August 2014

Now this is how you handle negative rumors about your firm.

As we mentioned last night, in the past week or so we’ve seen media reports of possible trouble at K&L Gates. Stories in Law360 and Crain’s Chicago Business speculated about “an alarming rate” of partner departures and “attorneys increasingly los[ing] faith in the firm’s leadership and strict compensation policies.”

The chairman and global managing partner of K&L Gates, Peter J. Kalis, isn’t taking all this sitting down. Very early this morning, the famously outspoken Kalis sent around a firm-wide memo that powerfully refutes some of the claims made about the firm.

If you’re at all involved in law firm management, you should read it. The Kalis email offers a master class in how to thoroughly respond to negative rumors….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Everything Is Great, K&L States: Peter Kalis Comes Out Swinging”

If you were a billionaire, you could sleep on a pile of these.

For whatever reason, this week has been heavy on stories about money. We’ve written about starting salaries for law firm associates, average pay packages for partners, and which countries have the highest paid lawyers.

So let’s stick with the theme. Today let’s take a look at the richest lawyers — or, to be more precise, the richest law school graduates — in America. (As we noted last year, many of these moguls never practiced law, or practiced only briefly, before making their fortunes in business.)

Our friends over at Forbes just released the Forbes 400, their annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans. As in years past, the list contains a number of lawyers and law-degree holders. How many?

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Behold the Monkey!

* Martin Bienenstock, Dewey’s former bankruptcy head, offered some free legal advice to the firm’s bankruptcy advisers: “[P]lease get real about the unfinished business claims.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* In other interesting Dewey news, you’re never going to guess what Steve DiCarmine’s been doing since the firm went under. He of the orange skin tone is making it work at Parsons. [Am Law Daily]

* Remember Kenechukwu Okoli, the guy who slapped a Paul Hastings partner in the face during a depo and then sued him for assault? Yup, that suit got dismissed. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* NerdWallet has created an online law school comparison tool, but users will only get to choose from 50 schools, none of which are in the so-called U.S. News second tier. Guess they don’t think Cooley is the second-best school in the country. How rude. [Bucks / New York Times]

* Cecilia Gimenez, the woman from Spain who accidentally turned a fresco of Christ into a portrait of a monkey, is now seeking royalties from funds the church levied as entrance fees to see her “work of art.” [Telegraph]

* Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court, has a simple tip for putting together the best judicial campaign video ever: all you need to do is reunite the cast of The West Wing. Check it out….

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On multiple days over the past week or so, one of the top ten search terms bringing visitors to Above the Law has been K&L Gates. For whatever reason, people seem keenly interested in what’s going on right now at this major international law firm.

(But maybe we shouldn’t read too much into such queries. Also in the top ten search engine terms: “pictures of tacos.”)

So what is going on at K&L Gates? A significant amount of partner attrition, as various news outlets have recently pointed out….

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Looks like Fiona was picturing all the “Criminal” headline puns that she knew were coming.

* In the continuing tales of “It’s not easy being Green(berg),” the firm is settling more than 30 claims from NFL players who say the firm didn’t warn them about investing in an unlicensed casino project. Well, at it’s least better than investing in unlicensed dog-fighting. [Daily Business Review]

* Professor Dale Carpenter, author of a new book (affiliate link) about Lawrence v. Texas, wonders: If gay marriage goes to SCOTUS, could Justice Scalia get hoisted with his own petard? [SCOTUSblog]

* Fiona Apple was arrested for pot at the same Texas border stop as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and hacker wunderkind George Hotz. What she needs is a good defense… attorney. [TMZ]

* If I got stuck behind one of these d-bags who pays tolls with a hundred-dollar bill, I would be more concerned about whether it’s a civil rights violation for me to smash their back window with a tire iron. [FindLaw]

* Hey beer nerds, the top secret White House brew recipe has been declassified. This is some crucial government transparency in action. [Legal Blog Watch]

Change is in the air! And it’s not just pollen. On the heels of an explosion of popular interest in (and subsequent boredom with) intellectual property, stemming from the Apple v. Samsung case, as well as new IP regulatory changes, the time is right to take IP reform to the streets! Let’s burn this mother down… or crowd-source it, at least.

A new partnership between the U.S. Patent Office, Google, and popular tech website Stack Exchange, will recruit average Americans to help end the patent wars. Take that, rounded corners!

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Jeffrey Toobin

There are four justices in their 70s now. Ruth Ginsburg is 79. She’s probably the most likely to leave if Obama is reelected because she’s sympathetic to him politically.

The next two oldest are Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy who are 76, who probably don’t want to leave if Obama’s president, but they’re starting to get to the age where, you know, you don’t know exactly when your term is up, as they say.

– CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court (affiliate link), discussing where the Supreme Court could be headed if President Obama is elected for another term. Toobin’s remarks were delivered during The Colbert Report.

(Does Toobin think that President Obama will appoint a gay polar bear to the Supreme Court if Justice Ginsburg retires? Let’s see….)

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“Aaaaaand they’re off!”

Notwithstanding predictions of impending economic gloom or apocalyptic Mayan prophecies, 2012 brings some sort-of good news for incoming first-year associates: our survey findings show start dates have returned to pre-Recession timelines. We’re apparently (knock wood) past the days of first-years twisting in the wind with deferrals and rescinded offers. On the other hand, a majority of our survey respondents report that the size of the incoming first-year class has contracted significantly, with only 36% of you telling us that class sizes have returned to pre-Recession levels. For the full results of our survey, read on.

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Tom Wallerstein

When lawyers form a new firm, one of their first, most important projects is usually designing their website. This makes sense because the website is often the first thing that a prospective client or referral source will see. Its importance cannot be overstated.

The process of designing a website (or printed marketing material) is considerably different for a new enterprise than it is for an established one. For an established firm, the process involves trying to portray to the outside world the essence of what the firm is and emphasize what distinguishes it from its competition.

For a new firm, however, the process is very different because you must first conceptualize what you want to be before you decide how you want to present yourself to the outside world. In this way, the website of a new firm is more aspirational than it is descriptive. For example, when a new firm proclaims that it handles practice areas A, B, and C, it often means that it intends to handle those practice areas.

This dynamic plays itself out in virtually everything a new business does. When it chooses a logo, or color scheme, or even its name, it engages in a process of self-conceptualization, imagining what it wants to be. I think that’s one reason why new businesses spend so much time, and so enjoy, focusing on relatively simple things like deciding on a logo. It’s fun to imagine your potential….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Biglaw to Boutique: Keeping It Real”

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us together todaaay.

Today we have news about the marriage of a lawyerly power couple, or at least news about the charred, tattered remnants of what the marriage once was. This extraordinarily dysfunctional ex-couple got chastised by a judge for nuking not only their sacred union but most of their considerable wealth in the process.

We know all’s fair in love and war. I guess that includes seppuku, but I’m not sure it’s really the most effective strategy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Abandon The Wedding Ship — And Then Set Fire to the Lifeboats!”

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