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Yesterday, the deafening silence from Skadden, Davis Polk, Weil and others on spring bonuses was pierced by news that Cadwalader is currently considering whether to pay spring bonuses.

It’s the first fresh spring bonus news we’ve had in a while. It seems like Cravath’s announcement of springtime bonuses that topped Sullivan & Cromwell’s spring bonuses made the market come to a screeching halt.

You feel like the other top firms will have to match. But right now the ball is in the court of firms that are not used to being market leaders when it comes to associate compensation. These firms know they’ll have to pay top of the market compensation; they just don’t know what the top of the market is yet. Is it S&C’s bonus? Or is it Cravath’s? Nobody wants to end up like Skadden in 2008, which paid out much more in bonuses than its peer firms that year.

So right now all of these firms are kind of looking at each other, waiting for one of them to do something. According to a tipster, that’s what’s happening at Weil — they’re just desperately waiting for somebody to tell them what to do…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Weil We’re Waiting for Spring Bonuses…”

There’s a fair amount of happy news at Bingham McCutchen right now. The firm is enjoying record profits and bringing in new talent. It once again made Fortune magazine’s list of best companies to work for (along with three other law firms).

And here’s some additional good news. Last year, Bingham experimented with a somewhat complex “merit-lockstep” hybrid approach to associate compensation. This year, Bingham is moving back to a simpler system.

Let’s take a look at what they’re doing….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Back to Basics at Bingham”

Honestly, the gay side’s where all the money is. There might be 30 straight guys who can make a living at it, but if you’re willing to get f**ked in the a**, I can get you five grand right now.

Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer who represents pornography companies, responding to a man who expressed interest in becoming a porn performer. (Gavel bang: The Daily Dish / Andrew Sullivan.)

(Disclosure: In addition to representing porn companies, Randazza represents Above the Law. He represented ATL in Jones v. Minkin, the one and only time we’ve been sued (knock on wood). The case was dismissed.)

Mmm... lunch.

When I first got this job, I thought that it might be a good idea for me to hook up a Breathalyzer to my laptop to prevent me from posting drunk. Then I realized people enjoy this site more when at least one of us is drunk, and so I sacrifice my liver for you fine readers.

Of course, making internet pronouncements about which law schools should be avoided is one thing; it’s not like I’m sitting on a bench wearing a black robe and banging a gavel. I’m not a judge (or a driver), only my shrink needs to know how many Bloody Marys it takes before I feel like dealing with commenters.

In short, I’m not Judge W. Kennedy Boone III, a Washington County Circuit Court judge in Maryland. In November 2009, Judge Boone got into a car accident where his BAC was .18 — twice the legal limit in the state of Maryland. In March he pleaded guilty to a DUI. And now the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities is making him submit to a Breathalyzer twice a day when he goes to work.

So yeah, Maryland can’t trust the guy to remain sober for an entire work day, but as long as he can prove that he’s sober he is allowed to be a judge, with power over people’s lives…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Maryland Judge Must Submit to a Breathalyzer Twice a Day, But Still Keeps His Job”

Judge Marjorie Rendell (former First Lady of Pennsylvania).

There’s lots of law-related news coming out of Philadelphia right now.

The lead story on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website today is about the latest Villanova Law scandal, regarding falsified admissions data being submitted to the ABA. (The article contains a shout-out to ATL, which we appreciate.)

The trial of Gerald Ung, the Temple Law student accused of shooting another young man, is getting underway in Philly this week. Opening arguments are set for this morning. (If you have any tips on the Ung story, please contact us.)

And then there’s the news that has all tongues wagging in the City of Brotherly Love: the split of a big-time Pennsylvania power couple (and a pair of Villanova Law grads, by the way).

Former Governor Edward Rendell, who left the governor’s mansion just last month, and Judge Marjorie Rendell, a prominent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, are going their separate ways. They announced their separation, after 40 years of marriage, in an email sent to friends….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Separation of Powers: Governor Rendell and Judge Rendell Split”

I like it when the artifice drops and Biglaw is shown to be dominated by greed. I don’t necessarily use the word “greed” pejoratively. I like money, you like money, and if somebody offered you more money to do what you are doing already, you’d take it.

