Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall the tale of Aquagirl. She’s the former Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who, while in a state of inebriation, stripped down to her underwear at a Chelsea Piers charity benefit and jumped into the Hudson River. This might have been an effort to demonstrate her swimming prowess (she was on the swim team in college), but ultimately she had to be rescued in a boat by either the Coast Guard or the NYPD. Her exploits are now the stuff of legend, the bar by which summer associate misadventures are measured.
In these pages, we’ve referred to Aquagirl simply by her nickname, in keeping with our general policy of anonymizing summer associate stories. But that policy admits of exceptions. We will now unmask Aquagirl because she’s back in the headlines for newsworthy conduct — this time heroic rather than scandalous….
Yesterday we wrote about a former summer associate in the Chicago office of Katten Muchin Rosenman. He was fired earlier this month, after he allegedly (1) made racially insensitive remarks and (2) engaged in inappropriate physical contact with female summer associates.
With respect to the first allegation, it’s claimed that he first made a racist comment to another summer associate. When she got angry, he supposedly told her he liked “angry black women.”
(Hmm… What’s he doing for the rest of the summer? We hear that Shanetta Cutlar is hiring.)
With respect to the second allegation, it’s claimed that the ex-SA “repeatedly smack[ed] the asses of female summers” or “play[ed] grab ass with female summers.” What was he thinking? This is obviously unacceptable.
(Silly summer. Ass-grabbing is for partners!)
Read the rest, after the jump.
At your suggestion, we’re putting together a compendium of juicy summer associate tales — the most funny or amusing stories, about the most colorful summer associates of all time. Inspired by Aquagirl, one of the greatest of them all, we’re organizing them around a theme:
Move over, X-Men. Make way for the X-Summers!
Please send us your submissions by email (subject line: “X-Summer”). It would be helpful to us if you try to conform your submissions to the template we’re planning to use, which contains fields for all the relevant information. For example:
1. Superhero name: The Jack-Sh*tter (real name: Jonas Blank*)
2. Special power: The ability to waste hundreds of hours of billable time.
3. Summered: Skadden Arps, summer 2003
4. Claim to fame: Meant to send an email to one friend, but instead sent it to Skadden’s entire underwriting group (partners included). That email read:
“I’m busy doing jack shit. Went to a nice 2hr sushi lunch today at Sushi Zen. Nice place. Spent the rest of the day typing emails and bullshitting with people. Unfortunately, I actually have work to do — I’m on some corp finance deal, under the global head of corp finance, which means I should really peruse these materials and not be a fuckup…”
“So yeah, Corporate Love hasn’t worn off yet… But just give me time…”
In the words of the New Yorker: OOPS.
5. What happened to him: At the direction of recruiting, Jonas Blank “wr[ote] an apology to the forty or so attorneys who had already opened the e-mail.” He received an offer from Skadden and worked there for several years, before leaving for a smaller firm. Update: We added that last field after the fact. Thanks for the suggestion.
We look forward to your submissions, which you can send in by email. Thanks in advance!
* Generally we don’t reveal the names of people involved in embarrassing or tawdry situations. This is why Aquagirl is Aquagirl, or the Katten Kreep is the Katten Kreep.
But this general rule is subject to some exceptions. One is if the person’s name has already been published in an MSM publication — in Jonas Blank’s case, The New Yorker.
The New York Observer has their annual summer associate article out today. Aquagirl is heavily discussed, including a shoutout to ATL for coining the nickname. Also referenced, of course, is the $3,000 Skadden summers’ after-party. But then they had to go and get all touchy-feely with the bit about charity and how “chic” being green is. Yuck.
But my favorite is the last paragraph about the meat market that is the associate-summer associate dating game. I love this line:
“[A]ssociates don’t get out of the office much, so when the new summers arrive, it’s like the buffet at Denny’s.
Whatcha doin’ for New Year’s? Unless your plans include the words “Diddy” and “yacht,” they’re not as fabulous as this fête:
Some explanation is in order. This party is being brought to you by one of America’s brightest legal minds: celebrity law professor Tim Wu, of Columbia Law School. (We don’t know who this “Sue” character is.)
If you haven’t read ATL’s fawning past coverage of Professor Wu, here’s one detail that says it all: Richard Posner calls him “the Genius Wu.” Need we say more?
The invite list is equally spectacular. It includes these legal luminaries:
(1) Noah Feldman, the hottie-cum-public-intellectual that Harvard just lured away from NYU;
Memorably described as a “lush Persian beauty,” Farhadian belongs on a Milan runway, a top-five law school faculty, or both.
