Latest Stories

* Howrey’d come to this? Robert Ruyak’s ruminations on his law firm’s fall. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Speaking of Howrey, it’s only the latest of several major law firms to go from Am Law 100 status to dissolution. Take a swim in the Biglaw Dead Pool. [Law Shucks]

* Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, has been hit with his biggest sexual harassment lawsuit ever — one seeking $250 million in damages. [Gawker]

* Bess Levin on the Raj Rajaratnam trial: “People helping people is all this is about.” [Dealbreaker]

Raj Rajaratnam

* “How Ohio State Athletics Flunked the Bar Exam.” Or: I’m going to wait until Elie returns from vacation before tackling sports stories. [Off Tackle Empire]

* Speaking of Elie, we already know his answer to the question posed by Francis G.X. Pileggi: “Does Delaware need another law school?” [Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog]

* Here’s a sports-related story I can understand. This fact pattern, dubbed the case of the “wayward weiner” or the “fateful frank,” belongs on a torts final exam. [ABA Journal]

* Professorial catfights can be so much fun. Watch Professor Stephen Bainbridge go after Professor Brad DeLong. [Professor Bainbridge]

We live in the age of ulcer-inducing, never-ending budget cuts. It’s surprising, though, when the chopping block can help the government achieve some progress, instead of just slicing its legs off.

And what do you know? We happen to have recent news of that sort from the New York Unified Court System.

Last week, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman proposed to cut $100 million from the $2.7 billion 2011-2012 state court budget. But his plan doesn’t just take money away from cute little babies and helpless lawyers. If Lippman gets his way, a big chunk of the cuts will come from implementing mandatory e-filing statewide.

Why didn’t this happen years ago? Way to make lemonade, Judge!

How did this come to pass?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Digital Courtroom: Apparently Not a Pipe Dream”

Ending class early? She strenuously objects.

And maybe that’s why we’re falling behind the rest of the world educationally. But at least we’re having fun, right?

This story comes to us from Boston University Law School (a top 10 law school by alumni median income, by the way). A professor accidentally ended class 15 minutes early, and it looked like class was about to be dismissed — “until one officious intermeddler promptly strode up to the podium and passionately pointed to her watch,” according to our BU Law tipster.

The objector politely “reminded” the professor that there were still 15 minutes left in class — “on arguably the most strenuous day of the week for our section,” said our source. “We all could have used the extra 15 free minutes.”

Perhaps the officious intermeddler didn’t know about our American customs? “Due to her status as a foreign LLM student, and since no one knows her name, she has been dubbed ‘LLM Lady,’” our tipster explained. “She has been the topic of discussion among our section all day now.”

And “LLM Lady” has also been the subject of some amusing Facebook exchanges….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Here in the United States, if the professor ends class early, we do not complain.”

Watch out, Warner Bros. and Munger Tolles: the machete-wielding, tiger-blood-fueled Charlie Sheen is coming after you. The seemingly deranged actor, who was recently fired from the CBS hit show “Two and a Half Men,” has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre, the studio and executive producer of the show, respectively.

You can read more via the links below. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out Marin’s awesomely hilarious post, “The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Charlie Sheen’s Bitchin’ Termination Letter,” which takes a closer look at some of the issues that will likely arise in this litigation.

Charlie Sheen sues Warner Bros., Chuck Lorre for $100 million
[Los Angeles Times via WSJ Law Blog]
Sheen Sues Warner Bros. & Lorre for $100 Million [TMZ via ABA Journal]

Earlier: Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Charlie Sheen’s Bitchin’ Termination Letter

If I was a Supreme Court Justice, I’d take all the buffet’s individually-wrapped butters. I answer to no manager!

Stephen Colbert, discussing the lack of mandatory ethical rules for justices of the Supreme Court (gavel bang: BL1Y).

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

I know, I know: This column is not supposed to be about written advocacy.

And I know, I know: No one needs my smug suggestions, because no one who reads “Above the Law” ever makes any mistakes.

But the legal writing community keeps urging me on (on the web here, here, and here (note her jab at my “commenters”), for example, and off-line constantly). The people who fret about this stuff seem to think that these lessons are worth repeating, so I’m adding one more column on legal writing to the collection.

Here are three possible introductions to one brief. I saw all three types repeatedly while I was in private practice, and I’ve seen all three since I’ve been in-house. (I’ve seen the worst type — the first — only once during my in-house days, and we chatted with outside counsel about what we expect to see in the future.)

So, without further ado, two bad (but typical) introductions, followed by one good one, all for use in the same case….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Classic Bad Introductions”

Things have been a little quiet lately on the spring bonus front. For a while we were wondering whether this might be it — i.e., that any firm that hasn’t announced by now isn’t planning on announcing anything.

Happily, this speculation was wrong. The latest news comes from Clifford Chance, which this morning announced spring bonuses on the top-of-the-line Cravath scale.

Let’s look at the full memo, and see how CC sources are reacting….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Clifford Chance Matches Cravath Spring Bonuses”

Scrooge McDuck must have attended the right law school.

Another day, another set of law school rankings. The world’s appetite for these things knows no bounds. Earlier this week, we covered U.S. News & World Report’s best law schools as ranked by law firm recruiters — and the reader interest and traffic were off the charts. Apparently there’s no such thing as “rankings fatigue.”

(Wait until we launch our list of law schools ranked by the quality of the toilet paper in their public restrooms. Because that’s something that actually matters to law students — probably more than, say, the number of volumes in the library, or even the square footage of the place.)

