July 2008

Pinocchio.jpgEvery now and then, we entertain requests for advice from our readers (even though, as we reminded you yesterday, we’re not career counselors — so take what we say with several grains of salt). Here’s what we found in the mail bag today;

I’m a summer associate at a BigLaw firm in DC. Our exit interview questionnaire asks us whether we’re 1) applying for a clerkship or 2) for personal reasons, seeking employment in another geographic region.

Saying you’re applying for a clerkship is one thing, but given the economy, and the risk of not getting an offer in that other geographic region, should I really tell my firm that I might be looking elsewhere? Am I risking anything by being fully honest?

Our gut reaction is that the SA should not tell the firm that he or she might be looking elsewhere. Not only is there a risk of not getting an offer in the other geographic region, but the firm where this person summered might decide to no-offer — or, more likely, give cold offers to — summers who say they’re exploring other opportunities.
We don’t think this would be dishonest on the part of the SA. We don’t have the exact wording of the question, but we read it as being aimed at people who are definitely going to a different city, “for personal reasons” — e.g., family issues, like an ailing parent; a spouse who has to be somewhere else, for work or school; etc.
And, of course, there’s the Bill Clinton line of argument: What business is this of the firm’s? As long as the SA complies with the NALP rules in terms of responding in timely fashion to any offer of full-time employment from this firm, why is the SA obligated to tell the firm every last detail of his or her job-search thinking?
Okay, Randy Cohen might be horrified by our “advice.” But in the world of Biglaw today, loyalty is dead. These days law firms are always looking out for number one, namely, themselves and their profits per partner. E.g., Cadwalader (laying off some 130+ lawyers in 2008 to date).
So shouldn’t law students and young lawyers take the same approach? If you’re not looking out for yourself and your own career, in the most clear-eyed and even calculating way, who will?
Sorry, enough ranting; back to the summer associate’s question. How do you think this person should respond to the exit questionnaire? Feel free to opine, in the comments.

Singapore skyline.jpg[Disclosure: This post is authored not by the Asia Corporate Lawyers, but by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting -- sponsor of the Asia Chronicles, and an ATL advertiser. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past two years. You can reach them by email at asia at kinneyrecruiting dot com.]
On Monday we discussed some positive trends in M&A in Asia, notwithstanding the turmoil in credit markets and overall economic downturn globally. Today, we discuss very briefly some of the lateral hiring trends we have been seeing in Asia recently and in ’08 in general.
We have not seen an overall reduction in hiring of U.S. associates in Asia, but firms have been much more selective than in ’07. This is for a variety of reasons. Some notable U.S. and British firms in Asia are hiring at a significantly slower clip than in ’07, but this unfortunate trend is being balanced out by other peer firms hiring significantly more than in ’07. There are a number of firms in heavy expansion mode, with several top U.S. firms in Hong Kong / China, for example, that will easily double the size of their offices in ’08. Some U.S. firms in Asia have very aggressive medium-term (5-6 year) expansion plans to have 100+ attorney offices. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly to readers, some of the most urgent needs still happen to be for mid-level to senior U.S. securities associates, despite the slower pace of capital-markets deal flow coming in.
It is important to note that in ’08, there are as much as three to four times as many U.S. associate candidates on the market for Asia positions, compared to ’07. Firms can afford to be a lot more selective and also can take their time with hiring decisions, much more than was the case in the frenzied hiring environment in Asia in ’07. While we are seeing the same pace of hiring in the Asia markets in ’08 that we saw in ’07, it has become a more difficult market to break into for some U.S. associates than was the case in ’07.
Read more, after the jump.

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To: Attorneys All
From: Marc Edelman
Re: A Hearty Farewell
Dear Friends:
Sports and the Law clip art clipart.jpgToday marks the end of my six-month externship as sports editor at Above the Law. On Monday, August 18, I will begin the next stage of my career as a visiting assistant professor at Rutgers School of Law in Camden, NJ. I will also continue my current affiliation with the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School.
During my brief stint as your sports law blogger, I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with many readers. To those of you that have reached out, thanks. It has been a pleasure to exchange ideas and share advice on breaking into the sports industry.
To David Lat, thanks as well for taking a leap of faith and inviting me, as an academic, to guest blog on your self-described “tabloid.” I know not all of our experiments worked perfectly (see, e.g., Monday Morning Quarterback); however, more often than not, the readership survived their traditional and sensationalist worlds colliding.
For those wishing to stay in touch, the best way to reach me is via email at either MarcEdel at camden dot rutgers dot edu or Marc at MarcEdelman dot com.
All the best,
M.E.
P.S. For one final time … take it away, Statler and Waldorf.
* * * * *
Marc Edelman is an attorney, business consultant, published author and professor, whose focus is on the fields of sports business and law. You can read his full bio by clicking here.

