Chicago

I think [New York pizza] is infinitely better than Washington pizza, and infinitely better than Chicago pizza. You know these deep-dish pizzas — it’s not pizza. It’s very good, but … call it tomato pie or something. … I’m a traditionalist, what can I tell you?

— Justice Antonin Scalia, in an interview with California Lawyer magazine (via Josh Blackman, who identifies additional highlights from the interview).

As we head into the home stretch of our Top Partners to Work For series, we want to thank all of our readers who submitted such glowing partner nominations.  If you work for an outstanding partner whom you think should be included on the list, we will be accepting new nominations in another survey in a few months.

Over the past three weeks, we highlighted the best partners to work for in New York; Washington, D.C.; and California.  Our round-up wouldn’t be complete without a stopover in the Windy City, before moving on to some of the smaller legal markets to close the series.

Today, we present to you six Chicago partners who go above and beyond the call of duty. And they do so while working at some of the nation’s most prestigious firms: Mayer Brown, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Winston & Strawn, Latham & Watkins, and McGuire Woods.

A round of applause for these six partners….

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Isn’t it nice when people who do good also do well? David Van Zandt — the outgoing dean of Northwestern Law, and the incoming president of The New School — is a beloved figure, at NU Law and beyond. Professionally, he’s an innovator in legal education; personally, he’s a great guy. We’re big fans of his here at Above the Law, especially since he once wrote a guest commentary for our pages (on law school rankings).

When Dean Van Zandt announced his departure, Northwestern Law students were heartbroken. But don’t shed tears for DVZ: he’s going to a better place. Hello, New York City! [FN1]

And assuming The New School doesn’t provide its new president with housing, Dean Van Zandt should be able to snap up a fabulous pad for himself here in Gotham. He has put his Chicago mansion on the market, for a very pretty penny. If he succeeds in selling it for anywhere near the asking price, he’ll be able to live large in NYC.

Dean Van Zandt bought the home back in 1996, for $922,550. How much is it on the market for today?

Let’s find out — and ogle some pictures of the house, inside and out….

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It doesn't help that Rich Whitney kind of looks like a Rich Whitey.

Sometimes, typos matter — a lot. We’ve seen typos get law firms into all kinds of trouble. And now a typo might ruin the already slim gubernatorial chances of a Green Party candidate.

Running on the Green Party line, Rich Whitney wasn’t likely to become the next Governor of Illinois anyway. But an error at the Chicago Board of Elections will cause Whitney’s name to be misspelled as “Whitey” on some touch screen ballots this November. Of the 23 wards affected by this typo, half of them are in largely African-American districts. And the error cannot not be fixed in time for Election Day.

So yeah, black people in Chicago will be able to vote for “Rich Whitey” this fall.

You remember that scene in Die Hard With a Vengeance where Bruce Willis has to stand in the middle of Harlem while wearing an offensive sandwich board? Things are going to turn out marginally better for Rich Whitney, but clearly Whitney would have been better off changing his last name to “not the whiteman’s bitch.” Or even “Kill Whitey,” as Juggalo Law suggests…

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The economy is (hopefully) on the mend. The recession is officially over.

There are signs of recovery in the legal sector, too. For example, law firms are giving away iPads to young associates. Such generosity seems very 2007 (if iPads had existed back then).

Meanwhile, in the less glamorous world of Craigslist postings of legal jobs, things are also improving….

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solo practitioner solo practice hang shingle.jpgRichard Zachary is a solo practitioner in Chicago who has mixed it up with Biglaw many times in his career… and has come away unimpressed.

In a recent filing in Cook County Court, he vented about the shortcomings of the big firm lawyers he’s come up against. He’s currently representing an individual suing a corporation represented by Schiff Hardin. He describes an attorney there as follows:

Some paper-shuffling third-rater trying to camouflage his own culpability with defamatory rhetoric [who made me] realize that there are depths of chicanery to which some legal professionals will not hesitate to descend.

Richard Zachary is both irate and poetic, a wonderful combination.

The motion captures the frustration that solos experience in their clashes with Biglaw. More incensed turns of phrase, after the jump.

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Not everybody from Lovells will be jumping on the Ho-Love bandwagon this May. Legal Week reports that Lovells will close its Chicago office:

Lovells is set to shut down its Chicago office by the end of October following a strategic and financial review of its business.

The office, which has seven partners and 15 fee earners, has been under review since before the firm’s merger talks with Hogan & Hartson began.

Not everybody can benefit from the something about synergy upside of the merger. But will these Chicago castoffs find new homes?

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ATL’s competition to crown the best city to practice law continues.

In the regional finals in the east and south, D.C. is dominating New York, and Dallas is doing away with Atlanta. Now it’s time for us to turn our sights westward.

This round’s bouts will determine which city in flyover country is the best for lawyers and will finally resolve the NoCal vs SoCal debate. Let’s get to it…

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Secretary.jpgEd. note: We gave this a shout-out last week in non-sequiturs (second item), but it’s egregious enough to merit more discussion.

Biglaw attorneys frequently complain about how hard it is to date given the amount of hours they devote to work. Attorneys at a small immigration firm in Chicago may have encountered a similar dilemma.

Perhaps inspired by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s cinematic portrayal of a sex-enjoying legal secretary, Samir Zia Chowhan of Chowhan Law allegedly advertised on Craigslist, in the “Adult Gigs” section, for a secretary with benefits. From Legal Profession Blog:

Loop law firm looking to hire am [sic] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. We look forward to meeting you.

Many of you will recall that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan waged a war against Craigslist’s “Erotic Services” section earlier this year, claiming that there was rampant prostitution there. By her doing, the section was taken down and replaced by this “Adult Gigs” section, which is supposedly more closely monitored for illegal activity. But in our surfing of the section, we saw quite a few ads like Chowhan’s, including ones like this: “I’m seeking a young lady who would like to have some fun with me, possibly on a regular basis, in exchange for some help with bills or whatever.”

At least Chowhan was a little more discreet in his May 2009 ad. But when one woman responded, he made it clear why he had listed the job in the Adult Gigs section.

He defines “additional duties,” after the jump.

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Wildman Harrold logo.jpgWildman Harrold has decided to give a majority of its incoming associates the Fox. Am Law Daily reports that the firm has rescinded offers to 10 of its 14 associates. Unlike Arent Fox, Wildman will not be giving its would-be incoming associates any stipend.

On the Wildman Harrold career page, they really like numbers. They evidently haven’t had a chance to update their summer associate page; they’re probably busy with fall recruiting. So I figured I’d give them a hand.

Wildman, by the numbers:

* 10 – Number of offers rescinded to class of 2009 associates (out of 14).
* 4 – Number of offers extended to 2009 summer associates (out of 17).
* 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in January 2009.
* 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in April 2009.

HTH.

Wildman is a Chicago based firm. Yesterday, we told you that the Illinois bar results were out. You don’t think that Wildman rescinded offers right after the bar results came out do you? More details after the jump.

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