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Posts by Marin

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Dear ATL,

Since the holiday season is getting well underway, I was wondering… What is the expected gift-giving at the office?

Presumably every associate out there will give a nice sum in the form of cash, check or gift card to his assistant and paralegal(s) as appropriate.  But what about those farther up the food chain?  Is it appropriate or expected to give gifts to those who give you work?

— Cleveland Rocks

Dear Cleveland Rocks,

At firms, the s**t rolls downhill, as does gift giving. You’re expected to give your secretaries and admins gifts (pro tip: secretaries LOVE Precious Moments angel figurines), because they help you dodge phone calls and make less than you. And if you don’t give individual gifts, people will come around the office begging for alms “asking” you to donate to the gift fund for back office staff. Yet for reasons that defy logic, partners with whom you work closely are miraculously excused from giving their direct underlings – the associates – gifts during the holiday season, as if the “gift” of continued employment were more than enough. That’s like when my parents used to buy me socks and underwear, hide them in the closet until December and then call them Hannukah presents. It’s not a gift if they owe it to you….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: The Gift That Keeps On Giving”

Another person who wasn’t watching the finale of The Apprentice last week? Miley Cyrus. Instead, the 18-year old Hannah Montana wacktress took a break from her usual routine of grinding on stripper poles and groping in 21-and-over clubs to take bong hits at her birthday party at her L.A. home. TMZ has the whole episode on tape, and I urge you to watch, as it will make you nostalgic for dorm parties and WinAmp.

When you heard this news (it broke a week ago; I work full-time, cut me some slack), you were probably as shocked and outraged as I was that such a wholesome young starlet could betray her fans by doing illegal drugs. But just about as you were about to un-follow her on Twitter, “a source connected with Miley” — i.e., her GENIUS publicist — saved the day, announcing that Miley’s activities were perfectly benign: “According to a source connected with Miley … the smoke filling the bong is a natural herb called salvia which has psychedelic qualities.”

PHEW. Because when you work in Hollywood, you tell all the coke dealers to scram and buy fake drugs instead.

But what is salvia?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Is Salvia the New Four Loko?”

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I’m an associate at a small firm with a very specialized practice area.  My firm shares a client with a Biglaw firm that handles most of the client’s litigation and other work.  As such, there are a couple of partners at the Biglaw firm that I work with fairly frequently, when my little niche overlaps with matters they’re handling for our mutual client.

I like these partners – they seem like nice guys – and I think they like me too; at any rate, we have a good working relationship and they seem to respect my work.  One of their associates recently left and I’d love to jump into his place.  I haven’t seen a posted opening anywhere, so I don’t feel like I can just send them my resume out of the blue, saying “in case you need someone to fill Departed Associate’s position…” – or can I?  What’s the best way to go about this?

Also: Departed Associate left without having another job lined up, saying it just “wasn’t the right fit” for him.  I know: huge red flag that possibly these partners aren’t the nice guys they appear to be.  But not necessarily – right?  It would be different for me, right??

— I Want That Job

Dear I Want That Job,

When someone leaves a law firm job without something lined up in this still-shitty economy, there are only three possibilities…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: There Are Daggers Behind Men’s Smiles”

Heat makes people crazy. But because Arizona refuses to cut the heat by putting up trees or building an air conditioned dome over the state like I had originally suggested, it has focused its temperature-induced rage on getting rid of illegal immigrants. You’ve no doubt read about the recently enacted Gestapo-flavored law which requires all immigrants to carry proper documentation and gives the Arizona police broad authority to detain individuals suspected of being in this country illegally. But did you know that Arizona hated immigrants at least as far back as 2007?

It’s true. Three years ago, Arizona enacted a law that allows the state to shut down businesses that hire illegal, undocumented workers. And just yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether the law is preempted by federal immigration law:

Attorney Carter Phillips, representing business and civil rights groups that challenged the law, and Obama administration lawyer Neal Katyal argued the three-year-old Arizona law should be struck down for infringing on federal immigration powers.

Arizona Solicitor General Mary O’Grady defended the law as part of the state’s traditional police powers to regulate employer conduct. A comprehensive 1986 federal immigration law made an exception for licensing laws like the Arizona statute, she said.

Justice Scalia, backed up in spirit by mute wingman Thomas, appeared to defend the law during arguments. But why am I talking about immigration in Fame Brief, a column about celebrites?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Salma Hayek Brings Heat, Boobs to SCOTUS Immigration Debate”

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Dear ATL,

I am a first-year associate tasked with writing my bio page for our website. Do you have any tips on how to write a bio that is not god-awful?

