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Brensike-Primus2.jpgCongratulations to Professors Eve Brensike and Richard Primus, who pummeled the competition and waltzed off into the moonlight with the title of Above the Law’s Legal Eagle Couple of the Month for May. These liberal lovebirds have bleeding hearts — because Evan “McDeany” Caminker pierced them with Cupid’s arrow!
LEWW salutes Professors Brensike and Primus, their delectable Dean, and the entire University of Michigan Law School. ATL readers, go donate to a worthy cause on their behalf! Or just buy them a salad spinner!
May 2007 Couple of the Month LEWW Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
Earlier: Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: May 2007 Couple of the Month

Boost Plus erections Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGForget about all that Vioxx litigation — this is far more troubling. From the AP:

A man has sued the maker of the health drink Boost Plus, claiming the vitamin-enriched beverage gave him an erection that would not subside and caused him to be hospitalized.

The lawsuit filed by Christopher Woods of New York said he bought the nutrition beverage made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG at a drugstore on June 5, 2004, and drank it.

Woods’ court papers say he woke up the next morning “with an erection that would not subside” and sought treatment that day for the condition, called severe priapism.

Okay, maybe Novartis needs to fine-tune the formula a bit. But clearly they are on to something.
Watch out, V1agra; Cia1is s0fttabs, your days are numbered. Boost Plus is hot on your tail!
Man Sues Health Drink Maker Over Erection [Associated Press via Fox News]
Boost Plus [official website]
(Gavel bang: commenter.)

Sopranos The Sopranos New Jersey Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn our tour of the nation’s secondary (and we don’t mean that in a bad way) legal markets, we’ve previously hit Denver, Hartford, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Now we return to the East Coast, with a shout-out to our home state: New Jersey!
From the New Jersey Law Journal:

New Jersey’s large firms are hiring larger classes of new associates and boosting first-year salaries by more than 10 percent, a Law Journal survey finds.

Salaries this fall at a sampling of 21 firms will range from $95,000 to $130,000 and hires are up 19 percent, to 157 from 131 last year. The largest New Jersey-based firms will pay $120,000 to $125,000.

Firms interviewed say their hands were forced by a wave of increases by New York firms that began Jan. 22 when Simpson Thacher & Bartlett pushed its starting salary to $160,000. Since then, other firms in New York and Philadelphia have elbowed up to $145,000 or higher.

There are many advantages to practicing law in New Jersey. Salaries are still relatively high, but billable hours (and taxes) are lower than in New York. At the same time, you’re very close to New York and Philadelphia, and all the great things — art and culture, restaurants, entertainment — that those cities have to offer.
But still, there is a sizable difference between $125,000, the standard at the biggest Garden State firms, and the $160,000 you can get on the other side of the river. And some say that the advantages that NJ firms enjoy over NYC firms, in terms of lifestyle and hours, aren’t as big as they used to be.
Please discuss these and other NJ-related associate compensation matters, in the comments. Thanks.
N.J. Firms Hike First-Year Pay, Bulk Up on New Hires [New Jersey Law Journal]
Related: Open threads focused on Denver, Hartford, Philadelphia, Seattle, Phoenix, Atlanta.

Jan Crawford Greenburg 2.JPG
Linda says Jan has had work done — I mean, A LOT of work….”
Due to associate pay raise mania, we’ve been neglecting news in other areas of the legal profession — like our beloved federal judiciary. We’re embarrassed, for example, not to have commented upon the Bush Administration’s rumored Supreme Court short list, drawn up in case there’s an unexpected vacancy at the end of this Term.
The theme of the article: the shortlist is centered on women and minorities. Most of the names are familiar (e.g., Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen), but there was one very exciting addition: Judge Loretta Preska, of the Southern District of New York.
Here’s how she was described previously at Underneath Their Robes:

Judge Loretta A. Preska. In a word: magnificent. Tall, thin, elegant. Great bone structure, perfectly coiffed silver hair. Note to self: nominate for superhotties contest next year? Fabulous dark blue suit. Who designed? Dramatic, extra-long jacket, white-trimmed lapels; tapers down towards clasp, then flares out again–gorgeous cut. Nice accessories: big gold eagle pin, ladies-who-lunch pearl necklace, matching earrings. Delivers intro like newscaster, smooth as butter. Gestures grandly with long fingers; flawless manicure. WOW!

This scrumptious SCOTUS scoop was delivered courtesy of Jan Crawford Greenburg, one of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents. And our affection for her has only grown after we attended an event with her last week, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington.
Discussion of that event — where we put JCG on the spot about her rivalry with Linda Greenhouse — appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greenhouse v. Greenburg: JCG Responds”

Bingham McCutchen 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we asked: “What’s Up With Bingham McCutchen?”
Associate salaries, that’s what. Last night, Bingham McCutchen sent around an email announcing that it “will be increasing 2007 base compensation in our domestic U.S. offices to match the base compensation structure in our New York office, consistent with the new national market.” The raise is retroactive to June 1.
That’s the good news. And the bad news?
Well, just check out this interesting (but depressing) article from The Recorder. The upshot: the litigation department is slow at Bingham, and the firm is offering buyouts to associates to leave.
We’ll probably do a more detailed write-up about the Bingham buyouts in a later post. If you have some information to share about the situation, please email us (subject line: “Bingham McCutchen”).
The Bingham pay raise memo, verified by multiple sources at the firm, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Good News (and Bad) from Bingham McCutchen”

* Why the book was thrown. [Time]
* Indicted Congressman leaves committee. [MSNBC]
* Developments in Gitmo cases. [CNN]
* Changing of guard on Law and Order? [CNN]
* And in other law-related TV show news from CNN… [CNN]

