Skadden

* J’Accuse…! The S.E.C. has, so far, been operating on a Lone Frenchman theory in regard to mortgage securities fraud at Goldman Sachs. [New York Times]

* This article suggests that the dumb question of the 21st century is “Is it legal?” I suggest the honor go to “F**king magnets, how do they work?” [CBS News]

* Arizona is suing the Justice Department over the Notorious P.O.T. [WSJ Law Blog]

* DLA Piper and Skadden were instrumental in bringing a hockey team back to Winnipeg. Winnipeg! Hockey! Here’s a baby panda! [Am Law Daily]

* The woman who accused two New York cops of raping her released a statement yesterday. [New York Post]

* Joran van der Sloot’s attorney has van der quit. The case. It’s a play on his name. Van der quit. [CNN]

It’s not just the federal government that’s desperate for money. The states are, too.

One way that states are looking to fill their coffers is by auditing unclaimed property on companies’ books — so-called “escheat audits.” This isn’t the world’s sexiest topic, but an in-house lawyer might serve a valuable purpose by double-checking corporate escheat policies.

In the financial services industry, many companies must deal with unclaimed deposits and securities. But even outside that sector, most companies find themselves holding unclaimed property, in the form of uncashed vendor or payroll checks, undistributed benefits payments, or the like. Complying with escheat laws may pose a challenge.

States are now doing two things related to escheat laws to increase their revenue. First, they’re shortening the amount of time that a holder can retain unclaimed funds before turning those funds over to the state. Second, states are accelerating their use of “escheat audits” — auditing corporate books to see whether companies have complied with the applicable laws.

This has recently become big business — with implications for in-house counsel….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Be An In-House Hero: Escheat Audits!”

The case for same-sex marriage should rest less upon dollars and cents and more upon fundamental principles of fairness (as recently argued by Professor Jaye Cee Whitehead in a New York Times op-ed piece). But it’s certainly the case that money matters should not be overlooked when it comes to marriage equality.

We’ve previously discussed a non-salary benefit that we’ve nicknamed the gay gross-up. Here’s one concise definition: “A ‘gross-up’ for employees who enroll same-sex partners in the Firm’s health benefits plans to offset any federal, state and local income taxes paid on the value of the partners’ benefits which heterosexual spouses are not subject to.” (Currently gay couples in which partners receive employer-provided health benefits are taxed on the value of those benefits, due to the fact that, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), federal law — including federal tax law — doesn’t recognize same-sex unions.)

The gross-up is not a perk that affects a huge number of employees, to be sure. But having it sends an important message about a firm’s commitment to equality and inclusion.

Where did we obtain that handy definition of the gross-up? From the benefits page of a top law firm that recently started offering this benefit. It’s one of two elite law firms that recently boarded the gay gross-up bandwagon….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: The Gay Gross-Up Goes Top Tier”

A tipster asked: “How is giving a potential future employer your Twitter ID a good idea?” Well, what if you’re getting free food?

The massive law firm of Skadden Arps is doing a fun little recruitment event at NYU Law School, during finals. They’re feeding the masses! New Yorkers have an affinity for eating food that is sold out of a truck because… well, only civilized people live with millions of strangers right on top of each other, on a rock infested with roaches and mice.

So, yeah, throwing pizza and hungry NYU students from a moving vehicle makes a lot of sense from a New York state of mind.

But would you be willing to give Skadden your Twitter handle? For a slice of pizza?

Let’s look at the promotional flier…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skadden Wants Your Twitter Handle — And Will Give You Food From A Truck In Exchange”

I recently met Ray Zolekhian at a wedding. He went to Harvard Law School, worked as an associate at Skadden in Los Angeles, and started his own law firm with a friend, Robin Hanasab.

As soon as I heard Zolekhian’s background, I immediately guessed that he started a personal injury firm. Isn’t that the most natural progression?

Apparently so. Founded in July 2009, Hanasab & Zolekhian, LLP began as a firm specializing in restructuring commercial real estate loans. The firm then transitioned to personal injury litigation, because the founding partners found the work interesting and lucrative. But Zolekhian had no background in personal injury; according to Zolekhian, the pair was “thrown into the fire.” They were not devoid of help, however, and benefited enormously from the resources and mentoring given by other attorneys in the close-knit plaintiffs’ bar.

What does Zolekhian like most about his practice?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Does Skadden Do Personal Injury?”

Personally, I think it’s time for Biglaw associates in the class of 2010 to drink a tall glass of shut the hell up. They got jobs at a time when many of their classmates did not. They received $160K salaries just after there was a significant effort by some firms to push starting salaries down to $145K. Most of them got to start sometime in 2010… in the same year many of the people in the class of 2009 got to start. And, as far as we know, none of them have been Lathamed and had their careers aborted before they even started.

