Washington

He was clearly the salesman-in-chief, and he did a darn good job at it. I remember being told that despite the fact that the economy was essentially collapsing around everyone’s heads, 2008 was going to come in well over budget with record revenues and profits.

Andrew Ness, former managing partner of the D.C. office of Thelen LLP, commenting to Washingtonian magazine about former Howrey chairman Robert Ruyak, the poetry-writing power lawyer who lured Ness and his Thelen colleagues over to Howrey.
(Ness is now a Jones Day partner.)

(Additional excerpts from and discussion of Marisa Kashino’s interesting article, A Tale of Two Law Firms: Hogan & Hartson and Howrey, after the jump.)

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But at the U.S. Department of Justice, there might not be a lot to be thankful for. Most of the DOJ-related news floating around right now is depressing.

A court-appointed investigator, Henry F. Schuelke, just issued what the New York Times described as a “scathing” report on one of the DOJ’s most prominent prosecutions in recent years. Schuelke concluded that the prosecution the late Senator Ted Stevens “was ‘permeated’ by the prosecutors’ ‘serious, widespread and at times intentional’ illegal concealment of evidence that would have helped Mr. Stevens defend himself at his 2008 trial.” Ouch.

(The good news, from the Department’s perspective: a recommendation against criminal prosecution of the DOJ officials involved in the case. That’s something to be thankful for, I suppose.)

Alas, that’s not all for depressing dispatches out of the Department. Let’s discussing the hiring freeze, and the state of Honors Program offers….

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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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"My date got leid," says Sexy Screech.

Since the dates in D.C. have been a little more exciting than those in Chicago, I decided to spoil you with one last set-up in the nation’s capital. I brought in a pinch hitter for this one. After a “disarmingly feisty and unabashedly vivacious” female lawyer shot down the frat boy I set her up with, she asked to be set up with someone more her type, “aka really hot, quirky, and a commitment-phobic womanizer.” Pinch Hitter emailed me, saying he fit the profile.

Feist-Master said she was up for round two, but then disappeared off of the face of the earth email. So I decided to pull a switcheroo, pairing the quirky commitment-phobe with another of the many single female lawyers in D.C. I chose a hot, young T-14 grad at a Biglaw firm, who self-described as “optimistic, spontaneous, and active,” and said she would be a journalist if not a lawyer. The two legal eagles both sounded like thrill-seekers to me, so I sent them to The Russia House after work on a Friday and hoped for an epic night.

Epicness ensued. This is the kind of first date story that Wannabe Lara Logan will be able to milk for years…

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Is the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer more attractive than the average attorney?

Last week, we posed a provocative question: Are The 1Ls Actually Dumber This Year? Based on the decisive vote in our reader poll, the answer appears to be “yes.”

Today we bring you another controversial query: Are male lawyers and law students getting uglier? Does the J.D. degree — and the student debt that comes with it — make them look fat?

Whether male lawyers are decreasing in attractiveness seems subjective. But there’s actually some evidence that the men of the legal profession are 66 percent less hot than they were last year….

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Happy Tuesday, Above the Law readers. I hope you had a lovely weekend, spent staring deeply into someone’s eyes over a candlelight dinner, or rubbing up against a hard-bodied young thing on a dance floor, or fighting the cold by cuddling on the couch, or — if you live in Florida — doing all those things and more with your favorite barnyard animal for the very last time (legally).

If you had a romance-free weekend, do not despair. Dating sucks sometimes — especially when it’s a date set up by a legal blogger with no particular aptitude for matchmaking. Last week, I thought I had actually done a decent job. I sent two Washington, D.C. lawyers out to Eighteenth Street Lounge on a Thursday night. Halfway through the date, the dude sent me an email, “Going really well so far.”

“I finally have one that’s going well,” I enthused to my boyfriend. “Doubtful,” he responded. “If he’s excited enough to send a mid-date email, that probably means you set him up with someone who’s totally out of his league.”

I should mention that one of the things that I like in a partner is their being slightly more perceptive than me….

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Sad fact of the day: about fifty percent of marriages in America end in divorce. Of course, many of you already knew that, because you’re divorced yourself, the child of divorced parents, or a divorce attorney who is rolling around in money. But however you slice it, some of the best divorce train wreck stories are born of child custody battles.

Parents going through a divorce are willing to fight over anything when it comes to the custody of their children (“How dare you feed little Suzie pasta that isn’t organic and gluten-free?!”). Even when a divorce is finalized, sometimes parents are still willing to pull the trigger on any issues that arise. In some cases, though, custody modifications are warranted.

And in this case, an Oregon mother is actually fighting to keep another woman from pulling the trigger on her teenage sons, because she’s done it before….

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With the discussion of heavy Biglaw workloads still fresh in our minds, let’s remember that most attorneys understand the law is a rigorous profession. Lawyers don’t expect to work 9-to-5 hours. Most lawyers aren’t going to freak out when they have to put in a long week.

At least on the East Coast. Maybe, up in the Pacific Northwest, lawyering is a different thing entirely. Maybe it’s a regular, working man’s job, where you “punch in,” “punch out,” and take a precise hour-long lunch away from your desk every day. And maybe northwestern lawyers get so used to this workaday schedule that when they find themselves in the middle of a long week, and the specter of weekend work is staring them in the face, it’s totally usual for them to lash out at opposing counsel with displaced anger.

Or maybe this one prosecutor is just kind of a prick?

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We’ve previously discussed the trend of partners leaving Biglaw to launch their own firms. We’ve seen a lot of this action in New York and D.C., home to such well-regarded boutiques as MoloLamken, started by former Shearman & Sterling and Baker Botts partners, and BuckleySandler, started by former Skadden partners.

It’s happening out on the West Coast, too. In the fair city of Seattle — one of my favorite places in the entire United States, especially when it’s not raining — about half a dozen partners are leaving K&L Gates to start their own shop. One Queen Emerald City tipster described this news as “the most exciting thing that has happened here since Kurt Cobain died.”

UPDATE (4/5/11): The official press release about the new firm, Pacifica Law Group, appears after the jump.

Who are the lawyers that are leaving, and why? Let’s find out….

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This is rich. The owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, has sued the Washington City Paper for a column he claims defamed him and used anti-Semitic imagery. That’s right, the man who has famously defended his right to name an entire football team after an ethnic slur is playing the ethnic card because a columnist made fun of him.

The kicker is that on top of this amazing execution of rank hypocrisy, Snyder manages to insult all Jews who have actually dealt with anti-Semitism by coming up with an ethnic offense where none existed. The columnist wasn’t making Jewish jokes or playing off of Jewish stereotypes. He was calling Dan Snyder a terrible owner and a shady dude. Saying he was a victim of anti-Semitism degrades the term and make this entire lawsuit look like the petulant reaction of a narcissistic millionaire.

As Dennis Green might say: Daniel Snyder is who we thought he was….

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