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meet an inmate Above the Law blog.jpgA relationship between a prisoner — falsely accused, natch — and a compassionate woman on the outside, crusading for his release. What could be more romantic?
Well, if the woman happens to be a court clerk, with responsibility for handling prisoner filings, the situation goes from romantic to problematic. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A deputy clerk at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has been fired after striking up a romantic relationship with – and trying to help win the release of – a Washington man serving life in federal prison, court documents show.

Jane Cross, 57, came under scrutiny in June, after she filed a Washington State Bar Association complaint against Kurt Hermanns, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tacoma who handled the prosecution of William G. Moore on methamphetamine and other charges in the mid-1990s. She was placed on leave and subsequently fired last week.

In the immortal words of Def Leppard: Love bites.
More after the jump.

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Nixon Peabody LLP horrible theme song Above the Law blog.jpgOur most recent post about Nixon Peabody — which has a song, but NOT a theme song — is about to scroll off the ATL front page. And we couldn’t allow that, now could we?
So here’s an update. A few brief points:
1. Some of you have described a fabulous video that accompanied “Everyone’s A Winner at Nixon Peabody.” Sadly, we’ve never seen this video. If you have a copy, please send it to us.
2. We received the song, from multiple sources, as an MP3 file. It was being widely disseminated by email (“FW: FW: FW:”). As far as we know, it was not sent to us by a disgruntled ex-Winner (contrary to the quasi-paranoid speculation of NP brass).
3. As of now, the song remains on YouTube. It has been viewed almost 14,000 times and garnered several accolades, including #26 – Most Viewed (Entertainment) and #11 – Most Linked (Entertainment).
4. In case the song gets yanked from YouTube, you can now access it directly on ATL, as an MP3 file. Just click here. Enjoy!
5. Some of you have inquired into the identities of the NP representatives with whom we spoke yesterday. These individuals expressly asked not to be identified by name (quelle surprise), and we agreed to that request. But we can tell you that they were in-house reps, not external PR people. One is a firm spokesperson, and one works on the business side of the firm. As far as we know, neither is a lawyer.
We haven’t heard more from the firm since yesterday afternoon’s phone call. If we do hear from them again, rest assured that we will let you know.
Everyone’s A Winner at Nixon Peabody (mp3 file)

office worker on phone Above the Law blog.jpgThe subject of today’s Biglaw perk post is short and sweet. From a tipster:

Will you do a thread on a private office as a Biglaw perk — i.e., whether first and/or second year associates have to share an office?

This subject may not be sexy, but it’s important. Having an officemate makes it harder for you to gossip on the phone with your friends, or gaze at photos of some random guy’s nether regions.
Please discuss when associates at your firm get a private office. And please name the firm and city; comments aren’t very useful without this info. Thanks.
(We had some prior discussion of this topic in the comments to this post, but only a handful of firms were mentioned. We can do better, people.)
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Cravath Re-Ups at the Death Star

Each week we highlight an exciting job opportunity available through Lateral Link, ATL’s career partner.
Here’s the latest listing. No word on whether or not they have a theme song. But for two-fifty large, we think you can live without one.
Position: Counsel
Employer: Multi-Billion Dollar Hedge Fund
Description: Large, prominent hedge fund based in Manhattan seeks a lawyer with 3-5 years of experience to work closely with a senior attorney and new General Counsel. Ideal candidate will have excellent academic credentials and come from a large law firm. Responsibilities include working on private equity deals, PIPE transactions, bond offerings, drafting and negotiating various agreements including subscription documents, organizational documents, vendor contracts, etc. Will interface extensively with senior management and outside counsel. Extremely collegial environment and varied and interesting work.
Compensation: Pay is $250,000 – $300,000 with bonus.
To apply for this position, please visit

Exchange Place 53 State Street Boston Goodwin Procter Above the Law blog.jpgLaw firm mergers have transformed the Biglaw landscape over the past decade. Several of the five firms in our latest open thread on Vault 100 firms have been involved in merger mania.
Here are the firms to talk about this morning:

56. Fish & Richardson P.C. (5.868)
57. Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (5.863)
58. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (5.825)
59. Goodwin Procter LLP (5.807)
60. Cooley Godward LLP (5.794)

Pillsbury Winthrop is the product of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (San Francisco), Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts (New York), and Shaw Pittman (Washington). Goodwin Procter swallowed up Shea & Gardner, just as Cooley gobbled up Kronish Lieb.
Please exchange information and opinion about 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

droopy2.jpg* Atlanta seeks to ban droopy drawers. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Man, Paris got screwed; 1 day in jail for Lohan in plea deal. [CNN]
* It does seem anecdotally that more lawyers are making juries. I was not chosen my only time summoned as an attorney; it probably didn’t help that I was working for another judge in the same courthouse at the time. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Ummm…Pakistan has elections? [New York Times]
* Japan’s bar gets a little queasy about the death penalty. [Jurist]

Wan Kim Wan J Kim Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re deep into the lazy days of August — and today is Friday. So of course there’s news of a high-profile resignation from the Department of Justice.
From the New York Times:

The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division announced Thursday that he was resigning, the latest in a long string of departures from the department in the midst of a furor over the leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales’s performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.

We can confirm that. Kim’s resignation, effective at the end of this month, does not come as a surprise to DOJ insiders. Recall what we wrote in these pages almost two months ago:

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, who oversees the Justice Department’s important (and controversial) Civil Rights Division, will step down from his post before the end of the year. He was sworn in as AAG in November 2005, so by this fall he will have held the job for two years — a long-enough stint in that position.

