Bethesda leads way in Md. legal sector campaign contributions

As we await voting results this Election Day, The Daily Record looked at the money the state’s legal sector donated to the presidential campaigns.

But where do all these lawyers live?

Well, according to campaign filings from the Federal Election Commission, the numbers break down like this:

The legal sector employees living in these cities gave the most to President Barack Obama:

1. Bethesda: $630,157

2. Chevy Chase: $424,736

3. Baltimore: $242,531

4. Silver Spring: $219,478

5. Takoma Park: $79,260

6. Rock Hall: $69,402

7. Annapolis: $50,430

The legal sector employees living in these cities gave the most to Republican nominee Mitt Romney:

1.  Bethesda: $144,243

2. Potomac:$121,337

3. Chevy Chase: $111,754

4. Rockville: $19,150

5. Kensington: $18,333

6. Annapolis: $16,680

7. Silver Spring: $15,490

ABA memberships for all

While there seems to be a lot of negative news about law schools these days, here are some good tidings.

The interim dean at the St. Louis University School of Law, whose dean left amid controversy over accusations the university was using the law school as its cash cow, is buying each student at the law school a membership to the American Bar Association.

Tom Keefe will pay $14,212 for the 836 students at the law school. Memberships for the ABA at the group rate cost $17 per student. Four other law schools across the country buy every student a membership, which allows them to participate in ABA sections and seek grants form the organization.

Keefe is recovering from a bit of a rocky start earlier this summer. After being named interim dean in August, he told our sister paper Missouri Lawyers Weekly that he would not be controlled by the university or be the university president’s “butt boy.”

DLA Piper: Hollywood hot spot

On the set of "Whirlwind" at DLA Piper's Baltimore office. (Photo courtesy of DLA Piper.)

Hollywood is back in Baltimore.

Clayton LeBouef, an actor from “The Wire,” filmed scenes from his new movie, called “Whirlwind,” at DLA Piper’s Baltimore office last week in the main reception area.

On “The Wire,” LeBouef played Orlando, a front man who ran a strip club for the Barksdale drug organization. LeBouef is also known for his role as Col. George Barnfather in “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

DLA Piper’s glass office building has been a Hollywood hot spot in recent years. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s HBO comedy, “Veep,” shot several scenes for its pilot episode at the building. Several scenes in the 2005 movie “Syriana,” starring George Clooney, also were filmed at The Marbury Building at 6225 Smith Ave.

The recent movie shoot at DLA Piper is just one of a number of Charm City’s recent forays into the film industry. In addition to “Veep,” the HBO movie “Game Change,” about John McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s 2008 bid for the presidency and vice presidency, was filmed in Baltimore. (Both “Game Change” and “Veep” won awards at Sunday’s Emmys.)

The Netflix show “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey has also been around town, filming at a sound stage in Edgewood, as well as in the city in places like the Peabody Institute in Mount Vernon.

All are part of an effort by Maryland to boost the film industry in the state.

‘Warrior Lawyer’ launches Facebook attack

Baltimore’s “Warrior Lawyer” is waging battle a little farther south down I-95.

J. Wyndal Gordon, the “Warrior Lawyer,” unleashed an attack on Washington, D.C., Councilman Michael Brown in a post on Facebook this week.

“I never was much into D.C. politics, but I do know a Rat when I smell one,” the post begins.

Gordon is representing Brown’s former campaign manager, Hakim Sutton. Brown fired Sutton after discovering campaign funds were missing. Gordon wrote the post after Brown held a news conference announcing the $114,000 in missing campaign money.

Gordon went on to accuse Brown of “skulduggery and debauchery,” saying Brown failed to properly pay employees and hinted that Brown himself had taken the missing money.

“It is due to his own laziness, arrogance, narcissism and greed that Brown finds himself in the position he’s in today [with little money], — not some false claim of theft as he would have the public to wholesale believe,” Gordon wrote in the post.

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

It’s all about the money this week in In-House Interrogatory.

An article in Corporate Counsel discusses general counsels’ opinions of alternative fee arrangements.

A study by ALM Legal Intelligence found that the number of in-house legal departments using alternative fee arrangements has slowly risen since 2008 while the billable hour has been on the decline. Only 26 percent of legal departments like the arrangements, however, the study found.

Many think that the alternatives are not a huge hit because departments have not acclimated to them yet.

“For corporate counsel,” one legal counsel told Corporate Counsel, “the easiest route is to have an hourly rate, and to get into an AFA takes effort at the beginning.”

