October 2014

biden.jpg* Barack Obama and Joe Biden accept the love of the Democratic Party. [Washington Post]
* Sobering news for the lovefest: “A potential conflict of interest involving Biden and one of the nation’s biggest asbestos litigation law firms.” [Politico]
* Bad Citibank! It owes 53,000 credit card customers $14 million for stealing their positive balances. According to one executive, “Stealing from our customers is a business decision, not a legal decision.” [Courthouse News Service]
* Child killer smiles as he hears death sentence. [CNN]
* Mexican Supreme Court upholds Mexico City’s abortion law. [Guardian]
* A Nepalese family is suing Iraq contractor KBR for human trafficking. [BBC News]
* Beach nudists sue for the right to be naked. [New York Times]
*… Fortunately for them, Orange County Superior Court Judge Shelia Fell likes nudity. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
* Expect McCain’s Veep pick today. [Politico]

comparing.jpgThe Vault 100 march continues! In this series of open threads, we list the firms, and you all discuss their upsides and downsides. We’ll be wrapping this puppy up this week.
Here are the next ten (with prestige scores in parentheses):

71. Nixon Peabody LLP (5.218)
72. Hunton & Williams LLP (5.208)
73. Perkins Coie LLP (5.119)
74. Reed Smith LLP (5.057)
75. Patton Boggs LLP (5.050)
76. Chadbourne & Parke LLP (4.997)
77. Bryan Cave LLP (4.969)
78. Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP (4.967)
79. Howrey LLP (4.926)
80. Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (4.910)

Usually, we have fun with the “notable perks” chosen by Vault. But as we move down the list, the perks are becoming distinctly less notable — e.g., gym membership discounts, free parking, and “good views.” Oh well.
You know what to do! Have at it in the comments.
Earlier: Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009

rick ross beats down rappers courts of law.jpg* DJ Vlad is suing Rick Ross for an alleged beatdown administered by Ross and four other … creative consultants. You can almost hear DJ “punk-a$$” Vlad’s record label screaming “Noooooooooo.” [MTV News]
* The WSJ’s Ashby Jones wonders if summer programs — and the hiring timetable they’re tied to — are to blame for Biglaw’s financial predicament. [Wall Street Journal (subscription); WSJ Law Blog]
* Sadly, this should come as no surprise: Kafka sheds light on the legal profession. Move over, Above the Law; now there’s Before the Law. [Lexis Hub / BBPL]
* Really, really old laws will soon make it on to the internet. Moses would be so proud. [The Guardian via HuffPost]
* Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan saw his child support payments reduced. The appellate court invoked the “three pony rule,” as in: “no child, no matter how wealthy the parents, needs to be provided [with] more than three ponies.” Maybe now Strahan can afford to fix his teeth. [Law.com]
* Did Hillary Clinton misquote Harriet Tubman? [The Caucus / New York Times]

champagne glasses small.jpgAs we expected, celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samatha Power were the winners of last week’s July Couple of the Month voting, running away with over 60 percent of the vote. Congratulations to this nerdy-hot duo!
This week’s set of contestants might be the strongest we’ve seen this season. Their write-ups feature five Harvard degrees, a Rhodes, and one of Biglaw’s most exalted surnames. Here are the names of the newlyweds:

1. Geneviève Treuille and Daniel Wachtell

2. Melissa Langsam and Todd Braunstein

3. Amanda Schwoerke and Stephen Sachs

Read more about these couples — and see their pictures — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 8.24: Herb-al Essence”

outsourcing biglaw aba tsunami.gifRemember when “outsourcing” was something that only blue collar workers with “some” high school education had to worry about? Well, those days are long gone, and now the global economy is officially poised to raid Biglaw jobs.
In an opinion (PDF) made public on Tuesday, the ABA declared shipping legal work overseas to be ethically permissible. The New York Law Journal reports that the first causalities will likely be contract attorneys brought in for extra muscle during document intensive litigation.
But we know it won’t stop there. Check in with any other industry that has to face off against a subcontinent of educated, English-speaking professionals willing to do the work for fractions of what Americans demand. It’s not pretty.
To be sure, we can count on the ABA to erect other (largely protectionist) policies, to ensure that high-end legal work remains the sole purview of partners graduates from accredited law schools.
Yet so long as Biglaw remains big business, how long before the work of junior associates can be cost effectively shipped overseas? It’s not like firms want to go to $190K for incoming associates.
People already in the pipeline should be fine. But change is coming to our profession. This ABA decision isn’t the tip of an iceberg, it is the receding sea that anticipates a tsunami.
Make haste for high ground.
ABA Gives Thumbs Up to Legal Outsourcing [Law.com]
Earlier: Biglaw to… Rupees?

Charlie Herschel Charles Herschel Weil Gotshal Manges Survivor.jpgThings are looking good these days for Weil, Gotshal & Manges. For the sixth year in a row, it made the top 10 of the Vault 100. It took fourth place in the American Lawyer’s A-List rankings, and turned in a strong showing in the magazine’s midlevel associate survey (#11 out of 80+ New York firms).
And Weil attorneys are an interesting crew, too. Some plunge into rapping careers. And some compete on reality shows!
Meet first-year associate Charlie Herschel. He’s a contestant on the latest season of Survivor, premiering on September 25. From his bio:

Charlie Herschel has been a fan of SURVIVOR since the first season and has been training for it ever since. A lawyer for one of the top 10 most prestigious law firms in the world, Herschel is ready to try his persuasion skills on a different type of jury.

