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Michael Elston DOJ Justice Department Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgGuess the Durham district attorney isn’t the only prominent government lawyer named Mike (and embroiled in controversy) to announce his resignation on this Friday afternoon.
Has the U.S. Attorney firing controversy claimed another victim? Maybe (assuming he’s not leaving for other reasons). From the AP:

A senior Justice Department official who helped carry out the dismissals of federal prosecutors said Friday he is resigning.

Mike Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, is the fifth Justice official to leave after being linked to the dismissals of the prosecutors….

Elston is taking a job with a law firm in the Washington area, according to the statement.

We told you to expect some high-level departures from the DOJ. Anyone know where Elston is headed?
P.S. Oh, and here’s the latest in the U.S. Attorney affair: the news that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will also be investigated.
(Gavel bang: commenters here and here.)
Official Close to Attorney Firings Quits [Associated Press via Washington Post]
Gonzales Meeting With Aide Scrutinized [Washington Post]

Marion Barry Roy Pearson Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Who is this really protecting? Do women really need someone to tell us we can’t date this guy? Judging by an unscientific sample of good women dating assholes, kind of. [Feministing]
* Angelina’s lawyer self-deprecates; Angelina doesn’t disagree with his bone-headedness; even Jon Stewart is not immune to her charms. [Legal Profession Blog]
* ABC and Fox look the same to me right now. [BreitBart]
* If 22-year-old graduates with little (if any) teaching experience are fortunate enough to get a coveted, resume- and Ivy-worthy job with Teach for America, they will get health benefits — plus a free pass to say things like “I found my fellow teachers intelligent, caring and effective” and “I have no idea why so many low-income parents make sacrifices to send their kids to private schools” (to peers who did indeed survive public schools) — before bailing for law school. [Citizen-Times]
* And because I am grateful to live in the free world, I encourage everyone to voice his or her opinions whenever given the chance. Of course, these bloggers do so with full disclosure of their identities in the face of harsh political consequences, but we can’t help that we’re cowardly, coddled, self-obsessed risk-averse lawyers living in the U.S. [All Africa]

Mike Nifong Michael Nifong Michael B Nifong Durham District Attorney.JPGIt’s a Friday afternoon in June. Of course it couldn’t pass without a high-profile resignation. From WRAL:

Mike Nifong made the announcement at the end of his testimony Friday at his State Bar ethics trial to the surprise of the families and defense attorneys of the cleared lacrosse players.

“Throughout the years I have served as a prosecutor I have always tried to do the right thing,” a tearful Nifong said. “In this case, I was trying to todo the right thing. Much of the criticism directed to me in the is case is justified. The allegations that I’m a liar, however, are not justified.”

But is Michael Nifong… a plagiarist?
Michael Nifong headline Mike Nifong Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgMonica Goodling crossed the line Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
(No, of course we’re not serious. We just like to connect every story to Monica Goodling.)
Embattled DA Mike Nifong Resigns [ via Drudge Report]

Harvard Law Review Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgRegular ATL readers know that the venerable Harvard Law Review is something of a shark tank. See here, here, and here.
So maybe the rough-and-tumble world of Gannett House is where Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), a former HLR president, learned how to campaign. From the NYT:

Shortly after the Clinton campaign released the financial information [about a blind trust], the campaign of Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat, circulated to news organizations — on what it demanded be a not-for-attribution-basis — a scathing analysis. It called Mrs. Clinton “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)” in its headline.

The document referred to the investment in India and Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising efforts among Indian-Americans. The analysis also highlighted the acceptance by Mr. Clinton of $300,000 in speech fees from Cisco, a company the Obama campaign said has moved American jobs to India.

