June 2011

I want the record to show that I tried. In our Fictional Lawyer Madness contest, I really tried to find a lot of female legal characters to put into the bracket. Of the 32 lawyers in the bracket, eight were female. One fourth is not a lot, but given the preponderance of male lawyer characters this was a good representation.

But here we are, just in the Elite Eight, and we’re down to only one woman. Hey, we all know that if ladies voted as a bloc (like African-Americans or NRA members), they’d be the most powerful force in American politics. And therefore we all know that women don’t vote as a bloc.

But are we really living in a world where Elle Woods is one of the few things women will rally around?

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* Rhode Island jumped onto the gay marriage bandwagon, but New Jersey is hiding its dirty little head in the sand. Come on, we share a border with New York, can’t we share the same ideals? [WSJ Law Blog]

* A credit check company is getting an FTC spanking for selling high-risk consumer info to marketers. No wonder my phone has been ringing off the hook. [Not So Private Parts / Forbes]

* A North Carolina DA has filed a “heart balm” lawsuit against her best friend for doing the dirty with her husband. She’s probably going to need some “ass balm” after the next election cycle. [Popehat]

* Sorry, Californians, but you’re going to have to start paying sales tax for your online purchases. Amazon and Overstock are not having it. F- would not buy again! [Constitutional Daily]

* The best way to encourage people not to touch children is by placing pedorific pantie placards in a clothing store for kids. I don’t think this would have gone over well in the US. [Copyranter]

* Financial firms are so hard up for compliance lawyers that they’re even willing to hire women with families and the elderly. Unbelievable! /sarcasm [Careerist]

* We don’t really know what’s going on here yet, but tipsters are saying that the body of a recent Mercer Law grad was found decapitated. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. [Telegraph]

Last week, I received an email from a recent graduate who is in the midst of a small firm job search. She is having trouble focusing her search because there are so many small law firms and so few resources (or so she thought) about how to find all the various firms. She wrote:

Every lawyer I speak to, whether a friend, in an interview, or informational interview, has an inconsistent network. The one small firm lawyer I know has referred me to solo practitioners and Biglaw attorneys, but not other small firms. Career services offices mainly work with big firms, not too many small firms. There are few small firm positions posted on job boards, but I know that most small firms fill open positions by word of mouth.

She asked me where to look to find and network with attorneys at the many small firms in her city. She signed it “Seeking Small Firm.” I decided that her nom de plume was so awesome, I had to help.

Find out what I told her after the jump….

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The current lack of uniformity in state legislation dealing with a company’s obligations in the event of data breaches affecting personal data has made it more burdensome and more expensive for companies to meet their compliance requirements.

Christina Ayiotis, an e-discovery and data privacy expert who is heading the Data Breaches and Cybersecurity Panel at the Legal Technology Leadership Summit, stated that: “Corporate America would be much better served with a national approach defining when data breach obligations are triggered and setting forth what those obligations are.”

Ms. Ayiotis’s panel at the Summit will explore the events which trigger data breach response obligations under current law, as well as what those obligations are. The panel will demonstrate the value of end-to-end information management that incorporates compliance requirements throughout the lifecycle of relevant information, with particular attention to proactive security architecture that contemplates both global data flows, as well as the consumerization of IT.

Part of the Summit’s mission is to not only examine existing law (and the IT landscape), but to consider what changes ought to be made so that the law and policy can keep pace with ever-changing technological capabilities, challenges, and innovations, as well as changing employee behavior.

The Summit will take place on September 6 – 8, in Amelia Island, Florida. If you are interested in attending the Summit, please sign up here to join us. You can also take a look at the full agenda for the event here.

The law is a service industry. We serve clients. And if you work in Biglaw, you serve very wealthy clients. Uber-wealthy clients who find your legal fees annoying, but can pay them out of the petty cash lying around the office.

Lawyer don’t make real money in this country. Businessmen do. Hedge fund managers really do.

