Latest Stories

* Stocks plummet around the world, in wake of deal by JP Morgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns on the cheap. [New York Times]
Update: If you’re interested in learning which lawyers and law firms slaved away over the weekend on the Bear Stearns deal, see here.
* Fed takes action to fight crisis, but may be too late — economy is f**ked (which everyone already knew). [Washington Post; New York Times]
* Lawyer for whore lectures media on ethics. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Missed connection” between plaintiffs and appellate victory: Seventh Circuit rules Craigslist not liable for discriminatory ads. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Pro se defendant successfully defends himself — in a murder trial. No, not Jonathan Lee Riches. [Washington Post]
* Defendant doctors prevail in John Ritter malpractice suit. [CNN]
* Ruling expected today in Paul McCartney / Heather Mills divorce case. [AP]
* A compensation overview for in-house lawyers. [WSJ Law Blog]
Update: Thanks for the reminder. Professor Jeffrey Rosen’s NYT magazine cover story, a long and detailed survey of the Roberts Court’s business law jurisprudence, is available here.

Hicks.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by Friday's guest blogger, Kashmir Hill, who will be writing more for these pages going forward.]
We are starting off the week reverential when it comes to Judge of the Day. Virginia Circuit Court Judge Gary Hicks is dedicated to cracking down on crime in and out of the courtroom. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

When 70-year-old Susanne Thompson bled to death on the streets of Richmond in October, Hicks helped chase down her alleged assailant.

Here are the details on how Hicks trains for marathons AND fights crime:

On the crisp morning of Oct. 27, Hicks was running west on Broad Street with friends, 7 miles into a training run for a marathon two weeks away.
Suddenly across the street, Hicks and other runners saw a man bent over Thompson’s body. She had been walking her dog, a common sight in the Fan District, where she was a beloved figure. Johnny Hughes, now awaiting trial in Thompson’s death, was starting to get away.
Hicks chased him down and hung close. “I see it as sort of a duty. There are choices.”
He darted into Broad Street traffic with another good Samaritan, stopped it and created a wall of metal that Hughes could not negotiate. A squad car got caught in the blockade, and the officer jumped out with his gun drawn.

Hicks_Magneto.jpgI am a little confused by the action sequence involving the traffic. But creating a wall of metal is awesome. It’s like Hicks is Magneto from X-men… but not a villain.
Our tipster writes:

Hicks is no joke. He’s as a much a badass on the bench as he is on the street.

We are pondering who is more badass: Gary Hicks or mugger-fighting Judge of the Day alumnus Ira Robinson.
Judge lives his life ready to be judged [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Frank Easterbrook bong pot pipe Judge Frank H Easterbrook Above the Law.JPG* Could Eliot Spitzer lose his law license? “Legal experts say such an outcome is unlikely, but not inconceivable.” [City Room / New York Times]
* Meanwhile, for New York state law geeks, a question: In the event of a tie in the state senate, will Joseph L. Bruno — as Republican majority leader, and as acting lieutenant governor (starting Monday) — be able to vote twice? [City Room / New York Times]
* Misadventures in lawyer advertising. Maybe they can all go work for The Daily Show? [Connecticut Law Tribune]
* Judge Frank Easterbrook thinks that sometimes a bong is just a bong. [How Appealing]
* “Tales of a Law Professor Lateral Nothing”: A look at “the mysterious world of the law professor lateral hiring market,” by Professor Paul Secunda. [SSRN]
* Speaking of law profs…. Law Professor of the Day? He also logged in to RateMyProfessors.com and gave himself a chili pepper. [TaxProf Blog]
Hillary Clinton lolcat monster Above the Law blog.jpg* Celebrity professor Cass Sunstein has warm words for his buddy Barack Obama — even though Barack didn’t stand by Cass’s lady friend, Samantha Power, during “Monstergate.” [Chicago Tribune]
* Speaking of Her Monstrosity, Susan Lehman asks: Is Hillary Clinton’s corporate law background hurting her candidacy? [American Lawyer]
* “Dickie Scruggs: Now that he’s been accused of pleaded guilty to bribery, there are questions about how he achieved so much.” [ABA Journal]

