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100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAn inquiry from a curious reader who will be starting at a Biglaw shop in New York in a few months:

It seems my friends starting work for Latham & Watkins this fall have received stipends (i.e. signing bonuses) of more than $13,000! And I thought I had a good deal when my NY firm was generous enough to offer me a “salary advance” of $10,000 (which I won’t receive for some time)…

I’m wondering if this bar stipend is common among other firms. In other words – how much am I being screwed? My friends in LA will effectively make a base salary of $173,000 their first year! That’s more than most NYC 2nd years! Wondering if you could post something and get to the bottom of this?

Thoughts? Please feel free to describe your firm’s policy on bar stipends / signing bonuses / salary advances in the comments. Or send us information by email (subject line: “Bar Stipend”). Thanks.
Update: With respect to Latham specifically, a source advises:

It’s true LW gives a bar stipend that equals one month of salary, but they do NOT give a stub bonus. [For the uninitiated, a "stub bonus" is a year-end or holiday bonus, but prorated to reflect the number of months you spent at a firm in your first year (since you weren't there for all twelve months).]

To say that LW people get more than the NY firms is disingenuous, since a lot of NY law firms give a bonus in December equal to the bar stipend LW gives. I’ve heard that there are some firms that do both – that’d be awesome.

* Crazy Georgia woman loses her bid to de-Harry Potter-fy Gwinnett County Schools. [Fulton County Daily Report]
* For a man with a rare and deadly form of TB, he sure was getting around. [ AP via Yahoo! News]
* FTC not sure about Google buying Doubleclick. [Jurist]
* Roddick sucks, and gets pretty pissed about it. [New York Times]

We’ve gotten a flurry of updates on the email war. Here’s a sampling:

At the risk of incurring the wrath of everyone…, I have decided to throw myself out in front of the train in an attempt to alleviate the inevitable eruption of spiteful emails that continually come forth over a list serve designed to meet the needs of a specific population. When said list is overbroad and incorporates those to whom the subject matter is inapplicable, the first response is generally, “interesting, glad this does not affect me and good luck to those people.” As the first response or two arrives to the PAC solicitation, those in the nilist camp think, “oops, looks like someone accidentally hit the ‘reply all’ button instead of reply. Well, good luck to those people.” Eventually, ten to twenty replies appear, making an inbox look like a gathering of lemmings – yes the electronic communitcation apocalypse is rapidly approaching. Mildly annoyed, those who were involuntarily drafted into this convention think, “everyone has started to make my inbox their soapbox. I hope someone suggests to everyone that they should not hit the ‘reply all’ button, because i don’t want to come across as the person who forgot to have coffee this morning, was shafted out of a fun memorial day vacation, and just got a 30 page handwritten pro se summary judgment motion with 12 counts in it. I still wish those people well, good luck to them.”

No, that’s not the whole message. It continues, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerk Email War Update”

An email from a federal district court clerk regarding a pending proposal that would harm career clerks vis-a-vis non-career clerks has apparently touched off an email war between the career clerks and the non-clerks. The original email, and every subsequent email, is being sent to every single district court clerk in the country. According to one of our tipsters, about 40 shots have been fired over the last couple of hours. This is the only one we have so far:

Because the cause of career law clerks apprently takes precedence over the rules of decorum, professionalism, and email etiquette, and because numerous (earnest) pleas to cease sending unsolicited emails to the the “all reply” list have gone unheeded, I have decided to share with the law clerks of the country a list of some of my favorite tater-tot recipies. As my first installment, here is the recipie for my world famous Tater Tot Casserole:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 bag tater tots
shredded cheese
1 lb of ground hamburger meat
serves: 6 or 7
Brown hamburger meat. Add cream of mushroom soup and stir together continuously.
Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
Place mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Lay tater tots neatly on top of the mixture.
Place in oven on 350′ and let the tater tots brown.
Sprinkle with cheese; melt it in the oven and ENJOY.

If you’re a federal district court clerk, or if you’ve been forwarded any part of this war, please send it to us.
The original email, which is boring and contains multiple typos, is available for explanatory purposes only, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sectarian Violence in the Federal Courts: Career Clerks v. Non-Career Clerks”

In yet another 5-4 decision with Kennedy casting the deciding vote, the Supreme Court today limited the ability to sue under Title VII for pay decisions made prior to the 180-day EEOC charge period. That’s about all we got out of the very small portion of the opinion that we had the time or inclination to read. Feel free to send us any snarks, snipes, or otherwise benchslappy comments that you find noteworthy.
The opinion can be accessed here.

Michael K. Brandow, of the Chicago firm of Brady Connolly & Masuda, P.C., is an irresistable-force, immovable-object, Chuck-Norris-like-awesome worker’s compensation attorney. How does he do it? By sucking the life force out of his opponents and anyone else who might stand in his way with his creepy stare.
So mighty is he that in the 26 years since he graduated from John Marshall Law School, he has managed to try

multiple cases before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and has also successfully prosecuted cases through and including the Circuit and Appellate Courts of Illinois.

So watch out, Illinois worker’s compensation plaintiff’s bar. Because there is no Worker’s Compensation practice section of the Illinois Bar, just a list of worker’s compensation attorneys that Michael K. Brandow allows to live.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPG
According to one of our anonymous tipsters, that’s the case in the New York office until July, when the associate raises will kick in. When the associates complained, what were they given as the reason? “That’s the market. We have to pay our summers the market rate.” But they don’t have to pay the associates the market rate?
Our tipster suggests that perhaps the summers in the New York office ought to take the associates out for lunch.

