Quinn Emanuel

anna nicole smith.jpgDespite her death back in February 2007, Anna Nicole Smith (aka Vickie Lynn Marshall) continues to make headlines. From the Ninth Circuit comes bad news for her former lawyer (and lover) Howard K. Stern, and her daughter, Daniellynn. From E! Online:

[A court] said today that the estate of Anna Nicole Smith is not entitled to the $300 million-plus judgment previously awarded from her late oil tycoon hubby’s billion-dollar estate.

The court battle over Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II’s millions has been ongoing since 1995.

You can download the opinion from the Ninth Circuit here [PDF]. You’ll see a familiar name on the list of counsel.

Kathleen Sullivan, new name partner at Quinn Emanuel, filed an amicus brief in the case for the Washington Legal Foundation, arguing in support of the decision by the Texas probate court that originally denied Smith’s claim to Marshall’s $1.6 billion fortune.

This could make for an appropriate last act in the forthcoming Anna Nicole Smith opera.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Dechert partner G. Eric Brunstad, the veteran Supreme Court litigator who represented the victorious estate of Pierce Marshall in this case. (Brunstad was also Lat’s bankruptcy law professor at Yale.)

Remember All Those Millions? Anna Nicole’s Estate Can Kiss ‘Em Bye-Bye [E! Online]
SF Appeals Court Denies Anna Nicole Smith Estate’s Claim To Millions [KTVU]
In re: VICKIE LYNN MARSHALL, Debtor. ELAINE T. MARSHALL v. HOWARD K. STERN
[U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit]

A question started percolating around the ATL offices this morning (your ATL editors do work out of an office, at least since our moms kicked us out of the basement): Is Kathleen Sullivan the FIRST female named partner in the Am Law 100?

We figured that surely there was at least one other firm that had a female partner with her name in lights. But we’ve thought about it, conferred with the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and googled around a little, and so far we’ve come up empty.

According to a spokesperson from Quinn Emanuel, Kathleen Sullivan is the Alpha female of the Am Law 100:

We believe she is the first female partner to be a named partner in the Am Law 100.

Is this possible? Were all of the top 100 firms named after old white men until today? All of them?

If you know of an exception, send us an email or put it in the comments. Please tell us that we didn’t have to wait until 2010 to cross this threshold. Regardless, we’re always happy to see a woman on top.

Earlier: CHECK YOU FIRM NAME: Quinn Emanuel Adds Kathleen Sullivan to the Stationery

An ATL favorite, Quinn Emanuel, is making a change to its firm name. From the Quinn press release:

John B. Quinn announced today that the firm he and Eric Emanuel founded 25 years ago will change its name, and henceforth be known as Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. The decision to add Kathleen M. Sullivan as a name partner was made in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the firm and the profession. Sullivan is a partner in the firm’s New York City office and heads the firm’s national appellate practice.

Congratulations to former Stanford Law School dean Sullivan.

Of course, now that she’s a name partner, we are eagerly awaiting for the ATL community to honor Kathleen Sullivan with her own meme. John Quinn doesn’t use capital letters. Bill Urquhart … really likes capital letters. We can’t wait to see what Sullivan comes up with.

Read the full press release, plus an UPDATE with some observations from Lat, after the jump.

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Lawyer of the Year 2009 AboveTheLaw blog Above the Law ATL.jpgThanks to everyone who submitted possible nominees for our Lawyer of the Year award. We reviewed your 160+ comments and developed a slate of ten worthy candidates.

Before we reveal them, we’ll talk about a few folks we passed over. A number of you suggested Mike Leach, the lawyer turned football coach who was recently fired by Texas Tech University. Although Leach’s achievements on the gridiron are considerable, he’s more of a football figure than a legal figure, so he didn’t make the team.

A few of the lawyers you suggested, while certainly well-known, really belong to years prior to 2009. These include former New York governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace after his dalliances with prostitutes came to light; former administrative law judge Roy Pearson, of the infamous $54 million (originally $67 million) pants lawsuit; and prominent IP litigator Jeremy Pitcock.

Also named: Kathy Henry, a former Legal Secretary of the Day, whose alleged oversight could have cost PepsiCo a pretty penny — over a billion dollars (until the default judgment was vacated). But since she’s a legal secretary rather than a lawyer (or even a law student), we passed her over.

So who made the cut? Check out the nominees and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

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Ed. note: This post has been updated from the original version. Please see below.

The only thing worse than being tied to your BlackBerry at all hours is missing something important because you were not tied to your BlackBerry the hour you were needed.

Wait, this just in. There is something worse than missing a crucial request because you weren’t checking your BlackBerry. That would be when the partner you are working for emails all of the firm’s associates reminding them to compulsively check their BlackBerries because of your mistake.

Welcome to the world of a Quinn Emanuel associate. The associate apparently didn’t send a fax because he hadn’t been checking emails after business hours. QE partner Bill Urquhart decided to use the incident as a teaching moment for the entire firm….

