David Lat & Elie Mystal

Posts by David Lat & Elie Mystal

Summer Associate Survival Guide PLC.jpg* More evidence that Venable is the weirdest and/or coolest law firm in DC. [On the Record]
* Is Harvard Law School just too…. nice? [The Stimulist]
* Should veils be allowed on the witness stand? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Yesterday, we reported on a Saudi law firm that went a little too far in its efforts to enact affirmative action for white people. But maybe their wallet was in the right place. [True/Slant]
* What’s the best way of measuring the progress of women in large law firms? [Lexis Hub / Building A Better Legal Profession]
* Obama can run from the gay marriage issue, but he can’t hide. In fact, it doesn’t look like he is going to be very effective trying to run away either. [Law Dork 2.0]
* There is no good argument against secession for Long Island. [The Daily Show]
* Summer associates: check out this useful resource, the Summer Associate Survival Guide, courtesy of your friends at PLC. [Practical Law Company]

As noted even in the New York Times, the global mega-firm of White & Case has been hit hard by the recession. But allegedly one of the firm’s associates has been hitting it up — with another man’s wife.
The supposedly cuckolded husband has no intention of allowing this White & Case attorney to get away with an affair. The husband sent two accusatory emails to dozens of recipients who know him and / or the White & Case attorney. The emails have bounced around White & Case’s Miami office — and beyond. Due to their wide circulation, many of you have probably seen them already.
We’ve replaced the names of the participants with pseudonyms, but you’ll get the gist. Here is the initial email sent out on Sunday afternoon from “Cuckolded in Canada,” addressed to (1) his wife, “SexyLexus” (the origin of that name will become clear later); (2) the White & Case associate she was allegedly cheating with, hereinafter “Miami White”; and (3) dozens of third parties:

From: Cuckolded in Canada
Subject: When [Miami White] from White & Case Cheated with my Wife [SexyLexus] in May and June 2009
Miami White,
Families, wives, young children are valuable things. I work hard to take care of my family – a wife, 4 small children under the age of 6. It is the most valuable thing in the world to me.
When you decided to start sleeping with my wife while I was out of town over the last few weeks (May 27 – June 7 2009), you threatened my way of life, and you really hurt a lot of people – most notably the lives of my 4 very young children.
You are a securities lawyer at White & Case, so you know how to do due diligence. Perhaps you thought it was clever or fun, but attending a school recital with my wife who you’ve just met and started sleeping with over the last few weeks is extremely poor judgement. Sleeping with other mens wives, is alone, perhaps the poorest taste and the worst judgement all on its own. It implies a very low moral character. Perhaps you wish to plead ignorance, but a simple search on my name on the internet would indicate that I take a great deal of pride in my family. But after reviewing the text messages between you and my wife it would appear that you did the due diligence, that you knew she was spending the summer with me in Canada starting last week, and that we had small children and you were jeopardizing my family with your actions.
I have tried to contact you numerous times this week to address the situation and ask you to step aside… to let me address the issues now faced in our house. I have contacted your mobile at [Redacted] and your house at [Redacted] but you are too much of a coward to answer. You need to be made aware of your actions and the consequences they bear.
Miami White, and SexyLexus… what follows below are the text messages of your affair over the last few weeks as it unfolds. I would like to especially thank those at [my kids' school] that watched this unfold at the school concert last week, and did nothing to alert me or defend my family. That is certainly a church and a school I want my children to grow up learning from. You have all seen me drop my kids off and pick them up there every single day for the last year. Did you think to mention anything when I showed up there last Monday June 8 at my kids ceremonies? You know how important they are to me.
And for all of you that think running around with other mens wives or husbands behind their spouses backs is acceptable behaviour – recognize that there are consequences and that many of us that will fight for our families and ferociously defend our home and children.

How’s that for an opening salvo? Wait until Cuckolded starts revealing the text messages between his wife and her purported paramours, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Getting Laid Watch: White & Case”

animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFThe venerable firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore has entered the building, and it’s asking up to half of its incoming first-years to take a year off.
Cravath is offering a voluntary deferral option to its incoming associates, according to multiple Above the Law sources (as well as Bloomberg News). If the incoming associates are willing to take a year off, they will receive an $80,000 deferral stipend, health care coverage, and $1,000 a month in loan repayment assistance. This appears to be the top of the deferral stipend market, more generous than both Weil and Latham.
A tipster reports that there are no strings attached to this deal:

[T]hey don’t have to do anything but sit on their ass. No public interest, nothing. And they are assured a job in fall 2010.