533590_boy_meets_girl.jpgLadies, if you want to make partner, consider Dorsey & Whitney. The Project for Attorney Retention has just released a report (PDF) on the number of women among this year’s new partners at 77 firms.
Props to Dorsey & Whitney and Ropes and Gray. Here’s why:

At a dozen firms, 50% or more of the new partners were women: Dorsey & Whitney (10 of 15 new partners are female, for 71%), Ropes & Gray (7 of 10 new partners are female, for 70%), Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (4 of 6 new partners are female, for 67%), Blackwell Sanders (8 of 12 new partners are female, for 67%), Cravath, Swaine & Moore (2 of 3 new partners are female, for 67%), Crowell & Moring (4 of 7 new partners are female, for 57%), DLA Piper (15 of 28 new partners are female, for 54%), Reed Smith (14 of 26 new partners are female, for 54%), Arnold & Porter (2 of 4 new partners are female, for 50%), Cadwalader (1 of 2 new partners is female, for 50%), Shearman & Sterling (3 of 6 new partners are female, for 50%), and Womble Carlyle (4 of 8 new partners are female, for 50%).

Women made up less than half of the new partners at the other 65 firms surveyed.
Some firms are in serious gender equality hot water. Here’s the list of shame:

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein did not make a single female partner (0 of 8 new partners were female). For others, only one or two women lawyers were awarded the brass ring: Orrick (1 of 13 new partners is female, for 8%), Proskauer Rose (1 of 11 new partners is female, for 9%), Nixon Peabody (1 of 11 new partners is female, for 9%), Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (1 of 11 new partners is female, for 9%), Baker & Daniels (1 of 9 new partners is female, for 11%), Vinson & Elkins (1 of 9 new partners is female, for 11%), Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge (1 of 9 new partners is female), Akin Gump (2 of 15 new partners are female, for 13%), Milbank (1 of 8 new partners is female, for 13%), White & Case (1 of 7 new partners is female, for 14%), and Gibson Dunn (2 of 13 new partners are female, for 15%).

Three firms have had nearly all-dude partner classes for four years running: Akin Gump, Fried Frank, and Vinson & Elkins. For those of you flirting with a career move from lawyering to screenplay-writing, think: Charlize Theron fighting her way to partnership at Fried Frank, à la North Country.
Law Firms’ New Partners Still Mostly Male: New Partner Classes 2005-2008 [Project for Attorney Retention]

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGThanks to everyone who responded to our open call for Supreme Court clerk hiring news. We now know the identities of Justice David H. Souter’s four law clerks for October Term 2008:

1. Erin Delaney (NYU 2007 / Guido-maniac)
2. Michael Gerber (Yale 2005 / Leval)
3. Warren Postman, (Harvard 2007 / W. Fletcher)
4. Noah Purcell (Harvard 2007 / Tatel Tot)

Congratulations to all. And if someone could put their names into Wikipedia, now that their hiring has been confirmed, that would be most appreciated.
We’re still missing those last two Alito clerks. Are they playing a game of hide and seek with us? If you can give us a hint as to who they are — or, better yet, name, rank, and feeder judge clerkship — please email us.
Updated lists of the OT 2008 and OT 2009 SCOTUS clerks, with the DHS clerks added, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: D-H-S is D-O-N-E”

896217_too_tired.jpgA tipster sent us word of this ridiculous lawsuit from Connecticut.
When we used to sleep in class, we did so sitting up. Laying your head on the desk invites trouble:

Danbury officials have been notified they are being sued by a student who was awakened in class by a teacher who made a loud noise. Documents filed with the Town Clerk, a prelude to a lawsuit, claim that a sleeping student suffered hearing damage when his teacher woke him up by slamming her hand down on the boy’s desk in December.

Attorney Alan Barry says 15-year-old Vinicios Robacher suffered pain and “very severe injuries to his left eardrum” when teacher Melissa Nadeau abruptly slammed the palm of her hand on his desk on Dec. 4.

