Since Japan is about to sink, drown, or blow up, you might have missed the fact that 32 or so billionaires officially can’t figure out how to share profits with a few hundred millionaires. That’s right, the National Football League — the most successful sports association ever — is in a stage of lockout. The owners and the players can’t agree, and now both sides have lawyered up and are heading to court.
The NFL owners have locked out the players, and the players have asked for an injunction preventing the lockout. Welcome to Brady v. NFL.
Naturally, I’m on the side of the marginally greedy, financially illiterate players over the unimaginably greedy, financially irresponsible owners. Bill Simmons perfectly captures the real core of this fight that the owners are picking with their employees.
And there are all kinds of funky legal issues swirling around the case: the player’s union “sham” decertification, the NFL’s T.V. revenue war chest they should have been sharing with the players all along, and enough Sherman Antitrust Act angles to fill a casebook.
And there’s legal star power: as we mentioned this morning, David Boies has joined the fight on the side of money grubbing owners who would happily sacrifice the long term health of their employees for some more short term profits.
But this morning we should focus on the man who could be “the Decider,” U.S. District Judge David Doty. The man has such a history of frustrating the NFL owner/oligarchs that simply getting the case into his courtroom could force the owners back into negotiating in good faith. We should know more about this guy.
Remember, the 1994 Major League Baseball strike was settled by a judge — and her name is Sonia Sotomayor — only she’s got a better title now. Just saying….
Yesterday we passed along a rumor that Barbara Werther and some of her colleagues in government contracts were leaving Howrey. We have since received additional confirmation of this report. According to one source, Werther informed Howrey partners of her departure on Thursday, and her office was cleaned out on Friday.
As we previously mentioned, a meeting with associates and firm chairman Robert Ruyak was also scheduled for yesterday. What happened on that conference call?
When asked for some 2011 predictions by the folks over at Hellerman Baretz, I had this to say (among other commentary): “Although business is generally picking up, some firms still haven’t managed to shake off the effects of the recession — and they are now seeing significant defections, as their partners leave for firms that have weathered the storm better. So, in the next year, look for at least one large — i.e., Am Law 200 — law firm to either dissolve or be swallowed up by another firm as an alternative to dissolution.”
One firm that has been experiencing some major partner departures and general upheaval is Howrey. This post is the first of what we expect to be a series of stories about the firm. If you have information about Howrey that you can share, please email us or text us.
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the partner defections at Howrey. But let’s give it a shot, as well as talk about various Howrey offices that might not be long for this world….
* One soldier responded to the Pentagon’s DADT survey by asking “How far are we going to go with this whole gay thing? Am I supposed to celebrate gayness – do they get to wear a rainbow flag on their uniform?” Just the tip, sure, and only if they earn the badge. [Washington Post]
* Interpol has put Julian Assange on its most-wanted list. The Strokes did it better. [CNN]
* A European antitrust investigation of Google shows that size matters. For Bing, there’s ExtenZe. [Los Angeles Times]
* New York judges may be getting their first raises in 12 years. [New York Times]
We need help and will threaten legal action to get it.
The legal world might be wrapped up in the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings, and the international community might be wrapped up in the World Cup. But there is one thing that is capturing the minds of many “average Americans”: at midnight Eastern time, NBA free agency starts. LeBron, D-Wade, and the face of major professional basketball will begin to change tonight — and I promise you most Americans care more about who is on their basketball team than who is on their Supreme Court.
Is there a legal angle to the free-agent frenzy that’s about to kick off? Not really, but let’s pretend that there is. A month ago, Dwyane Wade said that he and other top free agents would be “having a meeting” to discuss their options — and this made a lot of people wonder if such a meeting (and any decisions coming out of such a meeting) would be tantamount to collusion and a violation of the Sherman Act. From ESPN:
But make no mistake: When Wade talks about sitting down with LeBron James and Joe Johnson (and perhaps Chris Bosh) to discuss free agency and where each of them will wind up playing, he is absolutely suggesting that a tiny handful of elite players could conspire — that’s the familiar use of the word, not the legal — to determine the future direction of the league.
