Latest Stories

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgLater today, we will open the reader polls in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law. Before we do that, however, we’d like to give our panel of “celebrity judges” the chance to weigh in on the contestants.
Reader opinions on the competitors have been all over the map, as well as overwhelming in volume, with hundreds of comments posted in total. So hopefully this concise commentary, from experts in legal blogging, will be clarifying.
To refresh your recollection, the distinguished judges are:
ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Read the judges’ reviews, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 1)”

  • Not Hiring sign.jpgThis sign captures the flavor of the past week in law firm news, including the massive layoffs at Cadwalader and the office closings at Akin Gump. If you have other tips for us, send them to us here.
    The law firm pain is starting to be felt even by those still in law school. We’ve been forwarded various emails announcing that some firms or offices have canceled on-campus interviews for 2009 prospective summer associates, including the New York office of Dorsey & Whitney, the Chicago office of Midwestern firm Barnes & Thornburg, and, as we reported on Wednesday, Cadwalader (at certain law schools, e.g., Rutgers – Newark). Here are excerpts from the notices:

    From John Marshall Law School:
    I received notice from the head of recruiting at Barnes & Thornburg that the firm will not be having a summer program in its Chicago office next summer. Therefore, the OCI option for that firm has been removed from Symplicity.

    From Columbia Law School:
    The New York office of Dorsey & Whitney LLP will no longer be interviewing at EIP (ed. note: Early Interview Program) as they have decided not to have a formal summer associate program in 2009.

    From Rutgers Law School:
    Also, please note that Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, scheduled to interview on campus on August 13th, has had to cancel and will contact students independently to schedule interviews if they are selected.

    We expected large law firms to power on with their summer associate programs, so we were somewhat surprised to hear that Dorsey & Whitney is suspending its program in New York. Then again, it was a rather small program — about five summer associates in 2007, per the firm’s NALP form (PDF). A Dorsey spokesperson had this comment:

    It is true that the New York office of Dorsey & Whitney will not sponsor a formal summer associate program in 2009. We have made this decision based upon our hiring needs in the New York office at this time. This decision with respect to the New York office summer associate program does not preclude the possibility of hiring an incoming class for 2010 in our New York office. The firm’s other offices that have traditionally sponsored summer associate programs will continue to do so.

    Have other firms canceled their OCIs at your school? Please let us know in the comments, including your school, the firm, and the firm office.
    See full notices from firms regarding OCI cancellation, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Some OCIs are DOA”

    * Lehman to unload mortgage assets? [New York Times]
    * Monster reaches $47.5 million settlement. [WSJ Law Blog]
    * YouTube baby food poisoner arrested. [CNN]
    * Two of Snoop’s groupies arrested. [MSNBC]
    * Scientist about to be indicted in anthrax mailings case apparently committed suicide. [AP]

    BarBri bar bri bar exam review course prep course Above the Law Above the Law ATL.jpgTo everyone who is done with the bar exam: CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    Go get yourself a well-deserved drink — or two, or three.
    That’s what we’re going to do, and we didn’t even take the bar. We’re heading off now for drinks with some friends who just took — and, hopefully, passed — the bar.
    Here’s an open thread to look back upon the bar exam experience. In the comments, feel free to share funny anecdotes, horror stories, and other personal perspectives on the test.
    You should probably avoid mentioning the substance of specific questions and answers from the MBE, which could get you in hot water. See here (via a commenter).
    P.S. Speaking of anonymous posters on the internet getting unmasked through legal process, here’s an update on the AutoAdmit lawsuit.
    EarthLink Subpoenaed for Customer Records When Anonymous Web Posting Reveals Bar Questions [Fulton County Daily Report]
    Yale Students’ Lawsuit Unmasks Anonymous Trolls, Opens Pandora’s Box [Wired]

    Here’s some news of a rather odd move, from the WSJ Law Blog:

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP logo.jpgBruce McLean, the head of Akin Gump, sent an e-mail to all the attorneys at the firm informing them of a “substantial reshaping and enhancement of several practices,” and a “change” in the firm’s “geographical footprint.”

