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Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpg[Ed. note: Yesterday's guest post about how Barack Obama's tax plan might affect Biglaw associates, authored by Ted Frank, generated a record number of comments on ATL: 564 (and counting). It also generated lots of reaction throughout the blogosphere (links collected below). So we thought we'd invite Ted to do a follow-up.]
Here it is. Ted wrote it in response to the following reader email, which makes many of the arguments that surfaced in the 564+ comments. From an Obama defender:

I’m sorry, but you are losing your credibility by posting this false propaganda on Obama. Look at Obama’s website. It clearly states, “Asked About Raising the Cap, Obama said, ‘You Might Have the Equivalent of a Doughnut Hole’–NOT That He Would Completely Remove the Cap.” Obama “has stated in various venues that ‘his inclination… has been for a ‘donut’ where the uncapping would take place above some threshold income level — probably around $200,000 or $250,000′ his economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said in an email. A donut would protect a certain portion of income (e.g., between $100,000 and $200,000) from the payroll tax and could be phased in over decades.”

In addition, that “$34,000 paycut” in the post title is misleading. Even if all your assumptions were correct (which they weren’t), the after tax pay cut under Obama is < $20,000. I love your site, but please correct this ridiculous false article before you lose all credibility.

And now, without further ado, Ted Frank.
* * * * * * * * * *
First, as I show in the spreadsheet, a $20,000 tax increase is the equivalent of a $34,000 before-tax paycut for a New York City resident, which would have the same after-tax effect. The $34,000 figure is accurate: that’s just math. The Obama tax plan would have the same effect on a NYC fifth-year associate being paid market as a $34,000 paycut.
Obama has never said he will have a doughnut-hole, only that his SS tax could include a doughnut-hole. When Hillary Clinton attacked Obama at the November 15 Nevada debate for wanting to eliminate the cap, Obama didn’t say that the attack was incorrect; he defended the policy because eliminating the cap would only affect what he called the “upper class.” The press has accurately reported that Obama has also proposed eliminating the cap; even Obama’s own website links to a thinktank’s analysis of the benefits of a cap elimination.
It would be really easy for Obama to promise to include a “doughnut-hole” or to not eliminate the SS-tax cap. He certainly hasn’t been afraid to promise drastically expensive programs of new spending or even tax giveaways to large swaths of the population who aren’t paying much tax now.
But when it comes to Social Security, Obama is suddenly vague; when he does discuss details, it is to cite examples (e.g., Warren Buffett) that could not be accomplished without eliminating the cap entirely. And the only reason a politician acts that way is because he supports the more drastic, politically unpopular plan, but doesn’t want to get tagged with it before the election, and will say after the election “I only said I would ‘consider’ a doughnut-hole.”
How Barack Obama’s Tax Plan Will Affect You [Microsoft Excel file]
Additional discussion and links, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NY to… 147K? More About Barack Obama’s Tax Plan
(Or: Time to make the donuts?)”

Here’s a photo of lawyers affected by the south Florida blackout, from the Miami Herald:
Greenberg Traurig lawyers blackout Miami Above the Law Blog.jpg
Here’s the actual caption:

Lawyers, from the left, Alan Lash, Justin Fienberg, and Alex Mendez, not lawyer, working on a project at Greenberg Traurig, on 27th floor of 1221 Brickell, went to lunch and found the building out of power.

ATL readers, we think you can do better. We welcome your suggested alternative captions, in the comments. Assuming sufficient response, we’ll take our favorites, incorporate them into a poll, and hold a caption contest. Thanks.
Update (2/29/08, 10 AM): New entries for the caption contest are no longer being accepted. We are reviewing the current submissions and will post a poll next week. Thanks.
Update (3/3/08): You can vote on the nominees over here.

  • 27 Feb 2008 at 3:05 PM
  • Uncategorized

Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Foley & Lardner

Foley Lardner LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgThis latest bit of associate pay raise news is not particularly new. It was conveyed last week, via hard copy letter (in envelopes marked “professional and confidential”).
But we never met a pay raise announcement we didn’t like, so we’ll pass it along. Foley & Lardner — which, by the way, recently announced its new partnership class — has raised the salaries of its non-IP associates in the Milwaukee, Miami, and Detroit offices.
Numbers and tables, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Foley & Lardner”

NALP rules guidelines law firm hiring Above the Law blog.jpgFrom an anxious first-year law student:

I saw this piece on Tax Prof Blog and thought your readers might have some interesting thoughts. NALP has decided next fall the 2Ls only get 45 days to hold an offer for a summer position. See here.

I have a job at a firm this summer that is part of NALP that I am happy about as a 1L but I definitely want to go through OCI. If I leave my job this year at the end of July, the firm will likely notify me by August 15th that I have an offer for the next summer. It would then expire by September 30th!

