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* The war on punitive damages continues. [USA Today via How Appealing]
* Suspect from Burning Man burning to burn something else. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Senators want clarification from Mukasey on waterboarding. [Jurist]
* Lerach pleads guilty. [Los Angeles Times]
* Do we have a de facto moratorium on executions pending this term’s SCOTUS lethal injection case? We should find out today. [New York Times]

animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFIt’s very early, but it’s true: Cravath, Swaine & Moore announced bonuses today!!! Here are the numbers:
Class of 2007 — Year end bonus $35,000 (prorated), no special bonus
Class of 2006 — Year end $35,000, special $10,000
Class of 2005 — Year end $40,000, special $15,000
Class of 2004 — Year end $45,000, special $20,000
Class of 2003 — Year end $50,000, special $30,000
Class of 2002 — Year end $55,000, special $40,000
Class of 2001 — Year end $60,000, special $50,000
Class of 2000 — Year end $60,000, special $50,000 (same as 2001)
Cravath Swaine Moore LLP Above the Law blog.JPGUpdate (5:05 PM):

1. No official comment from the firm (we called their spokesperson), but this news is solid. It has been confirmed for us by multiple sources at Cravath, by phone and by email.

2. As noted in the comments, the “special” bonuses will be paid in November (on November 9, to be exact). The year-end bonuses will be paid in December.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGUpdate (5:40 PM): If you’d like to compare this bonus table to what Cravath (and pretty much everyone else in New York) paid last year, you can check out the 2006 CSM bonus memo over here. As you can see, the year-end bonuses for this year and last year are basically the same; it’s just that this year, there are “special” bonuses that take total compensation higher.
Also, recall that the base salaries in effect in December 2006 were lower than current base salaries. The Simpson Thacher-led move to $160K didn’t happen until January 2007. So between the higher base salaries and the “special” bonuses, CSM associates this year are significantly better off than last year’s batch.
As for timing, last year’s Cravath bonus memo was issued on December 11, 2006. So this year’s bonus announcement comes quite early in the season. The 2006 bonus season was kicked off by Milbank, which announced on December 8, 2006.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch [2006]: A Real Milbank Bonus Announcement
Associate Bonus Watch [2006]: Cravath Announced; Cadwalader Rumored
Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!
Related: Associate Bonus Watch 2007 archives (scroll down)

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGAnother day, another report of problems for Heller Ehrman. As usual, the bad news comes not from ATL, but from an MSM source — so don’t accuse us of making this stuff up. We’re just piggybacking on our friends in the print media.
From the Legal Times:

Like a California Beemer spinning its wheels in Potomac River swampland, San Francisco-based Heller Ehrman just can’t seem to gain traction in Washington.

Last year, the firm’s D.C. head count grew by only one attorney. This year, the office is down eight, from 57 attorneys to 49, a 14 percent decline….

[T]here are also signs of trouble firm-wide. Earlier this month the firm suffered two major losses. Partner Patricia Gillette, who helped anchor Heller’s San Francisco office, jumped to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Gillette, who was a co-chairwoman of the labor and employment practice, brought another partner and four associates with her. Jerry Marks, Heller’s former Los Angeles managing partner, has signed on at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy. In September, the firm also laid off 65 support staff members.

Though the 700-lawyer Heller is still considered a solid firm, its recent losses and its moribund Washington numbers have some observers wondering what is ailing the California power.

Is the Legal Times making a mountain out of a molehill? Or is Heller’s D.C. office — located just down the street from us, with a gigantic silver sign over the door — really in trouble?
Firm Has D.C. Discontent [Legal Times (subscription)]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Heller Ehrman (scroll down)

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSure, the U.S. Department of Justice has some issues right now. But a great many talented and dedicated people still work for the DOJ — and aspire to work there:

You should do a fall recruiting thread on the DOJ Honors Program. Interviews are happening for the next [few] weeks. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of and get information from interviewees, as well as current and former DOJ attorneys. What do you say?

