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Facebook facestalking face stalking jurors jury.jpg* Does using GPS to track suspects constitute an illegal search and seizure? [Washington Post]
* Lawyers are demanding a criminal investigation into the death of a 34-year-old Hong Kong immigrant. A successful New York computer engineer, he died of cancer after not receiving medical attention while detained for months by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [International Herald Tribune]
* Paris Hilton being sued for not doing enough to promote “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!” Give her a break — she’s busy running a presidential campaign. [Associated Press]
* A former Siegel Fenchel & Peddy associate sues the NY firm for discriminating against her for getting pregnant. [New York Law Journal]
* The Nevada Equal Rights Commission rules that a club discriminated against men by charging women lower rates. [New York Times]
* New legal trend: Facebook-stalking potential jurors. [National Law Journal]

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGIf you’re a regular reader of legal newspapers and blogs, you might get the sense that law firm layoffs are happening everywhere. At the current time, the ATL category tag for Layoffs contains about 90 posts (and counting). It’s a topic that we cover extensively — and many readers still clamor for more.
Here at ATL, a self-styled “legal tabloid,” inducing panic through sensationalism and scaremongering — layoffs! delayed start dates! cold offers! — is part of our job description. But are things really that bad?
With respect to lawyer layoffs, maybe not. Leigh Jones examines the topic in a very interesting article for the National Law Journal (subscription):

A look at the bigger picture shows a profession responding to the economic downturn rather adroitly — at least so far.

Since October, some 338 attorney layoffs have been confirmed and reported by various news organizations at 12 law firms among the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms.

To be sure, unreported terminations could make the layoff totals much higher. But even if stealth layoffs are twice or even three times the reported amount, the number of attorneys ushered to the exits in the last 10 months is relatively small.

More good news — but also some bad news, namely, a list of large law firms that have laid off lawyers — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: The Sky Is Not Falling
(Plus: A list of law firms that have done layoffs.)”

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
It’s puzzling that lawyers have a reputation as a bunch of thieving shysters. After all, we have to prove our character and fitness before joining the profession. Unlike, say, doctors, lawyers’ unique responsibilities demand high moral standards as well as professional skill. Only the pure in heart can be allowed to carry the briefcase.
Yes, 3Ls, for a mere $815 (0r more), expert bureaucrats will judge your moral merit. Along with the occasional white supremacist, state C&F committees weed out sinners great and small. Unpaid parking tickets? They’re on it. Remember that security deposit on your 1999 summer share? They do.
Maybe you didn’t think that a drunken tailgate from sophomore year would come back to haunt you. But we’ve already heard from several C&F veterans about the long-forgotten dramas that stood between them and their legal dreams:

I worked as a paralegal at a small New York firm in between college and law school. After six months, I got sick of picking up sushi and making copies, so I quit. The firm was furious that I was leaving, and they threatened to do whatever it took to keep me out of the bar. Sure enough, three and a half years later, they told California that I was a liar and not to be trusted. California admitted me anyway. Later in my career, I moved to New York. This firm again told the bar that I was a liar and made as much trouble as they could — almost six years after I quit.

I skipped a lot of class in high school and ended up with a bunch of Fs. I graduated from college with honors, then made it to a top-6 law school, with years of work experience along the way. I was 26 when I took the bar. C&F gave me huge problems over my high school academic record. They made me write a long apology and promise never to do it again. For real.

So readers, what vomit blotches stained your bar applications? How did you have to pay penance? Share in the comments or at, and we’ll discuss on Thursday.

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgLast week, we gave you a sneak preview of Vault’s 2009 law firm rankings: the top 50 firms ranked by prestige, and the top 20 firms ranked by quality of life.
Now the complete 2009 rankings are available. In addition to the prestige and “best to work for” rankings, they include the diversity and partner prestige rankings.
You can access all the rankings through this gateway page, or by clicking on the links below. Enjoy!
Top 100 Law Firms: 2009 Rankings (portal page) [Vault]
Top 100 Law Firm Prestige rankings [Vault]
The Best 20 Law Firms to Work For [Vault]
The Best 20 Law Firms for Diversity [Vault]
Partner Prestige Rankings [Vault]
Earlier: ATL Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 2009 Vault Rankings! (Part 1 of 2)
ATL Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 2009 Vault Rankings! (Part 1 of 2)

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
With classes starting soon, another crop of 1Ls will be starting on a journey that has only one sure outcome: the accumulation of useless information devoid of any practical professional relevance.
Once you take away all of the prestige-whoring, grade-inflating shell games that allow top schools to separate you from your future earnings, can’t most law classes be reduced to an Emanuel’s outline and a BarBri lecture?
Which classes were the most irrelevant to the life of a Biglaw associate?

Today I’ll offer my worthlessness rankings on basic classes that most everyone was forced to take. Thursday I’ll open up the field and rank useless classes that ATL readers could have avoided, in a bold “Clarice Starling” attempt to save just one law school lamb from signing up for International Law.
But I’m about more than telling 1Ls that the next three years of their lives are pointless (though, really guys, totally pointless, just saying). I’ll be offering up alternative classes that might not be available at your local registrar, but that every Biglaw associate needs to take before leaving law school’s protective cocoon.
After the jump, see the classes worth sleeping through.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Back to School: What Is The Most Worthless Class You Had to Take?”

