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Let’s be honest: although we strive to bring you the inside scoop about major law firms around the country, we don’t usually report on new law firm Chief Financial Officers. But the new CFO at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Linda Havard, is special. Check out her prior experience, from Orrick’s press release announcing the new hire:

Most recently, Linda served for 13 years as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Playboy Enterprises, Inc. in Chicago where she oversaw all areas of finance and technology including accounting, treasury, tax, insurance, strategic planning, M&A, internal audit and corporate development. Approximately 40 percent of Playboy’s revenue came from outside of the U.S., where the company had significant business operations in the UK and Latin America, and licensing operations in Europe and Asia. The company also completed a number of acquisitions during her tenure, as well as public and private equity and debt offerings. Linda led all areas of due diligence, negotiation, execution, and subsequent integration of major global transactions.

I’m going to go out and limb and say that after 13 years at Playboy, Havard is more then ready to handle any sexism Biglaw might have to dish out…

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Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher

Every sports fan we know is bugging us to cover the prosecution of Karen Sypher, a former car-show model and auto-glass saleswoman, who is being tried for extorting University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, lying to the FBI, and retaliation against a witness. Since it concerns balls, it seems like a natural fit for resident ATL sports fan Elie Mystal, but there’s lots of sex in the trial testimony as well, so the case has been reassigned to me.

Well, not lots of sex. A little bit of sex. Like 15 seconds of it.

The trouble started with a sexual encounter between Pitino and Sypher back in 2003. Pitino, who is married with children, says the encounter was consensual. Sypher says it was rape. It gets really complicated from there. Lots of salacious stuff has come out of the trial: Pregnancy. Abortion. Extortion. Multiple lovers. Sypher giving her lawyer, Dana Kolter, a blow job to get representation. You know, pretty standard stuff…

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(Or: University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino must really hate Karen Sypher)

We’ve done a number of reports over the last few weeks on salary cuts of 2009 that are being reversed in 2010. Sure, some firms are still trying to be cute when it comes to associate pay. But many Biglaw firms are back on the $160K scale for associate salaries, at least in major markets.

Apparently Foley & Lardner hasn’t received the memo. While New York associates will start at $160K, associates in other big-market Foley offices (like D.C., California, and Chicago) remain stuck at $145K.

We’re not exactly sure why….

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Who knew that zoning law and land use could be so controversial? A proposal to build a Muslim center and mosque just two blocks away from Ground Zero has become a huge issue here in New York — and, in fact, around the country.

Opponents of the project — originally known as Cordoba House, but now more commonly referred to as Park51, a 15-story tower that will contain a mosque, 500-seat auditorium, and swimming pool — had hoped to stop the project by winning landmark status for the building currently on the site. This morning, however, NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0 against granting protected status to 45-47 Park Place in lower Manhattan, which will be demolished to make way for the $100 million center.

Of course, this controversy is about so much more than granting landmark status to a random downtown building designed by an unknown architect….

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This week seems to be Cardozo Law School week here at Above the Law. Yesterday we wrote about Jeremy Weg, a studious rising 2L who posed a question to The Ethicist. Today we bring you the story of Catherine Haldy Jarman, a 2010 Cardozo Law graduate who just bought a fabulous piece of real estate: the Manhattan condo formerly owned by television pundit Alan Colmes, ex-sidekick of Sean Hannity on Hannity & Colmes. The sale price: a cool $1.725 million (marked down from an original $1.99 million).

The triplex penthouse loft boasts two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and over 1,500 square feet of (gut-renovated) living space. It includes one of the most coveted commodities in Manhattan real estate: outdoor space, in the form of a private roof deck, accessed through a solarium. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace — this is not a typical apartment for a law student, which Catherine Jarman was a few short weeks ago.

How could Jarman afford such an expensive place? And what other celebrities — Alan Colmes is admittedly C-list — have lived in the building?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Recent Cardozo Grad Buys $1.7 Million Condo — from Alan Colmes!”

I don’t know how I missed this last week, but a study reported in the WSJ Law Blog claims that law school prestige is overrated. Significantly overrated. The ABA Journal — which picked up the story this morning — summarizes the work of a professor from UCLA and a professor from Brooklyn Law:

[UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn Law School visiting professor Jane Yakowitz] studied data from more than 40 public law schools across the country, and found that applicants tend to go to the most elite law school that will have them. But is that a good idea?

Not according to data collected in the American Bar Foundation’s After the JD study of lawyers who entered the bar in 2000, they write. It indicates that the salary boost for achieving high grades more than makes up for the salary depreciation associated with attending a lower‐ranked school. The study also found that lawyers who left law school with the lowest grades felt the least secure about their jobs.

I’m sorry, did anybody’s worldview just get blown up?

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* Apparently, the FBI doesn’t have better things to do than this. The Bureau asks Wikipedia not to use its seal. [New York Times]

* Freedom, privacy, and Crackberries. [New York Times]

* Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli II takes a page from Arizona’s law book on immigration. [Washington Post]

* Your transcript matters more than who sends it? [WSJ Law Blog via ABA Journal]

* This Oregon man can get married while in jail, but whose name will he use? [Associated Press]

* Toyota litigation speeds up. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* A lawsuit for Donald Trump in SoHo. [New York Times]

Christopher Stone

On Southwestern Law School’s Web page for prospective students, the dean writes: “A remarkable number of major figures in the legal and business sides of the entertainment industry also come from Southwestern — as do many leaders of more traditional legal careers in both private and public sectors… We encourage you also to remember that the essence of an educational institution is the people associated with it.”

