The last time we covered the lavish signing bonuses for Supreme Court clerks who head to law firms after their time at the Court, the bonuses were flirting with $280,000. We say “flirting with” because, at the time, only certain firms were offering $280K. That princely sum was not yet the market rate for talent emerging from One First Street.
A little over a year later, we can report some change on this front. Even though regular associate bonuses and partner profits might be flat this year, the price for Supreme Court clerks is going up, up, up….
In case you’re wondering, there was no major news out of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. Our friends at SCOTUSblog predict that opinions in the marquee cases, such as the Arizona immigration case and the health care reform case (aka Obamacare), will be issued next week. (Above the Law’s own Supreme Court correspondent, Matt Kaiser, should have a more detailed write-up of this morning’s proceedings later today.)
But we do have some SCOTUS-related news to mention this morning (and not just the latest in law clerk hiring). Did you know that Justice Antonin Scalia has a new book out, hitting stores tomorrow?
We mentioned this in passing yesterday, but in case you missed it, please take note of this event in D.C. next week:
On Wednesday, September 23, the Georgetown Federalist Society will be hosting a panel event on New Media & The Law at 7 PM in Hart Auditorium [at Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave. N.W., Washington, DC].
The panel will feature David Lat from Above the Law, Tony Mauro from the National Law Journal, and Matt Welch from Reason Magazine. Eileen O’Connor, adjunct professor at Georgetown and former reporter and bureau chief at CNN, will moderate.
We spent a fair amount of time last week in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, where we spoke at the University of Virginia Law School (coverage of our talk appears here and here). We spent lots of quality time with UVA Law students — at dinner, at a karaoke bar, and walking around the beautiful grounds.
One of the highlights of our trip was attending a luncheon talk by the fabulous Dahlia Lithwick, who has covered the Supreme Court for Slate for the past ten years (and who also served as a celebrity judge on ATL Idol). Despite suffering from a nasty flu, she delivered remarks that were hilarious and insightful, shedding much light upon media coverage of the Court.
Welcome to the latest post in our recent series on the 2008 National Convention of the American Constitution Society. We attended lots of excellent events as part of the conference. Prior posts appear here and here.
One of our favorite events was the Saturday lunch panel, “Covering the Court.” It was moderated by Thomas Goldstein, of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog fame, and featured the following distinguished members of the Supreme Court press corps:
Robert Barnes, of the Washington Post;
Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times;
Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate; and
Tony Mauro, of the Legal Times.
For the Court-watchers among you, a detailed write-up is available below the fold.
“Dear Jim: Thanks for the great job you do pushing the mail cart around the office. You truly are a special person!”
[Charlie Savage signs a copy of his book for Aaron Zitner, politics editor for the Los Angeles Times.]
Earlier this week, we attended a delightful book party for Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe. Savage won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, based on his work on presidential signing statements.
Photos and discussion of the star-studded event — after you win a Pulitzer, everyone is your friend! — after the jump.
Would you trust this man to write your biography?
If so, you might be waiting a long time. In fact, you might be DEAD before it’s finished (or even started). Professor Stephen Wermiel, of American University’s Washington College of Law, has been working on a biography of the late Justice William J.Brennan Jr. for some TWENTY YEARS. Professor Wermiel “began” the project back in 1987, when he covered the Supreme Court for the Wall Street Journal, and Justice Brennan was still on the SCOTUS.
More background, from the Legal Times:
Brennan, who retired from the Court in 1990 and died in 1997, picked Wermiel as his biographer and had hopes of reading the book in his lifetime.
Brennan’s son William Brennan III, who died in 2004, was openly critical of Wermiel’s delay. In a stinging New Yorker essay that quoted Brennan III before he died, legal writer Jeffrey Toobin said Wermiel was guilty of “dawdling” and lumped Wermiel together with Gerald Gunther and Andrew Kaufman, whose biographies of Learned Hand and Benjamin Cardozo, respectively, took more than 20 years to complete.
So is this delay a problem? Find out after the jump.
Our favorite movie of all time is All About Eve (1950). It’s the story of a brilliant but aging stage diva, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), and an aspiring actress, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Margo befriends Eve, taking the star-struck youngster under her wing. But then the exceedingly ambitious Eve starts to threaten her mentor’s reign as queen of the theater.
The small Supreme Court press corps can be compared to the clubby world of the theater. It’s populated by distinguished veterans, like Tony Mauro, and emerging younger talents, like Dahlia Lithwick. (Expressed in Broadway terms, Mauro and Lithwick could be compared to, respectively, Christopher Plummer and Sutton Foster.)
The stage has its great divas — e.g., Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera — and so does the SCOTUS press corps. Nina Totenberg is certainly one of them. But the undoubted queen of Supreme Court correspondents is Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times.
