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As we mentioned in our earlier post about Kumari Fulbright, the former beauty queen and current law student indicted on charges of kidnapping her ex-boyfriend, we poked her today on Facebook. She has not yet returned our poke. But, surprisingly enough, she did add us as a friend.
(We also asked her, via Facebook message, if she had any comment on her case. But we haven’t heard back from her, even though she has been online for most of the day.)
Update: Exciting news! Kumari Fulbright has poked us back. See here.
Now, although we’ve been added as a friend, we’re not in very exclusive company. Since her story broke, Ms. Fulbright has been rapidly acquiring friends — over 50 in the last 24 hours. Can you imagine if (1) social networking sites existed at the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and (2) that curvaceous beauty was on MySpace or Facebook? She would have picked up “friends” faster than her blue Gap dress picked up presidential DNA.
Anyway, as a Facebook friend of Kamari Fulbright, we have access to her profile. We offer some observations and advice, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brief Reflections on the Facebook Profile of Kumari Fulbright”

Stephen Yagman Steve Yagman Stephen G Yagman Above the Law blog.jpgSo it looks like no bail for Stephen Yagman, the colorful and controversial civil rights lawyer who was convicted last year of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering. Yagman will start his three-year prison term later this month.
Yagman asked to remain free on bail while appealing his conviction (to the Ninth Circuit — a court with which Yagman has a long and tortured history). But the district court denied his request.
Perhaps the court didn’t want Yagman out and about, dropping $2,000 on shoes and $262 on dinner — as he allegedly did just hours after filing for bankruptcy, as part of a scheme to avoid paying more than $200,000 in state and federal taxes.
High-profile LA lawyer denied bail [Associated Press]

We’ve received over 1,300 responses thus far to our ATL / Lateral Link survey on bonuses (accessible here). Before the holiday break, we shared with you the results for New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Today’s new results are from San Francisco & Silicon Valley. Surprisingly, base salaries from those of you who responded from the Bay Area are actually slightly higher, on average, than those reported by associates in New York, particularly for more senior associates.When it comes to bonus, however, the Big Apple is still king.
The breakdowns of bonus and base compensation, after the jump.

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Sure, it might feel really good to (1) bite your ex-boyfriend on the arm, hand and ear; (2) hold a butcher knife to his head; and (3) threaten to kill him. Just imagine how satisfying that bunny-boiling must have been for Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) in Fatal Attraction.
But if there’s any truth to the allegations against Arizona law student, former judicial extern, and ex-beauty queen Kumari Fulbright, and if her experience is at all representative, it won’t do wonders for your looks:
Kumari Fulbright Arizona law student beauty queen Above the Law blog.jpg
More about the alleged misadventures of the Fulbright scholar — who was indicted last month on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, among other things — below the fold (i.e., click on the “Continue reading” link below).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Beauty Tip: Don’t Kidnap and Torture Your Ex-Boyfriend (Especially If You Are a Former Beauty Queen)”

Britney Spears VMA girlfriend still looks good all you haters.jpgAnd now, no lawyers? From the AP:

Britney Spears’ lawyers in her custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline are quitting. The law firm Trope and Trope asked a court Wednesday to be relieved as Spears’ attorneys. The firm says there’s been a “breakdown” in communication with the pop princess that makes representing her “impossible,” according to the filing, obtained by CelebTV.com.

Structured finance lawyers, it’s time to put down those securitization agreements and pick up Us Weekly. Representing the embattled pop star is a growing practice area:

On a separate legal front, an attorney for Spears wants the city attorney’s office to prove that the pop star is a permanent California resident and is subject to state laws that require her to have a valid California driver’s license.

Spears faces up to a year of probation if convicted in a misdemeanor case of driving without a valid license, a charge to which she has pleaded not guilty. The case stems from a videotaped fender-bender in a parking lot in August. A hit-and-run charge has been dismissed.

