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Over many years, however, a persistent problem has developed in the process of filling judicial vacancies. Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes. This has created acute difficulties for some judicial districts.

— Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary (gavel bang: Tony Mauro / The BLT).

We were somewhat surprised to learn that this actually isn’t the most depressing day of the year. That honor goes to the third Monday in January, not the first. There’s a whole mathematical formula about it. Anyway, here’s some LEWW cheer to brighten your gray Monday.

Administrative note: Signs are indicating that LEWW will soon be presenting Mr. LEWW with another heir. Wedding coverage will be scaled back somewhat while we recover from the blessed event, but you won’t care because it’s January, and nobody gets married in January.

But some got married in December — like these three couples:

1. Ellen Tobin and Todd Kaminsky

2. Rachel Laitala and Colin Greenspon

3. Mabel Hwang and Jonathan Weiss

Check out their bios and photos, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Jews Versus Episcopalians”

Joe Miller finally learned what everybody else knew in November.

* For just pennies a day, you can outsource your legal work to a lawyer who doesn’t even know what a penny is. [Los Angeles Times]

* They might have terk your jerbs, but the Republicans are going take their schooling and birthright citizenship. [New York Times]

* Oh no, Joe, say it ain’t so! Joe Miller finally waives the white flag: after three strikes in court, he’s out. [CNN]

* Elie can haz victory! The ABA finally pulled its head out of its ass the sand and issued a warning to prospective law students. [NetNet / CNBC]

* Lots of law firms defied logic and offered “safe ride” programs for New Year’s Eve. You too fancy for DUI defense, huh? [ABA Journal]

* No job? No problem! Just have the local paper run a sob story about you, and see what happens. These kids are geniuses! [Chicago Sun-Times; Bergen Record]

* Robo-signing from beyond the grave — sounds like an episode of Tales from the Crypt made for lawyers. [Wall Street Journal]

Superstar Supreme Court litigator Thomas Goldstein — who has argued 22 cases before the high court, racked up numerous honors from legal and general-interest publications, and, most importantly, served as a judge of ATL Idol — is leaving Akin Gump. Goldstein has led the powerhouse firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice and serves as presiding co-leader of the firm’s litigation management committee. He arrived at Akin four and a half years ago, back in May 2006, to much fanfare.

Why is Tom Goldstein leaving Akin Gump? And where is he headed?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Tom Goldstein Is Leaving Akin Gump”

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. And everyone else is doing it — e.g., the ABA Journal (the most popular stories of 2010); the National Law Journal (the defining moments at the Supreme Court in 2010); and the WSJ Law Blog (the key news themes of 2010).

We’ll do what we did last year and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2010, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, in terms of hot topics, the most popular category page for the year was Law Schools. In 2009, it was Layoffs. This seems like a sign of progress, since the former subject is somewhat less depressing than the latter (at least to most people; harsh critics of law school, such as the “scambloggers,” might disagree). It also reflects increased public discussion about legal education and the value proposition of going to law school.

What were the most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2010? Let’s find out….

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Thus far we’ve looked at holiday gifts from the perspective of the giver. What (or how much) did you give to your secretary this year? Is it appropriate to get a present for your boss (and if so, what)? How about some holiday gift ideas for other lawyers in your life?

But it’s not really better to give than to receive, is it? As we know from our coverage of lawyer compensation and bonuses, our readers are greedy SOBs like getting as much as giving. So here’s an open thread for discussion of your favorite gifts from this holiday season. (I’m wearing one of mine right now — a toasty fleece that my cousin got me from Uniqlo.)

When it comes to Christmas / holiday gifts from professional contacts, folks at firms do fine. When I was at a firm, I’d get small gifts — a bottle of wine, a Tiffany money clip — from vendors hired by the firm for various projects.

But in-house readers probably make out the best in this season, since they get gifts from law firms with big budgets. In fact, the idea for this post came from an in-house reader: “[W]hy not have a holiday schwag column to show what in-house counsel are getting from firms this season? It may be an interesting contrast to the bonus (or lack thereof) news you’ve been reporting on.”

This reader got the ball rolling with the story of a pretty sweet gift he got from a law firm he gives work to….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Holiday Gift Open Thread: Did You Get Anything Good?”

Guns of the Cuyahoga?


* Given LeBron, the Browns, and everything else, the one thing I think the city of Cleveland needs more of is guns. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Am I in favor of a 68-year-old man punching a 15-year-old boy for not turning off his cell phone in preparation for landing? Hey man, it takes a village. [Business Insider]

* Having a spare kidney is like having a “get out of jail free” card. [Gawker]

* Mmm… recess appointments. [Washington Post via Instapundit]

* If you support the cause of making law schools report accurate employment statistics, maybe you can support the Law School Transparency people. [Law School Transparency]

* Last chance to vote in the ABA Blawg 100 awards. Thanks for all of your support in 2010; we look forward to keeping you informed and entertained in 2011. [ABA Journal]

We hope you’ve enjoyed following our series on Top Partners to Work For, as we’ve made our way around the country highlighting the law firm partners who are not only great at what they do, but are also great to work for. As we mentioned earlier, this survey is now closed — but we’ll run it again in the future, so keep an eye out for it.

