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Virginia Tech VA Tech Above the Law blog.jpg* State makes VA Tech families settlement offer to prevent litigation. [CNN]
* Questioning Justice Scalia’s math on innocents in prison. [New York Times]
* New Pakistani PM releases jailed judges. [MSNBC]
* DOJ Antitrust approves XM / Sirius merger. But FCC still needs to weigh in. [New York Times]
* Fox refuses to pay indecency fine, as its litigation against the FCC heads to the Supreme Court. [Washington Post]
* Score 1 for democracy, thanks to the king of Bhutan. [MSNBC]
* Smashing Pumpkins sue Virgin Records for using music in Pepsi commercials. [CNN Money]

Vault Top 25 Law Schools Vault Law School Rankings Above the Law blog.jpgThere are already about a half-dozen major law school ranking schemes out there. So why not create one more?
The folks over at Vault, already famous for their super-influential law firm rankings, have tried their hand at ranking law schools. Not surprisingly, given Vault’s focus on the world of large law firms, even their law-school rankings are Biglaw-centric. From the press release:

Vault solicited employers’ points of view by surveying law firms across the country on which schools produce the best associates. With 58% of law school graduates entering private practice, and no other firm-determined rankings, Vault’s law school rankings fill an important gap with their emphasis on employability.

Nearly 400 hiring partners, associate interviewers and professional recruiting staff rated law schools on a scale from 1-10 based on how well their graduates are prepared to achieve success in the firm environment.

The Vault top 10 law schools, plus links and commentary, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Because the World Needs More Law School Ranking Systems: Say Hello to the Vault Top 25″

Carter Phillips Carter G Phillips Carter Philips Sidley Austin Above the Law blog.jpg* Noted SCOTUS litigator Carter Phillips (right) promises Tony Mauro that he will drop the F-bomb and S-bomb before the Supreme Court. [Legal Times (subscription)]
* Is the California Supreme Court the most influential state supreme court? Or are they just the biggest troublemakers? [Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog ©]
* Congratulations! “U.S. States Lead the World in High Corporate Taxes.” [Tax Foundation via TaxProf Blog]
* How Barack Obama charmed his way into the hearts — and pocketbooks — of leading D.C. lawyers. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Meanwhile, prominent Republican lawyer Doug Kmiec endorses Obama. [Slate: Convictions]
* Law prof Stephen Bainbridge pines for an Apple-designed e-book reader. [Punditry: Professor Bainbridge]
* Move over, Facebook. From Blawg Review #152: “Blawg Review is not just a blog, it’s a clever social networking concept.” [TechnoLawyer]

Kwame Kilpatrick Mayor Kwame M Kilpatrick Above the Law blog.jpgFor some of Lawyers of the Day, things eventually get better. For others, however, they only get worse.
For Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his law-student lov-ah, Christine Beatty, they’ve gotten worse. From the AP:

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a one-time rising star and Detroit’s youngest elected leader, was charged Monday with perjury and other counts after sexually explicit text messages contradicted his sworn denials of an affair with a top aide.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged the popular yet polarizing 37-year-old mayor with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, 37, who also denied under oath that she and Kilpatrick had a romantic relationship in 2002 and 2003, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

The evidence against Mayor Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty is extensive. It’s not just a handful of cryptic text messages that are equally consistent with innocent activity (e.g., “where r u”). Rather, we’re talking about almost 14,000 texts, many of them sexually explicit. mr mayor, u r fckd. ttyl.
Or maybe not? Mayor Kilpatrick does have some top-flight counsel. He’s represented by superstar litigator Dan Webb, a former U.S. Attorney for Chicago with over 100 jury trials under his belt, who now serves as chairman of Winston & Strawn. If anyone can get Kilpatrick out of this mess, it’s Webb.
(But Webb can’t work miracles. He was unsuccessful in defending another prominent politician, former Illinois Governor George Ryan, against various federal corruption charges. Governor Ryan was convicted at trial, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed on appeal.)
Detroit Mayor Charged With Perjury [AP]
Detroit Mayor Charged in Scandal [New York Times]
Earlier: Lawyer and Law Student of the Day: Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty

533590_boy_meets_girl copy.jpgResearchers at the University of Calgary have conducted a sociological study of 670 attorneys working in law firms to measure the impact of having children on work productivity. The researchers spend a good amount of time raving about billable hours, which made measuring productivity a breeze for them. Yay for billable hours!
We do not think it is groundbreaking news that mothers are less productive than non-mothers (measured in terms of billable hours). The results regarding fathers are interesting, though:

The results suggest that mothers with school-aged children are less productive than non-mothers, whereas fathers with preschool-aged children are more productive than non-fathers. While time spent on household and childcare tasks significantly reduces women’s productivity, we find little support for the benefits of family resources or working in a family-friendly firm for women. Rather, fathers seem to benefit more: family resources are positively related to their productivity and family-friendly benefits allow them more time for leisure.