* Will work for laid-off Cadwalader attorneys be hard to find? [Am Law Daily]
* Legislation allowing FDA to regulate tobacco moves through House, heading towards veto. [Washington Post]
* Turkish court allows president and PM to remain in politics. [CNN]
* Former Thai PM’s wife found guilty of tax evasion, sentenced to three years. [New York Times]
* More litigation for Ed McMahon, this time $275K claimed by former counsel. [CNN]

BarBri bar bri bar exam review course prep course Above the Law Above the Law ATL.jpgHere it is, folks — the daily bar exam open thread. You know what to do.
To those of you who are done (e.g., people taking New York only): congratulations. To those of you with another day to go: good luck.
If you’re one of those people suffering through three days of bar examination hell — either because you’re in a state with a three-day test, or you’re taking two states back-to-back — you have our sympathies. Back in the day, we took the New York and New Jersey bar exams back-to-back. After a mind-frying two days spent taking the NY bar exam, we had to make the long drive home from Albany, to sit for the NJ bar exam the next morning. Fun stuff.
But don’t worry, you’ll survive. And statistically speaking, odds are that you’ll pass.
(We did, in both states — despite attending a law school whose graduates “tend to underperform in passing the bar.”)
Earlier: Bar Exam Open Thread: So How Was Day One?

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgBack to the big story of the day: the massive lawyer layoffs, almost in the triple digits, at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. We thought now might be a good time to put up a fresh post, since the prior thread is getting a bit unwieldy (with 200+ comments — selected excerpts, after the jump).
So what’s there to add to the story? Let’s see…. Cadwalader issued a statement in response to our inquiries. It’s not terribly exciting — most of it repeats what CWT told the WSJ — but you can check it out, if you’re bored, after the jump.
We’re not career counselors, but you don’t need to be an expert to know that CWT is probably best avoided for the upcoming round of fall recruiting / on-campus interviewing. Generally you should run away from, not into, burning buildings (unless you’re a firefighter).
If for some reason you are still interested in working at Cadwalader — well, good luck with that. The firm is withdrawing from on-campus interviewing at a number of law schools. E.g., Rutgers – Newark (memo after the jump). The Rutgers memo states that CWT “will contact students independently to schedule interviews if they are selected.” In other words, don’t call them; they’ll call you.
Cadwalader cutting back on OCI isn’t terribly shocking. The firm has less manpower to cover fall recruiting, having laid off so many lawyers. It probably wants to reduce expenses related to fall recruiting (which can be a costly process for firms, especially if overnight travel is involved). And maybe the firm has concluded that the last thing it needs right now are more people on its payroll.
Finally, here’s a little tidbit we received by email:

At CWT in Charlotte, the attorneys who were fired came in this morning to find envelopes on their chairs breaking the bad news. Dicey move.

Dicey? We’re not so sure. The ginormous layoffs are already a PR disaster — and Cadwalader arguably wants to make itself seem like a less appealing place to work, at least in the short term.
But classy? Not very.
**********************
Remember, there’s more stuff after the jump: highlighted comments from the last thread, Cadwalader’s official statement on the layoffs, and an example of a law school career services memo announcing CWT’s withdrawal from on-campus interviewing.

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(And a fresh thread for your comments.)”

Blackberry Crackberry young addict.jpgBloggers tend to be so hyper-connected that being away from Internet service for more than two hours can feel like an eternity. Due to the numerous e-mails flying around law firms, and the expectation of rapid response, lawyers tend to have a similar connectivity addiction. The Blackberry is the sweet, sweet drug that feeds the need.
We know how dedicated you all are to your Blackberries. What if you were forced to give it up in order to really go on vacation and get away from the firm?
UK-based Linklaters is doing just that, reports Law People.

Linklaters is reported having decreed, in a fit of concern for work/life balance, that lawyers leave their Blackberrys at home while on holiday (vacation to us).The order is designed to insulate associates, in particular, from the relentless rat race for a few sweet weeks a year, according to management. “Sometimes it’s the small things that count,” one partner averred. While another lawyer confessed that “I feel naked without my Blackberry and there are times when you just have to be reachable.” Whether the firm is successful in enforcing this edict is not yet clear.

We think this will just result in compounding of guilt, as attorneys feel the shame of obsessively checking their Blackberries while “on holiday,” and the need to hide the illicit Blackberry checking from the firm. What do you think about the policy?


Blackberry Withdrawal [Law People]

funny-pictures-bad-news-for-bambi.jpgLast month, an ATL / Lateral Link survey found that roughly 28% of associates were afraid that they could lose their jobs this year, up from just 10% of associates in December.
That number might be even higher today, given recent events.
But should 28% of associates be afraid? On the one hand, there are relatively few firms listed in Bruce MacEwen’s layoffs table. On the other hand, that table doesn’t track “stealth layoffs”, and there are rumors of stealth layoffs at several firms around the country.
So, today’s survey will try to add a little more granularity. Is there really bad news afoot at your firm?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHere’s the second half of the “head-to-head” round of ATL Idol. If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on, background information is available in this prior post (or just scroll down the front page).
You can check out the second half of the head-to-head round, featuring the blogging of FROLIC AND DETOUR, SOPHIST, and MARIN, after the jump.

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Welcome to the first half of what we’re calling the “head-to-head” round of ATL Idol, the reality-TV-style talent search for Above the Law’s new editor. The second half will published later this afternoon.
To refresh your recollection, here’s how this round will work:

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgWe’ll publish the contestants’ different takes on the same story (actually, a pair of comparable stories — the contestants can choose). The head-to-head round is designed to show how the bloggers all tackle the same or similar stories, to eliminate any advantage one might derive from an extra-juicy set of facts.

This is also the round that will be reviewed by ATL’s panel of celebrity judges: Ann Althouse, Tom Goldstein, and Dahlia Lithwick.
Check out the first half of the head-to-head round, in which ALEX and EXLEY write about the same story, after the jump.

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