Manti, summer associates on our team are expected to have sex with real women.
I saw Magic Johnson yesterday. I was standing on the first floor of the building I work at. I won’t bore you with the details of my job, but it involves quite a bit of non-legal work. If you’re picturing a Spanish-speaking gentleman wearing a sandwich board that advertises cheap men’s suits, you wouldn’t be far off. I mean, I was technically hired as an attorney. And I do a fair amount of nominally legal work. Suffice to say, however, that the name tag I was wearing yesterday when I saw Magic Johnson does not… aver that I’m an attorney.
Anyway, I saw Magic Johnson yesterday. He strode like a behemoth across the marble floor and the first thing I thought was, “This man is enormous.” And I don’t mean that he’s fat. Although it’s clear he’s gained a good amount of weight since Showtime. I mean that he’s unbelievably tall. I would have pegged him at seven feet easy if I didn’t already know his listed playing height of 6’9″.
The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth things I thought were “HIV virus.” The audio of that press conference can be recalled at a moment’s notice. Especially the way that he unnecessarily appended the extra “virus” onto the end of that seeming death sentence, thus joining the other 20th century sporting legend who had made a public announcement full of echo regarding his impending death.
Today, do I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth? For seeing Magic? No way. Nothing makes up for me having to wear a name tag.
Son, my turn. I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes now lookin’ over this… rap sheet of yours. I just can’t believe it. June ’93, Assault. September ’93, Assault. Grand theft auto, February ’94. Where apparently you defended yourself and had the case thrown out by citing Free Property Rights of Horse and Carriage from 1798. January ’95, impersonating an officer. Mayhem. Theft. Resisting. All overturned. I’m also aware that you’ve been through several foster homes. The state removed you from three because of serious physical abuse. You know, another judge might care, but you hit a cop. You’re going in. Motion to dismiss is denied. Fifty thousand dollar bail.
But you hit a cop. In perhaps the most riveting courtroom scene ever committed to celluloid, the judge with the push broom mustache threatens to derail Will Hunting’s promising career as a midget boxer with those five words. Luckily — and, I don’t think I have to remind any of you — Professor Gerald Lambeau (yes, theGerald Lambeau) sees promise in the young bobby boxer and gets him out of jail.
Another Boston-area legend saw similar promise in a troubled youth who hit a cop. The legend’s name is Bill Belichick and the troubled youth’s name is Alfonzo Dennard. Just this week, Dennard was found guilty of hitting a cop. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that he has any idea how to solve advanced Fourier Systems.
Instead of continuing this strained Good Will Hunting analogy, let’s talk sports….
You’ll have to excuse me if this post comes off a bit more confused or muddled than it usually does. It’s being written amidst the swirl and din of Valentine’s Day preparations. This year, I’m making dinner which I thought would be the easier (read: cheaper) option. Listen, there’s a reason I’m poor. And it’s not because I’m secretly a genius. This is the dumbest thing I’ve done. Just got back from the grocery store, where I spent a small fortune on one (still hypothetical) meal. Have I mentioned I can’t cook? This is a Hindenburgian disaster and I wish I could blame my girlfriend or the Valentine’s Industrial Complex. Maybe love itself for the way it blinds you to your inability to measure up, if only briefly. But no, none of these are the likely culprit. As I already said, there’s a reason I’m poor. A reason I’m financing a T14 debt burden on a TTT salary. I’m humble enough to admit that the only reason I continue to make bad decisions is a simple one: I think my mom smoked crack while she was pregnant with me.
Vince Young is broke. Or, he may be broke. At any rate, Vince Young is currently financing a Pro Bowl debt burden on a waiver wire salary.
When I decided to attend the University of Kansas (cheerfully described in its promotional material as the “UMass of the Midwest”), there was very little fanfare. There was no signing ceremony, no stage, no cameras. I dropped the envelope containing my application into the mailbox, raised the little red flag, and went back inside to find my bong or watch Saved by the Bell or just eat Cool Ranch Doritos. Such was the life of a mediocre do-nothing 17-year-old during the twilight of the 20th century.
This week, a whole passel of athletic teenagers decided on a college and their decisions were met with great applause or anger. Across this great land of ours, cameras were trained on these freaks of nature as they thanked their mommas or their daddies or Jesus Christ hisself. And then a hat was chosen, its bill purposefully unbent. The South, still butthurt about the War of Northern Aggression, greedily laid claim to every great athlete this nation has to offer. Then, after the children had signed their letters of intent, the machine built to follow and track the movements of teenage football players sighed momentarily, then trained its sights on the next crop of 6th graders who show potential.
But before we leave this year’s celebration of purely innocent amateurism, let us take stock of one young soul who had it worst of all. His name is Alex Collins and all he wanted to do was play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Today, his mother hired Johnny Cochran’s ghost to represent her.
I don’t know what Gloria Allred does, exactly. I know she’s nominally an attorney because it says so on her Wikipedia page and also under her head when her head appears on my television screen. It says, “Attorney.” But, despite three years of law school, I have no idea what service she provides her clients. It’s always some weirdo at the periphery of a scandal she’s representing. A woman who bedded Tiger Woods, for instance. Or it’s a minor scandal that in years past would have been relegated to the Odd Stories column in your local newspaper. Like the time Roger McDowell got his gay slur on in front of some baseball fans. What connects these things is their apparent distance from anything resembling a legal issue.
