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Paul Chernoff Judge Paul A Chernoff Above the Law blog.jpgWho knew that being a judge could be so dangerous? Maybe jurists should get hazard pay. From the Boston Globe:

Few at the Norfolk Superior Court house in Dedham disputed that the worn and uneven front steps needed fixing. But when a judge in his late 60s tripped on them and broke his left kneecap more than three years ago, neither the state nor the county wanted to take responsibility for the condition of the steps.

Now the judge, Paul A. Chernoff, is suing both the state and the county to determine who is at fault. Chernoff, who is about to retire, wants to know which party will cover his future medical bills if he develops arthritis in the damaged knee or requires a knee replacement….

The judge is seeking $10,000 for anticipated future medical and hospital expenses and $25,000 for pain and suffering, according to court documents, which state that the injuries have caused a permanent disability.

According to Judge Chernoff’s lawyer, judges in Massachusetts aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp would have covered future medical bills — and the judge could plausibly claim he was injured in the course of performing his duties:

On the morning of June 30, 2004, Chernoff was returning to the Superior Court house after delivering instructions to a jury, which had gathered at the District Court house across the street. As Chernoff ascended the worn stone steps of the Superior Court – the same steps that spectators of the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Italian anarchists, went up in the 1920s – he tripped and landed on his knee.

Courthouse perils should not be underestimated. Magistrate Judge Ted Klein (S.D. Fla.) may have died as a result of deadly toxic mold in his courthouse.
Update: Might Judge Chernoff be engaging in some forum shopping? A tipster tells us:

FWIW, the courthouse where he fell has a reputation for juries who are not terribly plaintiff-friendly. Which is probably why he filed in Middlesex County (at least in part). I understand there are a few more liberal jurors in Cambridge…

Judge sues over court mishap [Boston Globe]

breastfeed redacted lactate lactation room Above the Law blog.JPGSometimes we wish we had the breastses. Then we could enjoy the luxurious lactation room at Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Back in this post, we wrote about the lactation room at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. We’re sure it’s plenty nice. But we doubt it’s as snazzy as what the competition on the other side of Lexington Avenue is offering.
Check out this Davis Polk email, which went out late last year (exclamation mark in the original):

From: **** On Behalf Of Associate Development
To: all.lawyers.ny
Subject: Nursing Room

We are pleased to announce that the firm now has a private nursing room!

Located on the 10th floor, this cozy room is equipped with brand-new furniture, including a comfortable chair and end table, refrigerator, and reading materials of interest to new mothers. Access to the secure room is available through the Security Desk. A small sign on the outside of the door indicates when the room is occupied.

We hope that this amenity will provide returning mothers who wish to continue nursing their babies additional support during this important transition. Your privacy and comfort are our priority.

Please do not hesitate to contact [xxxx] or any member of the Associate Development Department if you have any questions. Thank you and congratulations to all of our new DPW Parents.

We’re curious about the “reading materials of interest to new mothers” at DPW. Draft asset purchase agreements? SEC proxy filings?
Meanwhile, in other happy news for parents, Arnold & Porter has jumped on the improved parental leave bandwagon. Following the recent trend, which we’ve been following in these pages, they’ve increased the paid leave they provide to women who give birth or primary caregivers of a newly adopted child. It used to be 12 weeks; now it’s 18 weeks, which appears to be the “market” rate these days.
Transmittal email, plus A&P’s full leave policy, after the jump.
Earlier: Biglaw Perk Watch: Lactation Rooms

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Good News for Parents, from Davis Polk and Arnold & Porter”

diploma degree LLM degree cap diploma Above the Law blog.jpgBack in September, during our focus on non-top-tier law schools, there was some brief discussion over how much an LLM degree from a top program can help you in the job search if you graduated from a non-top law school.
Let’s return to that topic. Here’s an email we recently received, from a loyal reader of ATL:

I am emailing you to ask if you would do a thread about LLM programs. Specifically, I am a 2L at a top 25 law school, and I’m in the middle of my class. Every semester I improve my grades; however, I am still not in BigLaw range. I am thinking of getting an LLM in Tax from Georgetown, NYU, etc., and I was wondering about career prospects for people like me.

For example, would I be at a disadvantage come hiring time because I will have gone straight through from JD to LLM? Would I need to be in the top 10% of my LLM class? Do firms give progression / bonuses for people who get LLMs? Any other information would also be helpful.