We welcome slamming and loud noises here at ATL.
Update: Since it’s my first day, I appreciate your pointing out places where I can steal good material. We did not realize that Overlawyered also posted on this here.
Conn. Student Sues After Being Awakened [Rocky Mount Telegram]

  • 14 Mar 2008 at 1:30 PM
  • Uncategorized

Fox in the Henhouse at DLA Piper

DLA Piper logo Above the Law blog.jpgIf the economy keeps getting worse — check out today’s stock market meltdown and Bear Stearns debacle, discussed over at Dealbreaker — law firms will need to replace the dried-up revenue streams from transactional practice. And this time around, it looks like the usual countercyclical practices — e.g., litigation, bankruptcy — aren’t picking up the slack.
Fortunately, there’s a growing cottage industry for Biglaw: renting out offices to film and television production companies. This message recently went out to everyone in the Washington office of DLA Piper:

Subject: Fox Pilot Shoot This Weekend

Please be advised that Fox Television Network will be filming a TV pilot shoot on Saturday, March 15, and Sunday, March 16, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., in our office space. They have been authorized to take photographs and shoot scenes of the interior and/or exterior of the building.

The areas to be filmed, include office locations 6050 and 6052, the hallway outside these 2 offices, the atrium, 7 Red, and the dining area of the cafe. 7 White will be used to store equipment and other items needed during the shoot.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Thanks.

[xxxx]

And, no, they don’t need any “extras” :)

Sorry, DLA Pipers. Your best shot at fame is still reality television.
We’ve walked past the DLA Piper offices here in D.C. many a time — they’re very well-located, in the delightful Penn Quarter neighborhood — and we’ve been impressed. The building is sleek, ultra-modern, and so well-lit that you can practically see the titles of the books on the shelves (yes, we’ve tried). It’s not hard to imagine a movie or TV show being filmed on the premises.
But we have to ask: Fox? Is this damaging the DLA brand? Consider the following hierarchy of law firms and the productions they’ve hosted:

Oscar-winning feature film, starring George Clooney: Dewey Ballantine (with shared credit to Davis Polk).

Feature film, starring Cameron Diaz: Cadwalader.

Fox TV pilot: DLA Piper.

Well, hey, it could be worse. E.g., Skinemax.
Update: A DLA Piper source confirmed the accuracy of, and asked us to highlight, this comment:

DLA Piper’s Baltimore office was a filming location for Syriana. Also an Oscar-winning feature film starring George Clooney.

So please don’t associate DLA Piper exclusively with the folks responsible for making Paula Abdul a household name once again. Thanks.
DLA Piper moves to new office space in Washington D.C.’s Penn Quarter [DLA Piper]

server.jpgApparently, being the district attorney for the smallest county in Texas leaves one with a lot of free time. This Texan lawyer is on trial for building a tricked-out server using government funds. From The Dallas Morning News:

A computer that Rockwall County District Attorney Ray Sumrow says he built as a backup server for his office contained documents related to eBay sales, personal e-mails and a cheat sheet for a computer game, an FBI computer expert testified Monday morning.

I am guessing the computer game was Scrabulous and the cheat sheet was full of all the possible two letter words.
At least Sunrow has a plan B career option as a computer engineer:

The computer – equipped with two hard drives, seven fans, high-end video and audio cards, a wireless Internet connection and cables that glow under ultraviolet light – is designed for playing video games, prosecutors say.

Alan Timberlake, assistant director of information technology for Rockwall County, called the computer “gimmicky” and more suited to a college dorm room than an office.

We like the way Penny Arcade’s cartoon representation catches the ultraviolet light.
Update: We didn’t see their post before putting up ours, but as one of you notes, QuizLaw also has a post here.
Rockwall County: At trial, prosecutors allege office funds bought computer [Dallas Morning News]
The Case Of Texas vs. KryoLord [Penny Arcade]
Pwning n00bs on the county’s dime: priceless [QuizLaw]

Richard Scruggs 2 Dick Scruggs Dickie Scruggs Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis just in, from the AP:

Powerful plaintiffs attorney Richard ”Dickie” Scruggs and a co-defendant pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to bribe a judge for a favorable ruling in a case involving legal fees from a post-Hurricane Katrina lawsuit.

The surprise plea came Friday during a hearing in Oxford, Miss. on pretrial matters, court officials said. His trial was set to begin at the end of the month.

Scruggs, 61, and co-defendant Sidney Backstrom both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Scruggs’ law partner and son, Zach, also is charged in the case but did not enter a plea and is expected to go to trial.

Prosecutors said they would recommend five years in prison for Scruggs and 2 1/2 for Backstrom, penalties significantly lower than what they could have faced.

