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Pillsbury Dough Boy 2 Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Above the Law.jpg[Ed. note: Apologies for the radio silence for much of today. Alas, we've been experiencing some rather severe technical difficulties, in connection with the site redesign and relaunch. The next few days (and perhaps weeks) may be a little bumpy around here; please bear with us. Thanks for your patience.]
Here are two pieces of information that we’ve heard about Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman:

1. For incoming first-year associates, their start dates, originally set for early October 2008, are being pushed back. These new associates could start as late as January 2009. The delay is due to “a serious slowdown in business.”

2. For 2008 summer associates, the summer program has been reduced from 12 weeks to 10 weeks. Summer associates will not be allowed to work more than 10 weeks, even if they want to.

With respect to the first tip, concerning incoming full-time associates, we’ve heard it with respect to the Los Angeles office specifically. With respect to the second tip, concerning summer associates, we believe it to be a firmwide policy.
We contacted PWSP for confirmation and comment, earlier this week and again today. A firm spokesperson confirmed receipt of our inquiries but had no comment (as of the time of this posting; if we hear from her, we’ll update this post).
More details, plus reactions from some of our tipsters, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Endless Summer? Not at Pillsbury
(And start dates possibly pushed back for first-years, too.)”

Jason_Coates.jpgSunday’s Washington Post magazine has a narrative by journalist Mike Wise that features his love of his dog, a brush with icy death, and Jason Coates, a George Washington University 1L, who saved him from that death. The timeliness of this post is questionable as the heroic feat dates back to January and the GW Hatchet reported on it in February (in an article that we linked to in passing). But if the Washington Post deems it timely, so do we.
Wise was out jogging on a winter night late in January and managed to fall through the ice on the Potomac River. He had been submerged for over three minutes with hypothermia setting in when Coates appeared.
Read the exciting and dramatic narrative, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student of a few Months Back the Day: Jason Coates”

LA Superior Court.jpgForbes caters to the business elite, so the latter title for this post is probably the most appropriate one. But ATL readers could wind up on either side of one of these suits, so read with whichever lens you prefer.
The article talks about some of the worst courts for certain types of defendants to land in. Los Angeles is knocked because “California allows disabled persons to recover monetary damages for ADA violations.” Here are some of the other named districts:

“There is a high degree of stability in what most people think are the most problematic places to get sued,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Rule of Lawyers. “If you put pins on a map for the top 50 most outrageous verdicts, bizarre run-away juries and so forth, you would find this belt around the Gulf Coast that runs from southern Texas across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. These are also some of the places people consider the worst places to get sued.”

Hmmm. These are also some of the states from which we get our most interesting stories. Florida seems to have the weirdest news stories by far, such as the recent Cheerleader group beating. What’s in the water down there?

Forbes.com asked the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), which surveys hundreds of defense attorneys and corporate executives every year for its report on litigation abuse on “Judicial Hellholes,” to list the places identified by the largest number of survey respondents as the worst possible places to be a defendant in particular types of lawsuits. The list they produced has a surprise or two for nearly everyone.
Hit with a personal-injury lawsuit? Better hope it’s not in Starr County, Texas. Class actions? Hopefully you won’t find out why John Grisham sets so many legal thrillers in Mississippi. Construction suits? Building’s not the only thing booming in Clark County, Nev. And journalists hoping to avoid libel suits may wish to avoid courts in Philadelphia, according to ATRA’s report for Forbes.

Consider yourself advised or warned. Depending on your lens.
Also, ATL will no longer report news out of Pennsylvania.
The Worst Places To Get Sued In America [Forbes via Overlawyered]

  • 09 Apr 2008 at 9:15 AM

Morning Docket: 04.09.08

Facebook logo MySpace Friendster Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Feuding Harvard students near settlement over Facebook founding. [New York Times]
* Princess Di’s death deemed criminal; but was it also the butler on the witness stand with the perjury? [CNN]
* Call girls testify in DC Madam case. [Washington Post]
* Justice Scalia, “not a nut,” on CSPAN tonight. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Fourth Circuit hears “enemy combatant” case. [Washington
Post
]

* AG Mukasey looks super-old, but at least his front office is fresh-faced. [Washington Post]
* An apple pie we can understand, but a picnic table? [NBC10.com]
* Who knew? Blogging can be lethal. We need to find ourselves a good plaintiffs’ attorney. [Jeremy Blachman; New York Times]
* Somehow, some bloggers survive — and thrive. Belated birthday wishes to the PrawfsBlawg crew. [PrawfsBlawg]
* In case you’re wondering, PrawfsBlawg is #14 on the latest Law Prof Blog Rankings. [TaxProf Blog]
* Proof of prejudice, via a video game? [Mediation Channel]
* “947 years they can never get back.” (And no, this has nothing to do with Biglaw associates.) [Innocence Blog]
* If tax time is making you unhappy, find relief in some of these tax tracks, from Steven Zelin, The Singing CPA. [The Singing CPA via TaxProf Blog]
* We linked to them previously (via the Volokh Conspiracy), but in case you missed them, here are some interesting interviews with eight Supreme Court justices, conducted by legal writing guru Bryan Garner. [LawProse]
* Blawg Review #154. Did you know that yesterday was World Health Day? [HealthBlawg via Blawg Review]