This is a subject we’re not terribly familiar with, so we’ll turn these queries over to the readership. If you have information or advice to share with our correspondent, please do so in the comments. Thanks.

oj simpson mug shot Above the Law no pun intended.jpg* Former congressman indicted in connection with group that allegedly funded terrorism. [Washington Post; CNN]
* Randy Moss denies battery allegations. [SI.com]
* SCOTUS upholds NY judicial selection. [New York Times]
* OJ released on doubled bail. [AP; Reuters]
* Delicious, buttery lawsuit pops up in Colorado. [MSNBC]
* Big award round-up: Apollo Group must pay shareholders $280 million; Libya must pay $6 billion for airplane bombing. [WSJ Law Blog; WSJ Law Blog]

donut doughnut police officer cop Above the Law blog.jpgObesity isn’t just a problem for Biglaw lawyers who don’t get to the gym enough. From the New York Post:

He weighs more than 500 pounds, but that wasn’t enough to tip the scales of justice for ex-cop Paul Soto.

The rotund retiree lost his legal argument that it was a line-of-duty fall outside a doctor’s office that cost him his NYPD career. A judge says it was actually his “morbid obesity.”

“There’s no dispute that [Soto] is physically incapable of performing his duties as a police officer. He is morbidly obese, suffers from narcolepsy and is hypertensive,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische wrote in her decision made public yesterday.

Apparently the physical vigor of being a cop doesn’t always keep off the pounds:

When Soto joined the force in 1993, Gische found, he weighed approximately 250 pounds. He is now 40, 5-foot-7 and over 500 pounds.

A former colleague at the 6th Precinct said Soto’s gun belt was an incredible 6 feet long, and his bosses would order him to take walks around the stationhouse for his own good. They would also have other officers shadow him to make sure he didn’t pick up food along the way, he said.

It’s a good thing Soto doesn’t work at a law firm, where office-wide emails about extra sandwiches left in conference rooms make the rounds daily.
He’s Biiig Blue [New York Post via Drudge]

* Calling all cougars — and the young studs who love them. If you’re a single female who earns more than $500,000 a year (e.g., a Biglaw partner), you should check out this event. [DealBreaker]
* Canadian lawyers are horndogs, too. [Legal Blog Watch]
* “Though I did not think Judge Kopf owed me anything, I was not about to refuse a beer from a federal judge.” [Sentencing Law & Policy]
* Hillary Clinton as Tracy Flick? [Slate TV via Althouse]
* Survivor winner Yul Kwon, with whom we went to law school, contemplates a congressional run. Go Yul! [Washington Examiner]

rectum redacted anal sex anus prostate gland Above the Law blog.JPGA case going to trial next month raises some, er, probing questions. From the NYT’s City Room:

Under what circumstances can a patient in an emergency room be forced to submit to a procedure that doctors deem to be medically necessary? That question — and the notion of informed consent — is at the heart of a civil case that is about to go to trial next month in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Brian Persaud, a 38-year-old construction worker who lives in Brooklyn, asserts that he was forced to undergo a rectal examination after sustaining a head injury in an on-the-job accident at a Midtown construction site on May 20, 2003. Mr. Persaud was taken to the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he received eight stitches to his head.

According to a lawsuit he later filed, Mr. Persaud was then told that he needed an immediate rectal examination to determine whether he had a spinal-cord injury. He adamantly objected to the procedure, he said, but was held down as he begged, “Please don’t do that.”

C’mon, Brian. Why not have a more open mind (among other things)? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

As Mr. Persaud resisted, he freed one of his hands and struck a doctor, according to the suit. Then he was sedated, the suit says, with a breathing tube inserted through his mouth.

After Mr. Persaud regained consciousness, he was arrested, then taken — still in his hospital gown — to be booked on a misdemeanor assault charge. Gerrard M. Marrone, who was Mr. Persaud’s lawyer, got the criminal charges dropped, then helped Mr. Persaud file a civil lawsuit against the hospital.

For more discussion — including additional facts about the case, legal discussion, and comment from the hospital — check out the full post, by the indefatigable Sewell Chan.
Update: More about involuntary rectal exams from Slate (via WSJ Law Blog).
Forced Rectal Exam Stirs Ethics Questions [City Room / New York Times]
But I Don’t Want a Rectal Exam! [Slate]

We’re still collecting nominations for the first annual ATL Lawyer of the Year, and we’ve decided to combine last month’s open thread with today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey.
Let us know who you think should be our Lawyer of the Year, and why. To add a little fun, we’re also going to let you tell us who your favorite and least favorite partners are.
To be honest, we have no idea whether we’re going to post that last bit of information, because we’d rather not get sued. But consider it a great big tip jar. We’ll try to follow up on the juicy stuff and, when appropriate, sprinkle tidbits into our regular posts from time to time. And who knows? Maybe your favorite partner will wind up Lawyer of the Year. (But again, we reserve the right to be absolute wusses.)
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
Earlier: ATL Lawyer of the Year: Nominations, Please

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you might think we have a strange obsession with Quinn Emanuel around here. That’s really not the case; it’s just that, for whatever reason, we have a lot of tipsters over there. It seems that QE associates love to talk about their firm, for good or ill.
Today, for good. From a source at the firm who is quite content:

