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Nixon Peabody LLP horrible theme song Above the Law blog.jpgAccording to the non-theme-song song (mp3) of Nixon Peabody, the firm is “the best to work with” and “the best to work for.” At NP, “it’s all about the team, it’s all about respect, it all revolves around integrity.”
And top of the line ingredients. From the Washington Post:

Big-time lawyers are pros at waiting for judges’ tough decisions, but yesterday afternoon at Nixon Peabody in the District, some may have posted fewer billable hours until results of the firm’s 19th annual cook-off were handed down.

The competition pits men against women, which could lead to actionable territory and dangerous stereotyping. Yet, it has helped build camaraderie among all departments, firm employees say, pointing to Nixon Peabody’s ranking among Fortune magazine Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, three years running.

Wow, they really milk that honor for all it’s worth! Kudos to NP’s public relations department for placing this puff piece in the Post. The firm’s PR operation has come a long way from the days when they threatened bloggers over leaked musical homages (and generated unflattering publicity for themselves).
More discussion, after the jump.

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There have been some rumblings on this blog of a slowdown in judicial clerk hiring, even as firms raise clerkship bonuses to $50K.
Today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey digs a little deeper into who is (or isn’t) hiring judicial clerks, and what their bonuses look like.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here or here for the results.

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

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpg[Ed. note: Today we bring you some "news you can use": a practical look at how political choices might affect your personal finances. This post is by Ted Frank, who blogs at and, and who has guest edited ATL in the past. Take it away, Ted.]
BigLaw lawyers love Obama. If one searches by law firm various databases on-line for campaign contributions, one sees an overwhelming sea of blue, and most of it to Obama.
But how will Obama affect BigLaw wallets? On Above the Law, we regularly see commenters threaten to abandon law firms for falling $5,000/year short of market. I therefore thought it worthwhile to examine the effects of Obama’s tax and spending plans on take-home pay.
We all know that Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts. That is a 3% bump across the board to the bad old days when associates faced a marginal federal tax rate of 36%.
But the real hidden tax is that Obama plans to end the social-security tax cap. Right now, you may notice, sometime during the summer or early fall, your take-home pay suddenly goes up because they stop deducting FICA. Current law caps social security taxes: in 2008, the cap is at $102,000. Obama proposes to abolish this. That mid-summer bump will be no more: add about several thousand dollars to your annual tax bill.
But social-security taxes are not only on employees. The government also charges 6.2% to employers that you never see on your W-2s. But rest assured the partners see this, and will notice that the expense of keeping an associate has risen several thousand dollars a year when FICA taxes double and triple. Will they swallow that additional expense, or take it out of your bonus?
Find out, after the jump (or click here).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Obama, BigLaw, and Taxes
(Or: Obama = $34,000 Paycut)”

* President pushes House on FISA. [CNN]
* EPA may exempt “toxic gases” from factory farm reporting requirements. [Washington Post]
* Congress may ask DOJ to investigate Clemens’s testimony, not McNamee’s. [New York Times]
* Ford pushing employees to accept buyout packages. [New York Times]
* UAW strikes at American Axle in MI and NY. [MSNBC]
* Five former execs found guilty in AIG fraud case. [WSJ Law Blog; New York Times]

Monica Goodling small 2 Michael Krempasky Above the Law blog.JPGThis just in: the super-fabulous Monica Goodling, one of ATL’s all-time favorite people, is engaged!
Monica Marie Goodling, of Alexandria, is engaged to be married to Michael Krempasky, of Falls Church. The wedding is planned for later this year.
The future bride, a consultant, previously served as senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and White House liaison at the U.S. Department of Justice. She graduated cum laude from Messiah College and received J.D. and M.A. degrees from Regent University.
Mr. Krempasky is a senior vice president at Edelman, a full-service, global public relations firm. He is also a founder of RedState, a leading conservative blog.
Although Monica Goodling and Mike Krempasky are a “power couple” here in Washington, their story goes back more than a decade and originates outside the Beltway. Look for more details later, either in these pages or elsewhere (e.g., their official engagement or wedding announcement).
Update: More details about their courtship appear here.
Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple! Full-size engagement photographs, exclusive to ATL, appear after the jump.

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* “Can Michigan universities use proxies for race after the ban on racial preferences?” Professor Brian Fitzpatrick answers in the negative. [PrawfsBlawg]
* ATL’s new sports columnist, Marc Edelman, gets a shout-out from Brett Trout in Blawg Review #148. [BlawgIT via Blawg Review]
* Who’s the most scandalous Filipino lawyer in America? Your undersigned blogger, of course! [Philippine Daily Inquirer via ABA Journal; Soloway]

Jack Thompson crazy Florida lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgFlorida lawyer Jack Thompson, who is completely crazy somewhat colorful, has surfaced in these pages before. But he has never been an ATL Lawyer of the Day.
With this post, we officially bestow the honor upon him. From Game Politics:

[T]he Florida Supreme Court alleged [last] week that controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson has “abused the legal system by submitting numerous frivolous and inappropriate filings in this Court.”…

The Daily Business Review reports that a December document was specifically mentioned in the Court’s show cause order (PDF) to Thompson:

“The court described one of Thompson’s recent filings in detail. [Thompson] dubbed it a ‘children’s picture book for adults,’ interspersing images with text in his motion due to ‘the court’s inability to comprehend’ his arguments.”

