Lately the Seventh Circuit has been laying down its pimp hand. Last Friday, for example, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook declared one Bridget Boyle-Saxton, who allegedly blew deadlines and ignored multiple orders to show cause, “unfit to practice law in this court.” Ouch.
Now, snobs might think, “Sure, Boyle-Saxton might be a well-known Milwaukee lawyer — but she works at a small law firm, apparently with two relatives of hers. What can you expect from such an outfit? This is why people hire the large white-shoe law firms. You pay through the nose, but you expect (and receive) perfection.”
If that’s your attitude, think again. Biglaw just got a big benchslap — from none other than Chief Judge Easterbrook.
Which firm incurred His Honor’s wrath, and for what alleged infraction?
A new year, a new job. That seems to be the thinking of many within the legal profession, based on the proliferation of professional moves we have to report (and not just out of Howrey).
We’ll start with one move that’s aspirational rather than actual. Legal and political superstar Ted Cruz — the Morgan Lewispartner who heads the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, and who was recently named one of the 25 greatest Texas lawyers of the past 25 years — will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the good senatrix Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Check out the announcement on his website, or read this BLT post.
Like many lawyers turned politicians, including our current president, the 40-year-old Cruz is a Harvard Law grad (and one of The Elect — Rehnquist / OT 1996). Graduates of HLS’s rival to the south, Yale Law School, tend to take more quirky paths.
That brings us to the second move of the day. YLS grad Yul Kwon — a former Second Circuit clerk and McKinsey consultant, the first Asian-American winner of Survivor, and one of People’s “sexiest men alive” (in 2006) — has left the Federal Communications Commission. Kwon served as deputy chief of the consumer and governmental affairs bureau at the Commission.
Former Supreme Court clerks, also known as the Elect, have no shortage of job opportunities. And a new development in state government is giving them even more. From the National Law Journal:
A trend among states in recent years to appoint a solicitor general has increased opportunities for young attorneys to get into court and ultimately return to private practice far from Washington, the traditional heart of the nation’s appellate bar.
In the past decade, a dozen states, including California, Florida and North Carolina, have added state solicitor generals [sic], many of whom oversee large staffs, said Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General. Nationwide, 37 states have a solicitor general, he said.
“There are a lot more appellate positions that attract top-notch lawyers,” Schweitzer said.
There are shout-outs to several hot young lawyers whose names should be familiar to ATL readers.
Find out who, after the jump.
A quiet trickle of a rumor last week was that James C. Ho, currently of counsel with Gibson Dunn and a former law clerk to Justice Thomas at SCOTUS, has been tapped to serve as the next Solicitor General of Texas. If this is true, Texas will be in very capable hands as Jim Ho is certainly one of the best appellate lawyers in the state (and the country for that matter), and has demonstrated great and valuable political savvy on the national stage as well.
Moreover, it is interesting to note that, now, three of the four solicitors general have clerked for SCOTUS (Greg Coleman-Justice Thomas; Ted Cruz-the late Chief Rehnquist; and Jim Ho-Justice Thomas). A SCOTUS clerkship now appears to be a prerequisite to the post, which makes eminent sense because one of the OSG’s main functions is to represent the State before SCOTUS-a job we have noted current General Cruz has done extremely well.
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]
Many of you, especially those of you about to deposit Biglaw bonus checks, will update your résumés at the start of the new year. It’s a common time to jump to a new job, or to start looking for one. In the first few weeks of 2007, expect departure memos to go around like the flu.
But what do you want to do next? Fellow law geeks, your attention please. The man with good taste in chocolate has two positions open in Texas’s Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
OSG regularly handles high-profile, politically sensitive cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently, it successfully defended the Texas redistricting plan, defended the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds, and resisted efforts by the International Court of Justice to order reconsideration of U.S. death penalty jurisprudence.
It also regularly participates as amicus in cases in which the State has an interest. Since 2003, OSG has filed over 50 Supreme Court briefs. And, for three years running now, in 2003, 2004, and 2005, the Texas SG’s office has won the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) award for Best Supreme Court Brief.
More details about this exciting opportunity, after the jump.
* Emily Pataki, the attractive and accomplished daughter of New York governor George Pataki, failed the New York bar exam — and sent around an office-wide email about it. The story was broken by the mainstream media.
* We heard from some of Emily’s law school classmates about the incident. In a reader poll, you opined that emailing her White & Case colleagues was unwise.
* The Democratic takeover of the Senate could make things tough(er) for the White House’s judicial nominees.
* Despite the sea change in Washington, President Bush resubmitted six controversial judicial picks to the lame duck Senate. Getting all of them confirmed is probably impossible, but getting two of them through might happen.
* The White House has not yet submitted nominees for the two vacant Fifth Circuit seats. (Texas’s Solicitor General, conservative legal superstar R. Ted Cruz, is said to be uninterested.)
* Borat-related litigation shows nosigns of abating.
* O.J. Simpson: He’s back — and he’s still looking for his wife’s killer. Except this time, he’s looking in the mirror.
