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Barack Obama small Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.JPGThat’s the subject of our column in this week’s New York Observer.
Today, of course, is Super Tuesday. And based on early returns, it appears that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is having a sensational evening. Maybe this could have been predicted, based on how many lawyers we spoke with tried to claim that their own firms were the Biglaw version of Barack — and how many lawyers tried to avoid having their firms tagged as Hillary.
You can read the full column, in which we pick the Biglaw embodiments of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Ron Paul, by clicking here.
Update (1:00 AM): First, it seems that the early returns may have been misleading. Barack Obama had a strong evening, but not a “sensational” one (since he lost California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts).
Second, we have some egg on our face with respect to Mike Huckabee, whom we treat dismissively in the column. We reported and wrote the piece well before Huckabee won a surprisingly high number of states tonight.
N.Y. Law Firms Wanna be Just Like Obama [New York Observer]

Opposite of Love Julie Buxbaum Above the Law blog.jpg* Lawyers, enough with the animal ads already. The latest offender: Day Pitney. [copyranter]
* If you’re a Biglaw associate dreaming of making your escape via book deal, here’s some inspiration for you. [New York Daily News]
* Celebrity law professors support Obama. [Lessig Blog]
* But staffers at a prominent Mexican restaurant here in D.C. support Hillary. ¡Olé! [Huffington Post]

WSJ Law Blog Peter Lattman Dan Slater Above the Law blog.jpgIt looks like we have someone new to compete with the next time a Biglaw associate sues her wedding florist — or someone new to shamelessly lift stories from, when we lose the race to the keyboard.
The Wall Street Journal’s longtime legal blogger, the super-talented Peter Lattman, is abandoning the legal blogosphere, where his presence will be sorely missed. He’s moving over to the print side, to cover the world of private equity for the newspaper (which, it should be noted, he wrote for frequently during his time as a blogger). Lattman’s shoes will be filled by Dan Slater, another lawyer turned journalist, who will introduce himself to the readership tomorrow.
Congratulations to Messrs. Lattman and Slater on their new gigs!
Breaking News: The Law Blog Passes the Torch [WSJ Law Blog]

email e-mail small message microsoft outlook Above the Law.JPGOr triple check, or quadruple check. Especially when one of the lawyers involved in the case has the same last name as a New York Times reporter.
Assuming the email system in question was Microsoft Outlook, we imagine the panicked Pepper Hamilton lawyer trying to invoke the amusingly ineffectual “Recall” function (à la Judge Marsha Berzon).
Also, we’re thinking of getting our last name legally changed to “Boies.”
Update: As it turns out, Alex Berenson and Brad Berenson are cousins. Small world!
Further Update: This post is subject to a quasi-correction / clarification. See here.
Still Further Update: Actually, the quasi-correction may itself require correction (or at least clarification). See here.
What’s in a Name? Alex Berenson (the crusading reporter) vs. Bradford Berenson (the high-powered attorney). [Starkman & Associates]
Lilly’s $1 Billion E-Mailstrom [Portfolio]
How to Recall an E-mail in Microsoft Outlook [eHow.com]

Greenberg Traurig logo Above the Law blog.gifRemember the long-winded, slightly ridiculous year-end message of Cesar L. Alvarez, CEO of Greenberg Traurig? It was interpreted in some quarters as drawing a line in the sand on associate pay raises. Not surprisingly, ATL commenters had a field day with it.
The Daily Business Review, in this interesting piece by Alana Roberts, followed up with the firm about it. Here’s the money quote:

Alvarez told the Daily Business Review that the salary freeze at Miami-based Greenberg is for equity shareholders only….

Really? That seems odd, since the memo spoke in terms of controlling “costs,” and when one talks about costs, one usually thinks of associate salaries (as opposed to the firm profits that flow to shareholders or partners). But whatever.
Also, it seems Cesar Alvarez was irritated by the memo’s appearance on ATL:

Alvarez said his memo was widely distributed because of his policy of keeping everyone at the firm informed about the firm’s business and expressed some annoyance with the leak.

“It was confidential to the firm,” Alvarez said. “Somebody’s decided to send it outside the firm, but that’s the way life goes nowadays. I’m not the least embarrassed that this went out of the firm.”

He’s right: “that’s the way life goes nowadays.” So just cut out the middleman, and send your internal memos to us directly next time.
Business of Law: Greenberg Traurig braces for a tough 2008 [Daily Business Review]
Earlier: Is This A Law Firm, or the Salvation Army? Greenberg Traurig Launches ‘Collection Drive’ (and Hints at No More Pay Raises)

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgHow can law firm administrators get associates to enter their time on time? Here’s one idea: link time entry to those beloved bonuses.
From a source at Dechert:

Attached is an email that all the attorneys at Dechert LLP received today regarding associate bonuses and potential penalties. According to the policy outlined below, an associate’s bonus may be reduced by up to 10% due to the late submission of billable time over the past year. I thought this might be of some interest to your readers.