Sonnenschein Nath Rosenthal Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a bit of follow-up on last week’s post about Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. We heard from a number of tipsters, and their reports are consistent with the rumors previously reported:
1. Sonnenschein is rescinding offers of summer employment to incoming summer associates in the Charlotte office.
2. Sonnenschein is rescinding offers to full-time associates who were set to start work in the Charlotte office in the fall.
We have not heard from the firm since our initial inquiries last week — despite repeated efforts, including some made yesterday. We are inclined to agree with this commenter:

Their lack of response must mean it’s true. Rescinding offers is about the worst thing a firm can do for its rep. There’s no way they’re going to confirm it if it is true, and they would’ve immediately disputed it if it is false.

Read what our tipsters had to say, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: What’s Going on at Sonnenschein – CLT?
(And a discussion of the Charlotte market in general.)”

Okay, so you already knew that. Last year, in a widely read, front-page story for the Wall Street Journal, Amir Efrati reported on the non-Biglaw blues: the challenging job market and not-so-hot financial prospects faced by many law school graduates (many of whom are saddled with heavy debt).
A month later, the Des Moines Register basically rewrote Efrati’s story. But Efrati couldn’t have been that offended, since his article was thematically similar to this piece by Leigh Jones, which appeared in the National Law Journal a few months earlier.
Preemption is a bitch. In this media-saturated age, it’s difficult to be truly original.
Nevertheless, even if these articles all sort of sound alike, they generate buzz and traffic — which may explain why they keep getting written, over and over again. The latest is a rather lengthy cover story from the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine, by Greg Burns.
From one of the many tipsters who emailed us about it: “Nothing earth shattering revealed, but this article discusses the ‘haves and have nots’ of the legal profession.” Another reader noted:

I assume you’ve seen the Chicago Trib article on low lawyer salaries, for those not in BigLaw. Not that this discrepancy is a shocker to you, but your fans seem to enjoy lording their big, uh, paychecks over their less fortunate brethren, while taking perverse pleasure in working 20-hour days for the free dinner and ride home. As such, this seems like a perfect comment clusterf**k topic.

A third quipped: “Not sure if news, but enjoy!” We concur. Even if the piece’s thesis is nothing new, at least it’s well-reported, chock full of interesting anecdotes and data.
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “News Flash: Not Every Lawyer Is on the $160K Pay Scale”

Latham Coolest.jpgOver 2000 votes are in. It’s you, Latham & Watkins! Latham’s the “coolest,” baby! By a .6% margin.
One of our readers from Cleary an unnamed firm expressed disappointment in the poll’s closing at midnight PST instead of EST. ATL believes in time zone equity and refused to exercise a New York East Coast bias.
The caveat on this ATL tournament is that Latham is the “coolest” law firm in the Vault’s top sixteen, due to our arbitrary tournament selection for the Sweet Sixteen. There was some complaining about the tournament in the comments section, but we think you guiltily and secretly loved it. At least, 2000 of you did. Should the ATL tournament start with 64 firms next time?
Maybe Latham will use the 2008 ATL title of “coolest” firm in their recruiting next year. We sure hope so.
The voting map surprised us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March April Madness: And the winner is…”

Most of the time, our ATL / Lateral Link surveys have been about market conditions like clerkship bonuses and maternity leave policies.
But today, let’s just talk about you. How’s your morale?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

D_Vitter.jpgFormer Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:

A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.

It seems like an exaggeration to describe hitting a No Parking sign as a “hit and run.” Thank goodness for broadcast news, which captured the accident on video. It’s a surprisingly violent collision. Vitter gets points though for driving what looks to be a fairly eco-friendly car!
‘Shock and Awe’ in D.C. Madam Case [Legal Times]
Vitter driver wrecks into sign after Gonzales forum [Gonzales Weekly Citizen via Politico]
Vitter’s driver knocks down stop sign following press conference [4WWL]

Fred_Biery.jpgThose Texans love the word of God. In 2005, they went to SCOTUS to defend a monument to the 10 Commandments that stands on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Hailing from San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery is invoking the higher power in his judgment against a religious school’s right to join a Texan school membership league.

In a ruling Tuesday denying Cornerstone Christian Schools’ attempt to join the state’s premier extracurricular organization, a federal judge chided the school’s founder and famed preacher John Hagee for contradicting at times his own Christian tenets, using numerous references to the Bible, Koran and even a famous fairy tale.

Who needs precedent and constitutional law when there’s so much wisdom to be found in Grimm tales and Disney movies? Let’s look at the opinion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Fred Biery”

* I hear wedding bells… no wait, that’s the buzzer for yard time. [CBS Local]
* Rob Lowe and wife sue former nanny for defamation. [CNN]
* Kids: Obama now cool. [New York Times]
* Meet the superelite. [Newsweek]

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