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Fact: Spring bonuses have been announced at Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, and Cleary Gottlieb.

Fact: It’s February 7th.

Fact: Skadden, Davis Polk, Weil, and Debevoise should be ashamed of themselves.

Honestly, I don’t know what the top-tier firms that haven’t announced spring bonuses think they’re doing. Do they hope that no one is watching? Everybody is watching.

You want proof? Last week, at a “state of the firm” meeting, Cadwalader announced that it is considering spring bonuses. If Cadwalader goes with spring bonuses, it puts a whole host of other firms in play for the big payout…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If Cadwalader Makes It Rain, Many More Firms Will Have to Follow”

Facebook’s lawyers have been looking for a rumble over the company’s responsibility to turn over user account information in legal cases. Now they’ve got one, thanks to a California juror and his grandstanding defense attorney.

The case stems from a gang violence criminal trial. Members of the Killa Mobb were being tried for a 2008 attack on a San Francisco man at a gas station. One of the 12 angry apathetic men in the jury box, Arturo Ramirez, posted to Facebook during the course of the trial that it was “boring.” Now the Killa Mobb’s defense attorneys want to get a hold of those postings, and any responses from Ramirez’s friends, to prove that he may have been biased — so the Mobb members can get a new trial.

Facebook refused to turn over Ramirez’s information, citing a 1986 law that protects Americans’ electronic communications. Ramirez originally told the Sacramento Bee that he was willing to turn the status messages over, but that was before he linked up with his own defense attorney, Ken Rosenfeld, who looks like he might like a little media attention. Rosenfeld’s now planning to fight tooth and nail to keep his client’s Facebook privacy settings high…

Continue reading at The Not-So Private Parts….

The economy seems to be on the mend. Corporate profits are strong, and the Dow is north of 12,000. In the legal world, layoffs are down, bonuses are up, and hiring is way up.

But governments — federal, state, and local — are staggering under mountains of debt. State and local governments have borrowed $2.4 trillion as of mid-2010, and they’ve promised another $3 trillion in retirement benefits.

There is tons of talk out there about a possible wave of municipal bankruptcies. And even if the talk might be overblown, the possibility of default by multiple local governments or even state governments — which might someday get the ability to declare bankruptcy — can’t be ruled out.

If municipal bankruptcies start popping up all over the place, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be ready. The firm just picked up a leading expert in the area….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Dewey Deepens Its Bankruptcy Bench”

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

It’s time for the other side of the coin.

Sitting here in the catbird’s seat, it’s easy to criticize things that outside counsel do. (It’s not just easy; my hope is that it’s also worthwhile. When I was in private practice, I paid close attention when I learned about things that annoyed clients.) But we’re equal opportunity critics here at ATL. It’s time to turn my sights on myself: What do inside counsel do that works to our own detriment?

I haven’t heard much from my outside counsel on this score, perhaps because I’m the client, and outside counsel are reluctant to criticize me (to my face). And I don’t innately sense all the things that I’m doing that are grossly stupid. But I do remember a fair number of silly things that inside counsel inflicted on me when I was at a law firm, and I can work backwards from there.

What are the sins of inside counsel?

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* Of shaken babies and unsure verdicts. This long piece in the Times Magazine, by Emily Bazelon, is well worth your time. For those who require a funny take on shaking, there’s always this totally NSFW Chris Rock bit. [New York Times Magazine]

* What do willful violations of antitrust law and not being admitted to the Super Bowl with a valid ticket have in common? Treble damages. [SI.com]

* David Stern got it turned around on him, like a guy who was the foreclosure king and won’t have any need for a strap-on where he’s going. [ABC News]

* Let us celebrate the Green Bay Packers win last night by remembering a more innocent time — a year ago, when viewers of the Super Bowl weren’t eye-raped by the Black Eyed Peas and, instead, eye-caressed by sweet sweet porn. [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of innocent Super Bowl revelry… child prostitution! [Time]

* Raquel Balsam paid too much for her SUNY education and now she says “I pretty much felt cheated on.” Like it got turned around on her… yeah, I’m using that twice. [New York Times]

* Yale law professor Akhil Amar shows Judge Vinson his pimp hand is way strong. [Los Angeles Times]

* AOL has purchased The Huffington Post. AOL, like Radio Shack, refuses to die. [Reuters]

Tonight America comes together to celebrate its most important holiday. Whether you’re Christian or other, tonight you will plop down on the couch, crack a beer, wait with bated breath for the first commercial break, likely have a heart attack, and definitely beat all holy hell out of your wife.

