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The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
One of the most anticipated cases before the Supreme Court this term is McDonald v. Chicago. McDonald considers whether Chicago’s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. While District of Columbia v. Heller established that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms from infringement by the federal government, McDonald changes the target to the states.
McDonald pits the right to keep and bear arms against the rights of the states to enact gun control laws. Which argument has more firepower?

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Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgSo I’m sitting on a veranda enjoying 70-degree Los Angeles weather, a cuban, and a crisp copy of the Los Angeles Times.* What could possibly make this better?
I’ll tell you: an op-ed in a mainstream publication acknowledging the over-saturation of the legal job market that I’ve been preaching about for months. Today’s L.A. Times piece could have been written by me, it could have been written by a number of ATL commenters, but it was written by a D.C. lawyer who understands the ABA’s role as an absentee professional organization:

Part of the problem can be traced to the American Bar Assn., which continues to allow unneeded new schools to open and refuses to properly regulate the schools, many of which release numbers that paint an overly rosy picture of employment prospects for their recent graduates. There is a finite number of jobs for lawyers, and this continual flood of graduates only suppresses wages. Because the ABA has repeatedly signaled its unwillingness to adapt to this changing reality, the federal government should consider taking steps to stop the rapid flow of attorneys into a marketplace that cannot sustain them.

Hello, mainstream media. As Sam Seaborn might say: Let’s ignore the fact that you are late to the party and embrace the fact that you showed up at all!
After the jump, more public flogging of the ABA.

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raven akram sandberg phoenix cheerleader.jpgWe occasionally write about career alternatives for attorneys here at Above The Law. But as far as we know, cheerleading does not constitute a full-time job. So we’re creating a new “extracurricular pursuits” category for it.

Many lawyers are cheerleaders in a way, seeking to boost their clients’ spirits and fortunes and tout their best qualities. Perhaps that’s why this is not the first time a legal cheerleader has found her way into our pages.

An ATL reader alerted us that Raven Akram, an attorney at Sandberg Phoenix, moonlights as an NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. Sandberg Phoenix is a 65-attorney trial firm with “seriously unbelievable client service.” Akram joined the firm’s St. Louis office in 2008.

Our tipster writes:

I found myself wondering how I would feel as a client if I were at a NFL game and my attorney was profiled on the big screen in a skimpy bikini. I also found myself wondering why an apparently successful attorney would spend her spare time cheerleading for what is objectively the worst team in the NFL.

We imagine clients would feel excited… about having such a hot attorney.

Her firm bio is pretty dry; she’s a Saint Louis University School of Law grad who specializes in business litigation. Let’s take a look at her cheerleading bio (and photo), after the jump.

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obama weatherproof jacket ad.jpg* Obama won’t weather this advertorial use of his image. [New York Post via Fashionista]
* New Jersey follows New York’s lead on gay marriage. [Star Ledger]
* North Face sues South Butt. [South Butt]
* Seven lessons for working with regulators. [Young Lawyers Blog]
* Insider-trading Canadian lawyer Stan Grmovsek gets 39 months. His co-conspirator got death; he killed himself in October. [Globe and Mail]
* Emails between Fed attorneys, AIG deputy general counsel Kathleen Shannon, and AIG counsel at Davis Polk serve to embarrass. [Corporate Counsel]

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWho says “special bonuses” are so 2007? Earlier this week, we reported that Irell & Manella paid supplemental bonuses to its associates that took total bonuses to twice the Sullivan & Cromwell scale.
Today we bring you the news that another firm, intellectual property powerhouse Fish & Richardson, is also going the extra mile on bonuses. From an FR attorney:

Fish & Richardson announced “special” bonuses [last week]. Basically $10K for non-equity principals and $2K for paralegals and administrative staff…. This is on top of the regular bonuses, which is made up of an “hours” component (certain amount of guaranteed bonus per 100 hours billed) and a “merit” bonus.

With all of this added up, some associates’ bonuses blow the Cravath scale out of the water. Happy New Year indeed!

The full memorandum, from president Peter J. Devlin, after the jump.

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love matchmaking sex ivy league.jpg* What is a “significant romantic relationship” these days? The Second Circuit ruminates. [How Appealing]
* Georgia judge resigns after poking a defendant and then some. [ABA Journal via Partner Emeritus]
* Baltimore scores points in its competition with New Orleans and Detroit to be America’s worst city. [Baltimore Sun]
* Six ways the Prop 8 YouTube trial could go viral. [Gawker]
* Calling pedophilia photos “art” is not the best defense. [Bad Lawyer]
* DIHAR challenge ends tomorrow. We’ll announce the winner next week. Good luck! [Above The Law]
* Suspicious packages abound in D.C. [DCist]
* Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: “Don’t pee on me!” [Barry Glazer]

john michael farren.jpgA former Bush Administration lawyer has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling and beating his wife, a counsel at Skadden Arps.
John Michael Farren, 57, served as deputy counsel to the president under Fred Fielding in the most recent Bush administration, as general counsel at Xerox, and as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade under President George H.W. Bush. Since leaving the White House, the UConn law grad returned to Connecticut.
Last night, he made the news there when he allegedly attempted to kill his wife. From the Greenwich Time:

John Michael Farren, 57, of New Canaan, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation after police received a panic alarm from his home shortly after 10 p.m.
Farren was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday. He appeared in court with a large bandage on the right side of his neck and has been placed on suicide watch.

