David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Washingtonian magazine, and the New York Observer. 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." His first book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel, will be published in 2015. You can connect with David on Twitter and Facebook.
Our appearance next week at Columbia Law School, previously mentioned here, has been moved by half an hour (so that it won’t conflict with the star-studded Moot Court finals).
Here are the new details:
Wednesay, April 11, 5:30 PM6:00 PM Columbia Law School Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102 435 West 116th St. (at Amsterdam Avenue)
It’s open to the public, so feel free to swing by if you’re in the neighborhood. Thanks!
New York’s new Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has some big shoes to fill. Governor Eliot Spitzer, during his time as New York AG, was a very busy bee.
It looks like Cuomo has found a juicy scandal to sink his teeth into — one with possible implications for many of the law students among you. From the NYT:
The directors of financial aid at Columbia University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California held shares in a student loan company that each of the universities recommends to student borrowers, and in at least two cases profited handsomely.
The personal stake of the three university officials in the company, now known as Student Loan Xpress, is the latest revelation in an expanding investigation by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York into the relationships between student loan companies and universities. Student Loan Xpress is one of the “preferred lenders” recommended at all three universities.
Some interesting info from a tipster, after the jump.
As reflected in the comments to our recent post, people can’t see eye to eye about Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. To some, he’s an American hero; to others, he’s a liberal political hack.
But here are two things we believe to be non-controversial:
1. Dean Koh doesn’t look as good without his shirt as Dean Hiram Chodosh, of the S.J. Quinney Law School (University of Utah). A shirtless photo of Dean Chodosh, a nominee in our Law School Dean Hotties contest, is available here.
2. Dean Koh can’t dance as well as Dean Chodosh. Proving that NYU law students aren’t the only ones who can do fun stuff with the Michael Jackson song “Beat It,” Dean Chodosh recently strutted his stuff to that famous eighties classic:
A list of Fortune 250 general counsels who are practicing law without a license appears here. An article explaining it appears here.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. If a successful nominee to the exalted D.C. Circuit couldn’t keep track of the licensing requirements of his jurisdiction, why should we expect any better from general counsels?
Best comment, from Vernon Baker II of ArvinMeritor Inc.: “You got me.”
Almost all of these are just paperwork problems. But one situation is more mysterious:
Todd DuChene at Solectron, an electronic systems manufacturer based in Milpitas, Calif., was alone among the GCs in our survey in declining to confirm or deny his status. DuChene is not listed in the State Bar of California’s database as a licensed attorney, according to bar official Diane Curtis.
We’ve learned a little more about the talented creator of the NYU Law Revue videos that we’ve recentlyhighlighted. His name is Ryan Landes, and he’s a 3L at NYU, who will be working at a firm in L.A. after graduation. Given his gift for film, it’s not surprising that he’s headed to Hollywood (where perhaps he’ll bump into Eric Krautheimer at The Ivy).
Despite the demands of law school, Ryan finds the time to pursue film as a hobby. Here’s a droll little video he did for last year’s Law Revue, poking fun at Early Interview Week (EIW) on the NYU campus.
(The big joke in the sketch is a little dated. But is it ever possible to have too much of Aquagirl?)
That’s the prospect repeatedly pushed in a two-partprofile of Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, from the Yale Daily News. The profile has been discussed extensively in the legal blogsophere (see links below).
Oh goodness. We could say something snarky and dismissive (e.g., “Hell to the N-O”). But we will comport ourselves with the dignity you expect from a leading gossip blogger.
We will merely refer you to what others have already said on the subject. E.g., Professor Stephen Bainbridge (“Koh’s appointment to the SCOTUS would be an unmitigated disaster.”); Professor David Bernstein (Koh is “a highly partisan liberal Democrat under whose tenure as dean conservative and libertarian students have felt increasingly uncomfortable”); and commenters at the WSJ Law Blog (“a severe narcissist,” “a political zealot,” and “[Harvard Dean] Elena Kagan would be a better choice”).
(Our favorite comment, from a WSJ Law Blog reader: “Other than that he’d be a sure vote for declaring Gitmo detainees have a constitutional right to Social Security benefits, I do not see the appeal.”)
So we’re holding our tongue. We do not want to have our YLS degree revoked after the fact.
A few more thoughts, after the jump.
We will soon be posting an update to our earlier, draft report on clerkship bonuses. Thanks to everyone for all the tips, corrections, and additions. If you have info to share, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”).
In the meantime, here’s another useful little resource for you. It was sent to us by a tipster with this message:
Looks like the NY Law Journal JUST picked up on the trend of listing the $160,000 firms. Don’t they know that every associate in the city already got this list from Abovethelaw?
