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Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgOn Tuesday, we reported on several sightings of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in the vicinity of 13th and F Streets here in Washington, DC. Now we know what he was doing in that part of town:

[F]ormer AGAG has retained George Terwilliger of White & Case to represent him in the investigation surrounding his mismanagement of Justice. White & Case is on 13th between F and G.

So it looks like George Terwilliger, who was considered but passed over for AG, will get to clean up after Alberto after all.
Alberto Gonzales Hires Defense Attorney [AP]
Judge Alberto Gonzales’s Latest Hire [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Alberto Gonzales

Robert Birmingham Professor Robert L Birmingham Above the Law blog.jpg* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]

E Duncan Getchell Jr Fourth Circuit Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s tough being a federal judicial nominee. Your entire legal career is gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and every mistake or misstep is brought to light, no matter how minor.
From the ABA Journal:

A lawyer nominated to a federal appeals court was lead attorney on an $8 million appeal that got tossed because the trial transcript was not filed by the deadline.

E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods asked the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal anyway, but the judges refused, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Getchell’s five-page brief did not explain the reason for the failure, except to say there was a “miscommunication or misunderstanding.”

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about whether trial counsel or appellate counsel (Getchell) should have filed the transcript. From the Virginian-Pilot:

The fact that Getchell’s firm filed the post-trial motions three weeks after the verdict “kind of suggests the baton was passed,” said William S. Geimer, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University Law School who teaches civil procedure.

“It’s definitely the law firm’s responsibility,” Geimer said. “I don’t see any way for the law firm to escape responsibility if it was even partly or jointly responsible for the failure.”

Getchell did not return repeated calls to his office.

The Fourth Circuit has been shorthanded for a while now. And with the nomination of Duncan Getchell, that probably won’t be changing anytime soon.
(Not necessarily because of this procedural snafu, but because Getchell’s two home-state senators — John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D) — don’t seem to be backing his nomination.)
Costly Error Linked to 4th Circuit Nominee [ABA Journal via Blogonaut]
Error in major case tied to federal judge nominee [Virginian-Pilot via How Appealing]
E. Duncan Getchell Jr. bio [McGuire Woods]

Mass Bar logo Massachusetts Bar Exam Above the Law blog.jpgFirst the case of the $54 million pants was dismissed. And now another ridiculous but amusing lawsuit, previously covered here and here, bites the dust.
From a piece by Sheri Qualters for the National Law Journal:

The federal court battle over a Massachusetts bar examination question about homosexual marriage has ended with the court accepting the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case.

On Oct. 9, a Massachusetts federal judge granted Stephen Dunne’s request to dismiss his case against the bar examination testing agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices over a question on the state’s bar exam concerning homosexual marriage.

In a lawsuit filed in June, Dunne claimed he failed the Massachusetts bar examination because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage.

The website Stephen Dunne launched to help fund the case,, has been taken down. Will refunds be issued to the people who donated money to the cause — all three of them?
P.S. You can view the court’s fascinating dismissal order here (PDF, via Keeping Up With Jonas).
Plaintiff withdraws complaint over bar exam’s gay-marriage question [National Law Journal]
Stephen Dunne’s Long Legal Nightmare Is Finally Over [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Dunne Wishes He Could Quit His Lawsuit [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Earlier: Fail the Bar, Blame the Gays, Sue for Millions!
Update: Fail the Bar, Blame the Gays, Solicit Donations for Lawsuit!

Philadelphia Philly City of Brother Love Abovethelaw Above the Law website site.jpgIn terms of our associate compensation coverage, we’ve been on a bit of a Philly kick recently. We recently covered the pay raise announcements of Ballard Spahr and Blank Rome.
We’re happy to continue this theme. In response to requests from several ATL readers, here’s a bonus thread dedicated to PHILADELPHIA.
In the comments to this post, please discuss year-end bonuses in the City of Brotherly Love — billable-hour cutoffs, rumors about what they’ll be like, etc. Thanks.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, DC.

George Clooney 2 Michael Clayton senior associate special counsel Above the Law blog.jpgIn our column for this week’s New York Observer, we take Michael Clayton, the new legal thriller starring George Clooney, and use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the senior associate. Here’s an excerpt:

“Who is this guy?”