Are things as easy for the class of 2010 as they were for the class of 2006? No. But sometimes I think that the current n00bs forget that they could have been cast back down with the sodomites in the class of 2009.

But, that’s just me. And I’m old and irritable and have lost sight of the youthful exuberance that makes a person sing “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.” It turns out that first-year associates don’t want to wait until they mature into a class worthy of a full bonus at the end of 2011. They want whatever bonus money they can get out of 2010, and they are angry at the firms that are not paying up.

The Cravath-level spring bonus for the class of 2010 is only $2,500 at the firms that are paying spring bonuses to first years. And so we have two disgruntled groups: people who work at firms not paying a spring bonus to first years, and people who feel the $2.5K is “illusory” because it’s prorated based on when the associate started at the firm.

Let the bitching begin…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: Class of 2010 Associate Bonus Bitch-Fest”

Joseph Flom

Back in February, Joseph Flom — name partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and one of the nation’s most successful and prominent lawyers — passed away, at the age of 87. During his life, Flom earned well-deserved renown as an attorney, philanthropist, and mentor. He was also a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, many times over.

Joe Flom, R.I.P. — and R.I.C.H. As you might expect from the name partner of one of the world’s largest and most lucrative law firms, Flom left behind a vast fortune.

It might seem tacky to talk about this. But that hasn’t stopped us before given Flom’s commitment to charity, it’s actually heartwarming to see all of the worthy causes that will be receiving much-needed funds from the Flom estate.

So how much are we talking about? And who are beneficiaries of his will?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Much Was Joe Flom Worth? Some Clues From His Will”

So this month, we went out of our way to nominate potential Lawyers of the Month who were still breathing. The desire of our readers to bestow this honor posthumously is laudable, but we don’t want to this feature to end up like the “dead people” reel at the Oscars, where folks bet on which deceased celebrity will get the most applause.

Being forced to choose only among living candidates, Above the Law readers perhaps started another trend we’re sure to see in future Lawyer of the Month contests: they voted for a guy who is no longer a practicing attorney…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Month: We Like It When People Just Walk Away”

Matthew Kluger aka Big Gay Matt

“Aww, Matt, why do you have to go around giving us a bad name?”

Ever since Matthew Kluger was charged in a massive insider trading case, involving an alleged conspiracy that spanned 17 years and generated more than $32 million in profit, the foregoing question could be asked by many groups: Cornell grads, NYU law grads, Cravath lawyers, Skadden lawyers, and Wilson Sonsini lawyers.

Tonight we can add more groups to the list: Fried Frank lawyers, and gays — specifically, gay dads.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier tonight, Matt Kluger worked at yet another major law firm: Fried Frank. After he was fired by the firm in 2002, he sued, claiming that partners there discriminated against him because he’s gay — and a father of three, with parenting responsibilities.

Just when you thought this case couldn’t get any weirder, it just did. Matthew Kluger is gay. And a dad. With three kids. Thanks for sending America such a positive image of LGBT parents, Matt!

Let’s take a closer look at Kluger’s suit against Fried Frank — and additional details about Matt Kluger’s complicated personal life, gleaned from ATL tipsters….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Matt Kluger, Ex-Biglaw Associate Charged With Insider Trading, Is A Gay Dad — and Once Sued Fried Frank Over It”

Judge Linda Van De Water

* Musical chairs: Orrick partners to Dechert and Gibson Dunn; Weil Gotshal partners to McDermott. [Am Law Daily; McDermott Will & Emery]

* Some of the questions in this survey, designed to assess how law students use online media when evaluating law firms, are amusing. If you’re a law student, please take the survey — you can win a gift card — and talk about how important Above the Law is to your assessment of firms. [Survey Gizmo]

* Judge of the Day candidate #1: Linda Van De Water, for allegedly “kicking and jumping on her ex-boyfriend’s car after confronting him outside the home of another woman.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

David Zornow

* Judge of the Day candidate #2: Tom Carney, for allegedly wielding a gun like a gavel, in an incident with another motorist. And don’t forget that snazzy pink necktie. [Erie Times-News]

* Peter Lattman looks at David Zornow, the global head of litigation at Skadden, and Zornow’s obsession with Bob Dylan — reflected in a mock indictment of “The Judges,” drawn up by “special assistant U.S. attorney Bob Dylan.” [DealBook / New York Times]

* There’s a new post up on the blog of Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, daughter of Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld. Critics of Amy Chua have speculated about whether her “Tiger Mother” ways have damaged her daughters psychologically. But based on her blogging, young Sophia seems grounded, charming, and funny. [new tiger in town]

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