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Because softball isn't gay enough already.The reader who brought this item to our attention opined: “This is a pretty crazy lawsuit. Not enough gay people in San Francisco to field a softball team? That’s a first.”

Strange, but apparently true. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

All Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ wanted to do was to win the championship game at the Gay Softball World Series for their amateur San Francisco team.

Instead, they were marched one by one into a conference room at the tournament in suburban Seattle and asked about their “private sexual attractions and desires,” and their team was stripped of its second-place finish after the men were determined to be “non-gay,” they said in a lawsuit accusing a national gay sports organization of discrimination.

Although it’s not as extreme as hooking up the electrodes, asking a guy about his “private sexual attractions” to determine whether or not he’s gay seems a bit… invasive. Why not just ask how many times a day he moisturizes, or whether anything in his closet is purple?

Okay, let’s take a step back. We can ask the same question here as we can with respect to Supreme Court nominees: Does sexual orientation matter?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Playing for the Wrong Team?”

The announcement last week that the SEC was charging Goldman Sachs with civil fraud should have erupted through the financial world like the volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

I never thought I would quote actor/lawyer Ben Stein (most famous for uttering “Bueller? Bueller?”), but even I was struck by the comments he had on the matter.

If these allegations are true, and maybe they aren’t, this is simply the worst behavior in finance by a large firm I have ever seen. I taught securities law for six years. I wrote about financial fraud for Barron’s and the New York Times for many years.

I have never seen such a blatant disregard for ethics, and possibly the law, by a large Wall Street firm as is alleged in this case. I wrote about wrongdoing by Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. in the 1980s and helped bring it to justice and then helped taxpayers recover money the firm had stolen. I never saw at Drexel the level of outright contempt for law that Goldman’s Fabrice Tourre and his colleagues showed in this case, if the facts are as alleged — and again, they may not be: allegations aren’t proof.

Now, the SEC has also sent a letter to 19 banks to further examine their use of Repo 105, an accounting trick that hid Lehman’s failures before its downfall.

So what does this mean for Biglaw and legal technology? Well, besides the fact that many of us will be very busy for years to come. I will explain some other possible ramifications and opportunities, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will Big Banks Pay Back Their Bailouts Through Biglaw?”

Facebook is a godsend for office workers. It’s where we flee when we’re bored. It’s where we go for updates on our friends’ lives. And it’s where we vent when work sucks.

Florida state prosecutor Brandon White was marooned in a terrible trial last week, and decided to work through his frustrations creatively, by composing a parody of the Gilligan’s Island theme song worthy of a Law Revue show.

According to the Sun Sentinel, he posted his composition to Facebook on the second day of the trial — Wednesday, April 14th — just after 11 p.m. We apologize in advance for getting the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in your head. Lyrics via TCPalm:

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trial,
That started from this court in St. Lucie County.
The lead prosecutor was a good woman, the 2nd chair was totally awesome,
Six jurors were ready for trial that day for a four hour trial, a four hour trial.

The trial started easy enough but then became rough
The judge and jury confused,
If not for the courage of the fearless prosecutors
The trial would be lost, the trial would be lost.

He goes on to describe the others stuck in the same boat as him, including “the gangbanger defendant”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Brandon White Stranded in Gilligan’s Trial”

The state of Arizona — best known for being one of the last states to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day — has just given birthers a minor victory. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

The Arizona House approved a bill Wednesday that would require presidential candidates to show his or her birth certificate in order to be on the state’s ballot.

In other words, if President Obama wants to appear on the Arizona ballot in 2012, he just might have to produce his birth certificate.

Now the bill goes to the Arizona State Senate. If it passes there, current Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) will have quite a decision — give into the far right of her party, or risk their wrath.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Even if all the moons align for the birthers, there’s still one big problem…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Birthers, Are You Happy Now?”

Let’s continue our march through the U.S. News law school rankings. Today we finish up the traditional top-14 — and we’ll throw in the schools tied for 15th, because we’re pretty sick of hearing UT and UCLA students whine. To refresh your memory, here’s the next group of schools:

6. NYU
7. Berkeley
7. Penn
9. Michigan
10. UVA
11. Duke
11. Northwestern
13. Cornell
14. Georgetown
15. UCLA
15. Texas

All joking aside, dropping to #6 is really not that big of a deal. NYU Law students will be fine — check out how the kicked it on the basketball court just after the rankings came out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (6 – 15)”

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with corruption for — among other things — allegedly attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich has not been hiding from the public eye. Since being charged, he has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and competed in The Celebrity Apprentice (Donald Trump fired him in the fourth episode).

The trial is set for June 3. Blagojevich’s defense team is sparring with federal prosecutors over the 500 hours of recordings from secret FBI wiretaps, and how they should be used at trial. The big-haired former governor wants jurors to sit through 200 hours of tape.

Blagojevich’s love of being on camera has not faded. He has a J.D. from Pepperdine, but must have a certification in spin and cliché from some other venerable institution. He issued a challenge to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at a press conference on Tuesday. The bombastic display drew media cameras, but didn’t do much to bring the judge around to his side. A round-up of Blagojevichisms from Tuesday’s press conference, after the jump.

