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One year ago, we wrote about how Columbia law professor Hans Smit was trying to unload his 12,000 square foot home — the only freestanding single-family mansion in Manhattan — for a cool $29 million.

One year later, the good professor’s home is still on the market. Its white-marble-clad facade greeted us when we visited the New York Times homepage this morning (screencap and link to listing below).

The only difference from last year? The asking price, now up to $30 million.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And up your asking price by a million!

(In all seriousness, Professor Smit’s decision to round up to $30 million probably isn’t as crazy as it might seem. Despite the weak real estate market in the rest of the country, the market in New York City — especially at the high end — continues to be strong.)

Hans Smit mansion still for sale Above the Law blog.jpg

Magnificent Mansion [Brown Harris Stevens]

Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Professor Smit’s Uptown Mansion

Clarence Thomas 2 Justice Clarence Thomas Above the Law blog.jpg* We want Judge Kent impeached NOW. [Galveston County Daily News via How Appealing]
* You just can’t get good help these days. [CNN]
* Need to beef up your law library? [WSJ Law Blog]
* This is just like “The Fan,” except it didn’t work, and the guy didn’t die. [Sports Illustrated]
* Thomas says he talked about porn while at Yale Law School, but he didn’t inhale. [CNN]

Bryan Cave LLP logo AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn “selected U.S. offices.” Here’s the memo, which was issued yesterday:

From: Professional Resources
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 12:31 PM
Subject: Selected US Offices – Associate Salary Increases

Consistent with the Firm’s effort to attract top tier talent in each of our markets, the Firm continuously monitors each market to determine if our compensation and benefits packages remain competitive. In this regard, we are pleased to announce the following increases in Associate starting salaries affecting our Chicago, Irvine, Kansas City, Santa Monica, St. Louis and Washington, DC offices.

Effective January 1, 2008, Associate starting salaries in our Chicago, Irvine, Santa Monica and Washington, DC offices will be increased from the present $145,000 to $160,000. Effective June 1, 2008, Associate starting salaries in our St. Louis office will increase from the present $110,000 to $120,000 and Associate starting salaries in our Kansas City office will increase from the present $105,000 to $110,000.

The Firm will continue to monitor compensation trends in all of our markets around the world during this dynamic period in our industry. Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of the Firm and its clients.

Lynn McCreary and Steven Kornblau

No word on what compensation for more senior classes will look like.
The move to $160,000 in Bryan Cave’s Chicago, D.C., and California offices, which won’t take place until next year, comes months after $160K became the new market rate in these locations. But hey, better late than never. Congratulations, Bryan Cave associates!

Herman Thomas Judge Herman Thomas spanking judge Above the Law blog.jpgJudge Herman Thomas — the Alabama state court judge who allegedly enjoyed spanking male prisoners, traded favorable treatment for sexual favors, and improperly interfered on behalf of a cousin in legal trouble — has resigned from the bench.
We sure will miss having him to smack around.
Judge Thomas resigns [Mobile Press-Register]
Alabama Judge Resigns Amid Investigation [AP]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Judge Herman Thomas (scroll down)

UCLA Law School UCLA School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgLook on the bright side, Loyola 2L. Maybe you don’t have a post-graduation job lined up yet. But law students at your crosstown competition have their own challenges to deal with.

UCLA is a Tier One law school, per U.S. News & World Report (even if not a so-called “T14″ school, as they like to say on the internets). But is trouble brewing in paradise?

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Top Tier Law Schools Have Problems Too”

No Sleep Til Brooklyn Law School Above the Law blog.jpgReactions were varied to Amir Efrati’s controversial, widely read, front-page Wall Street Journal story about the job prospects for graduates of non-elite law schools. Some students and alumni of non-top-tier law schools hailed the piece for revealing some dirty secrets about American legal education. But not everyone was so pleased.
From a tipster at Brooklyn Law School:

I thought you would be interested in hearing about a BLS Career Services breakfast held this morning. Apparently the director of Career Services at BLS, Joan King, was asked about her reaction to the WSJ article. (Note: this breakfast is an annual event, and was not held as a reaction to the article).

Ms. King said she was contacted in the research-gathering stage by the WSJ author, who interviewed her about the job market for BLS students. She believes that there were some omissions in the article, and that the writer had an agenda: to prove his hypothesis, without highlighting some additional facts.

