Japan

Back in February, we covered a lawsuit filed by Mayer Brown that some critics called “disgusting” and “despicable.” The case challenges the placement of a memorial for World War II “comfort women” in a public park in Glendale, California — partly on administrative procedure grounds, and partly because the memorial allegedly “presents an unfairly one-sided portrayal of the historical and political debate surrounding comfort women.”

Filing a lawsuit that effectively seeks to deny the historical phenomenon of the comfort women — women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II — didn’t go over too well in many quarters. And now the case is back in the news, surely to Mayer Brown’s chagrin….

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A lawsuit filed earlier this month has raised the ire of several leading lawyers and legal bloggers. Noted First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza — a panelist at our Attorney@Blog conference, by the way — describes the case as “truly disgusting.” Ken White of Popehat, another prominent commentator on the legal profession, calls the suit “despicable” and “thoroughly contemptible,” writing that he “cannot remember a lawsuit that so immediately repulsed and enraged.”

Let’s find out what all the buzz is about. Which law firm filed this controversial complaint, what is the case about, and how bad is it?

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* Earlier this week, Verizon faced off against the Federal Communications Commission in a net neutrality battle royal before the D.C. Circuit. Next time, make FiOS work before trying to get a do-over on the way the internet runs. [New York Times]

* “I see my job as an air traffic controller. And I see an unending line of airplanes.” Federal judges are buckling under the heavy weight of their caseloads, and from the sound of it, they’re not at all happy about the situation. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* Which Biglaw firms strike the most fear into the hearts of their opponents when it comes to litigation? One firm got the boot from last year’s list, and we’ll have more on this later today. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* Duane Morris is the first U.S. firm to open an office in Myanmar on some prime real estate. Be jealous of their associates as they bask in the splendor of its beautiful architecture. [Philadelphia Business Journal]

* A trio of Quinn Emanuel partners, including John Quinn himself, teamed up to open a high-class sushi joint in L.A. If he waits tables, he’ll definitely need someone to break a hundred. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a former student’s suit against Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and now he’ll have to live with shame for all eternity after being branded a cheater. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* Strippers aren’t independent contractors, they’re employees entitled to minimum wage, says a judge. Taking off their clothes for only $7.25 an hour will do wonders for their self-esteem. [New York Daily News]

* Lady Gaga is being taken to trial over the wage-and-hour lawsuit filed by her former personal assistant. We wonder if the pop star will be as foul-mouthed on the stand as she was in her deposition. [ABC News]


Patricia A. Martone

“You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away — a man is not a piece of fruit.”

— Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (affiliate link)

Take this famous line and replace “man” with “law firm partner,” and you’ve captured the gist of the lawsuit against Ropes & Gray brought by Patricia Martone, who alleges age and sex discrimination by her former firm. (Martone, a former IP litigation partner at Ropes, is now a Morrison & Foerster partner.)

When I broke the news of this lawsuit back in 2011, I expected a speedy settlement. Would Ropes really want to go toe to toe with a pair of high-powered litigatrices, namely, Martone and her formidable employment lawyer, Anne Vladeck?

But here we are, two years later, and the battle rages on. Ropes has hired a third leading litigatrix to defend itself. Let’s learn the latest news….

(Note the multiple UPDATES at the end of this post.)

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Roppongi, Japan

* I’m not usually the editor to comment on the appearance of shirtless men, but this Aaron Tobey kid looks fine. And righteous. [Wired]

* That sound you hear could be the student loan bubble starting to burst. [FICO]

* The Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling will have an impact on immigration reform. I’m kind of interested to see what happens, given that the Court contains at least four conservatives who are immune to the rising electoral power of Hispanics and gays. [Buzzfeed]

* Recruiter Scott Love offers tips on lateral partner hiring. Here are mine. Step one: throw money at them. Step two: Hire a prostitute to make love to them on a beach, then take pictures you can threaten to send to their spouses. Hey, it worked for Bendini, Lambert and Locke. [Attorney Search Group]

* John Quinn (of Quinn Emanuel fame) wrote a great article about running in Roppongi. I had to Google that. Apparently “running” is a forward locomotion that people do for fun or fitness. [Wall Street Journal]

* There’s still room to meet with ABA president Laurel Bellows and talk about women’s issues like “how am I supposed to get a job in this f**king economy.” That’s not to be confused with men’s issues like “dude, how am I supposed to get a f**king job in this economy.” [Ms. J.D.]