The study finds that family-friendly firm policies are more beneficial for men than for women. We hear the frustrated sighs of women echoing through cyberspace.
This unexpected finding, however, may be a boon for female attorneys without children:

One surprising finding is that childless women may be more productive than women with children and their male colleagues (with or without children).

The moral of the story for law firms: hire more childless women.
Disclaimer: We note that this study was conducted in the Great White North. We still think it’s relevant, though.
Parenthood and productivity: A study of demands, resources and family-friendly firms [ScienceDirect via TaxProf Blog]
The Impact of Children on Lawyer Productivity [Legal Blog Watch]

Sports and the Law 3 Above the Law blog.jpgLast season, Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s all-time home run king, batted .276 with 28 home runs and 75 runs scored. Bonds also reached base 48 percent of the time—the best in all of baseball.
This season, however, Bonds is unemployed. The San Francisco Giants, his former team, prefer to play journeymen outfielders Dave Roberts and Rajai Davis. The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, seem to prefer outfielder Elijah Dukes, who has nearly as many lifetime arrests (6) as Major League home runs (10). Stranger still, the New York Mets claim to be content beginning the season with Ryan Church, Angel Pagan and Endy Chavez playing their corner outfield positions. Last season, the Church/Pagan/Chavez combo had 438 more at bats than Bonds, yet combined for eight fewer home runs, not to mention a lower combined batting average.
Bonds recently told the media that he is “working out” and “training,” in hopes of playing for some team this season. With recent notification that prosecutors must revise their perjury indictment against him, Bonds for the moment is free from any legal conflicts. In addition, Bonds is relatively healthy, not to mention just 65 hits shy of the 3,000 milestone.
So what’s going on here? Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Are Baseball Teams Colluding Against Barry Bonds?”

Bear Stearns BSC Above the Law blog.jpgWith JPMorgan quintupling its offer for Bear Stearns earlier this morning, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, which asked you whether you were afraid the recent Bear Stearns collapse would hurt your career.
Twenty-seven percent of you said yes. New Yorkers were the most concerned, with roughly one third of respondents opining that the Bear Stearns collapse would hurt their careers. A quarter of respondents in Los Angeles and Atlanta and a fifth of respondents in Washington, DC said the same. In Boston and Philadelphia, seventeen percent of respondents were afraid the Bear Stearns event would hurt their careers, while in the Bay Area, the number fell to an unlucky thirteen percent. Respondents in Chicago, Dallas, and Houston were generally unafraid.
Concern was most pronounced among the newest lawyers and those closest to partnership. Twenty-eight percent of respondents in the Class of 2007, and thirty percent of respondents in the Classes of 2000 and 2001 were afraid that the Bear Stearns collapse would hurt their careers. A whopping fifty percent of respondents who graduated before 2000 shared this concern. Law students are also more likely to be frightened, with 43% of law students responding that they were afraid that the Bear Stearns event will hurt their careers.
Additional discussion, including selected comments from survey respondents, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey: A Bears Market?”

As we can see from the comments, you’re already all over this NYT story. We linked to it in Morning Docket, but here’s a little more. Andrew Ross Sorkin writes:

Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz WLRK AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgJPMorgan and Bear were prompted to renegotiate after shareholders began threatening to block the deal and it emerged that several “mistakes” were included in the original, hastily written contract, according to people involved in the talks.

One sentence was “inadvertently included,” according to a person briefed on the talks, which requires JPMorgan to guarantee Bear’s trades even if shareholders voted down the deal. That provision could allow Bear’s shareholders to seek a higher bid while still forcing JPMorgan to honor its guarantee, these people said.

When the error was discovered, James Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, who was described by one participant as “apoplectic,” began calling his lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to seek a way to have the sentence modified, these people said. Finger pointing over the mistakes in the contracts began as bankers blamed the lawyers and vice versa.