* These ads are as unfunny as the Jon Stewart skit, and both are a waste of Jack Chin’s legal credentials. [Arizona Daily Star]
* I doubt books are in any danger. Remember the Rocket? [Out of the Jungle]
* You are probably safe calling her hot and/or making phallic jokes, but please don’t make any tenuous analogies between a sex crime victim accused of “asking for it” and a beautiful and athletic object of lust. I kind of think we should be more worried about other over-exposed (but less blessed) girls like Tara Reid. [Sports Law Blog]
* This is how I want to bill my hours; I’d feel like a veritable Miss America…on To Catch a Predator. [Madisonian]
* Here’s another survival guide for summer campers associates. (Other examples were previously linked to here.) [Daily Business Review]

Stroock Stroock Lavan LLP Above the Law blog.JPGA few more news items concerning associate compensation:

1. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan: Multiple sources confirm that they’ve raised salaries in their Los Angeles office. Effective date of June 1; no changes to the bonus structure. The new scale is 160-170-185-195, plus discretionary raises for year 5 and above, who previously were at $200K plus discretionary raises (small, usually $5K a year).

In addition, we’ve learned that the firm pays associates 10 percent of any business they bring in. Do other large law firms have similar policies? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

2. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP: We haven’t confirmed this (and their NALP form doesn’t reflect it). But according to a memo posted in the comments, the firm is “increasing starting salaries in our Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC offices to $160,000. We will be adjusting salaries for all other associate classes in these offices effective July 1, 2007 to take into account the increase in the starting salary.”

3. Reed Smith LLP: Also not confirmed. But according to a memo posted in the comments, the firm “ha[s] decided to increase our starting salary for first year associates in California, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. to $160,000 effective January 1, 2008. In addition, we will accelerate to January 1, 2008 the implementation of the previously announced increase to $145,000 in Philadelphia/Wilmington.”

The firm has also made changes to its bonus program: “In addition to the current bonus thresholds, we will make further payments of $5,000 at each of 2000 and 2100 chargeable hours and $10,000 at 2300 chargeable hours. This means, for example, that associates with 2300 chargeable hours for 2007 will earn additional bonuses of $20,000.”

If you can confirm the Sonnenschein or Reed Smith news, or if you have additional info to share, please drop us a line. Thanks.

Harvard Law Review Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our series of posts chronicling rampant internal strife at America’s top law journal, the Harvard Law Review. Prior posts appear here, here and here.
The standard caveats apply:

1. This material is not for everyone. If you don’t share our appreciation for tempests in teapots, you may have a “So what?” reaction. But if you do enjoy the hilarity of petty law school squabbles, then keep reading.

2. The internal emails reprinted below speak for themselves. After reading them, you may end up siding with the HLR editor or with president Andrew Crespo. We take no side in this controversy.

3. If you feel that we’ve missed something in our coverage, please email us (subject line: “Harvard Law Review”). We’re eager to hear from all parties to this dispute.

(Alas, it’s usually the case that one side leaks info to communicates with us more than the other. As a result, that side’s viewpoint may receive more coverage in these pages. E.g., Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. If you want to level the playing field, you need to feed us information that supports your position.)

Discussion of the latest controversy, plus internal Harvard Law Review emails, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gannett House Smackdown: A Sponsorship Spat”

Department of Justice official Brad Schlozman — who currently serves as Associate Counsel to the Director, in the Executive Office for United States Attorneys — is about to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His testimony is part of a panel entitled “Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?”
Maybe we’ll tune in, at least for a few minutes; but we don’t expect to watch the entire proceedings. Brad Schlozman is no Monica Goodling. And we can barely pronounce his last name.
On Friday night, in preparation for today’s session, the DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) sent the Republican members of the committee a list of proposed “softball” or friendly questions for Schlozman. This question caught our eye:
Ty Clevenger Regent University Law Review Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
Clevenger, you may recall, has raised allegations about the politicization of hiring at Main Justice. But he may be best known to ATL readers as a source for stories about that delicious DOJ diva, Shanetta Cutlar (about whom we’ve heard nothing new, sadly).
By the way, in case you’re wondering, question #5 wasn’t well-received by GOP staffers on Capitol Hill. We hear that the Republican staffers “are offended that DOJ expects them to do its political dirty work.”

Seattle skyline Space Needle Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOur tour of the country’s less-than-gigantic legal markets has swung through Denver, Hartford, and Philadelphia. Now we head out to the West Coast, to pay a visit to one of our favorite American cities: Seattle.
We couldn’t locate a good news article to kick off the discussion. But we combed through the ATL archives to find a few Seattle data points. Here are three firms and their starting salaries in the Emerald City:

1. Heller Ehrman: $145,000.

2. Susman Godfrey: $140,000.

3. Wilson Sonsini: $145,000.

These are all firms with their origins outside Seattle. What about homegrown firms, like Perkins Coie or Davis Wright Tremaine?
Please discuss Seattle associate salaries in the comments to this post. Thanks.

Lewis Libby Scooter Libby I Lewis Scooter Libby Above the Law Blog.jpgThirty months? Judge Walton, that was way harsh. Paris Hilton won’t even serve thirty days.
Guess the mash notes from former Administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, or Beltway insiders like Mary Matalin and James Carville, didn’t help much.
Thoughts on the Libby sentence from Guidelines guru Doug Berman are available here and here.
Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in Prison [Associated Press]
Libby gets within-guideline sentence of 30 months [Sentencing Law and Policy]
30 Months for Scooter! [Wonkette]
Children by the Millions Sing for Scooter Libby [Wonkette]
Scooter Libby’s Sentence: 30 Months in Prison; $250,000 fine [WSJ Law Blog]

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