Okay, so you already knew that. Last year, in a widely read, front-page story for the Wall Street Journal, Amir Efrati reported on the non-Biglaw blues: the challenging job market and not-so-hot financial prospects faced by many law school graduates (many of whom are saddled with heavy debt).
A month later, the Des Moines Register basically rewrote Efrati’s story. But Efrati couldn’t have been that offended, since his article was thematically similar to this piece by Leigh Jones, which appeared in the National Law Journal a few months earlier.
Preemption is a bitch. In this media-saturated age, it’s difficult to be truly original.
Nevertheless, even if these articles all sort of sound alike, they generate buzz and traffic — which may explain why they keep getting written, over and over again. The latest is a rather lengthy cover story from the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine, by Greg Burns.
From one of the many tipsters who emailed us about it: “Nothing earth shattering revealed, but this article discusses the ‘haves and have nots’ of the legal profession.” Another reader noted:
I assume you’ve seen the Chicago Trib article on low lawyer salaries, for those not in BigLaw. Not that this discrepancy is a shocker to you, but your fans seem to enjoy lording their big, uh, paychecks over their less fortunate brethren, while taking perverse pleasure in working 20-hour days for the free dinner and ride home. As such, this seems like a perfect comment clusterf**k topic.
A third quipped: “Not sure if news, but enjoy!” We concur. Even if the piece’s thesis is nothing new, at least it’s well-reported, chock full of interesting anecdotes and data.
More discussion, after the jump.
Over 2000 votes are in. It’s you, Latham & Watkins! Latham’s the “coolest,” baby! By a .6% margin.
One of our readers from Cleary an unnamed firm expressed disappointment in the poll’s closing at midnight PST instead of EST. ATL believes in time zone equity and refused to exercise a New York East Coast bias.
The caveat on this ATL tournament is that Latham is the “coolest” law firm in the Vault’s top sixteen, due to our arbitrary tournament selection for the Sweet Sixteen. There was some complaining about the tournament in the comments section, but we think you guiltily and secretly loved it. At least, 2000 of you did. Should the ATL tournament start with 64 firms next time?
Maybe Latham will use the 2008 ATL title of “coolest” firm in their recruiting next year. We sure hope so.
The voting map surprised us, after the jump.
Former Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:
A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.
Those Texans love the word of God. In 2005, they went to SCOTUS to defend a monument to the 10 Commandments that stands on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Hailing from San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery is invoking the higher power in his judgment against a religious school’s right to join a Texan school membership league.
In a ruling Tuesday denying Cornerstone Christian Schools’ attempt to join the state’s premier extracurricular organization, a federal judge chided the school’s founder and famed preacher John Hagee for contradicting at times his own Christian tenets, using numerous references to the Bible, Koran and even a famous fairy tale.
Who needs precedent and constitutional law when there’s so much wisdom to be found in Grimm tales and Disney movies? Let’s look at the opinion….
* I hear wedding bells… no wait, that’s the buzzer for yard time. [CBS Local]
* Rob Lowe and wife sue former nanny for defamation. [CNN]
* Kids: Obama now cool. [New York Times]
* Meet the superelite. [Newsweek]
U can’t touch this. Website. At least for a little while.
We have a little surprise in store for you, loyal readers of Above the Law. We hope you like it.
But the surprise will require us to turn off comments on ATL for a bit, probably a few hours. So if you want to comment on something and are prevented from doing so, now you know why.
Anyway, surely you have better things to do with your evening than to sit in front of your computer, kvetching about the MPRE or speculating about SCOTUS nominees. We hope.
So go out and enjoy yourselves. We’ll see you tomorrow. U Can’t Touch This [Wikipedia]
Open threads about the MPRE are a fine tradition here at ATL. See here and here.
Even if the test isn’t particularly difficult or interesting, people love to talk about it. We’ve already received a slew of “MPRE results are out!” emails, and the news has also surfaced in the comments to other posts.
So to everyone who passed the MPRE, congratulations. To everyone who didn’t pass the MPRE, you can bemoan your fate, in the comments. Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) [National Conference of Bar Examiners]
The subject of likely future nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court has been written about extensively before. Last year, over at SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein came up with short lists of Democratic nominees and Republican nominees.
Now that we’re a little closer to the election, with a presumptive Republican nominee and two possible Democratic nominees, additional speculation is in order. It’s what Kim Eisler provides in the latest issue of Washingtonian. He writes:
The most intriguing McCain preference, given his Vietnam War background, would be Viet Dinh, a Harvard Law–educated former Justice Department official who was a key figure behind the USA Patriot Act. Dinh fled Vietnam for the United States in 1978, and his story of escape and survival—12 days in a boat with no food or water—almost rivals McCain’s in drama and courage. Sources say McCain is drawn to the escape narrative as much as to Dinh’s conservative ideology. Solicitor General Paul Clement would also be at the top of any short list.
And what about for the Democrats?
For a new Democratic president, former solicitor general Seth Waxman is considered the next justice in waiting. He is a busy partner at Washington’s WilmerHale. But a President Barack Obama might appoint Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to the high court.
To replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the almost-certain top choice for a Democrat would be 47-year-old Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, a former lawyer at Williams & Connolly, who once clerked for Obama legal hero Thurgood Marshall.
We had over 4900 votes in the “ATL Law Firm Final Four” this weekend. Latham & Watkins and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton emerged as the winners and will now go head to head to determine which is the “coolest” law firm. During commercial breaks in the NCAA basketball final tonight between the University of Memphis and the University of Kansas, come to ATL and vote. Or just vote throughout the day and bill it to “firm development.”
We’ve given Latham a Memphis player’s image. If Memphis wins tonight, it will be the first national champion from outside a major conference since 1990. Since Latham was the only non-New York law firm to make the final four, we think they would sympathize. Cleary got a Kansas player’s image… because they both start with a hard “c” sound. Sports analysis is not our forte at ATL.
The polls close at midnight. Cast your vote here:
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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