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iPhone small Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOn Friday, we reported that if you’re at Skadden, you can use your $3,000 technology allowance to buy an iPhone. We now have some clarifications about that good news.
From a Skadden source:

1. While you can use your tech allowance to buy just about anything “tech-y” at Skadden, the tech dept has made it clear that the iPhone is NOT compatible with Skadden tech infrastructure. See below [posting reproduced after the jump].

2. The iPhone isn’t excluded [from the tech allowance], but since you’re basically required to have a Blackberry for business purchases, they would likely frown on purchasing both a Blackberry (the monthly Blackberry service comes out of the tech allowance) and an iPhone (where the entire monthly phone-data package would likely be redundant).

3. What’s the point of having two devices strapped to your hip? Isn’t one enough? As soon as a reliable Blackberry client comes out for the iPhone, I think demand will force the tech folks to support the iPhone. Right now don’t even bother asking to get your Skadden email working on an iPhone.

We thank our tipster for explaining these finer points.
In the comments to our prior post, people expressed an interest in a forum for discussing workplace perks — i.e., “the fringe benefits that vary between Biglaw firms — tech allowances, book allowances, gym memberships, home loans, etc.”
We’re happy to oblige. But let’s do this in an organized way. Over the next week or so, we’ll put up a series of posts on fringe benefits, with each post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Let’s get the ball rolling. Please treat this post as the open thread for discussion of technology allowances. Thanks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Clarification About iPhones at Skadden (and Open Thread on Tech Allowances)”

Peter Barta 2 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we named Peter Barta our Lawyer of the Weekend. Here’s what he allegedly did to earn this distinction, according to the NYDN:

A nerdy legal aid lawyer used a spy camera to videotape female colleagues changing their clothes — until the women turned the tables and caught him red-handed, officials said.

Peter Barta, 32, bought a $179 gizmo from Sharper Image that looked like a desk clock but contained a motion-activated camcorder, prosecutors said.

He allegedly planted the clock in co-workers’ offices and downloaded the racy images onto a tape seized at his Queens home.

We solicited information on Peter Barta from people who know him personally. One high school classmate had this to say:

I guess I’m not surprised that he resorted to these sorts of antics; he always seemed a bit strange. So sad that it’s come down to this in his 30s!

I feel badly. He wasn’t a bad guy, but I guess he was a bit off.

Peter Barta was described in news accounts as a master debater (hehe) at New York’s elite Stuyvesant High School. Another ex-debater chimed in as follows:

Please point out to your readers that Peter Barta was a POLICY debater. Those of us who did L-D [Lincoln-Douglas] debate do NOT want the good name of our event tarnished.

If you have firsthand information about The Bartameter, please email us (subject line: “Peter Barta”). Thanks.
Update: More about Peter Barta appears here.
Earlier: Lawyer of the Weekend: Peter Barta

Chinese man China man Chinaman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThey do things differently over in China. Here in the United States, for example, we like to put cats on TV. In China, they like to eat them.
And in the Chinese city of Xiamen, they take an approach to anonymous comments on the internet that diverges from the American way. From UPI:

A Chinese city plans to ban anonymous online postings after Internet users successfully campaigned to stop completion of a chemical factory.

The ban mandates Internet users must provide proof of their real identify when posting messages on more than 100,000 Web sites registered in Xiamen, the Times of London reported Saturday.

We’re not experts on internet use in China, so please excuse our ignorance, but we don’t understand how this ban is supposed to work. How does the ban stop people from posting as “GeneralTso888″? Sure, maybe the authorities can track you down through your IP address, if you dare to post as “Hot Pork Buns” (and that is not your real name). But couldn’t they have done that even before the ban?
And if the point of the ban is to establish some penalties for posting anonymously or under a pseudonym, that also seems like a waste of time. Doesn’t China already have enough pretexts for throwing people in prison?
P.S. Yes, we’re Asian — and part Chinese, in fact.
Chinese city bans anonymous web postings [United Press International via Drudge Report]

