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Clarence Thomas 2 Justice Clarence Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgEd. notes: First, B. Clerker is unavailable this morning, so we’re doing Morning Docket ourselves. Second, by the time you read this, we’ll be attending this event. But we’ve arranged for previously written posts (like this one) to be published in our absence.
* John Edwards tries to put a noble spin on the financial desperation of his flailing campaign. Stick a fork in him; he’s done. [WP; NYT]
* Jena One released on bail. [AP]
* Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects will be allowed to request lawyers. KSM will use his to sue Teleflex. [WP]
* In Pakistan, the Supreme Court gets involved in elections too. From the gallery: “Go, Musharraf, go!” [AP via WP]
* Set your TiVo, judicial groupies: Justice Thomas will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Thankfully, his interview — in which he’s rumored to call Anita Hill “a nappy-headed ho” — doesn”t conflict with the season premiere of Desperate Housewives. [WSJ Law Blog]

Quinn Emanuel Ivy Ivey recruiting video Above the Law blog.GIFThis morning’s New York Times has a painfully earnest article about law firm recruiting videos. It’s not a particularly juicy piece; they should have called us for comment (’cause we “give good quote”).
But it’s still neat to see Biglaw getting a shout-out in the NYT. Here’s the lede:

Law firms have discovered YouTube.

Well, actually, they have discovered that the law students they are trying to recruit as summer associates watch YouTube, the popular video Web site.

Several firms are trying to parlay that discovery into a hiring tool, creating recruiting videos and Web sites with the look and feel of YouTube. The firms hope to persuade students that their lawyers, and by extension the firms, are young-thinking and hip.

Okay, that didn’t say anything that ATL readers don’t already know. We weren’t surprised to see the byline of crack reporter Karen Donovan, author of that publicist-generated puff piece Pulitzer-worthy profile of Gallion & Spielvogel.
But the article gets a little better as it goes along. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Videos: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid”

LEWW logo.jpgSo LEWW was at a wedding the other weekend, and who should plunk down next to us but a reporter for the NYT Vows section! It was a deeply emotional, humbling experience — like being face-to-face with Gandhi, or Bono — but after we recovered, we waved our ATL press credentials and had a nice chat with the correspondent.
Turns out it was her first Vows column, so we briefed her on the most basic rules of Vows column writing: Make sure you refer to the bride, groom, or both as “honest,” “courageous,” “spirited,” or “down-to-earth,” etc., and definitely include at least one forced simile (“as white as a sun-bleached seashell” is good; “as grounded and unshakable as a redwood” is a two-fer!).
We can’t wait to read about that wedding in this coming weekend’s NYT, but in the meantime, we have two weeks worth of LEWW to catch you up on. Here are our featured couples:

1.) Kate Edmonds and Alex Donner
2.) Denise Delgado and Keith Kerman
3.) Fell Ogden and Charles Gray Jr.
4.) Daisy Wademan and Luc Dowling
5.) Deecy Gray and Douglas Ginsburg
6.) Aielleen Fajardo and Stefan Schick

More about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.16.07 and 9.23.07″

lawyer walks into bar 2 Above the Law blog.jpgOver the past few months, a number of you have written to us about A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar. It’s a critically acclaimed, independent documentary film about lawyers and the legal profession.
The movie made the rounds on the film festival circuit earlier this year, and now it’s out on DVD. Here’s a brief synopsis:

A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar… is a celebration of the law and triumph over adversity that follows 6 future lawyers of all ages and backgrounds as they undertake the rigorous and excruciating California Bar Exam while also dealing thematically with certain hot button issues in our profession. The [themes of the film] include, among other things, stress, big firm economics, substance abuse, law as a calling, frivolous litigation, bar exam economics, women in the law and other threads that you can likely intuit.

These subjects are all near and dear to the hearts of ATL readers. And there’s stuff in the film that ties into this week’s special theme, non-top-tier law school graduates:

The cast members run the gamut, from a former Marine who has taken and failed the California Bar Exam 41 times, to top and middle graduates of the Loyola and UCLA Law Schools, to a Latina activist from East L.A. who attended a non-accredited law school, to other diverse and interesting people.

