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Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe realize that it’s still summer. Many of the justices are still traipsing around Europe (or hanging out in the Hampshire, as in the case of Justice David Souter).
It’s also the last week of August, leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend – traditionally one of the slowest, most dead weeks of the year. As some of you have noticed, we’ve been phoning it in taking it easy here at ATL, too.
But even though nothing is supposed to be happening, it appears that some things are afoot. We’ve been hearing all sorts of cryptic rumors about recent Supreme Court clerk hiring. As former SCOTUS clerk Michael Chertoff might say, we have a “gut feeling” that some hiring has been going on.
Our last open thread on this subject didn’t yield much, but that was over a month ago. Have you heard any Supreme Court clerk hiring news that hasn’t already appeared on ATL? If so, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”). (You can also post a comment, but we prefer email for this subject, so we can pose follow-up questions to you if we have them.)
Thanks for any and all info!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: OT 2008 (Update #4)”

What’s up with all these federal judges seeking to leave their life-tenured quarters? We understand that the pay’s not great (which is why we urge them to marry rich). But being an Article III judge is still nice work if you can get it.

Despite the power and prestige, two federal judges are moving on — temporarily or permanently. First, from the Daily Business Review:

Martin Jenkins Judge Martin J Jenkins Above the Law blog.jpgIn a highly unusual move, U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins [N.D. Cal. (at right)], a life-tenured federal judge in San Francisco, is prepared to give up his seat and has applied for an opening on the California State Court of Appeal bench.

Jenkins, 54, a moderate Democrat and former state trial court judge in Oakland, Calif., was appointed by President Clinton a decade ago. He confirmed rumors that he has submitted an application with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for the vacancy.

We understand the allure of an appellate over a trial court gig. But still, giving up the federal bench for a state court is “highly unusual” — especially since the state court in question isn’t even the California Supreme Court (the move that Judge Morrison England (E.D. Cal.) was contemplating, before he withdrew his name from consideration).

Second, from the Houston Chronicle (via Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog):

U.S. District Judge Sam Kent [S.D. Tex.] will take a four-month leave from his Galveston bench for unspecified reasons, according to an order made public Monday.

No one involved would comment on the order, but students of the federal judiciary said it is unusual.

We smell a story here. A little more about Judge Kent, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Federal Judges Fleeing the Bench?”

Our series of open threads on Vault 100 law firms is nearing its conclusion. Here are this afternoon’s firms (with Vault prestige scores in parentheses):

76. Bryan Cave LLP (5.095)
77. Schulte Roth & Zabel (5.080)
78. Perkins Coie (5.058)
79. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan (5.022)
80. Patton Boggs LLP (5.015)

Collectively these firms have made several appearances in ATL. We know that Schulte Roth & Zabel partners have nice apartments. And Stroock & Stroock & Lavan has an interesting first-year associate, who sent out this email.
Correction: Initially we had the 2007 Vault 76-80 firms on this list. We have since fixed the post. Sorry about that!
Please discuss these five firms in the comments. Thanks!
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55; Vault 56-60; Vault 61-65; Vault 66-70; Vault 71-75

goat head severed goat head curried goat Above the Law blog.jpgRemember the “spicy pony head” comedy sketch that we linked to earlier this week?
Maybe defense lawyer Robin Shellow should some friends over for a Labor Day barbecue. And serve up spicy goat head.
P.S. Fans of Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah might get a kick out of the random expert quote that closes the article.
Severed goat head left at law office [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

If the Nixon Peabody song were lawyer advertising — which, of course, it is not — it would be the best lawyer advertisement ever.
And this, which a helpful reader emailed to us, would be second best:
ONeal Legal LLC Peter John Peter P'Ta Mon John JD MBA Above the Law blog.JPG
In case you can’t read the fine print at the bottom — which offers some helpful tips on staying out of trouble with the law, but which should NOT be construed as legal advice — here’s a close up:
ONeal Legal LLC 2 Peter John Peter P'Ta Mon John JD MBA Above the Law blog.JPG
Right now you’re probably thinking: This CANNOT be for real.
But it is, dear readers, it is. We confirmed the authenticity of this advertisement with Mr. Peter John himself.
You can check out our short interview with him, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Peter ‘P’Ta Mon’ John”

