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Michael Vick middle finger Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThings aren’t look so hot for football star Michael Vick right now. See here and here.
Despite the incriminating statements of his co-defendants, Vick still hasn’t reached a plea agreement with the government. Rumor has it that there’s a split among Vick’s lawyers about whether to take a plea deal.
After the jump, we post an analysis from a reader suggesting that, under the applicable Sentencing Guidelines (which are of course advisory post-Booker), Vick shouldn’t necessarily serve prison time.
But we suspect that the feds wouldn’t allow Vick to get off without some prison time (at least a year). And if Vick doesn’t plead guilty to the current indictment, they’ll nail him with a superseding indictment that includes RICO charges (which will vastly ramp up his exposure if convicted).
Check out this reader’s analysis, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michael Vick: His Co-Defendants Are Barking Up A Storm”

Even if you have a possible justification for doing so — ’cause it might be illegal. From the ABA Journal:

Taser lawyers taser client Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgProceedings have been delayed in a California misdemeanor case in which the defense is claiming that police brutalized their client with a stun gun during his arrest at a shopping mall last year.

That’s because the defense team is now being criminally investigated for allegedly violating human experimentation laws by repeatedly using a stun gun on their client themselves during an evidence-gathering effort in a law office.

Additional details here. Our tipster, a criminal defense lawyer, observes:

“I can’t decide which I like better:

(1) imagining those nervous, sweaty-palmed, study-group types from law school, wringing their hands and saying, ‘C’mon, guys, we have to be PREPARED! How are we gonna know what he looked like when he was writhing in agony unless we shock him AGAIN?’ or

(2) the idea of defense lawyers seizing the opportunity to taser a client — which we have ALL dreamed of doing.”

Shocking Case: Legal Team Tasers Client [ABA Journal]

We’re bummed that we can’t write this week about the groom who arranges music for Yo-Yo Ma and Jay-Z. Or the one who’s associate counsel for the NBA.
But lawyer-lawyer couples abound, and we know those are the pairings ATL readers crave. Here are our finalists:

1. Lisa Kutlin and Alexander Goldenberg
2. Shauna Burgess and Jonathan Friedman
3. Elizabeth Frieze and Matthew Prasse

More about these legal lovebirds, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Smart Alex”

pro bono work reach for the stars Above the Law blog.jpgThe subject of today’s perk post may not jump to mind as a perk or fringe benefit, but we think it’s important and worthy of inclusion here. From a reader:

Please do a “perks” thread on pro bono work. What kind of opportunities are presented? How are the hours counted (if at all), both de jure and de facto?

Speaking for myself, it’s the main thing that makes White & Case different from other firms. The hours are counted 1:1, without limitation. I am permitted to seek my own pro bono assignments, and function at a very high level on those cases. I have “billed” 200-300 hours to pro bono every year I’ve been here, and received no feedback but encouragement (although my “real” hours have always been in the defensible range without consideration of the pro bono).

That’s impressive. We had a friend at a top 10 firm who spent hundreds of hours on pro bono work (which got the firm some nice publicity in the New York Times). But at a certain point, she got called in for a talk about how she was spending too high a percentage of her time on pro bono.
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Pro Bono Work”

Jonathan Lee Riches Jonathan Riches Jon Lee Riches Jon Riches Above the Law blog.jpgFederal prisoner Jonathan Lee Riches, whose “$63,000,000,000.00 Billion dollar” lawsuit against Michael Vick was discussed in these pages last month, has a new celebrity athlete in his sights. From a tipster:

Got to think you’ve seen this by now: the guy suing Michael Vick for a bazillion dollars or whatever it is now realizes that the real culprit is Barry Bonds. See here.

Question: Where can we file amicus briefs on these?

More description of Riches’s latest Complaint, alleging “Fraud Against Mankind” and “Batman and Identity Robbin,” from the Smoking Gun:

Riches, who is doing a decade in prison for fraud, is at it again, this time filing a loony — though quite funny — complaint again Barry Bonds, baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and Hank Aaron’s bat.

In his lawsuit, Riches weaves an intricate conspiracy theory involving television ratings, steroids, the cracking of the Liberty Bell, Colombian narco-terrorists, and secretly recorded conversations for which journalists Robert Novak and Judith Miller have transcripts.

Sounds like the plot to Syriana or Babel. Might Riches — a/k/a “Secured Party” d/b/a “The White Suge Knight” — have a future as a Hollywood screenwriter?
As it turns out, Jonathan Lee Riches is an old hand at crazy lawsuits — a veritable pro at proceeding pro se. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Jonathan Lee Riches Strikes Again (and Again and Again)”

Paul Weiss 1285 Avenue of the Americas Above the Law blog.jpgSince our last two threads on Vault 100 law firms have generated healthy (and generally enlightening) discussion, we’ll continue to move on down the list.
Please pose questions about or share insights into these five law firms (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):

11. Kirkland & Ellis LLP (7.492)
12. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (7.468)
13. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (7.444)
14. Shearman & Sterling LLP (7.240)
15. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (7.237)

Please discuss them in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10

Jones Day Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgA source at Jones Day has confirmed for us the rumor that the firm’s Atlanta office has raised starting salaries to $150,000. Here’s more detail:

First years are at $150,000, and senior classes are to be paid commensurate with Jones Day’s goals to pay at the top of each market in which it operates. There is also a bonus available starting in 2008, which is allegedly not to be based on hours, but is performance based.

