Williams & Connolly

Robert Barnett

I have no comment. Hope you will understand.

Robert Barnett, longtime Williams & Connolly partner and D.C. power broker, declining to comment to the New York Times about his representation of General David Petraeus, the former CIA Director who stepped down amid a sex scandal. Our jokey headline notwithstanding, “no comment” was probably the best comment here.

(Additional tidbits about who is representing whom in this messy affair, after the jump.)

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* Who will represent General David Petraeus as he continues to battle the fallout from his scandalous affair with Paula Broadwell? None other than Williams & Connolly partner Robert Barnett, a lawyer for Washington, D.C.’s most elite. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Just in case you weren’t somehow aware, it costs quite a pretty penny to make bankrupt Biglaw firms go away. For example, more than 40 firms have paid off Brobeck, Coudert, Heller, Howrey, and Thelen with settlements of more than $35.5M. [Am Law Daily]

* Hostess and the striking Bakers’ Union have agreed to go to mediation to prevent the company’s wind down. Judge Drain should force feed them delicious Ding Dongs to make them see the error of their ways. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Even without a so-called affirmative-action ban, law schools aren’t doing great in terms of diversity.” That’s probably why admissions officers are so worried about the verdict in Fisher v. Texas. [National Law Journal]

* For the last time, going to law school isn’t the solution for having no idea what you want to do with your life after college. And you don’t need a JD/MBA, either. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Sometimes, when people from LSAC deny you extra time on the LSAT, you sit back and deal with it. Other times, you sue their pants off because your dad is a power litigator — and then you settle. [New York Post]

As we recently mentioned, Biglaw is not all about the benjamins. There is so much more to the practice of law than the monetary rewards. Focus on doing the best work you can for your clients and your colleagues, and the money will take care of itself (well, at least most of the time).

Of course, it’s much easier to take a relaxed attitude towards money if you have a good amount of it. It’s easy for well-paid partners to tell young associates not to worry about money, when the partners enjoy seven-figure paychecks while the associates struggle under six-figure student loans.

If you’re a young lawyer dealing with educational debt, you know that every extra dollar counts. Every dollar earned means you’re one buck closer to liberation from loans.

Which leads us to today’s question: which law firms pay the largest starting salaries to their associates?

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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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Lance Armstrong

Yesterday, we brought you news of a rather lengthy lawsuit that was filed by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The sports agency had accused Armstrong of doping during his time as a record-setting Tour de France champion, despite the fact that the athlete claimed to have been drug tested more than 500 times in his career, never once yielding a positive result.

Alas, it seems that Armstrong’s dreams of vilifying the USADA were quickly crushed, less than seven hours after his suit was filed. As we sarcastically noted in Morning Docket, perhaps we ought to look into judicial doping, because the suit was dismissed with a quickness we’ve never seen before. But in all seriousness, while a land speed record for benchslapping may have been achieved, it can only be attributed to Judge Sam Sparks’s incredibly quick wit and low tolerance for bullsh*t.

Let’s take a look at the Benchslap King’s Order in a case that managed to grab national media attention just as swiftly as Judge Sparks slapped it down….

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Which former Cabinet member sold the house with the blue door?

Are we too New York-centric in Lawyerly Lairs, our inside look at the homes (and occasionally offices) of lawyers and law students? Perhaps. It makes sense that we focus on Gotham, since Above the Law is headquartered here. But we realize that other cities and states boast great real estate too (and not just the 3500-square-foot houses enjoyed by the average associate at a Texas law firm).

Today let’s take a trip down to the nation’s capital. We’ll check out a few Lawyerly Lairs down in Washington, D.C. — including the $2 million Georgetown home shown above, recently sold by a former Cabinet member turned law firm partner….

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Congratulations to the “Minority 40 Under 40.” This is a distinguished group of 40 minority lawyers, all under the age of 40, who have just been honored by the National Law Journal for their accomplishments within the legal profession.

Let’s learn more about them. Maybe you have friends or colleagues on the list?

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We’re now in late September, so you know what that means. The first Monday in October, which starts the new Term of the Supreme Court of the United States, is just around the corner.

With that in mind, the Heritage Foundation wrangled a high-powered pair of panelists to offer their thoughts on October Term 2011:

What did Messrs. Clement and Shanmugam have to say about the upcoming SCOTUS Term?

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If you haven’t yet read the long piece in Fortune magazine about the rise and fall of Jeff Kindler as the CEO of Pfizer, you really should. The story may or may not be true — I have no idea — but it would be interesting reading even if it were a work of fiction about corporate political intrigue.

I’ve never met Jeff Kindler. I do know several people who are close friends of his, and I’ve watched his career from a distance as he moved from Williams & Connolly to GE to the general counsel of McDonald’s to the general counsel of Pfizer and then, startlingly, to the CEO of Pfizer. The Fortune piece traces this whole career in detail and then describes why and how Kindler resigned from the CEO spot after serving only very briefly.

Why mention that article here? First, I’m doing you a favor; if you hadn’t previously heard about the piece, now you have a link.

Second, the article said two things about in-house counsel that rang true with me — whether or not these things actually occurred at Pfizer….

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Recruiting athletes isn’t just for sports coaches. Many law firm hiring partners like to acquire athletes as well. The thinking is that successful athletes possess many of the traits sought in talented attorneys.

Athletes are disciplined, hardworking, and mentally tough. They are focused and strategic thinkers. If they play a team sport, then they probably excel at teamwork too.

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that Williams & Connolly, a firm full of fearsome litigators who love to win, has a great athlete among its 2011 summer associate class. This individual, who has traveled around the world playing his sport, is our latest celebrity summer associate. (We’ve previously profiled actor Wai Choy, a former co-star of Lindsay Lohan, and Phil Alito, son of Sam.)

Who is this star athlete turned Williams & Connolly summer associate, and what sport does he play?

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