Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Burning Sands, Esq.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9
Black Law Student Discussion Board / Patent Law Anybody?
« on: April 05, 2007, 12:04:14 PM »
P Litigators: Worth Their Weight in Gold?
By Brenda Sandburg
The American Lawyer

As a senior patent litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett,
Jeremy Pitcock was wooed by firms offering partnerships, $75,000 signing
bonuses and, on top of his partner paycheck, 5 percent of any business he
helped generate.

"I was getting calls from recruiters all the time," Pitcock says.

By the time he was a sixth-year associate, he was offered his first
partnership. He turned it down, waiting for the firm with just the right mix
of reputation and resources.

Last March, Pitcock, then an eighth-year associate at Simpson, found his
match. He jumped to Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman -- the first time
ever that Kasowitz has made a partner of an associate from another firm.
Pitcock won't say what Kasowitz did to sweeten the pot, but he clearly won't
be hurting for money. Average profits per partner at Kasowitz were $1.5
million in 2005.

Pitcock's move is already paying off for Kasowitz. He had been working on a
patent case for JDS Uniphase Corp. and brought it with him. The company then
chose Kasowitz over Simpson in a beauty contest for a patent infringement
suit against Litton Industries, Inc.

Patent litigators are a must-have item for firms. And they're willing to pay
for them -- even if, as in Pitcock's case, they have a moderate book of
business and just a couple of trials under their belt. Constantly changing
technology, consolidation of industries and the increasingly cross-border
nature of IP battles are expanding the size and scope of patent cases. The
median cost to take a patent case through trial in 2005 was in the $5
million to $6 million range, up from $2 million in 1995, according to the
American Intellectual Property Law Association. All of which means that
firms are missing a potential fee bonanza if they don't have enough lawyers
on hand to do the work.

"If I could hire five or six lawyers today, I would in a second," says
Claude Stern, co-chair of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges's IP group.
"We're really scraping." (On average, 60 percent of Quinn Emanuel's revenue
has come from IP work over the last five years, Stern says, and half of that
has been patent litigation. Since Quinn had gross revenue of $298 million in
2006, its patent litigation income for the year was around $89 million.)

Stern and others looking to hire should start adding zeros to their checks.
The rate for talent with a decent book of business can run upward of $1.8
million, with top rainmakers commanding $5 million and up, recruiters and
partners say. Be prepared to toss in a signing bonus, too.

"It's a hot area because there's such a shortage [of lawyers]," says San
Francisco Bay area recruiter Gary Davis.

The shortage isn't a new phenomenon. Patent litigation has been hot for
years, and lawyers like William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
, Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella and Matthew Powers of Weil, Gotshal &
became bona fide litigation superstars before "Internet" was a
household word.

But several factors are working against firms trying to build a big patent
litigation practice. Law schools pump out only a handful of graduates each
year with the technical backgrounds necessary for patent law. Even with that
background, it takes years to acquire the basic skills needed to run a
patent case. And there's fierce competition among firms for the few with
that talent.

"You can't practice IP for five years and say, 'I've got it,'" says M.
Patricia Thayer, co-chair of Heller Ehrman's 80-lawyer IP litigation
practice. "It is a profoundly difficult subject area that requires knowledge
of esoteric areas of law and technology and the ability to try a case and
talk to a judge."

Considering some of the amounts at stake in several recent patent cases,
firms may want to consider sending lawyers back for a science degree. Among
the top patent verdicts of 2006 were Hynix Semiconductor Inc.'s $306.9
million award in a case against Rambus Inc. (Daniel Furniss of Townsend and
Townsend and Crew
was lead counsel for Hynix, and Gregory Stone of Munger
was lead for Rambus; the award was subsequently reduced to $130
million by the judge); z4 Technologies, Inc.'s $133 million victory in its
battle against Microsoft Corp. and Autodesk, Inc. (Ernie Brooks of Brooks
represented z4, and John Gartman of Fish & Richardson represented
Microsoft and Autodesk); and Tivo Inc.'s $74 million award in a fight with
Echostar Communications Corp. (Irell & Manella's Chu represented Tivo, and
Morrison & Foerster's Harold McElhinney represented Echostar).

