This is the delicate dance done between American cities and the NFL. The American city will bow, the NFL will embrace. They glide across the dancefloor of time and space, dipping and twirling, bumping and grinding. The city and the NFL become one as the dance reaches its climactic stage, the NFL gently caressing the city, like a mother might a child. As the music of the universe crescendos, the NFL will whisper gently into the willing city’s ear.
GIVE ME ALL YOUR F*$&ING MONEY, YOU DIRTY PIECE PIECE OF S&!*
The stadium is built and the dance is complete.
In upstate New York, this thrusting, rapey foxtrot is just getting started. Governor Cuomo, the Bills, Roger Goodell, they’ve all been invited. And so has a lawyer… natch.
Because the Bills need a new stadium and because they need a new owner. Because the state of New York drafted an attorney with tremendous upside potential.
My father had a theory. Like most of his theories, he freely admitted that he had probably heard or read it somewhere else. At any rate, the theory involved the scrubs who sat at the end of NBA benches and how a subtle and acceptable racism dictated that those guys who would never see the court anyway would be unusually pale. That if a player wasn’t helping a team win, why would you waste the slot on another black guy? Might as well throw a bone to the largely white fanbase who bought up all the tickets. This theory, of the Token White Guy, holds a sort of narrative power. It makes sense as a story and, facts be damned, has the ring of truth to it. The towel-waving honk at the end of the bench stands for a gentler racism. The inevitability of racism usefully funneled into something nobody cares about.
This week, racism in the NBA took a darker turn (pun WHOLLY intended!). As Donald Sterling was run out of the league on a rail, the Internet exploded in the way it does and the way stars do until nothing was left but the White Dwarf, Donald Sterling. The shrunken remains of a normal star… the degenerate matter.
Which feels a bit like what I’m left with after a week of this story. The degenerate matter. Still, there are words yet unsaid and positions yet untaken. Let us reflect on these serious matters, legally. Like we were trained. This whole thing may open up new vistas of understanding about our notions of justice. Or not.
There is a scene in the film Buffalo ’66 in which Christina Ricci’s character tap dances at a bowling alley. She’s wearing a very short lilac dress to go along with her tap shoes and she begins her dance slowly. She ends it slowly too. The whole thing is slow, a Thorazine shuffle committed to celluloid by one of this country’s truly weird film directors. The scene prompted Roger Ebert to remark, “What’s this scene doing in “Buffalo ’66″? Maybe Gallo didn’t have any other movie he could put it in.” What’s this paragraph doing on Above the Law?
This week, the Buffalo Bills managed to be at the center of the sporting universe for the first time since Frank Wycheck lofted that perfectly tight spiral into the arms of Kevin Dyson. Before that, it was the 4 Super Bowl defeats. The point here, if there ever is one, is that the Bills are destined to occupy our collective conscious every few years as the butt of some cosmic joke we have yet to divine the meaning of. This week, the Bills carry on their illustrious history as God’s punchline, closing one lawsuit and preparing for another.
We among the chattering classes give short shrift to the effects of those opinions we espouse. Take, for instance, gay marriage. This website was one of many that advocated fairly passionately in support of legal gay marriage. In a vaccum, of course, this was a sound position to take on the matter. In a vacuum, everything just sounds like “VVVRRRRRRGGGRRRRRRRR-WWWWWWWOBBLEOBBLEVVVVRRRRR!!!!”
But we do not live in vacuums, do we kids? No. Our floors are filthy. And so it is that gay marriage is now legal and heterosexuals are forced to break big rocks all day, waiting for the day that their homo overlords stop with the disco dancing and the fornicating. This is the bed we’ve made.
I suppose I should get to the sporting point of this discursion before I lose the 3 or 4 people who read these posts. Of late, the internet and even this small cyber space have beaten up on the NCAA something fierce. The organization — full of sports and money, signifying nothing — is a convenient target for scorn. And the recent drive to unionize the Northwestern football team, covered on this site and others, has galvanized into a sort of fait accompli about the end of amateurism, that traveshamockery of Orwellian gobbledygook. But if the Northwestern football players were successful in their legal fight, what would that really mean? What would the world of college sports look like if the jocks finally avenged their tragic defeat depicted in the non-fiction film Revenge of the Nerds?
Bitcoin, your anarcho-syndicalist little brother’s favorite cryptocurrency, has created quite the stir of late. Just last month, your dead grandmother’s favorite newsweekly, Newsweek, covered itself in whatever the opposite of glory is when it pinned the blame for bitcoin on an unsuspecting and camera-shy Californian named Dorian Nakamoto. The man, who reacted to the accusation that he had created a massively popular currency as if someone had shot his dog, retreated to the safety of an awful haircut shortly after the “news” broke. But if Nakamoto wasn’t the creator of bitcoin, then who was?
Yesterday, Slate magazine (a digital publication that is only a magazine because we all agree it is one) reported on the latest developments in bitcoin founder speculation. The results of an academic analysis might shock you. They might horrify you.
