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If you’ve been away from the news cycle today, read our two prior posts.
If you’re up to speed on this story, go ahead and vote:

Phoenix Arizona Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgToday our tour of non-mega-markets swings through the American Southwest. Say hello to Phoenix!
This article is a bit dated, but still informative and generally accurate. From the Business Journal:

Phoenix-area law firms face a major hurdle in recruiting top legal talent: They do not offer starting salaries as high as those found in California, on the East Coast, or in other established commercial centers.

That’s making it tough for Phoenix firms to recruit top professionals to support the Valley’s growth. An entry-level attorney for a top Phoenix law firm is earning an average of $110,000 a year….

That figure trails entry-level pay in traditional legal metros such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago.

Additional discussion, plus a collection of data points assembled by a helpful tipster, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Phoenix”

Harriet Miers Harriet E Miers Harriet Ellan Miers Harriet Elan Miers Above the Law.JPGWe’re about to sit down and enjoy a sandwich we just picked up from Cosi. If it’s good enough for the Chief Justice, it’s good enough for us.
Normally we’d wash our hands first. But not today.
Why? Because we just met Harriet Miers — and shook her hand!
We were crossing the street at 15th and L Streets in downtown Washington, shortly after 2 PM today. Walking towards us were three well-dressed, older lawyers: two tall men, and a much shorter woman.
We had that feeling of “we know her from somewhere.” And suddenly it hit us:

ATL: “Oh my goodness. You’re Harriet Miers!!!”

HEM: “Yes.”

ATL: “Wow, I’m a huge fan of yours. Thank you for all of your great work!”

We then shook hands with the former Supreme Court nominee. Her handshake was just right: firm, but far from crushing.
More details from this sighting, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: A Thrilling Lunchtime Sighting”

Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve checked with our sources at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. And we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the rumor that Simpson has raised starting salaries for its associates to $190,000 is UNTRUE. The “memo” that has been making the rounds is a fake.
So y’all can stop emailing us about this now. Thanks.
(But if you haven’t done so already, feel free to vote in our reader poll, concerning whether top New York law firms will raise salaries again before the end of the year. We’ll keep it open for a little while longer.)
Update: Comment on the rumor from Simpson partner James Cross is available here.
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: WWNYD?

Paris Hilton 3 rash anal herpes Abovethelaw anal herpes Above the Law blog.JPGOn the subject of Paris Hilton’s recent release from jail, Entertainment Tonight reports:

L.A. County Sheriff Spokesperson STEVE WHITMORE told reporters that due to “medical issues,” the heiress had been “reassigned” at about 2:00 a.m. Thursday and would finish out her sentence on house arrest….

Sources close to the Hilton family tell ET the medical reason was actually a rash she developed on her body.

Mention of a bodily rash provides support for this ATL reader comment:

My friend’s brother (who works with [Sheriff Lee] Baca’s assistant sheriffs) told me that Paris was released due to a severe, “stress-induced” herpes outbreak. He also said that he heard that the blisters had apparently spread to her anus and had taken on abcess-like features that required more serious medical attention. Thus, after taking into account jail overcrowding, the increasing liability that Paris presents, and Paris’s lesions, all things weighed in favor of her being put on home confinement.

Was a case of anal herpes a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for Paris Hilton?
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paris Hilton: Her Rash Release from Prison?”

James Brooks Judge James M Brooks Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe Honorable James M. Brooks — a California trial judge and prior Judge of the Day honoree, with a history of getting himself into hot water — might want to leave comedy to James L. Brooks.
Judge Brooks’s attempts at humor didn’t go over too well with the folks upstairs. From On Point News:

A California judge’s jocular behavior backfired as an appeals court ordered a new trial in an employment bias case, ruling that he had created a “circus atmosphere” and “a courtroom is not the Improv.”…

Brooks’s performance in the bias case against Ricoh Electronics suggests the CJP let him off lightly. The jury returned a defense verdict after a 31-day jury trial during which, the 4th District Court of Appeal said, the judge “allowed, indeed helped create, a circus atmosphere, giving defendants’ lawyer free rein to deride and make snide remarks at will and at the expense of plaintiffs and their lawyer.”

Among other things, Brooks flashed a hand-lettered sign saying “Overruled” when plaintiffs’ counsel Michelle A. Reinglass made objections. “It’s lightening things up,” he said when she objected to the sign.

The appellate court was not amused:

[A] courtroom is not the Improv and the presider’s role model is not Judge Judy. We can only imagine what was in the jurors’ minds as they endured a 30-plus day trial in this atmosphere or the impression of the judicial system they took away with them posttrial.

