Shutdown

* The fiscal impasse in our nation’s capital is over! The government shutdown is over! Obamaphones for everyone!!!!! [Washington Post]

* Tim Geithner was recently deposed as part of a lawsuit alleging that the government bailout of AIG was unconstitutional. Muammar Gaddafi was less recently deposed as part of a coup alleging that his female bodyguards were unconstitutionally sexy. [Fox Business]

* Berkeley Bird Beheader begins boot bivouac. [Fox5 Vegas via Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Cory Booker (Yale Law ’97) won a Senate seat last night, promptly bumping Lat from the cover of the next Yale Law alumni magazine. It was the Halloween issue — the annual Boo Haven edition. [ABC News]

* Mark Cuban was acquitted of insider trading charges yesterday. In related news, this basset hound loves fans. [CBS News]

* Brooklyn Law faces a possible debt downgrade from Standard & Poor’s. The school’s unemployed graduates, substandard and poor, have yet to weigh in. [Crain's New York Business]

* In other law school news, Chicago-Kent announces an interesting new initiative (with a Whopper of a name). [IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (press release)]

Your Above the Law editors are making like Mr. Smith and going to Washington. This week we’re hosting not one but two excellent events in our nation’s capital (both free and open to the public):

  • On Wednesday night (tomorrow night), we’re hosting a trivia night for our law student readers. To get the details and to RSVP, please click here (and scroll down to the RSVP form). Please note that trivia participation is not required; you can simply come for the food, drink, and company (of your ATL editors and other D.C.-area law students).
  • On Thursday night, we’re hosting a reception and SCOTUS preview with noted Supreme Court advocate and analyst Tom Goldstein. To get the details and to RSVP, please click here (and scroll down to the RSVP form).

If the government shutdown is still in effect, some of you won’t have to get up early the next day, so it’s a great time for weeknight socializing. We hope to see you at one or both of these events.

(Thanks to our friends at Kaplan Bar Review for sponsoring the trivia night and Access Data for sponsoring the SCOTUS preview.)

Earlier: D.C. Is Shut Down, Seems Like A Perfect Time To Have A Party
Join ATL For A SCOTUS Preview With Tom Goldstein

Novus Law School’s epitaph?

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow.

* Justice stops for no one, not even a broken Congress. With the end of days approaching quickly for federal courts in terms of funding (or the lack thereof), many judges are lashing out and declaring all their employees essential. [National Law Journal]

* Legal expenses can be especially “painful,” even for the biggest of banks, but sadist firms like Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss, and WilmerHale are really getting their rocks off on Jamie Dimon’s suffering. [DealBook / New York Times]

* DLA Piper’s future’s so bright it’s got to wear shades — and appoint a new co-managing partner in New York City, its largest office. Congratulations to Richard Hans, you’ve co-made it! [New York Law Journal]

* “It’s not just about me.” Jim Tanner, a Williams & Connolly partner who represents Jeremy Lin, is leaving the firm to start his own sports management business, and he’s taking people with him. [Bloomberg]

* “I have no apologies to make about anything I did.” Steven Donziger of Chevron/Ecuador infamy will be defending himself in court this week in what’s being called a legal cage match. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Touro is asking a judge to declare the school a diploma mill.” Irony alert: Touro wants Novus University Law School, a school supposedly conferring “worthless law degrees,” to be stopped. [New York Post]

* If you think SCOTUS abused its discretion in the early abortion cases, you’re going to love this book (affiliate link), a “cautionary tale” about consequences of decisions like Roe v. Wade. [Wall Street Journal]

* Justice Anthony Kennedy doesn’t think that law school should be shortened to two years, but he does think that the “cost factor has to be addressed.” Somebody really ought to listen to this man and give his words some credence. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Let’s give Lady Justice a big round of applause, because the federal judiciary announced that it’s got enough cash on hand to keep things running until October 17, two whole days more than originally planned. Cherish the small things. [Blog of Legal Times]

* If Biglaw firms don’t adapt to the changing times, they may soon go the way of the dodo — or, to be a little more relevant to large law firms, they may soon go the way of the Dewey. Scary. [American Lawyer]

* Gov. Chris Christie’s administration appealed a judge’s denial of a stay on a ruling allowing gay marriages to be performed within the state. Please try to stay Jersey Strong and fabulous through this. [USA Today]

* Law review? More like flaw review, amirite? Apparently there’s a big problem with law review articles, and it’s not just that they’re incredibly boring and wind up in books that are never read. [National Law Journal]

With the continuing partial government shutdown and the shaky rollout of Obamacare, the issue of health insurance has never been such a central and divisive topic in the national conversation. Surely there are thousands of unemployed or temping JDs who are entering the brave new world of insurance exchanges and its attendant “hiccups.” In a development that perhaps should alarm the lowest-paid support staffers at law firms, some corporations appear poised to drop “bare bones” health-care benefits altogether for low-wage employees in favor of directing such employees to the new state exchanges.