This 29-year-old, marathon-running attorney and University of Pennsylvania graduate says he is above nothing when he gets to the island. Charlie’s strategy is to be authentic but with a twist. “With high risks, come high rewards, but the risks must be calculated.” The middle son of three boys and a native New Yorker, the Ivy Leaguer is not afraid to claw his way to the top.

Charles Herschel WGM headshot.jpgIf Herschel can survive in the Biglaw jungle, Gabon should be a piece of cake. And there’s precedent for lawyers faring well on Survivor. E.g., Yul Kwon (winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, and a year behind us at YLS).
Now, large law firms can be a bit stodgy. Some don’t react well to their associates’ forays into reality television. See, e.g., David Otunga (from I Love New York 2, and no longer at Sidley); Jeremy Anderson (from The Bachelorette, and no longer at Hunton & Williams). But see Denise Gitsham (welcomed back by K&L Gates, after appearing on The Bachelor); Stacy Rotner (still at Sidley, after appearing on The Apprentice; guess it’s more respectable than I Love New York 2).
What was Weil’s response to Charlie Herschel going on Survivor? Find out — and ogle photos of a shirtless Herschel — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Law Firm ‘Survivor': Meet Charlie Herschel”

outcastkitteh128571633263553221.jpgWe have some bad news for this year’s summer associates. Based on Monday’s survey, brought to you by ATL and Lateral Link, about one in four attorneys at your firm didn’t like you.
The number of practicing attorneys who said “Summer associates, hate ‘em” narrowly beat the number of practicing attorneys who said “Summer associates, love ‘em,” by a margin of 25.06% to 24.82%. And while that edge may not be statistically significant, it still has to sting a little.
Among lawyers who had been practicing for more than two years, the gap widened considerably, to 30% vs. 22%.
And in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami, associates of all ages hated summer associates most of all, to the tune of at least 40%.
Mind you, half of practicing respondents were simply neutral on the question — but that’s still pretty cold comfort, in this season of cold offers.
Read more, below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Summer Love… Or Lack Thereof”

comparing.jpgJudging from our traffic, readers are enjoying this rundown of the Vault 100. We do aim to please here at ATL. We appreciate those who have offered insights about firms in the comments.
Moving on to the next group (with prestige scores in parentheses):

61. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (5.608)
62. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (5.583)
63. Bingham McCutchen LLP (5.583)
64. Greenberg Traurig, LLP (5.478)
65. Holland & Knight LLP (5.416)
66. Heller Ehrman LLP (5.346)
67. Foley & Lardner LLP (5.266)
68. Steptoe & Johnson LLP (5.252)
69. K&L Gates LLP (5.242)
70. Kaye Scholer LLP (5.230)

As we move down the Vault list, “notable perks” are becoming less elaborate. This group is dominated by tales of free food, from endless soda at Greenberg Traurig to weekend doughnuts and muffins at Foley. And it appears that Pillsbury lacks a monopoly on cookie benefits; over at Cahill, lawyers are plied with “twice daily cookie trays.”
We note this food-related perk at Bingham: “If any lawyer takes out a more junior lawyer for drinks/dinner, he/she can submit the expense to the mentoring budget AND the senior person can get creditable hours.” Can you expense the roofies?
We invite you to compare and contrast these firms’ work, lifestyle, benefits… and cookies, in the comments.
Earlier: Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009

wiley rein pro bono.jpgYesterday, we criticized law schools for slavishly following the dictates of U.S. News and World Report. But a law firm responding to associate concerns is a different matter entirely.
A tipster informs us that Wiley Rein associates were told that up to 50 pro-bono hours would be credited towards meeting billable targets.
Firm Chairman Richard Wiley delivered the message personally to associates at an afternoon lunch yesterday. The new policy could be a response to the firm’s low pro-bono commitment rating in this month’s AmLaw midlevel survey (subscription).
Is 50 hours a “commitment,” or merely lip-service? How does the new Wiley Rein policy stack up with your firm’s?
American Lawyer Midlevel Associates Survey [American Lawyer (subscription)]
Earlier: The American Lawyer Midlevel Associates Survey: Open Thread

Golden Tee Live video game.jpgAside from occasional flurries of Golden Tee dominance, I rarely watch golf unless Tiger Woods is prominently involved. This makes me just like everybody else, a fact that the L.P.G.A has apparently noticed.
After unsuccessful attempts to woo Tiger into a sex-change operation, the L.P.G.A has a new marketing strategy: English-speaking golfers!
Starting in 2009, the ladies’ professional tour will suspend golfers who are not conversant in English.
Lest you think the ability to speak English has little to do with the entertainment value of hitting a ball and then walking after it, think again. Lisa Galloway, deputy commissioner of the tour, thinks that speaking English will help the sport attract sponsors and fans:

For an athlete to be successful today in the sports entertainment world we live in, they need to be great performers on and off the course, and being able to communicate effectively with sponsors and fans is a big part of this.

The lawyers weigh in after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Golf: The Language of the Elite”

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