"There's no end in sight," Stern says, "We're in a technological era of
remarkable invention and market consolidation. Given the confluence of these
factors, I can't see how IP in copyright, trademark and patents will

In 2001 Medinol Ltd., an Israeli company that manufactures coronary stents,
sued Boston Scientific Corp., claiming theft of its stent technology. The
company hired Cravath, Swaine & Moore -- not your typical IP player -- to
handle the case. By September 2005, Boston Scientific had paid Medinol $750
million to settle the case, and a loyal Cravath client was born. (Partner
Rory Millson led the case for Cravath.) Cravath has since handled another
major Medinol patent suit against Guidant Corp., as well as several other
litigation matters. Cravath has found one of the advantages of patent
litigation: It can bring on a good deal of additional IP work. Companies
invest a lot of time in educating outside counsel about their technology, so
if they are successful in one case they are likely to get hired for future
patent cases. Such familiarity with the company's technology "is one of the
considerations for which firm we select," says Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy
general counsel for litigation.

The fact that Cravath appeared in the middle of a patent case also signals
that elite Wall Street firms are tuning in to IP. That's a far cry from a
decade ago when such cases were almost exclusively the province of boutiques
and a few forward-thinking general practice firms like Morrison & Foerster
and Heller. Cravath continues to score. Partners Evan Chesler, Richard Stark
and David Greenwald are leading a case for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and
Sanofi-Aventis against Apotex Inc. over its generic version of the heart
drug Plavix, which had sales of nearly $6 billion in 2005.

But firms with little experience in patent and other IP matters should be
careful. As The American Lawyer's sibling publication IP Law & Business
reported last June, some of New York's leading dealmakers -- including
Shearman & Sterling and Davis Polk & Wardwell -- have had trouble hiring and
keeping patent litigation laterals. They aren't alone. Morgan, Lewis &
had trouble keeping litigators after it acquired the 35-lawyer New
York patent boutique Hopgood Calimafde Judlowe & Mondolino in 2001. At least
30 members of the group left the firm in 2005, in part because the Hopgood
group was placed in the litigation practice rather than the IP practice, and
turf wars developed. Partner Craig Opperman says Morgan "has learned
whatever lessons there were to learn" from the Hopgood group's departure.
The firm has since tweaked its firmwide management for IP lawyers. Last year
Morgan Lewis bolstered its IP ranks somewhat with the acquisition of 10
lawyers from Dorsey & Whitney after Dorsey closed its San Francisco office.
The group, primarily patent prosecutors, had previously been with the patent
boutique Flehr Hohbach Test Albritton & Herbert, which merged with Dorsey in

"There is a real challenge finding the right people and getting them to
move," says Morgan Lewis patent litigation partner Craig Opperman. Opperman,
who had been at Cooley Godward before becoming general counsel of OpenTV
Corp., joined Morgan Lewis in 2004. The following year the firm recruited
Daniel Johnson from Fenwick & West and David Bohrer from Dechert.

Keeping a patent litigator happy is not necessarily an easy task. Leora
Ben-Ami, a rainmaker who jumped from Clifford Chance to Kaye Scholer in
2003, says she "wanted to go to a firm that understood what patent
litigation was all about. A lot of general practice firms consider it to be
like any litigation." Ben-Ami's jump coincided with a period when partners
were fleeing Clifford Chance's U.S. offices, but her point about being
understood is one echoed by several patent litigators.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Should Federal Judges Be Paid More?
« on: February 15, 2007, 06:39:16 PM »

Justice Kennedy says morale low over pay

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer Wed Feb 14, 2:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice

Anthony Kennedy told Congress on Wednesday that first-rate federal judges are leaving because of inadequate pay, a problem he said hurts morale and threatens to undermine judicial independence.

Earnings at private law firms have outpaced judges' pay for many years, and Kennedy said judges now find better compensation at the leading law schools, as well.

"I'm losing my best judges," he said during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He specifically cited U.S. District Judge David Levi, who is leaving as the chief federal judge in Sacramento, Calif., to become dean of Duke University's law school.

Kennedy worries that new judges, on the whole, are less qualified than the judges they are replacing.

Federal district court judges are paid $165,200 annually; appeals court judges make $175,100; associate justices of the Supreme Court earn $203,000; the chief justice gets $212,100.