We previously associated Southwestern with then-washed-up actor Jerry O’Connell. The ex-Slider was a 1L there last year, and his experience demonstrates that you can still have good job prospects coming out of a third-tier law school. He didn’t even have to finish law school to nail down a job as a lawyer. SLS to CBS legal dramas!

Now, though, the school is about to be associated with a far less attractive student. We reported last week that rumors suggesting that Christopher Stone — purveyor of teen gossip and allegedly underage nude photos on his websites StickyDrama and Sticky-Noodz — would be attending USC Law School were false. A reliable source tells us that Stone and his Sonic the Hedgehog hair are actually enrolled to start classes at Southwestern this fall.

Due to his alleged posting of child pornography, Stone might have some problems with character and fitness down the road — but hey, that’s over three years away. Stone told us that he actually wrote about his site’s legal troubles in his application essays, and they let him in. We reached out to Southwestern to find out more about this incoming student of theirs…

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* Can the iPad help you do doc review? [Young Lawyers Blog]

* Or maybe the iPad can help you select a jury? Let me ask a different question: Is the iPad the first Cylon? [ABA Journal]

* Money isn’t everything. Sure, it’s really important when you want to do things like pay your rent, eat food, or purchase some nighttime companionship — but it’s not everything. []

* This isn’t going to come as a galloping shock to people, but I’m not really a perfectionist. [What About Clients?]

* It’s important for trial lawyers to find moments when they can inject some peace and serenity into their lives. I once knew a trial lawyer who would hustle all week at the courthouse, but would spend all weekend calmly tending his lawn and garden. He lost a finger during a botched lawnmower repair job, but still, the calm of the garden was really important. [Underdog]

* It’s summer, the perfect time for carnivals. And this week there are various blawg carnivals taking place. [Trusted Advisor via Blawg Review]

* Here’s another fun one: Bar/Bri in 3D. [Laws for Attorneys]

I know, I know — it sounds like the perfect third-year law school course. But I’m not talking about a way for 3Ls to get an easy A; I’m talking about the apparent proliferation of law blogs devoted to mixed martial arts (MMA). Writes Bruce Carton of Legal Blog Watch: “I’m not exactly sure what this development means for the current state of legal blogging, but just know this: There are now two blogs dedicated to mixed martial arts law!”

Carton highlights Mixed Martial Arts Law Blog and Fight Lawyer. There’s something perfectly satisfying about lawyers writing about the laws that pertain to beating the crap out of each other. You could imagine cooks writing about what meal you should have before you knock another cook over the head with a frying pan. It just fits very nicely with the profession.

But aside from lawyers writing about MMA, let’s not forget that we’ve seen a number of attorneys actually practice the fine art of choking another man into submission….

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Last week, MSNBC ran an alarmist article entitled “Details of 100 million Facebook users published online,” after a hacker security consultant compiled a list of the 171 million Facebook users who have their profiles set to show up in a public search. Any story these days with “Facebook” and “privacy” in it tends to set the Internet afire. Sometimes, the hysteria is warranted. (And when I say “sometimes,” I actually mean “rarely.” People join the social network to be social and share information, after all.)

In this case, especially, the hysteria really wasn’t warranted. The list contained people’s names, addresses, Facebook profile urls, and in some cases, phone numbers. Next time Verizon drops off my new White Pages, I expect MSNBC to break a huge, angry story about it.

InsideFacebook called the story “irresponsible journalism,” and Techcrunch appropriately titled their piece on the story, “Hacker Proves Facebook’s Public Data Is Public.” (Want to be freaked out about being tracked online? Read this instead.)

The file with Facebook users’ info was available for download on the security consultant’s site. Gizmodo was able to figure out the IP addresses of people downloading the file, and published a list of the many companies that appeared to be interested in the info. Among them were three law firms: Davis Polk, O’Melveny & Myers, and Baker & McKenzie. Quite a few ATL readers have sent this our way. Said one tipster:

I understand what a corporation which markets a product or non-legal service might be doing with this kind of data, but what purpose can it serve for a law firm? All the data collected was publicly available, but the whole thing is a little shady. Maybe ATL can figure out what their plans are for using all this information.

Okay, let’s take the conspiracy theories down a notch….

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Couple forgot to take a photo. Consolation shot of a friend's puppy.

Spring is usually thought of as the time when dating season goes into full swing, but we think summer is when it really heats up — perhaps because of the way that clothing disappears as temperatures skyrocket, as noted in this New York Times piece about half-naked people at a MIA concert on Governors Island. Shirtless women have also been spotted outside of the ATL offices in Nolita.

We hoped the summer heat would generate sparks for two legal types on a recent Courtship Connection date. We set up a litigation associate at a top firm with a government attorney, based on their shared admiration for Justice Brennan. And for cutting things up: If she weren’t in Biglaw, she’d be a pediatric cardiac surgeon, and if he weren’t working for the state, he’d be a chef.

We sent them to Las Ramblas, a tapas restaurant in the West Village, on a Saturday night. He said:

So leave it to Kash to set us up on perhaps the hottest day of a month-long heat wave, despite several alternatives that could’ve worked. I felt like I was melting for most of the night. Heat aside though, I had a good time overall. I thought my date was quite attractive, a couple inches shorter than me, petite, dark hair, wearing a burgundy sundress.

How hot was their date?

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