Two quick thoughts. First, has Scruggs employed bribery as a tactic in other matters — e.g., the tobacco cases that made him famous (and a movie star)? Second, could Mississippi give Louisiana a run for its money as most corrupt state in the union?
P.S. And maybe one could throw West Virginia into the running. See here (noting federal investigation of the West Virginia Supreme Court, in connection with the Massey Energy case).
P.P.S. No offense to any of the aforementioned states. Our home state of New Jersey is also up there — or down there, as the case may be.
Update: From the ABA Journal: “Dickie Scruggs: Now that he’s been accused of pleaded guilty to bribery, there are questions about how he achieved so much.”
Miss. Attorney Pleads in Bribery Case [AP]
Breaking News: Scruggs Pleads Guilty [WSJ Law Blog]
Long Live the King of Torts? [ABA Journal]

toilet seat toilet bowl woman stuck to toilet Above the Law blog.jpgThanks to a Kansan sheriff, this great story now has the legal twist we hoped for. A 35-year-old woman sat on her boyfriend’s toilet long enough to become stuck to it.
Criminal charges against her boyfriend are now in the works, according to the Kansas City Star:

Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said Thursday he asked the county attorney to file charges against Kory McFarren for mistreatment of a dependent adult. The county attorney will decide whether any charges are brought.

By our count, the girlfriend spent Valentine’s Day in the bathroom. If “food and water” did not include chocolates on February 14th, this guy is definitely guilty of mistreatment.

McFarren said she moved around in the bathroom during that time, bathed and changed into clothes he brought her. He brought food and water to her. They had conversations and an otherwise normal relationship — except it all happened in the bathroom.

If we were to conduct a relationship in one room of the house, it would be the kitchen. And we would have a laptop.
Sheriff recommends charging boyfriend in toilet case [AP via Drudge]
Earlier: S**t or Get Off the Pot? She Would Prefer Not To

Job of the Week

Here is today’s Job of the Week, brought to you by Lateral Link. Over the last week, Lateral Link members received offers from Skadden Arps (Houston), Mayer Brown (New York), Gibson Dunn (San Francisco), Cooley Godward (LA), Clifford Chance (Warsaw), and Morgan Lewis (New York).
Position: Associate General Counsel
Location: Chicago, IL
Description: One of the top office products retailers in North America is seeking an Associate General Counsel to work in its Naperville, IL headquarters. The Corporate Counsel position will provide transactional legal counsel and other services to clients within the company. The successful candidate will be part of a team of attorneys whose primary responsibility is to review and negotiate all business transactions on behalf of the company, and to manage other legal issues common to a large, international organization. The position will report to a Vice President, Associate General Counsel. The candidate will have authority to select and hire outside counsel, consultants, and other professionals as necessary for handling legal transactions.
More information, about the company and the position (including the job code), after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Job of the Week”

Eliot Spitzer Silda Wall Spitzer Kristen Above the Law blog.jpgAs you may recall, when Governor Eliot Spitzer was told that “Kristen” would be servicing him, he asked what she looked like.
Here’s what one student at the Spitzers’ alma mater had to say on the subject, after seeing the Spitzers’ 1984 HLS yearbook photos (in black and white, at right; the color photos are of Kristen):

Some have said young Silda kind of resembles Kristen the Call Girl.

Not sure I see it, but that’s a depressing thought.

Actually, we kinda do see a resemblance. But since Spitzer is (or was) a politician, let’s put it up to the popular vote:


While we’re on the subject of the Spitzers and their Harvard Law School days, a different tipster tells us:

I’m in Alvin Warren’s corporate tax class, and he said in class on Tuesday, when somehow the subject of him not teaching came up: “What would I be doing if I weren’t teaching? I’d be like Spitzer — doomed to be rich in New York. [Pause.] He took this class. As, alas, did his wife. I take no responsibility though.”

Finally, as several of you noted in the comments to our earlier post, Silda Spitzer has canceled her HLS appearance, originally scheduled for today. For confirmation, see the Harvard Law Record (last paragraph). See also the program, where Silda Spitzer’s name no longer appeals.
Eliot Spitzer ’84 Resigns as Governor of New York [Harvard Law Record]
A Celebration of Public Interest: March 13-15, 2008 [Harvard Law School]

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