But wait, weren’t the current summers at Cravath right now — the class of 2010 — supposed to start in fall 2010?
We detail their fate after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cravath Offers Voluntary Deferral to Class of 2009 — and Delays Class of 2010 a Full Year”


outsourcing biglaw aba tsunami.gifToday we sat down with Gururaj Potnis, director of Manthan Legal, who was in New York to attend a legal conference. Manthan is an Indian company that describes itself as a “leader of offshore Legal Process Outsourcing.” According to Potnis, Manthan has roughly 280 lawyers — 140 senior attorneys, and 140 more junior colleagues who do paralegal-type work — and they stand ready to help law firms cut costs (and increase profits).
Potnis thinks a “tectonic shift” is taking place in the legal industry, and he believes his company is well-positioned to take advantage of the new market. According to him, he’s got law firm clients on his side: “For the first time, the large law firms are being asked by their customers: ‘Are you efficient?'” The market change that we are now seeing “is 99% being driven by customers.”
Manthan Legal is positioned differently from its Indian competitors in legal outsourcing. It works primarily for law firms rather than in-house counsel:

Right now, 90% of the [outsourcing] industry is being driven by corporate counsel [i.e., in-house lawyers]. At some point in time, they’ve been exposed to the concept of having to get the maximum amount of work from the minimum budget….

[I]n the short term, the corporate counsel will drive [the outsourcing trend]. But in the long term, the law firms will have to develop an alternate billing model.

And under these alternative billing models, outsourcing may have an important role to play.
What can outsourcing firms offer? Junior associates might not like it, but managing partners will have to start paying attention. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Outsourcing: What Indian Firms Have Planned for the Future of Biglaw”

summer associate program ATL Above the Law blog.jpgPeople are already calling the class of 2009 the “lost generation.” We’ve detailed the difficult market facing the class of 2010. But yesterday we received some news out of Morris Manning, an Atlanta-based firm with approximately 175 lawyers, that suggests tough times are ahead for the classes of 2011 and beyond.
Morris Manning managing partner Bob Saudek sent around this firm-wide email:

FYI, the firm has decided not to interview on law school campuses this fall, which of course means that we do not plan to have a formal summer program next summer. This decision was made because we don’t know when the economy will pick up, we feel that our first obligation should be to making sure that our existing lawyers are productive rather than committing to bring in a whole class of additional associates, and we believe that when and as we need to hire additional lawyers there are very likely to be a lot of well-qualified experienced lawyers available as well as well-qualified third year law students, since so many firms have contracted significantly and reduced or eliminated their summer programs.

Is this a wise strategy? In a post late last year over at Adam Smith Esq., Bruce McEwen expressed doubts:

[Y]ou cannot introduce a gap into that supply chain. You need to be in the business of continually recruiting new talent, in order to feed the continually moving production line of senior to mid-level to junior staff needed to manage cases and transactions. You cannot, in other words, inflict on your own firm the equivalent of a “lost generation.”

So counter-intuitive as it may seem, I recommend continuing to feed the associate pipeline from the start, summer associates and first-year hires, even at the cost of some mid-year enforced “attrition.” Aside from what I believe to be sound long-term reasons to continue investing in the firm’s future in this way, there are as well both an abstract and a prudential argument for same.

Of course, there is always a counterargument. Let’s get into it, plus take a reader poll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: Is This the Beginning of the End for Summer Associate Programs?”

quinn redskins.jpgYesterday, we reported on an associate at Quinn Emanuel who had strong views about the firm’s recent victory in the Pro Football v. Harjo case, in which the D.C. Circuit upheld the Washington Redskins trademark in the moniker “Redskins.” We, along with many readers, speculated about whether the first-year associate would be able to hold onto his job after yesterday’s publicity.
We are now able to report that the Quinn associate was let go from the firm yesterday — but not because of the various “reply-all” emails.
Instead, the associate was let go because he failed the California bar exam. For a second time.
(Thus, as noted in the comments, any email indiscretions by him essentially amounted to harmless error.)
The firm declined to comment about individual personnel matters, but multiple sources report that it is the standing policy of Quinn Emanuel to part ways with associates who fail the bar multiple times.
But we shouldn’t necessarily look at the emails as an attempt to go out in a “blaze of glory.” As we understand it, the associate sent the first reply-all email — the one that was not meant to “rouse some rabble or down some debbies or outcrunch some crunchies” — before he found out that he failed the bar for a second time.
As for the rest of the emails, that might be a different story. More details, and a colorful “no comment” from the associate himself, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Second Bar Failure Is Proximate Cause for Quinn Associate’s Ouster”

Madlyn Primoff Kaye Scholer mugshot.jpgMadlyn Primoff, a partner in the bankruptcy and business reorganization group at Kaye Scholer, left her two daughters by the side of the road in White Plains. According to the New York Daily News:

A prominent Park Avenue lawyer was arrested after cops said she got so angry at her young daughters that she kicked them out of her car – and drove off.

