Ed. note This is the first in a series of posts that Alex Aldridge, a London-based journalist who covers legal affairs, will be writing for Above the Law about the upcoming royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton.
So, you wish you had a royal family, eh?
Judging by the content of your media, royal wedding fever is even hotter in the US than in the country to which Wills and Kate belong (that’s the United Kingdom, by the way, for the 90% of you without passports who think London is in France). To an outsider, it seems you’re doubting the wisdom of that decision you took to go independent from your colonial forebears and start a republic.
Thanks to Ben Mezrich, David Fincher, and Aaron Sorkin, we all feel like we know the backstory of the creation of Facebook (shameless plug: please like the ATL Facebook page). It goes something like this: Mark Zuckerberg was a shady little brat, who screwed over his one friend while he was building what would become a multi-billion-dollar company. Roll credits.
Legally, just yesterday it seemed that Zuckerberg and Facebook were finally in the clear. The Ninth Circuit told the amazingly privileged Winkelvoss twins to go away, and it appeared that everybody could go back to masturbating to Facebook friends without worrying about who really owned the thing.
But not so fast. There is another outstanding Facebook lawsuit that has recently been amended and refiled in federal court. We’ve reported before on the claims of fraudster Paul Ceglia. Now he’s back, and he’s got some explosive new evidence to support his claims to 50% ownership in Facebook — as well as new counsel.
Is the evidence credible? It depends: do you trust DLA Piper?
A couple of weeks ago, we asked for information about start dates at large law firms. The class of 2011 keeps peppering us with emails about when they can show up for work.
Happily, we’ve been hearing that most Biglaw firms will have their incoming classes start on time, in September or October. Most of the information in the comments to our open thread reflects that news as well. The most prestigious firms seem to be starting on time. Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Davis Polk, Kirkland & Ellis, and firms of that ilk will be welcoming the class of 2011 in the fall of 2011.
But our tipsters do report some notable exceptions….
I’m not trying to compare the claims of Jaime Laskis, a former associate at the prominent Canadian law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, with those of Charlene Morisseau (a legendary Lawyer of the Day honoree, from 2007). But we’ve got two stories vaguely related to alleged employee harassment and discrimination in the legal profession, and I wanted to click them both off so I have something to change the subject with when Sweet Hot Justice asks me if she’s a cougar when we meet for drinks tonight.
Let’s start with Jaime Laskis’s story, which is a bit more newsy. Laskis was an associate in the New York office of Toronto-based Osler, who claims she suffered various forms of sexual harassment while she worked there. One partner allegedly said that Harvard University was full of “pretty women pretending to get an education.”
I know, I know, that’s sounds like a man who has never been to a Harvard party. But Laskis makes other allegations….
* Professor Carlton Larson has a great new paper exploring possible constitutional limitations on state laws regulating baby names. Could parental rights to name a child “Dumb Motherf**ker,” “Preserved Fish,” or “Latrina” be protected by the First Amendment? [SSRN via Legal Blog Watch]
* Speaking of the Wise Latrina, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a fan of bipartisan seating at the State of the Union. Her colleagues’ email skills? Not so much. [How Appealing]
* Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein on the Rahm Emanuel ruling: “Illinois law is better interpreted to say that before a Washington pol runs again in the midwest he needs some time reacquaint himself with the real world.” [Truth on the Market]
* Congratulations to DLA Piper, which will become the world’s largest law firm after a merger Down Under. [Bloomberg]
* And congratulations to former DLA partner Ted Segal — he’s moving over to regional firm Stradley Ronon, in part because of client concerns over billing rates. [Washington Business Journal]
* Wow, that was fast. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has already settled his lawsuit over olive-triggered dental damage. [Dave Weigel / Slate]
* A state transit agency in Virginia that has paid Williams Mullen more than $6.5 million over the past five years might be shifting legal work away from the firm. [Virginian-Pilot]
* You can call Above the Law “the most worst legal website published in the State of New York,” and we won’t sue you for defamation. (Cue jokes about truth as a defense in 3, 2, 1….) [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]
Does Sarah Palin's home state need a law school? One legislator says: You betcha!