Sadly, the film was produced before the rise to fame of Loyola 2L. But it features other legal celebrities, such as Alan Dershowitz, Scott Turow, and Nancy Grace — all of whom appear in this short clip:

Some of our favorite films are documentaries — e.g., Spellbound, Capturing the Friedmans — and some of our favorite people are lawyers. We haven’t seen A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar yet, but we intend to; it looks like it’s right up our alley. Exciting stuff!
A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar [official website]
A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar [trailer]
A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar [Amazon]

Gone Fishing Gone Fishin Above the Law blog.jpgOooh boy. What is it about jurists with the surname “Thomas”?
More lurid allegations are being made against Judge Herman Thomas, the Alabama state court judge who allegedly likes to spank male prisoners. From the Mobile Press-Register:

In affidavits filed in support of Michael Dewayne Anderson’s 2003 federal suit against Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas, three men made similar accusations about Thomas.

John Richardson said he saw Thomas “constantly” driving up his block to pick up a neighbor. That neighbor, Richardson said, “told me that as long as he plays the sex game with Judge Thomas, he wouldn’t have to worry about staying in jail.”

Nathaniel Agee said Thomas “inflicted burden and humiliation in my life.”

“Herman and I started off going fishing together, hanging out together. He would even drop by my house early some morning(s), and say he wanted to talk.”

Brokeback Pond? Apparently so:

Thomas increased the visits to his home, Agee said, “but when he found out my children were there, he started to become angry because we couldn’t be alone with each other. I tried to explain to Judge Thomas that it was all right to be friends and hang out, but I’m not into sexual relationships with a man.”

The funny and talented Jolene Roxbury, the ex-paralegal turned comedian and singer, has dedicated another song to Judge Thomas: You Bring the Paddle.
Check it out here. For more about Jolene, see her website. Delightful stuff — thanks, Jolene!
Claims Against Judge Thomas [Mobile Press-Register]
Jolene Roxbury: Certified Verbal Conversationalist
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Judge Herman Thomas (scroll down)

Johnnie Cochran Johnnie L Cochran Jr Loyola Law School Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, so you didn’t graduate (1) from a top-tier law school or (2) at the top of your class from a non-top-tier law school. Please don’t get discouraged, even in the face of depressing news articles.
Before you leave the law to become an electrician, consider this inspirational tale, from an ATL reader:

Finding a job after graduating from a lower tier law school might be harder, but it is certainly possible. A lot of it depends on what type of job you wish to pursue. Knowing I wanted to practice in a law firm who actually tried cases, throughout law school I worked for several small firms and solo practices and gained experience.

The summer studying for the bar I found a part time clerkship with an attorney who practices business litigation. After the bar exam he offered me a position full time. I don’t make anywhere near the big firms in terms of salary. But I make plenty for my first year out, and I get a percentage of our contingent fee cases (which will actually put me a little less than big firm salary if all goes well).

Also, I get great experience. My first week I attended two hearings on motions for summary judgment in court, and a month after I pass the bar (hopefully!) I already have an assignment to participate directly in a trial. The salary is not “equal”, but I feel I am gaining better experience and enjoying my quality of life much more than if I was in a mega firm.

Good stuff — and a reminder that Biglaw isn’t the be all and end all of legal practice.
Also, we have a question about working as a paralegal, from a different reader. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attention Non-Top-Tier Grads: Some Advice, and a Question”

pubic hair coke Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously wrote about the mysterious leave of absence taken by Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Tex.). It now appears that part of the mystery has been revealed. From the Galveston Daily News:

In the months before U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent was temporarily relieved of his duties, an employee of the court filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, sources have told The Daily News. The sources refused to be identified in speaking about a complaint that court officials have ordered to be kept confidential.

A sexual harassment complaint? You know what that means: elevation. Hello, Justice Thomas!
If you have any details about the allegations against Judge Kent, please email us. Thanks.
Sources: Judge took leave after complaint [Galveston Daily News]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Federal Judges Fleeing the Bench?

Martin Lipton Marty Lipton Wachtell Lipton WLRK Above the Law blog.jpgWe should have written about this earlier — in fact, weeks earlier, since it has been up since early August. But sometimes things fall through the cracks, emails get caught in our spam filter, etc. Anyway, better late than never.
From a helpful reader:

check out this blog. it’s sort of a one trick pony, but its good for a laugh and is pretty out there. as a wlrk alum, figured you would get a kick out of it. thanks.