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
Next week, Louisiana will become the last state in the union to officially ban cockfighting. The business was already on the decline in Louisiana thanks to new federal laws that make transportation of roosters across state lines for fighting, a felony.
Still, defenders of the “sport” bemoaned the new law. “The culture, the custom of the Cajun people, it’s gone,” said Chris Daughdrill, a cock breeder from Louisiana.
When Oklahoma banned cockfighting, lawmakers there tried to make the sport more humane. Oklahoma State Senator Frank Shurden suggested fighting roosters be fitted with protective vests and boxing gloves. “We want to show the nation that we’re more than trailer parks and a perceived lack of sophistication,” Shurden said at the time.
Good luck with that Oklahoma.
Back in Louisiana, Elizabeth Barras, who has fought champion cocks for years, made an insightful point about the new Louisiana statute. “They’re still going to fight, they’re still going to fight for years to come,” she said. “They’ve still got cockfighting in every state. They just hide it from the law.”
Though we have achieved John Adams’ goal of a government of laws, those laws must still be enforced by men and women. A fact Elizabeth Barras knows all too well.

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]

Reno 911 sack inspection.jpgA man claiming to be a police detective entered a Longmont, Colo. adult store and demanded to see the X-rated videos for free.
The ponytailed man claimed he was an officer in the “age verification unit,” and he had to ensure that the performers in the porn videos weren’t underage.
“It was inventive on his part, I’ll give him that,” said the real police officer investigating the case.
Somehow, the video clerks weren’t convinced by the man’s business card, which had no name on it. Since the scheme didn’t work the first time, the man tried it a second and then a third time…at the same store. Unfortunately, Randal wasn’t there that day, and the clerks called the cops.
The man may drive a red Dodge neon, which explains why he isn’t getting laid.

Carolyn Lamm White Case ABA president.jpg* The new president-elect of the American Bar Association is Carolyn Lamm, of White & Case. [BLT]
* Another example of U.S. exceptionalism: expert witnesses. [The New York Times]
* Endangered Species Act may lose some teeth. [Washington Post]
* Name-brand retailers don’t like the sale of fake goods on eBay. Tiffany is filing an appeal in its case against the online retailer. [BBC News]
* Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Judge will decide whether he committed another bond violation… by visiting his sister. [New York Times]
* More on Texas lawyer Fred Baron’s role in the Edwards sex scandal. [American Lawyer]
* Donald Trumps sues Morrison Cohen for five million dollars. The law firm says he’s just trying to get out of paying his overdue bill. [Contact Music]

stoel.gifA Stoel tipster sent this video to us, along with the message, “My intelligence is officially insulted.”
We are confused as to whether this is a promo for Stoel Rives or for freestyle running. Apparently, if you hire a Stoel attorney, you’re basically hiring James Bond (the Daniel Craig version).

We had three take aways from this:

  • Freestyle running is cool.
  • Professional stuntman Tyson Cecka looks good in a suit.
  • Stoel attorneys run fast to get to empty conference rooms.
  • Parkour Spot sponsored by Stoel Rives LLP Shot with RED ONE, starring Tyson Cecka [YouTube]

    * The Bear Stearns implosion: a permanent employment act for lawyers? [Dealbreaker]
    * Lawsuit of the Day? Even the kickback-receiving Milberg Weiss plaintiffs could establish actual injury. [McGuireWoods (first item)]
    * Could judicial hottie Amy St. Eve (N.D. Ill.) someday warm the bench at SCOTUS? [WSJ Law Blog]
    * “Cox TV President In S&M Divorce Trial.” [Gawker]
    * Blawg Review #172 — with an Olympics theme, appropriately enough. [Ohio Employer's Law Blog via Blawg Review]
    * Old news (from March), but just to close the loop on this story: the lawyer and mother seeking a bone marrow donor has found one, thanks to Rihanna (mentioned as a possible running mate for Paris Hilton). Thanks to all the ATL readers who made efforts to donate. [People]

    Prosk Rose.gifDuring Kash’s brief foray into the world of corporate law at Covington & Burling, she was initially surprised by the party-hard culture at firm events. Once the majority of the partners left one Friday roof-deck happy hour, the event turned distinctly frat party-esque, with patio tables pushed together for rounds of beer pong.
    A tipster sends word of a Proskauer Rose firm event turned Animal House scene. The summer associate class in the Boston office of Proskauer had no problem snagging offers this year — and some Proskauer attorneys were willing to risk their coronary health to bring them on board.
    The full tale, with photographic evidence, is available after the jump. It involves lots of drinking, a lot of beef, and excessive eating — all the hallmarks of the summer associate experience.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Beefy Associates of Proskauer Rose”

    Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier today, the New York outpost of, a British publication, reported on personnel reductions at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The report was of keen interest to us because we’ve been hearing rumors — generally vague and unsubstantiated, but persistent — of “stealth layoffs” at STB.
    The folks over at The Lawyer seem to be hearing similar gossip, some of which appears in their report:

    [Simpson Thacher ] has taken the unusual step of introducing a mid-year performance review for its associates. It is understood that the benchmark for associates to reach in order to keep their jobs is significantly higher than in previous appraisals.

    Market sources have ­suggested that up to 30 associates have been asked to consider their positions as a result of the review. Simpson Thacher chairman Pete Ruegger denied the firm was making credit crunch-related layoffs.

    This report appears to be erroneous, at least in a few respects. We spoke with Simpson partner James D. Cross, co-chair of the firm’s Personnel Committee, who described it as “wildly inaccurate”:

    It’s business as usual here as far as reviews. We have not changed our standards, and we have not changed our process. We’ve always had a midyear review process. I don’t know where someone came up with the number of 30 [affected associates].

    A second STB source echoed Cross’s statement, telling us that “no new mid-year process was introduced.” The firm has long conducted midyear reviews for (1) first-year associates and (2) more senior lawyers who received negative annual reviews. According to this source, “if a more senior lawyer gets a negative annual review, that person will often be slated for a midyear review so that progress can be checked after six months, not just annually, and so that the firm makes sure it is doing all it can in terms of additional training and mentoring.”
    Additional discussion, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Correcting the Record on Simpson Thacher”

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