Bill Lerach William Learch William S Learch Above the Law blog.jpgAs you know, we’ve been doing a series of fall recruiting open threads on the Vault 100 law firms — which, of course, tend to represent large corporate defendants in litigation matters.
But lately plaintiffs’ firms have been on our mind. Like Hewes & Associates, the fictional firm headed by Glenn Close in the new FX show, Damages. Or Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins — which will drop “Lerach” from its name as of August 31st, after the departure of the colorful and controversial Bill Lerach (whose over-the-top farewell message can be accessed here).
We’re not alone in thinking about plaintiffs’ lawyers. The crew over at Illegal Briefs sent in this request:

We’ve been enjoying your recent recruiting posts/threads. We’d be curious to read about folks’ take on plaintiff-side recruiting and work experiences.

We’re curious too. To kick things off, here are some questions:

1. What are associate salaries (and bonuses) like at the big plaintiffs’ firms, like Lerach Coughlin or Milberg Weiss?

2. Law students (a) want to make money, so they can pay off their student loans, and (b) generally have liberal or left-of-center political views. So why do they all go trooping off to firms that defend big corporations? Why not do plaintiffs’ work, where they can stand up for “the little guy” — and make good money, too?

And, from a different reader, an inquiry about another ATL favorite subject:

You should consider including in your updated clerkship bonus coverage the bonuses being paid by a large plaintiff firm such as Lerach. It would be interesting to see if they are matching their corporate adversaries.

So, does anyone have information or opinions to share on plaintiffs’ firms? If so, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
Bill Lerach To Resign August 31 [WSJ Law Blog]
Lerach’s Departure Memo [WSJ Law Blog]

Tom Ridge Governor Tom Ridge Thomas Ridge Thomas J Ridge Thomas Joseph Ridge.jpgHere’s a random legal / political celebrity sighting, sent to us last night, in real time (at around 8 PM):

I’m riding the Philly-to-DC Acela, and who should be in first class but the original don of the Homeland, Tom Ridge, Esq. A dark horse candidate coming down to be reviewed as a potential AG?

The former governor is looking dapper, in a double-breasted, navy pinstripe suit (although the bluetooth earpiece is too much). He’s carrying only a small leather bag.

Tom Ridge for AG? Not as predictable as, say, Mike Chertoff. But when it comes to picking a new attorney general, we’re all in favor of outside-the-box thinking.
Oh wait, sorry, an update and correction:

Upon de-training, it is clear that Ridge’s bag is a black nylon duffel — not leather. I catch his attention and ask him if he prefers “Governor Ridge” or “Secretary Ridge,” and he responds the former, although “Tom is fine.”

Have you recently seen a legal luminary around town? Please send “Eyes of the Law” sightings to us by email. Thanks.

* Slate debates Sen. Craig’s arrest and plea. [New York Times]
* DC Madam seeks new counsel. [CNN Poli-Tick]
* Federal court, using wooden gavel, upholds NYC metal bat ban. [ESPN]
* Artist arrested for burning Burning Man man. [MSNBC]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSo whatever happened to people caught up in the recent, ill-fated administration of the New York bar exam? One test taker wrote us:

“I imagine you’re getting a slew of forwards on these cold-comfort NYBOLE [New York Board of Law Examiners] emails, but just the same, here you go. I didn’t have laptop problems myself (knock on wood), but for those applicants who claimed to have their essay answers swapped or overwritten, this might just be salt in the wound.”

And the message:

From: New York Bar Exam Administration
Date: 23 Aug 2007 13:05:43 -0400
Subject: Your July 2007 Bar Exam Essays have all been received.
To: [redacted]

BOLE ID:B1000xxxx

This will confirm that we are in receipt of all of your printed (and/or handwritten) answers to essay questions 1 through 5 and the MPT

Sincerely

New York State Board of Law Examiners

But apparently some exam takers weren’t so lucky. From a second source:

Any updates on Laptopgate? A friend of mine that took the NY bar at the Javitz got an email yesterday saying that additional information is needed from their computer. That doesn’t sound promising.

