Elizabeth Warren

The Dewey debacle is unfolding in real time on this and other sites. People’s lives are being shattered as a firm gets shuttered. It is not the first, and certainly not the last, time that a major law firm with thousands of employees will disappear into so much ether. I look back on my OCI days, and can rattle off several former NYC firms that have either merged into unrecognizability, or disappeared like Dewey is in the process of doing.

Likewise, not far from where I now sit, is the shell of Eastman Kodak — a company that built a large part of this town, and will likely become a shameful case study in the annals of business school textbooks. And yesterday, news went out that my own company is beginning another round of VRIF severance offers.

Regardless of whether you are sitting comfortably in-house, collecting pay from Biglaw, or wondering how in Hell you’re going to find a summer job, news like that mentioned above is disquieting. The main reason is that there isn’t anything that can be done. One day you’re employed, and then, well, you may not be. And there is really no place for schadenfreude in a “there but for the grace of God” economy. Careers can be dissolved as quickly as Dewey.

So, when you are forced to enter an applicant pool of thousands of other attorneys looking for a break in a seemingly unsolvable code of hiring, what can you do to set yourself apart? One possible strategy that has become a hot button issue in the past days is to claim minority status on your application. The obvious dilemma that you face as applicant number two thousand twenty-eight is whether to check such status if your lineage may or may not support the claim….

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Anwar al-Awlaki

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back in full force tomorrow.

* If you are curious about that legal memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, Charlie Savage describes its contents in this very interesting NYT piece. [New York Times]

* Ten years after the start of the anthrax attacks, some observers are asking whether Bruce Ivins, the Army microbiologist blamed for the attacks by the FBI, , was wrongly accused. [How Appealing]

Paul Bergrin

* Jury selection gets underway this week in the trial of notorious New Jersey lawyer Paul Bergrin (who’s being represented by a famous defense lawyer). [Newark Star-Ledger via WSJ Law Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned U.S. Senate candidate, is making “a proper case for liberalism,” according to E.J. Dionne Jr. [Washington Post]

* Andrew Cohen’s review of Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir (affiliate link). [The Atlantic]

* In case you missed it last week, here is Proskauer’s response to the discrimination lawsuit filed against it by its former CFO, Elly Rosenthal. [Am Law Daily]

Thank God!

– Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown commenting in response to opponent Elizabeth Warren’s recent jab that she “didn’t have to take her clothes off” to pay for college.

(Actually, Brown posed nude for Cosmopolitan in 1982, when he was studying for finals at Boston College Law School.)

Unbeknown to most of us, when Ted Kennedy died Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren became the last liberal with balls. While other Democrats have been desperately trying to keep themselves in the good graces of Wall Street, Elizabeth Warren has been standing toe-to-toe with the bankers.

It therefore seems only appropriate that Warren is now running for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate Seat. She will officially announce her candidacy sometime today.

If she wins the nomination (if Martha Coakley runs again, Warren won’t even have to “campaign” for the nomination, she’ll run primary ads saying “Again? How stupid are you?”), the battle between Warren and the incumbent, Senator Scott “the Body” Brown, will be interesting.

But let’s say that the last Democrat can win in one of the last liberal bastions. It’ll mean another solid win for liberal women law professors during the Obama administration…

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She’s an enormously affable, accessible person. I don’t think she would come with the baggage that someone from an elite university might sometimes have.

– Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, discussing the possibility that his colleague, Professor Elizabeth Warren, might run to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate.

Elizabeth Warren

* Law professors Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman argue against extending copyright protection to fashion designs. [New York Times]

* DLA Piper suffers a reversal of fortune — and a reversal of a fortune, to the tune of $22 million. [Am Law Daily]

* The Alabama Attorney General, Troy King, has sued BP — over the objections of Governor Bob Riley. [Mobile Press-Register via ABA Journal]

* Is Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, a top candidate to lead the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, a “supremely smart crusader for middle-class families, or “a fiery zealot disguised in professorial glasses and pastel cardigans”? [Washington Post]

* Lindsay Lohan may be getting out of court-ordered rehab early — and heading for New York. [ABC News; Los Angeles Times]

* Oracle files a lawsuit claiming that Google is being evil, by violating patents and copyrights. [Gizmodo]

* David Johnson, the aide to New York Governor David Paterson whose domestic violence case the governor got involved in, is charged with misdemeanor assault and five other offenses. [New York Times]

* Is everyone a winner against Nixon Peabody? A former NP associate suing the firm over his bonus certainly hopes so. [Am Law Daily]

Today, the National Law Journal lets us in on an ambitious project. The publication has tried to identify the 40 most influential lawyers of the decade. The 40 people they came up with are relatively well known to the general Above the Law readership, but they won’t be household names to your lay-friends:

The list spans law firms, academia, government and advocacy groups, but, consciously subtracts a few obvious categories: Members of the Supreme Court and attorneys general, for instance, are generally influential by definition, and they are not included here.

The NLJ was looking for lawyers that don’t get their name in the mainstream media every day:

Instead, we have focused upon lawyers in the following specific practices: antitrust; appellate; bankruptcy; civil rights; corporate; energy and environmental; in-house; intellectual property; labor and employment; legal education; litigation; and regulatory. In other words, we’re primarily focusing on hard-working lawyers who’ve been in the trenches on big deals or major litigation or who have been pioneering at in-house positions or the nation’s law schools.

So, who made the cut?

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