Spears attorney J. Michael Flanagan earlier Wednesday requested that prosecutors be required to demonstrate that Spears, who owns homes in Louisiana and Florida, intends to make Los Angeles her permanent legal home.

Of course she does — Britney Spears is the quintessential Californian.
Now if only the judicial system would just leave… Britney… alone!!!

Spears’ Lawyers Ask to Quit Custody Case [Associated Press]

Shawn Hynes Shawn T Hynes Cleary Gottlieb Above the Law blog.jpgAs the old adage goes, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And there is some anecdotal evidence in support of that proposition. See, e.g., Elana Glatt / Elana Elbogen (depending upon how you view the merits of her case against her wedding florist).
Here’s another example of what can happen when Biglaw litigators represent themselves. From TaxProf Blog:

The Tax Court today decided Hynes v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2008-1 (1/2/08), a case involving Shawn T. Hynes, a fifth year securities litigation associate in Cleary Gottlieb’s New York City office. The taxable year at issue was 2003, when Hynes was a Penn 3L (he tranferred to Penn after completing his first year at Oregon).

More about the facts of Shawn Hynes’s case, and how he got benchslapped by the Tax Court, after the jump.

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John Hagler Judge John B Hagler Above the Law blog.jpgLast month, Judge John B. Hagler, a state court judge in Tennessee, stepped down from the bench. Here’s why, from the AP:

A Tennessee judge resigned last month after making a recording of fantasies so lurid that when the tape fell into the hands of the police and FBI, they thought they were listening to a torture session and believed it might be linked to a murder case.

Police have cleared the judge in the murder case. But a hearing started yesterday over whether they must release the tape.
So, pray tell, what exactly is this tape about?

“It sounded like someone being tortured,” Chattanooga police Sgt. Alan Franks testified Wednesday, offering the first details of what is on the tape.

Franks said the recording was investigated in relation to a still-unsolved 1997 murder. He gave no other details on the murder case.

“The content was so shocking. I have been a police officer for 24 years,” Franks said before his testimony was cut off by an objection.

Well! What does Judge Hagler have to say for himself?

Hagler said that he had done nothing wrong but that the recording had caused great embarrassment to friends, family and the courts. Hagler, who is 65 and married, has been a circuit judge in Cleveland, Tenn., since 1990 and served three terms as president of the Tennessee Trial Judges Association.

“The description of it as containing ‘graphic fantasies’ … is an accurate and sufficient description and all any decent person would want to hear of it,” the judge said in a statement.

Should we be troubled by the trend of excessively scrutinizing the unorthodox sexual practices of judges? See also Judge Herman Thomas, aka the Spanking Judge, who resigned a few months ago.
Aren’t judges entitled to be a little kinky too? If judges have to worry about their personal lives being placed under the microscope, will the state and federal benches lose out on potentially talented jurists, who just happen to have a little sumthin sumthin going on under those robes?
Update: More coverage, from the ABA Journal.
Tenn. judge resigns over fantasies tape [Associated Press]
Ex-Judge Fights Release of Lurid Audiotape [ABA Journal]

* DOJ initiates criminal probe into destruction of CIA tapes. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* DC fires lawyer in SCOTUS gun control case. [The BLT via WSJ Law Blog]
* Geragos argues SF zoo delayed help for tiger victims. [MSNBC]
* Same sex divorces raise new legal issues. [Washington Post]
* Man in charge of Portugal’s smoking ban lights up on first day of ban. [MSNBC]

