New York City

Kim Kardashian

* Deborah Batts, the first openly gay judge to serve on the federal bench, got married this weekend. We hope she doesn’t become the first openly gay federal judge to get divorced. [New York Times]

* Things are getting hairy for Kim Kardashian, and not just because she’s Armenian. A hair removal company is suing her, saying she’s lying about how she gets all of that hair off her body. [Fox News]

* Lori David: she’s every teenage boy’s dream, and every mother’s nightmare. A hot Texas mom has been banned from the internet after sexting naked pictures to her son’s friend. [Daily Mail]

Let’s see what else the ladies are up to this morning….

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Is $160,000 a 'garbage' salary?

There’s an interesting post up on Constitutional Daily by The Philadelphia Lawyer. It’s a repack from a 2007 article arguing that salaries for first-year associates should go up to $190,000 a year.

And he’s right.

I know, I know — most Americans are still feeling the effects of a terrible economy. Occupy Wall Street is about to take pitchforks to those who are well-off in this country. Yada, yada, we’ll get back to the very sad story of America momentarily.

But you know who has done well over the last five years or so? Law firms. Especially Biglaw firms. Especially partners at Biglaw firms. Just look at the Am Law reports on profits per partner and revenue per lawyer. Firms are making money, more than they were in 2007.

Yet the associate salary scale hasn’t seen a raise for almost five years. And bonuses are down compared to 2007. Is it time for firms to start sharing the wealth?

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I’m starting to think that staff attorneys are being discriminated against because they are staff attorneys.

Today Thomson Reuters reports that a racial discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Quinn Emanuel by a former staff attorney. The plaintiff, who is African-American, claims that she was given less desirable work than her white colleagues and that she was forced to work with a person she “feared,” as retaliation for complaining about her treatment at the firm.

I’m not sure if racism really fits into Quinn’s work hard/play hard firm culture. I feel like the only color Quinn cares about is green, as in, “You’ve billed a ton of hours today despite being all kinds of hungover, I think you’re turning green”….

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The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has produced an extremely useful chart for people trying to figure out where to start their Biglaw careers. They’ve listed the cities that give you the most bang for your buck if you land a high paying Biglaw job.

And boy, are New York City associates going to feel stupid.

The NALP “buying power index” sets New York as the baseline. It takes the median starting salary for the class of 2010 and the NYC cost of living index and sets that figure at 1.00. Cities with a better purchasing power than NYC have a value greater than 1.00.

New York ranks #42.

Most of the high-ranking cities also have the benefit of warmth….

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Biglaw bucks can bring the bling.

Some people just can’t stay out of our pages. Back in 2008, we wrote about Ira J. Schacter, a prominent corporate partner and major rainmaker at Cadwalader. Schacter earned Lawyer of the Day honors after he was accused of beating his wife. (He claimed he acted in self-defense and was ultimately cleared of the charges.)

Well, today Ira Schacter is back in the news. He’s accused of refusing to pay for his teen daughter’s $12,000 hearing aids, while dropping $215,000 on a diamond engagement ring for his Playboy-bunny fiancée. If true, that’s pretty shoddy behavior — the very embodiment of cheapness, from a big-time Biglaw partner who can easily afford twelve grand.

But I know what you’re all wondering right now: “How hot is that Playboy-model fiancée?”

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Last month, there was some controversy out in California about public nudity. In San Francisco, it’s totally legal to prance around naked all day long, but local nudists were upset when they found out they might soon be forced to put down a towel before sitting buck-ass-naked on public seats.

Now a similar controversy has traveled to New York — not over increased restrictions on nudity, but whether there can be public nudity at all. Holly Van Voast, a 45-year-old activist for the cause, has had her fair share to say about it. And by “say,” I of course mean “show.”

Van Voast has grinned and bared it all — in Times Square, on the Staten Island Ferry, and most recently, in the middle of Grand Central Station. One of these public displays of middle-aged nudity landed her in Midtown Community Court yesterday, where the naked truth was revealed….

WARNING: A photo of a topless Van Voast — tastefully redacted, of course — appears after the jump. If you can’t handle it, or if you’re not in a place where you can view a (tastefully redacted) photo of a topless woman, please stop reading here.

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Reading the Wall Street Journal would probably be better than occupying the street itself.

No mob has ever changed the course of history. I’m sure we can all point out some famous mobs, but if you look beyond rabble, there is always a smart person or organization who knows how to use and manipulate the mob in order to make it an agent of change. French people organized in the streets a lot, and it took a Robespierre to turn them into a revolution. Angry poor white people have been ridiculously pissed off since the Civil Rights movement, and it took a Grover Norquist to turn that passion into an anti-tax platform that’s against the economic interest of the very mob that advocates it.

For the last two weeks, the Occupy Wall Street people have been a mob — a leaderless, unfocused, and harmless mob. They’re not even violent. And so they are (for some) easy to dismiss, ignore, and deride.

The lawyers in the audience should be thankful for that. Because if this collection of people could get their act together, they wouldn’t be occupying Wall Street. They’d be occupying K Street. They’d be occupying First Street. They’d be sitting in the lobby of the Lipstick Building or the Death Star asking questions of the people who help “the banks” get around any regulation the overmatched SEC can come up with.

The Occupy Wall Street people have no frame of reference; they’re like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know… look, they’re just out of their element….

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A week or two ago, someone asked us why we use Fordham Law as our personal punching bag. We don’t. The school just provides us with great fodder to write about. Yeah, we might joke about graduates of Fordham being homeless, but some law students at the school are actually trying to help the less fortunate. You know, the thing that lawyers are supposed to do?

Take, for example, Michael Zimmerman. He’s a current 3L at Fordham Law who founded a farm-share program called Farm to Fordham. Amazingly, we’re not talking about a Facebook program. Zimmerman did this in real life. For a small fee each semester, students, faculty, and staff were able to purchase a share of fresh produce from a farm in central New York. Nearly 100 pounds of vegetables were donated to a local soup kitchen with every delivery. The program was so successful that even Michael Martin, the dean of Fordham Law, had enrolled as a member.

This sounds like a wonderful program, right? A future lawyer was supporting his community with a laudable service project. That’s probably why Fordham University decided to shut it down….

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Gregory Berry

Kasowitz Benson comes to bury Berry, not to praise him. The firm has moved to dismiss the $77 million lawsuit filed against it by Gregory S. Berry, the former first-year associate at Kasowitz who claimed that the firm wrongfully terminated his employment due to its inability to handle his “superior legal mind.” Berry also alleged fraud, breach of contract, and a host of other claims.

On Wednesday, Kasowitz Benson filed its motion to dismiss Gregory Berry’s complaint, accompanied by a 22-page memorandum of law. The firm’s brief is fairly straightforward, advancing the arguments you’d expect it to make.

But there are a few fun tidbits here and there. Let’s have a look, shall we?

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Image via Getty

Yesterday, we (and every other media outlet) ran our solemn 9/11 remembrance post. In general, I thought the media handled the day fine. I thought the NFL handled it in an unseemly “Are we not RESPECTFUL” fashion, and don’t even get me started on the companies who used 9/11 to push their products. I thought it was assumed that most companies were against global terrorism but until the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed, I wasn’t sure. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t have the Miller High Life guy busting into a cave and taking away a case of non-alcoholic beer from a terrorist.

In any event, today will be the predictable day where the media now takes a closer look at the aftermath of 9/11. And by “closer look,” I mean “report on everything that’s gone horribly wrong since 9/11.”

Gawker already got that ball rolling. I’ve got a really heartwarming story from a law firm that I want to share before I “take a closer look” at the week after 9/11….

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