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* Former police chief calls Diana’s death preventable. [MSNBC]
* Court allows casino caucuses in Nevada. [New York Times]
* Legal aid money allegedly spent on booze and loans. [AP]
* Roger Clemens retains D.C. powerhouse lawyer, Lanny Breuer, to help him navigate the Beltway byways. [New York Times]
* Developments in missing marine case. [CNN]
* Study estimates 473 days’ worth of missing White House e-mails. [Washington Post]
* Texas Supreme Court justice indicted, but indictment to be dismissed. For a more complete write-up, see our earlier post. [New York Times]

David Medina Texas Supreme Court Justice Medina Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s not every day that a member of a state’s highest court gets indicted. So of course Justice David Medina, of the Texas Supreme Court, is our Judge of the Day. Justice Medina and his wife were just indicted in connection with an alleged arson fire that destroyed their home last summer. (We previously discussed the case here.)
But wait — it gets better. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, a recent Lawyer of the Day, has announced that his office will move to dismiss the indictments. As several tipsters helpfully pointed out to us, both Rosenthal and Medina are Republicans.
This is a little too much bizarreness for this early hour. We’ll turn the floor over to a Texas tipster:

Texas is awesome for many reasons — for example, the locals trying to build nuclear reactors in their garages. And don’t forget the alien visitors.

But the justice system just makes Texas awesomer (even though we already knew that — see here).

First there’s the Texas supreme court justice & his wife who were indicted yesterday and are suspected of torching their house after the bank foreclosed on it.

Then, the DA who says he’ll seek to toss the indictment.

Did we mention the DA’s under investigation himself, and a Harris County judge has requested the AG investigate?

All around, it’s pretty solid legal scandal.

Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State — including the legal scandals.
Update: Here’s an article from the New York Times (via the WSJ Law Blog).
Texas Supreme Court Justice indicted in arson of his Houston home [AP]
Texas Supreme Court justice, wife indicted [Houston Chronicle]
Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina Indicted [Texas Lawyer]
Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina indicted in connection with fire [Dallas Morning News]
Earlier: Did A Texas Supreme Court Justice Burn Down His Own House?
Lawyer of the Day: Chuck Rosenthal

Green Bay Packers football Above the Law blog.jpg* Does the Supreme Court’s Stoneridge decision give the “getaway drivers” of securities fraud a free pass? [OverHedged]
* Apparently Green Bay fans really like the Packers. []
* Miss Loyola 2L? Meet Kirsten Wolf. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Did Barack Obama receive an illegal endorsement? [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of Obama, his minister had this to say about Bill Clinton: “He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky.” Can someone please remove the cigar from the national vajayjay? [Baltimore Sun]

chipmunk feeding chipmunk ramp Above the Law blog.jpgIn the wake of this story, which had a happy ending, we received this email:

I read about you helping the woman with cancer who wanted to wear her hat in court.

I’m handicapped, paralyzed with a closed head injury.

I’m in a wheelchair and rarely leave my condo except to see doctors.

I’ve lived in my condo since August 1989. I brought the bird feeder from Mom’s house after she died.

Now Ms. [xxxx], the new Property Manager, has ordered me to get rid of my water and chipmunk ramp.

I’ve been here 18 years. She’s been here less than a year.

My whole outside world is my patio with the bird feeder, and water and chipmunk ramp.

I have appealed to [xxxx] Management in Buffalo Grove, IL, but they won’t help me.

I hope you will.

We’re much better at helping Biglaw associates secure pay raises, or law clerks snag clerkship bonuses. The law governing whether a Chicago condo tenant is entitled to keep a chipmunk ramp on her patio lies outside our expertise. Also, we’re not admitted in Illinois.
But if you’re a landlord / tenant lawyer in Illinois who might be willing to help our correspondent, please email us, and we will put you in touch with her. Thanks.

Susan Estrich Fox News Quinn Emanuel Supreme Court clerk Above the Law blog.jpgMore news from one of ATL’s favorite law firms, Quinn Emanuel. See Gawker and Radar.
If your friends are as fabulous as Susan Estrich’s, why hide them behind a bcc?
Query: Could this actually be a brilliant viral marketing ploy? Has Susan Estrich harnessed the power of the blogosphere to get all the world to read her paean to QE?
The Art Of The ‘To’ Line [Gawker]
Fox News’ Susan Estrich Has a New Job [Radar Online via Big Law Board]

clock time billable hour Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gifSo far, we’ve received exactly 1,400 responses to last week’s survey on hours and bonuses. You can see how bonuses broke down for the Classes of 2005 and 2006, based on hours, in the results to yesterday’s Lawyer of the Year survey.
But how did billable hours break down by city?
There’s been a lot of discussion in responses to our previous surveys about whether New Yorkers really work as hard as other cities, especially given the Christmas and New Year’s efforts of their California brethren.
Find out how New Yorkers really stack up, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey Results: Billable Hours By City
(Or: Do New Yorkers really work harder?)”

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. []
* 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]

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