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Daniel Petrocelli Dan Petrocelli AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s our latest Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day, an alumnus of a Tier 3 school. And he didn’t even get an LLM from NYU!
Name: Daniel Petrocelli
Law School: Southwestern Law School, J.D., 1980
Current Position: Partner, O’Melveny & Myers
Why He’s Our Winner: The reader who nominated Petrocelli says it all:

You should consider featuring Daniel Petrocelli on your non-top-tier success series. This is the same Petrocelli who brought in the civil verdict against O.J. Simpson and represented Jeffrey Skilling. Petrocelli is now pulling in gazillions as a partner at O’Melveny & Myers in L.A.

From whence did he come? Southwestern University Law School. But wait, there’s more. It’s not featured on his bio, but he went to night school!!!

So whether to illustrate the heights to which non-top-tier graduates are capable of reaching, or to show how one doesn’t need to have their parents get them into Yale to succeed, you really should feature him.

Indeed — Dan Petrocelli is a worthy winner. But one caveat: he did graduate first in his class, and served as editor-in-chief of the law review. So his job prospects were considerably better than those in the middle or at the bottom of the class.
Daniel Petrocelli bio [O'Melveny & Myers]
The Inside Story of How O.J. Lost [Time]

Atlanta Georgia GA Hotlanta Big Peach Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.jpgIn our most recent open thread about year-end bonuses, devoted to Texas, there were some requests for an Atlanta post in the comments. But there was also some dissent:

There is no need for an ATL bonus thread because the bonus structure there is so simple. For everyone billing less than 2400 hours, nothing.

For everyone billing more than that, you get to keep your job, a pitiful 5k bonus. And a salary increase of MAYBE that much next year.

Is the bonus outlook for ATLANTA really this grim? We invite the many readers of ATL in ATL to discuss, in the comments. Thanks.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, DC.

Swingers Vince Vaughn AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Justice Kennedy is so money and he doesn’t even know it. [NPR via How Appealing]
* Jury indicates finding against Isiah Thomas in harassment suit; still deliberating on punitives. [New York Times]
* Is it possible to have a “fetus-snatching case” that isn’t bizarre? [CNN]
* Man pleads guilty-but-crazy in Vegas Strip sidewalk driving deaths case. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Cheat to win…till you die… [CNN]

Human Rights Campaign HRC gay rights Above the Law blog.jpgThe Human Rights Campaign has some answers. HRC, which is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, recently released its annual list of Best Places to Work. And law firms were prominently represented:

[T]he Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a report showing that numerous large U.S. law firms are providing important benefits and protections for their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) attorneys and staff. In this year’s report, which is part of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s broader Corporate Equality Index, 30 law firms earned the top rating of 100 percent. 80 law firms earned scores of 80 percent or above.

You can see the list of top firms by clicking here (PDF; scroll down to page 48). Alas, no 100 percent rating for Sullivan & Cromwell, of Charney v. S&C fame — despite their generous gifts of Kiehl’s products at LGBT job fairs.

But our friends at Nixon Peabody earned a perfect score. Will they commission a theme song to celebrate? Like “Everyone Loves Gay People at Nixon Peabody”?

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this post, we linked to (and reprinted info from) this page on the HRC website. But an HRC rep has informed us that the page hasn’t been updated from last year, and still reflects scores from the 2007 report.

HRC Corporate Equality Index — 2008 [Human Rights Campaign (PDF)]

Takeover Charlie Savage Boston Globe Above the Law blog.jpg* Humor for tax lawyers. [TaxProf Blog]
* Additional thoughts on the Judge Samuel Kent case, from Ilya Somin. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Best magistrate judgeship ever? [San Jose Mercury News]
* Charlie Savage, whose book party we recently attended, is on the Colbert Report tonight. [Comedy Central]
* Also on television tonight (opposite the Colbert Report): Jan Crawford Greenburg interviews Justice Clarence Thomas, for Nightline. [ABC News]

Britney Spears Above the Law.JPGYou mean old judge! From the AP:

Britney Spears was ordered Monday to surrender custody of her children to ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon ruled that Federline will take custody of Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, beginning Wednesday “until further order of the court.”

If Judge Gordon took Britney’s VMA performance into account, Britney should move for reconsideration. We agree with Chris Nashawaty: she wasn’t as bad as everyone (predictably) claimed she was.
In Defense of Britney Spears [Entertainment Weekly]
Spears ordered to give kids to Federline [AP]
Britney Spears Has Lost Her Kids []

Hillary Clinton laugh Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton AboveTheLaw blog.jpg* Mandatory retirement for law firm partners: pro or con? Depends on what you dislike more: rigid and economically irrational rules, or funny-smelling old people walking the halls. [Adam Smith, Esq.]
* We’re still investigating those Latham layoff rumors. In the meantime, you can follow Wall Street layoffs over at our big sibling site. [DealBreaker]
* Hillary Clinton: She who laughs loudest, laughs worst? [TalkLeft]
* Blawg Review #128 — coming all the way from Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. [Lex Ferenda via Blawg Review]
Update (5:15 PM): With respect to Latham, a firm spokesperson stated that any layoff rumors are untrue. We’ve checked with a few of our own sources at the firm, and they also expressed no knowledge of any layoffs. If you’ve heard anything to the contrary, please drop us a line.

