Latest Stories

* The Bear Stearns implosion: a permanent employment act for lawyers? [Dealbreaker]
* Lawsuit of the Day? Even the kickback-receiving Milberg Weiss plaintiffs could establish actual injury. [McGuireWoods (first item)]
* Could judicial hottie Amy St. Eve (N.D. Ill.) someday warm the bench at SCOTUS? [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Cox TV President In S&M Divorce Trial.” [Gawker]
* Blawg Review #172 — with an Olympics theme, appropriately enough. [Ohio Employer's Law Blog via Blawg Review]
* Old news (from March), but just to close the loop on this story: the lawyer and mother seeking a bone marrow donor has found one, thanks to Rihanna (mentioned as a possible running mate for Paris Hilton). Thanks to all the ATL readers who made efforts to donate. [People]

Prosk Rose.gifDuring Kash’s brief foray into the world of corporate law at Covington & Burling, she was initially surprised by the party-hard culture at firm events. Once the majority of the partners left one Friday roof-deck happy hour, the event turned distinctly frat party-esque, with patio tables pushed together for rounds of beer pong.
A tipster sends word of a Proskauer Rose firm event turned Animal House scene. The summer associate class in the Boston office of Proskauer had no problem snagging offers this year — and some Proskauer attorneys were willing to risk their coronary health to bring them on board.
The full tale, with photographic evidence, is available after the jump. It involves lots of drinking, a lot of beef, and excessive eating — all the hallmarks of the summer associate experience.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Beefy Associates of Proskauer Rose”

Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier today, the New York outpost of, a British publication, reported on personnel reductions at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The report was of keen interest to us because we’ve been hearing rumors — generally vague and unsubstantiated, but persistent — of “stealth layoffs” at STB.
The folks over at The Lawyer seem to be hearing similar gossip, some of which appears in their report:

[Simpson Thacher ] has taken the unusual step of introducing a mid-year performance review for its associates. It is understood that the benchmark for associates to reach in order to keep their jobs is significantly higher than in previous appraisals.

Market sources have ­suggested that up to 30 associates have been asked to consider their positions as a result of the review. Simpson Thacher chairman Pete Ruegger denied the firm was making credit crunch-related layoffs.

This report appears to be erroneous, at least in a few respects. We spoke with Simpson partner James D. Cross, co-chair of the firm’s Personnel Committee, who described it as “wildly inaccurate”:

It’s business as usual here as far as reviews. We have not changed our standards, and we have not changed our process. We’ve always had a midyear review process. I don’t know where someone came up with the number of 30 [affected associates].

A second STB source echoed Cross’s statement, telling us that “no new mid-year process was introduced.” The firm has long conducted midyear reviews for (1) first-year associates and (2) more senior lawyers who received negative annual reviews. According to this source, “if a more senior lawyer gets a negative annual review, that person will often be slated for a midyear review so that progress can be checked after six months, not just annually, and so that the firm makes sure it is doing all it can in terms of additional training and mentoring.”
Additional discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Correcting the Record on Simpson Thacher”

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg
[Ed. note: This is the farewell post of MARIN, who was recently eliminated from ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]


Bad news. Our plot to take over ATL and transform it into a site about celebrities and my Jewish dog has failed. Mission aborted. Repeat, mission aborted. Return to the mother ship.

- Original Marinhead, a/k/a Mongoloid Marin, d.b.a Clay Aiken

KFC sentence.jpgTremayne Durham has some serious food issues. In 2006, he decided he wanted to enter the ice cream business, so he ordered an $18,000 ice cream truck from a company in Oregon.
When he changed his mind about selling popsicles, the company refused to give him a refund. Durham traveled from New York to Oregon to confront the company. Apparently, he has anger issues as well — he shot and killed an employee.
Now he’s making headlines for his unusual plea bargain. From the Guardian:

His craving for a decent bit of nosh was so intense that he agreed to pay a high price – a life sentence.

Durham, 33, struck a plea bargain last month in which he was guaranteed a meal of KFC chicken, Popeye’s chicken, mashed potato, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream – in return for pleading guilty to murder.

As part of the deal, and after receiving a life sentence this week in court in Portland, Oregon, Durham will also get a second feast, this time on an Italian theme, with calzone, lasagne, pizza and ice cream.

The judge, Eric Bergstrom, is understood to have accepted the bargain because it would save the state of Oregon thousands of dollars in hosting a trial and possible subsequent appeals.

One of the tipsters who sent this story our way was inspired:

The next plea deal I negotiate will contain a heart wrenching narrative about my client’s woeful circumstances, a § 3553 analysis, and a demand for a footlong sub, a sack of White Castle, and a Fudgie the Whale cake. I can’t wait for Durham’s habeas petition, based on the Government’s impermissible substitution of pizza bagels and chicken fingers, in violation of the plea agreement.

