As we mentioned earlier this week, Steve Sanders — a fourth-year associate at Mayer Brown, no relation to the 90210 character — argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.
When we emailed him on Wednesday to set up an interview, we received this rather straightforward Out of Office message:
I’ll be traveling on client and professional business Monday, 11/2 through Saturday, 11/7. I will have access to email, but my response may be delayed. Thanks.
How modest! If we had been in Sanders’s shoes, we would have used this Out of Office auto-reply:
Oyez, bitchez!!! Today I’m arguing before the freakin’ Supreme Court of the United States. Later, haters!!!
But that’s not Steve Sanders’s style. He is dignified and professional, as we discovered when we caught up with him by phone after his argument.
As we mentioned in our recent open thread on appellate work, Mayer Brown has one of the best appellate and Supreme Court practices in the country. The firm is also known for being rather democratic when distributing SCOTUS arguments; they tend to spread the argument wealth around, instead of funneling all the arguments to a single prominent advocate.
Make that very democratic about doling out SCOTUS arguments. Today Steve Sanders, a fourth-year associate in Mayer’s Chicago office, argued the case of Pottawattamie County v. McGhee before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Of course, Biglaw associates have appeared before the high court before. E.g., Lindsay Harrison of Jenner & Block, who also argued — and won — her first case at One First Street. But one thing that’s unusual about Pottawattamie County is that it’s a paying case, not a pro bono matter.
Sanders has some serious opposition. Read more, after the jump.
Could it be? A message for ATL from Paul Clement, the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States?
(It’s not completely out of the question. We have written about Clement a fair amount, and we have also met him in person.)
The lowercase type for his name seemed a little odd. But some very prominent attorneys, like John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel, use lowercase type for email messages. Based on the subject line, “Order,” we guessed that perhaps the former SG wanted to share a funny court order with us.
Read the message from Paul Clement, after the jump.
Ted Olson seems like a solid, non-controversial choice. Terwilliger would definitely be the most fun name to have as AG. Senator Hatch is an interesting choice, but I’m not sure he’s interested. We took a class from Thompson in Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Procedure at UGA Law, and we liked him well enough. Clement is a logical choice I suppose as the current acting AG.
Here’s hoping that it is one of these guys, and not one of the crazy names being thrown around on Monday, like Michael Chertoff. Let’s try to go with somebody with a history of, I dunno….competence.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be slightly more secure in his position these days than in the recent past, when it was looking like “Gonzales” was Spanish for “canned.” But he’s not out of the woods yet — which is why speculation about possible successors continues.
Ben Wittes, writing for TNR Online, has some excellent insights. His overall take:
[B]etween a sinking administration that still demands loyalty above all else and congressional Democrats keen on using their new oversight powers, finding a candidate who satisfies both sides will be hard. The next attorney general must be someone acceptable enough to Democrats not just to get confirmed but to tamp down the fire Gonzales has witlessly set.
But he must also be enough of a conservative to satisfy the White House. And he needs a reputation for probity and moral seriousness sufficient to speak to the public and to Congress with the respect that Gonzales obviously lacks. It’s a tall order–a pinch so tight that it squeezes out almost all of the names being bandied about in public.
Wittes then marches through various possible nominees. Discussion continues, after the jump.
We love lists: the Forbes 400, the U.S. News college and law school rankings, or Washingtonian magazine’s list of 40 top lawyers under 40. We love lawyers — which is good, since we spend all day writing about them. And we love fabulous things.
So you can imagine our delight upon seeing this feature from The American Lawyer: The Young Litigators Fab Fifty. It’s a list of 50 top litigators from around the country, all under the age of 45, whom the magazine “expect[s] to see leading the field for years to come.”
You can check out the list here. Regular readers of ATL will recognize many of these youthful luminaries. Here are some highlights:
– Latham & Watkins partner Sean Berkowitz,* the former prosecutor who rose to fame durring the Enron case;
– Paul Clement, the U.S. Solicitor General (who was very nice to us);
On the whole, it’s an excellent list. We can think of a few questionable omissions (and a few dubious selections). But with something this subjective, reasonable minds will differ.
Congrats again to the Fab Fifty!
* Does anyone know if Sean Berkowitz and Bethany McLean, the Fortune reporter who covered Enron, are still an item? The Young Litigators Fab Fifty [American Lawyer]
In about fifteen minutes, the Supreme Court will start hearing oral argument in two big-ticket cases about the use of race as a factor in assigning students to public schools. One case comes from Louisville, Kentucky, and the other from Seattle, Washington.
Expect a packed courtroom — the cases are sexy enough to merit same-day audio — and some less-than-stellar advocacy. From Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
[T]he suspense will [also] focus on Teddy Gordon, the Louisville solo practitioner who will argue against using race. His nine-page merits brief was attacked as “extremely weak” by Columbia Law School professor Michael Dorf, a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy who wondered in a Findlaw column why Gordon should be allowed to “waste everybody’s time” at argument.
The Court may feel the same way. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who sides with Gordon, asked for 10 minutes of Gordon’s half-hour argument time. The Court gave Clement 15 instead, an unusual move. Top practitioners could not persuade Gordon, who has handled the case since 1999, to step aside.
Ouch. At that point, Gordon should have taken the hint. But then again, he can’t be blamed for wanting to tell his grandkids that he once argued before the SCOTUS.
[A spokeswoman for Gordon] acknowledges that he “has never been inside the [Supreme Court] building,” but adds that he did buy a suit for the occasion “from the famous French designer Jacques Penney.”
Throughout the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, which we attended last week, various members and leaders of the group revelled in its reputation for being part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” (in the immortal words of Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton).
We’re going to play along. We have a few write-ups of conference events that we’ll be posting, and we’re titling this series of posts From the Belly of the Beast.
Last week we mentioned how we got to meet Solicitor General Paul Clement (at right), the federal government’s lead advocate before the Supreme Court. We provide a quick account of his remarks to the Society, after the jump. Note: In our prior post, we badly botched — we’re talking John Kerry-style botchery — a description of Solicitor General Clement’s record of Supreme Court appearance. These twocomments set the record straight: Clement is 40 years old, and he has had 36 Supreme Court oral arguments, making him just four arguments short of matching his age. Warning: The rest of this post contains that dreaded thing known as “substantive legal discussion.” And there’s not much in the way of humor to leaven the proceedings. So read on at your own risk, and don’t complain if it’s a little dry.
Alas, celebrity professor Tim Wu — who was originally scheduled to appear on the Federalist Society Convention panel we just returned from, addressing net neutrality — was not there.
We were graced by the presence of Professor Christopher Yoo, however, and his presentation was excellent. Alas, due to the time constraints, he had to cover his material rather quickly.
Earlier today, we attended an address by Solicitor General Paul Clement, the government’s chief Supreme Court advocate — and were able to meet the man himself. We were in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, chatting with fantastic Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro, when Mr. Clement (“General” Clement?) exited the ballroom in which he had just spoken. Mr. Mauro then introduced us to the Solicitor General, who was most genial. He’s a friendly and accessible fellow, despite being a celebrity of the legal profession, with 32 Supreme Court arguments under his belt — at the tender age of 36 40.
(Thanks to this commenter for the correction. Clement was born in 1966. The statement of his age was made in the remarks introducing him, but we neglected to double-check them before posting.)
(We apologize to the Solicitor General for our rather disheveled state. We were unshaven, sweaty, tie-less — and, horror of horrors, wearing a button-down shirt. That has got to violate SOME provision in Title 18 of the U.S. Code!)
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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