Today we bring you law school rankings by Forbes. The eye-catching title of Kurt Badenhausen’s post: “The Best Law Schools For Getting Rich.” Because you all went to law school in the hopes of becoming rich, right?

(If so, that was pretty dumb. According to some observers, a junior associate’s salary means you’re poor, and even a midlevel- to senior-associate salary doesn’t make you rich. Partner-level compensation is better, but even a million or two won’t get you access to the top slam pieces.)

Okay, let’s take a look at this list of law schools ranked by their graduates’ median compensation. Some of the schools on it may surprise you….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Like many unhappy lawyers, I find Cee Lo Green’s F**k You — which has been picked up by radio stations in a more family-friendly version, Forget You — to be a personal theme song (a la Ally McBeal). Indeed, I often fantasize that I am dancing around my office in an inappropriately short skirt-suit, belting out the chorus to many of my co-workers.

And I am not alone in appreciating the cathartic properties of this special song. We all saw those crazy kids at GWU Law School, in their feather-boa-filled tirade against law school gunners.

Steven Harper, a retired Kirkland & Ellis partner who now teaches at Northwestern Law (and blogs), is the latest to invoke Mr. Lo Green. He seems to be giving the F**k You to Biglaw — and maybe a little bit to former NU Law Dean David Van Zandt, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Forget You, Biglaw (oo, oo, ooo)”

Mel Gibson

* Mel Gibson has reached a plea agreement in a battery case involving his ex-girlfriend. #losing #BeaverBlood [Associated Press]

* Meanwhile, Lilo isn’t accepting her plea deal. No ma’am. Not for all the Texas booger sugar in the world. Well, maybe for all the Texas booger sugar. But that wasn’t really offered. [New York Post]

* A look at Jowls McRaisinhead’s Arlen Specter’s move to solo practice. [Legal Intelligencer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The Wisconsin Senate passed sweeping curbs on collective bargaining yesterday. The protesters are still howling, but I wonder how loud they’ll be when Pinkertons shove batons in their faces. That’s not actually happening. I just have a fairly violent and anachronistic imagination. [Reuters]

* House Republicans have gone meta in promising a defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. [Los Angeles Times]

* State Senator Carl Kruger, of Brooklyn, will turn himself in on corruption charges today. Big up to Crooklyn. [New York Times]

* Coach Sweater Vest’s hilarious understanding of attorney-client privilege is hilarious. [The Lantern]

* Profits per partner at Kirkland & Ellis topped $3 million in 2010, and the firm boosted its revenue even though it shed some lawyers. I Can Has Spring Bonus? [Am Law Daily]

The partners of the law firm of Howrey LLP, founded in 1956, have voted to dissolve the existing Howrey partnership. The dissolution will take effect on March 15, 2011, according to a press release that was issued earlier tonight by the firm.

The firm’s chairman and CEO, Robert Ruyak, has not been the most popular person during Howrey’s long and painful disintegration (which arguably started over a year ago, with some key partner defections). But few would disagree with the statements he made this evening.

“This is a very difficult time for our firm, for our attorneys and for our staff,” Ruyak said. “Many of us have spent our entire legal careers at Howrey and remain proud of what we built. We find some solace in the fact that our people have been so well received by their new firms. They are first class professionals and deserve the respect accorded to leaders in their fields.”

We extend our sympathies to everyone at Howrey who will be affected by the firm’s demise, and we wish them the best of luck as they search for new workplaces. Many superb lawyers and staff have worked at Howrey over the past 55 years, and as we’ve chronicled in these pages, many are being courted and welcomed by other law firms — a testament to their talents and abilities.

Additional commentary and links, as well as the full press release, appear below.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey LLP, RIP: Partnership Votes to Dissolve”

How can you be a happy lawyer?

* Is concern for “privacy” simply a justification for censorship on the internet? Some thoughts from a lawyer for Google. [Peter Fleischer: Privacy...? via Kashmir Hill / Forbes]

* What’s the secret to lawyer happiness? And no, it doesn’t involve illegal drugs or porn stars (Charlie Sheen isn’t a lawyer). [Slaw via Legal Blog Watch]

* Want to start your own law blog? Read this interesting interview with BL1Y (a regular in the ATL comments section). [Lawyerist]

* Superstar criminal defense lawyer John Dowd, the Akin Gump partner who successfully got Monica Goodling (among many other clients) out of legal trouble, offered a rousing defense of Raj Rajaratnam today. [Dealbreaker]

Jonathan Bristol

* Ex-Winston & Strawn partner Jonathan Bristol, former counsel to money manager / fraudster Kenneth Starr, has reached a plea agreement with S.D.N.Y. prosecutors. [New York Law Journal via Summary Judgments]

* Elsewhere in Ken Starr news, it seems that some celebs are getting hit with IRS tax liens as a result of their ties to him. [TaxProf Blog]

* Congratulations to a 3L at Harvard Law School, Nneka Ukpai, who trounced the prosecution at trial and won an acquittal for her client. [Yolanda Young / On Being a Black Lawyer]

* Congratulations to a 3L at NYU Law and future S.D.N.Y. law clerk, Eli Northrup, who belongs to a hip-hop band called Pants Velour — which has, in the words of our tipster, “captured the magic of Charlie Sheen as only music can.” [YouTube]

* This week, A Round Tuit includes a nice round-up of opinions on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case (Snyder v. Phelps). [Infamy or Praise]

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