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Supreme Court 6 Above the Law blog.JPGAfter yesterday, we thought they were all done for the Term. We thought wrong.
Some notable news from the Supreme Court today. Lyle Denniston of the invaluable SCOTUSblog reports:

In a startling turn of events in the legal combat over the war on terrorism, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to reconsider the appeals in the Guantanamo Bay detainee cases. It vacated its April 2 order denying review of the two packets of cases. The Court then granted review, consolidated the cases, and said they would be heard in a one-hour argument in the new Term starting Oct. 1.

Such a switch by the Court — from denial to rehearing and new argument and decision — may not have occurred since 1947, in Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, legal sources said Friday.

So they’ve changed their mind about a cert grant for the first time in 60 years. What a neat little factoid!
But hey, being a Supreme Court justice means being able to change your mind. And never having to say you’re sorry.
(For more on the likely import of this change of heart, see Orin Kerr.)
Court switches, will hear detainee cases [SCOTUSblog]
Supreme Court Agrees to Take Guantanamo Bay Cases [Volokh Conspiracy]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier this month, we posted about the laptop policy of the New York Bar Exam. A lot of you weren’t fans:
ATL reader poll New York Bar Exam Laptop Policy Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
But this story, like the Oona O’Connell saga, also has a happy ending.
For those of you who care, details appear after the jump.

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Oona O'Connell South Beach Miami 2 small Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
[Thumbnail image. Click to enlarge. Photograph courtesy of Oona O'Connell.]
There should be a law — against this kind of hotness in a U.S. law school classroom!
As you may recall, lawyer cum Playboy model Oona O’Connell was not pleased by our prior coverage of her. She recently sent us an angry email, taking us to task for publishing malicious gossip.
Our response to Oona O’Connell, followed by her reply, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s New Pen Pal: Oona O’Connell, Lawyer Turned Playboy Model (Part 2)”

Howrey LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGBack on Wednesday, we reported that Howrey LLP plans to chuck lockstep compensation for its associates. Starting in 2008, the firm will employ a “competency model,” in which it would “determine salary based on individual evaluations and various forms of progress indicators.”
Today our scoop was picked up by The Recorder (and then by the WSJ Law Blog). From The Recorder:

In a radical departure from the status quo, Howrey is getting rid of lockstep compensation for its associates….

While Howrey first-years will start at the market rate — the firm recently raised them to $160,000 — all other associates will advance through different levels based on personal evaluations instead of seniority. Each level has a salary range, and [partner Henry] Bunsow said top performers would be paid more than market, while some could make less.

“The goal is not to have associates make less than their counterparts at other firms,” Bunsow said. “If poor performers can get a better deal somewhere else, that may be a marketplace reality — we would hope that this system wouldn’t promote that.”

“The goal is not to have associates make less than their counterparts at other firms” — sounds a bit defensive, but whatever.
This system will be highly customized, but complicated:

The evaluations will be based on performance and experience, which could shorten the partnership track for some and lengthen it for others. Since Howrey is a litigation-focused firm, factors like writing, deposition, trial practice and client presentation skills will be considered, Bunsow said. Although there will be bonuses based on hours, that will be just one of many considerations in the evaluation, he added….

Associates will be assigned to partners who will be responsible for their development and their individual evaluations. A full-time staff person will be hired to oversee the program and to make sure that associates feel they are being treated fairly, Bunsow said.

Okay, we’re getting a headache. This sounds like the brainchild of a Soviet bureaucrat.
And this is just the simplified version. If you’re interested in the dirty details, an internal Howrey email — which includes mention of a “Competency Czar” — appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: More About the Howrey Weirdness”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGHere’s a quick follow-up on Wednesday’s post, reporting on Supreme Court clerk hiring for October Term 2008. That’s not the Term whose clerks will start showing up for work next month — the October Term 2007 clerks are listed here — but the Term after that.
Interestingly enough, the two justices thought most likely to leave the Court next, Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are both done with their clerk hiring for OT 2008. And we also hear that RBG has hired at least one clerk for OT 2009 — very CT-esque of her to hire that far into the future.
Thanks to everyone who submitted SCOTUS clerk hiring info, by email and in the comments. We’ve folded them into our evolving list of OT 2008 law clerks. Check it out, after the jump.

