Milberg Weiss

* It’s springtime, and the nation’s highest court is getting ready to drop some of its biggest decisions yet. If Tolkien had written this, Justice Kennedy would be the one to bear the One Vote. [UPI]

* But for SCOTUS to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people, its justices must do battle against a “modern-day tsunami of special interests.” How well are they doing? [National Law Journal]

* To answer that question, let’s look at their record. Political labels aside, thus far, the Roberts court has shaped up to be “the most pro-business court since the mid-1930s.” [New York Times]

* Meanwhile, Justice Thomas has been busy taking shots at President Obama, noting that he always knew the first black president had to be pre-screened by “the elites” and “the media.” [Mother Jones]

* Sometimes even federal prosecutors are willing to take pity upon rich old white men: Mel Weiss, formerly of Milberg LLP, won’t be returning to jail after his foray into DUI territory. [Am Law Daily]

* “Chevron can afford to litigate this case ‘until hell freezes over.’ But [Steven] Donziger can’t.” As it turns out, clients who can’t pay their bills are problematic for John Keker of Keker & Van Nest. [Reuters]

* Penn State Law is continuing with its plans to fleece students at two separately accredited sites, because clearly what the world needs right now is MOAR LAW SCHOOLS. [Centre Daily Times]

Melvyn Weiss, founder of the famous (or infamous) plaintiffs’ firm Milberg LLP, and the man who put the “klass” in class action litigation, landed in hot water back in December when cops pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The 77-year-old lawyer was still serving out the last couple months of probation stemming from his 2008 guilty plea for paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. Now the judge is calling Mel Weiss back into court to figure out what to do about this violation of Weiss’s probation.

But in the meantime, we can get a giggle out of the alleged details of Weiss’s arrest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mel Weiss Learns You Can’t Say Your ABCs Without D, U, and I”

* “Beware of conservatives bearing gifts.” While there may be a federalism argument to be made in the DOMA case, it’s really about discrimination. It’s too bad some are afraid to stand up and say that. [Opinionator / New York Times]

* Sooo… was Melvyn Weiss, founder of Milberg LLP, really old, really drunk, or really old and drunk when he allegedly recited part of the alphabet as, “H, I, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, S, X, U, V, W, S, I, C”? [Am Law Daily]

* “Can’t fire me, I quit” moments are much better when they involve partners. Ogletree’s ex-VP was asked to leave over a dispute with another lawyer, so he resigned. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The U. of Arizona is thinking about lowering tuition by 11% for in-state students and 8% for out-of-state students. On behalf of your indebted students, MOAR doing and less thinking. [Arizona Republic]

* The only thing that’s worse than allegations of insider trading is having your ex-wife’s post-divorce suit reinstated. This is really the last thing Steve Cohen needs right now. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Earlier this week, Governor Chris Christie banned minors from using tanning beds without parental consent. Fare thee well, GTL. Young Jersey Shore wannabes must be weeping. [Clarion Ledger]

Last week, I headed downtown to meet with Stephen A. Weiss and Eric Jaso, partners at the Seeger Weiss litigation boutique. Weiss co-founded the firm with Christopher Seeger in 1999. Jaso, who just joined the firm from Stone & Magnanini, is a friend and former colleague of mine from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They kindly agreed to be interviewed about what it’s like to work at an elite, plaintiff-side litigation firm.

Here at Above the Law, we’ve always had strong coverage of the large, defense-oriented firms that collectively constitute Biglaw. In the past few years, however, we have dramatically expanded our offerings related to smaller law firms. We currently have three columnists — Brian Tannebaum, Tom Wallerstein, and Valerie Katz — writing in this space, in addition to the small-firm coverage generated by our other writers.

Consistent with this editorial expansion, I was eager to meet with Weiss and Jaso and hear about Seeger Weiss (which is relatively large for a plaintiffs’ firm, but small compared to a Biglaw firm). I’ve always wondered why more law school graduates don’t go into plaintiffs’ work and why we don’t hear about this side of practice as much. It can represent a chance to do well while also doing good, by vindicating victims’ rights or blowing the whistle on misconduct — especially in the qui tam practice area, a focus of Seeger Weiss.

Here’s what Weiss and Jaso had to say….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Portrait of a Plaintiffs’ Firm: Seeger Weiss”

No, not that gavel...