Atlanta Georgia GA Hotlanta Big Peach Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.jpgAtlanta associates, don’t get us wrong. We are on your side. Here at ATL, we fully support the quest of associates in ATL to obtain just compensation for their law firm labors.
But it’s not a good sign when your local real estate market is going down the tubes, as suggested by an article in today’s New York Times. If you can buy a three-bedroom house for $134,000, the argument that you need a $160,000 starting salary is weakened.
And if “wages [in Atlanta] have been stagnant for much of this decade,” as the Times reports, it impairs your ability to vote with your feet — to tell your Biglaw bosses that, if salaries don’t improve, you’re going to take a different job down the street (even a non-legal one). One big factor placing upward pressure on associate salaries in New York is the need for law firms to compete with investment banks and hedge funds for talent.
Look, money isn’t everything. Working in Atlanta obviously has many non-monetary attractions.
But if more money is what you’re after, maybe you just need to move.
Increasing Rate of Foreclosures Upsets Atlanta [New York Times]

U Conn 2 University of Connecticut Bullets Bubbly pimps hos.jpg* That’s one way to have “smaller government”. [CNN]
* Maybe the jury can pick a day to wear their “pimps ‘n hos” jumpsuits. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Corzine signs New Jersey greenhouse gas legislation. [Jurist]
* So where was Hillary on Friday night? [AP]

Can you blame Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for not being more in the loop on the U.S. Attorney firings? He’s been holding down not one but TWO demanding jobs. Check out the DOJ homepage (unchanged as of this morning, despite this Friday afternoon post by Wonkette):
Alberto Gonzales FARC news release Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
If Alberto Gonzales can survive the revelation that “he” is actually a female, drug-trafficking terrorist — who may possibly be related to Wilmer Valderrama — then clearly he’s untouchable.
Meanwhile, in other Justice Department news (expect announcements later today or tomorrow):

The stylish pumps of the fabulous Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, whose last day as head of the Office of Legal Policy is today, will be filled on an acting basis by another former Kennedy clerk, Brett Gerry (OT 2000).

Congratulations to Brett Gerry on his new post. Alberto Gonzales needs all the help he can get these days.
Why Is This Man Smiling? [Wonkette]
High Ranking Member of Colombian FARC Narco-Terrorist Organization Sentenced on U.S. Drug Charges [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Why Did the Prom Queen Leave the Party?
Congratulations to Ken Wainstein (profiling Wainstein’s front office staff at NSD)

Do you know this man? His name is Peter Barta, and he’s ATL’s Lawyer of the Day Weekend. If you did what he allegedly did — see here and here (plus more links collected below) — you deserve to be honored on more than one day.
Peter Barta 1 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
We’re preparing a more detailed post on Peter Barta that we’ll publish tomorrow. Right now we are collecting information about him from people who know him personally — from high school (Stuyvesant High School in New York), law school (Georgetown Law), work (the Legal Aid Society), or any other context.
We’ve heard from a few folks, but we’re hungry for more. If you have info to share, please email us (subject line: “Peter Barta”). Thanks.
Lawyer Accused of Secretly Filming Colleagues [New York Times]
Geek took secret pix of women – officials [New York Daily News]
Legal Aid Peeping Tom: “Nice,” “Has An Attitude” [Gothamist]
Jeepers, Creepers! [WSJ Law Blog]

iPhone small Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLots of interesting debate in the comments over the wild rumor that Skadden might raise starting salaries to $195,000 before the year’s end.
Some think it’s crazy talk. Others note that it might simply mark a return to Skadden’s prior practice of paying above-market base salaries, combined with smaller year-end bonuses (designed to bring total comp for Skadden associates up to market, depending upon other firms’ year-end bonuses).
Anyway, regardless of what you think about that gossip, here’s something that’s confirmed:

tipster: interesting tidbit
ATL: I’m all ears
tipster: skadden will reimburse associates for iphone purchases from their tech allowance
ATL: oh cool!
tipster: Pretty much makes skadden associates the coolest on the planet!

