October 2014

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgWelcome to the next post in our series on the results of the 2010 ATL/Career Center Associate Satisfaction survey. We’ve used the survey results to revamp the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, with completely updated profiles, and we are highlighting insider information that Members shared about their firms in the eight key areas of associate satisfaction covered by the Career Center.

Today, it’s about doing good for everyone: PRO BONO.

  • This firm’s significant commitment to pro bono includes its “rotation” or “loaned associate” program, which allows associates to spend six months working full time for a poverty law or public interest organization.   
  • An impressively high 97% of associates at this Chicago-based firm perform an average of 111 pro bono hours each annually. 
  • Pro bono work has grown along with headcount at this ever-expanding firm – headcount has increased from 225 lawyers in 1995 to approximately 1,100 attorneys today, and the firm’s pro bono hours per attorney have nearly doubled since 2003 to 74 hours annually per associate.
  • An "unlimited" number of pro bono hours are counted towards billable hours at this firm, and some Members reported billing as much as 400-500 pro bono hours in 2009.

Additional pro bono highlights, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Who Prioritizes Pro Bono?”

It’s one of life’s great unanswered questions: Is cheerleading a sport? Soon a federal judge in Connecticut will make a ruling in a Title IX case that may help solve this age-old mystery. From the New Haven Register:

It is unclear whether federal judge Stefan R. Underhill will offer an opinion on whether competitive cheerleading is a viable varsity sport or not. But, Underhill will have to decide whether Quinnipiac University can truly count it as one in his decision in the case of the women’s volleyball team against the school.

The two sides of the lawsuit brought before the U.S. District Court by the American Civil Liberties Union to determine if Quinnipiac violated Title IX parameters debated the merits of competitive cheerleading for much of Tuesday’s session, the second day of testimony.

Says the (male) tipster who sent this along:

I’d love to work on this trial… the exhibits could be great.

One of the cheerleading experts for the volleyball plaintiffs offered a spirited argument against cheerleading as a sport, comparing it to chess.

Please. Could Bobby Fischer do what those women above are doing for the Indians?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Three Cheers for Designating Cheerleading a Sport?”

Last week, we gave you this photo from a D.C. law firm — click on the image to enlarge — and asked you to propose funny captions:

One popular submission with readers, though not with us, was this one:

The caption contest reaches a new low with a picture of chairs in an elevator.

Well, good lawyers know how to make a lackluster case shine — and can come up with funny, creative captions for a dull photo.

See the top ten captions that floored us, and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest: Firm Chairs Finalists”


The financial services boutique of BuckleySandler, which launched just a little over a year ago, is expanding at a rapid clip. At the time of launch, it had about 50 attorneys (most of them from the firm formerly known as BuckleyKolar); now it’s approaching 100.

The two latest hires are noteworthy. From the BLT:

BuckleySandler is continuing its push to recruit top-level lateral partners. Today, the firm brought on David Krakoff, who previously co-chaired Mayer Brown’s white collar litigation practice, and Christopher Regan, also a former Mayer Brown partner.

Let’s learn a little more about them, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: BuckleySandler Snags Talent from Mayer Brown”

Earlier this month, we reported on staff layoffs in the Los Angeles and Dallas offices of Jones Day. Now we’re hearing about additional layoffs at the firm, which raise the question: Could staff layoffs at JD perhaps be a firm-wide phenomenon, even if the firm only confesses to what it’s confronted with?

Yesterday the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Jones Day cut an unspecified number of non-lawyer employees in its Cleveland office. The firm cited the old “technology allows us to be more efficient” rationale, which has been widely invoked by law firms when they cut stuff:

[T]he 117-year-old firm issued a statement saying that “universal adoption of smart phones, voicemail and email enables (and requires) lawyers to be more self-sufficient,” reducing the need to have as many support staff to perform duties now done directly by lawyers.

“Although we deeply regret the need for this action, these changes preserve our ability to best serve clients and remain one of the leading global law firms,” the company said.

