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X Men small X Summers X Summer Associates Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe push forward with our series on summer associate screw-ups. If you have a tale to tell, please review our submission guidelines, and then email us.
In light of our earlier item about the bocce court at Venable, we thought this story would be apropos:
1. Superhero name: The Magnificent Mooner
2. Special power: Ability to destroy all hope for an offer in a matter of seconds.
3. Summered: Briggs & Morgan, “a few years ago”
4. Claim to fame: “Went lawn bowling (the Midwest equivalent of bocce) with the firm, after being ridiculously quiet all summer. After a day of drinking, culminating in his bowling the winning ball, he decided that the only appropriate reaction was to drop his pants in celebration.”
5. What happened to him: “[A]n offer was not in his future.”
We assume he didn’t file a lawsuit over getting no-offered. But there is precedent for an accused mooner going to court, claiming overreaction to his overexposure.
(The usual rules apply. Please don’t name the Magnificent Mooner or speculate about his identity. Thanks.)
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of summer associates (scroll down)
Lawsuit of the Day: High School Wise Ass Claims He Got a Bum Rap

pro se litigants risky Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
We love pro se litigants here at ATL. Like the guy suing Michael Vick, alleging that Vick stole his dogs and abused them, subjected him to “microwave testing,” and pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
Today’s pro se litigant is a defendant rather than a plaintiff. From an article warning that representing yourself can be risky (who knew?), in the Virginian-Pilot:

Charles Willis knew he was no match for the prosecutor.

Police had given him a citation for illegally parking in a fire lane at a home improvement store in Chesapeake, and the Hickory man wanted to fight it.

But on his income – he’s retired and lives on his Social Security disability check – he couldn’t afford it. So on Tuesday morning, the 58-year-old made his way to Chesapeake Circuit Court with his walking cane, armed with a briefcase filled with notes and pictures from the scene.

Like a growing number of defendants these days, Willis was going to represent himself.

Ruh-roh. We suspect this won’t end happily.
Read more, after the jump.

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We resume our occasional series on the perks or fringe benefits of Biglaw life. Today’s thrilling subject: bar dues. From a reader:

Would you mind including paying for bar dues/section memberships and ABA memberships/section dues in your series on fringe benefits at law firms?

Okay, sure. We don’t know if this will be terribly exciting, since (1) most big firms pay for bar fees and ABA dues, and (2) the sums in question aren’t very large. We have a vague recollection of some top firm — Cleary? — that had a “tradition” of having lawyers pay their own bar fees, but we don’t think that’s the case any longer (and Cleary’s NALP form says they pay bar fees and bar association membership dues).
So we’re not expecting much — but we’re happy to be proven wrong. Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks.

Venable LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgWhat’s up with Venable? Strange things seem to be afoot over there. From last Friday’s Washington Post:

He’s back!!! Or is it possible Michael Jackson has been quietly lurking in our region ever since his early-a.m. Smithsonian tour last week?

The sometimes-reclusive, sometimes-exhibitionist performer was spotted Wednesday evening in the downtown law offices of Venable LLP. One spy said he looked exactly like — well, himself: black sunglasses, black jacket, white shirt, black pants, white socks, black loafers, a pair of oversize bodyguards.

For those lucky enough to glimpse Jackson, his appearance explained a memo the firm had just put out, warning staffers not to gawk at clients.

We’d love to see that memo (which we hear was actually just an email). As for what Venable is doing for the King of Pop, we think they represent him in some IP matters. Maybe he’ll sue our uncle for unlicensed use of “Thriller”?
Update: Roger Friedman of Fox News reports that “Jackson was in the law offices of Venable LLP to give a deposition in the $30 million lawsuit brought by his former manager, Dieter Wiesner.”
More Venable eccentricity, after the jump.

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100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe have a few associate pay raise developments to report this morning. Some of these items were announced some time ago, but they haven’t written about in these pages until now. Here they are:
1. Arent Fox: The firm now pays a starting salary of $160,000 in New York, D.C., and California, according to the firm website, which a tipster pointed out to us. (But that $20,000 clerkship bonus is pretty chintzy.)
2. Seyfarth Shaw: The firm, which dragged its feet on the last pay raise, has no current plans to raise again. From a Chicago associate:

“Our executive committee recently had a meeting and it was decided that salaries would not be raised to 160K for offices outside of New York. Chicago will continue to be behind market. I’m not so sure about the Boston, D.C. and L.A. offices, but if Chicago is not bumping, those offices are most likely staying behind as well. Maybe you should do one of those Baker & McKenzie and Greenberg Traurig bar charts on Monday morning for Seyfarth Chicago. As much as this firm is trying to be a major Chi-town player, it isn’t paying like one. We are pretty bummed.”

3. LeBoeuf Lamb: The firm has raised to the $160K scale in its Houston office. Memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Arent Fox, Seyfarth Shaw, LeBoeuf Lamb”

* In defense of AGAG, intelligence director McConnell acknowledges secret programs. [CNN]
* Plea in US soldier in Iraq rape case. [MSNBC]
* The top three Democrat contenders have lawyer spouses. Here’s a look at the style of HLS grad Michelle Obama. [MSNBC]
* Jury selection begins in trial of backup punter stabbing starting punter in thigh. [ESPN]
* Eastern Conference champion Cavs pulling a Pearl Jam on Ticketmaster. [Plain Dealer]

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs you know, we recently did a series of open threads on law firms in different cities. But we realize that Biglaw isn’t the only option out there.
We’ve been reminded of that by some recent emails. From one reader:

Not so much a tip as a request: How about an open thread for non-firm work — U.S. Attorney’s offices, for example? What are the pros and cons of leaving Biglaw for a few years to go there, and how do you do it?