WilmerHale Wilmer Hale 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGSome time ago, we received this interesting tip, about WilmerHale (in D.C.):

WH continues to go downhill. Why is it that no one ever seems to write or care about this?

I’m an associate and treated fairly well. But the support staff receives brutal treatment. I heard that one of our HR people who almost died of cancer this spring was told that the firm couldn’t accommodate her disability because it didn’t make “good business sense.” She has been here for 13 years, [with] excellent evaluations, and has been fighting for her life. Now she has to fight for her job when her doctor says she still is disabled. She [was] given six weeks by our Chief Human Resources Officer to come back full-time. After one week she was demoted and given no particular reason why.

It won’t be long before they treat the rest of us the same way. By the way, lawyers and staff alike continue to leave in droves. Does anyone care that a Washington institution has crumbled into hubris and greed?

The firm did not respond to our inquiry into this item. If you have more info, feel free to email us.
A little more about WilmerHale, including some happy news, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up With WilmerHale?”

Benjamin Brafman Sean Combs P Diddy Above the Law blog.jpgFollowing in the footsteps of Sullivan & Cromwell partner Eric Krautheimer, today’s Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day also has a law degree from a Tier 4 law school, supplemented by an LLM from NYU. And just like Eric Krautheimer, his tremendously successful career provides support for the proposition that it’s not where you got your legal education, but what you do with it, that counts.
Name: Benjamin Brafman
Law School: Ohio Northern University, J.D., with distinction, 1974
Current Position: Partner, Brafman & Associates, P.C.
Why He’s Our Winner: Brafman is one of New York’s top criminal defense attorneys, with a long list of celebrity clients (including, for a time, Michael Jackson). Our tipster sums it up nicely: “He represented Diddy! He probably met J.Lo! How can you beat that?”
Brafman & Associates, P.C. []
Benjamin Brafman [Wikipedia]
Little Big Man [New York Magazine]

Better Know a Legal Market Above the Law blog.jpgAs we mentioned on Friday, due to the popularity of Non-Top-Tier Law School Week, we’ve extended it to include all of this week. We will continue to explore — and to challenge — the following claim:

Even if times might be great for Biglaw shops and the top-tier grads they hire, it’s hard out here for graduates of non-elite law schools (especially those not at the top of their class).

The thesis was articulated last week in this post, based on this Wall Street Journal article.
This latest post falls on the “challenge” side of the ledger. Several readers have emailed us to point out that, in essence, not all non-top-tier schools are created equal. Geography — i.e., presence in (or proximity to) a strong legal market, especially one without many top law schools to compete with — makes a big difference.
What do we mean by all this? Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Top-Tier Law Schools: Better Know A District Market”

sorting hat Harry Potter Above the Law blog.jpgLaw school can be thought of as a Harry Potter-style “sorting hat” for law students (as Dave Hoffman suggests). Similarly, the recent round of pay raises can be thought of as a sorting hat for law firms.
Nathan Carlile has this excellent article in the current issue of the Legal Times:

Call it a near miss.

Earlier this year, New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett raised starting salaries for first-year associates to $160,000. In the competition to recruit top talent, the tactic was similar to one used by Kenyan marathon runners: a midrace burst to separate elite competitors from the pack of pretenders.

But while Simpson’s bump momentarily opened up a $25,000 gap between top-end New York firms and their Washington counterparts, the pack soon matched the move. Eight months later, starting salaries for first-years at most of the 200 largest firms nationwide remain bunched at $160,000.

More discussion — including rumors of Skadden leading a new round of pay raises in New York City — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “D.C. Pay Raises: Separating the Men from the Boys? (Plus Rumors of Skadden NY Raises)”

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgLast week we honored Judge Samuel B. Kent with our prestigious Judge of the Day award, based on his alleged sexual harassment of a court employee. Now the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council has also recognized Judge Kent. From Texas Lawyer:

The Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [on Friday] issued an order reprimanding and admonishing U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Galveston. The order relates to a complaint of judicial misconduct lodged against the judge on May 21 alleging sexual harassment toward an employee of the federal judicial system.

A former case manager for Kent, Cathy McBroom, confirms she filed a complaint against the judge. She declines further comment. McBroom currently works in the clerk’s office in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

You can access the order here (PDF). But as a tipster notes, “All the juicy stuff will ‘not be disclosed.’ No fun at all.”
Fear not, judicial gossip aficionados. The Houston Chronicle has more details:

Kent is accused of harassing and inappropriately touching his 49-year-old case manager in his chambers in March….

On the day of the incident, other employees saw McBroom crying and visibly upset, according to interviews. A few weeks later, McBroom transferred to another federal court job in Houston. McBroom was so shaken by the encounter, “She (was) a basket case,” an acquaintance said.

McBroom has retained Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who would not comment for now on the particulars of the case.

Not good news for Judge Kent. Hardin is one of Houston’s top trial lawyers.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Additional allegations against Judge Kent, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fifth Circuit Benchslaps the Naughty Judge Kent”

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