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* New accounting rules for M&A. [DealBook]
* Lilly contemplates $1 billion payment to settle civil and criminal investigations relating to its marketing of Zyprexa. [New York Times]
* NYPD officer accused of pimping child. [MSNBC]
* Ex-priest jailed for murder via exorcism. [CNN]
* Indiana man arrested for making his own crosswalk. [The Indy Channel]
* Nader takes steps toward another run for the presidency in 2008. [Bloomberg]

Brianne Gorod Justice Stephen Breyer Above the Law blog.jpgWe bring you an addendum to Monday’s post about the latest in Supreme Court clerk hiring. And we’re pleasantly surprised to see that we have this news before Wikipedia.
Recently hired to clerk for Justice Stephen G. Breyer in October Term 2008: Brianne Gorod, currently in the D.C. office of O’Melveny & Myers. Gorod is a 2005 Yale Law grad and a former clerk to the judicial tag team of Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) and Robert A. Katzmann (2d Cir.).
Those who obsessively follows SCOTUS clerk hiring know that Judges Rakoff and Katzmann have jointly sent clerks to the Court before. But contrary to some rumors, they’re not always a “package deal” when it comes to hiring (although there is a significant degree of overlap among their current and former clerks).
Judge Katzmann prefers to hire individuals who have clerked on the district court (or have some other kind of post-law school work experience), so he regularly turns to Judge Rakoff, for whom he has a great deal of respect, as a source of clerkly talent. Judge Katzmann sometimes also helps promising applicants to his own chambers to secure interviews with Judge Rakoff. Conversely, Judge Rakoff also refers and sends clerks to Judge Katzmann, as well as to other Second Circuit judges, and he has also hired some clerks after Second Circuit clerkships. In short, both judges think it’s valuable for people to have both district and circuit clerkship experiences, and they try to help make that happen for their clerks. But they don’t hire 100 percent of their clerks jointly.
The current tally of OT 2008 SCOTUS clerks, with Brianne Gorod added, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Justice Breyer’s Final Hire
(And a Digression on Judges Katzmann and Rakoff)”

* Think of this as a compendium of Lawyers and Judges of the Day. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Speaking of judges who do embarrassing things, a Canadian judge insisted that an HIV-positive witness testify while wearing a mask. The judge also “moved the case to a bigger courtroom in order to create more distance between the witness and the bench.” [Toronto Star]
* D.C. power lawyer Robert Bennett has a new memoir coming out — plus a really cute dog! [Washingtonian]
* News you can use, with Super Bowl parties looming: double-dipping in a communal bowl of dip really is gross. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Federal judges to apply their judicial skills to reviewing submissions in the ACS’s Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition. Deadline is February 15; contest details here. [ACS Blog]


Any trial judge with the Gall to benchslap the Supreme Court has a serious set of cojones.
Accordingly, Judge Richard Kopf (D. Neb.) — who sent beer to Professor Doug Berman, as recently noted — is our Judge of the Day. See links collected below.
We agree with Tony Mauro: Judge Kopf’s irreverent “top 10″ list of lessons learned from the high court’s sentencing jurisprudence is “a provocative jaw-dropper that may get Kopf scratched off the holiday card list at the Supreme Court.”
Judge Kopf’s “Top Ten” take on SCOTUS sentencing work [Sentencing Law and Policy]
The Top Ten Things I Learned from Apprendi, Blakely, Booker, Rita, Kimbrough, and Gall (PDF) [Sentencing Law and Policy]
Federal Judge’s ‘Top 10′ List Takes On Supreme Court’s Sentencing Decisions [Legal Times]
Richard G. Kopf bio [Federal Judicial Center]

Audi A8 car Tomas Delgado Spain Above the Law blog.jpgThe rain in Spain falls mainly on… a**holes? Well, only if most Spaniards are like Tomas Delgado — and we’re guessing (and hoping) they’re not.
After all, since chutzpah like this doesn’t come along often. Our latest Lawsuit of the Day hails from Spain, via CNN:

A Spanish businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury car.

Tomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy’s parents to pay him €20,000 ($29,400) on the grounds that the collision that killed their teenage son also damaged his Audi A-8.