So, here’s our question for you:

Has your legal department discussed alternative fee arrangements, and, if so, what has the discussion centered around and what are the pros and cons of such arrangements?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • Pepco Holdings Inc. named a new general counsel.
  • Louisiana State University’s general counsel resigned.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for a new general counsel.
  • To get more in-house counsel news, sign up for our FREE monthly email newsletter, In-House Counsel. The newsletter is a compilation of The Daily Record’s coverage of in-house counsel news as well as job listings, movements within the industry and other resources. Click here to sign up today.
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  • Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
  • For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
  • Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @BenMook@Steve_Lash
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In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

A new survey found 90 percent of in-house counsels found useful computer coding used to sort through legal documents. Of the 24 attorneys surveyed, however, the results were mixed as to how much money using such coding saved their companies.

The predictive coding technology uses specific case searches to find legal documents related to litigation. Many said the coding was helpful in that it sped up the process of reviewing documents and was helpful in big cases when sorting through thousands of documents.

Many general counsels were worried the technology would replace human review and were concerned how the courts viewed using this technology. About 27 percent said they were not sure how much the technology saved the company, but another 27 percent thought it saved more than $500,000. Another 27 percent thought the technology saved between $25,000 and $250,000. About 18 percent thought it saved between $250,000 and $500,000.

So, here’s our question for you:

Do you use predictive coding at your in-house jobs? If so, how much does it save your company?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

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In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The deputy general counsel at Verizon Wireless is taking the reverse commute and moving to a job at a law firm after spending 24 years in-house. John Thorne started at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington, D.C., this week.

Thorne was involved in a lot of high-profile antitrust cases while he was with Verizon and said he chose to take the job at the law firm because wanted “to do new things.”

So, here’s our question for you:

What are the top reasons an in-house attorney would move out-of-house when many do the opposite — move in-house after many years at a law firm?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Judge dismisses employment numbers lawsuit

It’s not looking good for law school students suing their alma maters for misrepresenting post-graduation employment numbers.

Since employment for law school graduates started to slide with the downturn of the economy, a number of class-action suits have popped up around the country as students claim schools skewed graduates’ employment numbers to attract new students.

The latest setback for these kinds of cases came last week when a federal judge in Michigan dismissed a case brought against the Thomas M. Cooley Law School by 12 graduates. The judge rejected claims of fraud, saying the employment numbers were confusing and unclear but not fraudulent. The judge also said the school did not violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, since the act doesn’t protect the purchase of an education.

A similar case was dismissed in New York in March, but there are 12 other fraud class-action suits against law schools pending across the country.

The news comes in the wake of new employment numbers for law schools released last month. The statistics were divided by the type of employment for the first time this year. Nationwide, 83 percent found employment, but only 55 percent were permanent jobs that required bar admission. (At both Maryland law schools, around 47 percent found permanent jobs with bar admission required.)

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The most talked about general counsel in the news in the last week was, of course, former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh compiled a report after investigating the university’s handling of Jerry Sandusky. When the report was released last week, Baldwin was repeatedly mentioned for not dealing with the situation correctly.

Sandusky was convicted and jailed on 45 counts of abusing boys and is awaiting sentencing.

Baldwin served as the interim general counsel from January 2010 until June 30. Freeh criticizes Baldwin for downplaying the grand jury investigation into Sandusky to the university’s board of trustees. The report also says she failed to find an expert for the university’s internal investigation or to lead it through the criminal investigation.

The report singles Baldwin out for attending the testimony of Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley during the grand jury investigation. Baldwin said she attended simply to represent the university, but Schultz and Curley thought she was there as their attorney.

Continue reading

No money, mo problems

Looks like more bad news this week for law school graduates.

Starting salaries for the class of 2011 are down across the board. Mean starting salaries for first-year associates fell 6.5 percent, according to numbers from the National Association for Law Placement.

The class of 2010 was paid a mean salary of $84,111, while the class of 2011′s mean salary was $78,653, according to the data. Mean salaries fell 15 percent compared to the class of 2009, which reported a mean salary of $93,454.

The median salary fell from $63,00 to $60,000 between 2010 and 2011,  according to the data.

Last month, we wrote about law school graduate employment numbers falling across the country, including for law school grads in Maryland. Fewer than half of the state’s law school graduates from the class of 2011 have full-time, permanent jobs, according to American Bar Association data released in June. Both Maryland law schools, the University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, had numbers that fell below the national average of 55 percent.

Then there’s that Boston law firm that advertised a first-year associate position with $10,000 salary.

So, per this week’s news, not only are fewer recent law school grads finding jobs, those who have, are getting paid less. But, hey, at least it’s Friday?