It has been a few weeks since we last wrote at length about the investigation into the murder of Lauren Giddings. As you may recall, Giddings was a recent graduate of Mercer Law School whose decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia.
A former neighbor and classmate of Giddings, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with her murder. McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail, where he has been for several weeks.
There have been a few recent developments in the case — nothing major, but still worth noting….
The danger in having a for profit magazine in charge of collecting and publicizing critical information is that the magazine doesn’t have any oversight audit authority to confirm that its information is accurate.
As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the big scandal of the day involved the Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group unit suggesting that as high as 22% of the top 50 firms have inaccurate profits per partner numbers listed in Am Law.
The WSJ Law Blog now has the story up. This all could be a simple matter of Am Law counting “partners” differently from Citi. But these are the perils of trying to wrest information out of an industry that values secrecy over transparency….
* Congratulations to Ted Frank and his colleagues at the Center for Class Action Fairness on their latest victory — which appears to represent “the first time the Ninth Circuit has vacated approval of a class action settlement since 2003.” [Center for Class Action Fairness]
* Elsewhere in the Ninth Circuit, justice delayed turns out to be justice denied for a prisoner who died while waiting over five years for a federal district judge to rule on his habeas petition. (The magistrate judge had already recommended granting relief.) [Los Angeles Times]
It’s time for on-campus interviewing. All across the country, law students are stuffing themselves into business suits and prostrating themselves on the floors of some of the nation’s finest campus hotels.
It’s a stressful time. New law students might show up at law school having done no research into the legal job market, but after one short year the kids start to wise up. They realize, some for the first time, that 90% of them will not be in the top ten percent of the class. They realize that if they don’t get one of the handful of high-paying jobs, they’ll be relegated to gladiatorial combat for the low-paying leftovers. They realize, as rising 2Ls, that maybe they should have listened to everybody who warned them about law school in the first place.
But they know they can make it all go away if they are successful during OCI. If only they can wow the law-firm interviewers who show up on campus.
The problem is that for many law students, especially those at schools ranked outside the top national institutions, their OCI fate was decided long before they shook the hand of any interviewer.
One tipster is just now realizing that, and he is understandably pissed….
It’s not every day that a lawyer is accused of murder for hire. But that’s what happened earlier this month, when Illinois lawyer Jason W. Smiekel was accused of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s current girlfriend (or fiancée).
Last week, the feds unveiled the indictment against Jason Smiekel (who was originally charged by complaint). At his arraignment last Wednesday, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in a murder-for-hire scheme.
Since his arrest, we’ve heard from friends and colleagues of Jason Smiekel, 29, who claim that he’s getting a bum rap. They claim that blame for this unfortunate series of events should be located… elsewhere.
“How come no one is talking about his ‘girlfriend’?” asked one reader. “She needs to be questioned as well.”
So, let’s talk about that girlfriend — the one that an ATL tipster described as a “hot hot hot blonde”….
Last week, I referenced my boyfriend when writing about marriage. Today, I’m writing about marriage again, but now I get to reference my fiancé. Seriously, how cool is that?
I’m extremely excited about our engagement, but being a future bride is a tough job (even for someone with a Type A personality). There are just so many things involved in planning a wedding. We’re talking about things like the venue, the flowers, the band, the dress… good lord, especially the dress! The dress is actually my number one priority right now; in fact, in order to avoid looking like the Stay Puft marshmallow bride, I hired a personal trainer.
But now that I’m a member of the bridal class of 2012 (or 2013, we shall see), I can commiserate with the woes of my fellow brides-to-be. And in this case, I can’t even begin to imagine what I would do if I was denied the dress of my dreams simply based on the person I chose to love….
This question comes up in many different contexts, and answering it always requires a little judgment.
At law firms, the questions often involve what the partner or the client needs to know. These people are supposed to be kept in the loop, but that task may be trickier than it seems. You want people to be fully informed, but you don’t want to become a pest, constantly alerting people to irrelevant trifles. What’s a person to do?
The answer varies by many things, including the nature of the matter you’re working on, the compulsiveness of the person you’re working with, the degree of trust established between you and the person you’re working with, time pressure, and the like. To the extent it’s possible, though, let’s establish some general rules….
We all know Michele Bachmann as the Tea Party darling running for the Republican presidential nomination. Before that, Bachmann the Congresswoman became famous for making some of the most truly ignorant statements in modern American politics.
But few people know that before Bachmann became a crazy-eyed, anti-tax standard bearer, Bachmann was a lawyer. A tax lawyer. Working for the IRS. That’s right, as a lawyer Bachmann helped the government collect taxes.
But I wouldn’t call her a hypocrite. It seems she wasn’t all that good at collecting taxes….
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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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