That’s what an icy general counsel (Tilda Swinton) wants to know about George Clooney—of all people—in the new legal thriller Michael Clayton. At the prestigious New York law firm of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, Mr. Clooney’s title character has the nifty-sounding job of “Special Counsel,” as well as a snazzy corner office overlooking Sixth Avenue. But while he’s been at the firm for 17 years, he’s never made partner. As a salaried employee, with no management role or equity stake in the firm (as he bitterly notes more than once), Michael Clayton is what we politely call a senior associate.

So, who are these guys? Senior associates are typically associates who didn’t make partner. They’re generally viewed by their colleagues as perfectly competent worker bees, but not superstar material. They’re no longer in junior-associate hell, and they’re very well paid, but their predicament within the legal profession’s prestige-obsessed precincts is difficult: They’re indefinitely trapped in the purgatory of nonpartnership, with its attendant lack of dignity.

But is the “plight” of senior associates overstated? Read the rest of the piece by clicking here.

Hollywood Hugs Beta Males of Law [New York Observer]

Sullivan Cromwell bonsai tree plant Above the Law blog.jpgAt right: a photograph of one of the bonsai trees that Sullivan & Cromwell has been sending its offerees.
Some description, from our tipster:

I took a camera phone pic of this S&C bush when it first came, to text to a non-law school friend who could not believe that law firms send plants.

It’s not wrapped anymore [in the picture]. That tiny thing in front of the elaborate packaging is the plant. Originally, the five-inch plant arrived in a giant box stuffed with styrofoam. The plant was then wrapped inside green and black tissue paper, adorned with gold “Sullivan and Cromwell” ribbon and a small gift card, and then placed in a clear cellophane wrapping, before it was then graced with a gold embossed “S&C” sticker.

None of that, however, prevented the dirt from exploding all over my kitchen as I opened the giant box.

We realize that this photo, taken with a camera phone, isn’t the greatest pic. If you’re the proud owner of an S&C bonsai, feel free to photograph it and then email us. Maybe we’ll hold a contest for best picture of an S&C bonsai tree, or create a special photo gallery. Thanks!
Earlier: Sullivan & Cromwell to 190K Bonsai Trees!

Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession Above the Law blog.jpgAre you concerned about diversity (or the lack thereof) at America’s top law firms? Have you been wishing for a handy resource that would rank the Biglaw shops by their performance on diversity metrics, as well as other measures, such as billable hours and pro bono work?
Well, you’re in luck. Later today, Building a Better Legal Profession will be issuing just such a report. Here’s a blurb for their upcoming press conference:

Over one-third of all large law firms in Manhattan don’t have a single African-American partner. Nearly half of all large law firms in Washington, D.C. don’t have a single Hispanic partner. One firm doesn’t have a single LGBT partner or associate in either office. On October 10, find out who.

Building a Better Legal Profession, a national grassroots coalition of law students, will release its first report on the status of the legal profession. The groundbreaking study compares the largest law firms in each of the top six legal markets (New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Northern California, and Southern California) by various metrics. The report ranks firms by billable hours, pro bono participation, and demographic diversity (percentages of partners and associates who are female, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and LGBT).

On hand at the press conference will be statements of support from Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, and Prof. Deborah Rhode, former chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Media: Please contact Andrew Bruck or Prof. Michele Landis Dauber for more information and sample rankings.

To get a sense of the rankings, click here (PDF), for a report card showing how D.C.’s top law firms stack up on diversity, or here (PDF), for the New York law firm diversity rankings.
The leading firm for diversity in Washington (with an overall grade of B+; almost all the firms earn C’s or worse): Nixon Peabody! Remember, they hired lots of minorities to sing their theme song (mp3).
For those of you here in D.C., consider attending today’s press conference (we’ll be there):

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 — 12:30 p.m.
National Press Club
13th floor, Zenger Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC

Very exciting. Congratulations and thanks to Building a Better Legal Profession!
Law Students Building A Better Legal Profession [official website]
Diversity Report Card: D.C. [PDF]
Report on Big Law Firms [National Press Club]

* Thomas, J., dissenting. [CNN]
* Arbitrator awards Atlanta Falcons $20m Vick bonus. [Yahoo Sports]
* The case of the missing mayor comes before a court. [MSNBC]
* Kiefer Sutherland, tortured into confession for DUI, gets 48 seasons in jail. [MSNBC]
* Michigan Dems and DNC clash as candidates pull out of unsanctioned primary. [CNN]

Boalt Hall UC Berkeley Law School Above the Law blog.jpgAttention, ATL readers — your wit and wisdom are needed. From Cal Law (via Blogonaut):

Boalt Hall School of Law has hired San Francisco brand consulting firm Marshall Strategy Inc. to poll students, faculty, alumni and others in aid of devising a “single brand” name for the school, a Boalt spokeswoman said.

