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Sports and the Law 3 Above the Law blog.jpgFor most of the past century, Congress has failed to adequately regulate professional sports. For example, when Major League Baseball (“MLB”) actively monopolized, Congress did nothing (1914-1998). When the National Football League (“NFL”) sought to merge with its main competitor (the American Football League), Congress granted the NFL a special antitrust exemption to do so (1966). And, when sports teams began to use their market power to pressure cities to build new stadiums, Congress even voted down legislation that would have protected the interests of the American taxpayer (1996 & 1999).
This week, however, Congress has shifted from a policy of under-regulating professional sports to a policy of potentially over-regulating them. In the coming week, Capitol Hill will be abuzz with three sports-related investigations: Spygate, Churchgate, and, of course, the MLB Steroids Investigation.
MLB Steroids Investigation:
The main event on Capitol Hill this week involves the ongoing investigation into MLB’s use of performance-enhancing drugs — an issue that Henry Waxman (D-California) and Tom Davis (R-Virginia) first began investigating back in March 2005. This morning, Roger Clemens — the most dominant starting pitcher of his era — will defend himself against accusations made by his former trainer Brian McNamee that he injected Clemens with illegal performance-enhancing drugs during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Earlier this month, New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and former Yankees second baseman/outfielder Chuck Knoblauch were deposed by the House Committee on Government Reform about this same topic. Both Pettitte and Knoblauch’s statements — neither of which have been made public — might be used by the House Committee in today’s questioning of both Clemens and McNamee.
Discussion continues, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Steroids, and Spygate, and Churchgate, Oh My!”

john mccain senator john mccain above the law blog.jpg* Senators Obama and McCain sweep D.C., Maryland, and Virginia primaries; Obama overtakes Clinton in delegate count. [CNN]
* Writers vote to end strike. [New York Times]
* Senate spy bill includes telecom immunity. [Washington Post]
* Sen. Specter, NFL Commish Goodell to discuss Patriots’ “spygate” incident. [ESPN]
* Foreclosure rescue plan coming together. [New York Times]
* When sports law meets civ pro: Clemens defamation lawsuit against McNamee may be moved to federal court. [MLB.com]
* Good news for PPP at Dickstein Shapiro? [WSJ Law Blog]
* How a lawyer survived last week’s shooting rampage in Kirkwood, Missouri. [ABA Journal]
* N.J. U.S. Attorney finds himself on defensive; GAO could investigate award of contract to John Ashcroft. [New York Times]

Gibson Dunn Crutcher LLP GDC gdclaw Above the Law blog.JPGWe have confirmed, with a reliable source at the firm, the rumor that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher now pays a $50,000 clerkship bonus, as of January 1 of this year. We don’t know the firm’s policy for multiple clerkships of years of clerking; if you happen to know, email us, and we’ll update this post with the information once it’s confirmed.
Over the weekend, there was some discussion about a possible slowdown in terms of law firms hiring law clerks. Could sizable clerkship bonuses be contributing to this, by making law clerks more expensive for firms to hire?
Update: Two pieces of additional information. First, the $50,000 bonus is “flat”; it does not increase for multiple clerkships or years of clerking. Second:

I love Gibson Dunn, but don’t be fooled. They just eliminated the bar stipend amount ($15,000), and then tell you that you are getting a $50,000 bonus for clerking. You can get $15,000 in the summer before you start your clerkship (like all of the other new associates) to help pay for the bar, but then your bonus really is only $35,000. So, they didn’t really up their bonus, they just called your bar stipend something different.

Pop Tort legal blog Pop Tarts Above the Law blog.jpg* A new blog committed to civil justice and consumer advocacy issues. Maybe they can start a blog war with Overlawyered.com? [The Pop Tort]
* As it turns out, the plaintiffs’ bar may need all the help it can get these days. They don’t need the feds to show up and indict them; they can self-destruct quite nicely on their own, thank you very much. [National Law Journal]
* apparently john quinn is not the only rich and powerful man with a weakness for lowercase type. meet jerry yang of yahoo. [Securities and Exchange Commission]
* Speaking of SEC-related matters: David vs. Goliath? The SEC takes on the “Terrible 20″ — and their lawyers — in federal court. [New York Post]
* Still in the world of finance. Goldman Sachs perk watch: free sex change surgery? Now that’s what we call a “special bonus.” [DealBook]
* While we’re taking a random walk down Wall Street, check this out: the cover of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as stock market indicator. [DealBreaker]