All of these celebs — like their host, Tim Wu (Breyer/OT 1999) — are members of the Elect. Professors Feldman and Roosevelt clerked for Justice Souter (in October Terms 1998 and 1999, respectively). Farhadian clerked for Justice O’Connor (in October Term 2004).
But Feldman, Roosevelt and Farhadian, in all of their blinding brightness, might be eclipsed if a single invitee makes an appearance at the festivities.
Allow us to paraphrase JFK’s famous words about Thomas Jefferson:
“I think this will be the most extraordinary collection of young legal celebrity and fabulosity that has ever been gathered together at a party — with the possible exception of when Aquagirl swam alone.”
In response to our last post about Aquagirl — the Clearly Goatlips Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who stripped down to her underwear and dove into the Hudson River, at a summer associate event — one of you wrote:
Aquagirl was in my bar review class, for the Virginia bar exam. But she is NOT on the list of those who passed the July 2006 VA bar exam. Did she not take the exam? Or did she fail?
There is also the issue of character and fitness. Does jumping in a river render you unfit to practice in the Commonwealth? I trust that Above the Law will find out for us all.
We’re inclined to answer this reader’s query with a “no.” If a single instance of poor, alcohol-clouded judgment were enough to preclude bar admission, then nobody would be left in practice. So please, Virginia bar examiners — give Aquagirl a break.
(Yes, we’re biased — we are big fans of Aquagirl, whom we have declared “magnificent.” And we want to see her succeed in the legal profession, which needs more colorful personalities.)
Update: We’re not alone in wishing Aquagirl well. One of you writes: “She’s actually a really sweet girl, so I hope it’s just that they held her app for C&F (and thus still has a chance of being admitted), and not that she didn’t pass the exam.”
If you can enlighten us about the fate of our favorite summer associate ever — she’s tied for first with this young lady — please drop us a line.
Yesterday we told you the tale of Aquagirl — the Clearly GoatlipsCleary Gottlieb summer associate who stripped down to her underwear and dove into the Hudson River. At a summer associate event. At night. At Chelsea Piers. Seriously.
In the comments, some of you updated us on Aquagirl’s fate. Now we’re happy to bring you this very detailed report:
I worked with [Aquagirl] at Arnold & Porter this summer. On our first day as summers, we were taken to lunch at a nearby restaurant. We were seated at round tables, with at least one partner and one associate at every table. During the lunch, one of the partners asked each of the summers to tell her something funny that had happened to us while we were working at a previous job.
After a few people told their silly, harmless stories, [Aquagirl] was up. She announced to all of us that she was the girl at Cleary that everyone had talked about last summer. She said she hoped no one would hold it against her, and that she could have a fresh start.
Um, talk about uncomfortable situation? I mean, what do you say to that?
What do you say to that? How about “You go, girl!” In a single evening, Aquagirl transformed herself from some random summer associate into a mini-celebrity of the legal profession. And instead of trying to conceal her scandalousness, she OWNED it. Magnificent!!!
One of yesterday’s commenters stated that Arnold & Porter “didn’t realize her Hudson-jumping proclivities.” But our correspondent begs to differ:
[T]he people who interviewed her at Arnold & Porter DID know about what happened to [Aquagirl] at Cleary, and decided to hire her anyway. (Although summer gossip was that she wasn’t allowed to participate in alcohol-related afterhours activities; it may very well be that she did not attend events because she was at bar review class.)
I was told that all the summers at A&P got an offer to come back, but she hasn’t responded to our email chain about her plans for next year (she’s clerking now).
Anyway, we’re glad to hear that everything worked out for Aquagirl. Fitzgerald — F. Scott, not Patrick J. — famously observed that “there are no second acts in American lives.” But, based on Aquagirl’s post-scandal success — an offer from Arnold & Porter, a prestigious federal appellate court clerkship — it seems there ARE second acts in American law. Earlier: The Cautionary Tale of Aquagirl
If you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you read this article (and not just ’cause we’re featured in it). It’s entitled Scuttlebutt Central, by Stephanie Francis Ward, and it’s from the November 2006 issue of the ABA Journal.
The piece is a fun and interesting read; check it out for yourself. We’ll just comment on one passage that caught our eye:
A Washington, D.C., corporate associate who asked to remain anonymous admits to reading legal gossip blogs daily — a habit he says isn’t unusual among his peers.
“There’s an allure of some of these stories — like the summer associate in New York who took off her clothes and jumped into the Hudson River — so there’s sort of a universal appeal,” he says.
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.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.