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Judge Diane Wood

* Arizona State is paying out $700,000 for turning the Havasupai tribe into unwitting genetic guinea pigs. [New York Times]

* Jan Crawford confirms shortlist of ten potential Supreme Court nominees with the White House. There are some new names there, including Seventh Circuit judge Ann Claire Williams and someone named “Elana Kagan.” [Crossroads/CBS]

* If Judge Diane Wood can handle Posner and Easterbrook, she can handle Scalia and Kennedy. [New York Times]

* New addition to the Third Circuit: Judge Thomas Vanaskie. [Wilkes Barre Times Leader]

* Doing civil rights work just got even less lucrative. [Washington Post; New York Times]

* The Pennsylvania spycam school explains the 56,000 web shots that turned up in discovery. [True/Slant]

Lat here. Today’s topic: transparency in how law schools report their graduates’ “employment outcomes” — i.e., the jobs that their graduates obtain.

When we attended admitted students’ weekend at Yale Law School — back in 1996, so almost 15 years ago — we were given detailed lists showing where the past few classes ended up working. The graduates were listed in alphabetical order, and below each person’s name was the name and address of their employer. For prospective law students, it was reassuring to see so many federal judicial clerkships and large law firms on these lists. The implicit message: if you graduate — or when you graduate, since we’re talking about YLS, not known for failing people (although it does have grades) — you will be able to secure a good job.

Alas, we understand that not all law schools are so forthcoming about where their alumni end up working (or not working, in this economy). There have been widespread allegations of law schools gaming the system, by massaging or manipulating the employment data they report to the American Bar Association and, perhaps even more importantly, to U.S. News & World Reports (for use in the magazine’s highly influential law school rankings). There have even been claims of law schools outright lying about how many of their graduates wind up employed, where they end up working, and how much they earn from these jobs.

Most observers are content just to complain about law schools not being forthcoming enough about employment information. But two enterprising law students at Vanderbilt — Kyle McEntee and Patrick Lynch, a 2L and 3L, respectively — are doing more. They’ve started a nonprofit organization, Law School Transparency, which has the goal of “encouraging and facilitating the transparent flow of law school employment information.” They’ve also written a paper, A Way Forward: Improving Transparency in Employment Reporting at American Law Schools (SSRN download), proposing a new approach to reporting of job outcomes by law schools.

More details and links — plus commentary from Elie, who feels strongly about this issue — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Increasing Transparency in Employment Reporting by Law Schools: What Is To Be Done?”

* If you’re a pro athlete and get fined, is the fine deductible as a business expense? [Going Concern]

* If you are a pro athlete who gets accused of rape on the basis of evidence so flimsy that the D.A. can’t even bring charges, you can still get suspended. [Washington Post]

* If you’re a former debater — many notable lawyers and judges are — then this event in New York tomorrow night might interest you. [New Yorker]

* Jonathan Moss, former general counsel to Gucci and former Lawyer of the Day, argues that his inactive status is no big deal. [ABA Journal]

* Should Pope Benedict be arrested when he visits England? Romans should always be wary when entering Britain. [Infamy or Praise]

* Speaking of the Catholic Church and the child sexual abuse scandal…. [Bad Lawyer]

* Former SEC chairman Harvey Pitt thinks that the SEC’s going after Goldman is risky business. [Daily Beast]

* Have a burning question you’d like to ask about the Supreme Court? They’re listening. (Drop it in the comments.) [BackStory With the American History Guys]

I am a lawyer, not a lobbyist. Goldman Sachs has hired me as a lawyer — to provide legal advice and to assist in its legal representation — and that is what I am doing.

Greg Craig, former White House Counsel and now a partner at Skadden, explaining why he is not bound by the president’s ethics policy barring former White House officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.

Back in March, a couple of 3Ls took it upon themselves to try to pressure Mayer Brown into letting them know their start dates. You know them as “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,” though Rosencrantz later revealed himself to be NYU 3L, Chuck Egbuonu (a.k.a. Mr. Chuck).

Chuck and his cohort were widely criticized for essentially threatening the firm with a “public relations nightmare” unless Mayer Brown told them when they could start. Eventually Mr. Chuck reported that he had spoken with Mayer Brown regarding start dates:

I just received a phone call from partners at Mayer Brown informing me that decisions are being made as we speak, and we will be informed of the decisions in a timely manner.

We published that story on March 5th. Today is April 21st. Apparently Mayer Brown’s understanding of the phrase of “timely manner” is much like the South’s comprehension of the phrase “with all deliberate speed.”

Incoming Mayer Brown associates are about to graduate and need to know where they are going in a couple of months. But Mayer Brown seems content to make their new hires wait, and wait, and wait…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Was Mr. Chuck Right About Mayer Brown?”

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgThe ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, is constantly being updated with responses from users and the latest news from the legal markets.  While layoffs seem to have abated for the most part, many firms are now coping with the effects of the economic downturn by making major changes to compensation structures and partnership prospects.

  • Click here to find out what kind of salary increase associates at a certain Chicago-based firm can look forward to under the firm’s new compensation structure.
  • Click here to find out what associates at a certain "pedigreed" New York firm think about their chances for partnership under an increasingly "up and out" promotion system. 

Use the Career Center’s firm snapshots and comparison tool to find the most up-to-date information on compensation structures, benefit programs and layoffs at dozens of Big Law firms across the country.

As always, we encourage to send information about your law firm experience to careercenter@abovethelaw.com.

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