Those figures are far less than what lawyers at private firms earn. District judges are paid about half that of deans and senior law professors at top schools.

Kennedy said "$160,000 sounds like a lot of money to the average American and it is. But it is insufficient to attract the finest members of the practicing bar to the bench."

Nineteen federal judges left their jobs since the end of 2004, many of them to take higher-paying jobs. Meanwhile, first-year lawyers at leading firms in large cities are earning almost as much as district judges.

Chief Justice John Roberts has made judges' pay the centerpiece of his efforts as head of the federal judiciary, calling the issue a "constitutional crisis."

Kennedy got a sympathetic reaction from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the committee chairman, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the senior Republican. The Senate has passed a bill they wrote this year that would boost judges' salaries to keep pace with the rate of inflation.

Legislation languished in Congress in 2006 that would have provided a 16 percent increase in federal judges' salaries.

But other senators suggested that judges already are handsomely compensated.

Sen. male private part Durbin, D-Ill., told Kennedy he recognized the lure of large paychecks was driving some judges into private firms, but he noted that judges already earn more than 95 percent of the population.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker recently called for a significant pay raise for judges, pointing out that they would be earning $261,000 a year if their salaries had risen at the same pace as U.S. workers generally since 1969.

Kennedy also sparred with Specter over allowing television cameras at the Supreme Court. Specter has introduced legislation that would require the justices to televise their proceedings.

Kennedy, who has previously expressed his opposition, said cameras would damage the way justices relate to each other and lawyers during oral arguments.

"Please don't introduce into the dynamics I have with my colleagues the insidious temptation that one of my colleagues is trying to get a sound bite for the cameras. We don't want that," Kennedy said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that in his experience as a Texas Supreme Court justice, the camera "was very unobtrusive."


Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has raised associate base salaries across the board, by $15,000 for every class. You heard it here first, people -- less than ten minutes after the memorandum was sent.


This Simpson Thacher memo was emailed to us by multiple sources. So we do not doubt its authenticity. It was sent out today by email, at 4:28 PM, by STB executive committee chairman Philip T. (Pete) Ruegger III, to all associates and non-senior counsel at the firm.

We are seeking additional comment from STB representatives -- namely, Pete Ruegger, who sent the memo, and Susan Bussy, who handles media inquiries. We will let you know if and when we hear back from them.

Without further ado, the memo:



The Firm has been very busy and we expect the high level of activity to continue. We are proud of the results we are helping our clients achieve.

We believe we have the finest legal team of any global law firm. In appreciation of your efforts, we are pleased to increase associate base salaries as follows, effective January 1, 2007:

Class of 2006 - $160,000

Class of 2005 - $170,000

Class of 2004 - $185,000

Class of 2003 - $210,000

Class of 2002 - $230,000

Class of 2001 - $250,000

Class of 2000 - $265,000

Class of 1999 - $280,000

Class of 1998 - $290,000

We are also raising the base salary for the members of the Class of 2007, who will arrive in the fall, to $160,000.

Counsel and classes senior to 1998 will be addressed on an individual basis.

Again, on behalf of the Firm, thank you for your commitment and hard work.

January 22, 2007

Pete Ruegger

Other firms will surely follow suit and match this base salary increase. As the various firms match, please note their moves in the comments. THANKS!!!

I know a few cats on here are going for sure.  Anybody else interested in going this year?

Here's some info:

The National Convention is quickly approaching in Atlanta, GA on March 21-25, 2007. I am sending a quick reminder of the follwing deadlines:


The Regular Registration Period ends on January 31, 2007. To enjoy the lowest fee still available please register by this date. (, 1.) click on conventions at the bottom of the screen; 2.) click on Register for the 2007 39th Annual NBLSA Convention Now at the right of the screen) 


Hotel Reservation Block ends on February 14, 2007 and is subject to availability. To reserve your room please book it as soon as possible. (, 1.) click on conventions at the bottom of the screen; 2.) click on registration fees at the right of the screen; 3.) click on the starwood link at the bottom of the screen)


I will continue sending regular reminders and updates regarding the convention and all the great things you can look forward to in Atlanta, GA. Thanks for your attention and God Bless.


Yours in BLSA,

Michael T. Sterling,

National Chair



For more info visit

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9