If you’re looking for options beyond Biglaw, we’re here to help. We continue our series of open threads covering small law firms focused on different practice areas. To see the fields we’ve covered so far, click here and scroll down.
We’ve received encouraging feedback from readers — and suggestions. Like this one:
I really like the small firm series you’re running, and I’m hoping you can make the next post about real estate law. I know there are lots of high-end boutiques specializing in commercial real estate out there, and I’m curious about what kind of hours they work and what kind of money the junior to midlevel associates make.
My current practice area involves long and very unpredictable hours, but I’m pretty junior, so I can still switch into another area. Real estate is at the top of my “escape options” list because I’ve heard that, even at larger firms, real estate involves less stress and fewer hours than litigation or corporate.
Is this true? Is real estate really free of “fire drills”?
Readers, can you provide information for our correspondent? If you can, please contribute to this open thread about REAL ESTATE LAW.
Some half-baked musings to start the conversation, after the jump.
We received over 1300 responses to last week’s Career Center survey on how lawyers feel about their careers in light of the recession. Despite economists’ encouraging words about the light at the end of the tunnel, respondents across the country remain deeply concerned for themselves and the legal industry as a whole. Although the economy has pulled out of its tailspin, recovering financial institutions and businesses are no longer generating the same level of legal work they once did, making it extremely difficult for major corporate law firms to stage their own comebacks. With business stagnating, several major law firms have gone out of business , and waves of layoffs have left thousands of big firm attorneys without jobs and countless others thinking they could be cut next. Check out the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, for more on which firms are starting to recover from the downturn and which firms continue to struggle.
Did you apply to DePaul College of Law? Ever? If you ever thought you wanted to attend DePaul — regardless of whether you decided to go somewhere else or are now a practicing attorney — the school has received your application!
Yesterday, hundreds of former DePaul applicants, many of whom are now out of school, received the following email:
We have received the electronic submission of your application for admission to DePaul University College of Law. We have requested your Law School Credential Assembly Service (LSDAS) report from the Law School Admission Council. Please note that we will not begin to review applications until mid-November. At that time, we will notify you if we have any questions or require any additional information to complete your application. At that time, we also will notify you by email when your application is complete and ready for review by our Admission Committee. Once your application is complete, you can expect to receive a decision from the Admission Committee within 2-3 weeks of the completion date.
Thank you for your application to DePaul University College of Law.
Some of the people who received this email were five years removed from sending out law school applications.
Obviously, a major glitch occurred at DePaul. But how did DePaul even have accurate email addresses for so many students that never went to the school? Seriously, just how long does DePaul keep your personal information?
The school responds after the jump.
Ed. note: Welcome to the latest installment of “Notes from the Breadline,” a column by a laid-off lawyer in New York. Prior columns are collected here. You can reach Roxana St. Thomas by email (at firstname.lastname@example.org), follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
One time, early in my stint in the breadline, I interviewed for a position at a New York non-profit organization. The interview, with members of the organization’s steering committee, was held at the plush offices of a Wall Street law firm – a setting so genteel, so prim, that I immediately felt underdressed despite my perfectly respectable interview suit and conservative heels. All the women who passed through the reception area were wearing knee-length skirt suits and pantyhose; the men looked as though they had come from a photo shoot for Brooks Brothers. The walls were hung with portraits of stately, gray-haired firm elders, hunting scenes, and graceful horses who, I suspected, had pedigrees much more distinguished than my own. I was reading a tattered copy of the previous week’s New Yorker while I waited, and I remember feeling sheepishly self-conscious — both because I hadn’t gotten through a lengthy article about Iceland’s post-financial crash identity, and because I wasn’t reading something … weightier, like The Economist, or the Harvard Business Review.
How, you ask, did I have time to read, reflect, and observe a cross-section of the firm’s personnel? Well, friends: when you spend 45 minutes perched on an uncomfortable settee, waiting for your name to be called, there is little else to do. Eventually, of course, I did make it into the conference room where the interview was being held; once there, I was greeted by five lawyers, all of whom were talking at once. To each other. In fact, I found myself wondering, at various junctures, whether they were aware that I had joined them. One lawyer asked me a complicated question and then (without skipping a beat) answered his ringing cell phone and had a lengthy conversation. I tried to shift focus seamlessly by turning to address the others, but two of them were BlackBerrying while another listened to voicemail messages. When I finally stood up to say my goodbyes, they told me that they were impressed with my qualifications and hoped that I could come back to meet with the members of the steering committee who had been unable to make it to the interview that day. “That would be great!” I said enthusiastically. Perhaps, I mused, given the general level of attentiveness I had observed, they were hoping to organize a flag football scrimmage, and simply needed a few more people to work with (as well as a captive audience, or a referee).