And from a second:

This my fizzle in light of the prestige cult that ATL harbors, but I was curious if you would ever consider a look at federal government lawyers.

Not just at the Department of Justice:

The FBI, CIA, DoD, etc, all are staffed by tons of lawyers, not to mention the JAG branches of our Armed Forces. I’m obviously biased in light of my JAG affiliation, but I always enjoy reading up on the lives of non-BigLaw attorneys.

We’re happy to accommodate these requests — and note that working for the federal government, even if less lucrative than Biglaw, can be tremendously prestigious.
Please discuss legal employment opportunities with the federal government — including U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Main Justice, the JAG corps, and agencies — in the comments. Thanks.

X Men small X Summers X Summer Associates Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOf course we’re not done with our series on the mishaps of summer associate. There’s just too much material. If you have an anecdote to share, please review our submission guidelines, and then email us.
Here’s our latest X-Summer. The good news is that this story is current, from this summer (although we gladly take old stories too). The bad news is that many details are missing — but maybe you can help us out with that.
1. Superhero name: O’Melveny & Mystery Man
2. Special power: Ability to spawn a hundred stories about the true reasons for his departure.
3. Summered: O’Melveny & Myers, summer 2007 (southern California).
4. Claim to fame: According to allegations in circulation:

Ellen DeGeneres Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg[O]ne of our summers got fired… Apparently, while he was on the Newport retreat, he did something offensive, and no one knows what, exactly. The most likely story is that he said something homophobic to a lesbian partner, but it’s all speculation.

The rumors have gotten out of control, though. Apparently this story has reached New York, and has blossomed into one about two summers: one allegedly groped an associate, and the other supposedly exposed himself to a bunch of attorneys. It’s amazing. Legal gossip is a nationwide network.

Amen to that. Ain’t the internets great?
More discussion, after the jump.

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Frank Lasee 2 Wisconsin WI Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgRemember Wisconsin state representative Frank Lasee? He came up with the brilliant idea of cutting off state funding for the University of Wisconsin Law School. The governor characterized the proposal as “ridiculous and bizarre”; Ann Althouse condemned the idea here.
Anyway, now we have a little more insight into his psyche. See here, here, and here.
Why Does Frank Lasee Hate Lawyers? [Seriatim]
What the divorce court transcripts tell us about Frank Lasee [Althouse]
Lampert Smith: Lasee’s acrimony on full display [Wisconsin State Journal]
Earlier: Wisconsin Lawmaker Seeks Death Penalty for Law School

gun pistol firearm Second Amendment Above the Law blog.jpgFor all of you greedy associates out there, here’s a cautionary tale. From CNN:

The owner of a car dealership has been accused of killing two employees because they kept asking for pay raises.

Rolandas Milinavicius has been charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Inga Contreras, 25, and Martynas Simokaitis, 28.

All three are from the eastern European nation of Lithuania but had been living in Atlanta, Georgia….

Oh, Atlanta.
Might this represent a new strategy for boosting profits per partner? Laying off associates (or de-equitizing less lucrative partners) generates so much bad publicity. Could knocking off a few lawyers be that much worse?
(If the victims were billing under 1950, that’s manslaughter rather than murder, as a matter of law.)
Police: Workers asked for pay bump, got bumped off [CNN]
Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Atlanta
Bad News for Atlanta Associates?

Philadelphia Philly City of Brother Love Abovethelaw Above the Law website site.jpgOur series of open threads on various U.S. legal markets is more or less done. Here are the cities or regions we’ve already covered:

1. CHICAGO
2. BOSTON
3. SAN FRANCISCO / SILICON VALLEY
4. NEW YORK
5. LOS ANGELES
6. ATLANTA
7. PACIFIC NORTHWEST
8. WASHINGTON, DC
9. TEXAS

We were all ready to pack it in. But then we received several requests for PHILADELPHIA.
So here’s the Philly thread. Feel free to discuss (and complain) in the comments. Thanks.
Update: In light of the comments thus far, let’s throw Wilmington into the mix. We encourage you to discuss Wilmington and the Delaware legal market in this thread too.

hillary clinton is magnificent.jpgWith the 2008 presidential campaign dominating the airwaves, despite being over a year away, everyone is talking about politics (and watching awesome, politically-themed music videos). Here’s a question that a law student posed to us:

Are there differences between the politics of firms, roughly distinguishing between liberal and conservative, or are they all pretty much the same? How can a student figure out the political leanings of a particular firm?

The only source of information I’ve found so far is to research donations to presidential candidates.

Interesting. We’d say that many firms, especially in New York, are “pretty much the same” — money knows no political distinctions. But here in D.C., it’s more common for firms to lean one way or the other.
One way to figure out a firm’s political valence is to look into the former government service of its lawyers (especially high-powered partners). This method would suggest to you that WilmerHale, home of the diva-licious Jamie Gorelick, is left of center, while Gibson Dunn, home of Ted Olson, is right of center.
As our correspondent notes, campaign contributions also shed light on the political leanings of a law firm. On that subject, Lindsay Fortado of Bloomberg News has this interesting article. Here’s something that surprised us:

Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that’s home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined.

Kirkland, based in Chicago, is one of several corporate law firms that traditionally backed Republicans where lawyers are turning to Democratic candidates….

With respect to K&E, though, we’d guess that this varies from office to office. The Washington outpost of Kirkland, which is stocked with tons of former Scalia and Thomas clerks, is probably not funneling massive cash to La Hillary.
Which way does your firm lean? Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.
Kenneth Starr’s Law Firm Gives More Money to Clinton [Bloomberg]

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