After public outrage ensued, Delgado dropped the suit — but was none too happy about it:

The businessman had insisted in a recent television interview that he was a victim, too. He was not present for a court hearing Wednesday. His lawyer told the court that Delgado felt that the extensive publicity amounted to a public lynching.

A high-tech lynch mob for an uppity Audi driver. Who was reportedly driving 107 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Who hit the boy from behind, according to the boy’s father, and “dragged [him] 106 meters (347 feet) along a rural highway.”
Read more in the full article (which includes an interesting digression about how quickly you need to file your notice of appeal in Spanish courts; their appeal periods make ours look like an eternity).
Driver drops bid to sue family of boy he killed [CNN]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgHere are a few quick updates on the associate bonus front:
1. Wilson Sonsini: On Monday night, the firm issued a long and complicated memo, which we’ve posted in all its glory after the jump. Since we haven’t taken math since high school calculus, it went a bit over our head.
General reaction to the WSGR bonus news was less than positive. From one tipster: “My friends there are pretty pissed in light of Latham’s bonuses.” From another:

“Some constituent groups (those with low hours) are happy. Other groups (people who work for a living) are less happy. All associates outside of New York are upset that New York special bonuses were paid without a minimum hours requirement.”

Under the WSGR bonus system, in certain class years, a lawyer in New York who billed 500 hours less than her counterpart outside New York could wind up with a bigger bonus.
2. Akin Gump (Washington, DC): On rather short notice — the email went out at around 1 p.m., announcing a meeting at 5 p.m. — a meeting to talk about bonuses was held on Monday in the D.C. office of Akin Gump. Here’s the bottom line:

[T]he gist was that bonuses “ranged from $1,000 to 75,000,” which basically means that if you are a first year (or any associate who started in the fall) you got $1,000, and the most senior associates who are most valued got $75,000. Associates were also told that the average was $25,000. This was not broken down by class year, hours, or any other details that may tell you whether you’ll be compensated well or terribly.

Lovely. Guess they think transparency is overrated
3. Quinn Emanuel: At Quinn Emanuel, in contrast, management is fairly transparent, and communication is relatively open (at least by Biglaw standards). How many senior partners of major law firms write open letters to ATL, as John Quinn did recently?
Anyway, two pieces of news. First, yesterday QE gave supplemental bonuses today to laterals, recalculating how they pro-rated (a subject of prior controversy). Second, they provided some information — albeit not terribly specific information — about billable hours and 2008 bonuses. Memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Wilson Sonsini, Akin Gump (DC), Quinn Emanuel”

Harvard Law Review small Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgLast year, we ran a popular series of posts on the Harvard Law Review (click here and scroll down, to the posts marked with a mushroom cloud over Gannett House). The gist of the coverage, as described by one of our sources, was that the Review’s new, left-leaning leadership “is running the journal into the ground with a cabal of radical ideologues, making the outgoing editors nervous about the future reputation of the journal.”
We got some flak for our HLR coverage. But in view of what the Review is publishing these days, as discussed extensively in the blogosphere last week — see, e.g., the Volokh Conspiracy and PrawfsBlawg — we can’t help gloating. Just a little.
Harvard Law Review on Punitive Damages and the 14th Amendment [Volokh Conspiracy]
Cruel and Unusual? On the Harvard Law Review’s Case Comment on Philip Morris [PrawfsBlawg]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the Harvard Law Review

Beth Modica Elizabeth Modica prosecutor sex teenage boys Above the Law blog.jpgFor Monday’s Lawyer of the Day, we faced an embarrassment of riches — of embarrassment. So we nominated a quintet of contenders: a North Carolina lawyer caught reading Maxim in court, a former prosecutor who allegedly had sex with two teenage boys, an AUSA arrested on DUI charges, a Canadian lawyer/politician who allegedly overbilled an order of nuns, and a Chicago lawyer who keyed a Marine’s car. Then we had you vote on who should take the honors.
Participation was enthusiastic, with almost 1,300 votes cast. Two contenders emerged early in the voting: Beth Modica, the allegedly predatory prosecutrix, and Jay Grodner, who pleaded guilty to keying the Marine’s vehicle. Competition was fierce. But in the end, Mrs. Modica came out on top.
So congratulations, Beth Modica. You take the prize as Monday’s Lawyer of the Day!
Read more about her alleged misadventures, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day, People’s Choice: Beth Modica”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGNo, seriously. Despite the perception of Biglaw partners as fat cats, some of them, at least in their early years, take home less than the senior associates who toil under them. From an article in the Legal Times by Nathan Carlile (whose work we’ve always admired, even before he wrote this nice profile of us):

[T]he most recent round of associate pay hikes has edged senior associates ever closer to junior partner pay rates. In fact, in some cases, senior associates can come out ahead of partners — particularly if the firm has a nonequity tier.

