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DELAYED GRATIFICATION Associate salaries at Big Texas firms have gone up so much this year it’s not surprising judicial clerks may get a little more, too. Incoming associates at Vinson & Elkins who worked for judges for a year or two before joining the firm this fall will get a much bigger bonus than expected. The firm is boosting the stipend to $35,000 from $10,000. Hiring partner James Reeder says the increase is intended to help alleviate a bit of the financial hardship of choosing a clerkship after law school. First-year associates are making a base salary of $115,000; clerks at the Texas Supreme Court are making $37,900 this year. The firm is expecting at least 11 judicial clerks to join its associate ranks this fall and at least four in the fall of 2001. The move could start a chain reaction at other large Texas firms. Baker Botts partner James Maloney says his firm may make the same adjustment to the bonus. “Given now the enormous disparity between what first-year associates make and what a judicial clerk makes, it makes some sense. And of course, they are providing a public service,” Maloney says. From Texas Lawyer CURL UP WITH A PATENT LAW BOOK If what they’re reading is any indication, those geeky lawyers over at Palo Alto, Calif.’s Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati may really be staying up nights thinking about how to create more value for their clients. Or at least they’re reading about it. “Rembrandts in the Attic: Unlocking the Hidden Value of Patents” is the number one book customers using the wsgr.com domain have ordered from Amazon.com. The online bookseller-turned-emporium tracks purchases by domain name or ZIP code — among other criteria. After 200 orders, Amazon then posts lists of the top 10 books, CDs or videos for each so-called Purchase Circle. The idea is that people can get a feel for what their peers are reading. Second on Wilson’s list of favored reading material is “Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley,” which is the top seller to those obviously more fun-minded readers over at San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. The Harry Potter series is a top seller at both firms as is “Memoirs of a Geisha.” And as far as lawyers go, both firms’ lawyers seem more content than the folks in the federal bench’s circle. Ranking eighth on that top 10 list is “The Lawyer’s Career Change Handbook: More than 300 Things You Can Do With a Law Degree.” From The Recorder JUDGES HAVE BEST DEFENSE The tenured Illinois federal judges found themselves looking over their shoulders last week during the annual softball game against their younger and arguably hungrier law clerks. With the bases loaded and the score knotted at two in the top of the seventh, Judge William Hibbler’s clutch line drive through a hole between first and second scored two and put the judges up for good. The clerks scored one in the bottom frame, but it was too little too late as the judges prevailed for the third time in three years. When asked about the judges’ recent dominance of the younger clerks team, judges captain Wayne Andersen noted, “Even though we’re between our forties and sixties, judges who can catch the ball show up. More random people show up for the clerks and this leaves them with holes in their defense. We really won the game because of outstanding defense.” Captain Andersen sounded at times like an elated little leaguer fresh off his third city championship. There was still a tone of excitement in his voice. “It was rumored that the clerks even held a practice the night before the game,” Andersen said. Maybe they’ll practice a little more for next year. From American Lawyer Media FLIPPED LID? Arnold Levine of Tampa, Fla., is an aggressive enough lawyer that he once made a woman faint during a cross-examination. But his upstairs neighbor, Jonathan Alpert, would also seem to be pretty intimidating. Levine says that during a court-ordered mediation, Alpert interrupted Levine’s opening statement by screaming and hurling a 20-ounce cup of joe in his face. The wet guy sued the dry guy for humiliating him in front of his clients, the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football club. Alpert represents season-ticket holders who claim that the club assigned them cruddy seats in the Buccaneers’ new stadium. Even before the fateful session, both sides were red in the face: The club had countersued the fans for defamation, seeking $1 million in damages. Alpert says that Levine’s lawsuit, and an accompanying motion for a contempt finding, are just delaying tactics. He asserts that the rules of mediation oblige him not to discuss whether java was on the table, and that Levine’s complaint is out of bounds: “You see people doing all kinds of things at mediations, and if [the lawsuit] is appropriate, no mediation is going to be confidential and no mediation is ever going to be successful.” The foes see the judge after press time — no word yet on whether coffee will be served. From The National Law Journal

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