Elie Mystal joined ATL in 2008 by winning the ATL Idol Contest. Prior to joining ATL, Elie wrote about politics and popular culture at City Hall News and the New York Press. Elie received a degree in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was formerly a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton but quit the legal profession to pursue a career as an online provocateur. He's written editorials for the New York Daily News and the New York Times, and he has appeared on both MSNBC and Fox News without having to lie about his politics to either news organization.
As clear as I can tell, Becker & Poliakoff lawyer and out-homophobe Walter Kubitz, author of the now-infamous “gay plague of AIDS” email, still has a job. I’m not at all sure why. Becker & Poliakoff keeps saying that such divisive views about gays and lesbians do not reflect the firm’s “core values” and will not be tolerated… AND YET the firm clearly values Kubitz enough that he is still being tolerated by the firm.
Is Kubitz just a fantastic attorney that Becker can’t afford to lose? The man has been working for 30 years and still hasn’t made “shareholder” at the firm, so I don’t think he can be SO good that the firm just can’t do without him. What kind of power does this guy have? Jesus, does Kubitz have photos of Becker shareholders getting gay with Santa Claus? Maybe firm management doesn’t understand that pictures of them getting busy with each other at a firm retreat would be CONSIDERABLY LESS DAMAGING to the firm’s reputation than continuing to employ such a proud homophobe.
Becker just put up a statement on their website about the Kubitz situation. The statement doesn’t actually say what Kubitz did, doesn’t contain an apology from Kubitz, and hides behind religious toleration rhetoric when that’s not even the point of what happened here. Let’s give it a close read….
He was in a wheelchair. Why would he shoot? He could have just hit the man, beat him up.
– Anita Johnson, a Miami-area woman, commenting on the killing of an unarmed panhandler in a wheelchair. Miami police have arrested Rodney Louis for allegedly shooting the panhandler before leading the cops on a 20-minute, high-speed chase. I suppose the days when handicapped beggars were merely dragged from their wheeled chariots and assaulted are but a fleeting memory of what America used to be.
Have you heard of “immigrant-investment visas.” I hadn’t, but doesn’t it seem like exactly the kind of thing we would have? You pay us a lot of money, we give you a green card.
I know, putting it that way makes it seem a little too much like people can buy citizenship. Which they can. But the government dresses it up so it doesn’t sound quite as shady. From the Wall Street Journal:
Started 24 years ago, the EB-5 program allots 10,000 visas annually to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. development projects, from dairy farms and ski resorts to hotels and bridges. In return, the investor and family members become eligible for green cards, or permanent residency, typically within two years.
Yeah, that still sounds pretty shady. People with $500,000 to sink into a freaking ski resort are probably doing just fine in their home country. At the very least, they’re probably not fleeing political or economic desperation and in need of fast-tracked immigration decisions.
According to the Journal, wealthy investors do this for their children. Yes, the children of wealthy investors benefit from this program. Meanwhile — excuse me, let me set my rage meter to nova — there are thousands of kids with their faces pushed up against the glass of America right now, FLEEING DEATH.
* Are Apple and Samsung really still fighting? Even people who live on the West Bank are tired of this pointless conflict. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Tim Wu + New York Times = Oh, like you could pick Robert Duffy out of a lineup. [New York Times]
* Wow, a cop actually got disciplined for choking a… oh, wait, he choked a white kid. Well OBVIOUSLY you’re not supposed to do that. [Washington Post]
* Yes, but what if you beat your wife while on marijuana? What will you do then, NFL? [ESPN]
* And now for the part where Miley Cyrus ruined that homeless man’s life. [ABA Journal]
* Jeff Kessler has some experience watching the free market destroy things. [New York Times]
* Let me explain how “The Man” works. First, he takes away your leg room on the airplane. Then, he just waits for somebody to try to recline his seat, and waits for the plebeians to kill themselves. The recliner is not your enemy. The airlines are… also the jackass recliners. [The Upshot / New York Times]
Somebody is going to need to do a study on the lost productivity caused by the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon. It’s been pretty amazing. Not that I support what’s really going on here: we should be living in frictionless times, but the exclusivity deals like the one FXX has struck with the Simpsons can make it more difficult to access the content you want on the platform where you want it. At this point, we need an app to tell us what app we need to download the shows we want.
