Time for an update: it looks like the mistake will cost Stroock’s client millions. The Wall Street Journal reports:
A long-simmering dispute between Extell Development Co. and individuals who agreed to buy condominiums in one of the developer’s new luxury Manhattan buildings ended Friday when the New York Attorney General ordered Extell to refund $15 million in down payments.
The ruling is a setback for the New York-based developer, which stands to lose more than $100 million in apartment sales, according to person familiar with the matter.
It is also a potential embarrassment for the white-shoe law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, which prepared the offering plan for the building. The plan included a mistake that contributed to the ruling in favor of the buyers.
In our last post about this situation, several ATL commenters offered legal analysis. How did they fare?
Gucci wants g’s for the use of its big G. Gucci sued Guess Inc. in 2009 for trademark infringement, for allegedly selling knock-offs of its designs and for using the interlocking “GG” pattern.
Guess may be the company making knock-offs, but Gucci’s the company with fake lawyers. Gucci recently fired in-house lawyer Jonathan Moss because he had been working for the company since 2002 with a lapsed license. Gucci revealed this on Friday in a motion requesting that his inactive status not invalidate attorney-client privilege.
According to court documents filed Friday, Gucci America Inc. terminated Jonathan Moss on March 1. Gucci said it discovered in January that Moss’ status with the California bar had been inactive for the whole of his seven-year run as legal counsel with the firm. Guess has sought access to Moss’ communications regarding a trademark infringement lawsuit Gucci brought against it in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last year. Gucci’s disclosure came in a memo backing a motion that the attorney-client privilege should still apply to his involvement in the case.
So why did Moss let his license lapse? Apparently, he wasn’t making enough money in-house to keep his status active…
Steven Donzinger has been working on behalf of Ecuadorian natives for seventeen years, representing them in a lawsuit against Chevron alleging the oil company has destroyed their rainforest. It’s a much-covered case, and Harvard Law grad Donzinger has usually been cast as the hero fighting the big bad oil company.
But it looks like Donzinger’s legal team may have done something a little dastardly.
In 2004, the plaintiffs hired Mr. Calmbacher, a Georgia-based biologist and environmental scientist, to help oversee soil and water tests in Ecuador.
Reports signed by Mr. Calmbacher, which were submitted to an Ecuadorean court in 2005, showed high levels of toxins at two sites and estimated the contamination would cost more than $40 million to clean up at these sites alone.
Gibson Dunn lawyers representing Chevron Corp. discovered a typo in those reports: the spelling of Charles Calmbacher’s name. When Gibson lawyer Andrea Neuman (who looks a little like Kristin Davis with short hair) deposed him, she discovered the toxin reports were a bit polluted…
It’s one of the few things still shrouded in secrecy at most firms: which partners have equity in the firm and which don’t. Actual partners, of course, get a share in the firm’s profits, and are part of the PPP calculations reported by Am Law. Non-equity partners get the partner honorific, but in actuality they’re often just glorified senior associates, at least when it comes to matters like salary and major firm decisions. (Of course, this varies from firm to firm.)
Being a non-equity partner can be nice. You generally don’t have to toil on management committees or get caught up in partnership politics, and you may be less personally exposed to financial fallout should the firm’s fortunes sour (assuming the equity partners made personal guarantees on loans). But being a non-equity partner is also like being a stepparent that the children don’t respect. You don’t have any real power and don’t get to reap the full rewards from your investment and care.
Women and minority groups have tried to put pressure on firms to reveal partners’ equity or non-equity status when it comes to diversity reporting. But firms have resisted, saying that they don’t want to stigmatize non-equity partners. Angela Onwuachi-Willig sums it up on Concurring Opinions:
Over the past two years, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has tried to obtain information regarding the breakdown of equity and non-equity partners by gender and race at law firms. The majority of NALP’s law firm members refused to hand over the information, and NALP eventually gave in on February 12.
The Executive Director of NALP, [James] Leipold, indicated that most firms cited privacy concerns for not divulging the details of their equity and non-equity partnership breakdowns. According to Leipold, small firms especially worried that providing such information would allow non-equity partners to be easily identified and stigmatized.