“D-Punjab”? Not very politically correct of the Obama campaign.
We bet that Senator Obama — who tries to cast himself as Mr. Sweetness & Light (and Hope, The Audacity Of) — will try to stay above the fray. He’ll leave the dirty work to his staffers (a la Geffengate).
But we wanted to bring this to your attention. We think it’s unfair that our girl Hillary gets attacked for being allegedly conniving, but equally devious competitors don’t get called out on such things.
Update: You can view the Barack Obama campaign memo, entitled “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)’s Personal Financial and Political Ties to India,” by clicking here (PDF).
To Avoid Conflicts, Clintons Liquidate Holdings [New York Times]

Larry Manzanares Denver City attorney porn pornography Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYou graduate from Harvard Law School. You head off to a good-sized but not enormous city, thinking you’ll be a big fish in a smaller pond. You make it on to the local bench; you can see a federal judicial appointment in the distance. What could go wrong?
Well, lots — if you allegedly load up a state-owned computer with porn, then allegedly steal it. Meet Larry Manzanares:

Manzanares, 50, was charged with three felonies Wednesday in the theft of a state-owned computer from the courthouse. Investigators found “massive” amounts of pornography on the computer, which Manzanares tried to delete before turning the computer over to police.

“This is a hard fall for a person whose career appeared to be on a rapid rise to even greater achievement, said Denver lawyer and former prosecutor Craig Silverman.

“It’s a sad and tragic situation. Larry Manzanares had a wonderful reputation. I think it’s going to be tough for him to resume a legal career in Colorado even if he’s acquitted,” he said.

“Even if” he’s acquitted? Somehow we doubt Judge Manzares will have trouble getting off.
P.S. We rolled our eyes at the mention of “massive” amounts of pornography on the allegedly stolen laptop. What exactly qualifies as “massive”?
Everyone with a wank collection wants a certain amount of diversity in the materials. Does a stack of Playboys under the bed constitute a “massive” collection of porn?
Update / clarification: Sorry if the foregoing was unclear. As a commenter explains, the allegation is that Larry Manzanares stole a state-owned computer, THEN filled it to the gills with porn.
It’s the “stealing” part that’s potentially criminal, NOT the downloading of porn. Last time we checked, Denver was not governed by Sharia.
Black Cloud Will Linger for Judge [Rocky Mountain News]

Angelina Jolie pic pics photo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWhy is Robert Offer our Lawyer of the Day? Because he’s taking bullets for his superhottie client, Angelina Jolie.
Chivalry is not dead! Even among people who bill by the hour.
(Also, any lawyer who is willing to describe himself as “bone-headed” to the New York Times scores points in our book.)
A Deal Too Far: Interviewers Balk at Jolie’s Terms [New York Times]
Managing the Media: Angelina Jolie’s Media Contracts [Gawker]
The Sloane Offer Partners [Variety]

Lowenstein Sandler Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe realize that most “secondary” legal markets get only one bite at the apple — i.e., one dedicated post. And we already covered New Jersey.
But the Garden State is our home state, where we practiced for a number of years, so we will show some favoritism (as is our prerogative). And the news we’re about to share was sent to us directly by the firm’s public relations firm. Since many large law firms try to pretend we don’t exist avoid communicating with us — unlike, say, our more fortunate colleagues at MSM outlets — we are favorably disposed towards law firms that do show us courtesies. [FN1]
So good news, New Jerseyans. A New Jersey-based firm, as opposed to an out-of-state firm with an NJ presence, is now paying $140K. From the press release:

Lowenstein Sandler announced a salary increase to $140,000, effective January 1, 2008, for new associates joining the firm beginning in September. This increase will also be taken into account during the regular year-end process setting compensation for more senior-level associates.

From the New Jersey Law Journal:

Lowenstein Sandler broke from the pack of New Jersey’s home-grown firms Thursday and announced it would pay first-year associates $140,000 next year, a $15,000 increase.

The 250-lawyer Roseland firm also said salaries for some first-year associates in its New York office might be even higher, depending on practice area and performance….

Lowenstein Sandler’s announcement could exert pressure for pay raises at the other New Jersey firms that are pegged at the $125,000 level: Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross, Gibbons and McCarter & English, all in Newark.