We say: Sure! Here’s the thread you’ve requested. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Honors Program, here’s a description:

The Attorney General’s Honors Program

The highly competitive Honors Program is only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys. Selection for employment is based on many elements of a candidate’s background including academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time legal employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

More details, including eligibility requirements and a timeline, are available here.

To get things started, we toss out a few possible topics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: DOJ Honors Program”

Elizabeth Wurtzel 2 Prozac Nation Above the Law blog.JPGWhen we previously wrote about author-turned-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel, whom we honored as a Summer Associate of the Day, you had some strong reactions. Now Ms. Wurtzel, a Yale Law School student who summered at WilmerHale, is in the news once again. We expect no shortage of reader opinions.
Wurtzel is the subject of a generally flattering profile in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. It’s quite interesting; read it in full here. This struck us as the money quote (quite literally):

Although Ms. Wurtzel received a $500,000 advance for her second book, “Bitch” (and half of that for “More, Now, Again”), she took out loans to pay for her education. Yale’s law school tuition this year is $43,750.

“I’m badly in debt,” she said. “It’s got to be in the six figures.” Ms. Wurtzel has until Nov. 15 to take up WilmerHale’s job offer. She also has an essay collection in the works but no publisher yet.

We realize cocaine is expensive, but we still don’t understand how authors can blow (haha) through six-figure advances so quickly. What next? Will Jessica Cutler, who recently declared bankruptcy, matriculate at Harvard Law School?
Discussion resumes after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elizabeth Wurtzel: All Grown Up Now”


A brief tour of things we don’t have room to explore in this double edition of LEWW:
- This bride is foxy and forty-eight; this bride is twenty-six and hyper-annoying.
- Some MoFo lesbians have made a match of it.
- Graduating cum laude from Harvard wins you admission to a tier-4 law school.
But on to our five featured couples:

1.) Isabel Gillies and Peter Lattman
2.) Lisa Rosenberg and Jonathan Goldin
3.) Ceara Donnelley and Nathan Berry
4.) Jessica Sebeok and Scott Shuchart
5.) Deneta Howland and Bryan Sells

More about the nominees, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 10.14 and 10.21: Plantation, All I Ever Wanted”

Donald Marvin Jones Professor D Marvin Jones Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve written a fair amount about D. Marvin Jones, the University of Miami law professor who has been accused of soliciting an undercover officer for sex. He allegedly offered her a tantalizing $20 for her services.

But a picture is worth a thousand words. And a picture is what’s been making the rounds among UM students and alumni, via email. The tipster who sent the graphic to us introduced it as follows:

I graduated from UM Law (embarrassing, I know)…. [But] I actually have a job.

I hate UM. After [redacted] for undergrad, UM Law was a joke. I’m embarrassed that I went here.

Anyway, this pic is amazing. Please publish it. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s awesome.

Now, we realize that Professor Jones is a popular figure on the UM Law campus. We acknowledge that he merely stands accused of wrongdoing; he hasn’t been convicted of anything. And we know that many ATL readers have rather delicate sensibilities, especially for the readers on an online legal tabloid. If you’re highly sensitive to criticism of Professor Jones, or if you are easily offended, then please stop reading here.

But if you have no particular attachment to Professor Jones, and if you have a reasonably high tolerance for irreverent, crass, politically incorrect humor, then check out what lies after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Nutty Professor: A Commemorative Graphic”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgHow quickly times have changed. A little over a month ago, Thacher Proffitt & Wood couldn’t hire people fast enough. At Boston University School of Law, they relaxed their traditional on-campus interview standards, to try and get people through the door. From a BU tipster:

“Thacher Proffitt & Wood’ lowers standards — see below. Maybe Loyola 2L can get an interview with them, if he has a 3.9 at Loyola.”

Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 17:38:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: [BU recruiting]
Subject: Thacher Proffitt & Wood Resume Collection Still Open

There is still time to submit your resume to Thacher Proffitt & Wood’s resume collection on Symplicity. Hiring criteria: Minimum of a 3.4 and a journal is preferred. Only hiring in Structured Finance and Real Estate. New York Office only. If interested, please submit your resume, transcript and cover letter by NOON on Monday, September 17th through their resume collection in the “2007 Late OCI” session under the OCI tab on Symplicity.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Now, of course, structured finance and real estate ain’t looking so hot, thanks to the mortgage mess and credit crunch. Firms that are big in structured finance are struggling to keep their lawyers busy. See, e.g., McKee Nelson (previously discussed here).
More about Thacher Proffitt, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Slowdown Watch: Thacher Proffit & Wood”

Robbie Meredith Levin Robbie Levin Above the Law blog.jpgThis “news” is from last week. But we did want to mention it briefly, just for the record, since ATL strives to be a fairly comprehensive compilation of lawyer misbehavior. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Robin Meredith “Robbie” Levin, 36, of Jonesboro is charged with felony sexual exploitation of children and misdemeanor criminal attempt to contribute to the delinquency of a minor and electronically furnishing obscene materials to a minor. He faces 10 years in prison and disbarment if convicted of the felony….

Clayton County police Chief Jeff Turner said the alleged victim is the 16-year-old daughter of an employee in the county’s Indigent Defense Administration which has assigned court-appointed cases to Levin. The girl told her mother that she’d been having sexually-explicit conversations with Levin through the Internet. Turner said the girl reported the contact because she was afraid of where it was leading.

An undercover officer took on the identity of the girl to continue conversations with Levin, Turner said. The Internet contact soon included Levin performing a sexual act through a Web cam, Turner said. Levin was arrested Tuesday when he showed up at the Steak and Shake [sic] on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow to meet the officer posing as the girl, Turner said.

It’s a surprising turn of events, considering that Levin is described as a “good guy and a great lawyer” who has “represented several high-profile cases, including a gang member accused in the July 2004 shooting death of 4-year-old Travon Wilson.” Then again, it’s not inconsistent with other alleged actions of lawyers in the news lately.
(Also surprising: that Levin looks much better in a prison jumpsuit. Who would have thought that orange could be so flattering?)
Lawyer charged with sexual exploitation of colleague’s daughter [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Attorney Arrested for E-Mails to Teen []
Attorney Held in Internet Sex Case []

* Genarlow is school shopping. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution via How Appealing]
* She judges you when you use poor grammar; she has that in common with a lot of ATL readers. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Defendants in China now actually get to meet with their defense lawyers; better than Gitmo. [Jurist]
* Lawyer, Senator, President, woman. Hillary Clinton? No, not yet, but it looks like this Argentine woman is now all of those things. [BBC]
* Death sentence for fetus snatcher. [CNN]

King Spalding LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier today, King & Spalding announced the rest of its new associate pay scale, which will take effect on January 1, 2008. The firm had previously announced a starting salary for first-year associates of $145,000.
In terms of base salary, the K&S scale is similar to the Alston & Bird scale, but slightly better from year 4 through year 7 (to the tune of a few thousand dollars a year). The KS scheme also provides for a fixed bonus at 2050 billable hours (including up to 50 pro bono hours), starting at $7,500 for first years and going up to a range of $30,000-$55,000 for seventh years.
Additional bonuses, both for hours and for “significant non-billable contributions to the firm,” remain available. Memo and table, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: King & Spalding”

Hillary Clinton witch Hillary Rodham Clinton Above the Law blog.jpg* Happy Birthday, Mrs. President! Scott Shrake conducts an astrological analysis of Hillary Clinton. [Huffington Post]
* Speaking of witch, is Stephen Colbert “the best-scripted candidate this side of Hillary Clinton”? [Radar Online]
* “‘Terrorism,’ Censored Legal Briefs & The Blogosphere: Awesome Together.” [Fishbowl NY]
* Lawsuit of the Day: Mom of “Let’s Go Crazy” Baby fights back. [ABC News]
* Benchslap of the Day: federal judge tells SEC lawyer, to “sit down” and “shut up.” [WSJ Law Blog]

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