Gloria Allred holds press conferences, as far as I can tell. And she talks sternly and forcefully, admonishing those bad actors who did her clients wrong. And after the microphones are turned off and the cameramen have all fled… well, I don’t know what it is she does. You can do anything with a law degree!
Which brings me to the latest in the Manti Te’o saga. The man behind Lennay has lawyered up, which thankfully allows me to write about Manti’s man in this here column.
I’m trying to figure out whether Lance Armstrong is relieved that Manti Te’o upstaged him this week. On one hand, all of the mean, finger-wagging columns on Lance’s lying, like this typically flatulent effort by Rick Reilly, have been pushed to the second page of the Internet by Te’o's (I’m not entirely sure I’m using the apostrophe correctly here) fake dead girlfriend. Although the internet defies all attempts to ascribe a finite supply of oxygen to any news story, there is a finite amount of attention that can be paid. And even though every news organization has dutifully assigned a writer (or moron) to cover the Lance debacle, no one much cares about it anymore. What happens to a scandal deferred? Does it dry up, like a craisin in this pun?
I think the overshadowing of the Lance Armstrong saga probably doesn’t help Armstrong at all. The vast majority of people who will have opinions about him have already formed them and those who may be swayed by a teary confession in front of Oprah now may not even be paying attention. But that’s all public opinion, which is the least of Lance’s worries at this point. And yet, public opinion is almost exclusively Manti Te’o's (seriously, these apostrophes are bothering me) worry at this point. Almost.
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not for Lance. His hemoglobin unnaturally oxygenated, Lance was going to hop on his banana seat and literally ride off into the sunset. He was just going to take his ball and go home. And other jokes about his chosen profession and/or lack of testicles, plural.
Tomorrow, Lance Armstrong appears before our nation’s high priestess of contrition to blubber and wail. Lance Armstrong cheated in a sport that very few people in this country care about. I’ve written about this before. And before that. I have great difficulty ginning up the proper amount of outrage, schadenfreude, or whatever it is you’re supposed to feel when a world class athlete and jerk gets nailed like this.
It’s for this reason that the home stretch of this column will be written by a guest columnist. This writer was well-known for thriving in a sport that, like cycling, was similarly plagued by drug abuse and scandal.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission will decide the fate of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in late February. The 26-year-old Mexican fighter tested positive for marijuana in September after his first professional loss.
I found that on CNNSI’s website. I don’t think it means that Chavez’s entire fate will be decided by the state athletic commission. No mortal can see that far into the future. Just his fate as it pertains to boxing in the state of Nevada. All because Chavez smoked some pot before stepping into the ring to get his head hit a bunch of times. This is our nation on drugs.
When I was younger, I thought pot use made you have really bad acne. Because some magazine article I read featured a kid smoking pot who had really bad acne. Later, I bought into the hype surrounding mentally ill adults and their youthful dabblings in acid. Whoa, their brains must be fried. Last year, I gleefully purchased stock in bath-salts-make-people-eat-face-skin. I’m 33 years old and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever shake the effects of early childhood mythology and propaganda surrounding drug use, even though I’ve spent much of my life imbibing where and when I see fit.
As I write this, some dating show called Baggage is playing out on my television screen. Northwestern Law alum Jerry Springer is hemming and hawing about some floozy’s hidden past. A drug counselor named Luke wearing a suede vest just introduced himself by saying he’s an “East Coast cat,” and then some fat boy opened his pitch by mentioning that he’s a gamer. This segued into a discursive bit on Luke’s love of gangster rap. Then the fat boy talked about how many online dates he’s gone on. All these men are dressed like amateur magicians.
This is all a way of saying that there’s a lot of terrible stuff on TV these days. Which is why it’s more important than ever that our nation’s celebrities fill the entertainment void with their sex tapes. It appears that this poverty of entertainment options is exactly what Chad Johnson had in mind when portions of his sex tape appeared online this past week.
The proud tradition that began with Pamela Anderson and then begat Kim Kardashian has now given us Chad Johnson. A football player who was last seen on a reality show has now given us real sex.
Celebrity opinions are the worst. On this, I think we can all agree. Unlike our pundit class, celebrities have very few advanced degrees and are never held to account for their prognostications. When a talking head on TV or the internet or even books gets something wrong, he’s fired immediately. The marketplace of ideas demands nothing less. Someone more inclined to bad puns would say that as a marketplace, being fired for being wrong is more than laissez… fair.
And so we hate celebrities mouthing off like they are wont to do because they don’t get fired from their jobs when they’re wrong. This is especially true of the sports world, where the famous people not being fired for voicing opinions also represent our favorite teams, like the Chicago Bears. Or even our least favorite teams, like the Syracuse Orangemen.
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim spoke out about gun control this week because a bunch of children were murdered recently and a bunch of microphones were stuck in his face. The men holding the microphones said, “Hey Jim, let’s talk sports.”
Jim didn’t want to talk sports. Let’s talk sports….
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.