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….
Mirroring the profession it covers, this website has whiplashed from ecstasy to agony since its inception, from bottles and models to pink slips and loan debt. Like a rap career in reverse, the site has gone from frivolity to gritty realism in the time it took the legal market to absolutely crater. And that’s okay, really. Train wrecks can be beautiful. Like a pictorial essay of Detroit. The idea behind this column was to talk about a world immune from such harrowing turns of event. To talk about a world filled with Peter Pan syndromes who won the genetic lottery and behave as if what is owed to them is much more than just the world. You know, like young Biglaw attorneys circa 2006.
But this hasn’t been the case, sadly. This space has been the province of pedophiles and et cetera and so forth, and I’ve gotten to cover none of the Entourage-like excess that I had hoped. Today? Today we have another unemployed lawyer. Another statistic. Another godforsaken down-in-the-mouth sad sack who can’t keep a job and makes me want to cry because if he can’t keep his job, what does that foretell for my own “career” if you can even call it that — because I really can’t, I mean, why did I even go to law school in the first place? Good God and baby Jesus, was that a mistake…
This guy’s a football coach with a J.D. from Harvard. Let’s talk sports….
I’m an old smelly sock, and I’m proud. And I think it’s time to stop the nonsense. After two years of almost relentless attacks on socks, a bit of perspective would be nice.
For at least two years, the popular press, bloggers, and a few sensationalist sandals have turned old smelly socks into the new investment banks. We entice bright young students into our stinky clutches. Succubus-like, when we’ve taken the sweat we want from them, we return them to the mean and barren streets to fend for themselves. Barefoot.
The hysteria has masked some important realities and created an environment in which some of the brightest potential lawyers are, largely irrationally, forgoing the possibility of a rich, rewarding and, yes, profitable, career.
I’m an old smelly sock, and I miss all those bright potential lawyers.
This website has been sadly bereft of Pussy Riot coverage. Sadly, because typing the words “Pussy Riot” is fun. Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot. If you don’t know of what I speak, here’s a quick crash course on all things Pussy and Riot. They’re a female punk band in Russia and, this August, three of their members were convicted of something called hooliganism because of a performance that took place in an Orthodox Christian cathedral, where the band shouted anti-Putin slogans and railed against the Orthodox Church’s support of the Russian president. Comprende?
Well, like that Che Guevara shirt you thought was so transgressive at the time and now looks like nothing more than the celebration of conformity and a youthful attempt to graft meaning onto an otherwise whitebread, boring upbringing, the Pussy Riot gals have transcended politics to become something even greater. Namely, fashion. The lasses of Pussy Riot have inspired lame middle class American kids to start wearing balaclavas.
If you don’t know what a balaclava is, don’t despair. I had to look it up too. It’s just a ski mask.
But contra Freud, the state of New York believes that sometimes a ski mask is not just a ski mask. Sometimes, it’s a criminal act…
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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 (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), 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.
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