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Washington Monument small Above the Law blog.JPGWe have to step away for a bit. We’ll leave you with another open thread to discuss year-end bonuses. Today we focus on our base of operations: WASHINGTON, DC.
If your firm has a stated bonus policy, what are the basic terms? If not, what are you expecting by way of a bonus this year? How will the move to $160K affect year-end bonuses in the D.C. market?
Please discuss these and related subjects, in the comments. Thanks.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGOn the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal, there’s an excellent article, by Amir Efrati, about the not-so-hot job prospects for non-top-tier law school graduates. Here’s the lede, which nicely summarizes the situation:

A law degree isn’t necessarily a license to print money these days.

For graduates of elite law schools, prospects have never been better. Big law firms this year boosted their starting salaries to as high as $160,000. But the majority of law-school graduates are suffering from a supply-and-demand imbalance that’s suppressing pay and job growth. The result: Graduates who don’t score at the top of their class are struggling to find well-paying jobs to make payments on law-school debts that can exceed $100,000. Some are taking temporary contract work, reviewing documents for as little as $20 an hour, without benefits. And many are blaming their law schools for failing to warn them about the dark side of the job market.

It’s a most worthwhile piece (although somewhat reminiscent of this article, by Leigh Jones for the National Law Journal). Here’s our favorite part:

Some un- or underemployed grads are seeking consolation online, where blogs and discussion boards have created venues for shared commiseration that didn’t exist before. An anonymous writer called Loyola 2L, purportedly a student at Loyola Law School, who claims the school wasn’t straight about employment prospects, has been beating a drum of discontent around the Web in the past year that’s sparked thousands of responses, and a fan base. (“2L” stands for second-year law student.) Some thank “L2L” for articulating their plight; others claim L2L should complain less and work more.

Loyola’s Dean Burcham says he wishes he knew who the student was so he could help the person. “It’s expensive to go to law school, and there are times when you second-guess yourself as a student,” he says.

One tipster quips: “Loyola Dean David Burcham wants to find and help Loyola 2L. How? By refunding his tuition?”
So, will the real Loyola 2L please stand up — and email us? We’d love to discuss potential opportunities with you. Thanks.
Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers [Wall Street Journal]
The Dark Side of the Legal Job Market [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: It’s Hard Out Here for Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduates

Jeffrey Toobin The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.jpgMore good press for Jeffrey Toobin’s new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It scored a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, which is the Holy Grail of the publishing industry.
But we’re partial to this great Slate piece, by Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick (two of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents). Bazelon and Lithwick conduct a meta-review of critical reactions to Jeff Toobin’s book, which they use as a jumping off point for broader reflections on media coverage of the Court. They include a generous shout-out to ATL:

One of the oddest byproducts of the Internet has been the growth industry that is the Supreme Court gossip blog. These folks are less interested in the court as the place where Law Is Born, or where Politics Really Come From, and more fascinated by which clerks are sleeping with whom, and how much they earn while doing it.

No blog has a better bead on those items than David Lat’s Above the Law. Sure, ATL invariably tends to reduce the entire sweep of modern constitutional history to a form of girl-on-girl Jell-O-wrestling. But then at bottom, what else is there?

As one reader jokingly suggested, “Looks like your Facebook group membership finally paid off!”
Nine Ways To Read The Nine [Slate]
Meet the Supremes [New York Times Book Review]

* Wall Street Journal front page article on bleak JD job market. [WSJ via Law Blog]
* Ohio State must pay former coach $2.5 million. [ESPN]
* Florida dems risk delegates with early primary. [CNN PoliTic]
* If he did it, was it because of football injuries? [Slate]
Update: We’ll be doing a full post about the WSJ Law Blog post, featuring a huge shout-out to Loyola 2L, later today. Please bear with us; it’s Monday morning.

Paul Cassell Judge Paul G Cassell Above the Law blog.jpg* As a judge, Michael Mukasey cited Shakespeare in snarking on — and striking down — the federal sentencing guidelines. [AP]
* Speaking of district judges, the well-regarded Judge Paul Cassell (D. Utah — at right) is resigning from the bench — partly due to low judicial pay. [Sentencing Law & Policy via WSJ Law Blog]
* What not to wear when you go to the airport. [Boston Globe]
* Unlike, say, the Ninth Circuit, the Second Circuit follows on-point Supreme Court precedent. [TaxProf Blog]
* Your submissions for Blawg Review #127 are respectfully requested. [Deliberations]
Update: The citation for the Mukasey opinion is United States v. Mendez, 691 F. Supp. 656, 663-64 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
Back in this post, in which we incorrectly predicted that Mukasey wouldn’t get the AG nomination, we wrote: “We’d also add that Judge Mukasey probably isn’t solidly conservative enough for the White House. See, e.g., his views on the federal sentencing guidelines.”

Ursula Mancusi Ungaro Judge Ursula Ungaro Above the Law blog.jpgFederal judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro was sighted at a recent “Constitution Day Party” down in Miami. She posed for photos with other guests — including TV judge Alex E. Ferrer, better known to television audiences as Judge Alex.
This photo of Judge Ungaro and Judge Alex, by lawyer-blogger David Oscar Marcus, was our favorite. Behold how the taut white fabric stretches tantalizingly across Her Honor’s ample bosom. Here are some suggested captions:

“They’re real, they’re spectacular — and they have life tenure.”

“Guess they have strong air conditioning down in Miami.”

“Underneath her robes, indeed.”