Here’s just one example: At Arent Fox, Chairman Marc Fleischaker says senior associates can earn as much as $280,000 in base salary and — if they meet targets for generating business — an additional $100,000 in bonuses. Total: $380,000. First-year nonequity partners start off with a pay rate of $310,000. But they subtract $20,000 to cover their own benefits. Their total: $290,000.

Additional excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stop Yer Whining, Senior Associates. You Could Be Making More Than the Partners!”

In previous ATL / Lateral Link surveys, we’ve discovered that a surprising number of you worked over Christmas or New Year’s, and that many of you crave a better work environment or better hours.
So, as we look forward to the Superbowl and tomorrow night’s Lost premiere and the crowning of ATL’s Lawyer of the Year (not necessarily in that order), we can’t help but wonder: how many of you will actually be in the office instead of celebrating?
Today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey takes a wistful look back at the cancelled plans of yesteryear.
[Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.]
Whatever your responses, you can look forward to this: tomorrow we’ll announce both the ATL Lawyer of the Year and your Second Favorite Blog After ATL. For that latter contest, we’re adding in Blogonaut after receiving at least seventy write-in ballots. Sure, they were all from one person so most of them didn’t count, but they were committed. (Thanks also to those of you who wrote in The Associate Pirate (Arr is for Resume!), but I’m recusing myself from this one. It’s not so much the potential conflict of interest as the fear that my blog would get beat up by taxgirl‘s blog.)

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

John Edwards Rudy Giuliani Rudolph Giuliani Above the Law blog.JPGOfficial announcements haven’t been made yet, but they’re imminent. Two prominent attorneys are about to drop out of the presidential race: former U.S. Attorney and Associate Attorney General Rudy Giuliani, and super-successful trial lawyer John Edwards.
Random factoid: Giuliani and Edwards both attended top law schools, NYU and UNC – Chapel Hill, respectively. These schools are respectively ranked #4 and #36 by U.S. News. [FN1]
But the remaining candidates who happen to be lawyers went to Harvard (Barack Obama and Mitt Romney) and Yale (Hillary Clinton). These two schools, national institutions for many years, are ranked #2 and #1, respectively.
Loyola 2L claims to be “retired” from the blogosphere. But if here were still around, he might wonder aloud: Are American voters “tier-ist”?
P.S. And who cares about these stupid rankings anyway? A number of top law schools may be overrated.
[FN1] And the law school rankings didn’t exist back when Edwards and Giuliani attended.
Update: First, it appears that some of you have misread this post. We doubt that many voters know or care about where a candidate went to law school. We just (1) pointed out a “random factoid,” and (2) suggested that people who are obsessed with law school rankings, like Loyola 2L, might try to read something into this.
Second, from an observant tipster:

“It might be worth noting that according to the exit polls the most influential lawyer yesterday was none of the ones you mentioned.”

“Rather it was T3 graduate Gov. Charlie Crist (Cumberland Law), whose endorsement seemed to boost McCain past Romney while at the same time destroying any hope Rudy had since Rudy had been courting Crist for weeks.”

McCain Wins; Giuliani Set to Drop Out [New York Times]
John Edwards to Quit Presidential Race [AP]
The Most Overrated Law Schools: A Student Perspective [TaxProf Blog]
Which top school do law students think is most overrated in US News? [Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]
Earlier: One Fewer Lawyer in the Presidential Race

* “T.Owes.” [ESPN]
* Rebates to $500? [CNN]
* AG Mukasey won’t label waterboarding. [MSNBC]
* Sen. McCain wins Florida, Rudy to bow out. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Federal inquiry into stolen artifacts expands. [New York Times]
* Margaret Truman, only child of President Truman and author of mysteries set at the Supreme Court and the FBI, RIP. [AP]

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