We haven’t seen one of these “more information please” emails. Have you? If so, we’d be grateful if you could send it to us by email. If we get one, we’ll post it here. Thanks.
Update: The text of the cryptic email appears after the jump.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bar exams (scroll down)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Latest on Laptopgate”

diarmuid o'scannlain diarmuid f o'scannlain.jpgWe linked to this interesting MSNBC article, about possible replacements for outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in Morning Docket.
We’d now like to link to it again, and draw your attention to the very end of the article. Doug Kmiec, a top Justice Department official in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, is quoted as follows:

“[T]he president might be well advised to pick a senior court of appeals judge appointed by Reagan; perhaps, Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit, Kenneth Ripple of the Seventh Circuit, or Edith Jones of the Fifth.”

[Kmiec] said, “The integrity of these individuals is unquestioned; by virtue of judicial office, they have been freed of partisanship for some time, yet, by virtue of appointment, would be acceptable to the base of the President’s party.”

Judge O’Scannlain for Attorney General? What a fabulous idea!
Having clerked for Judge O’Scannlain, we’re admittedly biased. As we previously wrote:

During two decades of distiinguished service, Judge O’Scannlain has established himself as a shining star in the federal judicial firmament. We had the honor and pleasure of clerking for Judge O’Scannlain during the 1999-2000 judicial year. He was a wonderful boss to us and our co-clerks, and he continues to be a great mentor and friend to this day. (He’s also quite handsome, in a Paul Newman sort of way; see photo at right.)

But you don’t need to be a former O’Scannlain clerk to recognize the soundness of Kmiec’s reasoning. (As for the other two judges Kmiec mentions, we’re not that familiar with Judge Ripple. Judge Jones, while diva-licious, she might be a tough sell to a Senate controlled by the Democrats.)
So we hereby issue this official ATL endorsement: Judge O’Scannlain for Attorney General!
(Psst, Nixon Peabody peeps: Can you do up a theme song?)
Senate confirmation hearings promise drama [MSNBC]

Laura Ingraham.jpgLawyers are living large, not just in Miami and New York, but in Washington, too.
The Luxury Homes column, in the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, features the recent real estate purchases of two prominent lawyers. First up: political and legal commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a pretty amazing resume (UVA Law, Clarence Thomas clerkship, Skadden), especially by radio personality standards:

Conservative pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham sold a three-bedroom, four-bath Colonial rowhouse on 28th Street in Woodley Park for $1.3 million. Built in 1922, the renovated home has an in-law suite, two kitchens, and a skylit master bedroom. The Laura Ingraham Show is broadcast on 340 radio stations nationwide.

Very nice. Next up: another conservative legal celebrity, Fred Fielding:

White House counsel Fred Fielding and his wife, Maria, sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Colonial in Arlington’s Country Club Hills for $1.8 million. The house has embassy-size entertaining rooms. Before joining the Bush administration in January, Fielding was a senior partner at Wiley Rein (formerly Wiley Rein & Fielding).

Despite the “embassy-size entertaining rooms,” a sub-$2 million house seems a tad underwhelming, especially for a former name partner of 2006′s most profitable law firm. Are the Fieldings trading up to bigger digs?
Using a combination of internet resources, we tracked down what we believe to be the houses in question, on Zillow. You can check out the listings, with pics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: A Report from D.C.”

recycling environmental eco friendly law firms Above the Law blog.jpgThe latest post in our series on perks / fringe benefits isn’t a “perk” per se. But it is, like true perks, a non-monetary factor that some people may take into account when choosing between law firms.
The topic: eco-friendliness, or how “green” a law firm is. From a tipster:

I think you should do a feature on which law firms are promoting eco-friendly office environments / business practices. With the country’s increased environmental awareness, I think it could help both law students and attorneys decide where to work. Here are two examples:

1. Arnold & Porter: Details of their “green office” policy appear here.

2. Morgan Lewis & Bockius: They described their “program to promote an eco-friendly workplace” in a recent memo (reprinted after the jump).

We offer commentary on that memo after the jump.
Getting Law Firms to Boot Up to Green [Legal Technology News]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: How Green Was My Valley Law Firm”

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