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Adrian Duplantier Judge Adrian G Duplantier Above the Law blog.jpgAttention Loyola 2L: Someday you might serve on the federal bench. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

U.S. District Judge Adrian Duplantier, who as a lawyer, lawmaker and jurist was a force in New Orleans life for more than a half-century, died Wednesday of cancer at Ochsner Medical Center. He was 78….

A lifelong New Orleanian who graduated from Jesuit High School and Loyola University’s law school, Judge Duplantier was a Civil District Court clerk, the first assistant to District Attorney Leon Hubert, a state senator and a Civil District Court judge. In 1978, President Carter appointed him to the federal district bench.

Okay, different Loyola — Loyola in New Orleans. But the point remains that you don’t need to attend a top ten law school to have a successful legal career.
Judge Duplantier had a robust sense of humor:

In 1981, he conducted a trial involving ownership of “Mr. Bill,” the clay figure who yelled, “Oh, nooooo!” on “Saturday Night Live” as one calamity after another, usually involving loss of limbs at the hands of the evil Mr. Sluggo, befell him.

A settlement was reached. When Judge Duplantier appeared in court, he wore a “Judge Sluggo” name tag, and he sliced up a version of Mr. Bill, tossing bits to people who had claimed authorship. The courtroom was filled with cries of “Oh, nooooo!”

Judge Duplantier never stopped smiling, even when he was battling cancer, Berrigan said. “He considered himself blessed. He had a wonderful life.”

Update: Ernie Svenson, who clerked for Judge Duplantier, has some personal reflections on the judge over here.
Adrian Duplantier, lawyer, federal judge [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Adrian Guy Duplantier bio [FJC]
Remembering Judge Adrian Duplantier [Ernie the Attorney]

Noble Black Corcoran Vice President Above the Law Abovethelaw blog.jpgAfter we wrote about Aaron Charney flipping his condo for a tidy profit, a reader emailed us:

Do some research on Noble Black, Charney’s agent at Corcoran. I remember reading an article several years ago where he left a New York Biglaw firm to go into residential real estate because the money just wasn’t good enough.

I wonder what the connection was to Charney that Charney hired him. Maybe Noble and Aaron dated?

Reader, please keep your fantasies in check. Noble Black may be ridiculously good-looking, and he and Aaron would make a cute couple — but we have no idea about Noble’s sexual orientation. Just because he enjoys “gallery openings,” as noted in his Corcoran bio, doesn’t make him gay.
But this reader was correct about the article. We unearthed the February 2005 New York Times piece, entitled Six Figures? Not Enough! Those of you feeling poor on $160,000 a year may be able to identify with the plight of Noble Black, as well as the others quoted in the article.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: Noble Black”

if i could turn back time Cher Above the Law blog.jpgWe tend not to write much over the weekend — usually just a post here or there. But this weekend we’ll try something new.
Some radio stations have what they call “wayback weekends,” during which they play music from past decades. We’re going to borrow this idea and declare today and tomorrow to be ATL’s own Way Back Weekend.
What does this entail? We’re going to write about items that are no longer timely — things that we meant to write about at an earlier time, but somehow never got around to. As it turns out, there are many such items. Lately we haven’t been able to keep up with all the news that’s been breaking and all the tips that you’ve been sending in (for which we thank you).
Some of these posts are going to be short, even cryptic — in the manner of Instapundit. The main purpose of this is to clear the backlog in our email account a little, and to clear our conscience. We hate the feeling of falling behind (even though we always are playing catch-up).
So here goes. If you don’t like reading about things that happened a while ago, just skip these posts. It’s the weekend, and the weather is glorious (at least on the East Coast). Go out and enjoy it!
(But if you’re stuck in the office for some reason, then we’ll be here to keep you company, at least for a few hours. Check back soon for more procrastination fodder.)

Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP Above the Law blog.jpgThe person maintaining this Atlanta List of Shame needs to update it. The starting salary in the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan is now $145,000 (effective January 1, 2008). The firm has also raised first-year salaries to $160,000 in Houston and Washington, DC (effective September 1, 2007).
For more senior associates, things are a little trickier. The firm will be using a “deferred salary” model, a la Vinson & Elkins.
For details, consult the memo, which appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan”

* Ann Althouse is a visiting professor at Brooklyn Law School this year — and they’ve put her up in an apartment with some pretty sweet views. (Perhaps she can see 125 Broad Street, home of Sullivan & Cromwell, where she once worked as an associate.) [Althouse]
* Pope Benedict: Tax evasion is sinful (in case you didn’t know that already). [TaxProf Blog]
* Judge to public defender: What, you’re not ready to go to trial on a case you’ve had for less than a day? I’m holding you in contempt! [Record-Courier]
* Courtesy of Orin Kerr, pointers for how to talk about the Jose Padilla verdict at the next cocktail party you attend. [Volokh Conspiracy]

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]

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