    That change involves “withdrawing from Taipei and Silicon Valley,” and moving the lawyers in those offices to Alston & Bird, an Atlanta-based firm. “In addition,” McClean writes, “some of our lawyers in Austin will join Greenberg and Traurig in the coming weeks . . . We are very pleased to report that we have secured a license to practice law in Abu Dhabi and are in the process of opening an office there to serve our clients in the Middle East.”

    We agree with the WSJ’s Dan Slater: this “lawyer-swapping arrangement” is a bit… strange.
    Akin to Shutter Offices in Taipei, Silicon Valley; Lawyers to Alston & Bird [WSJ Law Blog]

    Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgNope, we’re not done covering yesterday’s bloodbath over at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. If the powers-that-be at CWT think they can lay off almost 100 lawyers and have everyone forget about in a day, they’re sorely mistaken. We intend to stick with this story for quite some time (in part because you can’t get enough of it, judging from our traffic logs, the robust commenting, and the continuing inflow of tips).
    As many commenters have noted, memories are long when it comes to lawyer layoffs. Prospective recruits will hold this against Cadwalader five years from now — assuming CWT is still around then — just as people still remember which firms laid off lawyers in the last downturn, in the early 2000s.
    We have some additional info to pass along, based on reports from summer and incoming associates. Yesterday afternoon, Cadwalader held a meeting for its summers, led by chairman Chris White and hiring committee chair Paul Mourning (yup, “Mourning”). Former chairman Bob Link attended, but had a non-speaking role.
    White told the summer class essentially what he told the WSJ Law Blog (down to quoting the same numbers, and stressing that the layoffs were mostly in real estate finance and asset securitization). Mourning focused on issues particular to the summer class:

    He didn’t say what people wanted to hear (that everyone could still expect an offer). Instead, he said something like “the firm will continue to use the same evaluation criteria that it has used in the past” and that some people will get offers without knowing what exact practice group they will be in. The latter is likely a reference to people who chose corporate or capital markets as their top choice but will likely have to do litigation until the market picks up.

    This is in contrast to Chris White explicitly saying in his opening day speech to the summers (after addressing the previous 35-lawyer layoff) that the firm expected to extend offers to all summer associates.

    Paul also mentioned that the firm doesn’t expect to rescind any offers to the incoming first-year class. Some summers found it unnerving that he even mentioned that.

    Speaking of incoming first-years at CWT, one of them forwarded us the email the firm sent to the group — check it out, after the jump — along with this commentary:

    Just wanted to send along the email I got yesterday. First thing I read when I got home from the NYS Bar Exam! I have to believe that they powers that be at CWT were completely clueless that yesterday was the NY Bar. Why not wait another week? What a drop-kick to the gut.

    This individual asked for advice:

    Should I start spamming the resume now, or wait until September when I start at CWT? (There’s the old adage that it’s easiest to find a job when you’ve already got one).

    Should I contact Career Services, or is that window closed to me, now that I’m an alum?

    Uncharted territory, for sure. I’d love to here from the peanut gallery.

    So, commenters, whaddya think?
    Our advice: start your job search as soon as reasonably practicable — maybe after your bar trip, if you’re taking one — and continue it after you arrive at Cadwalader. Feel free to call upon Career Services; they’re usually eager to help alums (although we understand that some law schools, at the height of fall recruiting, limit the services they provide to alumni).
    Don’t let yourself be buffeted by the winds of fate; take charge of your career and your life. Don’t be a Pollyanna, thinking that things will probably get better. They probably won’t — at least not anytime soon.
    Of the people who stuck around at CWT after the January layoffs, thinking they would just “ride it out,” 96 of them are now headed for the unemployment line. They could perhaps be excused for buying the firm’s reassurances back then, before the past few months of terrible economic news, especially with respect to the real estate and credit markets.
    But you have no such excuse; the writing is on the proverbial wall. Remember the saying that George W. Bush famously mangled: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Do yourself a favor — as well as a favor to the firm, and to those who remain there — and get the hell out, if you can. Voluntary departures will reduce the number of people to be laid off in round three.
    Two memos — the email message that CWT sent to its incoming associates, and the email message the firm sent to the career services offices of certain law schools — are posted after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Continuing Cadwalader Coverage”