Seriously. Check part of the filing out by clicking here (Word document). It sure is purdy, ain’t it?
Despite that order to show cause from the Florida Supremes, Thompson is unrepentant. As he told the Daily Business Review:

I have a right to file anything I want with the court. It is beyond bizarre that they think they can tell me I can’t seek relief. They can deny relief, but they can’t tell me I can’t seek relief.

So go ahead, Jack, and file “anything [you] want” with the court. Remember the time you filed gay porn in federal court? That went over really well…
Did This Document Bring Florida Supreme Court’s Wrath Down Upon Jack Thompson? []
Anti-porn crusader may face sanctions for ‘meritless filings’ [Daily Business Review]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Jack Thompson (scroll down)

A very odd fact pattern. Attention law professors: perhaps you can use this as fodder for a final exam hypothetical?
Railroad worker files suit claiming goose attacked him [Charleston Daily Mail]

Paul Mahoney Dean Paul G Mahoney UVA Above the Law blog.jpgWe bring you some news from the University of Virginia School of Law, which last year was voted America’s Coolest Law School by the readers of Above the Law. UVA has a new dean: Professor Paul Mahoney. Congratulations, Dean-To-Be Mahoney!
Professor Mahoney, who will replace John C. Jeffries Jr. as dean when Jeffries steps down in July, has a glittering resume: MIT, Yale Law, clerkships for Judge Winter (2d Cir.) and Justice Marshall, and four years at S&C. He joined the UVA law faculty in 1990. Word on the street is that Paul Mahoney was “the internal favorite” and that “students [are] pleased” by his selection, which didn’t come as a surprise:

[H]e was widely expected to be the guy. I’m sitting in his wife’s class right now (she’s a prof here too), and not even she [Professor Julia D. Mahoney] has said anything about it. Just prattling on about bailments…

Meanwhile, while we’re training the spotlight on Charlottesville:

Journal tryouts are ongoing at UVA and presumably other law schools. This is the official Feb Club blog’s take on journal tryouts

It’s an entertaining post, characterizing journal tryouts as “a Pyramid Scheme of misery”; check it out here. Elsewhere on the Feb Club blog, a group blog devoted to the monthlong cycle of parties at UVA Law, you can find delicious photos of shirtless studs and busty babes. Check out the main page by clicking here.
Update: In other UVA-related news, Professor Michael Klarman, who is beloved by students and faculty alike, is moving to Harvard Law School.
Paul G. Mahoney—Scholar, Teacher, and Corporate Law Expert—Named University of Virginia Law School Dean [University of Virginia School of Law]
Paul G. Mahoney bio [University of Virginia School of Law]
Journal Tryouts are the Biggest Scam in the Law School [Feb Club Is Why Daddy Left]
Michael Klarman to join HLS faculty [Harvard Law School]
Earliest: Congratulations to America’s Coolest Law School: UVA!

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe tend to emphasize Biglaw over the in-house world here at ATL. When we do talk about in-house lawyers, it’s often in the context of their complaining about the legal bills they get from large law firms — and how much first- and second-year associates earn these days, despite being short on knowledge and experience.
But don’t shed tears for chief legal officers, general counsels, and the in-house lawyers who work under them. As shown in our latest batch of survey results, they’re very happy with their jobs.
Part of that happiness may stem from their compensation. Check out this Inside Counsel report (PDF) on in-house compensation, or this Legal Blog Watch summary of the report. While they may make less than their counterparts in large law firms, they’re still doing very well for themselves.
For GCs’ Salaries, Survey Says: Ka-ching! [Legal Blog Watch]
Payday: How does your compensation compare? [InsideCounsel]
Payday: Full Report (PDF) [Inside Counsel]
Earlier: Featured Job Survey: Does the In-House Always Win?

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgThe powers-that-be at Mayer Brown have made their decisions on bonus and salary adjustments, as announced in an email last night. And it appears that they’ve taken a page from the Dechert playbook, according to one associate:

“The second paragraph [of the memo] is a shock. We were never informed of financial ramifications for failing to enter our time.”

It might be slightly annoying, but it’s the growing trend. Expect more firms to adopt policies that tie compensation to timely time entry. Email exhortations without financial consequences don’t seem to be very effective.
(And it’s arguably not that big an imposition. You already slave away at the firm for ten or twelve hours a day — so what’s another five minutes at the end, to enter your time before heading home? It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of doing it, instead of letting a backlog build up.)
The Mayer Brown memo, after the jump.

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(And penalizes associates for delinquent time entry.)”

We received 1,062 responses to our ATL / Lateral Link survey on in-house aspirations.
As shown in the charts below, over half of associates are satisfied or even “very satisfied” with their current positions, but about half would still like to go in-house.
Associate Responses: Are You Satisfied With Your Current Job?
Associate Responses: Would You Like To Go In-House?
Find out why and where associates want to move, and what in-house counsel are thinking themselves, after the jump.

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