Paul Hastings

Which law firms are the best law firms to work for? The ones that pay salaries (ideally in excess of $10,000 a year). In a still-challenging job market, law students and young lawyers will generally work for whichever law firm will have them.

But some prospective employees of Biglaw have the luxury of choosing between multiple employers. And for these privileged and talented few, things like quality of life — to the extent that one can have a quality of life, or a life at all, while toiling away at a top firm — do matter.

Last month, our friends at Vault issued their closely watched Vault 100 rankings, ordering the nation’s major law firms by perceived prestige. Now they’ve followed them up with their annual “quality of life” rankings, expressed as a list of the best law firms to work for.

Which firms made the top ten?

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Even Lance Armstrong reads ATL.

* As it’s told, the Supreme Court never leaks, but two sources who were close to the Affordable Care Act deliberations thought this tidbit was worth sharing with the public. Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts isn’t so noble after all, because he was originally batting for the conservatives. [CBS News]

* In fact, many are comparing Chief Justice Roberts to Chief Justice Marshall, but Professor John Yoo thinks he’s more comparable to Chief Justice Hughes, in that he “sacrificed the Constitution’s last remaining limits on federal power for very little.” Ohh, sick burn. [Wall Street Journal]

* The Department of Justice will not be filing a criminal contempt case against Attorney General Eric Holder, despite Congress’s seal of approval. Alas, if looks like you need to do a little bit more than piss off a few legislators to get prosecuted for a criminal offense. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Is fear of accidental spittle from a close talker enough to warrant slapping a Biglaw partner in the face? Yup, and it seems it’s even cause to file a lawsuit with allegations of slander and assault. [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]

* A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new law that could have shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. It’s refreshing to know the judicial system is willing to bring out the kid in you. [Washington Post]

* What do you do when the U.S Anti-Doping Agency has filed formal charges against you? Take to Twitter and link to an ATL post about one of the anonymous Review Board member’s pervy predilections. [ABC News]

* “It was an accident, it was an accident, it was an accident.” That may be the case, but much like your law school loan debt, you can’t take it back. Jason Bohn was arraigned for murder. [New York Post]

As we mentioned earlier today, retired partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf received some potentially good news. These former partners, whose unfunded pensions were supposed to be funded out of firm profits, will have a voice in the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings. As reported by the WSJ Law Blog and Am Law Daily, the U.S. trustee’s office has appointed an official committee of former partners (in addition to the standard official committee of unsecured creditors). The four ex-partners on the committee are David Bicks, Cameron MacRae, John Kinzey, and John Campo.

What prompted the move? As legal consultant Edwin Reeser, whose analysis of the Dewey situation recently appeared in these pages, told the WSJ, “The retired partners have uniquely separate interests which warrant consideration as a special class of creditors.”

It’s nice that they have a seat at the table, but will the ex-partners end up with any money at the end of the process? That’s less clear. As Jerome Kowalski, another law firm consultant, told the Journal, “There has never been a law firm bankruptcy that resulted in any payment being made to the equity partners… They’ll have zero sway other than perhaps some moral imperatives, and moral imperatives don’t have much play in bankruptcy courts.”

The unsecured creditors might have more luck than the former partners. Who’s on the unsecured creditors’ committee?

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Since our Friday photo essay on Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once-proud law firm that probably isn’t long for this world, numerous other outlets have produced some excellent Dewey coverage. We mentioned two of the pieces, about partner problems and unpaid janitors’ bills, in today’s Morning Docket.

It’s interesting to see how the pace of the Dewey story is shifting. We’re moving from the breathless breaking of news into a period of longer pieces focused on analysis and narrative. This makes sense, given that most of the major events have already transpired (with the exception of formalities that will be big news if and when they do occur — e.g., an official vote of dissolution, a filing of bankruptcy, etc.).

So let’s do a more comprehensive review of the latest Dewey stories from around the web. We bring you more theories of blame, more partner departures, and more revelations about the personal life of former chairman Steven H. Davis….

