* Did you know that there was a Proposition 9 in California? With all these voter referendums, could somebody please explain again why California even bothers to have a state legislature? [Johnny California]
* A clients caring (about bonuses) roundup. [f/k/a]
* There’s an argument that law firms should double the bonuses from what were given last year. It’s not a good argument. But hey, until some firm steps up to stop the bleeding (please save us S&C) I choose to grasp at the elusive straw. [Law and More]
* How nerdy do you have to be to refer to lawyers as “non-nerdy?” I mean, at that point are you rolling at 1d10 to see if you can “score” with that woman at the bar? [Topless Robot]
According to Connecticut DUI lawyer James O. Ruane, I can’t breathe as well as white people. Based on this “analysis” Ruane has determined that the breathalyzer is a racist device.
Really. I’m not making that up. Ruane represents a black man who got busted for drunk driving:
A breath analysis administered at state police Troop G in Bridgeport found Brown had a blood-alcohol content of 0.188. The legal limit is 0.08.
In a motion filed Tuesday in Superior Court, Ruane asked a judge to suppress his client’s breathalyzer test results, contending the device used by the state police, and most other local police departments, the Intoxilyzer 5000, discriminates against blacks. Brown is an African-American.
I’m all for zealous defense of your clients, but I don’t see why you have to insult thinking people of all colors to make that defense. But Ruane argued:
[T]he lung capacity of a black man is 3 percent smaller than a white man and, therefore, black men’s test results vary from the sobriety standard set by the device.
He said Dr. Michael Hlastala, a lung physiologist at the University of Washington, examined research of other lung physiologists and, based on his studies, has determined the Intoxilyzer 5000 does not effectively test the blood-alcohol content of black men.
“He looked at all the research and came up with the bigger picture and found the common thread,” he said.
Mmm … blanket generalizations about an entire people. I wonder what Michael Jordan’s lung capacity is as compared to Alan Dershowitz?
Former Capitol Hill staffer/sex blogger/author/bankrupt babe Jessica Cutler has taken a husband. According to the Washington Post:
Jessica Cutler, 30, the Hill aide turned “Washingtonienne” sex blogger turned author, to Manhattan lawyer Charles Rubio, 28. … The couple plan to wed at New York City Hall on an early December weekday, followed by a happy-hour reception. (Not pregnant, in case you’re wondering.) How’d they meet? “Randomly in a bar,” Cutler told us. “I wish I had a more romantic story to tell you!”
Isn’t that always the way? You write stories about the exciting escapades of others while you yourself marry a lawyer you met in a bar. Yawn.
Timothy Pohl, part of Skadden’s ruling class, sounds confident that his firm is in the running:
Pohl says Skadden has historically done work for former Chrylser owner Daimler, which sold 80 percent of Chrysler to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in 2007 for $7.4 billion. Skadden also does work for Ford, says Pohl, adding that the firm has yet to be contacted by either automaker.
“I’m not convinced that any [of the Big Three] are hiring advisers yet,” Pohl says. “But between us, Kirkland, and Weil, I’d say that the three of us have the largest [bankruptcy and restructuring] groups with a big falloff after that.”
Obviously both Skadden and Kirkland have the chops to handle the work, but isn’t the real question “Why not Weil?”
It’s uncertain whether a potential Big Three bankruptcy might present a similar problem for Weil–and how the firm would manage to juggle its Lehman, Lenox, and other client obligations in the event of such a resource-draining retention. That’s especially true given that it’s unclear whether a potential Big Three filing would proceed on a liquidation track (a la Lehman) or as an infinitely more complicated corporate restructuring.
At some point, Weil has to run out of bankruptcy lawyers. Right?
Is there a pattern developing in Pittsburgh? A few weeks ago we reported that K&L Gates laid off a number of staff. Today, Gina Passarella of the Legal Intelligencer reports that another Pittsburgh powerhouse, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, laid off between 15 and 25 support staffers.
Buchanan Ingersoll CEO Thomas L. VanKirk confirmed the cuts. But in a move that makes a mockery of the English language, VanKirk refused to call the layoffs, “layoffs.” Instead:
VanKirk said that the cuts were not layoffs, but that the positions were being eliminated in order for the firm to get more in line with its goal of a 3-1 lawyer-to-secretary ratio.
Here are some links for Mr. VanKirk, provided free of charge:
The difficult economic environment and the severe dislocations in markets worldwide present unique opportunities, challenges and issues regarding fixed income securities, structured finance, synthetic, and hybrid products, whole loans, and derivatives. Now, more than ever, financial market participants need legal advisors with the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex array of contractual rights, financial structures, and bankruptcy and regulatory issues associated with such financial instruments.
Well that’s a positive spin on a field of legal work that no longer exists. But hey, they’re Cadwalader. And you know what the firm motto was (from the other side of the T-shirt):
Cadwalader is a firm you can count on from the cradle to the grave (disclaimer: time and placement of the grave may not be of your own choosing). Our tipster reports:
This is a t-shirt (front & back) from Cadwalader (Charlotte)ʼs 2007 Capital Markets summer picnic. It is a size 3 toddler which makes it even more hysterical/ironic/classic.
There’s got to be more stuff like this floating around out there. Please send us your “ironic” firm swag to email@example.com.
As 7th year associates at Half-Skadden and Skadden-Mart come to grips with the fact that they will be getting a smaller bonus than 1st years at Skadden, let’s take a look at a curious article that came out on November 20th. The same day Cravath announced their reduced bonuses (and threatened their people about 2009) Chairman Chesler spoke to American Lawyer:
Evan Chesler, the presiding partner of Cravath Swaine & Moore, stresses that firms do not need lots of offices to be diversified. “It is too easy to confuse geography with geographic reach,” he says. “It is not the same thing.” …
Although Cravath has just one small outpost in London, the firm is highly diversified, Chesler maintains. “We certainly do Wall Street work, but we always have done work for companies not on Wall Street, companies that make things and are located all around the world, and will continue to do so.”
Apparently, for Chesler “it is too easy to confuse” words with deeds. Either the firm is diversified and is in a good position to weather this economic storm, or it is not. I’m sure that Chesler’s employees do not really appreciate Chesler running around publicly talking about the health of the firm, on the same day he sends around internal memos warning:
[A]ssociates should be prepared for the likelihood that the economy and the Firm’s financial performance next year will not show a significant improvement over this year and they may receive significantly reduced or no year-end bonuses next year.
If you want to criticize Cravath associates, don’t call them “greedy and entitled,” instead call them “foolish” for believing their own management. Believing their own firm is a mistake I’m sure most Cravath associates will not make again.
Amid all of the wailing and gnashing about who President Bush might pardon during his last days in office, today’s grant of 14 requests failed to live up to any of the hype. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Bush has been relatively sparing in his use of pardons compared to past presidents, and the latest round of actions continued that pattern. …
Those issued reprieves had been found guilty of mostly garden-variety offenses, like Leslie O. Collier, who was issued a pardon for a 1996 conviction for the unauthorized use of a pesticide in killing bald eagles. Others receiving pardons had been convicted, among other offenses, for income tax evasion, unauthorized acquisition of food stamps, drug offenses and bank embezzlement.
“Stars” such as Michael Milken and Marion Jones (two people whom I never thought would be in the same sentence) have applied for Presidential pardons, but they continue to wait. Meanwhile, there has been a growing worry that Bush would pardon every counter-terrorism official in the land (for crimes not yet made criminal), but that massive Constitutional crisis issue will have to wait for another day.
In the meantime, Bush’s use of the pardon power continues to be more conservative and less objectionable than his predecessors.
… So that makes two sentences I never thought I’d write.
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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