August 2014

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts KKR.jpg* Law firms in on KKR offering. [Am Law Daily]
* PETA wants military to stop using animals in medical training. [CNN]
* Congress boldly agrees to ban toxins in toys. [Washington Post]
* Hamdan trial tests military commission system. [New York Times]
* Bush approves execution of Army private. [AP]
* L.A. city council considers limited ban on fast food. [MSNBC]
* L.A. lawyer Pierce O’Donnell indicted on political money laundering (and he responds). [LA Observed; Pierce O'Donnell Public Justice Blog]

Asia Asian law blogger blawg Above the Law blog.jpg[Ed. note / Disclosure: Please note that 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.]
This week, we are going to very briefly discuss the state of the market for major law firms in Asia, with a focus on M&A, and with our usual slant towards Hong Kong / China (as that is where the majority of the hiring is taking place these days). In future editions of the Asia Chronicles, we plan to eventually devote an article to all the major practice areas in Asia, as well as each major Asia market generally (e.g., Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Hong Kong).
Notwithstanding the global economic slowdown, most of our U.S. associate friends in Asia remain busy. Some, including the authors of prior installments of the Asia Chronicles, are as busy as ever. They are so slammed, in fact, that these poor writers don’t have time to pen the Asia Chronicles this week (as well as some of the past several weeks — or do their laundry, for that matter). But that is another story for another day, when we focus more on quality of life for U.S. associates in Asia.
So while we are authoring this week’s edition of the Chronicles, as an emergency fill-in, we thought it best to provide our readers with some very basic information and facts about the topic at hand.
A number of U.S. and British firms in Asia, especially in Hong Kong / China, are actively building up their M&A practices. This is no surprise when considering current and projected market conditions. In fact, a survey just completed this month by Simmons & Simmons of 200 CEOs and CFOs of leading companies in the Asia Pacific region shows that 91% of the respondents believe that the level of M&A activity will increase or remain the same over the next twelve months, with over two-thirds of respondents believing M&A activity across the Asia-Pacific region will increase over that time frame, and with 87% of respondents believing that there will be increased M&A activity in China in the next twelve months.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles: Focus on M&A”

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol small.jpgEarlier today, we announced that the new editor of Above the Law was going to be picked by you, the readers of the site, through a “reality blogging” competition. We provided some initial information about the contest over here.
We urged you to check back later in the day for the contestants’ bios. “Later” is now; the short intro posts of the competitors are finally available. We apologize for the delay.
Check out the six contestants’ capsule biographies, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: Meet the Finalists”

mich law catfight copy.jpgWhen you’ve been wronged, there’s a part of you that wants the whole world to know. Maybe you think exposing the evildoer’s misdeeds will bring solace, revenge, sympathy… But more often than not, it brings scorn. People just don’t like tattletales.
Several tipsters sent along such an exchange from the University of Michigan’s law school list-serv. Here’s the catfight one law student sent out to the list-serv with the subject line, “not sure how to handle this:”

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM, TATTLETALE wrote:
EVILDOER,
Listen, I tried to be nice and understanding about all this but now it’s just ridiculous! I did you a favor and now I’ve been stuck hounding you for my phone for months and months as if you’re doing ME the favor! I bought that phone for $120, so either send me a check for that amount or return the phone ASAP…
I’m not going to lecture you about how this is no way to treat a law school class mate and definately [sic] no way to start making your reputation in the legal community — hopefully you realize all that. Just return the phone or the money so I can finally forget about this after half a year!
-TATTLETALE
————————————————————————————
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 08:01:52 +0200
From: EVILDOER
Subject: Re: phone
To: TATTLETALE
You f***ing nasty b****,
My sister is gonna give you a f***ing check that you can f***ing hold onto until I come back from rome.
EVILDOER
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 7:54 AM, EVILDOER wrote:
I AM INF ***ING ROME YOU STUPID W****. I SAID I WILL MAIL IT TO YOU ONCE I
GET BACK. NO REASON TO BE A F***ING B****.