* Some bad ideas from the past week: getting frisky on an airplane; setting your ex-girlfriend’s kittens on fire; having sex with a deer (even if it’s dead); eating at Burger King or Taco Bell; and getting married without a prenup (if you’re a filthy rich Hollywood celebrity).
* Over the past few days, we’ve been spending some quality time with the Federalist Society. More reports on the proceedings — including lavish photography — will appear in the coming week.
In our detailed review of possible nominees for the two open Fifth Circuit seats in Texas, we mentioned Texas’s Solicitor General, R. Ted Cruz, as a possible nominee.
After we dropped his name, a number of you wrote in to share your thoughts about him (as frequently happens after we mention someone in these pages). Here are some of your comments:
“Ted Cruz is brilliant — and he knows it. In this respect, he’s like his former boss, ex-Fourth Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig. And in both cases, the arrogance is actually warranted.”
“Ted Cruz is a smartest of all the people whose names you floated (probably even including Greg Coleman, but that’s a close call). Cruz is a former Luttig and Rehnquist clerk, and not surprisingly, he’s very well-connected politically. Prior to taking the Texas SG job, he served in the Bush Administration. If nominated, he could face some opposition. He’s very conservative — but when it counts, it’s mostly in a cute libertarian/old Federalist Society sort of way. And he’s very, very political — he may not be an easy sell in a 52-48 51-49 Senate itching to do some damage.”
“Before Ted Cruz was one of America’s top young conservative lawyers, he was a force to be reckoned with on the college parliamentary debate circuit. Debaters would pratically pee in their pants upon learning they’d be going up against him!”
In sum, Ted Cruz is a brilliant, conservative, high-powered Latino lawyer. So why did we call him only an outside possibility for the 5th Circuit?
Is it because he might engender Democratic opposition? Actually, no. Considering that President Bush just resubmitted four controversial circuit court nominees, it’s clear he’s still ready to rumble with the Dems. The White House would probably be fine with nominating Cruz if he wanted a Fifth Circuit seat.
And therein lies the rub. These days we’re hearing that Cruz actually does NOT want to get appointed to that court. At an earlier point in his legal career, a Fifth Circuit seat might have been his dream job (en route to a seat on the Supreme Court). But the latest rumor is that Ted Cruz has grown more interested in elective office lately.
So expect him to run for some prominent elected position in the not-too-distant future. Texas Attorney General? Governor of the Lone Star State? A position representing Texas in the U.S. House or Senate? The sky is the limit for someone as talented as Ted Cruz. R. Ted Cruz bio [Trolp.org] Ted Cruz [Wikipedia] Earlier: Some Fifth Circuit Scuttlebutt
Thanks to everyone who responded to our request for gossip about possible Fifth Circuit judicial nominations. Your tips were very helpful to us, as was this piece in the Texas Lawyer.
(And thanks to Peter Harrell, a current law student and former political reporter for Congressional Quarterly, for this insightful comment. A good point. With respect to some judicial nominees, the Democrats will probably try “killing them softly,” with procedural mechanisms. But the Dems should be careful. If they do TOO much of this, they will look obstructionist. And Pelosi and pals are saying that they’re in D.C. to get things done.)
Anyway, re: the 5th Circuit, this is what we’re hearing:
1. There are two Texas seats on the Fifth Circuit to fill: those of Judge Patrick Higginbotham and Judge Harold DeMoss. (For the vacant Mississippi seat, Michael Wallace is the White House’s pick; but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere right now.)
2. A package deal of two nominees is likely. One would be a so-called “diversity pick,” i.e., a minority or a woman, and one would be a “regular” pick.
(Some Senate Republicans are not thrilled about the idea of a diversity pick. But the Democrats taking over the Senate next year, diversity picks will probably only increase.)
3. For the “diversity” seat, the leading candidates are two Texas state court judges: Justice George C. Hanks, Jr., an African-American appeals court judge; and Judge Jennifer W. Elrod, a well-regarded trial court judge.
(Yes, Judge Elrod is quite attractive — in a perky, “Jennifer Aniston” sort of way. But please do not confuse her with Jennifer Elrod, “Famous Centerfold and Celebrity.” Judge Elrod uses that middle initial for a reason.)
4. For the “regular” seat, the process right now is focused upon two individuals: Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater (N.D. Tex.), a Reagan appointee to the federal trial bench, and Gregory S. Coleman, a partner in the Austin office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
5. A grab bag of other possibilities, but not as likely as the four just mentioned: Judge David Godbey (N.D. Tex.); Judge Jane Boyle (N.D. Tex.); Judge Lee H. Rosenthal (S.D. Tex., and a woman); Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, of the Texas Supreme Court; Justice Jane Bland, of the Texas First Court of Appeals; Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz; and Professor Ernest A. Young, of the University of Texas School of Law (Austin).
These are the basics. If you’re a real judicial junkie, check out our additional observations, after the jump.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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