I just like it when people can admit that the only thing they care about is money. It just makes things more efficient. What do you want? More money! When do you want it? Now!

Associates get a lot of flack for being unabashedly greedy, but an excellent report in today’s Wall Street Journal illustrates that Biglaw partners are just as obsessed with money has anybody else.

And the only problem is that the partners losing out on the money grab are kind of pissed….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Poaching Partners, It’s All About the Benjamins”

* Frank McCourt’s lawyers at Bingham have lawyered up in an attempt to dodge responsibility for their royal screwup in his divorce. Dodge. Get it? I spit hot fire. [Los Angeles Times]

* In other garbage baseball team news, David Wright says the Madoff lawsuit will have an effect on Mets players. When you’re a Met, you can’t have too many excuses. [ESPN]

* Patton Boggs has filed suit against Chevron and their counsel at Gibson Dunn as part of an ongoing lawsuit that accuses Chevron of raping Ecuador. Raping figuratively, I think? I think that’s right. [Wall Street Journal]

* The Google executive imprisoned in Egypt was released yesterday. He immediately sent out a tweet that said “Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it. That said, I think I’ll just be evil now. It’s easier.” [New York Times]

* Immigration law is the hot new practice. Brown is the new black. [Kansas City Star]

* Yakima, Washington succeeds in crushing Man’s dream of getting coffee with one cream, two sugars, and extra butt cheeks. [ABA Journal]

Daniel de Juan, a sales engineer from Mitratech, summed up perfectly what LegalTech was like for me this year: “Being at LegalTech is almost like being at a casino, in the sense that you lose all track of time.”

Two years ago, I found the conference to be pretty intimidating, and that was when the conference was much smaller due to the weak economy. Last year, LegalTech New York was much bigger, and I found it slightly overwhelming. This year, due to some bad planning on my part, I came home from LegalTech utterly exhausted.

It seems I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. After a quick search on the Internet, I have seen only a few things written up about the conference, so I’m guessing many people went through the same experience. (For example, I spoke with members of The Posse List on the first night, and they told me that they were gearing up to do 36 interviews during the two and a half day conference — so it must have been a whirlwind for them as well.)

That said, here are some musings from my adventure last week….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fear and Loathing in LegalTech”

Justice Kennedy

* How did Howrey start to unravel? The trouble might have started in Europe. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Arvo Mikkanen, a Native American nominee to the federal bench in Oklahoma (and “an all-around great dude,” according to a tipster). [The Atlantic]

* Washington & Lee Law School, which we recently praised for its honesty to prospective law students, gets even more transparent — in an interview with Vault. [Vault's Law Blog]

* In a recent visit to USC, Justice Kennedy presided over a Shakespeare-inspired trial — something he has done before — and denied that the justices think about the news media when making their decisions. Methinks His Honor doth protest too much. [USC News]

'Please don't ship me in a box with no air holes.'

* A New York trial court smacks down a claim of cyberbullying. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Taxing alcohol to reduce crime? Sounds like that will lead to more muggings for alcohol money. [Going Concern]

* If you try to mail a puppy from Minnesota to Georgia in a box with no airholes, you don’t get your dog back. Also, you get shipped directly to hell. [Runnin' Scared / Village Voice]

* Blawg Review #297: The Hair Shirt Edition. [Big Legal Brain via Blawg Review]

Thank you, Above the Law readers. The results are in for January’s Lawyer of the Month, and I can happily report that I do not write for an audience comprised solely of heartless, cynical d-bags.

Seriously, I’m going to be able to talk to my mother about what I do for a living for a whole week.

In a month that had some worthwhile competitors, one lawyer stood out above the rest…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “January Lawyer of the Month Restores Faith in Humanity”

This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.

The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.

The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.

But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Villanova Scandal Watch: More Cryptic Emails From the Dean”

If I were a Republican on the court, I wouldn’t think twice about this if I thought the law was unconstitutional. I don’t think they’re going to take some giant hit on it.

— Professor Lee Epstein of Northwestern, commenting to the New York Times on how a Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice might rule on a constitutional challenge to health care reform.

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