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Afternoon Briefs: Top state court criticizes former justice; more law firms reverse pay cuts

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Top state court criticizes disciplined former justice

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday criticized Cynthia Baldwin, a former justice, after she said an affidavit, if true, shows “bias and vindictiveness” in the discipline case against her. The statement by four justices who disciplined Baldwin said their reprimand “was based not on favoritism or bias but solely on her professional and ethical failings.” Baldwin was reprimanded in July for conflicts of interest when she was general counsel for Pennsylvania State University and represented school officials before a grand jury. The affidavit by Judge Barry Feudale, the judge overseeing the grand jury, alleged that he was urged to cooperate in the ethics investigation of Baldwin by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Thomas Saylor. The affidavit alleges that Saylor commented that Baldwin had created “trouble” on the court with her “minority agenda.” Saylor denied making any statement of a racial nature or speaking about potential disciplinary charges. The new statement released Tuesday said Baldwin never told the justices in the discipline case about the affidavit, which is untested. “Attorney Baldwin has seen fit to cast blame for her problems on everyone else involved in her case,” the statement said, while failing to “take responsibility for her errors.” (, Law360)

More law firms reverse pay cuts

Two more larger law firms have reversed salary cuts implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has reversed pay cuts of 15% for lawyers and 10% for professional staff making more than $100,000. Holland & Hart has also restored pay, which had been cut by 15% for salaried lawyers and by 5% to 7.5% for other employees. The law firm is also reinstating the match to employees’ 401(k) plans. (, Law360 here and here, Above the Law here and here)

Corrected at 7:35 p.m. to remove last brief citing dated opinion.

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