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* You can’t get a lap dance without being disbarred? What the hell kind of… oh, oh, you can’t be a pimp and be a lawyer. Alright, that makes more sense. [New York Post]

* Yeah, I really want to hear Florida’s opinion on health care. Old people are notoriously good at desperately trying to extend their unnaturally long lives taking a reasonable approach to medicine. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you want to protest the Supreme Court, start a blog or something. Don’t you dare show up at One First Street. You’ll get arrested. [BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

* Columbia is offering a three-year J.D./MBA program. Don’t worry, those kids will still be able to pay for all four years. [National Law Journal via ABA Journal]

* Every lawyer should be a good storyteller. [Underdog]

* Should price gougers go to hell? [Law Librarian Blog]

* Michael Vick wants to get a dog. That’s like a child rapist applying to be a high school glee club instructor. [Althouse]

Dear associates at Cravath and Davis Polk (and other firms that have matched the Cravath bonus): you guys are getting screwed. No, seriously, you’re getting rogered but good. If you are going to take this lowball bonus the partners are shoving down your throats and grin and bear it, maybe you deserve what’s happening to you. Cravath could pay you more; Davis Polk could pay you more. The partners are simply refusing to do it so they can pocket a little bit of extra money at your expense.

Because not every Biglaw partnership is that cheap. Oh sure, the partners at Cravath and DPW and a bunch of other firms can pretend that Cahill Gordon is not a “Biglaw” firm. They can throw Cahill and their awesome bonus into the “boutique” category.

But when Sidley Austin is beating the bag out of your bonus — in New York — you simply cannot ignore that. The firm has over 1,500 lawyers. It is BIG.

Sidley has seen the Cravath bonus — and is slamming it. Cravath and DPW should be embarrassed…

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I’m on record as being generally uncomfortable with hate crime designations. I’m not against hate crime laws across the board. You show me a guy with a demonstrable history of bigotry who then goes around beating people of some particular group, and I’m all for enhanced punishment. But in general I don’t think the state should be involved in punishing what’s in a man’s heart. If you murder someone, you are a hater; does it really matter why you hated the person?

And hate crime laws seem to force law enforcement into ridiculous positions. They’ve got to try to use physical evidence to prove or disprove what people were thinking when they did something. That’s like trying to figure out why I smoke based on my ashtray.

A great example of the problems with hate crime legislation is what’s going on at Harvard University right now. People found books in one of the undergraduate libraries were soaked in urine. But the books were about LGBT issues. HATE CRIME ALERT!

Or is it? Harvard police don’t really know, so they are being forced to say some absolutely ridiculous things…

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Bonuses have just been announced at Davis Polk. The firm has decided to match the Cravath scale.

This may be disappointing, but it honestly shouldn’t be shocking. Davis Polk may be a market leader when it comes to beautiful offices or beautiful associates, but historically it has been cheap hasn’t led the way on associate compensation.

Despite the lack of surprise, early reactions to the DPW bonus news seem… unfavorable. It’s not normal to see a Davis Polk lawyer use his or her temper, but some associates are clearly upset.

Let’s check out what they have to say, shall we?

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David Thomas, of Wilson Sonsini, and Kelly Richardson, of Latham & Watkins.

The East Coast is freezing right now. New York is bitterly cold, and D.C. is even getting snow. So let’s head out to the West Coast, where the weather is warmer — and where associates are thrilled to be working with some superb partners.

Earlier this week, we presented ten California partners whom our readers nominated as being great to work for.  We continue our coverage today with eight additional partners who earn this distinction. They hail from some of the country’s preeminent law firms: DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie, Latham & Watkins, Holland & Knight, Jones Day, Wilson Sonsini, Knobbe Martens, and Paul Hastings.

Let’s find out who made the list….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – California (Part 2)”

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

Look: If Lat and Mystal are silly enough to let me write a column about in-house lawyers when I’ve worked in-house for just ten months, then surely I can reminisce about blogging at Above the Law after just four weeks on the job. Fair is fair, guys.

So here are three thoughts, after four weeks of typing. First:

On November 15, Lat published the post announcing that my column would start in three days. Lat wrote the post; I had nothing to do with it. He promptly sent me a link to that post, telling me that we were up. I hung up the phone after finishing a business call and clicked on the link, viewing the post within ten minutes of its publication. Incredibly, the “commenters” were already out in force.

I scrolled through the comments and immediately learned that I’m (1) homophobic, (2) a failure in Big Law, (3) desperate for money, and (4) ugly.

Before I’d written a word.

Fortunately, an old friend sent me an e-mail providing emotional support: “Hey, Mark, you’re not homophobic.”

Second….

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As we just mentioned, Sullivan & Cromwell has not yet announced its bonuses. It seems that several other top law firms are keeping their powder dry until S&C fires.

But Weil Gotshal, which previously committed itself to “compensating Associates at market rates” and paying “2010 bonuses that are commensurate with bonuses paid by peer firms,” apparently believes that the “market rate” has been set — by Cravath.