I know, I know, my fears are groundless and my complaints moronic. Whatever, I get FXX and I either work from home or in an office where I can watch TV and say things like “I’ll finish this post between the 29th and 32nd minutes of the hour, thanks.”
It occurs to me that if you are at work, like a real work job, you might be missing out and much of this zeitgeist. Come on, just because you are locked in an office and chained to a desk, doesn’t mean you can’t procrastinate with your fellow Americans.
Let us reminisce about the patron saint of lawyers, Lionel Hutz…
As an openly gay attorney at Becker & Poliakoff for over nine years, I know that the email sent by this attorney does not reflect the core values of this firm. In fact, Becker & Poliakoff is committed to diversity as reflected by the firm’s hiring practices, outreach and diversity scholarships awarded annually.
The last few years have helped me get very used to the passive-aggressive bigotry that homophobes still think they can get away with. “Just believing” that marriage is between a man and a woman conveniently leaves out the stunning antipathy to gay love and civil rights… but it doesn’t sound as “hateful” as it is. And the idea that gay marriage can somehow threaten straight marriages sounds more stupid than bigoted, even though it’s both.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to search very long for harsh anti-gay rhetoric. But in the refreshingly genteel environment of educated society, old-school, anti-gay hate speech comes off as particularly harsh.
Old-school, anti-gay hate speech captured over law firm email is downright surprising given the current environment. But then again, bigoted statements that a senior lawyer sent out to all attorneys at a law firm come back all the way around to “incredibly stupid.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this stupid, bigoted, dumbass, hate-filled, verbal feces slathered all over law firm email is… quaint.
So, it appears that there are some people who have ignored my advice and are about to show up to law school anyway. Still more people never heard my advice from their pre-law advisor/philosophy major. Welcome to the suck.
Well, there’s nothing for it now. You’re in it now and if you have chosen poorly it’ll be years before you fully realize the gravity of your decision. In the meantime, what are you supposed to do now? Classes are starting and… hey, are you briefing a case? Are you briefing a freaking case before classes even start? Jesus. PUT THOSE HIGHLIGHTERS DOWN.
You’ve heard about “outlines,” right? Outlines allow you to copy other people’s work so you don’t have to do it yourself. This is the way of things. I say, cheating is the gift man gives himself.
I enjoy the law school rivalry between NYU and Columbia, much like somebody in the SEC enjoys watching Big Ten Football.
Many students get into both NYU and Columbia. And then, when they don’t get into HYS, they have to make a tough choice. That choice will not define their career options: both groups of students do well in the job market. But the choice defines what they want to present to the world. NYU gives off a vibe of “Law School can be fun.” Columbia exudes the rational calculation of “the chances of surviving Harlem at night are 725 to 1.”
Because the choice is more about personality than options, the rivalry can last beyond 3L year. I meet more people at conferences that went to Columbia, but I get drunk at those conferences with more NYU kids. It’s hard to explain but easy to see.
In a message to incoming 1Ls, a recent NYU grad kind of summed up the difference in one email…
Yes, there are going to be a lot of Simpson’s references this week.
Moving on, it’s back to school time which means campus brick-and-mortar bookstores all across the country are actually seeing some business. Forcing students to buy physical books is a good business to be in. The utility of running a textbook scam can be explained in one helpful chart:
You can blame your professors for this. Every student can get every case they need with a complimentary legal search password (thanks to our advertisers), yet professors still assign reading from casebooks. Even more incredibly, professors still write casebooks! And then those casebook publishers go out of their way to rip off students with multiple editions. There was even a cockamamie plan to prevent casebook resale that had to be beaten back by public outrage.
But, professors can also help students avoid unnecessary and costly book fees. The faculty at one school fought back against their administration on behalf of their students…
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.