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email e-mail small message microsoft outlook Above the Law.JPGToday is Friday, and you know what that means at ATL: randomness and triviality! Not that this site doesn’t already wallow in randomness and triviality, of course. But on Fridays, we go the extra mile.

In a prior random Friday poll, we asked for your views on “pleaded” versus “pled” (and “pled” won; results here). Today we also have a question about writing and style. From a tipster:

Suggestion for slow news period. I have always been amazed (and annoyed) at the salutations and endings used in business emails from attorneys. The ubiquitous “Best regards” seems to be the party favorite. But I’ve seen many other options.

The tipster then provided a laundry list of email endings, which we’ve turned into a poll. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Random Friday Poll: Your Favorite Email Sign-Off?”

Kim McLane Wardlaw Judge Kim Wardlaw.jpg* Some good news for Cadwalader: R. Ronald Hopkinson, former head of Latham & Watkins’s private equity practice, joins CWT. [New York Law Journal]
* Hollywood writers’ strike to end any day now, thanks to some deft behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Will they work this into a future episode of Entourage? [New York Times]
* The fabulous Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw (9th Cir.), who acknowledges she is a judicial diva (and a judicial hottie), benchslaps the IRS at oral argument. This ain’t her first time at the rodeo! [New York Sun via How Appealing]
* Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee talk to the Hill. [New York Times]
* Merck to shell out $671 million to settle whistleblower suits. [Legal Intelligencer]
* The mother of all amicus briefs? Jan Crawford Greenburg reports that an amicus brief in the SCOTUS gun control case has been signed by 55 senators and 250 representatives — “believed to be the most members of Congress to join together on a brief in modern history, said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.” [Legalities via How Appealing]

Sports and the Law Above the Law blog.jpgReading documents as part of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Second Request Process is often as boring as watching paint dry while listening to the soundtrack from Waterworld: the Musical. However, for junior associates tasked with reviewing HSR documents, there may finally be a Second Request worthy of a second chance—one involving fantasy sports.
On Friday, February 1, Microsoft Corporation made a $44.6 billion hostile takeover offer to Yahoo Inc., which according to the American Antitrust Institute (“AAI”), “would effectively reduce the number of significant competitors from three to two in the paid search advertising market.” As a result, the proposed merger would likely lead to careful antitrust review.
If Microsoft’s proposed takeover bid fails, according to a February 4 article in the New York Times, Yahoo Inc. might then consider selling its company in piecemeal, with Yahoo Sports “sold to a company like ESPN.” This possibility would produce far less antitrust concern in advertising markets. However, it might still lead to competitive problems in the rapidly expanding markets for fantasy gaming.
Based on a down-and-dirty review of the fantasy sports marketplace, if either ESPN or CBS Sports were to attempt to purchase Yahoo Sports, the number of traditional websites that host fantasy sports games would fall from three to two—a general red flag in terms of competition law. In addition, if the market’s low price provider, Yahoo, were gobbled up by a website more likely to charge customer fees, another red flag would be triggered.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Could Yahoo Sale Kill Free Fantasy Sports?”

* The NYT’s official statement on L’Affaire Berenson. [Starkman & Associates]
* A slew of law school hypotheticals about sex with and between minors, triggered by Carl Stanley McGee, our Lawyer of the Day. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Second runner-up for Lawyer of the Day? And a punitive damages award of $33 million. Ouch. [How Appealing]
* Man saves dog; law student saves man. Congratulations to GW’s Jason Coates, our Law Student of the Day! [GW Hatchet]
* “Derek Jeter has romanced Mariah Carey, squired Jessica Biel, sweet-talked Scarlett Johansson — and now he’s made it to first base with the state taxman.” [TaxProf Blog]
* Wow, this is wild. Has Gary Crossen, a former federal prosecutor and partner at Foley Hoag, read too many John Grisham novels? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaking of white-collar criminal defense lawyers, more business may be headed their way, courtesy of Andrew Cuomo. [DealBreaker]
* You’ve got… male? [Reuters]
* Are you a Disgruntled Republican? Join the club — or buy a mug. [Zazzle]