Check out their latest memo, which also (1) confirms that Weil associates will get their customary seniority-based base salary increases in January (no surprise there), and (2) contains numbers for the “Distinguished” bonuses awarded to high-performing midlevel and senior associates….

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As of this writing — Thursday, December 16, at 10:30 AM — Sullivan & Cromwell has not yet announced its bonus scheme. We suspect that several other top firms that have yet to announce bonuses, like Davis Polk, Simpson Thacher, Cleary Gottlieb, and Debevoise, are simply waiting for the white smoke to emerge from 125 Broad Street. [FN1]

So… what’s going on at S&C?

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Teresa Giudice

* One gusher of a lawsuit: BP could pay more than $5 billion because of the oil spill. A small price to pay for unleashing Cthulhu. [Wall Street Journal]

* Prince Jefri owes his former lawyers more than $21 million. Time to cross another life-size sex statue off his Christmas list. Le sigh. [Washington Post]

* This WoW bot injunction is totally going to ruin my weekend. Now I’ll have to level up instead of attending my in-game wedding. Thanks, Ninth Circuit. [CNET]

* If the Senate doesn’t vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before the holidays, they’re all going to get some huge lumps of coal in their stockings. [Los Angeles Times]

* Guidos in my high school used to forge signatures on court papers all the time, it was no big deal. Well, except for all of those “ethnic” violations. [New York Post]

* A jilted bride is suing her ex for almost $100,000, the cost of the would-be wedding. Seriously? I’d totally sign up for ATL dating if this guy was the prize. [ABC News]

Many of you know that the headline is the punchline to an awesome Dave Chappelle joke about black people and chicken. As far as I know, it is the only joke about black people and chicken (fried or otherwise) that is acceptable for white people to retell in 2010 America. I say again, it’s the only joke white people are allowed to make on this subject. (I’ll accept new submissions from African-American comedians — surely Kat Williams has something.) Obviously, if your name is Bill Maher, you are exempt from this rule, but that’s because Maher is pretty much the only white man in America who has figured out how to joke about Obama’s race, and he does so brilliantly.

For all other white people, I think this is a bright-line rule that should be easy to follow. They’re really not that many of them: you can’t make jokes about fried chicken or watermelon, you can’t use the “N”-word, you can’t comment on black women’s hair because you have no freaking idea what you’re dealing with. In exchange, you got a 300-year head start in this country, nobody ever profiles you, and just to be nice we’ll leave you hockey for your own sporting domination. That’s a good deal, right? There are a handful of jokes I can make that you cannot; if you think you’re getting the short end of the stick, call up a single mother living in the Bronx and ask her if she wants to trade.

Really, I didn’t think I had to write down the “no fried chicken jokes” rule. But the law firm of Morgan Hill in Washington State made me realize that sometimes you have to spell things out for people. Every Christmas, they send out their holiday party invitation in the form of a satirical newspaper. The flier contains funny, made-up stories about the big legal news items of the year in Washington.

At least, it’s supposed to be funny. This year, the invitation missed the mark. Badly….

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* Here’s a list of America’s Worst Bosses for 2010. Shocker: some of them are lawyers. [eBossWatch]

* Is this a legal and/or fair way to get a flaking eBay auction winner to pay up? Maybe all is fair in love and war e-commerce — although that approach didn’t work out well for Vitaly Borker. [Reddit via Consumerist]

* Remember the Syracuse Law satirical blog controversy? Well, now the administration is playing with FIRE. [Foundation for Individual Rights in Education]

* Filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s over Happy Meals makes me sad — and Walter Olson mad. (Disclosure: I once worked at McDonald’s.) [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of delicious things — and readers, please note my use of “delicious” to refer to food — how do you overcome the “cupcake challenge”? A panel of experts, including my law school classmate, Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams, tackled this question in a panel discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [The ChamberPost]

* Single D.C. lawyers, there’s still time to entrust your love life to Kashmir Hill. We have many responses, but there’s gender imbalance right now. Kash needs men — please help! [Above the Law]

Want to work for a top law firm with legitimate global presence? Check out the following profiles of law firms that are (1) most admired by Career Center readers and Lateral Link members and (2) known for their strong international practice. Don’t forget to check out the profiles for other firms, both international and domestic, and see what each firm’s associates really think about their employers.

  • With lackluster bonus announcements from most lockstep law firms, associates at this firm should be happy with their performance-based bonuses – even if they aren’t transparent.  Most Career Center readers agree and rate this firm #10 among the most admired law firms.  There are several opportunities for the firm’s 2,400 associates to work on international “newsworthy” matters, out of any of its 31 offices worldwide.
  • Associates at the #2 most admired law firm appreciate the level of freedom when it comes to getting international caliber work via this firm’s free-market system.  While there is no official billable hour requirement, most associates agree that 1,950 is the magic number to qualify for bonuses.  Even if international work is not your thing, this firm is also known for its involvement in notable Supreme Court cases.

Let’s look at a few other firms with robust international practices….

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