You want proof? Take a look at this ATM receipt uncovered by our sister-site, Dealbreaker

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It’s that time of the year again: American Lawyer magazine has just released its A-List for 2011. The Am Law rankings attempt to evaluate which law firms have got the right stuff to become elite:

The A-List was created in 2003 in an effort to assess (and rank) the nation’s largest and most prominent law firms in a holistic way. It takes into account financial performance, which is represented by the inclusion of firms’ revenue per lawyer, and other important measures of law firm performance, such as attorney diversity, pro bono work, and associate satisfaction. The latter is measured by a firm’s results on our Associates Survey. Pro bono and diversity scores are also a reflection of a firm’s showing on our annual Pro Bono Survey and Diversity Scorecard.

So, which firms made the grade this year? And which firms are the true elite of the elite?

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This week’s Career Center Summer Associate Tips Series focuses on the importance of maintaining client confidentiality. Nothing is more sacred to the legal profession than the confidential relationship between lawyer and client. This goes far beyond what is required by the rules of professional conduct. Your personal rule should be very simple — do not talk about the firm’s business, its clients, their problems, or anything related to them outside the four walls of the firm. With anyone. At any time. It is that simple.

The greatest risks are casual social comments. Somewhere in the middle of a case of Heineken you pass along information about something of great sensitivity to a firm client. It was an innocent, alcohol-induced disclosure on your part, but it was a disclosure nonetheless. Now, you may not worry about divulging sensitive information to a trusted friend or confidant, but the greater risk involves those comments made in restaurants, public places, or cocktail parties that directly or indirectly reveal the business of the firm or its clients.

The group at the next table may include three employees of the client, their banker or accountant, a competitor, or associates working for someone about to make a competing offer to buy your client. Trust me. They are there — perhaps not as nattily attired and lacking the Bombay Sapphire martini — but there nevertheless. It is not just legal advice or technically privileged information that you should refrain from discussing freely. It is anything about the client and their business. You risk immediate termination if you violate this rule.

To learn how to avoid more bone-headed disclosures, read more by clicking here. These tips are brought to you by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.

Don’t forget, for additional career insights as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.

For the past week, a conversation has percolating around Skadden that has made its way into the ATL inbox. A Skadden corporate associate, Lisa M. Johnstone, died last week. Her obituary ran earlier this week in the San Diego Union Tribune. And her memorial service was yesterday. She died of an apparent heart attack, though we understand that her autopsy has not yet been completed. She was 32.

We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone’s death because reports indicate that she died while doing legal work from her home office on a Sunday. We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone because for over a week, Skadden associates have been talking about just how many hours Johnstone had been working. We’re talking about Johnstone because while the root cause of her death my never be known, many Skadden associates and others who know the story are taking this as an opportunity to assess their lives and their mental and physical well-being.

And that’s a good thing. The best advice I ever received in Biglaw was the partner who said: “You don’t have a thermostat”…

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Some tasks are meant to be delegated; others are not.

Sometimes, whether the task is meant to be delegated depends on what the supervisor has in mind.

Let’s think about three examples…

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Andrew Shirvell, you're just dying to be Photoshopped, aren't you?

* Now that he’s been convicted, Rod Blagojevich is probably going to be disbarred. Keep an eye out on eBay for the sale of his law degree and bar card. [ABA Journal]

* Yesterday, Jeffrey Sutton became the first Republican appointee on the federal bench to affirm Obamacare’s constitutionality. Scalia, you mad? [Los Angeles Times]

* Scam bloggers get another hour in the spotlight thanks to an article published in a law journal. Even law schools are promoting scam bloggers these days. [National Law Journal]

* Andrew Shirvell, who is currently unemployed and near broke, is trying desperately, and failing, to save his last shred of dignity. No sealed depo for you, buddy. [Detroit News]

* Just two days after a 95-year-old woman had her diaper changed by the TSA, the Texas legislature put an airport anti-groping bill on the no-fly list. [Reuters]

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