Biglaw

* The billable hour may be far from dead, but last year, 61% of general counsel worked out alternative fee arrangements with outside counsel, including counsel from elite (read: Biglaw) firms. [Wall Street Journal]

* Dewey need to take lessons on revenge from this firm? John Altorelli, the D&L defector who spilled all the beans to the Am Law Daily, was blasted on Page Six this weekend. More on this to come later today. [New York Post]

* CHECK YOU LATERALS: recent Quinn Emanuel hires William Burck, Paul Brinkman, and Andrew Schapiro, as well as name partner John Quinn, have entered appearances on behalf of Megaupload. [Am Law Daily]

* Copyright infringement suits over porn downloading involving some 3,500 defendants were dismissed because the plaintiffs’ attorney, Terik Hasmi, couldn’t get it in legally in Florida. [National Law Journal]

* In England, there’s no such thing as a no-fault divorce, but instead, you can get one for “unreasonable behavior” — behavior like malicious service of tuna casserole, and speaking only in Klingon. [New York Times]

* This gives “I’m a Slave 4 U” some new meaning. Britney Spears’s fiancé, Jason Trawick, is trying to start their impending rocky marriage off on the right foot. He’ll soon be her co-conservator. [New York Daily News]

Well, the economy keeps getting better, so we’re sure to see the Presidential election start to take on a more absurdist flair. Romney will attack the president for listening to Romney’s ideas on health care. Obama will attack Romney for being marvelous. And somebody will write a big time article about how political discourse in the 24/7 cable news and blogging world has hit a new nadir (oh, please let it be me).

But as the economy steadily improves, the election will be more about framing than substance. We’re coming out of a terrible recession, we’re recovering slowly because of the changing nature of the global economy. It’ll continue like this for a while regardless of who is president — unless we take away a woman’s right to choose, because only then will God love us and bring all of our manufacturing jobs back from China.

Or something like that.

That’s how it’s going to be unless the lawyers get involved. Because while the economy is slowly recovering for the rest of America, it seems like the economy is still stagnantly sucking for a bunch of attorneys and people with legal skills….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Jobs Dip In March”

They say that March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. And in the case of last month’s legal happenings, that saying held true for the most part. Because even stuttering lambs are still gentle creatures, right?

All in all, March was filled with excitement (of the sexual variety) and disappointment (of the layoff variety) for lawyers. We even got a lesson in how to (and how not to) argue before the Supreme Court.

So who are our nominees for March’s Lawyer of the Month competition?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Month: March Reader Poll”

We’ve been chronicling the troubles of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a top firm facing tough times. Today brings more bad news for Dewey: eight additional partners have jumped off the ship.

Of course, this one firm used to be two. In 2007, Dewey Ballantine merged with LeBoeuf Lamb to create Dewey & LeBoeuf. At the time it was the rare merger of two top firms.

Now that the firm is struggling, legacy Dewey people and legacy LeBoeuf people have been blaming each other for the firm’s troubles. Who didn’t bring the prestige, who didn’t bring the rain, who is responsible for post-merger decisions that have led to turmoil?

Oh, recriminations. Fun times. We’ve been corresponding with some people who were at the respective firms before and after the merger, and listening to them blame the other side has been highly entertaining. Take a look, and vote for yourself about who is to blame…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legacy Dewey Ballantine and Legacy LeBoeuf Lamb: Choose Your Weapon”

I occasionally take advantage of my little megaphone here at Above the Law to vent about poor quality drafts. When I do, “commenters” or correspondents routinely suggest that I’m tilting at windmills: “If you receive a poor quality draft, send it back to the person who wrote it, and tell that person to make it better. There’s no reason why you, Mark, should be saddled with improving the thing.”

Wrong, wrong, and wrong again!