* The fact that this guy got so drunk off of beer pong means he’s probably the best pong competitor who has ever lived. [New York Post]

* This is the best document review job ever. I’m not joking. Does $85/hour sound like a joke? You might need to learn Japanese, though. [Constitutional Daily]

* I wonder how this will affect the inevitable occasions on which I accidentally post drunken political rants on Above the Law’s Twitter feed. [Corporate Counsel]

* New York Times reporter David Segal has made major waves for criticizing law schools. Can other people make waves for criticizing David Segal? [Blueprint LSAT Preparation]

* Lat was on Minnesota Public Radio today giving a measured defense of unpaid internships. Kids at my high school were unpaid interns all the time. It was no big deal. (By the way, ATL is seeking a paid intern.) [Minnesota Public Radio]

* Baker Botts just elected a new managing partner. Congratulations to Andrew M. Baker! [Tex Parte Blog]

* Earlier today, the internet temporarily exploded when the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. Here are comments from David Boies and Ted Olson, the lawyer heavyweights who argued the case. [Metro Weekly]

* Mississippi’s “personhood” ballot measure could ban not only abortion, but birth control, too. This is supposed to “protect women.” Protect women from what, their right to choose? [Huffington Post]

* This defense attorney has seen plenty of big cases before, but this may be his biggest one yet. Paul Bergrin has been given the green light to represent himself in his own racketeering case. [The Record]

* More doctors are facing criminal charges than ever before. Here’s an idea: stop helping cultural icons (yes, this includes Anna Nicole) OD, and we’ll stop prosecuting you. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Raj Rajaratnam still has no idea why he’s been convicted of insider trading, but he’ll have plenty of time to ponder the law if he gets the maximum sentence later this month. [Bloomberg]

* “One of the plaintiffs, Kyle Rooker, 14, has not declared his sexual orientation but . . . likes to wear glittery scarves and belt out Lady Gaga songs.” Most fabulous plaintiff ever? [New York Times]

* Why the hell does Baker & McKenzie think that its associates in Japan need spiritual guidance? Everyone knows that lawyers have no souls. [Careerist]

On Tuesday, Ropes & Gray was sued in Manhattan federal court by a former partner, Patricia A. Martone. Martone’s lawsuit claims age discrimination, sex discrimination, retaliation, and interference with protected retirement benefits in violation of ERISA (the basis for federal jurisdiction in the S.D.N.Y.).

As you might expect from an ex-Ropes partner, Martone has some high-powered counsel: Anne Vladeck, one of New York’s top labor and employment lawyers, widely regarded as the queen of employment discrimination law. Vladeck famously (and successfully) represented Anucha Browne Sanders in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas and the Knicks.

Patricia Martone is a veteran intellectual-property litigatrix, a specialist in patent litigation, with almost 40 years of practice under her belt. She made partner at Fish & Neave, the well-known patent law firm, in 1983, and then became a Ropes partner in 2005, when Ropes absorbed Fish. She’s now a partner at Morrison & Foerster, which she joined in October 2010.

Why did she leave Ropes? Let’s have a look at Patricia Martone, and her lawsuit….

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* Is associate hiring bouncing back? Not so fast. [Young Lawyers Blog]

* Tape-recorded trash talk at the Raj Rajaratnam trial. [Dealbreaker]

* Here’s a good response to Mark Herrmann’s request for examples of crappy behavior by partners: “Miss a deadline, and then throw your secretary and associate under the bus when called out for it.” [South Florida Lawyers]

* Our tipster, a Georgetown Law alum, has the credited response: “[T]his must have been a GULC student mad he/she could have gone to Texas, gotten a 3500 sq foot wife and a Lexis, and graduated with the same presTTTige.” [Law Library Feedback Blog]

The Chicago River goes green on St. Patrick's Day.

* Law firms have been supporting Japan relief efforts (see here and here), but Felix Salmon urges you not to give money to Japan (or if you do donate to a relief organization, make sure your donation is unrestricted). [Reuters]

* Tax time is just a month away. What should be America’s top tax rate — 25 percent or 49 percent? [TaxProf Blog]

* This illustration of Justice Thurgood Marshall isn’t racist, is it? [Zoopreme Court]

* A Happy St. Patrick’s Day, from Elie — after the jump….

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On Tuesday we told you that McGuireWoods, Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Weil Gosthal were all contributing to the relief efforts under way in Japan. The response has been pretty great.

While some people seem to think Japan’s status as a rich nation means it doesn’t need any international aid, I don’t see how the country’s long-term ability to recover has anything to do with the immediate humanitarian crisis. Japan will undoubtedly be able to rebuild in the future, but its citizens need food and water today.

We’ve now received word that even more Biglaw firms are pitching in to do what they can. If you know of additional firms supporting relief efforts that we have not mentioned, please tell us in the comments to this post….

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