Memo from Jonathan Lowe to all DC associates, after the jump.
* The next Attorney General? [MSNBC]
* Or will it be one of these folks? [CNN]
* If you’re going to bet on it, here are some odds and wild-cards. [Slate]
* NY Times investigates Fred Thompson’s early legal and political career. [NYT]
* Paris Hilton settles $10m defamation suit by former fiance’s ex-girlfriend. [CNN]
* Bears LB Briggs charged with Lamborghini hit and run. [ESPN]
Time for a walk down ATL memory lane. On April 20, we opened a poll about how much longer Alberto Gonzales would serve as Attorney General.
In light of yesterday’s announcement that Gonzales will be stepping down as AG effective September 17, the correct answer would have been five months. But it looks like almost all of us were wrong, since the closest answer — six months — received less than one percent of the vote:
The world is full of surprises. Well, at least we now have something to talk about, during what is traditionally one of the slowest and sleepiest weeks of the year (thanks to everyone taking pre-Labor Day, pre-back-to-school vacations).
Earlier: The Alberto Gonzales Deathwatch: What Do You Think?
* Oh, those crazy French people. They eat the darnedest things! [Conglomerate]
* A shameless (and belated) plug: we were interviewed last week by NPR’s Mike Pesca, for an interesting story about Jonathan Lee Riches and his wacky pro se lawsuits. (We appear around the 2:30 mark.) [NPR]
* Blawg Review #123 — in the form of a judicial opinion. Very clever! [Texas Appellate Law Blog via Blawg Review]
Our open threads on Vault 100 law firms seem to be drawing fewer comments. But we’ll finish what we’ve started. We don’t want to give you a case of these.
So here is this afternoon’s set of Biglaw shops (with Vault prestige scores in parentheses):
66. Greenberg Traurig, LLP (5.631)
67. Kaye Scholer LLP (5.591)
68. Holland & Knight LLP (5.498)
69. Steptoe & Johnson LLP (5.403)
70. Foley & Lardner LLP (5.360)
Among these firms, the special ATL shout-out goes to Greenberg Traurig. GT is the firm that incites the strongest passions in people.
Please discuss these five fine firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55; Vault 56-60; Vault 61-65
Judge Loretta K. Preska (S.D.N.Y.) has it all: a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, a rich husband, and killer shoes.
As well as, it appears, no patience for lawyers who play fast and loose with the rules. From the WSJ Law Blog:
Cleary Gottlieb conjures images of Ivy League bookishness and international savoir faire, not bare-knuckled litigation tactics. But last week a federal judge sanctioned the firm and found them to have acted in bad faith. “Civil litigation is not always civil,” began a ruling by Loretta Preska, a federal judge in Manhattan. Here’s the opinion (PDF).
The judge concluded that Cleary tried to dissuade a witness from attending a deposition, in part because of a concern the witness would testify adverse to the firm’s client. Preska ordered Cleary to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs ─ an amount to be determined ─ and ruled that “the sanction is imposed as a formal reprimand and should be circulated to all attorneys at Cleary.”
And Cleary partner Jean-Pierre Vignaud was ordered to write “I will not interfere improperly with the discovery process,” five hundred times, on a dry-erase board in a firm conference room.
Cleary Gottlieb — which, by the way, picked fellow white-shoe law firm Simpson Thacher to represent it — said in a statement that it intends to appeal.
Judge Sanctions Cleary: “Civil Litigation Is Not Always Civil” [WSJ Law Blog]
Kensington Intl., Ltd. v. Republic of Congo [WSJ Law Blog (PDF)]
Right now some of you are probably thinking: “Enough already about Alberto Gonzales and Michael Vick! Isn’t there anything else you can write about?”
(In preemptive response to those of you who are sick and tired of this story: relax. It’s on its last legs. But if the New York Times writes about us, of course we’re going to acknowledge it. Capice?)
For those of you were on vacation last week — and we know many of you were, based on all the “Out of Office AutoReply” messages we received — you missed a fun story here at ATL.
But don’t worry. If you don’t have time to read our voluminous coverage of the Nixon Peabody
theme song, here are some cheat sheets.
Best of all, for those of you who can watch videos — some of you can’t, ’cause you don’t have a private office — check out this awesome video. It appeared over the weekend, but we’re reposting it, because many of you don’t visit ATL on the weekend (and it would be a shame for you to miss it).
