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100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAs real as it may seem, it was only in your dreams. From the WSJ Law Blog:

We called around to firms to find out whether associate salaries, called economically-irrational in some quarters, have finally (or, at least, for now) hit a ceiling. The answer seems to be yes.

“We’re not going to do anything,” said Orrick spokeman Allan Whitescarver, noting that law firms compete for talent with investment banks and consulting firms. “Times aren’t good for them either,” said Whitescarver. “We’re going to sit tight and keep the salaries capped.”…

Other firms, including WilmerHale and Milbank, also told the Law Blog that, for now, first-year salaries will stay at $160,000.

If some firms, with their gloomy predictions for 2008, were hoping to jawbone down associate salary expectations, it seems they have succeeded.
Big-Law Associates Facing 2008 Salary Cap [WSJ Law Blog]

Mayer Brown LLP logo Above the Law AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThese announcements aren’t the most exciting things to read (or report on). But we’ve spoken to a number of associates and law students, especially women, who follow them closely. So we’ll continue posting them (and they’re easy to skip over anyway).
The latest law firm to improve its parental leave policy is Mayer Brown. Check out their memo, issued earlier today, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Mayer Brown Matches 18 Weeks”

A Barry Bonds Blooper

Barry Bonds 2 home run record baseball indicted Above the Law blog.JPGNot by the home run king, but by the prosecutors pursuing him. From ESPN:

Federal prosecutors mistakenly filed court papers Thursday that incorrectly stated that Barry Bonds failed a steroids test in November of 2001 — one month after breaking the single-season home run mark.

U.S. attorney spokesman Josh Eaton now says that the reference in Thursday’s government court filing regarding Bonds testing positive was actually referring to a November 2000 test that was previously disclosed in the indictment of Bonds and had already been reported.

Our source observes, “considering how widely reported this was — all over the national media, including CNN-style blanket coverage from ESPNews — during a week when the spotlight is on steroids in baseball already (the Clemens congressional hearings), it had to have been awfully embarrassing for the department.”
Based on this post and this one, today is shaping up as Filing F**k-Up Day at ATL.
U.S. filing typo spurs erroneous Bonds drug report [ESPN]

Job of the Week

Here’s the latest Job of the Week from ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. Because Lateral Link does no cold-calling and is more efficient than traditional recruiting firms, successful candidates receive $10,000 upon placement.
Position: Assistant General Counsel – Capital Markets
Location: Washington DC
Description: This alternative asset management company is seeking an attorney to serve as an internal counsel in the legal department. The attorney will participate in the negotiation and review of financing documentation, including offering materials, credit agreements, sale or purchase agreements, inter-creditor agreements, security documents and servicing agreements and facilitate the closing of such transactions. Responsibilities include:
· Finance/Capital Markets: Represent the Company and its affiliates as borrowers or issuers in various types of financings, including warehouse and other syndicated credit facilities, CLO/CDO transactions, and public and private offerings of debt and equity.
· Corporate and Securities Law: Provide advice and counsel on a variety of corporate and regulatory matters, including traditional corporate law and corporate governance matters, securities law compliance and SEC reporting.
· Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, drafting amendments and waivers to loan agreements and confidentiality agreements.
Skills Requirements:
• 3rd to 5th year associate at major national law firm.
• Outstanding academic credentials with a J.D. from a respected law school.
• Experience in Capital Markets or Corporate Finance practice area required; general corporate and securities law experience a plus.
• A skilled team-oriented attorney, willing to perform all transaction related tasks from due diligence to drafting, negotiating and closing.
• Ability to work in fast-paced deal environment.
• Business oriented, practical and bottom-line approach to decision making (versus overlawyering and academic). Maturity and practical thinking necessary.
• Generally flexible with working hours
Company Description: This company, both directly and through its global asset management business, is an investor in management and employee buyouts, private equity buyouts, and early stage and mature private and public companies. The company provides senior debt, mezzanine debt and equity to fund growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations and securitizations. The company and its affiliates invest from $5 million to $800 million per company in North America and $5 million to $500 million per company in Europe.
For more information, see job # 6439 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

Sony Playstation Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a possible answer. From the Daily Business Review:

In unauthorized court order generated by a law clerk in a case before Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno resulted in the suspension of shipments of older generation PlayStation consoles through Miami for three months.

The errant preliminary injunction dated last Oct. 24 granted more than Sony was requesting and contained typographical errors and apparent contradictions. It was withdrawn this month.

The order effectively stopped the defendants from moving Sony consoles and accessories through the Port of Miami for export to Latin America but also instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to “hold and preserve any and all goods bearing the PlayStation trademarks” at the port.