Is bar exam stress driving Michigan students over the edge?
Full exchange (warning: unredacted profanity), plus a bevy of responses, after the jump.
(We’ve redacted identities — and appreciate your protecting anonymity in the comments. Thanks.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘How To Handle This?’
(By not sending out over the law school list-serv?)

nick thompson.jpgUltimate fighting isn’t exactly a sport that’s on our radar. Also known as mixed martial arts, it involves a cage and a lot of grappling, kicking, and punching. Apparently, it has a rapidly growing fan base; a recent Rolling Stone article called it “the next Nascar” and “boxing’s replacement.”
Last year, the Minnesota City Pages wrote a profile of mixed martial arts fighting champ and University of Minnesota law school student, Nick Thompson. A tipster sent us a link to one of Thompson’s recent bouts. Based on this Sports Illustrated article, it sounds like it was more of a rout than a bout:

If nothing else, Shields’ 63-second destruction of Nick Thompson, a quality welterweight with 12 consecutive wins under his belt coming into Saturday, should give Shields enough gravitas that he’s brought into the discussion of top 170-pound fighters in the game…
Included in the 29-year-old San Franciscan’s tally is Saturday’s domination of Thompson (36-10-1), which saw Shields land an early takedown, move to mount and lock in a one-armed guillotine from the top…
“I think I’m one of the best in the world, and Jake treated me like a little kid out there,” said Thompson, a law school graduate who faces the bar exam next week. “That’s the best mount I’ve ever felt.”

Even though Thompson lost, we’re still impressed that he’s fighting in cage matches the week before the bar exam — guess he’s not very anxious about the test. On the other hand, who wouldn’t take a break from studying for “the best mount” ever?
Meet Minnesota’s Other World Champion [Minnesota City Pages]
Lawler’s sequel victory highlights epic night of EliteXC championships [Sports Illustrated]

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol medium.jpg
Six lawyers, currently or formerly at large law firms, hoping to make the jump to the writing life (read: working in pajamas). One leading legal tabloid, in need of its next lead editor. A mass of angry anonymous commenters, looking for someone new with whom to have a love-hate relationship.
“THIS…. is ATL Idol.”
It’s a reality-show-style competition, in which site readers will pick the new editor in chief of AboveTheLaw.com — the recipient of some 3 million page views a month, described by the Washington Post as “a must-read legal blog.” We believe it to be the first time that a full-time blogging gig — one with a salary you can live on, health insurance, and even a 401(k) — has been awarded through a “reality blogging” contest.
Back in May, we posted a help wanted ad for a new full-time writer here at Above the Law. Over the weeks that followed, we received a slew of excellent applications. We also located additional prospects through personal networking. All in all, we probably considered almost 100 talented candidates.
We narrowed the list down to six highly impressive finalists. But we found the prospect of choosing just one of them to be agonizing.
So we’ve decided to outsource this task to you, the readership of Above the Law. Over the next three weeks, the finalists will blog on ATL, for your consideration. Just as they would on a true reality TV show, the “assignments” will vary from week to week (details about them to follow).
Each Friday, we will open the polls, allowing you to vote for your favorite — the blogger you’d like to see take the helm at this venerable legal tabloid. At the end of week one, the bottom two out of six finalists — the pair of contestants with the fewest votes — will be eliminated. Next week, the reader vote will take four finalists down to two. In the third and final week, the two finalists will go head to head, in a legal blogging deathmatch. Your votes will determine the winner, Above the Law’s new leader.
ATL readers are an opinionated bunch, so we expect you to have strong views about the contestants (which you should feel free to share in the comments). But to those of you who need more guidance when voting, fear not. Just like American Idol, ATL Idol will provide you with three “celebrity judges,” to offer their expert opinions of the contestants’ blogging, and to inform and guide the electorate.
Our judges, who are all leading legal bloggers in their own right, need no introduction. But we’ll introduce them anyway, briefly. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Our impressive panel is well-balanced, featuring representatives from three major groups of legal bloggers: one law professor, one practicing lawyer, and one professional journalist. We’ll leave it to you to decide — perhaps based on how caustic their commentary is — who’s Simon, who’s Randy, and who’s Paula.
    Update: Professor Althouse emphatically rejects any suggestion that she’ll be the Paula Abdul of this contest. This is just as well; when we invited Dahlia Lithwick to serve as a judge, she called “dibs” on Paula.
    Check back later today, when we’ll post brief bios of the six finalists. And check back throughout this week – and, of course, over the next three weeks – to figure out which writers you love, and which you’d leave. The identity of ATL’s next editor rests in your hands.
    We’re expecting this contest to be fun and exciting. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. And once the polls are open, we pass along to you the exhortation of Ryan Seacrest: “America, don’t forget to vote!”
    Update: The bios of the finalists are now posted over here.
    Earlier: Help Wanted: ATL Seeks A New Writer

  • dont-go-pleez.jpgIn today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, it’s time to focus on time off.
    ATL has previously reported on firms trimming the length of their summer programs, in part because of economic doldrums, but also at least purportedly in part because of vacation cycles.
    As one firm’s managing partner put it: “We believe that the August vacation season for our attorneys is simply not a period that is conducive to a positive Summer Associate experience.”
    So, it being “vacation season,” are you taking any?
    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.

    Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.JPGBack in February 2007, shortly after young gay lawyer Aaron Charney sued his former firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, alleging anti-gay discrimination and retaliation, the WSJ Law Blog asked: “Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over?”
    Based on the experts it spoke to, the WSJ concluded that “it’ll be tough for Charney, though not impossible, to find work at another big firm.” In the comments to the WSJ post, readers were less optimistic. One described Charney as “toast” — a sentiment apparently shared by many ATL readers we heard from, who found laughable the notion that Aaron Charney might someday return to Biglaw.
    If you were one of those who doubted that Aaron Charney could return to a large law firm, it’s time for you to eat one of these. Next month, Charney will be joining Clifford Chance, in the Magic Circle firm’s New York office.
    We reached out to both Aaron Charney and Clifford Chance for confirmation and comment. Charney did not get back to us, but the firm did. From firm spokesperson Mike Kachel:

    I can confirm that Aaron Charney, a talented lawyer, will join our New York office in early September from Sullivan & Cromwell as a fifth-year associate. Aaron’s presence will further strengthen our M&A practice and we’re delighted he’s joining us.

    The firm is clearly pleased to have Charney on the team. But does everyone at Clifford Chance feel the same way? The CC source who tipped us off to the news alluded to some grumbling among the rank-and-file about Charney’s hiring (but didn’t specify why people wouldn’t want to have Charney as a colleague). As for why the firm wanted to hire Charney, this tipster suggested that Clifford Chance may want to improve its standing in the gay community, after settling a sexual orientation lawsuit brought by a gay partner in London last year.
    Regardless of the naysayers’ views, this does seem like a felicitous pairing. Aaron Charney gets to return to the world of corporate law and deal work, which he clearly loves. Clifford Chance gets to beef up its New York M&A practice — and enhance its diversity record, too. Congratulations to both Charney and Clifford Chance!
    P.S. Clifford Chance wasn’t the only firm that flirted with Charney. As we mentioned back in May, he also interviewed with Kramer Levin.
    P.P.S. Whatever happened to Charney pal Gera Grinberg? Might Clifford Chance have room for him too?
    Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over? [WSJ Law Blog]
    Earlier: A Brokeback Lawfirm for the Other Side of the Pond

    Monica Goodling 4 Monica M Goodling sexy pose Above the Law blog.jpgWe hear that the Justice Department’s special report on our favorite DOJ diva, Monica Goodling, will be coming out later today — in fact, later this morning. Perhaps within 15 minutes or so, give or take….
    Stay tuned. We’ll update this space with more as it emerges.
    Update (10:08 AM): As we predicted, the report of the Office of the Inspector General, “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General,” has been released. To access it, click here (PDF).
    We haven’t head the chance to read it yet (since we’re juggling several stories this morning). If you take a look at the report, please feel free to point out the most interesting portions, in the comments.
    Further Update: More from NPR, the AP, and the WSJ Law Blog.
    Justice Dept.’s Hiring Tactics Illegal, Report Says [National Public Radio]
    DOJ: Former aide broke law in hiring scandal [Associated Press]
    Who’s to Blame for GonzoGate? DOJ Report Points to Goodling [WSJ Law Blog]

    Shia LaBeouf Shia LeBeouf Shia LaBoeuf.jpg* Conviction in Siemens bribery and corruption case. [Reuters]
    * Another malpractice suit filed, this one against Thelen Reid. [The Recorder via Am Law Daily]
    * Virginia jails must report foreign inmates to feds. [Washington Post]
    * Shia LaBeouf arrested for DUI. [CNN]
    * Mistrial motion in Barbie-Bratz dolls case, after juror booted for ethnic slurs. [WSJ Law Blog]
    * Judge Charlies Brieant (S.D.N.Y.), RIP. [New York Times]

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