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100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThe buck — or bucks, as the case may be — had to stop somewhere. And one would expect it to stop well before Seyfarth Shaw, the lowest-ranked law firm on our LIST OF SHAME.
(It’s #100 on the Vault 100 list, but higher on the AmLaw 100 — #66.)
Recently the firm sent around a memo indicating that they won’t be moving off the List of Shame, at least for the time being. Check it out, along with our commentary, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Seyfarth Shaw Makes Itself At Home on the List of Shame”

Charney S&C 028B New York Supreme Charney Aaron Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law.JPG
60 Centre Street, home to the New York State Supreme Court, where Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell did battle last week.
Last Thursday, we trekked up to New York City, to cover a hearing in the cases of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell and Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney (collectively, “Brokeback Lawfirm”).
We took a bunch of pictures. We previously posted some of them over here.
Now we deliver the rest of our photos. They appear after the jump.

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Emily Jane Goodman Emily J Goodman Justice Emily J Goodman Judge Emily Goodman Above the Law.jpgWe agree that federal judicial pay needs to rise. But despite our sympathy for the cause, we’re getting tired of hearing about the need to raise salaries for federal judges. (The latest voice to weigh in on the debate, former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, is pretty random.)
So enough about federal judicial compensation. What about salaries for state court judges?
Yes, sometimes we poke good-natured fun at members of state judiciaries. But in all seriousness, state judges play a crucial role in the administration of justice — in the aggregate, arguably a larger role than federal judges (including the Supremes).
Many state court judges work long hours and perform excellent work on the bench. Many are widely admired for their diligence and their competence. And yet their pay, like that of federal judges, ain’t so hot.
Consider this email, which we publish with her permission, from the Honorable Emily Jane Goodman, a justice of the New York Supreme Court:

From: Emily Goodman
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 11:49 AM
To: AboveTheLaw Tips
Cc: Justice Emily Goodman
Subject: AboveTheLaw Tip

About the LIST OF SHAME, why not mention the salaries of NYS judges (of which I am one)?

Emily Jane Goodman
NYS
JSC

This message may have been intercepted and read by government agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA without notice or warrant or knowledge of sender or recepient.

(By the way, we love that little disclaimer at the end about warrentless communications monitoring.)
We followed up with Justice Goodman, who offered some additional thoughts:

[A] NYS Supreme Court justice is paid $136,700 per year. We have not had a raise in 8 or 9 years; we’ve had only 2 in 2 decades! There are no COLAS, no bonuses, no outside employment. (Compare and contrast with a first year associate — you do the math!)

This is indeed troubling. Remember Dan Alterman’s estimate of $47,000, for the value of the billable hours spent on the Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell hearing — in New York Supreme Court, of all places? Two days’ worth of such hearings — a morning hearing, and an afternoon one — would easily eclipse the annual salary of the jurist hearing the case.
More from Justice Goodman on state judicial pay, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What About State Judicial Pay? Some Celebrity Correspondence from Justice Emily Goodman”


100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGYesterday we posted ATL’s official LIST OF SHAME. The table showed which major law firms have not yet stepped up to the plate in terms of raising base salaries for their associates.
Posting the list had what highfalutin legal academics call an “information-forcing effect.” We received a bunch of emails from firms that we hadn’t previously confirmed, attaching pay raise announcements, and requesting prompt removal from the LIST OF SHAME.
So the List has thinned out quite a bit. Courtesy of ATL’s unofficial research assistant, commenter Wasting Time:
“Dropping Wachtell and Boies (which are understood to be at or above market), here’s the updated List of Shame of Vault 100 firms with NY offices with more than 10 associates.”
40. Baker Botts
43. Baker & McKenzie
50. Fulbright & Jaworski
58. Vinson & Elkins
70. Hunton & Williams
75. Nixon Peabody
77. Bryan Cave
82. Reed Smith
83. Dorsey & Whitney
86. McGuireWoods
90. Baker & Hostetler
91. Thelen Reid
92. Mintz Levin
95. Dickstein Shapiro
98. Kelley Drye
100. Seyfarth Shaw
Additional lists appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Tuesday List of Shame”

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneySince last week’s hearing, things have been quiet on the Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell front. Perhaps the parties are working diligently towards a settlement.
But the airwaves aren’t completely dead. We have more coverage on the way, including additional photographs and the long-awaited fashion write-up. And here are recent news and blog items from elsewhere on the internet:
1. Web Week [TheLawyer.com]
Second item. Includes a shout-out to ATL.
2. Associates’ Pay Up, Partners’ Profits Down? [Daily Intelligencer / New York Magazine]
The first link is about Brokeback Lawfirm (and it links to ATL). The next two links — about a Thacher Proffitt & Wood associate pleading guilty to insider trading, and about the impact of associate pay raises upon partner profits — are worth checking out, too.
3. White Shoe Bias Case Escalates [Gay City News]
Not much new in this article; it’s just a recap. Describes the Jack Scheich controversy as follows:

“Scheich’s departure [from LeGal] came in response to an uproar, much of it originating on Internet blogs, over comments he made to ABC News…”

“Internet blogs.” What other kind are there?
4. Why the Interest in Charney v Sullivan & Cromwell? [Soloway; Soloway - Continued]
Soloway’s theory:

“The answer is I suppose, first and foremost, that Aaron Charney could be any one of us. As a gay lawyer, I cannot walk away from the ABC v S&C v ABC case(s) without understanding for myself what is going on here….”

“Having worked so diligently, for so many years to achieve professional success, the coveted position of M&A Associate at one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, it is difficult to imagine that [Charney] would be so imprudent as to throw it all away on a lawsuit if did not feel strongly that he was treated egregiously, and that a legal remedy existed for the misconduct alleged.”