    avatar Exley ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by EXLEY, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Exley's avatar (at right).]
    As anyone remotely familiar with the law knows, the devil is in the details. Similarly, it’s the little things that can sometimes make or break a long day at the office. A mouse with a trackball that refuses to roll in a particular direction, for example, or harsh bathroom lighting that gives everyone’s reflection a sickly, ghoulish, glow can really mess a girl up. And a half-nod of recognition from a usually impassive lobby security guard can make a dude feel like the office is his second crib.
    The dog days of summer present their own set of potential pet peeves.
    summer fashion.jpgThe major complaint we’ve heard from female associates is that offices are too damn cold in the summer. Of course, offices are probably the same temperature year-round, but the coolness is more tolerable in the non-summer seasons when people wear warmer clothes. When it is as high as 90 degrees outside, however, it is impossible to commute to work in wool slacks and a sweater set without suffering heat stroke and/or being fingered as a crazy person (especially if wearing a pair of ostentatious cross trainers). Physical and mental health issues aside, it just feels good to be able to change it up sartorially once in a while.
    Unfortunately, those who indulge in summer apparel sometimes need to store additional layers of clothing at work or snuggle under company-issued fleece at their desks. And forget about drinking an ice coffee or Jamba Juice inside! You’ll need a parka and a hunting cap to be able to do that.
    Is your law firm unbearably cold or hot this summer, and have you been able to do anything about it? We’ve heard suspicions that the thermostats in individual offices at Skadden’s New York office don’t really do anything at all, and that the office is kept cold “for the computers.” Sounds ominous.
    Any theories on why offices spend so much money blasting the AC in the summer and possibly lowering employee morale? (Perhaps it’s a way to awaken associates from the depths of summer associate food coma, or to indirectly discourage skimpy clothing.)
    Summer attire can also chafe against firm dress code policies. Despite the perennial push for “city shorts” by what seems like every single women’s apparel retailer, are there any firms out there that actually allow employees to wear shorts to work?
    Of course, even the uncontroversial short-sleeve dress shirt can raise issues if it reveals a tattoo, or three. A partner with such a predicament writes:

    I’m a 50 year old lawyer in NY, a partner in a law firm. I have tattoos on my arms with images and the names of my two children and my wife.

    Check out what happens when he rolls up his sleeves, and share your own summertime firm life experiences, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Meaningful Minutiae of Firm Life in the Summertime: Open Thread”

    avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
    This is why people hate lawyers. This is why lawyers hate lawyers. Scrabulous was too much fun for lawyers to leave it alone.
    Hasbro has a legitimate issue, because Scrabulous is clearly ripping them off. Facebook had no choice but to remove Scrabulous once Hasbro smacked them around with a DMCA notification.
    Scrabble rack Scrabulous.jpgBut there are other legal issues that Hasbro would like you to ignore. There are split IP rights for the Scrabble franchise; Hasbro owns the North American rights (licensed to Electronic Arts for online play), Mattel owns the rights elsewhere.
    Scrabulous’ real sin is that it allows you to log on in New York and play someone living in York. Hasbro’s and EA’s exclusively North American products can’t compete, and that puts panties in a bunch.
    Aside from Facebook-stalking counsel from Hasbro and Mattel, what is the solution? Hasbro’s open contempt for the consumer does nothing to change the fact that they have a solid case. They’ve even offered to pay Scrabulous’ creators Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla handily just to go away. But as Real Networks CEO Robert Glaser points out, the real problem is that Hasbro and Mattel must merge their rights.
    They’d better get on that soon or I’m going to have to go back to anime porn to pass the time.
    (Photo credit: Flickr.)

