* Star Magazine says that Katie Holmes is a drug addict. Which drug? Scientology. She might win the libel lawsuit, but her ultimate judge will be Xenu. [Reuters]
* A judge in Illinois won’t let a defendant who looks like the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons get her hair done or wear makeup at trial. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* A judge in New York, on the other hand, will give a defendant the tie off his neck and the Brooks Brothers shirt off his back just so he can look stylish in court. [New York Post]
* Just because your kid went to the prom with a Muslim doesn’t mean that you’re down with Islam — especially not when you want to make it a felony to follow Shariah law. [Washington Post]
* Christina Aguilera got arrested for being drunk in public. Someone needs to put that genie back in her bottle before she heads the way of other infamous Mouseketeers. [ABC News]
* How desperate do you have to be to molest your kid in exchange for a date? How stupid do you have to be to think child porn therapy is real? The answer to both questions is VERY. [Detroit Free Press]
* The SEC has accused Goldman Sachs’s ex-director of insider trading. The next insider trading he’ll probably be doing is for cigarettes in the pokey. [Wall Street Journal]
The fantastically successful firm of Goldman Sachs isn’t just “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” It also discriminates against women, according to the allegations in a lawsuit filed earlier today.
Three female ex-employees of Goldman Sachs accuse the venerable bank of maintaining an “outdated corporate culture” that discriminates against women in terms of pay and promotions. The Goldman Girls — not to be confused with Betty White et al. — seek class-action certification for a class consisting of all female managing directors, vice presidents and associates in the last six years.
The lawsuit alleges that women are underrepresented in GS management, making up just 14 percent of partners, 17 percent of managing directors, and 29 percent of vice presidents. Given what it means to be a partner at Goldman — the New York Times recently described it as “the equivalent of winning the lottery,” in an interesting article about some GS partners being stripped of partnership (law firms aren’t the only ones who can play that game) — the stakes are high.
That’s the straightforward stuff. Other claims in the lawsuit, as noted by Nathan Koppel of the Wall Street Journal, are “a bit more salacious”….
Last November, we scrutinized the compensation of one of America’s best-paid in-house lawyers: Gregory Palm, general counsel of Goldman Sachs. There was some nit-picking from readers about the precise size of his (pay) package, reflected in the various updates appended to the post, but there was unanimity on the main point: serving as Goldman’s top lawyer is a path to riches.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published a long, interesting, behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations between Goldman and the SEC that culminated in the bank’s $550 million settlement — negotiations in which Greg Palm played a leading role. For some good commentary on Louise Story’s article, check out Larry Ribstein (who sees the case as a strike suit that just happened to be brought by the SEC).
What we found most intriguing about the NYT piece — which weighed in at a hefty 3,200 words, as noted by the WSJ Law Blog — was the delicious dish about Gregory Palm’s pay….
If you missed the Goldman Sachs Congressional hearing today, you missed the height of unintentional comedy. There are too many highlights to mention. Senator Carl Levin using a dirty word, the ongoing train wreck that is Senator Tom Coburn, it was the kind of hearing that makes you laugh out loud at Congress (and secretly weep for our country). I’ll let Bess Levin of our sister site, Dealbreaker, describe a particularly lively twenty minute exchange:
* 10:09: Carl [Levin]: “Goldman Sachs treats clients like objects (of profit).” Jackie Treehorn, a former prop trader, was the first to pioneer this model at the firm.
* 10:16: Goldman made money off its shorts. Dun Dun Dun.
* 10:26: Apparently Goldman didn’t just hurt its clients, it hurt everyone in the world. Take a moment right now to show us on the doll where Goldman touched you.
There are a lot of media outlets falling over themselves to capture a new angle to the Goldman Sachs lawsuit. But the Washington Post’s Matt Miller (gavel bang: ABA Journal) brilliantly used the Goldman lawsuit to address a potentially much bigger issue. S.E.C. v. Goldman could be the first shot of a new kind of class warfare:
A few years ago, a Goldman Sachs banker, still shy of his 40th birthday and worth, I was reliably told, some $80 million, told me that he wasn’t in his line of work for the money. “If I was doing this for the money,” he said, with no trace of irony, “I’d be at a hedge fund.”
What to say? Though such a statement is perhaps only fathomable on a small plot of real estate in Lower Manhattan at the dawn of the 21st century, it suggests how insular and debauched our ruling class has become.
For several years I’ve predicted that a new wild card in American life — the presence of economic resentment at the bottom of the top 1 percent of our income distribution — would become a powerful force for reform. The SEC’s fraud case against Goldman Sachs may be the first shot in what I think of as the revolt of the “lower upper class.”
Who belongs to the lower upper class? According to Miller, you do…
I am a lawyer, not a lobbyist. Goldman Sachs has hired me as a lawyer — to provide legal advice and to assist in its legal representation — and that is what I am doing.
– Greg Craig, former White House Counsel and now a partner at Skadden, explaining why he is not bound by the president’s ethics policy barring former White House officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Goldman Sachs this morning. According to the SEC, Goldman is guilty of taking a “do what I say, not what I do” approach to mortgaged-backed securities.
Well, d’uh. That’s why Goldman isn’t suckling on the federal teat right now.
The SEC claims Goldman sold a financial instrument that they knew was going to fail, while at the same time taking short positions against that instrument.
Goldman denies the charges:
The SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.
Am Law Daily reports that Sullivan & Cromwell partner Richard Klapper will be representing Goldman in this matter.
Let’s unpack the SEC’s complaint (pdf). Whether or not the SEC prevails in this civil litigation, their complaint certainly succeeds in making Goldman look very shady — the company’s stock tanked this morning.
Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about compensation for Wall Street bankers. The article explained how, due to criticism from the public and from Congress, banks shifted employee comp away from cash and towards stocks and options. This shift was supposed to align pay with performance, averting an AIG situation of rewarding failure.
Now, thanks to the recovery in bank shares — fueled in part by generous government bailouts, and not necessarily the brilliant performance of bank employees — these stock and option grants are turning out to be super-lucrative. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Goldman Sachs, for instance, sharply cut nearly all bonuses it paid last year but gave some executives more options than usual.
The company gave its general counsel, for example, 104,868 stock options and 14,117 shares in December, when the bank’s stock was around $78.
Now the bank’s shares have more than doubled in value, making that stock and option award worth nearly $12 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm in Redwood Shores, Calif.
Sullivan & Cromwell partners, eat your hearts out. Not only does Goldman GC Gregory Palm get to boss you around, he also makes more money than you do.
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 email@example.com 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.
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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