There’s just something about riding on crowded Amtrak trains that causes Biglaw attorneys to lose all of their inhibitions. From fondling one another to making $300,000 partnership offers to casually discussing future layoffs, their indiscretion knows no bounds. Perhaps they choose to throw caution to the wind because they think no one cares about the business of law, or that no one is really listening to what they’re saying or watching what they’re doing, but that’s simply not the case. We’ve got eyes and ears everywhere, and no one is safe.
Today’s Biglaw blind item occurred on yet another Amtrak train, and deals with some longstanding archetypes: an attorney who “sounded like a real jerk” and a law student who “sounded desperate.” It seems like this attorney has hate in his heart for his firm’s summer associates…
Welcome to the latest installment of Legal Fee Voyeurism, in which we dish about how much lawyers are getting paid for their labors.
Today’s subject: Amtrak, the federally subsidized passenger railroad that’s a perennial source of bad news. From the AP:
Amtrak cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary legal expenses, an independent investigator said Wednesday.
The legal department of the federally subsidized passenger railroad failed to properly manage its outside law firms, which charged $103 million from June 2002 through June 2005, according to a review by the Transportation Department’s inspector general.
We knew Amtrak was expensive. We didn’t know it was THAT expensive.*
Here are some of Amtrak’s infractions:
The report found that Amtrak didn’t review law firms’ bills, didn’t request budgets and didn’t scrutinize bills. The railroad also hired expensive big-city law firms without requiring them to compete for its business, the report said.
Now you’re wondering: Which major law firms had Amtrak bend over and grab its proverbial ankles?
Here’s what various top firms billed Amtrak in the period from June 2002 to June 2005 (from the WSJ Law Blog):
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
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But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
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