As a new arrival to the breadline, this experience left me with a few thoughts. Among them were, “Are interviews always this suck-ass, or was this a freakish anomaly?” and “Is there a sliver lining in all of this?” Like a convoluted legal argument, the answer to the latter of these questions resolves the first inquiry as well. As I have discovered in the intervening months, there is not a single “silver lining” in all of this, but many, including: freedom from the oppressive sartorial conventions of the workplace, the luxury of dropping by Lat’s office for a mid-day drink from the coffee fountain, and the (admittedly mixed) blessing of life in a lower tax bracket. These perks, however, pale in comparison to one, particularly luminous reward, which I consider the most spangly of all silver linings.
And what might that be?
* Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit has turned Keynesian. [New Republic via Blackbook Legal]
* ‘Law & Order’ will tie ‘Gunsmoke’ this year for longest-running prime-time drama on television, but Dick Wolf is annoyed to have to move aside for Jay Leno. [Los Angeles Times]
* What’s the point of law firm deferrals? Written with lots of “expert sources” in the form of Daniel Indiviglio’s lawyer and law student friends. [Atlantic]
* Did you hear? The worst of the recession is over for law firms! [Law Society Gazette via ABA Journal]
* ACORN has filed a $2 million lawsuit against two conservative activists who secretly filmed its employees giving a pimp tax advice. ACORN says the video violates Maryland’s Wiretap Law. That’s nuts! [Courthouse News Service]
* There’s a deep bench at Harvard Law to fill Kennedy’s Senate seat. [ABA Journal]
Last week, we gave you this photo of a bunch of legal types and asked you to submit possible captions:
You did not disappoint. We have chosen our ten favorite captions. Check them out and vote for the best one, after the jump.
* Will the web make “brick and mortar” law schools irrelevant? [Law and More]
* Can lawyers use Twitter for business development? Prove it. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Australia is using Interpol tactics to screen hotel guests.I hope this comes to America so I will have an air tight excuse for never leaving NYC again. [Transracial]
* I wonder if Bill Clinton could get a legal job in this market. [What About Clients?]
* One thousand posts about drugs (and devices) and the law is pretty awesome. Congratulations. [Drug and Device Law]
* Amicus briefs from the Solicitor General. [SCOTUSblog]
* Milk goes green. [Halogen Life]
Yesterday, we mentioned that attorneys in the great city of Pittsburgh are worried about being confused with corporate elites during the G-20 summit. I was skeptical whether the dress code advice given to K&L Gates attorneys would actually help people avoid the scorn of protesters.
So we kicked the question to our friends at Fashionista. Here are some suggestions on what female attorneys should be wearing in the ‘Burgh this week:
My first thought for the ladies was to definitely keep it simple: a dark fitted jean (I’m currently obsessed with my “Curvy” style from the 1969 collection at the Gap), maybe a cool not suit-y black blazer, with a striped tee underneath and a simple black boot. Subtle, professional, but not too corporate lackey.
Or throw in a little retro vibe plus color, like this look from Chris Benz. Maybe I’m wrong, but brights don’t scream Big Law to me. The other option I came up with was to go luxe boho, like you’re part of the professional counterculture, if you will. Maybe something along the lines of this Anna Sui print with some black tights and a slouchy bag.
Tuesday and Wednesday, offers went out to people who want to participate in Skadden’s summer program. We haven’t heard any solid numbers yet, but so far it appears that prospective summers are satisfied with the results.
No news is good news regarding Skadden. In August, Skadden announced that it would be cutting its summer hiring in half. This morning, Bloomberg News reminded everybody that Skadden will be trying to keep its summer numbers down:
The stark reality of the legal marketplace was illustrated by yesterday’s 2010 job offers by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, the highest-grossing U.S. law firm. It projected a 50 percent cut in summer hiring, said Howard Ellin, the recruiting partner for Skadden. The firm hired 225 students this summer and plans to hire less than half that for summer 2010.
But just because Skadden plans to reduce hiring does not mean the firm intends to reduce its offer rate. If the firm planned this right — and based on the NALP forms it looks like it has — Skadden could have simply invited fewer people to be part of its 2010 summer program. Skadden could still give a robust offer rate to the summers that did commit to the firm.
Hopefully, everything will work out for prospective Skadden summers.
After the jump, Bloomberg has some interesting data on how this year’s fall recruiting is going at a couple of top law schools.
So, it’s possible that the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has a low grade eating disorder. A New York Times expose chronicles the Mayor’s body image issues:
As a billionaire in one of the dining capitals of the world, he can eat anything he wants. But he is obsessed with his weight — so much so that the sight of an unflattering photo of himself can trigger weeks of intense dieting and crankiness, according to friends and aides.
Okay, so the Mayor’s skin isn’t quite as thick as mine. But having just acknowledged that Bloomberg can be put into an anorexic state by looking at pictures of himself, what does the Times do? It runs a full slide show of him doing nothing but eating. As our friends at Dealbreaker put it:
Basically Hizzoner binge and purges constantly and on really bad days looks in the mirror and thinks “you don’t deserve a third term because you’re a fat fat fattie fat.” The crescendo of the piece is the accompanying slideshow, entitled “The Mayor In Snack Mode,” in which the Gray Lady presents us with close ups of Mikey Boy literally shoving food in his mouth (chicken wings? pizza? don’t mind if I do!) …
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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: email@example.com.
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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