William and Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgWe love internecine warfare at law schools and in other academic settings. As the old saying goes — our cursory Googling doesn’t immediately generate the exact wording or source, so we’ll paraphrase — fights in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

As Hillary and Barack do battle in Virginia today, so too do administrators at William and Mary. From a tipster at William & Mary School of Law (interesting factoid: it’s one of the oldest law schools in the country):

Today the William and Mary Board of Visitors decided not to renew William and Mary President Gene Nichol’s contract. Nichols sent out a pretty amazing email to all students about his resignation, and Michael Powell, former FCC Chairman and Rector of W&M, sent a response. Needless to say, people are talking of nothing else today.

To make the story even better, the law school dean, Taylor Reveley, is now serving as President of W&M. Nichols is joining the law school staff, where his wife is also a professor.

Check out the messages — Gene Nichol’s defiant departure email, claiming he was ousted due to ideological reasons, and Michael Powell’s steadfast denial that the non-renewal was based on ideology — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Turmoil at William & Mary – Law School Dean Takes Over as President”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgEveryone’s written about this story already; we don’t have much to add. Maybe we’ll write more later if the spirit moves us, but we’re not feeling terribly inspired right now.

In the meantime, check out the numerous links collected below, opine in the comments, and take our poll. We’re curious about what you think of legal hotties contests. We’ve done a few around here, including contests for America’s hottest ERISA lawyer and hottest law school dean, but we haven’t held one in a while. Whether we do more may depend upon the results of this poll.

For those of you who approve of, and never got the chance to vote in, the Skadden “Hottest Female Associate” contest — nominees here, winner here — it has been resurrected over at Gawker. Vote for your favorite SASMF hottie over here.

Not so hot [Skadden Insider]
The votes are in: It’s Mattie [Skadden Insider]
At Law Firm, Please Keep The Lady Objectification To A Low Roar. At Gawker, Go Right Ahead. [Gawker]
Blog Suspends Skadden ‘Hot Associates’ Contest, Says Memo Prompted Decision [ABA Journal]
Skadden Kills Blog’s ‘Hot Associate’ Contest [Legal Pad]
Skadden Blog’s ‘Hot Associate’ Contest Is Put on Ice [American Lawyer]
Skadden red-faced after ‘hottest lawyer’ row [Legal Week]
Skadden Insider: Hot or Not? [WSJ Law Blog]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWhy do so many dubious lawsuits originate here in the D.C. metro area? First we had Judge Roy Pearson’s $54 million lawsuit against his dry cleaners, over a pair of lost pants. And now we get this, via Engadget:

We’ve definitely heard some horror stories about Best Buy, but it looks like a DC woman named Raelyn Campbell has had enough: she’s opening up a big can of America Sauce on the retailer in the form of a $54m lawsuit after it lost her laptop during warranty service….

Campbell says she’s not dropping the case until she finds out what happened to her machine — and she wants ol’ Blue to train its employees on privacy issues and revamp its warranty policy. Honestly? We’d say she has a better chance of getting the $54 million.

Update: For more details, see her blog. Raelyn Campbell is a woman on a mission.
Woman files $54m lawsuit against Best Buy for losing laptop [Engadget]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere’s some recent associate pay raise news from Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (the entity formed by the merger last year of Texas-based Locke Liddell & Sapp and Chicago-based Lord Bissell & Brook):

Attached is a memo from, purportedly, the Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (the new combined firm) management regarding associate salary increases. Despite the fact that it is being issued from the new combined firm, the memo only relates to the Locke Liddell associates and is completely silent as to raises for the Lord Bissell associates. We found this unbelievable, especially considering the new firm’s internal tag line is “One Firm, One Future.”

To put it simply, the LLS side is getting salaries increased across the board, albeit on a deferred comp scale, and the LBB side is getting nothing….

Nothing like dual compensation policies (well, at least one comp policy) for associates at the same (purported) firm!!!! That will surely make already declining morale even better.