So will the competition follow suit? Can they really afford to? Lowenstein, with profits per partner last year of $781,600, is one of the state’s most profitable shops.
(Yep — PPP of almost $800K. It’s not New York, but Jersey doesn’t do too badly for itself. Just ask Tony Soprano.)
For those of you who are curious, the full text of the Lowenstein Sandler press release appears after the jump.
[FN1] Okay, we should stop bitching about our lack of access. In the past few months, it has improved — greatly. Now many Biglaw partners and spokespersons will actually deign to respond to our emails and return our phone calls.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Back to Jersey”

LEWW logo.jpgHoly never-used bread machine, Batman — none of this week’s couples has a Williams-Sonoma registry! What the hell? Is the engaged set abandoning the yuppie respectability of W-S for the groovier vibe of Crate & Barrel?
The answer is yes! They’re also registering for sterling-silver gravy ladles at obscure New Orleans establishments.
Here are the three daring couples who’ve spat in the face of Chuck Williams:

1. Maya Alperowicz and Justin Florence
2. Elizabeth Bangs and Brent Landau
3. Avery Gardiner and Edwin U

More about this week’s couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 06.09: We Luv U”

Dukes of Hazzard Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our series of posts examining the nation’s less-than-gigantic legal markets. Some of the markets we cover are scorned by the New York and L.A. types. But since the posts continue to generate lots of comments and discussion — over 160 comments on yesterday’s post on the Upper Midwest — we will push ahead.
A reader down south emailed us:

I realize that you are trying to hit the second-tier markets on ATL. Would it be possible to see what Nashville, Jackson, Birmingham, and Lexington are doing?

Sure. In fact, consider this post an omnibus post for all southern legal markets (excluding Atlanta and Charlotte, which we’ve already done).
Also excluded: Texas, which will get a post of its own sometime next week.
Our tipster provided us with some data points to get the ball rolling. Please start up the discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The South”

Fry Guy Fry Kid William Smith William P Smith Bill Smith McDermott Will Emery Above the Law blog.JPGSurely you all recall William P. Smith — a partner at McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago), and head of its bankruptcy department — who recently told a Miami bankruptcy judge, in open court, that she was “a few French Fries short of a Happy Meal.” We broke the story here (with follow-up here).
The “Happy Meal” comment royally pissed off Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff (and not ’cause she’s a Burger King partisan). She benchslapped Bill Smith via an Order to Show Cause, directing the Fry Guy to explain why he shouldn’t be suspended from practice in her court.
The firm has now filed a motion in response to the OSC. From the Daily Business Review:

Chicago attorney William P. Smith says he’s very, very, very sorry for telling U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff she was “a few French fries short of a Happy Meal” during a May 7 court hearing in Miami.

The chairman of McDermott Will & Emery, the Chicago-based firm whose bankruptcy practice Smith heads, is ready to prostrate himself before the judge as well.

According to a recent motion filed by the law firm, Harvey Freishtat, who heads the 1,000-lawyer firm, plans to fly to Miami for a hearing on Smith’s comment. The motion states Freishtat will personally express “on behalf of the entire firm, to this court, to the other lawyers in this case, and to the other honorable judges of this District Court, [his firm’s] sincere and deepest apology for the words used by Mr. Smith.”

And would Her Honor like a side of fries with that?
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “HappyMealGate: Let’s Just Have a Public Flogging, and Get This Over With”

* Thanks, everyone involved, for continuing to make Georgia look like a bunch of f*$%tards. [AP via How Appealing]
* Gay marriage still OK in Massachussetts. [New York Times]
* Jesus, fantasy baseball is a billion-dollar industry? [ESPN]
* Immigration reform not going away just yet. [CNN]
* Maybe they’ll have something solid on Bonds before he hits 9 more. [WSJ Law Blog]

gynecomastia male breasts man boobs manboobs Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe desperately wanted to write about Alex Kuczynski’s New York Times article on gynecomastia (or, to use a term of art, manboobs).
So we were delighted to find a legal angle to the story:

The price range [for gynecomastia surgery] is $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the complexity of the procedure. The issue of expense, as well as the acceptability of gynecomastia as a medical disorder, was recently addressed in New York when a Long Island man fought Group Health Inc., seeking coverage for his son’s breast reduction surgery.

In April, the appellate division of the State Supreme Court ruled that the insurance company must pay the family $5,000 toward the $7,500 surgery.

Now we just need to get courts to hold that insurance companies must cover breast implants. Then we can officially declare the United States the greatest country on earth.
(More from Gawker over here.)
Update: In response to complaints from commenters, we have made some redactions to the photograph.
A Sense of Anxiety a Shirt Won’t Cover [New York Times]
At Least One Hollywood Agent Had Man Boobs [Gawker]
Gynecomastia [Wikipedia]

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