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863719_spit1.jpgWe don’t know if there are many public defenders regularly reading ATL. For those who do, we salute you for putting up with clients like this one:

Earlier this year, burglary and rape suspect Joshua Beadle got himself into deeper trouble by spitting at the judge.
This week, while shackled and outfitted in a special hooded spit mask, he talked himself into nearly two years in jail after threatening to kill Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee.
“You mark my word, Judge Coffee,” Beadle shouted as he was led from the courtroom to a holding area. “I promise you, Lee Coffee, I’ll kill you and cut your (expletive) head off.”
The incident occurred Monday after a hearing in which his appointed attorney, Greg Carman, had asked to be removed from the case because Beadle had threatened to kill him earlier this month.

Generally, threatening to kill people is not the most effective technique for getting your way. Death threats against judges: not cool and not protected speech (when it comes to federal judges).
The following sequence reminds us of a parent reprimanding a little boy:

When Beadle, 23, continued talking after the judge ordered him to be silent, Coffee threatened to hold him in contempt for every word he uttered.
Beadle ignored the judge’s admonishment, said everyone was treating him as if he were stupid and then began making threats to the judge.
Coffee stopped counting at 70 words and held Beadle in contempt for 10 days per word for a total of 700 days in jail.

Did Beadle consider holding his breath until the court would take him seriously?
At least he’s courteous to court clerks:

In January, Beadle spit toward the judge, but instead hit a court clerk’s computer. Through his nylon-and-mesh spit mask, he apologized to the clerk on Monday and assured her that his intended target was the judge.

Spit mask. Ewww.
Memphis Man Sentenced to 10 Days Per Word for Threatening Judge [The Associated Press via]
At 10-Days-Per-Word, Threatening Defendant Gets 700 Days in Prison [WSJ Law Blog]

Linda Greenhouse 6 New York Times Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe have a strange obsession with Linda Greenhouse, the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. When we spotted her recently at Jennifer 8. Lee’s D.C. book talk for The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, we practically leapt out of our seats in excitement. [FN1]
If you’re a fellow LG groupie, and if you’re at Yale Law School, here’s some good news. As one tipster excitedly chirped to us, “Linda Greenhouse is going to be a Yale Law sort-of-professor!” From the Yale Daily News:

After 30 years covering the Supreme Court for The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winner Linda Greenhouse will take a new post as a journalist-in-residence and senior fellow at Yale Law School starting next January, the Law School announced Wednesday.

Greenhouse, who accepted a buyout from The Times last month, will return to the law school from which she earned a Master of Studies in Law degree in 1978 to conduct her own research and give lectures and seminars, although it is not yet clear whether she will teach a formal course. She will also be involved with the Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic and will help pioneer its new Law and Media Program.

More details in the YLS press release. Surely this can only help Yale maintain its sizable lead over #2 Harvard and Stanford in the U.S. News rankings. (Yale has an overall score of 100, with Harvard and Stanford almost ten points behind, at 91.)
As you may recall, Linda Greenhouse received a cool $300K in her Times buyout. It’s a pittance compared to Biglaw bucks, but a princely sum in the world of journalism.
And now Greenhouse will be supplementing this with a draw on the well-endowed coffers of YLS — we’re guessing low six-figures (for what doesn’t sound like very much work). She’ll probably begin work on another book, too, for which she can expect a good-sized advance. Her last book, Becoming Justice Blackmun, was a national bestseller.
Linda Greenhouse to Linda Greenbacks!
[FN1] The use of “we” is especially appropriate here because Kash and I attended this reading together.
Yale Law School nabs Linda Greenhouse after Times departure [Yale Daily News]
Linda Greenhouse Returning To Yale Law School in 2009 as Journalist-in-Residence [Yale Law School]

assigning partner work assignment Above the Law blog.jpgSo far, almost 1,000 ballots have been cast in this week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on where you’d most want to work, and it’s clear that some firms are trying to win those votes.
Front-runner Latham has announced a “no layoffs” promise, and Ropes & Gray has upped the ante on the cool factor with revelations of card sharking partners. Speaking of cool, let’s not forget that Quinn Emanuel’s firm retreat is in Switzerland. Switzerland.
But while the firms work the vote, how do they work you? Are your assignments handed out by a careful administrator, or overseen by a mentor? Or is there a free market where you choose your own adventure?
Let’s find out, in today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

teacup copy.jpgDisney World is one of those places that’s magical through the eyes of a 5-year-old, but the realization of one of Dante’s circles for adults. The long waits, the overpriced tickets and food, the body odor of foreign tourists, and the fear of being viciously attacked for cutting in line:

Aimee Krause says Victoria Walker accused her of cutting into the line at the Mad Tea Cup ride last year at Disney World, MyFOXOrlando reports.
Walker, an Alabama native, could face 15 years behind bars if convicted of battery with a deadly weapon.
Krause has now filed additional charges claiming her children were also attacked.
“She came from behind just screaming,” Krause told MyFOXOrlando. “Next thing I knew she kicked me in my left leg, threw me to the ground and at that point I was pinned between the teacup and the saucer and she continued to beat up on my body.”
In the incident report, Krause claimed Walker tried to choke her with a lanyard she wore to hold water bottles around her neck, MyFOXOrlando reports.