More to come; check back soon.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Brokeback Lawfirm (scroll down)

* Dahlia Lithwick on SCOTUS and the death penalty. [Slate]
* A panel of the Seventh Circuit is made up entirely of Sixth Circuit judges sitting by designation. Of course, recusal seems to make sense when the defendant plotted to attack the Seventh Circuit’s courthouse. [How Appealing]
* Novak testifies: he got the info from Armitage and Rove. [CNN]
* Pay the judges! [WSJ Law Blog]
* I’ve my got my mind on my merger and my merger’s on my mind. [
Law.com]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGNot all practice groups are created equal. Some law firm groups are flagships, oozing revenue and prestige. They’re touted to law students in glossy recruiting brochures and bragged about in interviews with the media.
Other groups are basically just deadweight. The firm would shed them if it could — if not for the need to please a major institutional client, or to show respect to an aging name partner.
If you’re an associate in a favored group — at our former home, Ed Herlihy’s FIG guys were the “green berets” of M&A — you’re on a rocket ship to partnership. And if you’re in a loss leader of a practice group, your days are numbered.
But Biglaw shops generally PRETEND that all practice groups are on the same footing. It’s a genteel fiction. You may work in a sexy and lucrative practice area, and your fellow associate two doors down may work in a backwater. But you both get the same pay and benefits.
Not so in the Washington office of Dechert. The firm just announced a “differential pay scale” that they concede in their memo is “unusual.” Under that scale, “FSG Associates” — associates in Dechert’s prestigious financial services practice group — earn higher salaries than their non-FSG colleagues, starting in year three ($175K to $170K). By the time they reach their eighth year, FSG associates are earning $30,000 more than their non-FSG counterparts ($280K to $250K).
We reprint the Dechert memo after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Dechert DC’s FSG Favoritism?”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere’s an open thread for discussion of associate pay raise developments in general. The last Skaddenfreude thread we created, which you can access by clicking here, can now be devoted entirely to clerkship bonuses.
We can verify the accuracy of the Dechert base salary news. A squished version of the Dechert memo appears after the jump.

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* A flight attendant was suspended for merely taking a bathroom break. Of course, this “break” involved Ralph Fiennes’s penis. Wrongful termination or not, it would have been worth it. [The Daily Telegraph]
* Was this a way out of CLE requirements? [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Too many lawyers, not enough nuts, fruits or flakes. [Professor Bainbridge; Point of Law]
* How many times have you wondered what a producer actually does? And how many times since last year’s Oscars have you wondered why Crash won best picture? (Once for me, but the moment was intense and fraught with anger.) [Madisonian]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe have to step away for a bit. So we’ll do what we typically do under such circumstances, and set up an open thread.
Earlier today, a number of you expressed an interest in chatting about Biglaw clerkship bonuses. Feel free to use this thread as a forum for that conversation. You can compare notes on what different firms offer, voice complaints about insufficient bonuses for law clerks, etc,
If there’s enough interesting material, then perhaps we’ll do some follow-up coverage, too. Thanks!

Elena Kagan 3 Harvard Law School Above the Law Elana Kagan Elena Kagen.jpgOur condolences to Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan. Dean Kagan, who was under consideration for the president of Harvard University, was passed over for the job in favor of historian Drew Gilpin Faust (aka “Dr. Faust”).
But maybe it’s for the best. As Harvard president, it can be tough not to make enemies. See, e.g., Larry Summers.
(Unless you want to be kinda boring and ineffectual. See, e.g., Neil Rudenstine.)
And enemies are not what a possible Supreme Court nominee wants. Especially a nominee who, like John Roberts and Samuel Alito, generally plays well with others — even those who hold divergent ideological views.
From a Princeton tipster:

The most recent edition of the Princeton Alumni Weekly has an interesting tidbit about Anne-Marie Slaughter and Elena Kagan (who have creepily similar resumes):

“‘Elena has an extraordinary talent for not making enemies,’ says Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, who became friendly with Kagan when both were Sachs Scholars at Oxford (Kagan coxed the boat in which Slaughter rowed), and later taught with her at Chicago and Harvard law schools.”

How hot is that??? Perhaps you could create a “fantasy legal academic crew team,” with, e.g., Charles Fried as stroke (naturally — he’s quite the gym bunny) and Bruce A. in bow. Think of the Photoshop head-pasting potential!

We are well aware of Dean Kagan’s hotness (since she was nominated in our law school deans hotties contest). But we had no idea she was also an athlete.
How neat! Dean Kagan, you can yell “Stroke!” at us anytime.
A ‘Rebellious Daughter’ to Lead Harvard [New York Times]

law library Above the Law.jpgWhen it comes to legal hotties contests, Above the Law is a market leader — and everybone else has yet to match.
We’re previously held beauty contests for America’shottest ERISA lawyers, law school deans, and 3L students at NYU Law. And we have tons of ideas for future contests.
We asked for your help in picking our next contest. Here’s how you voted:
ATL poll results hotties hottie contest competition law library librarian.JPG
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to ATL’s latest hotties contest: LAW LIBRARIANS!!!
It’s not as strange as it might seem. Librarians get a bad rap; they’re regarded as frumpy and, well, bookish. But we know there are lots of hot legal librarians out there just waiting to be discovered.
To name just one, there’s the fun and fabulous Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of Justice Samuel A. Alito. They met when he was an assistant U.S. attorney in Newark, New Jersey, and she was the USAO’s law librarian. Some people find their angels in the centerfold; Sam Alito found his in the center stacks!
Okay, time for contest logistics. Do you know a hot law librarian — whether at a law school, a law firm, a courthouse, or elsewhere — who deserves to be considered?
Please check out the nomination rules and guidelines, which appear after the jump. Thanks!

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