* Alberto Gonzales and pals cannot rest easy just yet. AG Michael Mukasey has chosen Nora Dannehy, acting U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, as special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. [Associated Press]
* Many of us are tempted away from work during the day by Facebook. Lucky Kirkland and Ellis partner Ted Ullyot gets to go do the Facebook thing full-time. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Heath Ledger’s former lawyer sues for payment on a $10-million life insurance policy on behalf of Ledger’s daughter. [Canadian Press]
* Ladies, rejoice. Judge rules in favor of “ladies’ nights” in Manhattan. [CNN]
* Thirty-three pastors started a crusade against federal tax law this weekend. Slamming Sen. Barack Obama from the pulpit, they hope to start a legal battle that will lead to the end of a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship. [Washington Post]
* Which law firms lose out in the Wachovia sale to Citi? [AmLaw Daily]
Last week, we tangentially touched on the issue of California’s Proposition 8, which is titled: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” The issue touched off a firestorm of comments, with many strong opinions for and against the measure.
Apparently, senior attorneys at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe also hold strong opinions about Prop. 8. Political divisions at the firm came to a head when Dean Criddle, a tax partner in the San Francisco office, made a $5,000 contribution to the Yes On 8 campaign. Upon learning of Criddle’s contribution, his colleague in the tax department and San Francisco office, of counsel Cameron Wolfe, sent out this email:
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:57 PM
To: SF ALL ATTORNEYS; SV ALL ATTORNEYS; SC ALL ATTORNEYS
Subject: Orrick and the Proposition 8 Campaign
The publicity attendant to the $5,000 contribution to the Yes on 8 Campaign by an Orrick partner damages the reputation of Orrick as a progressive law firm supportive of equal rights for gay and lesbian people. This can adversely impact the firm in many ways, including hurting our ability to attract gay and lesbian recruits; turning off clients, existing and potential, that support equal rights for homosexuals; and making our current gay and lesbian work force feel like second class citizens.
Chief justice George’s eloquent exposition of the reasons why same sex marriage is a right that should be guaranteed to all gay and lesbian people need not be elaborated upon here. Obviously, the partner who made the $5,000 contribution had a right to believe the Chief Justice to be wrong and to make the contribution he did. It can be debated whether he should have foreseen that this action could damage Orrick. What can’t be debated is that we should try to counteract the damage that has occurred.
One thing that we as individuals working at the Orrick firm can do is to make personal contributions to the No on 8 Campaign. If enough of us do so, that may be newsworthy enough to generate positive publicity offsetting the present negative impression in the community on this important issue.
I urge each of you to make a contribution to No on 8, which can be sent as follows:
* If I loiter outside my polling place dressed as black Jesus, does that count as electioneering? [The Sable Verity]
* If you thought the Farnsworth Invention was must see theater, you won’t want to miss Flash of Genius. It’s a riveting story about the patent litigation surrounding the first intermittent windshield-wiper, starring … wait a minute. Did somebody just make a movie about windshield-wipers? I have to finish editing my screenplay. [Patent Baristas]
* Let’s see exactly who voted against the bailout. [Dealbreaker]
* Of course there is going to be a special prosecutor in the DOJ firing scandal. I’m not entirely sure why we needed a 392-page report to figure that out, but it’s nice to see that our government still has some money to throw around. [BLT: The Blog of the Legal Times]
* Somehow, there has to be a way to save the New York Sun. [Point of Law]
* Blawg Review commemorates the invention of the ball-point-pen — 70 years old, and still a great self-defense weapon in a pinch. [Securing Innovation via Blawg Review]
Is law school a good value? That’s the question I ask my students to figure out, hoping to teach them a bit about finance. Using crude numbers, the answer looks like a resounding “yes.” As they say in the investment business, it looks like a “three bagger.” Even if you have to put $230,000 in, you get over $700,000 back!
That’s a cool $470,000 in net present value — a much better return than any American bank is likely to offer you this lifetime. The methodology is based on the Department of Labor’s statistics:
[T]he Wall Street Journal reported recently on salary statistics. While the median salary for persons holding just a BA has slipped to $47,240, those of us with professional degrees have gone up to $89,602. Even better, recent Labor Department numbers show the median salary for lawyers at $106,120. So, as I say to my students, think of your law degree as an annuity. It represents a payment stream that lasts for a career (say 40 years) that equals the spread between what you would have earned without your law degree versus what you can with it. Using the median salary numbers, that spread is almost $60,000. Discounted at 8%, the annuity has a present value of over $700,000. The present value of three years of tuition (at $40,000 a year), books and foregone salary (at the median) is about $230,000. So, as your stockbroker used to say about Lehman bonds, a “no brainer!”
Nice. Of course, that median salary is largely dependent on top firms paying their lawyers large salaries, based on the huge fees charged to wealthy clients.
Should a major economic collapse send the American economy back to the antebellum period, wealthy corporations might not be able to afford… well, everybody here understands we’re totally screwed the worst-case scenario.
If you are considering going to law school, it’s still probably a safe bet. At least it’s a better bet than being an I-banker right now.
We like to think of ATL as a place where lawyers can get together and discuss the compelling news of the day.
