Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.
Last month I received an email from Cameron McCord. McCord is a fifth-year associate at a boutique bankruptcy firm in Atlanta, where she’s been having “a great experience.”
“I am in court all the time and have started handling my own trials,” McCord wrote. “I have worked here since my second summer and am able to have a good work/life balance. I have an 11-month-old and a four-year-old, and my husband is a full-time student. I think it is important for people to realize that you can be successful without working at [Biglaw].”
Upon reading her email, I knew I had to feature her and her firm. I mean, she reads my column! And, I suppose, a firm that affords its attorneys the opportunity to maintain a life outside of work is, well, awesome.
When in need of a pic of a T.V. cheerleader, am I right to go with Minka Kelly over Hayden Panettiere? Can we get some kind of ruling on this?
* Is it possible that in South Dakota you have to go through a shorter waiting period to buy a gun and shoot someone who is already alive than you have to go through in order to have an abortion? Could somebody check on that? [MSNBC]
* Did you see this chart showing that law professors make more than all other professors at the college level? I think I forgot to mention it because when my brain sees such horrible atrocities it enacts self-defense protocols and deletes the knowledge from my… Did you see this chart showing that law professors… [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Same-sex couple gets deportation put on hold to pursue marriage-based immigration case. I think we’re all safer when Homeland Security isn’t run by Leviticus. [Stop the Deportations]
* If cheerleading were a real sport, this lawsuit might be really interesting. [Jezebel]
The economy seems to be on the mend. Corporate profits are strong, and the Dow is north of 12,000. In the legal world, layoffs are down, bonuses are up, and hiring is way up.
But governments — federal, state, and local — are staggering under mountains of debt. State and local governments have borrowed $2.4 trillion as of mid-2010, and they’ve promised another $3 trillion in retirement benefits.
There is tons of talk out there about a possible wave of municipal bankruptcies. And even if the talk might be overblown, the possibility of default by multiple local governments or even state governments — which might someday get the ability to declare bankruptcy — can’t be ruled out.
If municipal bankruptcies start popping up all over the place, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be ready. The firm just picked up a leading expert in the area….
Accept your offers. It’s wise advice for 2Ls going through fall recruiting, and it’s wise advice for partners of the rapidly unraveling Howrey law firm, most of whom have offers to join Winston & Strawn. Last weekend, Winston made offers to a little over 75 percent of Howrey partners, with responses requested in 21 days.
Yesterday we mentioned that a Howrey partnership conference call took place on Tuesday. During that meeting, firm chairman Robert Ruyak and Winston & Strawn managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald apparently urged Howrey partners with Winston offers to accept them as soon as possible, according to The Recorder.
Many Howrey partners have already left for other firms, as chronicled in these pages. A group of eleven attorneys recently departed for Morgan Lewis, for example.
Of the 200 to 230 Howrey partners who remain, how many are likely to go with Winston?
Ed. note: Welcome to ATL’s new column, Fame Brief. Since Kash has left the building, Marin, ATL’s other lady-in-waiting, will be picking up her celebrity beat and filling you in on the latest celebrity legal shenanigans. Before you fall over yourself to post an annoying comment about how this blog be sinking or how nobody cares about celebrities, consider that our celebrity posts are some of the most popular ones on here. So SOMEBODY out there cares about celebrities….
When I got my first credit card, my dad was afraid I’d go hog wild and buy a suit of armor, sconces, breast implants, decorative fireplace accessories, a foosball table, IVF treatments, a boat and a monstrous “Tuscan villa” McMansion in Towaco, NJ. But at least I’m making payments on these purchases, unlike Joe and Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who filed for Chapter 7 back in October 2009….
I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. A student is demanding that his law school admit to scamming him out of money in open court.
And why? The student isn’t trying to recover tuition dollars directly from the school. Instead, the student is involved in the arduous process of trying to get his debts discharged through bankruptcy. As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, you can’t discharge student loans through the bankruptcy process absent a showing of undue hardship.
The student is named Kenneth Desormes. The school is Charlotte School of Law. And he wants Charlotte to admit what they did to him…
Are you a bankruptcy attorney who needs to empathize more with your clients — e.g., by declaring bankruptcy yourself? Check out this job posting — which won’t be our Job of the Week anytime soon — courtesy of that gold mine of employment opportunities, Craigslist:
Bankruptcy Attorney Position (Dallas)
Small Consumer Bankruptcy firm in Dallas looking for new associate attorney. 50-60 Hours per week, with some travel to Fort Worth required. Salary: $40,000.
If “travel to Fort Worth” is required, you need to add another zero to that salary. This is not the kind of income that will help you pay off massive educational debt (non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, at least for now).
Last month, New York Times columnist Ron Lieber wrote an interesting piece analyzing whom to blame when students wind up in over their heads in educational debt. This past weekend, he wrote a somewhat more optimistic article, raising the possibility that student loans might become more easy to discharge in bankruptcy.
The status quo in terms of educational debt and bankruptcy is all too familiar to many law students and lawyers:
If you run up big credit card bills buying a new home theater system and can’t pay it off after a few years, bankruptcy judges can get rid of the debt. They may even erase loans from a casino. But if you borrow money to get an education and can’t afford the loan payments after a few years of underemployment, that’s another matter entirely. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of the debt in bankruptcy court, even if it’s a private loan from for-profit lenders like Citibank or the student loan specialist Sallie Mae.
Gambling debts can be discharged in bankruptcy like any other debts, but educational debts are subject to a test that requires the borrower to establish “undue hardship” (very tough to do under existing law). And losing money in a casino is a heck of a lot more fun than three years of law school.
But could changes to this legal regime be on the way?
UPDATE (May 30): Law student responds via YouTube, and shows off his very impressive office.
A law student in Massachusetts is looking for a job. He found a listing on Craigslist to work as a paralegal for a bankruptcy attorney. He applied, got an interview, and got an offer (kind of). But then he got into a spat with the attorney via email, preserved for posterity by The Docket.
The law student interviewed on Monday. On Tuesday, the female attorney sent him a rather candid email:
I have to confess, I am on the fence about offering you a position. This is a thought I had…tell me your thoughts.
The thought was that she would have the law student do a few freelance projects for a month, and if those went well, she would offer him a full-time position. He responded:
I can do any type of Motion, and research. I do not think a 30 day trial period is necessary. I would prefer bring me on full time to show you my capabilities.
That’s really not the right time for a grammatical typo, my law school friend.
In response, the lawyer laid out exactly why she had reservations about him, and wished him “best of luck in [his] job search.” That just made him crankier…
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.