Paul Clement

Paul Clement (left) and John Boehner (right)

* House Speaker John Boehner and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now at King & Spalding, have joined forces to fight marriage equality by defending DOMA. Talk about two people who will not be taking their talents to South Beach. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* The tax returns of Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been made public. Notes Professor Paul Caron: “It’s amazing how much more politicians give to charity in years in which they know their tax returns will be released to the public (although Biden still tosses around gifts to charity like manhole covers).” [TaxProf Blog]

* Sorry, Chief Judge Kozinski: Winkelvii non quitum. [Fox News]

* DLA Piper promotes 53 lawyers to partnership. For the blue wedge, name all the offices that are getting new partners. [Am Law Daily; DLA Piper (press release)]

* If you were underwhelmed with OCI at your law school, a new service — JD Match, founded by law-firm consultant and blogger Bruce MacEwen — wants to try to match you up with employers ready to hire. [WSJ Law Blog]

* People keep acting like their law firms are hunting for associates expressing discontent. But law firms aren’t as paranoid as Roger Ailes. [Gawker]

* It’s always nice when our nation’s legal system comes to the defense of punk bands. [Los Angeles Times]

* It’s almost time for the anniversary of the historical basis for Texas thinking it’s better than everybody else. [The Defense Rests via Blawg Review]

* Happy Passover to everyone. Don’t forget your blowtorches. [Wall Street Journal]

Mayer Brown LLP new logo.jpgAs 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Mayer Brown Associate’s Supreme Court Debut:
A Post-Argument Recap”

Mayer Brown LLP new logo.jpgAs 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.
Steve Sanders Mayer Brown.jpgMake 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.

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Paul Clement Paul D Clement US Solicitor General.jpg
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.

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The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reported Tuesday that the short list to replace Alberto Gonzales as AG is the following five names:

Ted Olson
George J. Terwilliger, III
Sen. Orrin Hatch
Larry D. Thompson
Paul D. Clement

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.

Alberto Gonzales 2 Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGAttorney 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.

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celebrity celebrities Above the Law legal tabloid legal blog.JPGWe 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);

– Weil Gotshal partner Gregory Coleman and Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz, two top Texas lawyers (and possible Fifth Circuit nominees);

– Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, the delectable DOJ diva;

Jeffrey Fisher, of Davis Wright & Tremaine, SCOTUS lefty litigator extraordinaire (he’s a Bleeding Reinhardt and former JPS clerk);

– Deputy Solicitor General Gregory Garre, Chief Justice Roberts’s former l’il buddy (from his Hogan & Hartson days);

Professor Neal Katyal of Georgetown Law, the “Paris Hilton of the Legal Elite”;

– Alabama’s Solicitor General, Kevin Newsom (amusing story about him here); and

Eugene Scalia, the Gibson Dunn partner and fabled ERISA hottie (and son of Nino).

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]

supreme court hallway.jpgYesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases concerning the use of race as a factor in assigning students to public schools: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District #1, out of the Ninth Circuit, and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, out of the Sixth Circuit.
It appears that SCOTUS virgin Teddy Gordon, representing the petitioners in Meredith, did just as badly as many members of the snooty SCOTUS bar expected. For a blow-by-blow account of his ill-fated argument, see this reader comment.
Our commentary on the arguments, plus links to audio-casts and written transcripts, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dispatch from One First Street: The Race in Public School Cases”

supreme court hallway.jpgIn 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.”

If that was a joke, it wasn’t funny.
(Yes, we know that David Boies used to wear Sears suits to court — which is almost as bad as wearing J.C. Penney. But that’s David Boies.)
Schoolyard Bullies: Landmark Race Cases Come Before High Court [Legal Times]
Chief Justice Roberts Advocates the Passive Virtues, Even as the Supreme Court’s Docket Reveals their Subtle Vices [FindLaw]
Schools argument 12/4/06: Could this be “Brown III”? [SCOTUSblog]

Paul Clement Paul D Clement Solicitor General Clement Above the Law.jpgThroughout 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 two comments 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.

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