Amir Efrati, if you see Joan King in a dark alley, turn the other way — and RUN. If you mess with a girl from Brooklyn, you WILL regret it.
And there’s more. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Top-Tier Law Schools: Brooklyn Law Strikes Back”

Kim Hollis Lord Goldsmith Debevoise Plimpton Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, we mentioned in passing the news that the former U.K. Attorney-General, Lord Peter Goldsmith, QC, is joining Debevoise & Plimpton. Lord Goldsmith will head up Debevoise’s European litigation practice.
The Times of London reported the news here, and the WSJ Law Blog posted on the move here. But both write-ups omitted the most notable part of Lord Goldsmith’s resume (as mentioned by a WSJ commenter):

On 17 February 2007, the Mail on Sunday reported that Goldsmith, who is married, had been having an affair with Kim Hollis, Britain’s first Asian QC.

Good stuff. And more dirty details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Lord Peter Goldsmith”

Lana Knedlik Above the Law blog.jpgA reader drew a legally-themed music video to our attention:

It’s from a specialized patent blog, but some of your readers may find it funny — especially because is an actual partner from a large firm singing the song. Is this a new BigLaw marketing trend?

Check out the video via Patently O. As you can see from the lyrics, the song is a comparison of dating to the Patent Act.
Performer Lana Knedlik, a fine-boned, pixieish beauty, looks like she could be an indie film actress or Indigo Girl. She strikes us as considerably younger and more attractive than the average (1) registered patent attorney or (2) partner at a large law firm.
(No offense to patent lawyers or Biglaw partners. We’re just sayin’…)
Redefining the Bar Date [Patently O]
Bar Date by Lana Knedlik [YouTube]
Lana M. Knedlik bio [Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP]

sinking ship Above the Law blog.jpgThat seems to be the theme of this very interesting article, by Ben Hallman and Aruna Viswanatha, in the current issue of the American Lawyer. It echoes the problems we discussed back in this post, concerning the $70 million malpractice suit filed against Cadwalader, in connection with the firm’s mortgage-backed securities practice.
Here’s an excerpt from the American Lawyer piece:

Even scarier for Debevoise, and for all firms with big private equity practices, was the fact that no new deals were popping up to take the place of those that were stuck. Those fears are shared by lawyers who work on mortgage-backed securities, a market that has completely shut down.

The fears are well justified for both groups, and for any lawyer whose business is linked to the availability of easy credit. In June there were nearly $100 billion worth of private-label mortgage securitization issuances. The next month, they were half that. “There’s always an element of cyclicality,” says Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison structured finance partner Jordan Yarett, “but the implosion of credit is somewhat shocking.”

Indeed. More depressing discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Woe Ahead for Private Equity and Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawyers?”

Daniel Petrocelli Dan Petrocelli AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s our latest Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day, an alumnus of a Tier 3 school. And he didn’t even get an LLM from NYU!
Name: Daniel Petrocelli
Law School: Southwestern Law School, J.D., 1980
Current Position: Partner, O’Melveny & Myers
Why He’s Our Winner: The reader who nominated Petrocelli says it all:

You should consider featuring Daniel Petrocelli on your non-top-tier success series. This is the same Petrocelli who brought in the civil verdict against O.J. Simpson and represented Jeffrey Skilling. Petrocelli is now pulling in gazillions as a partner at O’Melveny & Myers in L.A.

From whence did he come? Southwestern University Law School. But wait, there’s more. It’s not featured on his bio, but he went to night school!!!

So whether to illustrate the heights to which non-top-tier graduates are capable of reaching, or to show how one doesn’t need to have their parents get them into Yale to succeed, you really should feature him.

Indeed — Dan Petrocelli is a worthy winner. But one caveat: he did graduate first in his class, and served as editor-in-chief of the law review. So his job prospects were considerably better than those in the middle or at the bottom of the class.
Daniel Petrocelli bio [O'Melveny & Myers]
The Inside Story of How O.J. Lost [Time]

Atlanta Georgia GA Hotlanta Big Peach Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.jpgIn our most recent open thread about year-end bonuses, devoted to Texas, there were some requests for an Atlanta post in the comments. But there was also some dissent:

There is no need for an ATL bonus thread because the bonus structure there is so simple. For everyone billing less than 2400 hours, nothing.

For everyone billing more than that, you get to keep your job, a pitiful 5k bonus. And a salary increase of MAYBE that much next year.

Is the bonus outlook for ATLANTA really this grim? We invite the many readers of ATL in ATL to discuss, in the comments. Thanks.
Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, DC.

Swingers Vince Vaughn AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Justice Kennedy is so money and he doesn’t even know it. [NPR via How Appealing]
* Jury indicates finding against Isiah Thomas in harassment suit; still deliberating on punitives. [New York Times]
* Is it possible to have a “fetus-snatching case” that isn’t bizarre? [CNN]
* Man pleads guilty-but-crazy in Vegas Strip sidewalk driving deaths case. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Cheat to win…till you die… [CNN]

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