A Legal Tabloid - News, Insights, and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession
Managing Editor: David Lat
Editor: Elie Mystal
Assistant Editor: Staci Zaretsky
Contributors: Kashmir Hill, Marin, Mark Herrmann, Jay Shepherd
David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, Washingtonian magazine, and New York magazine. Prior to ATL, he launched Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges. Before entering the journalism world, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as one of the American Lawyer’s Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years; one of the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of pioneers within the legal profession; and one of the Fastcase 50, "the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology." You can connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
1. If you send one of your students to another law school, for a year-long stint as a visiting student, don’t “apologize” for it — even if that student has a severe peanut allergy, requiring the receiving school to “peanut-proof” itself for the year.
2. If you really must issue an “apology,” do so by phone or in person, not by email.
3. If you really must issue an “apology” by email, send it to the individual dean. Do not send it to a listserv consisting of the deans of ABA-accredited law schools.
Because it might get leaked to ATL:
ATL readers: Please take this opportunity to engage in a spirited debate over whether schools, airlines, and other institutions go too far — or not far enough — in accommodating people with extreme food allergies. Thank you.
We are delighted to announce that the Firm will pay special bonuses to all U.S. attorneys, in the amounts set forth below.
Class of 2000: $60,003
The special bonuses will supplement the Firm’s normal year-end U.S. bonuses. In lieu of special and year-end bonuses, U.S. attorneys may opt for a 100% equity stake in the Firm.
It is our pleasure to work with such an extraordinarily talented, quick-witted, well-read, handsome, modest group of lawyers. Thanks to your hard work, 2007 has been the Firm’s best year ever. While our securitization, antitrust, environmental, mass tort, tax, trust and estates, and patent litigation practices remain nonexistent, our bankruptcy/restructuring and general corporate practices have flourished. Profits are up infinity percent from 2006. We look forward to seeing you all and celebrating this year’s successes at the holiday party at “Go Sushi” on 51st and 9th.
The Firm urges you not to circulate this memo to muckraking legal tabloids such as Above the Law. We recognize that our special bonuses exceed those offered by Cravath and others, and we don’t want to hurt their feelings.
Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Texas) joins Judge Elizabeth Halverson and Chief Judge Edward Nottingham in our Judge of the Day Hall of Fame. He will no longer be eligible for recognition as a Judge of the Day, having transcended this award.
Why is Judge Kent deserving of induction? In the Houston Chronicle, Lise Olsen offers a detailed report of the allegations against Judge Kent (which we previously discussed here and here). The money quote:
[Case manager Cathy] McBroom was summoned to the judge’s chambers on Friday, March 23, at about 3 p.m.
Her hands were full of legal papers when the judge — a former high school athlete who is more than 6 inches taller and at least 100 pounds heavier — asked for a hug.
She told him she didn’t think that was appropriate, but reluctantly approached.
The judge grabbed Mc-Broom, pulled up her blouse and her bra and put his mouth on her breast. Then, Kent forced her head down toward his crotch.
As McBroom struggled, Kent kept telling the married mother of three what he wanted to do to her in words too graphic to publish. The papers fell to the floor. The pet bulldog Kent kept in his chambers began to bark.
The incident was interrupted by the sound of footsteps from another staff member in the corridor, and the judge loosened his grip. As she left, the judge said McBroom was a good case manager and then made suggestions about engaging in a sexual act.
McBroom ran out crying.
Review additional allegations, including a claim by a different ex-employee that Judge Kent once told her he could “service me when my husband was being treated for prostate cancer,” by clicking here. How far did this federal judge go? [Houston Chronicle]
Paging laid-off (or about-to-be-laid-off) associates: Looking for a new career? If you’re culturally literate, possessed of good taste, and great at slaving away for law-firm partners — which, given your job experience, you probably are — think about becoming a “personal manager.”
From the New York Times:
Looking for someone to curate your life? Need a personal concierge whose expertise is not picking up dry-cleaning but helping chose your wardrobe, your tastes, your friends?
[Allison] Storr calls herself a personal manager, but her duties go far beyond that. Her clients, all of them men, pay monthly fees of $4,000 to $10,000 to have her be their personal decider in nearly all things lifestyle-related.
And there’s a fun Biglaw blind item in the article:
A partner in a New York law firm, who agreed to be interviewed if he was not named to protect his privacy, said he has employed Ms. Storr for two and a half years. Last summer, Ms. Storr organized an ’80s theme party at the lawyer’s house in the Hamptons for about 200 of his friends, with a $5,000 budget. “It was honestly one of the most fun parties out there,” the lawyer said. “By now all my friends know that Allison works for me.”
He calls her an outsourced wife. “The nice thing is that when I ask her to do something, she gets it done and there’s no negative feelings.”
Putting together a summer party for 200, on a budget of just $5,000, is an impressive feat. Shouldn’t a Biglaw partner cough up at least five figures for a fabulous fete? Need a Life? She’ll Arrange One [New York Times]
So just how large was the settlement in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell? Professor Scott Moss argued it was probably modest, while Professor Art Leonard believed it to be more substantial.
Here’s some evidence in favor of a larger settlement:
On Saturday at around 5 p.m., I spotted Aaron Charney in a cafe, in the bucolic town of Cold Spring, New York. I would have gone up and talked to him, but I realized who he was too late.
He was dressed in preppy fall wear, very J. Crew, with a wool hat. He was with two friends, and he was joking with them. He looked happy.
A day without bonus announcements is like a day without sunshine. And for a while it looked like today was going to be one dark day — perhaps fitting, given the stock market tumble.
But Kramer Levin has come to the rescue. Check out their bonus memo, after the jump.
It’s Friday, just shy of 5 PM Eastern time. Where are the bonus announcements? The silence is suspicious. If you’re sitting on bonus news that we haven’t reported, please reach out to us by email (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”). Thanks.
* Ann Althouse: We love it when she gets medieval — or should we say me-diva? — on a hapless blogger’s a**. [Althouse]
* Jesse Sneed: The Indiana University law student, who riddled his casebooks with bullets, is going home to grandma. [Blogonaut]
* Tim Wu: These ladies aren’t the only ones in love with the high-profile prof; Google thinks he’s pretty cool, too. [BusinessWeek]
* Barry Richard: S**tstirrer extraordinaire. [National Law Journal]
Here is the latest Job of the Week — actually, make that Jobs of the Week — courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. Because Lateral Link does no cold-calling and is more efficient than traditional recruiting firms, successful candidates receive $10,000 upon placement. Positions: Junior Corporate Counsel and Senior Corporate Counsel Employer: Software Company Location: Irvine, California Description:
(1) A corporate counsel (3-6 years experience) that will take responsibility for all aspects of product support for the MAS and Accpac product lines.
(2) A senior corporate counsel (8+ years) with strong academics, prior in-house experience and advanced interpersonal skills. This person will provide counsel on business issues, negotiating and documenting a variety of transactions and dispute resolution as well as supporting the Company’s North American operation in mergers and acquisitions activity.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.