On 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.
* 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]
It’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.
First 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.
In 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.
In 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.
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!
Are 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
* 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]
Attention, 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.
P.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: www.joshkeesan.com.
This kid is the love child of Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Mayer. Plus, in the aftermath of the Nixon Peabodyatrocity, 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!
Back 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 are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.