O'Melveny Myers LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously reported on rumors of associate layoffs at O’Melveny & Myers. We’ve conducted some further investigation, and it’s pretty clear to us that OMM is doing more than just performance-based pruning.
We’ll issue a more detailed report sometime soon, perhaps early next week. If you have information to share, please email us (from your home computer, just to be on the safe side; see here).
For the time being, we’ll stick to discussion of what has been reported elsewhere. The firm has never responded to our many requests for comment (and we’re no longer going to bother trying to contact them; guys, you know where to reach us). But OMM did speak earlier this week to

The managing partner of O’Melveny & Myers’ New York office denies that the credit crunch has precipitated the layoffs of up to 15 associates.

O’Melveny tax partner and New York head Brad Okun confirms that a number of associates are leaving, but insists that the exits are all based on individual performance and are a result of O’Melveny’s annual associate appraisal process.

“Every year we re-evaluate our associates and counsel to see how they’re performing,” Okun says. “Every year some fall below our expectations and therefore some are asked to leave. This year is no different from other years.”

One of our OMM sources disagrees: “Complete baloney.”
And a source who spoke to The Lawyer also begs to differ. Read more, after the jump.

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On a normal day, being charged in a federal indictment with laundering drug money would be enough to get you named ATL’s Lawyer of the Day. But allegations of going down on 15-year-old boys are tough to top.
Nevertheless, Ben Kuehne deserves a shout-out in these pages. From the Daily Business Review:

Ben Kuehne Miami lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgHigh-profile Miami lawyer Ben Kuehne was charged in a federal indictment unsealed today with laundering drug money that went to celebrity lawyer Roy Black to defend Colombian cocaine kingpin Fabio Ochoa.

Kuehne, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election and an array of liberal causes, made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Brown this morning on a charge of money laundering, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke.

“I am completely innocent of these allegations,” Kuehne told Brown.

Normally one might say, “If you say so.” But Kuehne is an exceedingly well-regarded lawyer in Miami, with many defenders. The government case is being greeted with skepticism in some quarters (another reason Kuehne won’t be our Lawyer of the Day).
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Runner-Up Lawyer of the Day: Ben Kuehne”

Client The Client Susan Sarandon Tommy Lee Jones Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday, we discovered that 38% of associates who cancelled plans to work had done so at the request of a client. We also received an interesting suggestion from a tipster:

I wanted to suggest a survey of what law firms pay in bonuses for business brought to the firm. For instance, I know that Chadbourne pays 5% up to a certain amount and I have heard that Blank Rome pays 10%. I know that this might not concern that many associates but it’d be interesting to see how firms compare in terms of percentage, minimum amount billed, bonus ceiling etc.

If your firm pays bonuses for bringing in clients, please share your knowledge in the comments. We previously did an open thread on this, but that was several months ago.
In the meantime, today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey focuses on how much client contact you’re getting, and how your firms are supporting you.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
On a completely unrelated note, some of you are still asking who I am in the comments, although without quite the photo-craving, Facebook-inviting, hyphen-correcting enthusiasm as Dan Slater gets. So, here’s a bit about that from a previous post:

In the meantime, at least one of you noticed that I am not Dave Lat. I’m actually Justin Bernold, a Director in Lateral Link’s Boston office. I’m also a friend (and fan) of Dave’s from college and the author of, among other things, the Associate Pirate (Arr is for Resume!) blog.

Mitt Romney Governor Mitt Romney Above the Law blog.jpgFormer Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — a proud graduate of Harvard Law School, and the Sullivan & Cromwell of presidential candidates — is suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. See links below.
Today is shaping up to be a bad day for HLS grads in Massachusetts state government.
GOP sources: Romney to suspend campaign [CNN]
Romney to Quit Race [The Page /]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously reported on bonuses in the New York office of Winston & Strawn. Now it’s Washington’s turn:

Winston & Strawn’s DC associates recently received their bonuses. Associates received individualized bonus memos, so there is nothing that can be posted (this has been firm policy for years).

Bonuses were up significantly over previous years, and every associate seemed to be very happy with what they received. The general feeling is that the firm stepped up to the plate and is committed to paying market bonuses.