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In terms of firm finances, Paul Hastings had a perfectly decent 2011. Revenue and profits were fairly stable, according to Am Law Daily. Gross revenue fell by 2 percent to $884 million, and profits per partner fell by 1.3 percent to about $1.97 million. On the brighter side, revenue per lawyer surpassed the $1 million mark for the first time, hitting $1.01 million.

So how are those revenue-generating worker bees being compensated? Bonuses are out at Paul Hastings. How are PH associates reacting?

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I’m a man who likes to drink. In public. Often to the point of intoxication. So I’m not here to judge anybody who goes out and gets drunk. I’m not a hypocrite.

But I will say that it’s been a while since I went out on an epic bender. Something about getting older. You just feel the vomitous black-out coming on and it’s hard to push beyond that barrier.

Well, it’s hard for me. Maybe not so much for Laura L. Flippin. She’s a lawyer, a partner at DLA Piper. The Washington Post reports that last month she got charged with public intoxication.

The police report states that Laura Flippin’s blood alcohol level was .253, which is flippin’ epic…

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think that it’s wrong to brag about receiving an offer in front of your friends, family, and total strangers. I personally subscribe to the Major League theory that you don’t want to be dancing in front of somebody who just died, but I understand that most of the kids these days have never even seen the movie I just referenced.

For the millennials, bragging comes so naturally they don’t even realize when they’re doing it. It’s like their biological imperatives are to survive, reproduce, and post evidence of it on Facebook.

Which is fine. I mean, just because somebody is bragging doesn’t mean you have to care. For instance, today we’ve got a kid bragging about getting an offer from a particular Biglaw firm. Some people will be envious; other people are going to make jokes about coat hangers. To each his own….

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During 2011, Paul Hastings has been picking up partners. We previously mentioned their acquiring two prominent leveraged finance lawyers, Michael Michetti and Rich Farley, from Cahill Gordon. Additional hires, including Michael Baker from Shearman & Sterling and Steven Park from Finnegan Henderson, are listed on the PH website.

Like any large firm, however, Paul Hastings loses partners too. We’ve just learned of two partners who are ankling PH for Nixon Peabody.

Let’s find out who they are, get the backstory on their departures, and also obtain the 411 on some PH staff layoffs….

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(Plus Paul Hastings staff layoffs.)

Juliette Youngblood and Morgan Chu

Last month, Juliette Youngblood, an ex-partner at the elite California law firm of Irell & Manella, filed suit against her former firm. In her lawsuit for sex discrimination and wrongful termination, Youngblood advanced a whole host of salacious allegations — including a report of sexual harassment by Morgan Chu, arguably the nation’s #1 intellectual-property litigator.

Irell did not respond to the lawsuit at the time. Now it has, in a blistering 22-page filing that calls Youngblood’s claims “meritless” and “utterly false, complete fabrications manufactured out of whole cloth.”

What does the firm have to say about the specific claims made by Youngblood — such as the allegation that a drunken Morgan Chu made inappropriate and offensive comments to her at a firm happy hour, including remarks about her physical appearance and about “objects entering [Youngblood's] body”?

And what do ATL sources, including readers familiar with both Youngblood and Irell, think of the situation?

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Firm denies claims and moves for arbitration.

When I was in Biglaw, I always dreamed of taking part in a beauty contest. I do not really understand how it goes down, but it sounded very exciting (at least more than my fifty-state-survey.) According to YouTube, it looks something like this.

When I went to the small firm, I did not hear mention of beauty contests. Clients mostly came through referrals, and any client pitches were much more informal. For instance, I heard a story about two partners trying to get an FLSA class action, so they went to the employer’s factory and donned the poultry processor workers’ uniforms (and perhaps touched some chicken parts going down the conveyor belt). Unlike the stories of the Biglaw beauty contests, there were not lawyer teams from several other small firms lined up in their chicken-suits.

If a team from Skadden or Sidley were lined up in chicken-garb, however, how would the small-firm attorneys best position themselves to win the contest? I asked some Biglaw-turned-small-firm attorneys for their best tips….

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