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Ivy Briefs True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student Martha Kimes Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Chambermaid isn’t the only law-related book that has been published in the past six months. Check out Nicole Black’s enthusiastic review of Ivy Briefs, by Columbia Law School grad Martha Kimes. [Legal Antics]
* Harvard Law School snags Bill Rubenstein, a prominent gay law prof. So why are they keeping it on the down low? [Leonard Link]
* Justice Alito thinks some of his colleagues need to shut their pieholes. We think their first names rhyme with “Beano” and “Even.” [Legal Times via NYM Daily Intelligencer]
* Sarbanes-Oxley: Hot or Not? [DealBreaker]
* More advice for Loyola 2L: If your non-Biglaw job doesn’t pay you enough, try dumpster diving! [ABA Journal]
* Willkie gets sued — and we’re reminded of this lawsuit. State and local governments don’t seem to like Biglaw much these days. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
* Hold the cheese. Or get sued for lots of cheddar. [Charleston Daily Mail]

flowers 1-800-flowers Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s some follow-up on our Lawsuit of the Day, Greer v. 1-800-Flowers. Plaintiff Leroy Greer is suing the online florist for revealing to his wife that he had flowers delivered to his girlfriend — resulting in said wife divorcing his sorry ass.
Some readers who have seen the complaint offered these comments:

1. “I’ve never heard of these lawyers [Kennitra M. Foote & Associates]. They’re definitely not powerhouses of the Houston bar.”

2. In terms of damages, “the guy is asking for $1 million (it’s in the demand letter).”

3. “Please note on page 25 (the receipt) that the delivery “MUST INCLUDE… Cuddly Plush/ Stuffed Animal” (emphasis in original). The occasion for the flowers was “Love & Romance.”

Yup, that’s right. Take a look at the receipt for yourself (Exhibit D to Greer’s Complaint):
Leroy Greer 1 800 flowers complaint Exhibit D.jpg
Note the handwritten scrawl at the bottom of the receipt, presumably from Greer’s wife: “Be a man! If you got caught red handed then don’t still lie. Your tmobile has her number so why still lie.”
Interesting. Could this furnish a possible defense for 1-800-Flowers? If there was already ample evidence of Greer’s infidelity, can 1-800-Flowers really be blamed for his marriage unraveling?
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Greer v. 1-800-Flowers

flowers 1-800-flowers Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re a married man planning on sending flowers to your mistress, we have a tip for you: do NOT use 1-800-FLOWERS (as if you needed to be told).
Check out this interesting case, filed in the Southern District of Texas (Houston), and included in this morning’s Courthouse News Service (subscription):

Leroy Greer v. 1-800-Flowers.Com Inc.
8/6/2007
H-07-2543
(Houston)

Breach of contract action in which the defendants agreed to keep the plaintiff’s order of flowers for his girlfriend private, with no record of the transaction mailed to him at his home or office.

Months later, the defendants sent a thank you card to the plaintiff’s home, and his wife called the defendants for proof of the purchase. The defendants faxed the plaintiff’s wife proof of his order of flowers for his girlfriend, which resulted in a divorce being filed.

Oh crap. In terms of tales of infidelity getting exposed, this one is definitely up there.
If plaintiff Leroy Greer prevails, what would be the appropriate measure of damages? Will 1-800-FLOWERS reimburse him for his divorce settlement, as a form of consequential damages?
And what about alimony — will they pick up the tab for that? Or can they just send his ex-wife a bouquet of carnations each month, for the rest of her life?
Update: More details about the lawsuit appear here.
Correction: Thanks, commenters. Scratch the reference to “alimony,” and replace it with “spousal support.”
Leroy Greer v. 1-800-Flowers.Com (subscription) [Courthouse News Service]

iPhone small Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOn Friday, we reported that if you’re at Skadden, you can use your $3,000 technology allowance to buy an iPhone. We now have some clarifications about that good news.
From a Skadden source:

1. While you can use your tech allowance to buy just about anything “tech-y” at Skadden, the tech dept has made it clear that the iPhone is NOT compatible with Skadden tech infrastructure. See below [posting reproduced after the jump].

2. The iPhone isn’t excluded [from the tech allowance], but since you’re basically required to have a Blackberry for business purchases, they would likely frown on purchasing both a Blackberry (the monthly Blackberry service comes out of the tech allowance) and an iPhone (where the entire monthly phone-data package would likely be redundant).

3. What’s the point of having two devices strapped to your hip? Isn’t one enough? As soon as a reliable Blackberry client comes out for the iPhone, I think demand will force the tech folks to support the iPhone. Right now don’t even bother asking to get your Skadden email working on an iPhone.

We thank our tipster for explaining these finer points.
In the comments to our prior post, people expressed an interest in a forum for discussing workplace perks — i.e., “the fringe benefits that vary between Biglaw firms — tech allowances, book allowances, gym memberships, home loans, etc.”
We’re happy to oblige. But let’s do this in an organized way. Over the next week or so, we’ll put up a series of posts on fringe benefits, with each post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Let’s get the ball rolling. Please treat this post as the open thread for discussion of technology allowances. Thanks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Clarification About iPhones at Skadden (and Open Thread on Tech Allowances)”

iPhone small Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLots of interesting debate in the comments over the wild rumor that Skadden might raise starting salaries to $195,000 before the year’s end.
Some think it’s crazy talk. Others note that it might simply mark a return to Skadden’s prior practice of paying above-market base salaries, combined with smaller year-end bonuses (designed to bring total comp for Skadden associates up to market, depending upon other firms’ year-end bonuses).
Anyway, regardless of what you think about that gossip, here’s something that’s confirmed:

tipster: interesting tidbit
ATL: I’m all ears
tipster: skadden will reimburse associates for iphone purchases from their tech allowance
ATL: oh cool!
tipster: Pretty much makes skadden associates the coolest on the planet!