We agree — it’s funny and bizarre. From the inaugural post of The Poison Pill:

This blog is devoted to our hero and idol, corporate law phenom Martin Lipton. Mr. Lipton, name partner in the prestigious and venerable firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, has been practicing law since the mid-1960′s after he graduated from NYU law school, and is considered by most in the industry to be the “dean” of the M&A bar. This legendary advocate is most famous in legal circles for inventing the “poison pill,” a takeover defense now used by virtually all public companies to delay and deter hostile tender offers and other solicited acquisitions.

That’s right, you heard me–not only is Mr. Lipton a skilled and accomplished lawyer, he is an inventor as well. We also hear that he is a marvelous ballroom dancer, but have yet to receive confirmation on this point.

You can read the rest of the post over here.
Could this blog turn into the Biglaw equivalent of the Fake Steve Jobs blog, which developed into a sensation of the business world? Stay tuned.
The Poison Pill

contract attorney temp temporary attorney lawyer work.jpgOur recent post about contract attorney work, part of Non-Top-Tier Law School Week here at ATL, generated almost 200 comments. We’re happy to report that we have more for you on that front.
Here’s a question from a contract attorney reader:

I’ve done some contract attorney work (doc review, ick) in the past and have been offered jobs that pay a flat fee of $35-$45 an hour, but want 60 to 80 hours a week.

The Fair Labor Standards Act seems to say that professionals (attorneys) are only exempt from OT pay when they’re salaried. We contract attorneys, obviously, don’t fall within that category. It also seems to say that it’s illegal for an employer to make an employee waive that right to overtime pay.

Any idea why it is that so many major law firms can hire contract staff for flat rates and make them work overtime without OT pay?

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Contract Attorney Work and Overtime Pay: What’s the Deal With That?”

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFollowing up on our recent coverage of changes to the salary and benefit schemes for federal law clerks, here’s an interesting article from the Daily Business Review:

Federal judges around the country will feel the belt-tightening that has cut into other areas of the judiciary in a rule change that limits their ability to hire permanent, career law clerks, rather than cheaper, fresh from school, term clerks.

The cost-containment move, approved Sept. 18 by the judiciary’s 27-member policy body, the Judicial Conference of the United States, is predicted to save tens of millions of dollars in salary costs over the next decade, according to an internal report by the Committee on Judicial Resources.

Discussion picks up after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Clerk Salaries and Benefits: More Details About Recent Changes”

Chelsea Clinton Osso Bucco Nino Selimaj Above the Law blog.jpgWe met Chelsea Clinton at a wedding once. She wasn’t super-friendly; in fact, she was downright standoffish. She gave off this aloof, “stay away starf**kers” sort of vibe.
Chilly Chelsea couldn’t be more different from her gregarious parents, whom we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Bill and Hillary Clinton are friendly and down-to-earth, despite being far more recognizable than even their famous daughter.
(Yeah, we know, they’re politicians and she’s an ordinary citizen. But that doesn’t means she can’t be nice to people.)
Based on our firsthand experience with Chelsea Clinton — and it was an overseas wedding, so we were actually in her presence for several days — we weren’t that surprised to read this story. From WCBSTV:

A celebrity photo has led a former president to send a threatening letter to a Manhattan restaurant owner.

President Bill Clinton has demanded that the owner of Greenwich Village restaurant Osso Buco remove a picture of his daughter Chelsea that’s been gracing the walls of the family-style Italian eatery, alongside other celebrity photographs.

Owner Nino Selimaj tells CBS 2 that the picture has been up for years and has never posed a problem until now.

What’s the big deal? Such pictures are commonplace in restaurants of a certain type, and they’re all over the place at Osso Buco — placing Chelsea on notice, when she posed for the photo, that it might be hung on the wall.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “(Threatened) Lawsuit of the Day: Chelsea Clinton Sics Dad on Italian Eatery”

Patton Boggs LLP Above the Law blog.jpgWe received this information from a tipster last night, and a firm spokesperson confirmed it for us this morning. Here it is:

Patton Boggs just raised starting salaries to 160,000 for first years for 1950 billable hours. This is a 50 hour bump and a $15,000 bump. They also introduced a new 1800 billable track that is full-time, but paid on a lower scale (obviously).

No memo yet. The full scale closely approximates the Hogan & Hartson scale and caps out at $280,000. Still a 100 hour/year pro bono requirement.

So does anyone know what the DC List of Shame now looks like? Feel free to post it in the comments.
Also, are you aware of any recent pay raise news that we haven’t covered in these pages? If so, please email us. Thanks.

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