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Joseph Russoniello Joe Russoniello Cooley Godward Kronish Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgVeteran litigator Joseph Russoniello, of Cooley Godward Kronish in San Francisco, was recently rumored to be a contender for the post of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.
We’re now hearing that the job — which Russoniello previously held, from 1982 to 1990 — may be his once again. From a tipster:

I have on good authority that Joe Russoniello was offered and accepted the US attorney position for the N. District of CA. I don’t think its been announced yet.

If Russoniello does get the job, it would be very “Fred Fielding”-esque: bring back an elder statesman, from the Reagan Administration, with impeccable credentials. At least the Dems won’t be able to give him a hard time over a lack of prosecutorial experience.
We’ve contacted Joseph Russoniello, but we haven’t heard back from him yet. We’ll let you know if and when he gets back to us.
P.S. We’re sad that the fabulous Eumi Choi apparently didn’t get the nod.
Who’d Want This Job, Anyway? [National Law Journal via (subscription)]
Joseph P. Russoniello bio [Cooley Godward Kronish]
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan Announced Departure [U.S. Attorney's Office (Northern District of California)]

No? Okay. Then they shouldn’t expect him to clean up after them.
Remember that majorly screwed-up tax case? It’s still screwed up.
District Court Refuses to Correct Government’s Botched Plea Agreement in Biggest Tax Fraud Case in History [TaxProf Blog]
Earlier: This Is Why Cite-Checking Matters

* Lat on Supreme Court clerkships in the New York Times! [New York Times]
* Organic legal questions. [MSNBC]
* Crim Law Day 1: the death penalty and deterrence. [MSNBC]
* Giambi to meet with Sen. Mitchell? [SI]
* Law Blog’s take on the MLB investigations. [WSJ Law Blog]

Mike Nifong Michael Nifong headline Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
It’s official: Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred over the weekend. From the AP:

The five-day ethics trial ended Nifong’s three-decade legal career, which he spent entirely as a prosecutor in Durham County. He was generally viewed as an honest lawyer before taking over the case of a woman who told police she was raped at a March 2006 lacrosse team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

Is it any wonder that a Google search for “honest lawyer” generates results like this?
(Oddly enough, the top result for “honest lawyer” is the Honest Lawyer hotel, in Durham — but a different Durham.)
Disbarred Duke Prosecutor’s Future Dim [Associated Press]
Prosecutor in Duke Case Disbarred by Ethics Panel [New York Times]
An honest lawyer [Aha! Jokes]

A more detailed (but equally shameless) plug will follow tomorrow. For now, please check out this article:
supreme court bonus babies Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Then email it to, say, fifty of your closest friends. We are desperately trying to crack the NYT’s “Most Emailed Articles” list.
Much thanks. See you tomorrow!
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [The New York Times]

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe’re beginning to wonder whether this “NY to 190″ business is just a big practical joke. But even though no real information has emerged, and the co-chair of Simpson’s personnel committee told us his firm is “not currently considering an increase in associate salaries,” the rumors continue to swirl.

Here are two email messages we’ve received that are representative of many others:

“NYC big firm starting salary may be increasing to $190k in the coming weeks. My source was a recruiter whose friend at Sidley told him the news. Have you all heard anything or is this bs?”

“[A] friend of mine, who is a partner at a big Chicago firm, with a large presence in NYC, mentioned that pay raises are likely in NYC and that the firm has budgeted $190k as the starting first-year salary.”

Such gossip is not far removed from this commenter’s parody:

My dad’s step-mom’s estranged aunt is a janitor at Cravath, and she said she found a scribbled note on the floor of a partner’s office saying “damn, looks like we have to go to at least $175k soon; call wife re: can’t add second pool to home in Nantucket this summer.”

We wish we had more to tell you right now. We’ll continue to dig.

But at this point, your guess is as good as ours. So feel speculate to discuss in the comments. Vote in our reader polls, if you haven’t done so already.

Will any of this chatter make associate pay raises happen — or happen faster? Unlikely. But hey, there are worse ways to pass the time.

Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The Simpson Rumor
Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Official Comment from Simpson
ATL Reader Poll: WWNYD?

Richard Scruggs Dick Scruggs Dickie Scruggs Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s Friday night, and we’re off the clock. So we’ll keep it short and sweet.
Judge Recommends Feds Prosecute Scruggs for Contempt [WSJ Law Blog]
Ala. judge asks criminal contempt prosecution of Scruggs [Associated Press]

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]

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