— Autobiography of a Face

Dear Autobiography of a Face,

As a first-year associate, you have no skills or experience that any client reading your bio cares about. Whether you graduated Order of the Crotch Coif or have rudimentary knowledge of Latin is immaterial to whether you can send around the dial-in, make copies or create binders. I know your semester abroad in Seville and internship at Footlocker are important accomplishments to you. But to the outside world, your bio page exists solely to cover the remote possibility that the partner, senior associate and midlevel all die in a plane crash, and the client needs to shoot you an email about getting other people staffed on the project ASAP….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: If You Don’t Know Me By Now”

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My firm, like so many, has decided not to purchase and send holiday cards for our clients, instead relying on those stupid ecards.  Ostensibly this is part of our “Going Green” initiative.  More likely it puts more green in the partners’ pockets.  Whatever.

I’d like to send actual paper cards to some of my clients and contacts.  These are people who are not social friends, but with whom I have a business relationship, or would like to maintain professional contact. My questions:

1.  Should I send them my regular family holiday card (photo of me with the wife & kids and a holiday greeting)?  Most of the people to whom I would send this have never met my wife or kids, and in many cases probably don’t know they even exist.

2.  If not, should I get a generic card or a customized card with my name on the card?  what about other info (firm name, phone, email, etc.)?

3.  Should I include a business card with my holiday card?

4.  Should I forget the whole thing and just send ecards?  or nothing at all?

Bah Humbug

Dear Bah Humbug,

These detailed questions require a very organized response. Let’s break down each option you’ve laid out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Hallmark of Justice”

Michael and Diandra Douglas

Diandra Douglas‘ $45 million divorce settlement from Michael Douglas in 2000 is one of the most expensive in Hollywood history. But greed is good, and Diandra hauled Michael back into court this summer ten years after their divorce to lay claim to 50% of his earnings from Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleep, released in theatres in September.

Yesterday a New York Supreme Court judge told Diandra that her greed is…misplaced:

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Matthew Cooper ruled that a New York court was not the proper venue for the suit by Diandra Douglas. He dismissed her complaint on that narrow jurisdictional ground, without ruling on the merits of the case.

Diandra, 52, now has the option of re-launching the action in California, or of appealing Cooper’s decision.

Diandra’s argument  hinged on the meaning of whether Wall Street 2 is a spinoff or a sequel of the original Wall Street…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Michael Douglas’ Money Never Sleeps for Ex-Wife”

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Dear ATL,

I have 12 years of state and local tax experience.  I am currently a Tax Manager at a large company.  I have managed the second largest tax audit defense group in the country.  My current [law school] GPA is 3.4, with no curve.  Do you think I can obtain employment with a midsized or large firm?

— Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit

Dear Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit,

Generally speaking, law firms wet the bed when a new associate rolls up to the firm and announces that he or she wants to do tax. Nobody wants to do tax, ever, and if you apply to firms with a cover letter stating that you want to do tax AND have legitimate tax experience (not just taking Tax in law school), the lights will dim, the disco ball will drop, Dream Weaver will start playing, and interviews will be yours for the picking….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Doing ‘Tax Work’”

Because God is a kind and loving God, Christine O’Donnell lost Delaware’s Senate race this past Tuesday night. Although you probably wouldn’t know that by her concession speech, in which America’s sweetheart followed up her somewhat terrifying “I am you” campaign tagline with a staunchly delusional “we have won” announcement. These statements would normally be classified as symptoms of schizophrenia per the DSM-IV-TR, although admittedly Christine is well past the average age of onset.

Some pundits argue that what Christine really meant by “we have won” is that she won a career for herself following the election, given all of her press coverage. At this point, it’s still anybody’s guess as to what she plans to do, but in the meantime we can take bets, turn to page 87, and choose her own adventure.

What’s Christine O’Donnell’s Next Move?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Choose Your Own Adventure for Christine O’Donnell”

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Here’s one that you probably don’t hear every day: I’m an associate and I frequently work with a junior partner (early 40s) who is married to a considerably younger woman. She and I have friends in common and we occasionally see each other out, although she apparently doesn‘t go out with her husband. Unfortunately, the last time we ran into each other at a friend’s party, we ended up making out then and then later hooking up.

We’ve been emailing and texting back and forth since then, but I am living in terror that this partner  is going to find out, or she‘ll sabotage me or that someone will say something on Facebook, etc. If at all possible I want to get out of this situation without losing my job. Can you please give me some advice?

Jewel Thief

Dear Jewel Thief,

Let’s get one thing straight: you committed a robbery, one of the most heinous crimes known to Seaside Heights. You stole your boss’ wife, and though I don’t have my copy of the Bro Code handy, I’m pretty sure this violates it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: You Should Have Just Given Her a Foot Massage”

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