William Burck

The average high temperature for Houston in July is a scorching 94 degrees. It’s one hot legal market.

Figuratively as well as literally. Back in April, for example, we talked about Kirkland & Ellis opening a Houston office — and prying away partners with $5 million pay packages. You don’t need to be a high-powered partner to get in on the fun; even junior to midlevel associates are getting offered signing bonuses when they lateral.

And this hot market is only getting hotter. Who’s the latest major law firm to land in Space City?

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As both trial lawyers and journalists well know, there are (easily more than) two sides to every story. The same underlying events can give rise to completely different narratives, depending on whom you talk to.

Is a mother who takes her own life and almost takes that of her child deserving of condemnation or sympathy? Are two law students accused of killing a bird a pair of “sick individuals,” or two basically good guys who just had a bad night?

Yesterday we wrote about Weil Gotshal’s reaction to losing two litigation partners to Quinn Emanuel in D.C. Since our story was published, we’ve heard from multiple sources who vigorously dispute our prior tipsters’ version of events….

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Following the federal government’s raid in January 2012 on Megaupload, the company that owned and operated the notorious file-sharing site megaupload.com, the criminal case has already started making its way through the court system. The government froze the company’s assets, and the CEO is under house arrest, but Megaupload still managed to hire some high-powered, Biglaw representation. Good for them, right?

Well, maybe not. The government has objected to Quinn Emanuel entering the case to represent Megaupload. The government cites conflicts of interest.

What are the alleged conflicts? And what does Quinn have to say about the situation?

The firm just filed a saucy brief responding to the objection. Let’s just say that Quinn isn’t taking it lying down…

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* The billable hour may be far from dead, but last year, 61% of general counsel worked out alternative fee arrangements with outside counsel, including counsel from elite (read: Biglaw) firms. [Wall Street Journal]

* Dewey need to take lessons on revenge from this firm? John Altorelli, the D&L defector who spilled all the beans to the Am Law Daily, was blasted on Page Six this weekend. More on this to come later today. [New York Post]

* CHECK YOU LATERALS: recent Quinn Emanuel hires William Burck, Paul Brinkman, and Andrew Schapiro, as well as name partner John Quinn, have entered appearances on behalf of Megaupload. [Am Law Daily]

* Copyright infringement suits over porn downloading involving some 3,500 defendants were dismissed because the plaintiffs’ attorney, Terik Hasmi, couldn’t get it in legally in Florida. [National Law Journal]

* In England, there’s no such thing as a no-fault divorce, but instead, you can get one for “unreasonable behavior” — behavior like malicious service of tuna casserole, and speaking only in Klingon. [New York Times]

* This gives “I’m a Slave 4 U” some new meaning. Britney Spears’s fiancé, Jason Trawick, is trying to start their impending rocky marriage off on the right foot. He’ll soon be her co-conservator. [New York Daily News]

* Illinois is suing Standard & Poor’s, accusing the financial services company of misleading investors and putting the country in the poorhouse thanks to its high ratings for mortgage-backed investments. [Washington Post]

* CHECK YOU LATERALS: William Burck, who served in the White House counsel’s office under President Bush, is leaving Weil to co-manage the Washington, D.C. office of Quinn Emanuel. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Groupon: now ethical for advertising legal services in New York thanks to this recent opinion from the New York Bar Association Committee on Ethics. Will Biglaw start catering to deal hunters? Prediction: hell no. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Get off my lawn, you damn kids! A lawyer from Long Island was arrested after firing a warning shot into the air and holding a neighborhood teen at gunpoint following several rounds of “ding dong ditch.” [CBS New York]

* A woman is suing Lindsay Lohan, claiming that LiLo hit her with her Maserati. She’s suffered from disabling personal injuries, pain, anguish, and a lack of settlement money. [Daily Mail]

* After an alleged freaky sex-and-drugs party, all Angelica Marie Cecora wants from Oscar de la Hoya is $5M and an apology. Is that really too much to ask? [New York Daily News]

Some hiring news from the White House counsel’s office, via the WSJ Law Blog:

Kate Todd Kate Comerford Todd Kathryn Todd Kathryn Comerford Todd.jpgThough many of these White House hires have been reported already elsewhere, its press office issued an official release — dateline “Rostock, Germany” — announcing nine lawyers White House Counsel Fred Fielding has added to his “great little law firm.”

President Bush has named J. Michael Farren, former general counsel of Xerox, to succeed William Kelley as deputy counsel. Kelley is returning to Notre Dame University later this month. Farren has long ties to the Bush family. He served in various roles under Bush I.

New special counsels are William Burck, who’s returned to the White House from the DOJ, and Emmet Flood, who comes from Williams & Connolly. The six new associate counsels are Kate Todd (pictured), Amy Dunathan and Al Lambert, all from Fielding’s old firm, now called Wiley Rein (it dropped the Fielding); Scott Coffina, formerly a partner at Montgomery McCracken in Philly; Francis Hoang, an associate at Williams & Connolly and Michael Purpura, a top aide to deputy AG Paul McNulty. McNulty resigned amid the controversy over the firing of U.S. Attorneys.

A fun factoid: France Hoang is one of D.C.’s most eligible bachelors, according to Washingtonian magazine. And he snagged that honor even before landing the coveted credential of a White House perch.

Personnel Announcement [White House]
White House Staffs Up Its “Great Little Law Firm” [WSJ Law Blog]
France Hoang, 32 [Washingtonian]

Earlier: Musical Chairs: Fred Fielding Beefs Up the White House Counsel’s Office
Prior ATL coverage of the White House Counsel’s Office (scroll down)

Bill Burck 2 William Burck William A Burck Above the Law.JPGFormer Sullivan & Cromwell associates take many different career paths. Some join smaller firms or go in-house; some file lawsuits against S&C; and some join government service.
Last week we wrote about the high-powered William A. Burck (OT 1999/Kennedy), who has had his ticket punched by some of the legal world’s top employers: Sullivan & Cromwell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, and the White House Counsel’s office. We announced that Burck was leaving the White House for the U.S. Department of Justice, but we didn’t have information on his new post at the DOJ.
We now have that information, courtesy of some Justice Department tipsters. Burck will be serving as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Alice Fisher. From an internal memo that was circulated on Friday by Fisher:

Bill will be responsible for overseeing and advancing the legislative agenda of the Criminal Division, supervising the Office of Policy and Legislation, and representing the Division before the United States Sentencing Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Courts.

In our prior post about this move, we noted the incestuous nature of conservative legal circles. One of our tipsters had this to add:

Re: incestuousness, note that Dabney Friedrich (nee Langhorne) — a former colleague of Bill Burck at the White House [whose nomination to the federal bench was discussed in the same post] — is married to Matt Friedrich, Alice Fisher’s former Chief of Staff/Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Crim (and now a member of AG Gonzales’s staff).

Whew! Did you get all that?
In light of how well Republicans groom their young lawyers (figuratively and literally), we share this commenter’s interest in learning about high-powered young LIBERAL lawyers. We realize that it’s tougher when your party doesn’t control the executive branch, which is home to so many plum executive appointments (and doles out plum judicial ones). But still, we’re curious. We welcome your comments and emails.
It’s not terribly exciting; but if you’d like to see it, Alice Fisher’s memo announcing the arrival of Bill Burck appears after the jump.

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