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* DOJ decides against filing hate crime charges in torture prosecution. [MSNBC]
* Another day, another perjury. [Newsweek]
* Fred Thompson’s legal work at Arent Fox scrutinized. [MSNBC]
* Criminal trial begins for leader of polygamist FLDS sect. [CNN]
* Harvard nursing mother sues med boards over exam breaks. [New York Times]

Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgWho knew that such a little man could generate such big controversy?
In a nutshell (see the links collected below for more):
Erwin Chemerinsky, the brilliant but controversial professor of constitutional law at Duke, accepted an offer to serve as inaugural dean of UC Irvine’s new law school. But then Professor Chemerinsky’s deanship was yanked as quickly as it was offered, based on the administration’s discomfort with Chemerinsky’s political views.
One tipster reminds us: “For those who took BarBri, Chemerinsky is the Con Law professor who can recite the entire lecture (2 days if I recall) from memory, without consulting his notes.”
Does anyone have a copy of, or know the contents of, Chemerinsky’s employment contract with U.C. Irvine? If so, please contact us by email. Thanks.
Also, you can take our reader poll about the controversy, which appears after the jump.
New UC Irvine Law School Hires Chemerinsky as Dean, Then Fires Him for Political Reasons
[Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]
The O.C. — Law School Edition [WSJ Law Blog]
Could This Be True??? [PrawfsBlawg]
Chemerinsky says UC Irvine rescinds offer to become law school dean [Los Angeles Times]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chemerinskygate: Dean for a Day?”

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe fall recruiting process. Some firms mess things up; some firms live it up.

We’re hearing through the grapevine that this year, for students at schools with late on-campus interview weeks, Quinn Emanuel isn’t doing the whole callbacks-at-their-offices thing. Instead, they’re inviting the students they like in the on-campus interviews on a weekend trip at a resort in Deer Valley, Utah, to get a better feel for the firm and its attorneys.

Apparently former Stanford dean Kathleen Sullivan will be on the trip, to make a pitch to the students. There will also be DVDs with virtual tours of the offices, in case some interviewees want to know what their office would look like if they chose to work there.

It appears that Quinn is trying this out as a pilot program this year, with the late OCI schools (e.g., Harvard, Chicago, Yale). If it works well, then they might expand its use.

This strikes us as a cool and fabulous junket. But on the other hand, maybe people wouldn’t want to spend this much time on an extended callback. Thoughts?

UPDATE (9/13/07): More details about the experiment are available here.

invest investment investing equity stake Above the Law blog.jpgOur somewhat flagging coverage of the perks or fringe benefits of law firm life is getting reinvigorated, thanks to your suggestions. If you have an idea for a perk that merits discussion, please review our prior coverage (scroll down), to make sure we haven’t covered it already. If we haven’t, then please send your idea to us by email (subject line: “Biglaw Perk Watch”).
A tipster submitted this interesting topic:

[Y]ou should do a thread on firms that allow associates to participate in equity compensation schemes, i.e., purchase stock in clients. This is pretty common among the native Silicon Valley firms, but nowhere else, and is the only way I see any upside to practicing law!

This practice was very popular during the late 90′s tech boom. But that was before the tech bubble burst.
Do firms continue to do it today? If so, how lucrative can it be for participants? Can any associates who have taken advantage of this benefit describe how they made out financially?
Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.

New York Observer logo Above the Law blog.jpgWe have to step away for a bit. But we’ll leave you with some food for thought (and argument): a piece we just wrote for the New York Observer, timed to coincide with fall interview season, about New York law firms. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“[J]ust as certain sleeve cuts are all the rage at Fashion Week, some law firms are “hot”—and some are not. Having interviewed with firms exactly 10 years ago, I was curious: Who is this fall’s “It” Firm?”

We expect that many of you will disagree with our conclusions, condemn us as ill-informed or biased (or both), etc. That’s okay. Our point is to provoke. We’d like to become for the law firm world what Michael Riedel is to theatre: “Post columnist Michael Riedel’s gleeful skewering of Broadway’s shows and personages has made him a must read—and a must-hate—on the Great White Way.”
You can read the full column over here. It’s the first in what’s going to be a semimonthly column we’ll be writing for the Observer on New York lawyers and law firms. Enjoy (we think).
Polish Those Portfolios! Legal Eaglets Seek Their Nests [New York Observer]

spanking small Society of Janus spank Herman Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgRemember Judge Herman Thomas, the Alabama state court judge who allegedly spanked a number of prisoners? Now there’s a theme song for the scandal, entitled “Spank Me.” Check it out here.
The creator and artist, Jolene Roxbury, is a former paralegal who decided several years ago that comedy was her true calling. You can learn more about her over at her website. Nice work, Jolene!
Jolene Roxbury: Certified Verbal Conversationalist
Earlier: Judge of the Day: Herman Thomas

Miami courthouse David W Dyer federal courthouse Above the Law blog.jpgAs noted yesterday, we’re smack in the middle of clerkship hiring season. Perhaps some of you are applying to judges based in Miami. Clerking in a tropical paradise — what’s not to like?
Possibly deadly toxic mold, that’s what. From an article by Julie Kay in the Daily Business Review (via SDFLA Blog):

Two studies performed at the historic David W. Dyer federal courthouse in downtown Miami show there are significant mold and air safety issues at one of Miami-Dade County’s oldest courthouses and suggest parts of the building are beyond repair.