I think it’s a nice move in this market. It doesn’t necessarily address compression, but I still think I am and will be paid pretty well for a great quality of life, relatively speaking. I’ve got no complaints.

But we’re sure that other Atlanta associates have complaints. You can voice them in the comments.
Jones Day to $150k + new merit bonus plan [Greedy South / Infirmation]

Michael Joyce Judge Michael Thomas Joyce Michael T Joyce Above the Law blog.jpgWe fondly remember this episode of 90210: “Brenda gets into a car accident. The woman involved in the accident claims she has whiplash and threatens to sue the Walsh family.”
But then, when Brenda visits the woman at home to apologize, she looks through the living room window — and sees the woman jazzercising in front of her TV!
We were reminded of it by this AP story:

An appeals court judge was indicted on charges of scamming $440,000 from insurers by claiming he suffered debilitating injuries in a car crash, even while he golfed, skated and went scuba diving, federal prosecutors said….

“The bodily injury he says he sustained we believe was fraudulent,” U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said.

According to the indictment, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Michael Thomas Joyce “received $390,000 from his insurer, Erie Insurance Group, and $50,000 from State Farm Insurance, which insured the other driver.” But maybe the insurers should have been a little suspicious:

Prosecutors said Joyce’s car was rear-ended at about 5 mph in August 2001, and no police or medical personnel were called…. [Yet] Joyce complained of debilitating injuries, anxiety and difficulty sleeping and claimed they prevented him from pursuing higher judicial office, prosecutors said.

Being indicted on federal fraud charges might “prevent[] him from pursuing higher judicial office,” too.
Pa. Judge Accused of Bilking Insurers [Associated Press]

Each week we highlight an exciting job opportunity available through Lateral Link, ATL’s career partner.
Company: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.
Position: Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs
Responsibilities include:
(1) Review and analyze clearance issues/approvals , including music, for special features, including featurettes, DVD menus, audio commentaries, bloopers, etc.
(2) Negotiate and draft talent approval letters and releases.
(3) Negotiate and draft marketing and promotion agreements.
(4) Negotiate and draft clip licenses and other clearance documents.
(5) Coordinate with internal guild counsel regarding guild requirements/claims.
(6) Provide legal services and advice to creative, marketing, operations and sales clients.
(7) Attend internal department meetings.
(8) Review and advise on promotional materials.
(9) The lawyer will report to the Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs with status reports and on issues or questions.
Ideal candidate will have 3 to 6 years experience in corporate law.
To apply for this position, please visit

Akin Gump 2 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld Deborah Jeane Palfrey DC Madam Above the Law blog.JPGEarlier this year, we devoted extensive coverage to the Akin Gump Escort. She was the legal secretary at Akin Gump who worked for powerhouse lawyer John Dowd by day, and alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey by night.
Courtesy of WTOP, we now know more about the close working relationship between the Akin Gump Escort and the D.C. Madam:

“Why did you do this to me? I never did anything to you.”

That accusatory two-sentence e-mail from alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey to an escort she considered her “little sister” and one of her most trusted confidantes came moments after Palfrey realized her assets had been frozen by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“My first thought because of the timing was that (Jennifer) was working with the government,” writes Palfrey, in a series of e-mails to WTOP.

“Jennifer” was the name escort customers knew for a legal secretary at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a prominent D.C. law firm. The woman was fired in May 2007, shortly after revealing to the firm that she had moonlighted for Palfrey’s Pamela Martin & Associates between 2002 and 2006.

Fired? She should have been promoted, due to her intimate knowledge of servicing clients.
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Akin Gump Escort: You Can Call Her ‘Jennifer’”

* More coverage of the Padilla verdict. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Best law firms for women. [Working Mother]
* DHS prepares for federal ID law amid privacy concerns. [CNN]
* Michael Vick plea deadline imminent. [WSBTV]
* Temp judge busted over anti-prosecutor, racial myspace posts. [ABA]

Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP 425 Lexington Avenue Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe were pleasantly surprised by the robust and intelligent discussion in the comments to our earlier open thread, Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 1-5. There were over 100 comments, and many of them were quite informative. So we will press on.
The next five firms up for bids, in Vault 100 order (prestige scores in parentheses):

6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (8.116)
7. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (7.759)
8. Latham & Watkins LLP (7.712)
9. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (7.672)
10. Covington & Burling LLP (7.510)

Please compare and contrast these firms, and discuss what it’s like to work for them, in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]

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