Well, Delaware firm Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor has revealed who its non-equity partners are, though it did so by accident. The firm’s controller needs a little lesson on the use of “bcc”…
Whenever we write about Thomas M. Cooley Law School, commenters cannot resist reminding us of Cooley’s business model. The school admits a large number of 1Ls. If they can’t hack it, they are dismissed.
So what happens to the kids who couldn’t hack it at Cooley? Well, sometimes they sue the school for discrimination. But, because they washed out at Cooley, sometimes they still haven’t learned some very basic 1L principles — like res judicata. Here’s the summary of the Sixth Circuit opinion in the case of Buck v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School:
Plaintiff appeals from the district court’s dismissal of her lawsuit against her former law school as barred by res judicata and a lack of causation. She previously litigated earlier acts of discrimination against her law school in Michigan state courts, and had secured a preliminary injunction allowing her to attend classes. She was then dismissed from the law school on academic grounds. Because plaintiff should have supplemented her complaint in state court with claims that arose during the pendency of that suit, she is precluded by res judicata from raising these claims now. Therefore, we AFFIRM.
It’s a shame that Cooley admits people who can’t understand basic principles of civil procedure. Even if plaintiff Buck had a good argument for setting aside the principle of res judicata, she does a terrible job of making her case to the Sixth Circuit ….
For one glorious moment, prospective law students thinking of going to Wake Forest Law School learned that they had received the Melanie Nutt Scholarship from the school. Then, in an instant, the scholarship was recalled. Apparently the offer of free money was a technical error:
About ten minutes ago I received an e-mail from them telling me I had been offered a $30k/year scholarship. Obviously I was thrilled, as Wake was (keyword: was) at the top of my list. Before I could gloat to my friends, I received a follow-up e-mail …
That follow up email had “ERROR” in the headline, so students knew it couldn’t be good. Apparently there was a technical glitch and a number of students were accidently promised scholarship money.
And the mistake wasn’t limited to just one poor soul.
How long should students have to wait for fall semester grades? Two weeks? A month? Some students at William and Mary School of Law are still waiting for fall semester grades — and they might not be alone.
I understand that law professors would rather drink wine straight from the box than grade a paper. It’s an onerous responsibility. But, it is a responsibility. Especially in this economy, where students are scrambling for scarce job opportunities. If a student has an incomplete transcript, or can’t produce a class rank upon request, a prospective employer might well go with one of the other hundreds of resumes flooding his or her inbox.
Last month, a student at the University of Texas School of Law complained that he lost out on a judicial clerkship because of one professor’s grading delay. Above the Law received this email on January 25th:
Texas Law’s Student Affairs Office said over the phone this afternoon that Prof. [Redacted] hasn’t submitted grades yet or filed for an extension. UT’s deadline was Tuesday of last week (which is already hilariously late compared to the University’s undergraduate policies). Supposedly, the Law School will dock [the professor's] pay until the grades are in or until he requests an extension, but he’s big pals with Dean Sager.
I’ve already missed out on at least one internship this summer because I didn’t have grades yet. A judge’s office called me to schedule an interview and asked that I bring a transcript. When I mentioned that, as late as Jan 16th, I still hadn’t received a single grade, they went ahead and hired someone else.
We emailed the professor to see if the grades were still outstanding, or why they were delayed in the first place, but he did not respond.
At William and Mary, the situation is such that the class rank of the entire school has been delayed….
To add major insult to injury — especially after Sidley Austin’s announcement [of a raise] this afternoon — the Managing Partner of Winston just accidentally emailed a memo to ALL ATTORNEYS (including all associates) which he meant to send only to ALL PARTNERS, bragging about FY2010 collections. He talks about how work in process and accounts receivable were the same on Jan. 31, 2009 as they were on Jan. 31, 2010, how they accomplished a revenue increase without reducing overall assets, and how work in process added in January 2010 exceeded budget.
A moment later, he tried to recall the message with that Outlook “recall” function that doesn’t really work. Amazing.
Ah yes, Microsoft Outlook’s useless “recall” feature — which just draws attention to the gaffe. If it doesn’t work for federal judges or for DLA Piper partners, why should it work for Winston?
(Misaddressing an email is like passing gas, or making an unwanted advance towards a colleague. Sometimes it’s best to just pretend it didn’t happen.)
Check out the Winston & Strawn memo — intended for “all partners,” but now going out to all the world — after the jump.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
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• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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