Oyez, Oyez: The Record Briefs You on Critical Events

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Mukasey Approved as Attorney General By Senate Judiciary Committee

White House nominee and former federal judge Michael Mukasey was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, 11-8. Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer ’74 joined the nine Republicans on the committee in approving Mukasey’s nomination as Attorney General, all but assuring him final confirmation by the full Senate in coming weeks. Mukasey’s nomination was seriously threatened when, at his confirmation hearing, he refused to define the coercive interrogation technique known as waterboarding as torture, leading to vocal criticism and opposition from Democratic leaders such as Sen. Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin.

Biglaw Firms Announce Round of “Special Bonuses”

Along with the normal year-end bonuses announced at the end of the year, which range from $35,000-$65,000, a large number of top corporate law firms are announcing a one-time “special bonus” of $10,000-$50,000, depending on seniority. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP kicked off the trend October 29th by releasing its bonus memo more than a month earlier than usual; in response, more than a dozen firms have already released their own memos, matching both the regular and “special” bonuses. (Yes, that Equal Justice Works fellowship still pays $37,500, and no, your Record Editor-in-Chief is not bitter to read this news a week before her interview. Just amazed.)

Wal-Mart Balks at Rising Law Firm Rates

Last week, Wal-Mart Corp. released a memo expressing concern about salary raises by law firms that now pay first-year associates $160,000, and the connection between raises over the last three years and increases in billing rates that the company has been subject to. “We are today announcing a moratorium on across-the-board rate increases,” announced the memo. “Until further notice, we will only consider reasonable, individual requests for rate increases for those attorneys in your firm who are performing at an exceptional level and whose experience and knowledge is adding substantial value towards meeting Wal-Mart’s legal objectives.” The company also criticized the increasing number of partners whose billing rates were approaching the “$1,000 per hour barrier.”

Prof. Glendon Appointed Ambassador to Vatican

The White House announced Monday that President Bush would nominate HLS professor Mary Anne Glendon as ambassador to the Holy See. Glendon has advised the Vatican for more than 10 years, and in 2004 became the highest-ranking female adviser in the church when Pope John Paul II chose her to head the powerful social policy panel, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. HLS professor Charles Fried described Glendon to the Boston Globe as a “terrific and terrifically sensible person who has managed to be faithful to the church without ever being extreme or strident.”

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