In a matter of hours, voting will end in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 contest. ATL is competing in the Gossip category. If you’d like to vote for us, or one of the other fine gossip blogs in the category, just click here.
We have a decent-sized lead, so we’re not going for the hard sell. In contrast, over in the Generally Speaking category, a fierce battle is raging between Overlawyered and Quizlaw — separated by about 30 votes, out of over 3,000 cast. Check out their respective plugs here and here, replete with “last-second dirty tricks.” Because no legal blog contest is complete without eleventh-hour chicanery — the stakes are too darn high.
As one blog contest draws to a close, another gets underway. Nominations are now being accepted for the Eighth Annual Weblog Awards (aka the 2008 Bloggies). There’s no “law” category (and, as of this year, no “Best African or Middle Eastern Weblog” or “Best Craft Weblog” category — may they rest in peace). But if you’re feeling nice, feel free to nominate ATL for either “Best Gossip Blog” or “Best Topical Blog.”
And here is yet another blog contest (because you can never have too many blog contests). It takes the form of today’s featured job survey, brought to you by ATL and Lateral Link:
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
The ABA Journal Blawg 100 [ABA Journal]
The ABA Journal Blawg 100: Gossip [ABA Journal]
Eighth Annual Weblog Awards: 2008 Bloggies [official website]

Greenberg Traurig logo Above the Law blog.gifFrom the year-end message of Cesar L. Alvarez, CEO of Greenberg Traurig (one of our favorite firms here at ATL — see, e.g., here, here and here):

I had a few thoughts for 2007 and 2008 that I would like to share as my year-end message.

First, 2007. As of today, Sunday, December 30, 2007, we have collected $313.5 million during our collection drive and expect to collect approximately $16.5 million on Monday, the 31st, to reach $330 million for our December collection drive. Although we expect to be short by $10 million of our goal, this is still a great accomplishment when you consider the housing situation, the subprime issues and the dislocation of the credit markets that prevented a number of deals from being completed this year.

Read the rest of Cesar Alvarez’s message — in which he spreads holiday cheer doom and gloom, jawboning down associate compensation expectations — after the jump.

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associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgSince our last compilation of bonus news, which was issued before the holiday, we’ve received some new announcements. Some of them have been mentioned already in the comments, but have not yet appeared on the main page.
But we have verified them, and they are legit. So, for the record, here they are:
1. Dechert (New York): Memo after the jump. The email to New York associates was forwarded to Philadelphia associates, “[i]n the spirit of working on improving communications across the firm.” (Read: “So you don’t find out about it from one of those darn blogs first.”)
2. Mayer Brown (Chicago, Palo Alto, Washington, DC): Memo after the jump. In a nutshell, the bonuses “will be consistent with the amounts paid for 2006 work. In addition, a further discretionary bonus may be awarded to associates who have made contributions to the Firm significantly beyond expectations.”
3. Morrison & Foerster (New York): Memo after the jump. Market-level year-end and special bonuses “will be paid to all New York associates who progress with their salary class based on their annual evaluation and who are in good standing and employed with the Firm when the bonuses are paid.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: A Post-Holiday Round-Up”

clock.gifOver the break, a reader sent us this article, accompanied by a quip: “Looks like BigLaw is funding some new research.”
Our first reaction: A brain chemical you snort to replace sleep? It’s called “cocaine.”
But today we have a second reaction: Would such research, if funded by Biglaw, be a waste of time? Law firm associates — and partners — sacrifice sleep to rack up billable hours. But is the billable hour on the way out?
Over at Slate, in a piece entitled “How to Kill the Billable Hour,” Lisa Lerer writes:

[C]riticisms [of the billable hour] lobbed by academics, associates, and bloggers have had a negligible impact. Making such a significant change takes a more powerful force in law firm life: the client. And now, finally, the companies that pay millions in hourly rates are striking back, forcing their law firms to cut some tough, nonhourly fee deals. If anyone can tame the billable beast, it’s the clients who feed it….

Cisco, Pitney Bowes, Caterpillar, and several other large corporations have begun to force their law firms into alternative billing arrangements. The companies push flat fees and volume-based discounts, and ban young associates from working on their business, hoping to avoid paying through the nose for work that could be done more cheaply by paralegals or temp lawyers. They say that by eradicating or at least limiting hourly rates, they avoid cost creep, cut their bills, and better predict their expenses.

Writes an ATL reader who works at a prominent New York law firm: “Great. Now it won’t matter that I bill 2500 hours a year.”
A little more, on the other side of the rainbow.

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