San Francisco Bay Area locals call the school Boalt Hall. But outside of California, that colloquialism often draws blank looks. Thus, what has been dubbed the “identity project”—to come up with a more readily identifiable name for the prestigious law school.

The school officially goes by University of California, Berkeley School of Law, according to spokesperson Susan Gluss. But in its its newsletters, Web pages, and other places, there are “about a dozen different names and iterations.”

Speaking of “a dozen different names,” that’s what we’d like from you. In the comments to this post, please offer suggested new names for Boalt Hall. We’ll pick the ten or twelve we like the most, hold an ATL reader poll, and forward the winning nomination to the Boalt Hall administration, for its consideration.
Our personal nomination: the Marsha Berzon School of Law, named after the distinguished and delicious Ninth Circuit judge (and Boalt Hall alumna). But whether our pick prevails will be up to you, the readership, when we hold the poll. We look forward to receiving and reviewing your nominations.
Josh Keesan Joshua Keesan Berkeley Law School Boalt Hall Above the Law blog.jpgP.S. While we’re talking about Boalt Hall, an ATL shout-out to the talented (and handsome) Josh Keesan, Boalt ’09, who composes and performs clever songs with legal themes. From a tipster:

Forget Nixon Peabody, Boalt has the newest singing sensation. Check it:

This kid is the love child of Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Mayer. Plus, in the aftermath of the Nixon Peabody atrocity, your readers need something to cleanse that awful taste in their mouths/ears.

He’s taken Boalt by storm. The screams of his groupies at the annual public interest auction last year were deafening. So, give the West Coast some love, and post it!

More about Josh Keesan from the WSJ Law Blog. Maybe Boalt Hall could be rennamed the “Josh Keesan School of Law”?
Boalt Hall School of Law Will Change Name by January [Blogonaut]
Boalt Hall Looking at a Name Change [The Recorder via Yahoo News]
Law Blog Rocker of the Day: Boalt Hall’s Josh Keesan [WSJ Law Blog]

Joseph Russoniello Joe Russoniello Cooley Godward Kronish Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgBack in June, we predicted that veteran litigator Joseph Russoniello, of Cooley Godward Kronish in San Francisco, would be nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. Months later, no nominee has been named. As the folks over at Legal Pad noted last month, it’s a bit strange — especially since Ruossoniello’s background check was apparently completed some time ago.
Meanwhile, the office remains in the capable hands of the well-regarded Scott Schools, who will be officially appointed as interim United States Attorney later this week.
But don’t expect Schools to stick around forever. We hear that he’ll be heading over to take a high-level job at Main Justice (possibly in the Deputy Attorney General’s office).
It seems that Schools will be missed in the Northern District. From a source in the N.D. Cal.:

People seem to like him, and he makes an effort to get to know line AUSAs. He shows up at social events, like baby showers and happy hours, which I think is a huge change from former leadership.

If you have any info on these personnel changes, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
Northern District of California Announces Appointment of Scott N Schools as Interim United States Attorney [N.D. Cal.]
Say It Is (or Isn’t) So, Joe [Legal Pad]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: A New U.S. Attorney for San Francisco?
U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello? Not So Fast

necktie 2 sex doorknob Above the Law blog.jpgAn attorney sent this office-wide email to the entire Washington office of Arnold & Porter:

To: [D.C. office of Arnold & Porter]
Subject: Did you leave your tie on my chair?

I know this may sound ridiculous, however, I’m not sure how to handle this unusual situation. I don’t know where it came from, but this morning I found a tie on my chair…

If you left it here and would like it returned, please let me know. My general apologies for this interruption in your day.


Question for sender: Is your office chair all sticky today?

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