As we mentioned before, we regularly receive all sorts of apocryphal rumors related to the fall recruiting process.
The gossip can be salacious and fun to read — even if turns out to be untrue. Like this rumor, which we heard from a University of Virginia law student quite some time ago:
Skadden has not interviewed here on grounds yet…. [Ed. note: We believe that they have by now.]
There are some rumors going around the school that a handful of my classmates, all of whom are minorities, have already received offers from Skadden. Obviously, any rumor must be taken with a grain of salt, but the word here is that offers were made very early to minority candidates in an effort to attract more minorities. I know of at least two with offers and both are African-American. Neither worked for Skadden last summer, which is the red flag in my eyes….
As I said, I’m not too familiar with the NALP rules, but others have indicated to me that those early offers are not proper given the NALP rules and regulations. I personally could not care — I’m not interested in Skadden or the markets in which Skadden is interviewing for at UVa — but I read the site regularly and wanted to pass along the information.
Sadly, it appears that this gossip — while juicy and potentially controversial — is not true.
The explanation appears after the jump.
From the opinion of Chief Justice John “Sordid Business” Roberts:
“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
From Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent:
“John, John, John, you don’t even — you’re glib. You don’t even know what Brown v. Board of Education is. If you start talking about school integration, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how schoolchildren are affected by racial segregation. That’s what I’ve done. Then you go and you say that no member of the Court at the time of Brown would have agreed with today’s decision.”
Enough quoting from the opinions. How should we react to this ruling?
1. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!
2. Brown v. Board has been eviscerated!
3. American schoolchildren will soon be getting after-school milkshakes at lunch counters with Robert Bork!
* If you’re not spreading your music like herpes, then you’re just paying an extra 30 cents for the same product you’ve always been buying; as a side note, doesn’t Damon Alburn look dreamy these days? [New York Times]
* The SEC wants to be more like a friend than a parent, but watch out if you try to sneak out of the house after curfew on a school night. [FT.com via MSN]
* She may fight it until she regains her dignity writes another best seller, but chances are that I’ll get my groove back before she does. [New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer]
* Remember how Andrea from Beverly Hills, 90210 used her grandma’s address, and Vivian Abromowitz lived in the Slums of Beverly Hills to attend the prestigious public high school? Well, this is different. [Los Angeles Times]
Sadly, we missed this event because we were still out of town. But yesterday morning, here in Washington, DC, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored an incendiary debate a panel discussion entitled “Are Law Firms Breaking the Law? Racial and Gender Preferences in Attorney Hiring and Promotion.”
Accounts of the event are available from The BLT and the WSJ Law Blog. Here’s a squib from Rob Rogers’s BLT write-up:
Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice argued that law firms typically have “no viable defense” for discrimination against non-minority attorneys. Richard Sander of UCLA School of Law, whose research previously has been discussed in Legal Times’ commentary articles (including here), analyzed the hardships that racial preferences can impose on their beneficiaries.
On the other side, Shirley Wilcher, president of Wilcher Global, argued that law firms have a history of discrimination to overcome and some partners still assume that minority associates aren’t as qualified. Michele Roberts [at right], a partner at Akin Gump, questioned whether law-school grades (a key element in Sander’s analysis) were that significant to legal success and pointed out that becoming a partner depends on other factors. (She also said that Akin Gump’s minority associates do not have substantially lower grades.)
We also had a source in the audience. Our tipster’s thoughts — reader discretion advised, no punches are pulled — appear after the jump.
* A flight attendant was suspended for merely taking a bathroom break. Of course, this “break” involved Ralph Fiennes’s penis. Wrongful termination or not, it would have been worth it. [The Daily Telegraph]
* Was this a way out of CLE requirements? [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Too many lawyers, not enough nuts, fruits or flakes. [Professor Bainbridge; Point of Law]
* How many times have you wondered what a producer actually does? And how many times since last year’s Oscars have you wondered why Crash won best picture? (Once for me, but the moment was intense and fraught with anger.) [Madisonian]
* His world may have collapsed, but his lung won’t. [MSN]
* They probably weren’t staying together for the kids. [Judicial Reports (third item)]
* Some African-American college students are, in fact, just African. Another way to summarize this “finding” is that “Not All [insert color here] People Are the Same” (or, as many a clever columnist would no doubt call it, the “Barack Theory”). [Althouse]
* I’m not sure what constitutes innovation in law practice management, but I wouldn’t nominate Sullivan & Cromwell. [Adam Smith, Esq]
* No need for a state-funded “Inner Change Program.” After they get stabbed by a pick fashioned out of a bed spring and gang-raped in the shower, inmates usually turn to God of their own will. [ACSBlog]
* Be careful when deciding what to call your party on Sunday night. [Overlawyered]
* Affirmative action not gone quite yet for Michigan schools. [AP via How Appealing]
* Convicted debutante killers not so happy at sentencing. [CNN]
* Nebraska corporate farming ban violates dormant commerce clause; Nebraska will appeal to the Supreme Court. [Jurist]
* Dracula Jr.’s a lawyer. [WSJ Law Blog]
* 13 States and DC sue EPA to get them to, you know, protect the environment. [MSNBC]
In response to this post — about the low partnership rate for minority lawyers at large law firms, the subject of a recent New York Times piece — an ATL commenter wrote:
[UCLA law professor Richard] Sander relies too heavily upon grades as predictors of law firm performance. All of us know scores of brilliant law students who turn out to be terrible lawyers — because they lack social skills, common sense, etc. These people go on to become law professors.
If you’d like to read an entire article devoted to this rather banal proposition — namely, that partnership decisions aren’t based on how well a lawyer did back in law school — click here.*
So Jonathan Glater’s Week in Review piece may not be terribly interesting or amusing. But check out some of the reader comments on Adam Liptak’s original article; a few are real winners. Like this one:
I am sixty years old, and have gone to Law School with Blacks and think the proiblem is simple.
Blacks have lower standards for being accepted at law schools…. Then, while in Law School, my impression was that less was expected oif [sic] Black students while in Law School. Finally, when they are recruited, they are recruited to fill a quota or some diversity goal at the firm or company.
Blacks for a variety of reasons have not had the cultural background to develop as fully as they one day will….
Those Blacks — with whom we are quite familiar, since we went to Law School with them — just don’t have the “cultural background” to succeed in Biglaw. Clients and judges have such a hard time understanding Ebonics….**
* Yes, we’re being a bit glib. There’s an issue of causation versus correlation here. Obviously partners aren’t picked because they did well back in law school (which is the straw man that Glater’s piece knocks down).
But law school performance may correlate with certain skills that ARE the basis for partnership decisions. Professor Sander cites research showing a correlation between law school grades and how long lawyers remain at a firm. This in turn correlates with how many lawyers make partner, given the usual “up or out” system at most big firms. (But ATL is not the ideal forum for getting down into the academic weeds on this subject, so we will stop here.)
** We are NOT saying that anyone who subscribes to Professor Sander’s theory — which is supported by a wealth of research and data — is “racist.” We just think this particular commenter expressed himself rather inelegantly, that’s all. Straight ‘A’ Student? Good Luck Making Partner [New York Times] Lawyers Debate Why Blacks Lag at Major Firms [New York Times] Earlier: How Long Will It Take…
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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.
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