We don’t have much to add to Ted Frank’s excellent observations. Here’s an open thread for anti-Wachtell schadenfreude.
(They’re big boys — and they send their clients big bills. So the WLRK folks can take a little snark and ribbing from the ATL commentariat.)
Update (11:40 AM): Actually, did Wachtell make a mistake? If so, what exactly was their error? Over at Dealbreaker, our colleague John Carney wonders: “How do you ‘inadvertently include’ a provision everyone is talking about?” (Gavel bang: commenter.)
How Do You Inadvertently Include A Provision Everyone Is Talking About? [Dealbreaker]
The dangers of doing an M&A agreement over a weekend [Overlawyered]
Did Mistakes in the JPM-Bear Contract Help Lead to Renegotiation? [WSJ Law Blog]
JPMorgan in Negotiations to Raise Bear Stearns Bid [New York Times]

guitar_hero_screenshot.jpgIt sounds like Gibson Guitars is pissed that people prefer Guitar Hero remote controllers to real guitars. Gibson is seeking revenge on the hugely popular video game through official legal channels:

The Guitar Hero series has sold more than 14 million units in North America and raked in more than $1 billion since 2005.

Gibson said the games, in which players use a guitar-shaped controller in time with notes on a television screen, violate a 1999 patent for technology to simulate a musical performance.

Gibson wants the games off store shelves and is suing everyone: game publisher Activision, game developers MTV/Harmonix/Viacom/Electronic Arts, and game retailers Wal-Mart, Target, GameStop, Amazon, Toys ‘R’ Us and Kmart.
This post is a public service announcement. Buy Guitar Hero while you can. Or better yet, buy Rock Band, and invite us to come play with you.
Gibson Guitar sues retailers over ‘Guitar Hero’ game [Marketwatch]
Gibson fires Guitar Hero lawsuit at Wal-Mart, other retailers [Engadget via Crave]
Guitar Hero Lawsuit [The New York Times]

Reposa.jpgSome ATL readers may find our Lawyer of the Day posts frivolous, but there are valuable lessons in each one. Texan lawyer Adam “Bulletproof” Reposa has many lessons to impart.
Lesson one: how not to show one’s displeasure with a judge’s ruling. From the Austin American-Statesman:

Adam Reposa, 33, was held in contempt of court by County-Court-at-Law Judge Jan Breland for his “intentional and contumacious conduct during the court’s review of the plea bargain offer to his client before jury trial.”

Reposa, who could not be reached for comment, “made a simulated masturbatory gesture with his hand while making eye contact with the court in response to an objection by the state to his interference with the court plea bargain inquiry,” Breland wrote in a judgment of criminal contempt of court filed March 11.

While we may understand the desire to use the “jerk-off” gesture with a judge who uses the word “contumacious,” we strongly advise against it.
Lesson two: how not to manage your media relations, as reported by a local broadcaster.

When Reposa’s law office was contacted by phone, the person answering said she was instructed by Reposa to tell the media a vulgarity, which won’t be printed here.

We advise “no comment at this time” as a much more respectable way of saying f**k off.
Lesson three: how not to market your legal services. First, do not register with your state bar as “Bulletproof.” Second, do not make terrible YouTube videos.
While we are tempted to make the “jerk-off” gesture, instead we will end with “no comment at this time.”
Austin attorney put in jail after “obscene gesture” in court [KeyeTV.com]
Defense lawyer held in contempt for lewd gesture at judge [Austin American Statesman]

* Professor Akhil Amar: Obama and Clinton can take turns being president. Say what? [Slate]
* JPMorgan could raise Bear Sterns bid to $10 a share. [New York Times]
* IOC engages in “silent diplomacy” with China on human rights issues. [ESPN]
* Radical hippie mom accidentally released from jail for a few days. [CNN]
* AG Mukasey to argue before SCOTUS tomorrow. [WSJ Law Blog]

Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgDespite the recent turmoil in the economy and the stock market, all appears to be well at Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy. A tipster provided us with the highlights of chairman Mel Immergut’s “State of the Firm” address from last week:

1. Primary caregiver leave is now 18 weeks paid.

2. Blackberries will get replaced every two years instead of three.

3. “We’re not getting fired.”

It appears that Milbank has effectively made a “no layoffs” promise. It learned that lesson the hard way:

Mel stressed that in the last downturn, they had slowed hiring, and then found themselves at a loss for mid-level associates when things picked up later. So the plan is to continue to hire new people (our summer program is the largest to date at 100+) and retain, but not really hire laterals.

Will other firms make a similar pledge? We’ll see.

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