Indeed. But in case you’d like to refresh your recollection (or want your salary information with an MSM seal of approval), the NYLJ listing of $160K firms — aka the “List of Pride,” the opposite of the “List of Shame” — appears here (free subscription may be required). NY First-Year Salaries: Who Pays $160,000 [New York Law Journal via nylawyer.com]
The Cravath partner who uses Scotch tape to Biore herself during a deposition. The Sullivan & Cromwell partner who allegedly tells a gay associate to “bend over” and pick up a document. The partner that you’re probably working for right now, who makes one insane demand after another.
What is UP with these people? How can they be so clueless? Why are they completely unable to appreciate how their words and actions will be received?
One theory about why powerful partners act the way they do can be gleaned from this NYT op-ed, by Richard Conniff, author of The Natural History of the Rich. Conniff suggests, in a nutshell, that power turns people into inconsiderate a**holes. Here’s an excerpt:
Researchers led by the psychologist Dacher Keltner took groups of three ordinary volunteers and randomly put one of them in charge. Each trio had a half-hour to work through a boring social survey. Then a researcher came in and left a plateful of precisely five cookies. Care to guess which volunteer typically grabbed an extra cookie? The volunteer who had randomly been assigned the power role was also more likely to eat it with his mouth open, spew crumbs on partners and get cookie detritus on his face and on the table….
The researchers went on to theorize that getting power causes people to focus so keenly on the potential rewards, like money, sex, public acclaim or an extra chocolate-chip cookie — not necessarily in that order, or frankly, any order at all, but preferably all at once — that they become oblivious to the people around them.
Are you one of those associates who does whatever a partner asks of you, quickly and without complaint, no matter how unreasonable? You may be part of the problem:
[T]he people around them may abet this process, since they are often subordinates intent on keeping the boss happy. So for the boss, it starts to look like a world in which the traffic lights are always green (and damn the pedestrians). Professor Keltner and his fellow researchers describe it as an instance of “approach/inhibition theory” in action: As power increases, it fires up the behavioral approach system and shuts down behavioral inhibition.
So next time a certain partner asks you to coordinate an armada of town cars to ferry deal documents to her at home, “Just Say No.” You’re standing up not just for yourself, but for generations of unborn associates.
(Okay, this advice would probably get you fired. But wouldn’t it be satisfying to tell her off? It might almost be worth losing your job to say to her, “I graduated from a top law school. I got offers from every top firm I applied to. Do I look like a Dial-A-Car dispatcher?”) The Rich Are More Oblivious Than You and Me [New York Times]
Some of you have taken issue with our worship of Monica Goodling, the Justice Department lawyer who finds herself at the center of the firestorm over the U.S. Attorney firings. We’ve praised her as an up-and-coming DOJ diva; but some of you have argued that a true diva wouldn’t take the Fifth.
Fair enough; and normally we might agree. But Goodling isn’t hiding behind the Fifth Amendment like a shrinking violet. Instead, she is invoking it boldly, defiantly. And she’s going on the offensive against the Democrats who have cast aspersions on her simply for availing herself of constitutional protections.
From the Washington Post:
In a letter to House Democrats, Goodling’s attorneys lambasted Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and his counterpart in the Senate, Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), for questioning whether Goodling was hiding criminal activity by refusing to testify before Congress.
Attorneys John M. Dowd and Jeffrey King wrote that Goodling’s assertion of her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination “can in no way be interpreted to suggest that Ms. Goodling herself participated in any criminal activity.”
“Your and Senator Leahy’s recent suggestions to the contrary are unfortunately reminiscent of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who infamously labeled those who asserted their constitutional right to remain silent before his committee ‘Fifth Amendment Communists,’” the attorneys wrote.
We adore quirky lawsuits brought by high school students against school administrators. There’s something about the high school setting that fosters oddball litigation. E.g., “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”; Gifties v. Tards.
Here’s the latest such tale, from the AP:
A high school senior acknowledges he went too far when he mooned a teacher. But he thinks the decision of school officials to send him to a new school for the rest of the year was too harsh, so his family is suing.
Tyler Tillung, 18, mooned a teacher “suddenly and without thinking about the consequences” in February, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday. The teacher had declined to let him into a Feb. 21 school lip sync show that was full.
Lip sync shows: not just for show queens. Anyway, here’s the school’s response:
“Without knowing the allegations, we’re confident in the administration’s position on this case,” [School Board Attorney Jim] Robinson said. Palm Harbor principal Herman “Doc” Allen described the mooning as “disgusting” and the teacher as “traumatized.”
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.