We agree. Might this become a Biglaw trend? Nagging emails about timely time entry are easily ignored. Slashing bonuses, on the other hand, tends to grab associates’ attention.
In fairness to the firm, it’s worth noting that the policy is not super-draconian. Most of the bonus reductions were under 5 percent, and delinquent associates have the opportunity to redeem themselves: “[E]very associate whose 2007 bonus is reduced will have the opportunity to earn the amount of bonus reduction back, if he or she remains in good standing and complies fully with our time-recording policy in 2008.”
Check out the full memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Dechert Docks Associates for Dilatory Billables”

Is Michael Ray a modern-day Clarence Earl Gideon? From the AP:

While other prisoners are lifting weights or playing basketball, Michael Ray is working 40 hours a week, his head buried in legal texts and journals. Over the years, the jailhouse lawyer has helped dozens of fellow inmates file appeals, sometimes with success.

But recently Ray secured an achievement rarely seen by even the most experienced of attorneys on the outside: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in one of his cases.

Quips a tipster: “I wonder how many associates would get more appellate experience if they just got convicted of a felony or two.”
A little more discussion — as well as a shout-out to another pseudo-lawyer with criminal tendencies, Brian Valery — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Jailhouse Lawyer of the Day: Michael Ray
(Plus an update on ‘fake lawyer’ Brian Valery)”

Sports and the Law Above the Law blog.jpg[Ed. note: This is the second column by ATL's new sports columnist, Marc Edelman. You can read more about Marc, and check last week's inaugural column (in case you missed it), by clicking here.]
Twenty-one year old South African runner Oscar Pistorius had his heart set on running the 400-meter event at the 2008 Summer Olympics. However, on January 14, the International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”) ruled that Pistorius was ineligible to compete because he has artificial legs.
According to the IAAF, Pistorius’s j-shaped carbon-fiber prosthetics (sometimes known as “cheetahs”) give him an advantage over runners with natural legs. As a result, the IAAF put the kibosh on what should have been the feel-good story of the 2008 Beijing games.
The story of Oscar Pistorius is truly remarkable. Born with a congenital disease that prevented the fibula in his legs from forming properly, Pistorius, at the age of 11 months, had both of his legs amputated below the knee. A few years later, he was fitted with his first prosthetics.
Read the rest of the column, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Oscar Pistorius’s Claim has Strong Legs to Stand on”

Today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey is inspired by Super Tuesday. We’ve included political figures in our surveys last month, and featured a major political fundraiser as a Job of the Week the month before, but on Super Tuesday, politics rise to a whole new level.
So, as Barack and Hillary go toe to toe and Romney goes Reagan to Reagan with McCain, are the political tensions seeping into the workplace?

whale tail sonar Navy AboveTheLaw blog.jpg* Three lawyers, plus one guy who likes to tell lawyer jokes, do battle in Super Tuesday: forty-three presidential nominating contests, across 24 states. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Save the whales? Federal judge reinstates sonar rules — and benchslaps the Bush Administration for trying to exempt the Navy from them. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* The trouble with tribunals (of the military kind, at Guantanamo Bay). [New York Times]
* Jury finds former Credit Suisse banker guilty of insider trading. Don’t those i-bankers make enough money? [DJ Newswires via WSJ Law Blog]
* The same goes for Biglaw partners. John J.P. Howley, a former Kaye Scholer partner who ran the firm’s pro bono program, pleads guilty to a tax charge (failure to file). [WSJ Law Blog]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgA number of you have requested, in comments and via email, a post to talk about compensation issues at Jones Day. So here you go.
We’ll kick off the discussion with this message we received:

I have recently noticed a number of postings relating to Jones Day D.C.’s lack of a bonus and non-competitive / non-transparent salary scale. For what it’s worth, a friend of mine left Jones Day as a third year associate. Compensation as a third year: $175k. My friend knew of others that were in the third year class making $175k; however, my friend knew of a few other associates making $170k, and even one third year associate that was making $160k. This was AFTER Jones Day D.C. made the move to $160k.

Talk about compression, $5k between a first year and third year. Maybe some of these Jones Day posters do have something to gripe about?

We don’t really know, due to Jones Day’s overall lack of transparency when it comes to associate compensation (beyond the first year). But let’s try and find out what the deal is. If you have associate compensation information about Jones Day, including but not limited to the Washington D.C. office, please share what you know in the comments, or email us. Thanks.

* Law professor Paul Horwitz has “a PIMP cane” (apparently acquired in the medical assistance section of RiteAid). [PrawfsBlawg; Thank You Ma'am]
* Some people hate lawyers, but one lawyer in particular incites amazing hatred. Opines law prof Stanley Fish: “The closest analogy [to Hillary-hating] is to anti-Semitism.” [Think Again]
* A weird link sent to us by a tipster. “This has absolutely nothing to do with the law, but we use computers a lot, and this is a new way to clean computer screens.” [SmoothNarketplace]
* Blawg Review #145: The Super Bowl Edition. [What About Clients via Blawg Review]

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