It seems possible that I could be in the middle of call-backs with other firms and have to decide whether to take a chance on getting a better offer or not. Yikes!

And what about firms that don’t do OCI at my school? I doubt that they will go through submitted resumes, conduct interviews and make offers by then.

So, ATL readers — any advice for our nervous 1L? Or any views on whether this rule change is a good or bad idea?
Update / Correction: According to the analysis of this commenter, the scenario outlined above would not come to pass. We’ve reviewed the NALP rules, which can be accessed in full over here, and we agree with the commenter. See Part V, Section C: “Employers offering positions for the following summer to candidates previously employed by them should leave those offers open until at least November 15.”
2Ls Now Must Respond to Summer Job Offers Within 45 Days [TaxProf Blog]
Full Text of NALP Principles & Standards [NALP]

bar exam studying for bar exam Above the Law.jpgWe didn’t notice this, until a tipster just mentioned it to us: today is the February MBE day. So, to everyone taking the multistate bar examination right now, good luck!
From the same source:

I thought an open thread about the weirdest bar preparation might be entertaining. I immediately thought of you when I was told that the husband of an acquaintance, taking the bar for his second time, decided to “manage” his bathroom breaks by first doing a purge diet the week prior to the bar, and then taking Immodium each day during the exam.

Sorry for the crudeness, but I found this funny, as well as a bit extreme.

No worries. We have a reasonably high tolerance for crassness in these pages.
We also like this suggested topic of bar prep. The February administration of the bar exam is often more difficult to study for than the July administration, since those who sit for the bar in February are more likely to have to juggle their studies with other commitments (e.g., a day job). July exam takers, in contrast, are usually recent law school graduates who have taken the summer off to prepare full-time for the big test.
If you have any good stories about how you prepped for the bar, feel free to share them in the comments.
National Conference of Bar Examiners: MBE [official website]

West End Avenue 890 West End Avenue Above the Law blog.jpgSo how much did Aaron Charney get in his settlement from Sullivan & Cromwell? There has been lots of speculation, but little evidence.
Here’s one fact suggesting that he did pretty well: Aaron Charney just bought a $1.5 million Manhattan condo. As reported by Max Abelson in the New York Observer:

A deed filed in city records suggests that the Sullivan settlement wasn’t minor: Mr. Charney and a partner just paid $1.495 million for a penthouse at the newly converted condo at 93rd Street and Broadway.

According to the floor plan, they’ll have two bedrooms, a 17-foot-long living/dining room and an L-shaped terrace that stretches 50 feet on each wing….

The 987-square-foot terrace, nearly as big as the interior space, is edged by high walls, which means there’s privacy instead of views. “I would consider it extremely private, with an opportunity to take your inside living outdoors,” the broker said.

Sounds fabulous — although quite different from his former home. Charney’s new abode is in a prewar building (pictured), as opposed to the ultra-modern Orion, where he used to live. And it’s in a more staid neighborhood: the Upper West Side, as opposed to the hip and gentrifying Hell’s Kitchen.
But at $1.5 million, Charney’s new home is 50 percent more expensive than his old one, which he sold last year for a little under a million ($150K more than what he paid). So Charney is definitely movin’ on up.
More discussion, including speculation about Aaron Charney’s finances and romances, after the jump.
Update: Since this post was originally published, we’ve appended multiple updates, which appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: New Million-Dollar Digs for Aaron Charney
(And a new boyfriend, too?)”

friends with benefits Above the Law blog.jpgWe received 826 responses to last Thursday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, which asked you what kind of benefits, leave or part-time policies you would most like your employers to offer.
Both men and women found a reduced-hours track with lower compensation a particularly appealing policy, with roughly a third of male respondents and a quarter of female respondents ranking it their top choice.
However, roughly the same number of female respondents ranked on-site childcare as their top choice, and almost twelve percent of male respondents agreed.
A telecommuting option was also appealing, with more than a quarter of male respondents ranking it as a first choice, and a fifth ranking it #2. Fewer women, 14.4%, ranked a telecommuting policy as the most appealing option a firm could provide, but roughly seventeen to eighteen percent of female respondents ranked telecommuting as their second, third, or fourth choice.
Less than ten percent of men and only 15.7% of women ranked a flex-time policy as their top choice, but it was actually the most popular second choice for respondents of each gender.
Both men and women also generally preferred the idea of a two-year part-time track, treated as one year for seniority purposes, to either longer parental leave or a six-month part-time option.
See charts of responses by both genders, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey: Firms With Benefits”

All About Eve 2 Linda Greenhouse Jan Crawford Greenburg Jan Greenburg Jan Greenberg Jan Crawford Greenberg Above the Law.JPGWe have previously compared Linda Greenhouse, the veteran Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times, to Margo Channing, the great but aging diva of All About Eve. The comparison continues to hold.
Just as Margo Channing eventually leaves the thea-tuh, so too does Linda Greenhouse leave the SCOTUS. Ed Whelan, the former Scalia clerk with lots of Court connections, has this report over at Bench Memos:

According to a well-placed Supreme Court source, New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse is telling folks at the Court that she has accepted a Times buyout package and will be ending her coverage of the Court at the end of the current term.