Greenhouse has been covering the Court for almost three decades, since 1978. She enjoys unmatched access to the justices, especially those in the middle and left wings of the Court. Supreme Court justices are notoriously media-shy. But Linda Greenhouse can magically reach them on their cell phones, at any hour, and get them to spill their deepest and darkest secrets. If you want to know whether there was blood in a justice’s stool this morning, ask Linda G.
So here’s our question:
If Linda Greenhouse is the Margo Channing of Supreme Court reporters, does that make Jan Crawford Greenburg into Eve Harrington?
Just like Eve Harrington, Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News is a talented and attractive young woman, whose star is on the rise. In the past three months, she has scored coveted in-person interviews with almost half of the Supreme Court:
For all of you non-journalist types, please understand: these are MAJOR COUPS.
And there’s more. As Howard Bashman notes, later this month, Greenburg has a “top-secret” new book on the Court coming out. That book, Supreme Conflict, is being touted as drawing upon “unprecedented access to the Supreme Court justices and their inner circles.”
(Note to Greenburg’s book publicist: We’d love to get a reviewer’s copy, if you wouldn’t mind sending one our way.)
Call it Greenhouse v. Greenburg. Linda Greenhouse’s historic domination of Supreme Court coverage is under siege, as Jan Crawford Greenburg makes some serious inroads at One First Street. And we’re not the only ones who have taken notice. Check out Howard Bashman’s great interview with La Greenburg, posted just this morning, in which he accurately describes the trajectory of her career as “meteoric.”
We will surely piss off some people with this question, but we’ll ask it anyway:
Could Greenburg’s status as a hottie be contributing in any way, however small, to her journalistic success?
In All About Eve, you will recall, Eve Harrington uses her beauty and charm to seduce theatre critics, writers, and directors.*
Some of you might object: “This whole ‘All About Jan’ theory is ridiculous. Linda Greenhouse has been covering the Court since Jan Crawford Greenburg was in footsie pajamas. Do you really think LG is about to be supplanted as Empress by some upstart kid?”
We respond by quoting this exchange from All About Eve, between Margo Channing and her lover, Bill Sampson:
BILL: Darling, [to succeed in the theater,] you’ve got to keep your teeth sharp. All right. But you will not sharpen them on me — or on Eve…
MARGO: What about her teeth? What about her fangs?
We’re reading Tony Mauro’s super-juicy article as fast as we can. Highlights and discussion will follow shortly.
Okay, we’re done. Here are some excerpts:
The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s Senate confirmation battles in 1971 and 1986 were more intense and political than previously known, according to a newly released FBI file that also offers dramatic new details about Rehnquist’s 1981 hospitalization and dependence on a painkiller….
In July 1986, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice, the Justice Department asked the FBI to interview witnesses who were preparing to testify that Rehnquist had intimidated minority voters as a Republican Party official in Arizona in the early 1960s. According to a memo in the Rehnquist file, an unnamed FBI official cautioned that the department “should be sensitive to the possibility that Democrats could charge the Republicans of misusing the FBI and intimidating the Democrats’ witnesses.” But then-Assistant Attorney General John Bolton — who more recently served as ambassador to the United Nations — signed off on the request and said he would “accept responsibility should concerns be raised about the role of the FBI.” It is unclear whether the FBI ever interviewed the witnesses.
John Bolton? That guy is everywhere! Did he have the walrus moustache back then?
More discussion — including tales of Rehnquist’s “bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts,” his paranoia that the CIA was out to get him, and his attempt to escape from a hospital while in pajamas — after the jump.
Alas, celebrity professor Tim Wu — who was originally scheduled to appear on the Federalist Society Convention panel we just returned from, addressing net neutrality — was not there.
We were graced by the presence of Professor Christopher Yoo, however, and his presentation was excellent. Alas, due to the time constraints, he had to cover his material rather quickly.
Earlier today, we attended an address by Solicitor General Paul Clement, the government’s chief Supreme Court advocate — and were able to meet the man himself. We were in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, chatting with fantastic Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro, when Mr. Clement (“General” Clement?) exited the ballroom in which he had just spoken. Mr. Mauro then introduced us to the Solicitor General, who was most genial. He’s a friendly and accessible fellow, despite being a celebrity of the legal profession, with 32 Supreme Court arguments under his belt — at the tender age of 36 40.
(Thanks to this commenter for the correction. Clement was born in 1966. The statement of his age was made in the remarks introducing him, but we neglected to double-check them before posting.)
(We apologize to the Solicitor General for our rather disheveled state. We were unshaven, sweaty, tie-less — and, horror of horrors, wearing a button-down shirt. That has got to violate SOME provision in Title 18 of the U.S. Code!)
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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