Lots and lots of press conferences today. President Bush, at a Waco airport, about to board Air Force One, gave a brief statement on Alberto Gonzales’s resignation as attorney general.
Bush said that he “reluctantly” accepted AGAG’s resignation.
Gonzales was subjected to “months of unfair treatment” that has “created harmful distraction at the Justice Department.”
[Of course, one might argue that Alberto Gonzales has "created harmful distraction at the Justice Department."]
“[H]is good name has been dragged through the mud for political reasons”
Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as Acting AG.
Michael Vick, dressed in a sober charcoal suit and gold tie, just made a short public statement about his case. He took no questions. Here are some excerpts.
“For most of my life, I’ve been a football player, not a public speaker…. I’d like to take this opportunity to speak from the heart.”
He apologized to Commissioner Roger Goodell, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and Vick’s teammates, for “not being honest” in “previous discussions we had.”
“I was ashamed. I’ve disappointed in myself, to say the least.”
“I’d like to apologize to all the young kids out there for my immature acts. What I did was very immature, so I need to grow up.”
[Dogfighting is inhumane, brutal, despicable -- but immature? It's not the first word that comes to our mind. And given the content of ATL, we consider ourselves experts in immaturity.]
“I take full responsibility for my actions.”
“Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I do reject it.”
“Through this situation I’ve found Jesus, and I dedicate my life to God.”
[Of course -- so predictable. Why can't we have disgraced public figures pledge themselves to the principles of Wicca?]
“I’ve got a lot to think about in the next year or so…. I’ve got a lot of down time to think about how to make Michael Vick a better person.”
[That's for sure -- and as just noted, Judge Hudson isn't bound by the parties' recommendations or the 12 to 18 month sentencing guidelines range. He's bound only by the five-year statutory maximum.]
The plea hearing for the embattled star quarterback took place this morning. One of Michael Vick’s lawyers, Billy Martin, spoke to reporters on the courthouse steps. He stated that “this matter is concluded until December 10th, when Judge Hudson will sentence Michael Vick according to the plea agreement.” He also announced that Vick will make a statement of his own at 11:30 AM today.
At the hearing, Judge Henry Hudson told Michael Vick something along these lines: “You know you’re taking your chances here. I’m not bound by the recommendations [of the parties].”
A correct statement of the law, especially after Booker? Yes. A smart thing for a judge to do at a plea hearing, to prevent the defendant from later claiming he was blindsided? Sure.
But, reading the tea leaves a bit, we’d hazard a guess that Judge Hudson might give Vick significantly more than the 12 or so months that the parties will recommend (per the plea agreement). Stay tuned.
(We’d guess that the parties will recommend a year and a day, which will make Vick eligible for certain “good time” credits applicable only to sentences over a year.)
Wow, that was short. We were prepared to liveblog the Alberto Gonzales resignation announcement, but it was over before it began.
We didn’t time it, but it probably didn’t run over two minutes. Here’s what we jotted down:
AGAG seems a little choked up.
[Update: Pete Williams of NBC had the exact opposite reaction; he saw Gonzales as unemotional.]
Begins with shout-out to wife and son.
Resignation effective September 17.
“I have lived the American Dream.”
Says that his worst days as Attorney General have been better than his father’s best days.
[Well that's true. At least the DOJ has running water.]
“Thank you and God bless America.”
As Gonzales walks away from the podium, reporters call out, “Why are you leaving?” But he just keeps on walking.
Earlier: Breaking: Alberto Gonzales Has Resigned as Attorney General!
There’s a lot going on this morning, including the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and the Michael Vick plea hearing. But none of this will prevent fall recruiting from going forward, full speed ahead. So let’s continue with our open threads on Vault 100 law firms.
Here are the Biglaw shops to talk about this morning. Two of them — Alston & Bird and Bingham & McCutchen — are, along with Nixon Peabody, on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.
61. Alston & Bird LLP (5.742)
62. Heller Ehrman LLP (5.690)
63. Vinson & Elkins LLP (5.676)
64. Bingham McCutchen LLP (5.641)
65. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (5.635)
As you may recall, we wrote about Bingham McCutchen recently. Our post triggered some additional tips, which appear after the jump.
Please discuss these five firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55; Vault 56-60