Of course, for the lawyers at firms, such developments concerning the exchanges are essentially an abstract issue. That is not to say that attorney benefits packages are not subject to “new normal” economic pressures, or that the ultimate effect of the Affordable Care Act on private health insurance packages is unknowable. As noted here way back in 2009, some firms have added health care cost clawbacks to their expense-cutting repertoire of layoffs and pay cuts. Many associates have found themselves, post-Recession, with higher premiums and deductibles and thus, a de facto salary cut. Comparing salaries and bonuses across law firms overlooks the element of health insurance costs, about which there is no equivalent transparency. Undoubtedly there are significant variations across firms in this area, and some firms that appear to pay “market” aren’t quite doing so in light of their requiring a larger fraction of health care premiums. These variations inevitably distort direct comparisons.

We’d like to bring some transparency to this topic — but we need your help….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Biglaw Health Insurance Premium Increases Really Stealth Pay Cuts?”

It is time to tell Congress to go to hell. It’s the right thing to do.

– The eminently quotable Judge Richard G. Kopf, in a blog post urging the federal courts to declare all employees “essential” to keep the judiciary running despite the crippling government shutdown.

Oyez, oyez, oyez! It’s the first week of October.

* Say what you will about Justice Scalia, but the man is hilarious — more funny than his four liberal colleagues combined, according to a statistical analysis of oral argument recordings. [New York Times]

* The government shutdown is slowing down the judicial confirmation process, already famous for its speed and efficiency. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* More about news for Steven Donziger in his long-running battle with Chevron. Maybe it’s time to surrender, Steve? I hear Ecuador is a great place to retire. [New York Law Journal]

* Law firm merger mania continues, as Carlton Fields combines with Jorden Burt. [Carlton Fields (press release)]

* Herbert Smith Freehills says “you’re hired” to Scott Balber, the lawyer for Donald Trump who got mocked by Bill Maher on national television. [The Lawyer]

* You might see your dog as harmless and cuddly, but the law might see your dog as a weapon (and rightfully so, in my opinion). [New York Times via ABA Journal]

* Congratulations to all the winners of the FT’s Innovative Lawyers awards. [Financial Times]

* And congratulations to Heidi Wendel and Deirdre McEvoy, high-ranking government lawyers headed to Jones Day and Patterson Belknap, respectively. [New York Law Journal]

* Today the Supreme Court will hear argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, a major campaign finance case that some are calling “the next Citizens United.” Check out an interview with one of the lawyers behind it, after the jump. [UCTV]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 10.08.13″

I nearly did not write this post this week. (I’ll pause while some of you wish that ‘nearly’ weren’t a part of that sentence.) I started the week with a mild toothache. By the time I reached my dentist on Tuesday morning, that niggling pain had bloomed into an infection that spread from my tooth to my jaw bone to the soft tissue of my face. Despite oral penicillin (and Vicodin!), I developed a high fever, the left side of my face swelled to grotesque proportions, and my jaw seized shut. I ended up in an ER on IV antibiotics.

While portions of the federal government ground to a halt due to insufficient funds, I held ice packs to my head and prayed quiet prayers about septicemia and the relative impermeability of the blood-brain barrier. Vaguely, in the background, I knew Congress and the president were arguing about health care. About funding the PPACA. Obamacare.

My heart goes out to folks harmed by the federal government shut-down this week. I also agree with those who are dismayed that Capitol Hill can’t reach a consensus sufficient to end the current crisis. It’s their job to find workable agreements, after all. That much, I hope most of us can agree on. Since we’re not here to agree, let’s talk a bit about Obamacare, the source of this week’s trouble in Washington . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Democracy Hurts: The Painful But Legitimate Debate Over Obamacare”

* How lucky for us that the Senate decided to avoid a government shutdown, but the third time is not the charm when it comes to the taxpayers’ money. [New York Times]

* Did DSK get a blowie in his official capacity as Managing Director of the IMF? That might be what he has to say if he wants diplomatic immunity. [Washington Post]

* Law school applications are down 9.9 percent. It’s too bad that even a nosedive like that isn’t stopping law schools from increasing incoming class sizes. [StarTribune]

* Charlie Sheen settled his lawsuit against Warner Bros. Screw Two and a Half Men; we all know he’d rather have two and a half grams. [Bloomberg]

* Women in Saudi Arabia now have the right to vote, but they’ll have to walk to the polls. They’ll remain backseat drivers until further notice, just like in America. [WSJ Law Blog]

Although this could change, right now it looks like the federal government is about to shut down (for the first time in 15 years). Here’s an open thread for discussion.

Speaking of shutting down, we’re done for the day. To learn about how the courts and the Department of Justice will (or won’t) be affected by the shutdown, check out the excellent links collected below.

UPDATE: A compromise deal has been reached, averting a shutdown. Yay!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Government Shutdown: Open Thread”