Some say football is America’s national religion. And if that’s so, A.J. Daulerio is its… sorry, I didn’t really think this metaphor through. Perhaps you already know who A.J. Daulerio is. Perhaps you read the profile of him in GQ or read the article last fall in the Times. Or, if you’re anything like me, you have Deadspin bookmarked. If it’s that last one, you probably already know what this is about.

This is about what happens when lawyers stop being polite… and start getting real. Oh, and it’s about The Sanchize, Mark Sanchez, or El Sucio Sanchez if you’re not into the whole brevity thing…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Are Just Hype Men”

Yesterday we passed along a rumor that Barbara Werther and some of her colleagues in government contracts were leaving Howrey. We have since received additional confirmation of this report. According to one source, Werther informed Howrey partners of her departure on Thursday, and her office was cleaned out on Friday.

As we previously mentioned, a meeting with associates and firm chairman Robert Ruyak was also scheduled for yesterday. What happened on that conference call?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey Holding Up This Weekend? Some Updates”

Disclosure: I'm pals with Judge Kozinski.

Given my prior stewardship of Underneath Their Robes, it should come as no surprise that I like my judges to exhibit some humanity. My favorite judges are those with personality, spunk, and a sense of humor, not the judicial automatons who just crank out dry opinions.

Sometimes judges can be, well, all too human. They might make mistakes — such as, for example, letting their lovers take nude photos of them in compromising positions, which then wind up on the internet. But that’s okay — the photos might be embarrassing, but they don’t call into question judicial impartiality or otherwise prevent the judge from serving.

(All the photos might show is that judges like sex — and is there anything wrong with that? As Elie quipped to me this morning, with regard to the Justice Lori Douglas photos, “I’m not worried about the judges who like having sex. I’m worried about the ones who don’t like having sex.”)

Earlier this week, the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, reminded us that judges are people too — people who still enjoy free speech rights, despite their judicial offices….

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Mayor Luther Campbell?

* A Valentine’s Day deportation that separates a loving couple sounds exactly like something that would make Jesus happy. Oh wait a minute, that’s not right at all. [Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project]

* Virginia Thomas, Clarence Thomas’s wife, is now a lobbyist. Well, one of them has to talk, I guess. [Politico]

* Ann Althouse doesn’t just marry commenters, she talks like them too. [Althouse]

* I understand why people are annoyed when somebody edits your work and takes all the “color and attitude” out of it. But I have a solution: start a blog! That way, instead of begging the New York Times to publish your unedited thoughts, you can just publish your unedited thoughts. All hail the 21st Century. [The Volokh Conspiracy via ABA Journal]

* Being a female lawyer is a bitch, might as well own it. [Lawyerist]

* Luther Campbell (of 2 Live Crew fame) is running for mayor of Miami. You can be a white professional wrestler and be governor; let’s see if you can be a black rapper and be mayor. [Miami New Times]

* This isn’t legal, but it’s certainly the most interested I’ve ever been in garbage in Austin. And you will be too. [City of Austin Community Forum]

Look at all that green - isn't it pretty?

Let’s say you’re an associate at Skadden — or Davis Polk, Weil Gotshal, Debevoise & Plimpton, or any other top law firm that has not yet joined in the springtime bonus fun.

On Friday afternoon, a favored time for spring bonus news, you get an email from someone in recruiting / human resources. The email subject line — carefully crafted, no doubt — reads: “Money.”

You open it eagerly….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “WHERE ARE THE SPRING BONUSES?”

In a letter just released to students and alumni of Villanova University School of Law, Dean John Y. Gotanda admits that Villanova Law knowingly reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association, for years prior to 2010.

The school has conducted an internal investigation and has been independently audited by Ropes & Gray. In response to the investigation and audit findings, the school will reorganize its admissions reporting process, with the goal of implementing “a reporting system which is above reproach.” In addition, according to Dean Gotanda’s letter, “the University will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

Sadly, this is not the first scandal that has rocked the law school in recent years….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Villanova Law ‘Knowingly Reported’ Inaccurate Information to the ABA”

We’re hearing rumors about a few additional departures from Howrey….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: More Howrey Departures”

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