* An impressive collection of legal humor — amusing motions, orders, opinions, and the like. [Law Law Land]
* (Celebrity) Lawyer of the Day: Michael “Mickey” Sherman, a prominent criminal defense lawyer and the husband of a Fox News legal analyst, is going to prison Physician, heal thyself. [TaxProf Blog]
* Elie isn’t feeling well right now — no, it wasn’t all that Kwanzaa cake — but if he were writing today, I suspect he’d have a lot to say about whether Alaska needs its own law school. [Tundra Drums via ABA Journal]
* What does the Ohio Supreme Court have against satellite television? [Consumerist]
* If you haven’t done so already, check out Mike Sacks’s interesting and elegant analysis of the four youngest Supreme Court justices (which got a well-deserved shout-out from Adam Liptak in the New York Times today). [FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST]
* Eric Fatla, a law student at GW, passed away from injuries he sustained in a fall at the Union League Club in Chicago. Professor Jonathan Turley remembers his former student. Eric Fatla, R.I.P. [Jonathan Turley; Chicago Breaking News]
In fairness, Mariah Carey does fill out a Santa suit better than I do.
Last night, we gave you a little recap of the ATL holiday party — if you will forgive the expression — that PLC and ELR Search sponsored. Wow. Some of you commenters are really mean, especially after Kash takes out a restraining order against you. Your clever use of ouchy words really did a number on us here at ATL. I had to use my orbital ass to block out the moon last night to keep Ami from turning into a werewolf. I thought everybody would be over it by morning, but when I came in Marin was using a size 4 sweater as a full sleeping bag and our CEO was selling off Breaking Media equipment on Ebay while screaming “No, not again, I’ll not be ruined the internet bubble a second time!”
Just kidding — we know you say these things out of love, the love the rest of polite society denies you because of your various deformities. Pitiful commenters of darkness, what kind of life have you now? God give me courage to show you, You are not alone.
In fairness, there was only one comment last night that really pissed me off. It was the first one: “If you attended this you are a LOSER and need to GET A LIFE.” Really buddy? Coming out for free drinks and free food on a random Wednesday, if you read a blog — a blog you yourself read so intently that you are FIRST to comment on it — makes you a “LOSER.” Really?
Whatever. Winners, a class of people I think “Guest” knows nothing about, should be able to come and hang out at the humble holiday party thrown by a blog they read if they want to.
And then they should also be able be wined and dined at a proper holiday party, thrown by their employers. And employer-sponsored holiday parties, especially when the employers are large law firms, should be so extravagant that “Guest” gets paid time-and-a-half to serve drinks while successfully breathing through his nose instead of his mouth.
Were they? Or was this yet another year of recession-affected law firm holiday parties?
Yesterday we started receiving multiple reports of staff layoffs at DLA Piper. The reports related to various U.S. offices of the firm, including (but not limited to) Baltimore and Sacramento. They concerned support staff, including secretaries, but not lawyers. In terms of the scale of the layoffs, no hard numbers were available.
One source expressed surprise at the staff cuts, in light of the firm touting strong results as of late. For example, just last month DLA Piper fared quite well in the M&A league tables. The firm has also been making a decent number of lateralhires, suggesting expansion rather than contraction.
In response to an inquiry from Above the Law, DLA Piper confirmed an unspecified number of staff reductions, and issued a statement….
DLA Piper recently rejoined the ranks of Biglaw firms paying a $160,000 starting salary. Welcome back to the pack. Unfortunately, some incoming associates hoping to start at DLA will have to wait quite a bit before they are able to cash in on that $160K dream. A tipster reports:
DLA Piper just told their incoming first years (i.e., the people who graduated in May 2010) about their start dates. A few months ago they told everyone that they’d either be starting in January 2011 or January 2012, but didn’t state who would be starting when, how many people they expected to start on either date, or any other specific information.
They made the calls [yesterday] and almost everyone is deferred until January 2012. They said they “expected” to give a stipend of $5k a month for pro bono work but didn’t definitively confirm anything.
Well, DLA Piper has now provided information about the situation to Above the Law. All of these kids — who summered with DLA Piper in 2009 — knew there was a possibility of getting deferred until 2012. But only half of them actually will. The rest will start relatively on-time…
We’re doing our annual march through the Vault prestige rankings, to give ATL readers the opportunity to have their say about perks and pitfalls at these firms. If your firm actually let you swap your Blackberry for your iPhone, brag here. Or if your firm has such a strong stench that it makes you nauseous, vent here.
We’ve been doing open threads in batches of ten, but now we’re going to pick up the pace. Here are the Vault #41 – 60. This is when the prestige list gets a little more geographically diverse, with firms based in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Palo Alto and even Pittsburgh:
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;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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