According to CBS News, his wife is Mary Margaret Farren, an energy regulation and litigation counsel in Skadden’s D.C. office.

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Cahill Gordon logo.jpgLast January, Cahill Gordon & Reindel started the year by cutting approximately 10% of its associates. Sources report that 2010 is off to a similar start.
Says one tipster:

[I]t’s about 20-25 people. Mostly younger associates but some more senior people as well. Standard 3 months severance….
[I]t’s being termed performance based, typical stuff related to year-end reviews, etc. But the subtext and what people are being told is that it’s largely about there being too many people.

We reached out to the firm for comment this morning, but have not yet heard back. One of our tipsters claims that this round of layoffs will make Cahill New York as white as freshly-fallen snow…

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AK47.jpgTimothy Hendron was supposed to be in a federal court in St. Louis this morning for a trial that started on Monday. He and his co-workers had filed a class action suit against ABB power company alleging that its pension review committee had mishandled employee finances and incurred unreasonable losses. ABC News is reporting that Hendron decided a gun was more powerful than his lawyers.

Early Thursday morning, Timothy Hendron took the fight against his employer from a federal courtroom to the company’s headquarters, according to law enforcement sources in St. Louis. And instead of using an ongoing class action lawsuit to achieve his goals, Hendron is suspected of using an AK-47 assault rifle.

Early reports indicate that three people were killed and four were wounded. Hendron may be among those killed.
St. Louis shooting suspect was on trial against employer [ABC News]

holland and knight prestige crack Theodore Silva Jr.jpgLast decade — back in the aughts — a Holland & Knight real estate partner got up to some very bad things. While we have heard that coke can be an aid for sleep-deprived attorneys, it caused problems for Theodore Silva Jr.
Silva was formerly a partner in Holland & Knight’s D.C. office. According to the National Law Journal, in 2005, Silva forged signatures and created fictitious notaries for an easement agreement. Then he lied to his clients and bar counsel about that and about his cocaine use:

[Silva] attributed his conduct to stress, cocaine use and drinking. The incident cost the firm about $150,000 in expenses plus 50 hours’ work from another Holland & Knight partner who had to rectify the problems.

Silva, who had made partner in 1995, was fired by Holland & Knight in 2006. The District of Columbia Board of Professional Responsibility just issued its report [PDF] and its recommendation for discipline last week.
The Legal Blog Network is surprised that this conduct was not enough to get Silva disbarred. We’re surprised to learn that Silva had a coke use criminal charge in 2002 and that it passed the sniff test at Holland & Knight. As long as the snow helped Silva make it rain, it seems the firm didn’t mind what he did with his dollars.

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2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWe’re still catching up on associate bonus news. There have been some memos we’ve missed, including some from last month (technically, last year). If we haven’t reported on your firm’s bonus announcement, please email us. Don’t assume that one of your colleagues will submit the memo; that’s not necessarily the case.

Today we belatedly bring you bonus news from Kasowitz Benson. On December 31, the firm announced “benchmark” bonuses that appear to follow the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. But the memo notes that these are just “benchmark amounts, which are subject to adjustment to reflect individual performance and hours worked.” In the memo’s bonus table, the words “of up to” appear in between the words “Year-end bonus” and the dollar amount.

In addition, even some Kasowitz associates who received the full market amount aren’t happy. Find out why, and check out the full memo, after the jump.

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champagne glasses small.jpgThanks to all of you who sent along good wishes after the birth of Baby Lin. It’s been a busy two months, but we’re emerging from the vicious beatdown that is new parenthood. (By which we mean that we’re sleeping in luxurious two-hour stretches and showering almost daily.)
We’ve been keeping up with the NYT weddings, but as usual the November and December offerings were relatively weak, which gives us a good excuse to eliminate the dreary matches (e.g., Fordham-marries-Fordham; Cardozo 1L, no picture; U. Penn., blah, blah) and bring you each month’s top three. And if ATL management accuses of slacking off, we’re totally playing the mommy card.
We’ll be back soon with December’s couples and our 2009 Couple of the Year reader poll.
Here are your November couples:

1. Mia Feldbaum and Mark McGoldrick
2. Lisa Rockefeller and Edward Sebelius
3. Stephen Davis and Jeffrey Busch

Read more about these newlyweds, after the jump.

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