One more reason not to wear a lanyard leash. We wonder if a lanyard has been defined as a deadly weapon before.
We agree with the Washington Post’s assessment. Attacking a woman and her children is a terrible thing. But we do hate people who cut in line. Maybe Walker will plead temporary insanity, brought on by the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, and whatever crazy drug he had in that hookah.
Woman Charged With ‘Line Rage’ Beating at Disney World [Fox News via Jaunted]
Insta-CoGo: Line Rage at Disney World? [Washington Post]

Clear Channel Communications Inc Above the Law blog.jpg* Clear Channel and private equity firms sue banks they claim are balking on financing their buyout deal; injunctive relief secured. [WSJ Law Blog; AP]
* Lilly settles Zyprexa litigation with Alaska. [New York Times]
* SCOTUS considers pro se rights. [Washington Post]
* Did KPMG “enable” New Century’s collapse? [New York Times]
* Federal indictment: congressmen allegedly traveled to Iraq on Saddam’s dime. [CNN]
* Homeowners protest Bear Sterns bailout. [MSNBC]
* Claim filed by family of woman who died in airport police custody. [CNN]

A few more firms have joined the 18 Week Club. New and improved parental leave policies, from WilmerHale and O’Melveny & Myers, appear after the jump.
We admit we can be a little idiosyncratic in terms of which firms’ announcements we highlight. For more comprehensive information, check out Justin Bernold’s handy-dandy, continually updated tables of maternity leave and paternity leave policies at different firms.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: WilmerHale and O’Melveny & Myers to 18 Weeks”

Emanuel's Outline Civil Procedure Civ Pro Above the Law blog.jpg* Not as coveted as Miley Cyrus tickets, but some people will pay good money for access to a Supreme Court oral argument. Is this kosher? [Rumors Daily]
* Would you take tax advice from Wesley Snipes? If so, drop by “New Tax City” for a free consultation. [News Groper]
* Supreme Court Fantasy League? Sounds like fun to us. Dibs on Nino! [Southern Appeal]
* Kinda contrarian, which may explain why we like it: a defense of commercial outlines, by Professor Dan Markel Eric Johnson. [PrawfsBlawg]
* “All I was going to do was talk. It wasn’t for sex. I am 93, you know.” [Tampa Bay Online]
* High-profile Miami attorney Ben Kuehne, previously discussed here, lashes back against the government. [Daily Business Review]

Jane Willis Jane E Willis Ropes Gray Kate Bosworth Above the Law blog.jpgPicking our Lawyer of the Day was easy. Today the winning hand belongs to Ropes & Gray partner Jane Willis. From the Boston Globe:

Jane Willis was always a standout student. Her reputation as a math whiz was well known at Phillips Exeter and Harvard, where she graduated in 1991 with a lofty recommendation from Lawrence Summers.

But no one suspected how Willis was using those skills, and she wasn’t about to tell. Even as a partner at a high-powered Boston law firm, she has kept her curious back story to herself.

“Sounds weird to say, but it just never came up,” Willis says, sipping a draft beer in a hotel bar not far from her office at One International Place.

She likes beer? Ick. Why not some fine wine or top-shelf liquor? But Jane Willis is not your ordinary Biglaw partner:

She might still be mum if not for 21, the new movie about MIT’s celebrated blackjack team. Willis, it turns out, was a member of the card-counting cadre that beat the casinos and, later, inspired the best-selling book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. In the film, which opens Friday, Kate Bosworth’s character is based on Willis.

How cool is that? We like the casting of Bosworth; there’s definitely a resemblance (see photos; Willis is on the left).
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Jane Willis”

internet ban classroom University of Chicago Law School AboveTheLaw legal blog.jpgWe reported yesterday about the University of Chicago Law School cutting off access to ATL internet in the classroom. A University of Chicago student sent along the e-mail from Dean Saul Levmore explaining the anti-internet policy, and said that we “should absolutely post the full text of Levmore’s asinine email.”
Check it out in its entirety after the jump. Here’s an excerpt:

Few things should be as important to our community as regaining and establishing our common sense that the classroom should be a place for learning and interaction. Visitors to classes, as well as many of our students, report that the rate of distracting Internet usage during class is astounding.

Remarkably, usage appears to be contagious, if not epidemic. Several observers have reported that one student will visit a gossip site or shop for shoes, and within twenty minutes an entire row is shoe shopping. Half the time a student is called on, the question needs to be repeated. I confess that as I have researched this subject, I have been made aware how offensive it often is when phone calls are taken in public and when Blackberry and other e-mail devices are consulted during meetings. I have promised myself that I will no longer check my Blackberry under the table at University meetings.