* Dewey retired partners with unfunded pensions get a seat at the table for this bankruptcy circus? Yeah, but only because the U.S. Trustee did something unheard of and appointed a committee of former partners as creditors. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yesterday was definitely a great day to be gay on the east coast. In addition to the First Circuit’s DOMA decision, a New York appellate court ruled that being called gay is no longer defamatory per se. [New York Law Journal]

* Milberg is the latest firm to dump Paul Ceglia of Facebook lawsuit fame, but Dean Boland, his other lawyer, says the Biglaw firm just “serve[d] as a distraction.” Somebody please give this man a dislike button. [Buffalo News]

* Humblebrag of the day by Judge Alsup of Oracle v. Google fame: he’s written lines of code “a hundred times before.” He also squashed Oracle’s API copyright infringement claims like bugs. [Courthouse News Service]

* Remember Kimberly Ireland, the Kansas attorney who falsely accused Judge Kevin Moriarty of waxing his gavel beneath the bench? She got a retroactive two-year suspension. [ABA Journal via Legal Profession Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren has confirmed that she told Harvard Law and Penn Law that she was a Native American, but only after she had been hired. She didn’t get any action of the affirmative variety, no sir. [Associated Press]

* Recent law school graduates are a little more desperate than we thought they were. At least 32 people have already applied for that BC Law job advertising a salary below minimum wage. [Boston Business Journal]

* Activision settled a lawsuit with two Call of Duty developers, but isn’t worried about an effect on its financials due to a strong third quarter performance. And you can thank your damn Elite packages for that. [PCMag]

* Due process, judicial process, yeah, yeah, same difference. Not so, says Attorney General Eric Holder — especially when it comes to assassinating killing Americans abroad. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Now that BP has settled claims made by private sector plaintiffs, state and federal government lawyers are getting ready to wait “months, not weeks” for their new trial date. [Financial Times]

* Newt Gingrich wants his “Eye of the Tiger” copyright infringement suit to be dismissed. Listen, judge, if he can’t play this song, we won’t get our moon base or cheaper gas. [The Caucus / New York Times]

* As if being a Mets fan wasn’t bad enough on its own, Judge Jed Rakoff has struck again. He refused to dismiss Irving Picard’s lawsuit, and now the team’s owners must go to trial over millions. [Businessweek]

* Lawyers from Milberg will be joining Paul Ceglia’s legal team. They must not have checked this dude’s Facebook timeline — this is the the fifth firm to sign up for a Gibson Dunn sucker punch. [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to a decision by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, Jared Loughner will continue to be forcibly medicated. What better way to restore him to competency than to shove pills down his throat? [Reuters]

Marc Dreier courtyard.jpgLaw professors generally don’t earn as much as Biglaw partners. Legal academic salaries, while generally in the low six-figures, rarely go over, say, $400,000.

But some law profs own very, very nice homes. See, e.g. (in descending order by value):

  • Columbia professor Hans Smit ($30 million mansion — yup, that’s seven zeros);
  • Yale professor James Whitman ($5.7 million co-op);
  • NYU professor Cathy Sharkey ($5.2 million apartment);
  • “Feldsuk,” aka Harvard professors Jeannie Suk, who has a new book out that looks quite interesting, and Noah Feldman ($2.8 million mansion);
  • Columbia professor Edward Morrison ($2.6 million townhouse); and
  • Columbia professor Sarah Cleveland ($2.5 million townhouse).

Sometimes the professors get financial assistance for these purchases from the schools that employ them. But sometimes the professors buy them on their own, without any university help.

For example, as reported in the New York Observer, Daniel Fischel, former dean of the University of Chicago Law School, just picked up an $8.45 million Manhattan pied-à-terre. As breathlessly described by writer Max Abelson, the apartment features “custom electric shades, a steam shower, and a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator.”

Sounds fabulous! Maybe Professor Fischel can donate a weekend in this apartment to the CLF public interest auction?

Fischel’s famous neighbors, plus the story of how he got this rich — being a law school dean pays well, but not that well — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Daniel Fischel’s Fabulous New Pad”

Milberg Weiss, the plaintiffs’ class-action mill currently under federal indictment, continues its swift disintegration. Here’s the latest news:

Indicted law firm Milberg Weiss has lost another partner. Christopher Jones announced Friday he’s leaving the firm’s Boca Raton office to join Saxena White.

Right now you’re scratching your head: “Saxena White, Saxena White… Didn’t I see one of her films when I took that due diligence trip to South Dakota, and stayed in the motel with the vibrating bed?”

But no, Saxena White isn’t a porn star — it’s a law firm:

[The] firm was founded last month by former Milberg partner Maya Saxena and associate Joseph White, who left a few weeks after the firm’s May 18 indictment.

Perhaps they split off from Milberg and started their own shop to avoid criminal liability. Or maybe they wanted a shot at winning Above the Law’s first annual contest for “Law Firm That Sounds Most Like a Porn Name.”

Milberg Weiss Watch: From Four Offices to Two [WSJ Law Blog]