So that’s the word on One First Street. We have reached out to Linda Greenhouse for comment and will let you know if and when we hear back from her.
If this is true — and we have no reason to doubt it, since it comes from the well-connected Whelan — then Jan Crawford Greenburg is one step closer to being Queen Bee of the Supreme Court press corps. Nina Totenberg, watch your back!
Update: More from Ed Whelan at NRO Online: “On the same day that we learn of Linda Greenhouse’s imminent departure from the New York Times, Greenhouse provides further evidence of her bias….”
Greenhouse’s Departure [Bench Memos / National Review Online]
Re: Breyer’s and Souter’s Drift to the Right? [Bench Memos / National Review Online]
Earlier: All About… Jan?

LEWW logo.jpgWe’re back with another installment of the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, where we weigh the relative prestige and fabulosity of the newlywed lawyers who are brave enough to splash their happy news across the pages of the New York Times.
Here are the latest LEWW hopefuls:

1.) Mindy Jaffe and Per Chilstrom
2.) Jennifer Abrams and David Stier
3.) Christine Pelosi and Peter Kaufman

More about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 2.11 and 2.17: Spellbound”

* EU fines Microsoft $1.3B. [New York Times]
* Sinking Eskimo village sues energy companies for global warming. [CNN]
* Polygamist Jeffs charged in Arizona. [MSNBC]
* Mayor recalled over MySpace picture and golf course management. [CNN Video]
* Law Blog chats with “NCAA defender to the stars.” [WSJ Law Blog]

Keith Rubinstein Keith G Rubinstein Above the Law blog.jpgA struggling personal injury lawyer was disbarred last month, for splitting fees with non-lawyers, aiding the unauthorized practice of law, and other offenses. Sounds pretty unexciting, right?
But Keith Rubinstein is no ordinary PI lawyer; don’t cry for him, Argentina. Last year, he beat out Evita — i.e., Madonna, the Material Girl herself — in a bidding war for a $35 million townhouse on the Upper East Side. For more about Rubinstein, see this interesting article, by Anthony Lin in the New York Law Journal.
Rubinstein is used to swanky digs. He previously lived in a West Village townhouse that Will Smith rented for $60,000 a month during the filming of “Hitch.”
Speaking of lawyerly landlords, Charles T. Munger, a founder of Munger, Tolles & Olson, has been in the news lately for real estate reasons. Munger owns the building that houses the popular Dutton’s bookstore in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Dutton’s is closing its doors in April, in part due to rising rents.
But don’t blame the bookstore’s fate on Charlie Munger. From the Los Angeles Times:

Charles T Munger Charles Munger Charlie Munger AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe property [housing Dutton's] is owned by billionaire investor Charles T. Munger and his wife, Nancy. A founder of the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, he partnered in 1978 with Warren E. Buffett to run Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a holding company.

Munger was in Washington on Monday and could not be reached. He said in a statement that he would allow Dutton’s to use the space rent-free during the liquidation and that he would cover the $550,000 debt in exchange for the store’s closing. Dutton described the offer as “very gracious and generous.” As part of the deal, Munger said, Dutton would retain the Dutton’s trade name.

With a net worth of $2 billion, Munger can afford to be “very gracious and generous.” Anyone know how bonuses were at Munger this year?
Of course, Keith Rubinstein and Charlie Munger made their fortunes outside the law — through real estate and investing (Berkshire Hathaway), respectively. The moral of the story may be: if you want really big bucks, look beyond the law.
Lawyer Disbarred For Splitting Fees, Other Misconduct [New York Law Journal]
Dutton’s shelf life finally runs out [Los Angeles Times]

* Law school applicants: they got they mind on they money, money on they mind. NY to 190! [TaxProf Blog]
* And can you blame them? Even if 2008 is looking grim, 2007 was another great year for Biglaw. Record PPP, yeah you know me. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
* How much “faculty deadwood” does your law school or alma mater have? Answers are on the way. [Green Bag / SSRN via Inside Higher Ed via PrawfsBlawg]
* “Pay no attention to that lesbian behind the curtain!” [Huffington Post]

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