Update: This post is the subject of a correction. See here.
Check out the memo for yourself, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell”

Jeremy Pitcock Jeremy S Pitcock Morgan Finnegan Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you may recall the strange tale of Jeremy Pitcock, a successful IP litigator in New York. As we previously reported, he recently left Kasowitz Benson, where he headed the intellectual property practice, for Morgan & Finnegan. That’s par for the course, in this age of increased lateral partner movement. The weird part was that Kasowitz issued a statement, apparently in response to Morgan’s trying to tout Pitcock’s move as a hiring coup, in which Kasowitz said they fired Pitcock for “extremely inappropriate personal conduct.”
The plot thickens. A source informed us that Jeremy Pitcock is no longer at Morgan & Finnegan, which we have confirmed. His bio is no longer on the firm website, which has also been scrubbed of the press release touting his hire. If you try emailing him at his Morgan & Finnegan email address, which is the one provided in his LinkedIn profile, as we did, your message will bounce back to you.
We tried calling Jeremy Pitcock at the Morgan & Finnegan phone number listed in his profile. The nervous-sounding woman who answered the phone told us that he’s no longer with the firm, that she didn’t have forwarding information for him, and that his last day in the office was “last week.”
Did Morgan & Finnegan get rid of Pitcock after investigating the alleged “inappropriate personal conduct”? One source said it would be surprising. First, Pitcock is a superstar IP lawyer. Rumor has it that “when he left Simpson, he had a $6 million book of business, as a 6th or 7th year associate. He decided he wanted to be a partner [immediately, rather than waiting a few years,] and Kasowitz took him up on that.”
Second, some claim Morgan & Finnegan has a reputation for tolerating a certain degree of inappropriate personal conduct. One source tells us that “they aren’t known for being friendly to women — or in some cases, they’re known for being too friendly. There were partners who asked female associates on dates repeatedly and others who referred to female associates as ‘pretty young girls.’ Still others simply refused to work with women.”
We contacted the firm’s spokesperson to inquire about Pitcock’s departure; she wasn’t in, so we left a message. We haven’t heard back from her yet, but if we do, we’ll let you know.
If you have the 411, feel free to email us. Thanks.
Update (2:30 PM): We just heard back from the Morgan & Finnegan spokesperson. She stated that the firm generally does not comment on internal firm matters.
Update (6/6/08): Jeremy Pitcock has filed a $90 million defamation lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson. See here.
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Kasowitz Attributes IP Head’s Departure to ‘Extremely Inappropriate Personal Conduct’

Bingham McCutchen bear baby ad advertisement Above the Law blog.jpgThis blog has posted several entries over the last few months, and even this morning, about law firms updating their parental leave policies. That’s a great trend in the industry, but there’s probably not an associate pirate out there who doesn’t still get at least a call a week from associates who want to go part-time, but just don’t feel comfortable asking their firms.
So today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey explores both the substance and the accessibility of your firm’s policies.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here, here, here, and here for the results.

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

Blank Rome LLP Counselors at Law Above the Law Blog.jpgThis isn’t super-exciting news, since the key point — an increase in starting salaries — was previously announced.
But in case you’re interested, the pay raise (and bonus) memo of Blank Rome — which announced an increase in first-year associate salaries last fall, but said it was still “reviewing the compensation levels for all Associates to make appropriate incremental increases based on class year” — appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise (and Associate Bonus) Watch: Blank Rome”

Lateral Link Laterallink Above the Law blog.jpgCongratulations to our good friends over at Lateral Link, ATL’s career partner. They just got a great write-up in the Wall Street Journal, which identifies them as a Web 3.0 recruiting trendsetter. Reporter Sarah Needleman writes:

What’s so different: Lateral Link generally limits access to its job postings to graduates of top-tier law schools with a minimum of two years of work experience. About 5,000 applicants have been approved to date. Unlike most job sites, Lateral Link’s recruiters get in direct contact with members who apply for the positions it lists. Another distinction: Lateral Link pays a $10,000 bonus to members who land positions at law firms, though not corporations.

“Through our Web-based platform, we’re able to operate much more efficiently than a traditional recruiting firm, and therefore are able to pass along our cost savings to the job hunter,” says T.J. Duane, a principal at Lateral Link, which was founded by three Harvard Law School graduates. The reward is also consistent with the referral bonus that many law firms pay associates, he adds.

You can read the rest of the piece, which also includes testimonials from happy lawyers who landed jobs (and multiple job offers) after working with Lateral Link, by clicking here.
Members Only: LateralLink.com [Wall Street Journal]

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