They might make you wonder whether that class you took at George Washington Law was taught by the inventor of bitcoin…
Yesterday, one of America’s most famous lawyers died. The repulsive apotheosis of homophobia, Fred Phelps, slithered off his mortal coil surrounded by the physical sensation of hatred and utterly alone… if his own brand of brimstone karmic retribution carries with it even a shred of truth. At any rate, old Fred was a lawyer back in his day. Back in the 70s, he was disbarred for calling a witness a “slut.” Sex is difficult and bewildering for some people.
As a youngster growing up in Kansas, I was familiar with Freddy’s wacky brand of hatred. I think I first encountered him protesting a Pat Robertson speech when I was in high school. Très dada, the 16-year-old me whispered to no one in particular. And so it was that I began to notice Fred Phelps, long before his military funeral protests and his national fame. In college at the University of Kansas, I encountered dozens of his protests. To a homophobe like Fred, Lawrence, Kansas, was Sodom itself. A den of iniquity quite pleased with itself, thank you. And so it was jarring when we all noticed Fred’s choice of attire to keep himself warm during those gross, cretinous, mid-January protests. A KU jacket.
With March Madness upon us and basketball open on another tab of the browser I’m typing on, I say unto you… Rock chalk Jayhawk, let’s talk sports…
It’s always a little jarring when someone uses a big news event to bore down deeper into their own bizarre area of interest. Take, for instance, the Newtown massacre. While most news organizations were digging deep into the social, psychological, and political ramifications of the horror, ESPN reported on what it all meant to Jimmie Johnson. Or Rick Pitino’s stance on gun control. A White Sox relief pitcher made a trip to Newtown, and ESPN was there. Now, I don’t begrudge ESPN’s attempt to report the massacre through the prism of sports. The combination of seemingly disparate news elements sometimes yields interesting insights. But sometimes it just yields one more story about stock car racing. So it goes.
Now that all of the introductories are dispensed with, we can get to the question that’s been nagging all of you for an entire week. Or more!
What does the recent unpleasantness in Ukraine have to do with law firm rankings? And which Biglaw firms have the best presence in Ukraine? I’m glad you asked…
I showered maybe two times after gym class in middle school. And both times, I was wearing underwear. Looking back, I still don’t understand why the school couldn’t shell out just a few more ducats and construct private shower stalls. Why do schools choose to introduce communal showering right at the time that we are learning that our bodies are horrible monsters that we are rightfully ashamed of? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that question. At my middle school, there were two kids who stood sentry at the shower room entrance, judging the size of each kid’s equipment. Can you imagine, dear reader, the horror of that experience? Perhaps you can. And perhaps you can imagine why my Hanes remained safely affixed to my inguinal region as I scampered, eyes fixed on the cement floor, surely to meet my death. If I could just run under the sprinkler, I could retreat to my locker where someone somewhere surely had some of that spray deodorant. Christ almighty, friends. Why do we still embrace the communal shower? I WAS A CHILD!!!!!!!
This week, a lobbyist caught the vapors much like I had as a child. Only this lobbyist is an adult. Presumably. Because I still haven’t gotten over middle school and because I don’t want to write about anything else, let’s talk about one issue this week. Let’s talk football. Let’s talk gay paranoia.
Last month, Grantland published a story that led to great harrumphing across much of the internet. Titled “Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” it profiled a golf-club inventor whose big secret — that she was transgender — was revealed slowly, teased until the end like a mystery novel. The eponymous inventor’s death was treated as a mere plot point, puzzled over like everything else about the woman’s life. If you haven’t read the piece yet, I heartily encourage you to do so. I’ll wait.
This weekend, the New York Times published a story that will likely lead to very little harrumphing. This story, the profile of a transgender attorney who represents terror suspects, was written not as thrill-packed pulp fiction, but rather as the sober account of a ballsy attorney who deserves our approbation. If you’ll excuse that last sentence’s shameful bit of wordplay clowning, I promise you the rest of this post will be wholly serious. Because the New York Times story is important both for what it says about a life lived honestly and for what it says about the progress we’ve made in accepting such honesty.
So now, let us name all the interesting things about attorney Zoë J. Dolan. I mean, besides the umlaut….
My parents separated for a brief period of time when I was in the fourth grade. I don’t remember there being too much controversy over where I would be crashing as (a) the separation didn’t last long and (b) I was not exactly the prize pig over which anyone in their right mind would compete. Anyway, the one thing I remember about that time was how my dad treated me. My father, who had previously acted as the proximate cause in his son’s nervousness and irritable bowels, was now a prince among men. He took me to a basketball game and laughed at my jokes in a deeply insincere way. If you ask me, this is the highest compliment another person can pay you.
I tell this story to establish my bona fides in the areas of family law, custody disputes, and even the fathers’ rights movement. I’m pretty much an expert. In the past week, the issue of fathers’ rights has popped up in unusual ways and places. Fox News reported over the weekend that a group of fathers are suing the state of Utah over their adoption laws. Bode Miller, meanwhile, won a bronze medal on Sunday, which prompted Slate to reprint an Emily Bazelon post on Miller’s odd custody dispute. And finally, a law firm in Florida has elevated fathers’ rights to perhaps its highest purpose: marketing.
The question posed by all of this is what if, with all apologies to Shaq Fu, the biological does bother?
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.