John Quinn gave his annual State of the Firm address today and I think he really did a great job addressing the bonus fiasco. In a section of the address where he mentioned things the firm has to work on (which included an honest list of wide ranging topics), he mentioned that the partners have to do a better job of communicating the bonus system. After first noting that, historically, bonuses are awarded differently every year, he stated that the partners will provide a detailed list sometime in the middle of the year of what hours will be required, and what types of hours will apply in what amounts. He said that the amount of the bonus will stay open (of course), but the partners do believe this will help prevent future dissatisfaction. He also mentioned that the firm’s leadership did something “stupid” with the lateral hires by using the wrong denominator in calculating their special bonus. (You might not remember, but there were complaints that laterals were cheated out of an extra month of hours due to the discrepancy between QE’s fiscal year and the calendar year.) Quinn stated that they will recalculate hours and distribute special bonuses based on that recalculation.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn Emanuel: john quinn’s state of the firm address”

summer associate Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s an update to last week’s post about how various law firms fared in recruiting summer associates for this year. That post, including the comments, featured oodles of info about the expected summer class sizes at different Biglaw shops.
Now we bring you a few more data points. First, just a few short hours after our post went up, this email went around the New York office of Latham & Watkins:

As we move forward into 2008, the Recruiting Committee and the Recruiting Department would like to thank each of you for your support and participation in last year’s recruiting efforts. Your involvement in the summer program and our fall recruiting efforts was “priceless”. Thanks to your efforts, our summer program and fall hiring results were incredibly successful. The recruiting efforts resulted in 61 first years (not including judicial clerks, which we are currently in the midst of recruiting) starting next fall and a summer class of 80 summer associates (our largest to date!). Thank you all again and a very happy and healthy 2008 to each of you.

It’s nice when firms are so responsive to our inquiries.
In addition, a few tipsters emailed us unofficial information about how their firms did in the recruiting process. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Summer Associate Recruiting Sweepstakes: Winners and Losers (continued)”

Scrabulous Scrabble Hasbro Mattel lawsuit Above the Law blog.jpgDo you have a Scrabulous problem? Are you addicted to the online version of Scrabble, which you can play via Facebook?
We had a Scrabulous addiction for a while, until we forswore the game. We’re finishing up current games; in fact, we just scored a bingo right before posting this (“OPERATED” — see board at right). But we are not starting or participating in new matches.
If you’ve been finding your own productivity impaired by Scrabulous, however, you may not need to give up the application. It may be taken out of your hands, over your protest. From the BBC:

Facebook has been asked to remove the Scrabulous game from its website by the makers of Scrabble. The Facebook add-on has proved hugely popular on the social network site and regularly racks up more than 500,000 daily users. Lawyers for toy makers Hasbro and Mattel say Scrabulous infringes their copyright on the board-based word game.

The move has sparked protests by regular fans of Scrabulous keen to keep the add-on running. Scrabulous is currently one of Facebook’s ten most popular applications – little programs that Facebook members can add to the profiles they maintain on the site….

The Scrabulous add-on was not created by Facebook but was built for the site by Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla – software developers based in Kolkata.

Apparently Hasbro and Mattel don’t look kindly on outsourcing to India — unlike, say, law firms. We’ll keep you posted about the fate of this game.
Facebook asked to pull Scrabulous [BBC]

Mike Nifong small Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Michael Byron Nifong Above the Law maybe not.JPGFrom the Smoking Gun:

Disgraced and disbarred, Mike Nifong is now bankrupt. The former North Carolina prosecutor, whose career imploded with his botched handling of the Duke University rape case, today filed for bankruptcy, listing liabilities in excess of $180 million. A summary schedule from Nifong’s Chapter 7 petition can be found below. Almost all of that sum represents legal claims filed against the former Durham County district attorney by members of Duke’s 2006 lacrosse team, including the three players who were accused of raping a stripper at a team party.

Included among Nifong’s assets are a 2003 Honda Accord, about $9000 in personal property, and his $235,000 home. He lists nearly $5000 monthly in pension or retirement income and describes himself, charitably, as retired.

A sampling of reader comments from the WSJ Law Blog:

“I would have liked to have been his ‘credit counselor’… Now Mr. Nifong – I see you have $180 million in debt. Let’s go over ‘how to balance your checkbook’ chapter in your pamphlet…ahahah”

“Mr. Nifong can now talk to Simon & Schuster without any apprehension.”

“I know that this question is immaterial, but what nationality is the name “Nifong”? I have asked several individuals and none of them had a clue.”

“The name Nifong is of Scottish Ancestry and this member is a disgrace to that proud family.”

Mike Nifong Bankrupt: Disgraced Duke prosecutor lists $180M in liabilities [The Smoking Gun]
Michael Nifong Files for Personal Bankruptcy [WSJ Law Blog]

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