“[T]he presider’s role model is not Judge Judy.” Well, it depends. If the presider wants to be a respectable and responsible jurist, fine. But if the presider wants his own courtroom television show — a la Judge Larry Seidlin, of Anna Nicole Smith case fame — Judge Judy is a veritable Cardozo.
Court Finds No Humor in Joking Judge’s Trial Antics [On Point News]
O.C. judge rebuked for antics [Orange County Register]
Earlier: Judges of the Day: Wilbur Mathesius and James Brooks

Boston Massachusetts Statehouse State House Abovethelaw Above the Law.jpgSome of these Boston pay raises have been previously reported in these pages, but some are new. From this morning’s National Law Journal (subscription):

A second wave of associate salary increases is sweeping the Boston legal market with several firms boosting first-year pay to $160,000 for the incoming September class.

At Bingham McCutchen, DLA Piper, McDermott Will & Emery and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, along with Boston-based Foley Hoag, compensation is $160,000 for the Boston September class and firmwide in some cases.

Ropes & Gray raised salaries to $160,000 on May 1 and Goodwin Procter did the same on June 1. First-year starting salaries are now also $160,000 at Choate Hall & Stewart….

[Earlier this year,] Boston’s Fish & Richardson and three [Boston offices of] New York firms jumped to $160,000: Proskauer Rose; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

If you’re looking to discuss Boston associate salaries, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
P.S. Since we cover the Boston legal market a fair amount here at ATL, this post won’t count as our “Secondary Legal Market of the Day” post. That post will appear sometime in the afternoon.
More Boston firms follow the lead on associate pay [National Law Journal (subscription)]
Augustana – Boston [YouTube]

Paris Hilton 2 mugshot New York Post front page Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGDid the jailhouse toiletries fall short of the Hilton family’s high standards? Probably.
But that’s not why Paris Hilton was just granted early release from jail (as first reported by TMZ.com). Due to medical reasons, Hilton will instead serve 40 days of house arrest. She’s being fitted for Martha Stewart’s favorite accessory: an ankle bracelet.
The tabloids have been having a field day with the “Paris Goes to Jail” story. See, e.g., the New York Post front page at right. But it looks like their fun has been cut short.
A press conference by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is now underway. More details to come.
Paris Hilton — Free Woman [TMZ.com]
Cops: Paris Under House Arrest [TMZ.com]
Paris Bawls in Jail [New York Post]

Timothy Block Timothy M Block Robins Kaplan Miller Ciresi Abovethelaw Above the Law.jpgInitiative. Creativity. Zealous advocacy on behalf of the client.
All qualities demonstrated by Robins Kaplan partner Timothy Block, who is ATL’s Lawyer of the Day.
Update: The story is getting attention not just in the legal world, but in the tech world, too.
Best Buy Attorney Falsified E-Mails [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Firm’s Mea Culpa Adds Twist to Class Action Against Best Buy [The Recorder]
Timothy M. Block bio [Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi via Google Cache]
Best Buy lawyer admits to altering documents in racketeering case [Engadget]

* Banned children’s book about Cuba, “Vamos a Cuba,” now in court. [Miami Herald]
* “Hit Movie ‘Knocked Up’ With a Lawsuit.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Should Libby be pardoned? [LA Times via BLT]
* More pardoning analysis from NYT. [New York ]

Williams Connolly LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGWe recently asked for information about compensation developments at Williams & Connolly. We haven’t heard anything about base salary increases; but we do have information about two other topics.
First, we’ve confirmed that the firm’s clerkship bonus currently stands at $25,000. If you do a district and circuit clerkship, you get $50,000.
Second, on Tuesday of this week, summer associate pay at W&C was raised to $3100 a week, retroactive to whenever the summers started. The information was conveyed orally (so no memo). From a summer: “While most of us were not overly concerned about the previous differential, the raise is definitely a nice and welcome gesture.”
Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: What’s Up With Williams & Connolly?

* Ethiopia is fast becoming the safety school of adopting families. As much red tape as you encounter, oh culturally aware saviors, it will not be as infuriating as this. [International Herald Tribune]
* Ironic grades are cool, but now that the hipster is good and buried, this is the time for the academic to stake her claim to a piece of our generation’s cultural zeitgeist. [Prawfs Blawg]
* Some money-grubbing entrepreneurs have cheated honest, quilt-making folk under the guise of art patronage. Allegedly. [Charlotte Observer]
* Memorial Day–not just for barbecues anymore. [Dumb Ass Daily]

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