A daily look at legal news and the business of law:

BofA Reality Show Update: Cuomo Gives Judge the Minimum; BofA Objects. Decision Due Monday.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo responded to Judge Rakoff's request for the record underlying his more sinister view of Bank of America's (BAC) failure to disclose Merrill Lynch's losses before shareholders voted on the merger by giving the judge the minimum he asked for: excerpts from five deposition transcripts, for his eyes only. BofA objected to Cuomo giving the judge anything at all, given that the N.Y. AG isn't a party to its litigation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and it argued that if Cuomo turned over anything at all, it should be the full transcripts, not out-of-context excerpts. The bank also argued that anything turned over be made part of the public record. So, now that Judge Rakoff has the excerpts, what's he going to do on Monday, when he's promised to rule on the proposed BofA-SEC settlement? If Cuomo's excerpts are juicy enough, expect the judge to reject the settlement and allow the trial to go forward on March 1. If the judge accepts the settlement on Monday, it'll be an implicit statement that Cuomo didn't back up his claims strongly enough.
Worst Drivers: Lawyers, then Financial Professionals. Best? Athletes, Homemakers.
Insurance.com, a website that offers insurance quotes, analyzed applicants' professions and reported driving records, and ranked careers from most dangerous to safest. Lawyers and financial professionals, people dependent on blackberries and multitasking, reported the most accidents. But does driving-while-texting implicitly explain the third worst category, mid-level government employee? I'm not sure, because I's not clear what those people do exactly. The fourth worst were bartenders, which may reflect sleepy drivers after late shifts, or perhaps intoxicated ones. Athletes, the safest drivers, have several built-in advantages: they tend not to drive during rush hour, they may have contractual requirements to drive carefully, and surely, they have cat-like reflexes and eagle-eyes, relatively speaking.

And in the business of law:
Mayer Brown's profits plummeted nearly 19% last year, but profits per partner (PPP) slipped a much more modest 4% because the firm lost 50 equity partners, perhaps by turning half of them into income partners (income partners rose by 25.) Shedding a total of 144 attorneys wasn't enough to salvage revenue per lawyer (RPL); that dropped almost 7%.

In contrast to Mayer, PPP was steady at Kirkland & Ellis despite significant hiring. Profits were up by more than 16%, but a 10% increase in the number of partners held PPP to a 1% gain. Associate headcount grew at Kirkland as well; overall Kirkland has 6% more attorneys now than last year, which pushed RPL down about 3.6%. Kirkland didn't just go on a hiring spree, however; it laid off non-equity partners and associates as well. With these results, it seems their personnel shake up has paid off.

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