Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks, which has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
How many times have we heard this before?
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly increased last week, a sign that the economic recovery will be uneven as the labor market struggles to rebound.
Initial jobless applications rose by 22,000 to 496,000 in the week ended Feb. 20, the highest level in three months, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance gained and the four- week moving average of weekly claims jumped close to a three- month high.
In the last week alone, reports on new and existing home sales, jobless claims, durable goods orders, consumer confidence and manufacturing have all missed expectations. Worries about a Greek debt default spreading to other vulnerable European nations have resurfaced — after quieting for a few weeks.
On the other hand, fourth-quarter earnings were spectacular compared to year-ago numbers. The financial sector, which spins off so much legal work, dragged overall earnings up 201% compared to last year – even without that segment, earnings were up 16%. It’s not clear yet whether strengthening corporate financials will be able to recover over the drag of economic data.
Meanwhile, it was all quiet on the law-firm front this week. Details after the jump.
We encourage you to put your love life in our hands. We’re accepting participants in Courtship Connections through Sunday. We have nearly 100 lone legal eagles thus far. Over 60% of respondents are between the ages of 26 and 30, with slightly more females (53%) than males.
This weekend is the last chance for New Yorkers to sign up. We’ll start playing Cupid in March. For those who have already responded, look forward to an email from us soon.
Satisfaction is not guaranteed, but we’ll do our best. If you’re NYC-based, single, and into the legal type, fill out our survey. Earlier: Getting Back Together with ATL Courtship Connections (Calling all single New York lawyers….)
Today is the last day at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal for Marc Zwillinger and Christian Genetski — the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of SNR’s internet practice group. Their bios have already been removed from the Sonnenschein website (our links go to cached versions), and if you email them — as we did, to confirm the news — you receive an out-of-office auto-reply announcing their departure (and providing contact info for their new firm).
They’re leaving to start a boutique law firm, Zwillinger Genetski LLP, which opens for business on March 1. Zwillinger and Genetski will be joined by several associates and staffers who are currently at Sonnenschein.
“We are very excited about our new firm,” Marc Zwillinger told ATL. “As for our departure, it couldn’t be more amicable.”
* Sorry, I can’t think of anything less important than the stupid Winter Olympics. I wouldn’t grant anybody a continuance in order to participate in reindeer games. [BL1Y]
* Blackmailing people into having sex with you is wrong. I do not support sexual extortion. Is that clear? Okay. Now, please take a look at this teen, he’s an evil genius. [Wired]
* Dechert is being shamed in England. [Roll on Friday]
* If you defer happiness, it might leave your sorry ass and find other employment. [WSJ Law Blog]
* I just assumed every contestant on The Bachelor had a sex tape. [Popsquire]
* How to avoid having sex while in law school. [Legally Noted]
* Gawker thinks Lat’s latest porn fetish requires immediate medical attention (last item). I got to watch him do it in a train station on the way back from Boston. It’s … pretty disturbing. [Gawker]
State university system officials have asked the former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law to return $60,000 in unauthorized compensation and have referred questionable payments totaling $410,000, which were revealed by a state legislative audit, to the attorney general’s office for review.
Chancellor William E. Kirwan revealed those actions and apologized for the audit’s findings at a hearing Thursday before the House subcommittee on education and economic development. He pinned responsibility for the $410,000 in payments on the recipient, former law dean Karen Rothenberg, and on David J. Ramsay, departing president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
And Chancellor Kirwan really threw President Ramsay and Dean Rothenberg under the bus….
If it seems I’m hard on the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), understand that it is out of love. We want NALP to succeed. We want them to gather reliable information from law firms; we want them to provide reasonable guidance for law students, schools, and firms. Having an organization like NALP sounds like such a good idea.
As my Dad used to say, “these occasional beatings hurt me more than they hurt you.”
But when NALP releases new provisional recruiting guidelines that address approximately zero issues regarding law firm recruiting, it’s hard not to go to the woodshed and start looking for switches. Here’s the headline news from NALP:
The NALP Board of Directors has announced provisional timing guidelines for the 2010 recruiting cycle, adopting a 28-day rolling response deadline for candidates not previously employed by the employer, and a November 1 response deadline for candidates who have been previously employed by the employer.
This decision comes on the heels of months of member outreach and industry dialogue about the legal industry’s recruiting processes. In a communication to its membership earlier today, the Board reported on the actions taken during its meeting yesterday.
The “old” NALP guideline provided for a 45-day open offer period. So, for those playing along at home, it took NALP a global economic recession and months of discussion for it to shave two and a half weeks off the open offer period. I’ve seen deck chair rearrangements more decisive than this….
Ed. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
In the four months since I launched FantasySCOTUS.net, nearly 4,000 people have signed up, and made nearly 8,000 predictions for the 81 cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. When designing the system, I decided to allow people to make predictions up until the moment a case is decided by the Supreme Court. On days when opinions are handed down, I lock down the voting once I see that the Court has issued an opinion for a specific case. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced Maryland v. Shatzer at 10:00 a.m. I did not lock down the votes until around 11:30 a.m. In this period, several members changed their votes to get more points.
Really? Cheating on a Fantasy League with no cash prizes? What would motivate someone to do this? And what should I do about it?
Last week, we wrote about an interesting claim made by Russ Ferguson in the American Spectator. The Georgetown Law grad suggested that fellow deferred grads who had a taste of the sweet nectar of the public interest lawyer lifestyle may not be willing to swallow Biglaw when the time comes. Even with a six-figure salary to help it go down.
We were skeptical. Law Shucks thinks he’s batsh*t crazy. However, when we polled the deferred — in our admittedly unscientific survey — a third of them said they were done with Biglaw:
That made us wonder. If you bail on Biglaw, what are the firm’s expectations when it comes to that $40k – $80k in go-away-and-play-for-a-year money?
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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