I don’t see any way for the law firm to escape responsibility if it was even partly or jointly responsible for the failure.”

Getchell did not return repeated calls to his office.

The Fourth Circuit has been shorthanded for a while now. And with the nomination of Duncan Getchell, that probably won’t be changing anytime soon.
(Not necessarily because of this procedural snafu, but because Getchell’s two home-state senators — John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D) — don’t seem to be backing his nomination.)
Costly Error Linked to 4th Circuit Nominee [ABA Journal via Blogonaut]
Error in major case tied to federal judge nominee [Virginian-Pilot via How Appealing]
E. Duncan Getchell Jr. bio [McGuire Woods]

Mass Bar logo Massachusetts Bar Exam Above the Law blog.jpgFirst the case of the $54 million pants was dismissed. And now another ridiculous but amusing lawsuit, previously covered here and here, bites the dust.
From a piece by Sheri Qualters for the National Law Journal:

The federal court battle over a Massachusetts bar examination question about homosexual marriage has ended with the court accepting the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case.

On Oct. 9, a Massachusetts federal judge granted Stephen Dunne’s request to dismiss his case against the bar examination testing agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices over a question on the state’s bar exam concerning homosexual marriage.

In a lawsuit filed in June, Dunne claimed he failed the Massachusetts bar examination because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage.

The website Stephen Dunne launched to help fund the case, www.christianlawsuit.com, has been taken down. Will refunds be issued to the people who donated money to the cause — all three of them?
P.S. You can view the court’s fascinating dismissal order here (PDF, via Keeping Up With Jonas).
Plaintiff withdraws complaint over bar exam’s gay-marriage question [National Law Journal]
Stephen Dunne’s Long Legal Nightmare Is Finally Over [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Dunne Wishes He Could Quit His Lawsuit [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Earlier: Fail the Bar, Blame the Gays, Sue for Millions!
Update: Fail the Bar, Blame the Gays, Solicit Donations for Lawsuit!

Philadelphia Philly City of Brother Love Abovethelaw Above the Law website site.jpgIn terms of our associate compensation coverage, we’ve been on a bit of a Philly kick recently. We recently covered the pay raise announcements of Ballard Spahr and Blank Rome.
We’re happy to continue this theme. In response to requests from several ATL readers, here’s a bonus thread dedicated to PHILADELPHIA.
In the comments to this post, please discuss year-end bonuses in the City of Brotherly Love — billable-hour cutoffs, rumors about what they’ll be like, etc. Thanks.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, DC.

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