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Alyson Kirleis

There’s a serious gender-based wage gap in the legal profession. Female partners make $66K less than male partners on average. If you’re a female partner who has thought about tackling that gap with a lawsuit, you may be interested in the case of Alyson J. Kirleis.

Kirleis, a shareholder at Dickie McCamey in Pennsylvania, has been pursuing a sexual discrimination suit against her firm for the last four years. From the Legal Intelligencer (via The Careerist):

In the suit, Kirleis accused Dickie McCamey of paying female lawyers less than males and alleged she was told by a male partner that a woman with children should relinquish her partnership and work only part-time.

Kirleis, who has worked at the firm since 1988, also claimed she was told by another male partner that the role of women lawyers was to prepare lawsuits for trials that would be handled by male lawyers. The suit also included allegations that Kirleis has suffered retaliation since her suit was filed, and that Dickie McCamey’s annual Christmas party is effectively closed to women “because of the sexually explicit nature of the entertainment including skits, songs, pornographic materials and props.”

The Legal Intelligencer pointed out that her suit could have broken new legal ground, establishing that “some law firm partners are not equal to their fellow partners and ought to be allowed to pursue employment discrimination claims such as suing for equal pay.”

But the Third Circuit wasn’t on board…

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The prior reports of additional payments to some associates at Hogan Lovells, designed to reward these associates for making their billable-hours targets, were accurate — at least with respect to the New York office. And it turns out that these payments constitute what in ATL-speak we call “true-up payments” — i.e., payments designed to give associates the pay they would have received had a salary freeze never occurred and they had received the customary annual raise for seniority.

This may sound confusing, but it’s really not. Let’s take a look at the memo from Hogan Lovells….

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Earlier this week, we told you to look out for a former Clifford Chance associate — Georgetown Law grad James Weir — on the upcoming recession-inspired edition of “The Apprentice.” We lamented that Donald Trump was providing work to only one unemployed lawyer.

Shortly thereafter, we found out that the Donald had in fact been more gracious than that to the legal profession. He has given work to at least two down-and-out legal eagles. A tipster wrote:

Saw your post about the former Clifford Chance attorney who was cast for this upcoming season of the Apprentice and wanted to let you know there is also a recent Brooklyn Law grad named Mahsa Saiedi-Azcuy on the show. She graduated in 2009 and was actually hired by the Brooklyn DA, uncertain as to her current employment status though.

We look forward to this match-up: Woman vs. Man. Brooklyn Law vs. Georgetown Law. DA’s Office vs. Biglaw.

Plus, Saiedi-Azcuy is hot…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Legal Eagle on the Upcoming ‘Laid-off’ Edition of ‘The Apprentice’”


“The People’s Court” is not a court, body, agency, public servant or other person authorized by law to conduct a proceeding and to administer the oath or cause it to be administered… [T]he statements made on the show have no more probative force than the words of an actor reading from a script in a play.

–Brooklyn judge Francois A. Rivera, in an opinion dismissing testimony given in Judge Marilyn Milian’s courtroom.

(Gavel bang: Yale Law & Technology.)

I’ve been critical of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) in the past, but you have to give them credit for at least one thing: they have been tirelessly trying to make people understand that most lawyers do not make $160,000 a year straight out of law school.

In fact, NALP has been at the forefront of educating prospective lawyers on the dangers of focusing on “average” starting salaries. The average is meaningless. The median is just slightly more helpful, and NALP has been begging people to pay attention to the bimodal salary distribution curve that tells the true story of how much lawyers are likely to get paid.

And the bimodal curve is only useful if you are actually lucky enough to secure full-time employment. If you have to work part-time, God help you…

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The real utility of the Vault law firm rankings isn’t the opportunity they give to prestige whores who want to lord their status over others. The rankings — conveniently released just before the start of on-campus recruiting — allow law students to get an inside peek at the firms that will soon be coming to campus to vie for their attentions. The firms know a lot about you, but what do you really know about the firms? The Vault rankings are an opportunity to close the informational gap.

Okay, sure, I ripped that opening from something somebody probably wrote in 2005. In a recession economy, law students are probably more concerned with which firms won’t abort their legal careers, instead of which firms have the best cookies.

But still, the rankings give us an opportunity to discuss each firm. And readers of Above the Law are always full of opinions when it comes to the best Biglaw firms.

So sit back, register your Disqus account, and join us as we romp through the Vault 100. We’ll start at the very top — because prestige whoring doesn’t have to be useful in order to be fun…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 1 – 10 (2011)”

Shirley Sherrod = tl;dr

HELP WANTED: We are looking for a writer to take over Morning Docket duties from the three of us. To learn more and apply, please see this post (a prior solicitation for MD writer applications). The only difference is that now the post comes with a modest monthly stipend.