Madlyn Primoff apparently couldn’t bear any more squabbling between her 10- and 12-year-old daughters Sunday and booted them out of the car in White Plains, Westchester County, authorities said.

A threat doesn’t carry much weight if you’re not willing to back it up, right? A tipster quips:

So maybe I won’t apply to Kaye Scholer … if their partners are this crazy.

But the 12-year-old demonstrated the dedication required of a future Kaye Scholer associate. She ran after her mother’s car, caught up to it, and got back in. You can’t stealth layoff that kid!

Unfortunately, the 10-year-old went to pieces:

The younger daughter wandered around the corner to Mamaroneck Ave., where a good Samaritan spotted her in tears about 7:30 p.m., bought her ice cream and then approached a cop in a patrol car.

The officer described the girl as “very upset” and “emotional” in the police report.

More discussion — including information about Madlyn Primoff’s $2 million home in Scarsdale, and a reader poll — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading Mommy Lawyer of the Day: Kaye Scholer Partner Leaves Bickering Kids”

Sexy Golf Attire.JPG* I’m not sure what a female associate is supposed to wear to her first golf outing. But I know what the commenters are thinking and they are certainly wrong. [Corporette]

* Brian Cuban does a brilliant job here comparing the various ways dating is like basketball. But he acts as if a brother is out there on his own. When I roll, I roll with a posse and we all have our assigned positions. I’m the point guard, I facilitate everything because I can’t score for myself (a.k.a. “the married guy”). Living my life vicariously through others, the team concept is very important to me. [Dallas Basketball]

* A concierge service, for lawyers. Will they mail out résumés for unemployed clients? [Legally Organized via AmLaw Daily]

* I think there are some Heller creditors who might want that desk back. Former incoming Heller associates might want it too, for firewood. [California Lawyer]

* Lat will be speaking at this symposium on Friday: “Digital Entrepreneurship: The Incentives and Legal Risks.” [West Virginia University - College of Law]

* Speaking of Lat, he comes up in this interview of Jessie Liu, who recently joined Jenner & Block as a partner after several years with the Justice Department. [Legal Bisnow]

* In case you missed it, we hosted Blawg Review #204 this morning. [Blawg Review]

Latham Watkins LLP lw logo.jpgThere have been a lot of rumors about impending layoffs at Latham & Watkins. Major layoffs. The firm has not responded to our multiple requests for comment, but here is the best information we’ve been able to collect over the past few days.

We’re hearing that at least 70 – 150 people will be laid off from Latham. We believe that it is all going to go down this Friday.

The layoffs will primarily affect the offices in New York, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Conference rooms have been booked in all of those cities for Friday the 27th. The conference room schedule, which is available online for all Latham associates to see, is how most people are finding out about the layoffs coming at the end of this week. A tipster reports:

The online conference scheduler for Latham’s NY office has multiple rooms in the conference center checked out for all of Friday to Dave Gordon (L&W NY’s office managing partner), with multiple adjacent conference rooms checked out to the head of HR, as well as the head of the technology department. This is clearly not a typical occurrence.

We understand that partners in the New York office have been very open about the fact that a large number of people will be let go, and first-years are far from safe.

And while LW doesn’t seem to want to talk about this publicly, firm management has already decided on which people will be let go. The list will be given to the full partnership sometime tomorrow.

Why is Latham being silent about layoffs that everybody already seems to know about? We offer some historical context after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham & Watkins Is Going For It”

Kelley Drye.JPGThere was one more firm we’ve heard a lot about recently, but the firm would not respond to ATL’s multiple requests for comment.

In the past week or so, we’ve received a number of credible tips about layoffs at Kelley Drye. Because the firm will not comment, we don’t know the overall numbers. But multiple tipsters independently report that there were layoffs at Kelley Drye:

A handful of other associates, including first years, got the ax…. Everyone fired was in the transactional group; firm was clear that it was solely for economic reasons.

Another tipster reports:

Layoffs at Kelly Drye. All class years affected including four class of 2008 in New York.

And from a third:

Kelley Drye New Jersey office a ghost town.

But we’ve also received conflicting reports that there have been no layoffs at Kelley Drye. Many of the litigators we talked with report no layoffs. Then again, if the layoffs were focused in the transactional group, how would litigators know?

But the other question is this: why wouldn’t Kelley Drye announce layoffs yesterday when the entire industry was vomiting jobs? Wouldn’t the firm want to get its bad news out yesterday?

If there were layoffs.

But if there weren’t layoffs, why wouldn’t Kelley Drye spokespeople knock the rumors down when we asked?

If you have any more information about Kelley Drye, please send it in to tips.

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