Earlier this month, we introduced six Chicago partners for whom associates enjoy working. Today we wrap up our coverage by leaving you with top partners who shine in the legal markets of Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, New Jersey, and even Hong Kong. Although some of these markets may be smaller, the firms are some of the biggest and best in the profession: Fish & Richardson, Ropes & Gray, Goodwin Procter, Jones Day, Brooks Kushman, Skadden, and Drinker Biddle.

Let’s take one last look at the partners who made the list….

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

I really don’t care much about compensation.

Let the abuse begin.

If you hate your job, then no one can pay you enough to make going to work every day worthwhile. And if you love your job, you won’t be sitting around fretting about your pay. I understand that this is America and all that, but within very broad limits, you’re nuts to accept one job over another because of a small difference in compensation.

(I understand that you may be trapped in a job, because of student loans, or kids in college, or the like. I understand; trapped is trapped. And I understand that I personally have been awfully lucky, because I’ve never had to worry about finding money to pay next month’s rent, so I speak from a particular point of view. Despite all that, I stand by what I said — if job A and job B are meaningfully different from each other in ways that matter to you, and you’re not trapped, you’re nuts to take one job over the other just to earn a few extra grand each year. Period.)

Naturally, since I’m not interested in the subject, you can guess the question I’ve been asked most often since Above the Law anointed me an in-house counsel guru:

How does in-house compensation work, and what questions should I ask about compensation if I’m interviewing for an in-house job?

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I find it funny that firms that want to skimp on bonuses also expect associates to make sure they are helping the overall health and performance of the firm. At some level, why should associates care if the firm is up to date on its collections? It’s not like that money is going to trickle down to the time keepers once their hours are realized. Hell, we’ve got people in the comments claiming they are going to purposely underbill in order to hurt firms in 2011 for stinginess in 2010.

The firms aren’t wrong to be doing everything they can to get associates to enter in their hours in a timely fashion. Time keeping is more accurate when you do it every day (as opposed to trying to recreate your days at the end of the week or month). Firms are struggling to collect from their clients. And, for what it’s worth, billing hours is part of the job for attorneys. I just find it ironic that firms are trying to pressure their associates to produce more money for them even as they are sharing a smaller percentage of those profits with associates.

It’s pretty clear that being a part of a Biglaw firm isn’t a “team” proposition. Everybody for themselves; that’s how the partners act, and that’s how partners expect associates to act.

And so Hughes Hubbard is bringing a little personal punishment to associates who are late with their time…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hughes Hubbard Is the Latest Firm to Crack the Time Keeping Whip”

* In the new economy, new strategies are necessary in hiring law firms. A new paradigm is upon us and we must think outside the box. Synergy, people. Consultants are here to help. [New York Times]

* David J. Stern, Florida’s Foreclosure King, is the gift that keeps on giving. Like syphilis. [Palm Beach Post]

* On Tuesday, Paul Allen revised his patent suit against… well, pretty much the internets. Gotta pay the troll toll. [Reuters]

* U.S. prosecutors arrested a California woman yesterday on insider trading charges. Immediately after the charges were filed, Michael Douglas’s ex-wife sued the woman for royalties. [CNET]

* A Los Angeles law firm, Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, is being sued for maintaining a hostile work environment and being generally pervy. The article raises several important questions. None more important than this: What the hell is a bikini bar? [Los Angeles Times]

* A primer on Bill Richardson’s possible pardon of Billy the Kid. Emilio Estevez hasn’t been this stoked since the Men at Work premiere party. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Vernon, a small town in California, has hired Latham & Watkins in an effort to save its status as a city. Pretty fascinating read. [Los Angeles Times]

* A former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, was convicted of rape. [Bloomberg]

* And finally, what about Brett Farv…ra? Out $50,000. And he may face future litigation over those harmless Croc shots. [New York Daily News]

Here in New York City, the headquarters of Above the Law, we’re still dealing with the aftermath of the Great Blizzard of 2010. Check out our slideshow for some images (like the one at right).

Although the snowstorm ended on Monday, and it’s now Wednesday night, many streets remain unplowed and many sidewalks uncleared. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, generally praised for his tremendous competence, is taking a lot of flak for the city’s inadequate response.

And that’s just in terms of politics and public relations. Wait until the lawyers get involved!

What possible causes of action could arise out of the snowstorm? Let’s discuss….

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