* 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]
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, 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.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…