Jones Day — which has tooted its own horn in the past, despite also boasting of its discretion and understatement as a firm — couldn’t resist using these staff layoffs as a chance for even more self-aggrandizement….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoff Watch: Jones Day Also Cuts in Cleveland”

A quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

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Ed. note: This post is written by Will Meyerhofer, a Biglaw attorney turned psychotherapist, whom we profiled. A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate, he holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work. He blogs at The People’s Therapist.

I feel self-conscious sometimes about the pessimism of this column with regard to law as a career path. That pessimism reflects what I see every day in my practice – miserable lawyers.

My experiences might be skewed as a result of self-selection. It makes sense that unhappy lawyers would seek a psychotherapist who is a former lawyer and writes a column like mine, and it makes sense that these same unhappy lawyers would write me letters and post comments on my site about their (mostly unhappy) experiences.

Also, in fairness, the country is in the midst of a deep recession. It’s hard to be happy at any career when you can’t find a job, or half the offices on your floor are empty and there isn’t enough work to go around and you’re worrying about whether you’ll have a job next week. I see clients from other industries who are also affected by the economic downturn, such as folks in the fashion and retail world, many of whom are struggling with long-term unemployment, and even bankruptcy and foreclosure. They’re not exactly brimming with high-spirited fun either.

The difference is that those people love what they do. They’re just out of work.

With lawyers, even the ones who have well-paid jobs seem – mostly – unhappy.

Nevertheless, in keeping with this week’s theme of cheerful good times, we’re going to ignore them – and talk about happy lawyers. Bouncy, perky, downright merry, good-time lawyers.

I have seen a few happy lawyers. They exist, and they tend to fall into two groups.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In-House Counseling: I ♥ Law!”

U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett won’t get the publicity of Judge Martin Feldman. Obviously, blocking President Obama’s deep-water drilling moratorium — having already disclosed investments in Transocean and Halliburton — is big news.

But Judge Bennett is making waves of his own in his Iowa courtroom. He’s decided that he wants lawyers to participate in an auction to determine who will get to serve as lead counsel in some consolidated antitrust cases.

And he informed lawyers of this with a curious email. The subject line alone is not something one expects from a federal judge:

Waterman v. VS Holding Co. et al (10cv4038) – consolidated antitrust actions – “going once, twice, sold to the lowest bidder” – ready to rumble?

Not only is this judge “ready to rumble,” he’s also ready to insult lawyers from East Coast law firms…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Judge Mark Bennett of Iowa Is ‘Underwhelmed’ By East Coast Law Firms”

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

* Judge Martin Feldman, who put the kibosh on Obama’s deep-water drilling ban, previously disclosed investments in Transocean, Halliburton, and other energy companies. [Associated Press]

* All former solicitors general have endorsed current solicitor general Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court, with one exception: Bork, J., dissenting. [WSJ Law Blog and The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* What former attorney general Alberto Gonzales is doing on his summer vacation. [Texas Lawyer via ABA Journal]

* San Francisco passes an ordinance requiring cellphone retailers to disclose the radiation levels of cellphones. [Associated Press via SFGate]

* David Johnson, former aide to New York Governor David Paterson, has invoked the Fifth Amendment in his (Johnson’s) domestic violence case. [New York Times]

Warning to the female readers of Above the Law: the reading of this post may lead to the rending of your inappropriate clothing and pulling out of your questionably-styled hair.

Earlier this month, lady lawyers gathered in Philadelphia for the ABA’s Women in Law Leadership Academy. Gina Passarella of the Legal Intelligencer was in attendance and reported on a session featuring esteemed female judges offering advice to their trial lawyer counterparts (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

U.S. District Judge Norma L. Shapiro criticized women for being too timid in the courtroom. She said that “women lack the confidence that men seem to have.” Apparently the solution is the same one that women employ when they lack enthusiasm and confidence in certain other situations:

“You pretend. You fake it,” Shapiro said, adding that being prepared helps.

If faking confidence in the courtroom is as easy as feigning pleasure in the bedroom, perhaps many more women will soon be coming across as master litigators.

The judges had other advice. When a whole bunch of women get together, they just can’t help but complain about other women’s outfits and hair, after all….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Advice for Women Lawyers: Fake It.”

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