    Thanks to the Inspector General’s report shedding full light on the DOJ’s politicized hiring, Monica Goodling and company have become “stars” outside of the legal insider world. Welcome to Comedy Central, Monica Goodling! Jon Stewart sets his sights on the hiring scandal and ATL’s favorite DOJ diva in this “news report:”

    Click to the 2:50 mark for a classic Goodling moment.
    The fact that the link was sent to us by a senior producer at Comedy Central, whose wife is an ATL fan, made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We’re suckers for acceptance from the MSM-ish types.
    Illegally Blonde [The Daily Show]
    Earlier: Soon To Be Breaking: Inspector General’s Monica Goodling Report

    avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
    Sadly, some of the juiciest summer scandals in Biglaw history occurred prior to the advent of Above the Law. Though some of us at ATL may be loathe to admit it, many of them occurred when this year’s 2Ls were still in high school. So far, this year’s pink-cheeked and diligent class is failing in its duty to generate entertainment for the rest of us. So let’s all step into the Wayback Machine and visit the glory days of summer scandal.
    Mr Peabody.jpgPicture it: summer, 2000. First-year salaries recently hit $125,000…the dot com boom is a boom, not a bubble…offers will follow summers as day follows night. And a Boston tech firm called Testa Hurwitz had not yet gone to the Great Courtroom in the Sky.
    The marquee event of Testa’s lavish summer program is a Duck Boat tour of Boston and the Charles River. Summers, associates, and partners alike enjoy some fine beverages and then set out for some amphibious sightseeing.
    Under the influence of free champagne, a Harvard summer (naturally) decides that it would be hilarious to drop trou and moon his friend in the neighboring boat. Once his pants are down, however, he experiences some confusion about where he is, just as Nature begins to sing her siren song. Is that a life preserver in front of him, or a urinal? In front of the entire firm, the summer leans against the railing and takes a piss in the Charles.
    It wasn’t easy to do in those days, but… no offer.

    avatar Alex ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by ALEX, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Alex's avatar (at right).]
    Biglaw lawyers:
    Every single one of your non-lawyer friends and family members think that you know “the law” because you’re lawyers. You don’t. You work in biglaw. Don’t worry, ATL will give you some small-building law to use when the inevitable email arrives or you need some lawyerly advice yourself.
    Today’s topic: landlord-tenant law.
    August is almost upon us. Lots of people are moving. Summers, law-school grads, Cadwalader attorneys. Maybe there’s still time to knock some dollars off of your last rent check. I spoke to an attorney who handles landlord-tenant issues in New York. He works in a really small building and likes to golf on Thursday afternoons.
    Nutshell after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small-Building Law for Tall-Building Lawyers: Landlord-Tenant”

    avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
    Ever wonder what happened to Kory McFarren, the (literally) crappy boyfriend who stood by for a month while his girlfriend, Pam Babcock, grew overly attached to a toilet seat? The AP reported yesterday that McFarren was sentenced to six months probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of mistreatment of a dependent adult.

    But don’t break out the party hats just yet.

    Kory McFarren toilet seat boyfriend.jpg

    Also Tuesday, McFarren was sentenced to six months in jail for an unrelated charge of lewd and lascivious behavior for exposing himself to a teenage neighbor in March.

    Apparently while Babcock convalesced in the hospital, McFarren sought solace by staring out his window. And masturbating.

    “This has been going on for a long period of time,” the neighbor said. “While we were using our pool or hot tub, he would stand in his window and watch and play with himself. It has become much worse lately.”

    The resourceful neighbors tried to block McFarren’s view by piling logs in front of the pool. But “[a]s winter wore on, the wood pile shrank,” presumably leading to the expansion of McFarren’s own wood pile.

    In a cruel twist of fate, he has ended up exactly where Babcock did — in the can.

    Boyfriend of woman stuck to toilet gets probation [AP]
    Boyfriend arrested in new crime [The Hays Daily News]

    Page 1432 of 17971...142814291430143114321433143414351436...1797