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100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGA quick reminder: We want your memos. We hear rumors of associate pay raises at particular firms all the time, but we generally don’t treat the news as official until we see a memorandum (assuming there is one). Please send them to us by email.
We reprint below two memos that arrived in our inbox not too long ago. First, there’s a memo from LeBoeuf Lamb, placing their associates in Hartford — recently covered here — on the $160K scale.
Second, there’s a memo from Foley & Lardner. It has raised its starting salary to $160,000, but not effective until September 2007, and it’s not following the standard $160K scale all the way up the ladder. Our source wrote:

Attached is the memo Foley & Lardner circulated today regarding adjustments to compensation. This was circulated a day after a separate memo from management announcing the increases and advising that management would review compensation prior to the beginning of the next fiscal year and would consider making modifications to amounts and structures at that time.

Management also referenced in the memo “exploring alternative career paths for associates,” but provided no additional information as to what that means.

Sounds a tad Orwellian to us. “Alternative career paths” = flipping burgers in the Foley cafeteria? But maybe we’re just being paranoid.
If you’re interested, you can check out the memos after the jump.

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* This whole thing is just out-of-control weird. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* I was very wrong; it is going away. [NYT]
* You would think that a suicide attempt might be good enough for a mistrial. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Court overrules per se rule on price fixing. [U.S . Supreme Court(PDF)]
* Mr. Quarterman is a popular defendant in SCOTUS cases this term; he loses this one, because the state courts did not sufficiently consider whether the convicted killer was insane. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]

Oona O'Connell South Beach Miami 1 small Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
[Thumbnail image. Click to enlarge. Photograph courtesy of Oona O'Connell.]
WOW. Wouldn’t sitting next to this hottie in Torts class be just a wee bit distracting?
We rarely hear from people about whom we’ve written. This is generally a good thing.
But every now and then, one of them drops us a line. And sometimes they’re none too pleased. Like Oona O’Connell, the superhottie lawyer who posed for Playboy, as discussed back in this post.
You can read Ms. O’Connell’s email, which we reprint with her permission, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s New Pen Pal: Oona O’Connell, Lawyer Turned Playboy Model (Part 1)”

* Not planning on reading almost 200 pages of opinions in the school assignment cases, but afraid of sounding like an idiot at the next cocktail party? Here’s a handy primer. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Not putting stock in that JP Morgan “farewell email” now making the rounds by email? Pat yourself on the back. [DealBreaker]
* Not as catchy as 24601, but federal prisoners can’t be choosers. [Associated Press]
* Not a fan of Justin Timberlake’s version of “Summer Love”? Check out Ovid’s. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Not remembering that Dr. Miles case from Antitrust class? Fughetaboudit. [Legal Times]
* Not happy with how you look on camera? Try focusing your camera on the background, to place yourself in “a flattering soft focus.” [Althouse]

Alison Maynard 2 Allison Maynard Sunny Maynard Alison Sunny Maynard Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s not easy to be a two-time winner of our Lawyer of the Day award. But after reading this post, we think that you’ll find Colorado lawyer Alison Maynard more than worthy of this honor.
Longtime readers of ATL will surely recall Alison “Sunny” Maynard from our prior coverage. But in case you don’t, here’s a refresher. Once upon a time, she filed this with a court:
inebriation 2 excusable neglect drink drunk drinking motion Alison Maynard Allison Maynard Above the Law blog.JPG
And now she’s come up with another winner of a filing. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?
Check out Alison Maynard’s latest handiwork, after the jump.

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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Pittsburg PA Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe thought we were done with our series of posts profiling various “secondary” legal markets. But then several of you reminded us about Pittsburgh.
So sure, Pittsburgh. From a recent Pittsburgh Business Times article:

[S]tarting pay for law school graduates entering the local work force is increasing this year….

Pitt grads joining Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Duquesne University School of Law alums tapped by Pepper Hamilton LLC, both Downtown [in Pittsburgh], will earn $145,000, according to the schools and the firms, which are both based in Philadelphia. Top dollar for a local firm was $125,000 in 2006.

This is an improvement from 2006. Back in November 2006, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported on top starting salaries in Pittsburgh of $135,000, from national firms, and $110,000, from local firms.
Will law firm associates in the Steel City see further increases anytime soon? Or will things stay as they are for a little while? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Starting salaries for Pitt, Duquesne law school grads on the rise [Pittsburgh Business Times]
Lawyers’ starting salaries rise 7 percent as local firms try to keep up [Pittsburgh Business Times]

Are you here in Washington, DC? And are you by any chance free this evening? If so, then please consider attending Banding Together 2007. It’s a battle of ten D.C. law firm bands — good stuff. And even if you have doubts about the music, remember: it’s for a good cause!

Kirkland & Ellis partner Walter Lohmann, chair of the firm’s diversity committee, contacted ATL with this information….

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