Here are more details on the Skadden technology allowance, from the firm website:

The firm provides up to $3,000 to attorneys for the purchase of technology equipment at the commencement of employment. After 2 years of service, the firm provides additional allowances for the purchase of approved technology equipment.

If you’re Skadden associate, go treat yourself to five iPhones. Then send the four you don’t use to your friends at ATL.
Update: Some caveats about Skadden and iPhones appear here.
Attorneys and Law Students: FAQs [Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom]
Earlier: More Wacky Rumor-Mongering: Skadden to $195K?
Waiting for the iPhone: An iWitness Account

* If you live in Detroit (and work for the city), shouldn’t you be happy if someone wears perfume to the office? [Overlawyered]
* Even harder to sue than the AutoAdmit defendants? [The Boy Genius Report]
* “Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us.” Law enforcement is investigating. [DealBreaker]
* Paging everyone who is studying for the bar. This link is a little old — but it contains a false imprisonment hypothetical! [Quad-City Times]

Legal%20Eagle%20Wedding%20Watch%20NYT%20wedding%20announcements%20Above%20the%20Law.jpgThe NYT has served up a relatively weak batch of candidates this week. That’s okay with us; we needed to be brought down to earth after the heights of last week’s eminence-fest.
Still, a warning: There’s not an Ivy League degree to be found in this column, so those of you who are nauseated by the couplings of mere Duke-UVA grads may want to avert your eyes and ponder what a cesspool the Times has become.
Here are the finalists:

1. Jill Isaacs and Kurt Perhach
2. Jennifer DeLeonardo and Adam Frey
3. Liza Burnett and Stephen Fefferman

Read more about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 7.1.07: Lawyers, Literally”

Oona O'Connell South Beach Miami 4 small Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG[Thumbnail image. Click to enlarge. Photograph provided courtesy of Oona O'Connell.]
Today has been painfully slow, even for a Friday. Thankfully, we can always return to a subject that never fails to give a rise to our traffic: Oona O’Connell, the fabulously glamorous young lawyer who has graced the pages of Playboy.
Remember the ATL tipster who first informed us of Oona O’Connell? As you may recall, Ms. O’Connell was pretty pissed:

Oona O’Connell is my given name. It was the name my parents chose for me and I found it very hurtful to hear it described by your ignorant ‘tipster’ as coming from a ‘porn-name generator’.

After reading our recent email correspondence with Oona O’Connell, the tipster felt bad — and expressed his sentiments in an email.
Check out his message, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More on Oona O’Connell: The ‘Ignorant Tipster’ Apologizes”

In our recent post about Nina Totenberg’s poorly received graduation speech at Georgetown University Law Center, we solicited your anecdotes about her. La Nina is the Great Diva of the Supreme Court press corps, and colorful stories about her are legion.
We received a few submissions. Here’s one to get the ball rolling:

My county bar colleagues and I got sworn in to the SCOTUS bar back in [the late 1990s]. It was a real thrill. We got to meet the Clerk of Court and had a private coffee-and-danish session with Justice Ginsburg.

The thrill of it was almost ruined by seeing Nina Totenberg chewing gum in court while a couple of decisions were handed down. We’re talking chewing it like cud, Britney Spears style. I was not impressed.

And later that day, Totenberg was spotted driving down Constitution Avenue… with a baby in her lap!
We recognize, of course, that Nina Totenberg has many defenders and devoted fans — groupies, even. After all, “[d]ue of extremely high demand,” this NPR gift item — the Nina Totin’ Bag — is out of stock:
Nina Totenberg Nina Totin Bag Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Troubling. Deeply, deeply troubling.
Have a Nina Totenberg tale to tell? Send it to us by email (subject line: “Nina Totenberg”). Thanks.
The Nina Totin’ Bag [NPR Shop]
Earlier: Worst Graduation Gift: Nina Totenberg as Your Commencement Speaker

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