We do have one data point to pass along. One source (whose class year we won’t reveal) received a bonus that was higher than the NYC market year-end bonus, but lower than the NYC market-plus-special bonus, for someone of their seniority. Pretty good (although this person did bill north of 2400 hours).
Speaking of Winston & Strawn in D.C., we hear that a very interesting meeting took place on Monday morning, concerning controversial remarks made by managing partner Tom Mills to the Wall Street Journal. We’re working on a post. If you can enlighten us about what transpired, please drop us a line. Thanks.

Carl McGee Carl Stanley McGee Governor Deval Patrick Above the Law blog.jpgThe day is still young, but we already have our Lawyer of the Day — and we doubt that anyone we hear about later today can steal this honor away from him. Via the Boston Globe:

A top official in the [Gov. Deval] Patrick administration has been placed on unpaid leave because he was arrested in Florida and charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male in a steam room at a $500-a-night Gulf Coast resort.

Carl Stanley McGee, 38, assistant secretary for policy and planning, is scheduled to be arraigned next week for sexual battery in Lee County, Fla…. According to police reports, McGee was arrested Dec. 28 and accused of performing oral sex on the 15-year-old, who was a guest at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, a 95-year-old hotel and championship golf course in Boca Grande.

As they like to say up in Massachusetts, “Thar he blows.”

McGee, a former Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law School graduate, was previously a corporate lawyer at the law firm WilmerHale. He was instrumental in the movement seeking to defeat efforts to overturn legalization of same-sex marriage, serving as director of the civic and business outreach efforts of the advocacy group MassEquality.

A year after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts in May 2004, McGee’s wedding to John Finley IV was highlighted in the “Vows” section of The New York Times….

Known for his shock of platinum hair, McGee was named one of The Boston Globe’s 25 most stylish Bostonians in November. In the article, he described his style as “traditional, but it’s also subversive and ironic.”

“Traditional,” but “subversive.” Sort of like married men engaging in steam-room hook-ups?
Good thing Carl McGee isn’t running for office. We’re reminded of the famous quotation by former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, who once boasted that he couldn’t lose an upcoming election unless he was “caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.”
Update: Just a reminder that these are obviously mere allegations. Sources mentioned in the Globe article said they “were stunned by the news of McGee’s arrest and said they do not believe the charges.” One colleague of McGee told the paper, “I know it didn’t happen.”
Further Update: Best comment thus far, from an observant, Spanish-speaking reader: “He was arrested for blowing a 15 year old in… huhuhuh… Boca Grande…”
Key aide to Patrick accused of sex assault [Boston Globe]
John Finley IV and Stan McGee [New York Times]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe were surprised by the strong, almost vitriolic commenter response to our recent post about Dechert LLP. The firm announced that it was reducing bonus amounts for associates who failed to enter their time in timely fashion.
We weren’t the only ones who were taken aback by reader reaction. From a source at the firm:

[See this memo] concerning Dechert’s bonuses, which increased substantially from the prior year. It looks like some of the criticism in the comments to [your recent] post are a little overzealous.

I don’t know how any associates are claiming that they were surprised by the announcement regarding time entry. The firm has been gradually tightening its policies on this over the last year, and there has been ample notice that there would eventually be a little financial pain for people who didn’t get with the program.

In light of the abuse we’ve been taking in the comments, it would be great if you could do a post pointing out the increase in bonuses from last year.

We’re happy to. Check out said memo, after the jump.

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Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model 100 Top Law Reviews Above the Law blog.jpgMark your calendars for February 20, the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model: Cycle 10. Exciting!
Meanwhile, National Jurist has issued a list of America’s top law reviews. To review the 100 law reviews in rank order, click here, then scroll down.
We’re pleased to see the Yale Law Journal, in whose offices we once toiled (Book Reviews Editor, Volume 108), tied for first place with the Harvard Law Review. And if the HLR keeps on publishing stuff like this, maybe the YLJ won’t have to share the top spot next year.
The Top 100 Law Reviews [TaxProf Blog]

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