The studies… were commissioned by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida after U.S. Magistrate Judge Ted Klein became ill and died last year of a mysterious respiratory illness, and his fellow magistrate judges raised concerns about the building’s environment.

Additional discussion appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Public Service Announcement: Avoid the David W. Dyer Federal Courthouse”

* Mandated calorie watching is struck down. [AP; New York Times]
* Mortgage lenders’ ads may violate FCC FTC rules. [MSNBC]
* Former Philippine prez gets 40-year prison sentence. [New York Times]
* China agrees to prohibit lead paint in children’s toys… [AP via MSNBC]
* Tennessee uses the chair for first time since 1960. [CNN]

hillary clinton is magnificent.jpgCheck out this interesting data about the campaign contributions of Yale faculty and staff, over at Instapundit. It prompted Glenn Reynolds to ask: “Why don’t the Yale Law faculty like Hillary?”
Good question. And here’s another: Even if the Yale Law faculty don’t like this distinguished YLS alumna, why don’t they at least send their (hopefully non-tainted) money her way? Don’t they want her to remember them when she’s President Clinton, looking to fill high-ranking Justice Department posts or spots on the federal bench? As the old saying goes, “Scratch a Yale law professor (or graduate) and you’ll find an aspiring federal judge.”
(The information originally appeared in this excellent Yale Daily News article by Andrew Mangino — who, by the way, helped us out with the reporting for this piece on law firm economics and culture.)
Yale’s Diversity Problem [Instapundit]
Profs donate heavily to Dems [Yale Daily News]

* More lawyers — no, not Nixon Peabody — have a bone to pick with YouTube. [Michael Geist]
* UK study: “Workers who spend time on sites such as Facebook could be costing firms over £130m a day.” [BBC via Dealbreaker]
* Speaking of Facebook, here’s some advice that’s so obvious, yet so frequently ignored: “[I]f you don’t want a hiring partner to see it, it probably shouldn’t be up on the web.” [PrawfsBlawg]
Update: As noted by a commenter, the first comment to the PrawfsBlawg post is pretty great.
* New Yorkers, take note: Could Wall Street Woes Sink NYC Real Estate? [DealBreaker]
* Blawg Review #125 is up. [Real Lawyers Have Blogs via Blawg Review]
* Have a question you’re dying to ask Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court? Here’s your chance. [SCOTUSblog]

laptop computer coffee newspaper Abovethelaw Above the Law.jpgSeveral readers drew our attention to this fascinating article from our local free weekly, the Washington City Paper:

Wanted: Gullible Lawyers
By Arin Greenwood

I was hired over e-mail. A boss I never met promised me $14,000 a month. How could I fall for that?

Two tipsters have done an especially good job teeing it up, so we’ll just quote from their plugs:

“Have you read this? Very entertaining story about a lot of people who got scammed on craigslist, a sizable portion of which were lawyers. Most interesting is the author’s take on what the goal of the scam was.”

“This is so interesting! Even if you don’t write about it (which you should: any story that includes a hapless and pathetic Columbia law grad, an Indian lesbian, Rupert Murdoch, and 15 lawyers embroiled in a scam de l’amour deserves the full treatment from ATL, no?), you just must read this! Delicious!”

We concur. It’s a bit long, but a wild (and worthwhile) story. Check it out here.

Wanted: Gullible Lawyers [Washington City Paper]
the fake job.. turned into a real article [Arin Greenwood]

dinner fancy restaurant Above the Law blog.jpgOur series on the perks or fringe benefits of large law firm life has become somewhat sporadic, partly because we’ve covered so many of the biggies. To review our past posts, click here, and scroll down.
Today’s perk: prizes for big billers. If you really kill yourself during a particular month, racking up 250 or 300 hours on some monster deal or litigation, do you get rewarded for it? Of course you might see your crazy hours reflected in your year-end bonus check. But might you get some other, non-monetary benefit? (And we’re not counting being able to show up after 10 on the morning after an all-nighter.)
We don’t know if this policy still exists, but a source sent us this interesting information:

When I was at Clifford Chance (f/k/a Rogers & Wells), a legacy Rogers & Wells program was that if you billed 250 in a month, the firm covered dinner for you and a guest (spouse, date, friend, etc…) with no questions asked. It was an amazing program. Historically, the Firm had no limit, but assumed associates would “just exercise the judgment expected of them.”

It worked for years until a few “exceptions” decided to add very, very expensive bottles of wine to their orders. I think eventually the limit was set at $500. I know more than a handful of “superstars” tanked their careers by “not exercising the judgment expected of them” and submitting dinner bills for several thousands of dollars.

Anyone know if Clifford Chance still has this special dinner benefit?
We also hear that at WilmerHale, “super-super high billers” get vacation vouchers. Can anyone confirm and/or provide more details?
Update/Correction: Or maybe the WilmerHale workaholics get gift cards? See this comment.
Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks!

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