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Quinn logo.jpgYou see partners spinning off from bigger firms to start their own shops all the time. We’ve covered some of these high-profile partners that are still taking the risk during the recession, like the Skadden partners who formed BuckleySandler, or the Boies, Schiller partners who formed Stone & Magnanini.

But starting your own firm isn’t the exclusive domain of partners. Associates start their own shops all the time, even in this market. Last week, we learned that two Quinn Emanuel associates were taking the plunge and forming their own firm, Colt Wallerstein LLP:

Colt Wallerstein is founded by Doug Colt and Tom Wallerstein, two former Quinn Emanuel attorneys. Claude Stern, the managing partner of Quinn’s Silicon Valley office, said of the pair: “For years, I have worked closely with both Doug and Tom. I have trusted them with my clients’ most sensitive information and they have excelled in managing complex, sophisticated, and difficult commercial litigation. Doug and Tom are terrific, client-focused lawyers with a keen sense of the practical.”

These two attorneys weren’t laid off from Quinn. They say they were on partnership track at a firm where profits per partner march ever upwards. So you have to ask, “Why the hell would you leave a stable, well-paying job in the middle of a recession? Do you also enjoy looking gift horses in the mouth?”

After the jump, Wallerstein answers some of our questions.

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For whatever reason, Quinn Emanuel — the highly prestigious, super-profitable litigation powerhouse, with offices in California and New York — has received a disproportionate amount of coverage here at ATL. As we previously wrote, “we have a lot of tipsters over there. It seems that QE associates love to talk about their firm, for good or ill.”

And it’s not just associates. Last night we received an email from John Quinn, the “legal titan” and “known litigation genius” who founded Quinn Emanuel. In his long and detailed email, Mr. Quinn addresses several of the criticisms of QE that have surfaced on ATL. This was our favorite part:

it has been suggested that i do not use capital letters in my typing in an effort to be “cool.” i am not cool; wish i was, but after 56 years i don’t think it is going to happen. the fact is i am not coordinated enough to hit the shift button with one hand and a letter with the other.

Check out his complete email — in which he addresses a whole host of topics, including billables, bonuses, partnership decisions, partner compensation, and even office supplies — after the jump.

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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe fall recruiting process. Some firms mess things up; some firms live it up.

We’re hearing through the grapevine that this year, for students at schools with late on-campus interview weeks, Quinn Emanuel isn’t doing the whole callbacks-at-their-offices thing. Instead, they’re inviting the students they like in the on-campus interviews on a weekend trip at a resort in Deer Valley, Utah, to get a better feel for the firm and its attorneys.

Apparently former Stanford dean Kathleen Sullivan will be on the trip, to make a pitch to the students. There will also be DVDs with virtual tours of the offices, in case some interviewees want to know what their office would look like if they chose to work there.

It appears that Quinn is trying this out as a pilot program this year, with the late OCI schools (e.g., Harvard, Chicago, Yale). If it works well, then they might expand its use.

This strikes us as a cool and fabulous junket. But on the other hand, maybe people wouldn’t want to spend this much time on an extended callback. Thoughts?

UPDATE (9/13/07): More details about the experiment are available here.

bar exam failures famous failed bar exam Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Yesterday we wrote about Paulina Bandy, that poor creature who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before finally passing it on try #14. Her story seems to have freaked out some of you who are sitting for the bar exam later this month next week.

Relax. Take a deep breath. You won’t wind up in a 365-square-foot shack in your mom’s backyard. We think.

Chances are, you will pass. And even if you fail the bar once or twice, you’re still not on your way towards Paulina Bandy-dom.

As it turns out, a number of well-known individuals — some famous for their accomplishments in law, and others for different reasons — didn’t pass the bar on the first (or even second) try.

To get the ball rolling, here’s a short list of a few bar exam failures. Check it out, after the jump.

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100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIn light of the recent debut of Skaddenfreude, ATL’s column chronicling attorney compensation, it’s a neat coincidence that the New York Times has an entire article discussing compensation for first-year associates at major law firms.

We’ll get to that article in just a second. First, though, a brief amendment to our prior Skaddenfreude request. We received this thoughtful email from a reader:

is it too late to add a line for hours billed? that would add more of an element of schadenfreude too, don’t you think? this is more like freudenskadden — feeling sick about how much more money they make.

Good point. We stand corrected! So yes, in your Skaddenfreude submissions — we’ve received a bunch already, thanks, keep ‘em coming — please include your annual billable hours (either an estimate of this year’s or last year’s actual).

If you’re not a law firm attorney, feel free to include an estimate of how many hours you work in a year. If you’re a legal academic, throw in some bragging about how you make six-figures, or close to it, for only nine months of work.

Okay, that’s the Skaddenfreude amendment. Now, on to discussion of the Times piece — after the jump.

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