So tempted to shoe shop… Must finish blog post… We wonder how long Dean Levmore will keep his Blackberry promise. It reminds us of the Seinfeld “master of my domain” episode. How long can he hold out? Anyone want to make a wager? What’s the over / under?
(Poor Dean Levmore, by the way, is also taking flak for Chicago’s drop — just from #6 to #7, but some commenters are apoplectic — in the latest U.S. News law school rankings.)
Results of our poll, plus selected reader comments and the full text of Dean Levmore’s message, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids (and Their Internet) Alone!”

Latham Watkins LLP Above the Law blog.JPGHere’s a round-up of interesting items pertaining to Latham & Watkins, a favorite firm among ATL readers.
1. Latham makes the “no layoffs” pledge. Just like Milbank, Latham has promised that it won’t be laying off lawyers in response to the current economic crisis. From an LW tipster:

Last Wednesday, managing partner Bob Dell gave his State of the Firm address via videoconference. Dell went over the firm’s great financial success for 2007 (firm revenue went up a whopping 23%, far exceeding all other major firms).

He also addressed the challenges ahead for 2008. He specifically addressed the issue of layoffs. He said multiple times that he believed it would be a bad business decision to lay off associates. Latham made that mistake in 1990 and Dell said the layoffs hurt their profitability after the recession was over. Dell said “there will be no layoffs” and that it was not even on the table for discussion.

The firm is definitely slower, but things have picked up a little bit. Firm pace is around 100% [based on 1900 billables] for the first time this year for March. It’s not going to be a banner year like 2007, but I don’t think that it will be a disaster, either. Dell did note that it would be challenging and that “partners would be making a lot less money.” I thought that was a bit of candor that was welcomed (and unexpected).

Dell also stressed that the firm was diversified and well positioned to handle any coming recession, even if it deepens. He also felt that Latham was well positioned to take advantage of the post-recession period as well.

So that’s the good news. Considering how phenomenally well the firm fared last year, the partners can afford to take a hit if necessary to avoid layoffs.
More Latham news, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up at Latham & Watkins?
(Morale – thanks to a ‘no layoffs’ promise.)”

The rich get richer. Movie stars who already earn millions of dollars per picture get showered with freebies, like award show “gift bags” worth thousands of dollars. Similarly, students at top law schools, who already have their pick of $160K job offers, get wined and dined by leading law firms. There IS such a thing as a free lunch, if you go to the right law school.
Of course, the quality of the fare will vary. From a tipster at a top 25 law school (according to the latest U.S. News rankings):

This isn’t that exciting of a tip, but the flyer just kind of freaks me out. What’s up with that graphic?

See you ‘round the taco table!

Taco Lunch Dorsey Whitney Above the Law blog.jpg
We were similarly troubled by these Alpo-stuffed creations, which didn’t strike us as very taco-like. But then we recalled that tacos can be soft as well as hard.
Which got us wondering: What is the difference between a soft taco and a burrito? We found enlightenment here and here.
A Massachusetts judge, as well as ATL readers, previously concluded that a burrito is not a sandwich. But a soft taco, insofar as it is “open” — i.e., with exposed fillings, like a traditional sandwich — may present a closer case.
Burrito vs soft taco? [Yahoo! Answers]
Soft Taco vs. Burrito [VWVortex Forums]
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: Is a Burrito a Sandwich?

golden parachute gold parachute Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve received approximately five hundred responses to last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on whether you expect layoffs at your firm, and how you’re coping.
By and large, you’re a pretty gloomy bunch. Forty-three percent of respondents are afraid that their firm will have layoffs. Among respondents who are Class of 1999 or more senior, this number spiked to 66%. Among law students, 53% of respondents are afraid their firms will have layoffs.
Respondents in the Bay Area, New York and Chicago were the most concerned, with 56%, 48%, and 46%, respectively, fearing layoffs. In contrast, only 19% of respondents in Philadelphia said they were afraid of layoffs at their firms. In other markets, layoff concern ranged from 31% to 38% of responses.
Most respondents thought their law firms would provide at least some support during a layoff:
  * 54% thought their firm would provide a severance package.
  * 53% thought their firm would provide ample notice so they could find a new job.
  * 38% thought their firm would help them move between departments to stay busy.
  * 20% thought their firm would help them relocate to another office.
  * Another 20%, however, were not sure if their firm would help them, and 15% thought their firm simply wouldn’t help them during a layoff.
While most respondents expect some support from their law firms, the most popular response to an anticipated layoff is to simply switch firms:
  * 53% of respondents said that they would talk to headhunters about switching firms or going in-house to protect themselves from a slowdown.
  * 42% would talk to friends at other firms.
Additional survey findings, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey: Layoffs?”

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