Usually when we report on jobs that have been posted on Craigslist, we’re talking about some kind of horrifying example of how the open market values attorneys at about the same level it values responsible high school girls. But today we have a legal job that most lawyers couldn’t have performed in high school. At the very least, one needs to be of legal drinking age to compete for this position.
The job ad is from the firm Strike & Techel. The homepage of the San Francisco-based shop claims that the firm “practices exclusively in the field of alcohol beverage law.”
So put down your tobacco and firearms, crack open a cold one, and ponder the wonders of making a living off of alcohol… and law and stuff…
* An updated version of the Twinkie defense? A Kentucky man on trial for murdering his wife plans to blame it on the caffeine. “If this defense works, partners, lock your doors….” [BL1Y]
* Speaking of coffee — for just a dollar a day, less than the cost of your daily Starbucks fix, you can fulfill a poor Bolivian child’s dream of owing you money for the rest of his or her life. [Huffington Post]
* Suing for defamation: it’s just not worth it. Larry Joe Davis, the Florida attorney who sued lawyer-rating website Avvo, is dropping his libel claims. [Avvo Blog]
* If you’re planning to attend tonight’s event at the New York Public Library — featuring Justice Stephen Breyer, who has a new book out, and Jeffrey Rosen — look for me. If you can’t make it in person but are interested in the proceedings, you can watch them over the web. [FORA.tv]
Like the return of law firm perks. Sources report that Edelson McGuire — a Chicago-based boutique with some high-profile clients, like Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich — is giving away iPads to everyone at the firm. The lucky recipients include attorneys, administrative staff, and even some law students who are working for the firm part-time.
This is not ordinary behavior — the trend among law firms is still to roll back perks, not to expand them — but Edelson McGuire isn’t an ordinary firm. How many firms have conference room tables that convert to ping-pong tables? Or have a neat firm website, where each attorney profile contains such fun facts as daily coffee consumption, favorite time of day to work, and “pre-court ritual”?
Is giving away iPads a new law firm trend? Edelson McGuire isn’t the first firm to do this in 2010….
Do public officials in Michigan need to jump in the lake? Last week, we covered an assistant attorney general in the Wolverine State who is on the hunt for a gay student at the University of Michigan. Today we bring you news of a misbehaving judge.
According to court records, Judge James M. Justin, a state district judge in Jackson County, dismissed nine traffic cases against himself and his wife. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the judge fixed four illegal-parking tickets that he received from 2002 to 2004. He also dismissed five traffic tickets received by his wife, Kim R. Justin, over a ten-year span. Who says chivalry is dead?
Judge Justin’s tickets were, amusingly enough, “dismissed after explanation” — to himself. Presumably Judge Justin found his explanations very convincing.
So what does His Honor have to say about all this?
Last year, Harvard Law School abandoned letter grading and went to a High Pass/Pass/Low Pass/Fail system. The news was greeted with much fanfare, as it seemed like HLS was trying to become a kinder, gentler academic environment — one that wouldn’t be dominated by cutthroat competition to beat the curve. You know, something like a mega-Yale.
But it appears that soft grading just didn’t appeal to the lords of HLS. This semester, a more traditional grading scale is back. The letter grades are still gone, but now the grading distinctions at Harvard Law will conform to the tyranny of numbers. The Harvard Law Record reports that students will receive a point value for each grading distinction — five points for each Dean’s Scholar Prize credit, four for each Honors credit, three for per Pass credit, two for a Low Pass credit, and zero for a Failing grade — and those numerical values will be transmitted to employers.
And unlike last year’s grade reform, which was wildly publicized and discussed both inside and outside HLS, students only learned of this new grading system if they bothered to read the student handbook….
After a bit of explanation last week, we’re back to live action. As you’ve likely concluded from the title, this is the second installment in a series. Last week we discussed hours spent in the office, with the lesson for future small law practitioners being this (based on your comments and emails): small law practice doesn’t necessarily mean fewer hours.
On the heels of that conversation, I thought we should delve into the reason young associates so often spend those long hours in the office becoming fatter, more pale versions of their pre-law selves. It’s likely the bane of your existence regardless of the size of your firm or the size of the city in which you find yourself…
It’s not often that those of us in the legal field get a television show to call our own. So very few shows attempt to capture our passion — our calling — on the small screen. So it was with great anticipation that I watched the pilot of Outlaw, a show that premiered last Wednesday on NBC and features Jimmy Smits as Justice Cyrus Garza, an uber-conservative Supreme Court justice who abruptly steps down from the bench to fight for the little guy.
Great anticipation? Just kidding. Lat heard this show was written for idiots by idiots (“FIBI”), and so he immediately thought I’d have a good time watching it.
Even though numeroustelevisionreviewers have skewered the show, often with groan-inducing legal puns, I was curious to see whether it could rise to the level of guilty pleasure and take up residence on my DVR.
I’ve previously tried my hand at screenwriting, and that experiment went so well that I thought I’d throw on the television reviewer’s hat and give you a succinct and well-reasoned review of “Outlaw”.
Can Mississippi force lawyers to do pro bono work?
That’s the question state bar officials are thinking about, as reported in the ABA Journal. A number of Mississippi lawyers are objecting to a proposal that would require them to either (1) spend 20 hours a year representing the poor or (2) contribute $500 to the state bar for legal services programs.
One of these days, Mississippi is going to do something objectively good and moral and not at all confusing. But today is not that day…
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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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