Customs agents applied the order to all companies importing PlayStation goods through the Port of Miami.

As for the law clerk in question, the DBR article identifies him:

According to numerous sources in the legal community, the law clerk who handled the order is Matthew Bohrer, son of prominent media lawyer Sanford Bohrer. Matthew Bohrer, whose clerkship is scheduled to end soon, is still listed as one of Moreno’s clerks on the Web site for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Bohrer did not return calls for comment before deadline. His father, a Miami partner with Holland & Knight in Miami who has represented the Review and other news media on First Amendment and other legal matters, had no comment.

More details, including excerpts from the rather odd order, over here.
The Judiciary: Unauthorized court order halts PlayStation shipments [Daily Business Review]

* House allows spy bill to expire. [New York Times]
* Prosecutor’s typo causes hubub in Bonds case. [ESPN]
* Rock 105 gives away free divorce for Valentine’s Day. [CNN Video]
* During 1973 U.S.-China trade talks, Mao offered Kissinger 10 million women. [CNN]
* Ninth Circuit Judge Joseph Sneed, RIP. [ABA Journal]

threesome threeway Above the Law blog.jpgOne of our favorite lawyers, Michael Inglimo, is back in the headlines. You may remember him from this post on the Volokh Conspiracy, linked to on ATL, which raised the following question:

Does “engaging in a three-way sexual encounter with [a current client] and [the client's] girlfriend” count as having sex “with a current client” (a practice forbidden by state bar rules)?

Wisconsin answered in the negative, but disciplined him for other infractions. Now Minnesota has stepped in. From the Pioneer Press:

The three-way sex did not get a lawyer’s license suspended – but plenty of other things did.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that attorney Michael R. Inglimo stop practicing law for three years….

The high court decision comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended Inglimo’s license in October for illegal drug use with clients, having sex with a client’s wife, misuse of a client’s trust account, failure to maintain proper trust account records and criminal conviction for possession of marijuana. The Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility sought reciprocal discipline.

And got it — for the next three years, Inglino can’t practice in Minnesota as well as Wisconsin. There’s no split in authority, then, on the question of three-way jurisprudence originally posed.
3-way sex did not suspend lawyer’s license [Pioneer Press]

* William & Mary is a bit of a mess right now. But at least they pay their law profs well! [TaxProf Blog]
* The Fonz testifies at a trial over the death of Jack Tripper. [AP]
* Another link to add to our recent round-up of web-based research resources. [Commercial Law Center]
* Legal Hottie of the Day: Stacey Gardner, one of the suitcase-holding models on “Deal or New Deal,” and a member of the California bar. [New York Times]
* A fellow legal blogger corresponds with Donna Brazile over the superdelegate rules. [Blogonaut]
* Speaking of presidential politics, check out this collection of unflattering candidate candids. [CBS2]

Are your increasingly cost-conscious clients balking at five-figure bills for legal research? Here are some neat new resources you might find helpful:
Public Library of Law Fastcase Above the Law blog.jpg1. The Public Library of Law. Here’s a brief blurb, from Ed Walters (the former Covington associate who founded Fastcase):

One of the joys of disruptive technology is that it occasionally allows you to disrupt things. In that spirit, I’m pleased to introduce the Public Library of Law, which debuts today at PLoL is the world’s largest free law library, with more than 7,100 miles of text in the cases alone.

PLoL works hand in hand with our (much larger) subscription library at Fastcase, which features power research tools as good or better than any in the world. PLoL has its virtues as well — it is ad supported and easy to use, and should be a great starting place to find law on the Web.

There’s a usage tutorial available over at YouTube, prior coverage by Robert Ambrogi at LawSites, and a comprehensive press release.
Precydent open law source AboveTheLaw blog.jpg2. PreCYdent. PLoL isn’t the only free law library on the web. From a tipster:

Have you posted about Professor Tom Smith’s new research tool, PreCYdent? It’s an amazing concept and it works quite well, even though only in its early stages.

A description from Professor Smith:

Right now our library consists of all US Supreme Court cases and US Court of Appeals cases going back to the 1950s (i.e. F.3d and F.2d). Automatic updaters are in place, so new cases are uploaded in slip opinion form as soon as they are released by these courts. We are working on having the last ten years of cases from all 50 states available soon. Everything is in XML.

It’s free. We believe that all law that is in the public domain should be available to everybody for free. Personally, I think I paid for it once already around April 15th or so.