New Yorker agrees to life sentence in exchange for fast food feast [The Guardian]

ATL Idol: The Top Two

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgThanks to everyone who voted in Round 2 of ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” contest that will determine the next editor of Above the Law. The polls closed at noon. Once again, voter turnout was excellent, with over 2,200 votes cast (an increase from the 1,800 ballots cast in Round 1).
The results were interesting. In Round 1, the order of finish was (1) Marin, (2) Sophist, (3) Alex, and (4) Frolic & Detour. This time around, everyone traded places:
ATL Idol results Round 2.jpg
You never can tell what will happen each week in ATL Idol. That’s what makes the contest so exciting and fun.
Anyway, congratulations to SOPHIST and FROLIC AND DETOUR, your two finalists. One of them will be the ATL Idol, the next editor of Above the Law. We bid goodbye to MARIN and ALEX (who have been invited to pen farewell posts if they like, a la EXLEY).
Here’s what to expect from your ATL Idols this week:

  • a feature — i.e., a longer piece that will span multiple posts and days — starting tomorrow, and going through the week;
  • another head-to-head round, on Wednesday, to be reviewed by our celebrity judges; and
  • two freestyle posts, on Tuesday and Thursday, at least one of which must be Biglaw-related.
    And there may also be some surprise posts — but we’re not going to tell you about them, ’cause then they wouldn’t be a surprise.
    Check back soon, to read more from your fabulous Idols, and to see how the contest will end!
    Earlier: Prior coverage of ATL Idol (scroll down)

  • justwhenuthot128520869737812500.jpgIn today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we explore the tangled web of social networking.
    Back in May, Allen & Overy made news for attempting — unsuccessfully — to block the use of Facebook in the London office.
    The firm claimed that it was just worried about staff downloading too many videos from the site, but is that really why employers are banning (or trying to ban) Facebook use?
    Odds are, at least some attorneys at any large firm will post some potentially embarassing content online. ATL commenters unearthed the youtube videos of Divljan Shatterhand Steele just eight minutes after he was named a Summer Associate of the Day.
    And other associates may use their peers’ profiles in unwelcome ways, like the guys at Skadden Insider who trolled myspace and facebook for pictures of their female colleagues for an online beauty contest — without the women’s permission.
    And, of course, you never know what kind of dangers you might expose yourself to in cyberspace. Even David Lat once poked an alleged kidnapper on facebook, and received a painful spanking for his efforts.
    So, how are you surfing the social web, and are you sharing it with your firms?
    Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

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

    Arthur Miller Arthur H Miller breast licker.jpgWe know, from email correspondence and comments, that a fair number of aspiring law school students read this blog. To them we pose this question: How badly do you want to get into law school?
    From Inside Higher Ed:

    Arthur H. Miller (pictured), professor of political science at the University of Iowa [Ed. note: not that Arthur Miller], was arrested Friday on bribery charges related to accusations that he told female students he would give them higher grades if they let him fondle their breasts….

    In one case, a student who said she was not doing well in class went to meet him and says that he told her she “would have to do something” and then grabbed and sucked on her breast. The student said that the professor sent her an e-mail congratulating her on earning an A+ and offered to meet to help her get into law school.

    What would Professor Miller have written in this student’s recommendation? That she has “an impressive body of work”? That her breasts “are succulent and delicious”? Not sure any of that would be germane to performance in law school (although some say the same about the LSAT).
    UI prof faces bribery charges [Iowa City Press-Citizen via Inside Higher Ed]

    Dont Worry Be Happy Bobby McFerrin.jpgThat’s the subject of this video contest, with a $10,000 scholarship for the winner.
    Alas, it’s too late to enter for this year; the ten finalists have already been picked. From a tipster:

    If you’re looking for something a little lighter, there’s a contest right now run by Access Group Inc. among law students for the best short YouTube movie about what they worry about in law school. The contest is here, and my friend’s video is one of the finalists.

    I think his is easily the best, but some of the others are okay too. The winner is determined by popular vote, so if you guys linked to the movie, he (and I’m sure the other contestants) would appreciate it!

    We’re happy to do so (especially since Monday mornings can be slow around here). Good luck to the ten finalists!
    “One Less Worry” Video Scholarship Contest [Access Group]

    Barack Obama small Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.JPG* Obama is getting lots of funding love from lawyers, with Kirkland & Ellis in the lead. Law folks have given $21 million to Obama, and just $7 million to McCain. [Forbes]
    * Deposed Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra skipped out on bail and is relocating to England, because he says he can’t get a fair trial in Thailand. [Associated Press]
    * The story behind the Edwards sex scandal story. [New York Times]
    * Congress to tackle legislation dealing with online privacy. [New York Times]
    * MoFo is the law firm behind the Olympic Games. [The Recorder]
    * Former New Jersey first couple is officially divorced, and “in the end, the whole gay thing didn’t matter.” [The Star-Ledger]

    Elizabeth Halverson small Judge Elizabeth Halverson Liz Halverson Above the Law blog.JPGThis just in, from a West Coast tipster who has been following L’Affaire Halverson obsessively:

    Halverson passes out at hearing; adjourned due to medical reasons. Based on live observations…

    Update: More details from the AP:

    A disciplinary hearing for a suspended Nevada state judge has been postponed, after she reported she felt ill.

    The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended the hearing in its fifth day after Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s lawyer said the diabetic judge experienced a hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, episode.

    The hearing is due to resume next Thursday and Friday in Las Vegas.

    Further Update: More from our Halverson-obsessed tipster, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Judge Halverson Passes Out; Hearing Postponed”

    John Edwards Senator John Edwards ATL Above the Law blog.jpgLast month we named John Edwards, the legendary trial lawyer and former presidential candidate, an honorary Lawyer of the Day — “honorary,” because we didn’t view the reports of his alleged conduct to be sufficiently substantiated (even by our admittedly loose standards).
    But now that Edwards has admitted to cheating on his cancer-stricken wife — he points out, in his defense, that her cancer was in remission when he started the affair — we’re making it official. Congratulations, Mr. Edwards.
    P.S. Edwards denies, however, that he is Rielle Hunter’s baby-daddy. He claims the affair ended too early for him to be the father of Hunter’s baby girl, Frances Quinn.
    Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate [ABC News via Drudge (of course)]
    Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: John Edwards?

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