* Can you enforce a relationship exclusivity contract? And what kind of loser couple would sign such a contract? [Overlawyered]
* Florida Law Review just discovered audio recordings. Next up for the tastefully named “FlaLaw Online,” the editors tackle the mysterious telephone that doubles as a phonograph. [How Appealing]
* I wish somebody would have told me, back when I was a 1L, that three years later my law school would actually expect me to pay them money. In lieu of that, I suppose these three suggestions for 1Ls are pretty good. [Ms. J.D.]
* A woman was ordered to stop having children as a condition of her probation. No, it’s not Sarah Palin. [Volokh Conspiracy]
Here is yet another rumor — somewhat better sourced than the Thacher Proffitt / King & Spalding rumor, but a rumor nonetheless — about a possible law firm merger.
Word on the street is that Seyfarth Shaw is seeking a merger partner. This should not come as a shock, since Seyfarth has been stumbling a bit due to the downturn. As previously reported, the firm has pushed back start dates and trimmed its lawyer ranks.
The Seyfarth partnership recently returned from its retreat, where strategic opportunities were discussed. The scuttlebutt is that the firm is in “serious” merger talks with another firm of roughly equal size. Upon information and belief, that firm is Squire Sanders.
Both firms hover around the 800-attorney mark. The product of their merger — nicknamed “S4″ by one tipster, standing for either “Seyfarth Shaw Squire Sanders” or “Squire Sanders Seyfarth Shaw” — would be a 1600-lawyer behemoth. The combination would give Seyfarth a coveted foothold in Bratislava.
Associate meetings were held in all Seyfarth Shaw offices earlier this afternoon. Associates were briefed on the retreat and told about ongoing merger talks with another firm. Details are scarce; the confidential nature of the merger talks was stressed to the associates “about a dozen times.”
Whether these talks will bear fruit is anyone’s guess. Lately law-firm merger talks have been falling at a high rate.
We’ll keep you posted. If you have any info to share, please email us. Thanks.
We like the occasional poo-poo joke here at ATL, but we’re torn between amusement and disgust in the case of Cornell Tyler, 37, who is being tried for murder in Markham Courthouse in Illinois. His actions give new meaning to Freud’s anal-sadistic phase.
Tyler used sandwich bags from lunch to create excrement bombs on Thursday. He tried to use them on Circuit Judge Kathleen Panozzo, but her deputies took the hit. From the Chicago Tribune:
“The judge said, ‘Is your name Cornell Tyler?’ ” [Assistant State Atty. Ted] Lagerwall said. “He said, ‘My name is Self Destruction, but you can call me Smitty–well, I mean [expletive].’”
Tyler then quickly reached down the front of his pants and pulled out the baggie but the deputies beside him pounced on him.
“In that scuffle, he did throw the excrement toward the front of the courtroom,” Mateck said. “The judge was not injured, but unfortunately our deputies were . . . adversely affected.”
Poor deputies. The courtroom had to be cleared because it “stunk to high heavens.”
It seems likely that Tyler’s nickname will change from “Self Destruction” to “No More Fiber For Me.”
Remember that scene in Ferris Bueller where Ferris’s mom is home a little early and gently opens the door to his room? With the pulleys and the mannequin and the sound system Ferris is able to convince his mom that he is in his bed comfortably sleeping.
With a little ingenuity Perfect Plush could give associates the necessary cover for the long lunch. According to the company, this plush doll already has many of the skills of a successful associate:
He’s at your firm. He’s the guy who walks around late at night to make sure he’s the last one there, and will do the same an hour later if someone else is still working. He sends unimportant emails at 1 a.m., just to let everyone (especially the partners) know he’s still billing. He will corner the summer associates and tell them a war story about his latest deposition (even though he has only taken four in his six year career). He will be sure to let everyone know just how many hours he billed last month and where he stands for the year.
If it comes with a fake-laugh track, we’re pretty sure partners won’t know the difference.
Coming into this week, Harvard Law School had placed 58 federal clerks, leading all law schools. That is not altogether surprising, given the Cretaceous size of HLS classes. Yale is only clocking in with 14 (9th place) clerks. But it’s early yet. It’s just important that Eli-the-bulldog doesn’t drop his bone in the river trying to grab another one.
The real news from the Federal Appellate Judicial Clerks 2009 blog is that the University of Michigan Law School is currently tied for second (with Stanford).
Way to go, wolverines. We told you that stealing cell phones and sandwiches wasn’t going to adversely affect the school’s reputation when it came to anything important.
But look at how difficult it is to get a clerkship coming from a school outside of the top 14:
* T14: 71.3%
* Others: 28.7%
Those numbers are worst than last year for those outside the top 14.
At least if you are still in the top tier you have a fighting chance to get a clerkship. The path to clerking is all but blocked for those outside tier 1:
* T1: 94.2%
* T2: 3.6%
* T3: 1.4%
* T4: 0.8%
The lesson, as always, get into the best school you can and don’t look back.