More details here and here.
eDelaware Potter Anderson Corroon LLP Above the Law blog.jpg3. eDelaware. This last tool is a bit more focused than the others mentioned above; it’s all about Delaware law (of special interest to the corporate lawyers among you). From eDelaware’s press release:

eDelaware is free mobile software that will provide instant access to the full text of key Delaware statutes, along with case law summaries, through a BlackBerry® smartphone device. It is the first mobile software developed by a law firm that allows for seamless, wireless access to important statutes and case law summaries, all of which will be updated so as to provide the most current content possible.

Good stuff. As clients grow more cheap cost-conscious, expect free and/or low-cost research resources to grow in importance.
Update: One more link to add — the new Commercial Law Center, brought to you by LexisNexis. Much of the center is free — e.g., the Weekly Wrapup podcasts, the Insider Perspective blog, and many items listed in Featured Content (which currently includes a Sub-Prime Litigation webcast).
Public Library of Law [via Fastcase]
PreCYdent search engine [via The Right Coast]
eDelaware [via Potter Anderson & Corroon]
Commercial Law Center [via LexisNexis]

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s not as lavish as holding your law firm retreat at the Ritz in Pasadena, like O’Melveny & Myers. Nor is it as exotic as an all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica, like Boies Schiller.
But still, this is neat. From a Fried Frank source:

Fried Frank announced to its associates on Tuesday that it is sending all associates in their third year and above, plus some partners and special counsel, to New Orleans for its 2008 attorney retreat. I thought this was pretty cool of the firm to do, especially because there’s a mix of fun, workshops that sound useful, and community service to help the residents of New Orleans.

A cynic might say that the last thing a devastated city needs is to be descended upon by a bunch of lawyers (a la Bhopal). But between the tourism dollars they’ll bring in and the volunteer work they’ll perform, the arrival of the Fried Frank folk is clearly a good thing. John Edwards, eat your heart out.
Announcement memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Fried Frank to… New Orleans!”

Valentine's Day love hearts Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re still in a Valentine’s Day state of mind, so we thought we’d toss out a poll question to the ATL readership: Should lawyers date other lawyers?
The obvious answer is, “it depends” — on the two (or more?) individuals involved, the nature of their relationship, the surrounding circumstances, etc. But that’s boring. So let’s consider the question in the abstract, and in more absolute terms.
There are obvious pros and cons to lawyer-on-lawyer love. On the plus side, it’s nice to be with someone who can understand your work, including its many frustrations. When you tell that horror story over dinner about opposing counsel’s speaking objections at your deposition, your partner might actually understand.
(Also on the plus side: If you’re both at law firms on the $160K scale, together you take home a very nice chunk of change.)
But the sheer amount of lawyer shop-talk may also be the most obvious minus of legal-eagle romance. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape from the law world every now and then, instead of curling up with it at night? Wouldn’t dating a non-lawyer add some welcome diversity to your life?
Of course, as a practical matter, some lawyers have little choice but to date a fellow lawyer (or paralegal, hehe). If you bill 2500 hours a year, having a personal life is tough — unless that person works down the hall. In fact, due to the rise of workplace romances, the idea of the “love contract” has developed. As explained by Alston & Bird partner Ashley Brightwell over at the WSJ Law Blog, a love contract is “a tool that employers use to protect themselves when an office romance goes sour. It’s a document that confirms that a relationship is voluntary and informs the parties of the company’s sexual harassment policies. It sets out a procedure if, at any point, the relationship goes south.”
Anyway, enough thinking about what might go wrong. Let’s think about the possibilities — for lawyer love! Please take our poll — and discuss attorney-on-attorney action, in the comments. Thanks.

Office Romances & The Law: a Q&A With Ashley Brightwell [WSJ Law Blog]

Winstead PC Texas business law firm Above the Law blog.jpgThis latest layoff news may not be super-exciting to the associates among you, since it relates to staff rather than lawyer layoffs.The East and West Coast snobs will dismiss it as news from “flyover land.”
But as we previously observed, staff layoffs “serve as a ‘canary in the mine’ of sorts, with respect to a law firm’s financial health.” And the firm in question, Winstead, is one of Texas’s largest firms.
So this news merits mention (on a somewhat slow news day). From the Dallas Morning News:

Texas-based Winstead PC will lay off 20 support staff employees in its Dallas office, chief executive Denis Braham said Wednesday.

The firm also let a few associate attorneys go in the restructuring, but Mr. Braham said the firm typically cuts some associates each year.

Our tipster expresses skepticism: “Bulls**t. This is the same firm that came out after salaries increased last time to 160 and said, ‘we are not raising.’ I think they later caved.”
Winstead to lay off 20 in Dallas office [Dallas Morning News]
Winstead Says Yes to Bonuses, No to Raises [Texas Lawyer]

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