Here are more details on the Skadden technology allowance, from the firm website:

The firm provides up to $3,000 to attorneys for the purchase of technology equipment at the commencement of employment. After 2 years of service, the firm provides additional allowances for the purchase of approved technology equipment.

If you’re Skadden associate, go treat yourself to five iPhones. Then send the four you don’t use to your friends at ATL.
Update: Some caveats about Skadden and iPhones appear here.
Attorneys and Law Students: FAQs [Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom]
Earlier: More Wacky Rumor-Mongering: Skadden to $195K?
Waiting for the iPhone: An iWitness Account

In our recent post about Nina Totenberg’s poorly received graduation speech at Georgetown University Law Center, we solicited your anecdotes about her. La Nina is the Great Diva of the Supreme Court press corps, and colorful stories about her are legion.
We received a few submissions. Here’s one to get the ball rolling:

My county bar colleagues and I got sworn in to the SCOTUS bar back in [the late 1990s]. It was a real thrill. We got to meet the Clerk of Court and had a private coffee-and-danish session with Justice Ginsburg.

The thrill of it was almost ruined by seeing Nina Totenberg chewing gum in court while a couple of decisions were handed down. We’re talking chewing it like cud, Britney Spears style. I was not impressed.

And later that day, Totenberg was spotted driving down Constitution Avenue… with a baby in her lap!
We recognize, of course, that Nina Totenberg has many defenders and devoted fans — groupies, even. After all, “[d]ue of extremely high demand,” this NPR gift item — the Nina Totin’ Bag — is out of stock:
Nina Totenberg Nina Totin Bag Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Troubling. Deeply, deeply troubling.
Have a Nina Totenberg tale to tell? Send it to us by email (subject line: “Nina Totenberg”). Thanks.
The Nina Totin’ Bag [NPR Shop]
Earlier: Worst Graduation Gift: Nina Totenberg as Your Commencement Speaker

iPhone small Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, this is kinda random. But it’s Friday, so please give us some latitude.
(Also, we have previously covered this subject, in a way that connected it to the legal world. So there.)
As you all know, today is I-Day: the first day that Apple’s coveted iPhone will be available for sale to the general public. At 6 PM, Apple and AT&T stores will open their doors, and the masses will flood in. Long lines have already formed in different cities around the country.
We were just IM’ing with one ATL reader standing outside an AT&T store waiting for his iPhone. If you’re curious, you can read portions of our exchange after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Waiting for the iPhone: An iWitness Account”

And we’re not speaking metaphorically, about the remaining decisions from October Term 2006.
We’re talking about the shoes of celebrated Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg, of ABC News. Will a pair of Manolos fall from the sky?
So, what happened to JCG’s footwear? Was it a case of sabotage, by an increasingly threatened rival?
Jan Crawford Greenburg 2 shoeless without shoes Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
Go Home Already: Missed Connections [DCist]

iPhone Apple iPhone Blackberry Crackberry Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgHi, Billy Merck here once again, hosting through the end of the week so that Lat can take another brief vacation. No intro post this time; check here or here if you don’t know who we are. But enough of that, let’s get right to it.
The Wall Street Journal has this article about the extremely high demand from employees for and the equally strong reticence on the part of businesses, including of course large law firms, to give access to corporate email services on the soon to be released Apple iPhone. From the article:

While millions of consumers are eagerly anticipating Apple Inc.’s launch of its iPhone next week, Bill Caraher is bracing for the worst.
Mr. Caraher, technology director of von Briesen & Roper, a Milwaukee law firm, says he is being besieged by inquiries from employees wondering whether the office’s email system can be used with the device.
His answer, at least initially, has been no. The main problem is that the iPhone can’t send and receive email through the company’s corporate BlackBerry email servers. He says he is unwilling to look into workarounds, because they might compromise the company’s security. “It’s another hole in the system people can exploit,” he says.

Despite concerns about opening up email systems, Apple is apparently pushing to grab some crackberry market share:

All this may change later this month when Apple plans to unveil the iPhone. According to a person close to Apple, the company is expected to fight for this market, currently dominated by players like BlackBerry’s RIM, Palm Inc. and, increasingly, Nokia Corp. and Motorola. If Apple comes up with an acceptable strategy for integrating with business software systems, many companies might change their tunes.

At least one law firm is open to the idea:

Other businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP of New York has been getting hit with a range of iPhone inquiries, according to spokeswoman Claudia Freeman. The law firm may try to support the device once it is launched, she says.

So we have three questions we’d like to throw out there to open up discussion:
1) Will law firms open up their email systems to the iPhone?
2) If they do, will the iPhone grab a substantial chunk of the crackberry market?
3) Will whether a firm integrates the iPhone into email services become a factor in the compensation wars?
* “Crackberry” is used in the context of this post to refer to any device similar in function to a Blackberry, and is not limited to the Blackberry.

snow globe snowglobe snoglobe sno globe Abovethelaw Above the Law.JPGMay and June are the peak months for law school graduations. And you know what that means: dreadful graduation gifts.
So we’ve decided to embark upon a quest to find America’s most egregious graduation gift. If you have a nominee, please send it to us by email (subject line: “Worst Graduation Gift”). Please include a photograph of the gift if possible.
Pictured at right, the current frontrunner: a New York City snow globe, given to a recent Columbia Law School grad, by his out-of-town aunt (who was very proud of her find). Our tipster wondered: “I LIVE in New York. What do I want with an NYC snowglobe?”
P.S. We assume that the two tallest buildings in the snow globe are supposed to be the Twin Towers. If so, they’re not a very good likeness. They look more like 125 Broad Street — the not-so-happy home of Sullivan & Cromwell.

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