Remember the Davis Polk “internal memo” from last week, touting the firm’s success at navigating the perilous waters of Wall Street? Other firms are following DPW’s lead, taking the opportunity to toot their own horns about how well they’re doing despite — or perhaps because of — the financial system meltdown.
[W]hile the turmoil in the marketplace has caused dislocation and real pain for many with whom we have worked over the years, it has also given rise to opportunities for us to provide advice and counsel to existing and new clients as they chart their way at this challenging juncture….
In addition to the work of the last two weeks, much of which is ongoing, we are seeing a surge in related work, involving M&A transactions that grow out of likely restructurings of these companies as well as Lehman-related bankruptcy work and financings and restructurings occasioned by the recent changes in the financial institutions landscape.
We have also been engaged in a wide range of litigation work relating to the credit crisis in the past year….
Moral of the story: 2Ls, Debevoise is the place to be. They’ll have more than enough work to keep you busy.
Grade inflation happens at lot of schools. Maybe even most of them. But when a prominent professor and alumna calls your grading system “such a fraud,” well that is a school we should all be lucky enough to attend.
Some highlights for people that cannot watch YouTube at work:
Van Susteren: Have you ever graded? It really is disturbing that it affects people’s lives the way it does when it is so … subjective.”
It is “disturbing” that you know how important it is, yet throw up your hands and just “give everybody A’s”
Not that anybody asked them, but Wachtell has decided to weigh in on the financial crisis. According to Am Law Daily, Wachtell wants short-selling to stop:
So say several memorandums penned during the past week by executive committee cochair and banking transactions rainmaker Edward Herlihy, 14-year SEC veteran and firm of counsel Theodore Levine, and associate Carmen Woo.
“In today’s markets, short sales continue to be at record levels, there are false rumors in the marketplace about the demise of financial firms, bear raids and abusive short selling are taking place, and there is significant disruption in the fair and orderly functioning of the securities markets,” said Herlihy and Levine in their first memo on September 16. “The markets are in crisis.”
Generally, we like our political power brokers to be elected or at least appointed by somebody who was elected. However, with everybody else in government waiting for Mr. Paulson to come and save America, maybe it is not a bad thing to have professional lawyers suggesting a strong course of action.
We don’t know if the SEC was listening. But we do know that Wachtell told them to ban short-selling on September 16th, and the SEC banned short-selling on September 19th. Post hoc ergo propter hoc …
First of all, never ever shoot your cerebellum up with botulism two days before a deadline. God. My head hurts. Yet, I rise …
Here we go.
“Listen, go work somewhere where people like you… I mean, really like you. Then, you can screw up, and it doesn’t even matter. Hope, just go somewhere where people like you, and you’ll be in. Nothing else matters.”
Sage advice given to me from a senior associate at the Pants Down law firm. I mean, he was forced to eat white buns at his desk, the only staple stashed in desk drawer, because he never, ever left his office — not even to get lunch. But he was brilliant, the golden child of Litigation. And he knew this firm was pure evil. He wanted me to escape while I was still young enough.
So, after putting in a few years at Pants Down, I decided to leave. In addition to fending off the advances of creepy middle-aged male partners, I had become increasingly fed up with the partners there, in general.
Plus, at the end of every single day, I was so completely drained. Had I been a mother required to feed a child, my breast would have just dried up. I just had nothing left to give. Anyone.
I was ready to jump.
So, I decided to go to a firm that was less prestigious and international, but that was fine by me. I liked it better anyway when the world was round, not flat. And I was really sick of reading The Economist. There are just way too many countries. More importantly, I was excited to go to a place where the partners actually cared about me and what I wanted to do with my life. And my friend Molly, who had recently left the firm, was really happy now.
She e-mailed me from her new firm: “Listen, Hope. I came to Pants Down because I thought the people were kind of eccentric, interesting — not the super stuffy lawyers you usually find. Now, actually, after seeing all their erratic crazy behavior, I want boring, dull, bland. That’s fine by me.”
I e-mailed her back: “I know. These people are nuts. I mean, who goes to a ‘pool party’ and jumps in the pool in a bikini in front of their colleagues – especially with unshaved armpits? So gross.”
Query: What woman doesn’t shave her armpits? And, if you opt not to shave your pits because you fancy yourself some Nicaraguan rebel leader, then please, keep your arms down. The summer associate pool party was my breaking point — I had to get the hell out of here. These people were just too weird. And the partner for whom I worked was mean as hell and had an old school mustache. That also was weird.
Well, the new firm proved to be everything I expected. They cared about me. Too much.
* You get ripped off by some guy. You sue the guy. You’re awarded damages. The guy starts paying you back. The guy declares bankruptcy. You have to pay the guy back. Huh? [Associated Press]
* Wisconsin inmate is awarded $295,000 in suit against prison guard who made him sleep on a moldy bed. It’s going to be a while until he can spend it though. He’s serving a 23-year term. [The Smoking Gun]
* University of Tennessee sophomore who hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail account is under FBI investigation and has hired a lawyer. Was it really worth it? The hacker wrote upon posting the e-mails, “there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped.” [WBIR]
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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