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Overworked and over there The Times of London reports “Britain’s richest lawyers are now Americans.” Just four years ago, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal folded its London office and reinforced the conventional wisdom that the United Kingdom was closed to outsiders. But there’s been a 180-degree turn. “The City’s top legal practices are all American,” the paper says. At the tip top is New York-based Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, whose equity partners are reported to have taken home more than twice as many pounds as did those at the most profitable indigenous firm, Allen & Overy. Other Yanks listed as raking it in: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Davis Polk & Wardwell; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, all of New York. Experts say the Americans are working and billing rigorously, in contrast to “collegial” British firms. That could change. Allen & Overy has upped the target for associates’ annual billable hours from 1,700 to 2,200. And things aren’t quite what they seem. The top earner at Cadwalader is said to be Andrew Wilkinson, a corporate restructuring whiz who was headhunted from Clifford Chance and is a Briton. Banjo jokes Humorist Jeffrey Miller, a lawyer and banjo player, has shared the results of his research into American and Canadian humor. Specifically, he says he found some-but not overwhelming-support for the thesis that lawyer jokes are interchangeable with banjo-player and accordionist jokes. (Miller’s credits include Where There’s Life, There’s Lawsuits 2003, Toronto: ECW Press). Example: “What do you call 1000 lawyers/banjo players/accordionists at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.” Counter example: “How do you define perfect pitch? Throwing a banjo into the toilet.” And then there’s Miller’s hybrid favorite: “What do you say to a banjo player in a three-piece suit? ‘Will the defendant please rise?’ “ Gaslight gadflies II There was some question about what Randal L. Glaser and Erik C. Jenkins would do for an encore. The pair, who make up San Diego’s Glaser Jenkins LLP, earned immortality with the change-the-tort-laws crowd in July when they settled a suit that accused bars of discriminating when they offer Ladies’ Night discounts. The defendants were seven bars in and around San Diego’s Gaslight District who paid a total of $125,000 in what talk show regulars and newspaper editorials promptly declared a shakedown. Now Glaser Jenkins has filed a proposed class action in Orange County, Calif., Superior Court against Club Med, the French-based resort chain, for offering promotional packages that charged women less for airfare. The lead plaintiff is the same as in the earlier suit, law school classmate Alfred Rava. Jenkins told the San Diego Union-Tribune Ladies’ Night discrimination was like that suffered by blacks in the South. We can’t wait to hear what his international analogy will be. Sore winners The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct added a final chapter to what has become a familiar story: judges who “retire” early as part of a deal in which disciplinary investigations are dropped, sealed and buried. Nassau County judge Ira J. Raab, 68, told reporters this summer he’d decided to retire because he wanted time with his wife, children and grandchildren. Not so, the commission said on Aug. 28. Rather, “Justice Raab did so because of the commission’s investigation” and has agreed never again to sit as a hearing officer, a press release said, in return for the dropping of a probe into unspecified allegations. Raab had been sanctioned for threatening a lawyer who appealed one of his rulings.

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