The Carl’s, Jr. fast-food restaurant chain has sued competitor Jack in the Box over commercials that it says implies that its Angus burgers are made from, shall we say, the least desirable area of the cow.
When asked for comment on the suit, Jack of Jack in the Box had the following to say:

Jack: Relax, fella. Look over there! It’s a Carl’s, Jr. assburger. Hey, relax guy!
Us: Um, you kinda just did it again.
Jack: What? Hey, relax guy. Have a Bacon ‘n’ Cheese Ciabatta Burger. Look over there!

We don’t know about you guys, but Carl’s, Jr. and Jack in the Box both kinda taste like that part of the cow to us. It’s all about the In and Out Burger.
For those of you who, like us, don’t live in Jack In the Box’s advertising range, the ads are after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Not Without My Angus”

Elizabeth Halverson Judge Elizabeth Halverson.jpgJane Ann Morrison, columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had a column yesterday that put quite a smackdown on two-time Judge of the Day Elizabeth Halverson (see her previous honors here and here). Along with some catty renditions of some of the facts we already knew (like the fact that Judge Halverson’s pre-judicial legal experience apparently consists of 9 years as a state court law clerk, getting FIRED from that job, losing her first election, and then somehow winning her second), Morrison provides some of the juicy details of the hefty judge’s outrageous behavior that led to her needing her own security force in the first place.
From the column:

Halverson spent nine years as a fairly lowly law clerk. (I always assumed the 425-pound woman, according to her driver’s license, stayed as long as she could for the county’s health insurance coverage.)


After she was fired, she ran for one judgeship, lost, but in 2006 won on her second try.
Before long, stories started coming out of the Regional Justice Center about her contemptuous behavior toward her staff, particularly her bailiff, Johnny Jordan. Halverson, who had never had real power, was relishing it, throwing a pencil on the floor and ordering him to pick it up. Jordan was ordered to give her foot rubs and back massages. He has since filed a complaint against his former boss alleging discrimination based on sex and race. He is black and says she treated him like a “house boy.”

Apparently the other judges in the courthouse felt the need for a judicial intervention with Halverson:

Court officials realized they were going to be slapped with multiple lawsuits alleging hostile work environment if no action was taken. Three judges were asked to help Halverson, Family Court Judge Art Ritchie and District Judges Stewart Bell and Sally Loehrer.
A memo details an April 6 meeting between Halverson and the three judges:
• She’s told it’s inappropriate to have staff rub her feet or her back. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff to stop that, that he’d become too familiar with her.
• She’s told she should not require staff to show up at 6:45 a.m. to wait for her arrival at 8 or 8:30 a.m. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff not to come early, but he wouldn’t listen.
• She’s told she should not have staff make her lunch. Answer: The bailiff wants to make her lunch.
• She’s told there are 20-25 orders missing. Answer: She’s shocked.
• She’s told it’s unethical to make statements showing bias against attorneys, particularly those who didn’t give to her campaign. Answer: Yes, she said it, but since nobody gave her money for her campaign, she’s not discriminating against anyone.
• She’s told the demeaning way she talks to her husband, Ed, referring to him as a “bitch” (and worse), is offensive to staff. Answer: She doesn’t know why that would upset the staff, but the solution is to have him not come to her chambers.
• Told she should treat people with dignity and respect, Halverson said she didn’t know specifically what she was doing wrong.
After she answered every allegation made against her, Judge Bell told her, “If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it. Get some psychological help.”
On April 12, the three judges tried to meet with Halverson again at 4:30 p.m. She was in a civil nonjury trial. The three judges waited until 6 p.m. before leaving. Later, the judges said they confirmed her trial was over, but she waited in the courtroom until she confirmed they had departed. The judges said Halverson will “falsely” claim she was in trial. Essentially, the judges called her a liar.

We also have it on good authority that she told her doctor she was just “big-boned.”
But despite all of this, Las Vegas voters will have to wait 18 more months to get rid of the behemoth they so nonchalantly voted into office. That is unless a complaint is filed with the Judicial Discipline Commission; the article says that investigators are working on putting one together.
Oh yeah, did we mention that she’s huge?

We’re coming to you from Athens, Georgia once again (hopefully with a better map this time). While Lat makes his way back from losing his ass at the blackjack tables his friend’s wedding in Vegas over the weekend, we’ll be holding down the fort.
We’ve got some good stuff in the pipeline, but feel free to keep the helpful tips coming as always.

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* Umm, is this really that surprising? Would be kinda scary if it were the opposite… [Jurist]
* No driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: California Rule! [CNN]
* Alabama latest to say “our bad” on slavery. [ Fulton County Daily Report]
* Pakistani lesbian couple jailed for being gay perjury. [Jurist]
* CSI: Hollywood. [CNN]

* Women’s unmentionables are pricey, but even the total value of 1,300 pairs of 100% cotton granny panties would amount to a felony. (Yeah, I hate the word “panty” too.) [ABC News (Denver)]
* The bad news is that you’ll never eat your greens again. The good news is that he is STD-free. [Daily Herald]
* I’d rather be jowl-free than Macacca’s kid. [Contact Music]
* The devil makes work for idle hands–I know this is Kansas, but doesn’t Phelps have something better to do? [KFDA]

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