Well, the news of the day is that Wall Street will apparently not be receiving $700 billion dollars to cover their bad investments. The House rejected the bailout plan. The Dow is down by over 400 points as of this writing. And I think I just saw Jimmy Stewart beating the crap out of Mr. Potter.
Really, anytime Robert Reich and Newt Gingrich are agreeing on television, times are strange.
If they’re not going to pass this bailout, then what do you think is going to happen?
This post serves as my official request to start receiving my paycheck in gold bullion.
Update (3:30 PM): The Dow is now down by over 700 points, just over 6 percent. The S&P 500 is now down by almost 100 points, just over 8 percent.
It takes two lawyers to schedule a deposition. And while a third-year associate might view a deposition as the most important event scheduled in a calendar year, most seasoned attorneys can be expected to show some flexibility when it comes to scheduling conflicts.
After Hurricane Ike struck Texas, attorneys at Markland Hanley and Tekell, Brook, Matthews & Limmer tried to reschedule a deposition. But the people at Markland Hanley wanted Tekell to reimburse them for travel expenses.
Hilarity ensued when Tekell attorney Jeff Murphrey responded to Markland Hanley’s request for reimbursement fees:
I am sorry that a hurricane hit Houston
I am sorry that upon returning to my home Monday, September 22, 2008, I discovered a roughly 50ft. x 6ft. swath of human excrement, used condoms, and all the other niceties that come with a raw sewage leak into one’s backyard which drains into one of the main bayous in Houston.
I am sorry that I had to threaten City of Houston officials with lawsuits and local news exposure in order to get them to even agree to meet with me about cleaning up the problem.
I am sorry that these city officials chose a date that interfered with our deposition and gave me no other options.
Murphrey goes on to explain the extraordinary steps that were taken to cleanse his backyard. He also claims that he agreed to pay reasonable travel expenses.
Murphrey then adds:
I am sorry that you think the judge should be involved in this matter. I wonder if the judge will be sorry about that, too.
We don’t know all the details of the back and forth between Markland Hanley and Tekell. But maybe they need to add a “hurricane aftermath” section in the MPRE.
We have some bad news for this year’s incoming associates. Based on last Wednesday’s ATL / Lateral Linksurvey, attorneys at your new firm like you even less than they liked summer associates.
We received 765 responses, and the number of practicing attorneys who said “First-year associates, hate ‘em” beat the number of practicing attorneys who said “First-year associates, love ‘em,” by a margin of 25.55% to 21.88%. In comparison, summer associates had managed a more even 25.06% to 24.82% love-hate response in an earlier survey.
Like ‘em or not, respondents sure did think there were a lot of ‘em.
Overall, 58% of practicing respondents said that their firms had hired too many new associates, with 29% saying “way too many.”
Only 10% thought their firms had hired too few.
And just under a third of respondents, 32%, thought their firms had hired just the right number.
In comparison, about 53% of practicing attorneys thought that their firms’ summer programs were too big this year, with 21% calling them “way too big.”
Alarmingly, the people most likely to think there are too many first-years were also the people most likely to be making hire-and-fire decisions. While 57% of second-year associates thought their firms had hired too many new associates, that number exploded to 74% among attorneys who had been practicing since before 2000.
So, if you think that partner you’re working with right now might really want to fire you, you’re probably right. Have fun at work today!
Similarly, the more seasoned the respondents, the more likely they were to actually dislike their newest colleagues. 30% of second-year associates actually said “love ‘em” to the new first-years, and only 15% said “hate ‘em.” But among attorneys who had been practicing since before 2000, only 11% said they liked first-years, while a whopping 48% declared, “hate ‘em.”
So, if you think that partner you’re working with right now might really want to fire you, you’re probably right. Seriously, have fun at work today!
[O]fficials with knowledge of the inspector general’s investigation and defense lawyers who have been involved in it said they did not expect that the investigation would recommend that criminal charges be pursued at this point against Mr. Gonzales or other officials. The report was expected to recommend that investigators continue to pursue some elements of the case, meaning that the legal questions around Mr. Gonzales would continue.
Since the last time we took a look at fall recruiting there have been a few interesting economic developments: Lehman collapsed, Heller Ehrman collapsed, and apparently we now live in a socialist republic.
But is all the dour economic news affecting law students in search of summer employment?
Yes. Big time. One tipster reports:
Harvard OCI is NOT going well. People with good grades are not getting callbacks from mid-level firms (e.g., White [& Case]) and people with average grades aren’t getting callbacks from blah firms (Proskauer [Rose], Clifford [Chance], etc.) Chadbourne canceled their whole Harvard OCI program. And people with great grades are getting callbacks at, say, Cravath but not Simpson.
Correction: Apologies. From a Chadbourne spokesperson:
In an item on Abovethelaw.com today headlined “Open Thread: How is the Fall Recruiting Season Shaping Up?” you say that Chadbourne & Parke has cancelled “their whole Harvard OCI.” This is wrong. We are continuing to recruit for our summer program at Harvard Law School. In fact, Chadbourne recruiters are at the Harvard OCI taking place today.
The California market is dealing with its own kind of callback hell. See, e.g., Heller Ehrman.
What are your experiences out on the trail? Last summer, firms claimed that their summer programs were oversubscribed. Are they “correcting” the problem, or is it last call at the Overlook Hotel?
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.