* What can we learn from the Shirley Sherrod ridiculousness? [Associated Press]

* Charlie Rangel will face a public trial on various tax and ethics violations. [CNN]

* Immediate fallout from financial reform. [Law.com]

* New York State wants some money from Merrill Lynch and BoA. [Courthouse News Service]

* Indian law schools are on the cutting edge of transgendered self-identification. [ABA Journal]

* Americans are getting dumber relative to the rest of the world. [New York Times]

* Darth Vader has been reduced to common thievery. [NY Daily News]

Barack Obama's purported birth certificate - click to enlarge.

Orly Taitz and the Birthers aren’t the only people obsessed with Hawaiian birth certificates. A young lawyer by the name of Adam Gustafson — a 2009 graduate of the Yale Law School and former vice president of the Yale Federalist Society, who’s currently clerking in Hawaii for Judge Richard Clifton (9th Cir.) — is making a federal case over them.

And Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway, the district court judge who wound up with the case, is not impressed. She recently dismissed Gustafson’s complaint — in forceful fashion:

This case is an example of why people who overreact to situations are accused of “making a federal case out of nothing.”

Plaintiff Adam Gustafson and his wife… proceed pro se against various state officials. The Gustafsons complain about having been asked to state their race and any Spanish origin on a birth certificate registration form submitted in October 2009 for their Hawaii-born daughter. The Gustafsons articulated to the State their objection to a birth certificate identifying their races.

The court has no quarrel with the Gustafsons’ wish for a birth certificate devoid of such information. What follows, though, shows questionable judgment.

Ouch — quite the benchslap. Gustafson’s boss, Judge Clifton, should keep Gustafson far away from any appeals of decisions by Judge Mollway.

Filing a federal lawsuit in Hawaii, while clerking in Hawaii for a federal judge? It’s gutsy of Gustafson. At least he won’t have to travel far for any appearances.

So what about Gustafson’s case reflects “questionable judgment”?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Fun With Hawaii Birth Certificates”

* Would you vote for a candidate if all you knew about her was that she was “not the whiteman’s bitch”? I think I would not. But if she said “makes the whiteman my bitch,” we might be onto something. [Gawker]

* ACLU goes after the immigration policy of one Nebraska town. [WSJ Law Blog]

* While she won’t shift the ideological balance of power on the Court, Elena Kagan does shift the gender politics of the high court. [Washington Post]

* Remember the judge that allegedly slashed somebody’s tires? He received his punishment: a whopping five-day suspension. [Underdog]

* National transportation reform couldn’t possibly be more complicated than health care reform. Right? [Alt Transport]

* The fake Lindsay Lohan jailhouse twitter feed has been pretty hilarious so far. [Twitter]

In my day (circa 2003), to be discouraged from going to law school, you had to make the effort to apply to a Biglaw firm for a paralegal job. After a year or two of working with disgruntled corporate lawyers, there was a good chance that your desire to become one of them would wither like a houseplant watered regularly with bleach.

These days, getting dissuading from going to law school is much faster and easier. Everywhere you look, people are saying that law school is a lost cause. Even Gawker — and if that’s not an expert source on the worth of a law degree, what is?

But, hey, we are law groupies here at ATL. We love and respect The Esquire. We also love debates. We will keep offering arguments for and against law school. (A big argument in the “for” category: If people don’t go to law school, who will read us?)

We are, however, frequently amused by those naysayers who lampoon the law school experience. One such law school regretter recently sent us an “unofficial law school orientation” memo that she had prepared for entering 1Ls. What caustic pearls of wisdom does this rising 2L have for law school newbies?

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Usually, we find conversations with lawyers to be very engaging. But in this video short, Ron Livingston does not:

The Responsibility Project

The video was produced as part of a corporate undertaking — The Responsibility Project — devoted to “exploring what it means to do the right thing.” So, what is it trying to say exactly?

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If he doesn't get you in court, he'll get you in the ring.

Have you ever clerked and wanted to beat the stuffing out of your judge? In Texas, you might just get that opportunity. But be careful — some Texas judges have skills.

The Supreme Court of Texas Blog has the story of one of them: Texas State Supreme Court Justice, David Medina:

Justice David Medina’s biography notes that “in college he competed on the university’s karate . . . team.”…

Turns out, he recently participated in a match — with a law clerk. Thanks to the power of YouTube, you can watch from the comfort and relative safety of your office.

Does the opportunity to beat up a state supreme court justice outweigh the possibility of getting your ass handed to you on a plate by a 51-year-old man?

Let’s get ready to rumble…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ever Wanted to Kickbox the Judge You Work For? You Can, In Texas”

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