Will Wade and LeBron engage in illegal price-fixing? If they end up in New York together, will I care? Let’s talk free agency and the law….
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) and your above-signed writer, at the 2010 Annual Dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Last Thursday, June 17, I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 annual dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington, D.C. In case you’re not familiar with it, CEI is “a public interest group dedicated to free enterprise and limited government” — i.e., a libertarian think tank.
At this year’s dinner, the honoree was a legal luminary with libertarian leanings: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Given my adoration of Judge Kozinski, the proximity of Washington to New York, and the fact that I was already going to be in D.C. — for a dinner of the Society of Professional Journalists (Kash and I wrote a magazine story that was nominated for an award) — how could I not attend?
A write-up of the proceedings and a slideshow, after the jump.
But Judge Bennett is making waves of his own in his Iowa courtroom. He’s decided that he wants lawyers to participate in an auction to determine who will get to serve as lead counsel in some consolidated antitrust cases.
And he informed lawyers of this with a curious email. The subject line alone is not something one expects from a federal judge:
Waterman v. VS Holding Co. et al (10cv4038) – consolidated antitrust actions – “going once, twice, sold to the lowest bidder” – ready to rumble?
Not only is this judge “ready to rumble,” he’s also ready to insult lawyers from East Coast law firms…
Ignorance has never stopped a federal judge from expressing an opinion.
– Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, after professing limited knowledge of antitrust law during a humorous speech about (you guessed it) antitrust law, at the annual dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute last night.
If a professional organization wants to protect the incomes and job opportunities of its members — and if it wants to ensure the quality of the services being provided, thereby preserving the profession’s reputation — it needs to exert some control over who enters the field. A professional association should arguably do whatever it can, within the bounds of antitrust law, to protect its turf and to preserve a certain amount of exclusivity in the profession.
(Please note that we’re proceeding based on two assumptions: (1) professional organizations should act in the self-interest of their individual members (as well as the profession as a whole), and (2) there will be some regulation of entry into a profession. We set aside the libertarian vision of a world devoid of professional licensing schemes and regulation, in which anyone can practice a trade or profession, and the market weeds out the bad apples.)
Some commentators — like our very own Elie Mystal, currently on vacation (so we’ll attempt to fill his shoes in this post), or Mark Greenbaum, in a widely-read Los Angeles Times op-ed — have accused the American Bar Association (ABA) of not doing enough to regulate entry into the legal profession. As a result, the nation is flooded with lawyers — or, perhaps more accurately, law school graduates — who can’t get jobs (or jobs that pay well enough to cover gigantic student loan payments).
These critics point to other professions and professional organizations that have done a better job of preserving exclusivity. Take medicine. Historically, if you could survive the rigors of the cutthroat pre-med world, four years of medical school, and the underpaid toil of a residency, you’d be set for life. As noted yesterday by a commenter:
* At the Supreme Court, much ado about a cross. [Washington Post (Robert Barnes); Washington Post (Dana Milbank)]
* Former Heller Ehrman partners deny that the firm was insolvent in 2007. [Am Law Daily]
* The new Honduran government, which came to power through a coup, has hired lawyers and law firms — including Lanny Davis, who recently moved from Orrick to McDermott — to defend its legitimacy. [New York Times]
* And there may be more work for antitrust lawyers, thanks to a new Justice Department invesitgation of IBM. [Reuters]
* Key Democratic lawyers agree to allow Guantanamo detainees to be transferred to the U.S. for trial. [Washington Post]
* Prosecutors drop one victim from the case, but Judge Herman “Who Needs A Spanking?” Thomas still faces charges dozens of counts related to 14 other victims. [CNN]
* No, it’s not your imagination: Gov. Jon Corzine’s campaign commercials are making fun of former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (pictured) for being fat. (Disclosure: We worked as an AUSA under Christie from 2003 until 2006.) [New York Times]
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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