Wow. We fully expect to see Judge Ursula Ungaro as a nominee the next time we hold a judicial hotties contest.
Update: We have been offering irreverent commentary about the physical appearance of federal judges, male and female, for years now. If the Washington Post can parse the cleavage of Hillary Clinton, then surely a blog — which is not bound by the standards of decency and respectability that apply to the MSM — can parse the cleavage of a federal judge (who is also a public figure).
If you are so deeply offended by the playful, good-natured paying of compliments to a federal judge who also happens to be attractive, then don’t read ATL. This isn’t the first time that we’ve engaged in such commentary, and it won’t be the last. Thank you.
For the record, our admiration for Judge Ungaro is not prurient in the least. Trust us.
Further Update: We are now authorized to share this information with you, which we’ve known for a while. It may change your view of things:

After her nasty divorce in 2003-2004, [Judge Ungaro] got a boob job. She bragged about it to her clerks and asked them how “they” looked.

If Judge Ungaro is proud of “them,” who are you to tell her she shouldn’t be?
P.S. Speaking of cosmetic surgery, if you’re looking for a plastic surgeon in the New York / New Jersey area, check out our dad. He’s a talented, board-certified plastic surgeon. Be sure to ask for the special discount for friends of ATL!
Pictures from Constitution Day Party [Southern District of Florida Blog (via Google Cache)]
District news (item #3) [Southern District of Florida Blog]
We the People [Miami Herald]
Judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro [Federal Judicial Center]
Judge Alex [official website]

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve devoted an insane amount of coverage to Quinn Emanuel’s plan to take recruits to a resort in Deer Valley, Utah (in lieu of callbacks). Now The Recorder has this interesting article:

Instead of bringing students met during on-campus interviews back to the office for a series of sit-downs, the firm will take them on the road. Quinn Emanuel is arranging an all-expenses-paid October weekend of dining and drinks in Deer Valley, Utah, for about 40 students. They’ll stay at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, a Scandinavian-inspired chalet where a suite runs more than $2,000 a night in peak season.

“We stole the idea from an investment bank — I don’t think any law firm has tried it,” said firm leader William Urquhart.

Reporter Kellie Schmitt confronted Quinn Emanuel partners with some choice comments from ATL readers. Learn about their reactions, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up With That Deer Valley Trip? Quinn Emanuel Partners Speak”

Chicago Sears Tower Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSo you can’t get a decent horse meat sandwich in the Windy City. How about a decent year-end bonus?
In the comments, please discuss the subject of year-end bonuses for law firm associates in CHICAGO. Topics might include hours cutoffs for hours-based policies, historical patterns in bonus size (e.g. what happened last year), and gossip about what might happen this year.
And how about those legendary Kirkland & Ellis bonuses? Pretty sweet, aren’t they?
P.S. In case you missed it, since we posted it at an odd hour, our L.A. bonus thread appears here.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for Los Angeles and New York.

Well, not in Illinois. In Cavel International v. Madigan (PDF; via How Appealing), the Seventh Circuit upheld an Illinois law making it unlawful to “slaughter a horse if that person knows or should know that any of the horse meat will be used for human consumption.”
It’s a quirky and interesting case. Howard Bashman provides a concise summary and more discussion over here.
Don’t miss page 11 of Judge Richard Posner’s slip opinion, which features a photograph of a “birthday cake” made of horse meat. YUM!!
horse meat horsemeat Cavel International Lisa Madigan Richard Posner Above the Law blog.jpg
Cavel Int’l v. Madigan (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit]
Horse meat was until recently an accepted part of the American diet [How Appealing]

egg hardboiled egg hard boiled egg vs man Above the Law blog.jpgIs this litigation kosher? You bet. From Vos Iz Neias (Yiddish: “What’s News”):

A New Hampshire prison inmate’s file drove a federal judge to rhyme to express himself.

A prison inmate protesting his [non-Kosher] diet attached a hard-boiled egg to documents sent by mail to U.S. District Court Judge James Muirhead.

“I do not like eggs in the file. I do not like them in any style. I will not take them fried or boiled. I will not take them poached or broiled. I will not take them soft or scrambled Despite an argument well-rambled,” Muirhead wrote in his response to inmate Charles Wolffe.

Wolffe, 61, says he is an Orthodox Jew and has accused prison officials of refusing to feed him a kosher diet. He is seeking… proper foods and $10 million from the state. His case has been scheduled for a trial.

More discussion, plus the full text of Judge Muirhead’s order, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Practice Pointers: Do Not File An Egg with Judge Muirhead”

Eugene Stearns Eugene E Stearns 250 Cape Florida Drive D John Devaney Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a sign of changing times: lawyers are picking up luxury real estate holdings that hedge fund guys can’t afford to keep.
From the Daily Business Review:

A high profile Miami litigator is expanding his real estate holdings on Key Biscayne.

Attorney Eugene E. Stearns and his wife, Diana, purchased a two-story home at 250 Cape Florida Drive for $8 million Aug. 31 from United Real Estate Ventures owned by trader D. John Devaney.

The 7,852-square-foot house has eight bathrooms, six bedrooms and a first-floor master suite. The house built in 1985 features cathedral ceilings.

Who says the Miami real estate market is dead? A thousand bucks a square foot, for a single-family house not on the island of Manhattan, doesn’t sound half-bad.
Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Star Litigator Bails Hedge-Funder Out of $8 Million Mansion”

Ernie Chambers Omaha Nebraska senator suing God Above the Law blog.jpgTime for a quick update on a recent Lawsuit of the Day — the case filed by Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, against God. Yes, God.
From the AP (via TaxProf Blog):

A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

“This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!” Friend said.

Or maybe the court clerks didn’t notice when it was dropped off, since they were too busy gabbing about why Tyra picked a chick with Asperger’s for America’s Next Top Model.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are You There God? Yes, I Am”

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