I’m absolutely saddled with improving the thing. It often makes no sense at all to return a bad draft to the author and ask for a better draft. In fact, I submit that there are only two situations in which it does make sense to ask the original author to improve a draft . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: When You Do Not Ask For A Better Draft”

* “I think that you know what the president said … was appropriate.” While the DOJ scrambles to meet Judge Smith’s memo deadline, Attorney General Eric Holder is busy defending Obama’s con law faux pas. [CNN]

* Six more partners have fled from Dewey & LeBoeuf, bringing the grand total of partner defections to at least 46 since January. Good Lord, somebody needs to get this firm a freakin’ tourniquet. [Wall Street Journal]

* Facebook filed a motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s ownership claims, but he isn’t going anywhere soon. Ceglia’s got two months to submit expert reports as to the authenticity of his fake contract. [Associated Press]

* Joe Jamail, “America’s richest practicing lawyer,” donated his $3M law library to TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Now students can learn more so they don’t have to sue over being graded on a curve. [Fox]

* McDonald’s doesn’t have to worry about its G-rated Happy Meal toys in California anymore. It’s that XXX-rated lawsuit over a former employee’s “Filet-O-Fish” that the company’s really got to keep an eye on. [Reuters]

Over the last several months, we have spent a lot of digital ink covering Paul Ceglia’s goofy lawsuit claiming 50 percent ownership of Facebook. In that case, we tend to believe Facebook is in the right.

But now it appears that the social media behemoth has caught its own case of silly litigation fever.

Facebook has taken legal action against the makers of a web-browsing widget that allegedly violates its terms of service. And its Biglaw attorneys may have caught an innocent internet commenter in the crossfire….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Internet Commenter to Facebook Attorneys: What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate”

Defections continue at Dewey & LeBoeuf. On Tuesday, the WSJ Law Blog and Thomson Reuters reported on the departure of four M&A lawyers for DLA Piper. As we mentioned on Monday, antitrust litigator Eamon O’Kelly just flew the Dewey henhouse for Arent Fox. The recent departures take the number of partners who have left Dewey in 2012 to at least 40 (a decrease of about 13 percent in partner headcount).

The four attorneys who just jumped to DLA are John J. Altorelli and Alexander G. Fraser, who were partners at Dewey, and Patrick Costello and Gerald Francese, who were counsel. All four will be partners at DLA, and Altorelli will serve as co-chair of DLA’s U.S. finance practice, as well as a member of the executive committee. Although DLA is not a paradise, presumably the Dewey defectors determined DLA Piper to be more stable than Dewey (unless they took an “any port in a storm” approach, which is certainly possible).

In other Dewey news, the American Lawyer is revising the 2010 and 2011 financial results for Dewey — downward. And we’re hearing rumblings about some of the firm’s international offices….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have A Problem With Defections? Or With Math?
(Plus information on international offices.)

Jenna Talackova

* AG Eric Holder can thank Obama for this homework assignment from Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, because it seems like our president forgot about Marbury v. Madison. More on this to come later today. [CBS News]

* Dewey need to buy this Biglaw firm a functional calculator? New information shows that the imploding firm was off by roughly $153M when partners reported 2011 earnings to the American Lawyer. [Am Law Daily]

* You know there’s got to be something questionable about a law school when the accreditation machine that is the ABA gives it the side eye. And no, Duncan Law, a judge still won’t force its hand. [National Law Journal]

* Stephen McDaniel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment for the murder of Mercer Law classmate Lauren Giddings, but will he be released on bail before trial? Only if he’s got $2.5M sitting around. [Macon Telegraph]

* More law school lawsuits are coming down the pipeline, but local lawyers in Massachusetts don’t think that they stand a chance. Why? The highly-educated consumer argument strikes again. [Boston Business Journal]

* Thanks to Gloria Allred, transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova may be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant if she can meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada. [MSNBC]

Steven Simkin: now with neckwear.

Remember Steven Simkin, the prominent Paul Weiss partner who sued his ex-wife for a better divorce deal? Simkin argued that even though he negotiated for and obtained the couple’s investment account with one Bernard Madoff as part of their 2006 separation agreement, his former wife should now pay him more money — since it was subsequently revealed, years later, that Madoff was running a huge Ponzi scheme.

As you may recall, I was not terribly sympathetic to Simkin. In my view, an expert negotiator like Simkin — the head of PW’s real estate practice, who was also represented by separate counsel in the divorce — should be required to live with the bargain he struck. In negotiating for and taking on the Madoff account, he also took on the risks associated with that investment.

An intermediate appeals court sided with Simkin. But now New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has spoken….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New York Court Rules on Biglaw Partner’s Request for a Divorce Deal Do-Over”

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