So stick with us, kids. We bring you the legal news as — and sometimes even before — it happens.
(Another DOJ departure: Bradley J. Schlozman, who preceded Kim in heading the CRD (on an acting basis). We hear that Schlozman won’t exactly be missed, even by fellow conservatives at Main Justice.)
Civil Rights Division Head Resigning at Justice Dept. [New York Times]
Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on the Resignation of Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Another Rumored DOJ Departure

Linda Greenhouse 6 New York Times Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* The best argument for immigration reform: qualified (i.e., hot) fashion models are being kept off American runways. [Fashionista]
* What rating does ATL get — e.g., G, PG, R, etc. — using this tool? To give you context, NBS is a PG-13. [Nasty, Brutish & Short]
* What blogs does Linda Greenhouse read? [My Times ("Journalist's Picks") via Romenesko]
* What blogs do judges read? [May It Please the Court]
* And what blogs should they read? [Blawg Review]
* Speaking of judges, here’s our Judge of the Day — possibly offensive, and wrong on the law too. [AP via NYT]
* The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last, on the Nixon Peabody non-theme-song: “Some things you just can’t un-hear.” [Galley Slaves]

eighty pine street 80 pine street Cahill Gordon Reindel Above the Law blog.jpgSadly, the music-loving law firm of Nixon Peabody is not on this afternoon’s list of five Vault 100 firms to talk about. And don’t hold your breath — we won’t reach NP until we hit the 70′s.
Here are the firms that are on the table:

51. Jenner & Block LLP (5.940)
52. LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP (5.925)
53. Allen & Overy LLP (5.922)
54. DLA Piper (5.913)
55. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (5.913)

We note the presence of Cahill Gordon on this list. Even though Cahill routinely lands near the top of the profits per partner rankings of the American Lawyer — in 2006, they were #6, with PPP of $2.575 million — the firm’s prestige seems to lag behind its profits. Any thoughts on why?
Please chatter away about 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

Nixon Peabody LLP horrible theme song Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been in touch with representatives of the Nixon Peabody law firm about the musical composition that we posted (mp3) and wrote about this morning. First they sent us a statement by email:

“This song was put together in celebration of Nixon Peabody’s Fortune 100 ‘Best Places to Work’ recognition. Nixon Peabody aims to be the best law firm to work with and the best law firm to work for. Fun is not prohibited here.”

Fair enough. But then we spoke with two firm spokespersons by telephone. They called us.

It wasn’t a very “[f]un” conversation. They weren’t happy campers. Even if they may be winners, since “everyone’s a winner at Nixon Peabody.”

this is not a pipe this is not a theme song Nixon Peabody NP Above the Law blog.jpgThey emphasized that the song was internal to the firm and is protected by copyright. They also insisted that it is NOT a “theme song” — in any way, shape or form.

They demanded to know who sent the song to us. We informed them that we don’t reveal our sources, unless served with a subpoena (and maybe not even then — a Judy Miller-style jail stint might be good publicity for ATL).

They asserted copyright over the song and asked us to take it down, from our site and from YouTube. We stated our view that posting and commenting on the song constitutes fair use. It also falls within our newsgathering mission as a media organization.

We explained that our site is all about law firms and the legal profession. They said: “We know what you’re about.”

They claimed the person who leaked this song is “in a fight” with Nixon Peabody, and menacingly stated that they (meaning NP) “don’t intend to let this thing lie.” We informed them that we have no desire to get involved in the firm’s purported dispute with this unnamed individual. And that’s where we left things.

More thoughts after the jump.

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London Bridge small Tower Bridge of London Fergie Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgOur posts on the perks or fringe benefits of law firm life continue to generate interest and good comments. Here is today’s topic:

Why don’t you guys do an open thread on working abroad? I know of several firms that send their associates for some period of time to work [overseas].

For example, Allen & Overy has a program in which they send their senior associates to London to work for something around six months. A friend of mind who worked for Shearman went to Asia, and some others from Baker McKenzie have been sent to other offices around the world.

One advantage of working abroad: a generous cost-of-living allowance. Last month, Cravath raised its London COLA:

Cravath Swaine & Moore has raised the cost of its living allowance (Cola) for London office associates from $85,000 (£41,000) to $110,000 (£53,000), The Lawyer can reveal. The 30 per cent hike at the elite firm takes remuneration for the most junior lawyers in Cravath’s City office to potentially in excess of £150,000.

At current exchange rates, that works out to a starting salary of $300,000. Not bad. And a Cravath source tells us that the firm is eager for people to head over there: “[T]hey are super busy and trying to get more people to go and stay longer…. [T]hree hundred grand is a lot of dough, no matter how expensive London is!”
Your thoughts on overseas Biglaw gigs are welcome, in the comments.
Cravath hikes London cost of living allowance []
Earlier: Biglaw Pay Raise Watch: Weil and Cleary to 180, Latham to 190!

Joel Klein Joel I Klein Nicole Seligman 565 Park Avenue Above the Law blog.jpgAs we have previously bitterly lamented observed, sometimes it seems like all the blessings of life are reserved for Supreme Court clerks. And they include not just $250,000 signing bonuses and top-shelf legal jobs, but luxury real estate, too.
This latest Lawyerly Lairs post looks at the expanding digs of Joel I. Klein (Powell) and his wife, Nicole K. Seligman (OT 1984/Marshall). From the New York Observer:

New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.

The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.

Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.

Yes, that’s right — their second apartment in this venerable building. The couple already own the unit directly above their new acquisition. Hello, duplex!
(C’mon, get real: Did you really expect Klein and Seligman to slum it in a sub-$2 million apartment? As people have observed countless times in these pages, $2 million doesn’t buy you much in NYC.)
More details after the jump.

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