Helping a bride make her wedding is about the best ‘Mitzvah’ a person can do.
– Benjamin Brafman, the prominent criminal defense attorney (for stars like Michael Jackson, Sean Combs, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn), describing his decision to pen a $5,000 check to help a couple fighting to get their deposit back after booking a South Street Seaport venue damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Brafman wrote the check to the couple he’d never met after reading about them in the New York Post, proving it’s not always bad news to find your name in the Post.
If you’re like me, two of your last three Sunday night sports orgies have been ruined by the intrusion of real world events. First, Osama bin Laden lost the ultimate game of Call of Duty. Then last night Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and would-be president of France, was pulled off of a plane at JFK and arrested for a sex crime. And in the middle of those two world events, Mother’s Day happened.
(Note to NFL owners: this is the kind of crap that’ll be happening in the fall if you guys refuse to let people play football.)
As world events go, this is pretty big. Think about it: we’ve got the head of one of the five most powerful NGOs in the world, the leader of the Socialist party, a sex scandal, a super-fancy hotel, a maid, and an alleged escape attempt thwarted at JFK — and this has nothing to do with Bill Clinton! I mean come on, if you found out that the Lannisters were involved, would you be surprised?
And on the legal front, we’re talking about an important and respected international figure who just got denied bail.
Excuse me, I need to get my popcorn out of the microwave….
Following in the footsteps of Sullivan & Cromwell partner Eric Krautheimer, today’s Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day also has a law degree from a Tier 4 law school, supplemented by an LLM from NYU. And just like Eric Krautheimer, his tremendously successful career provides support for the proposition that it’s not where you got your legal education, but what you do with it, that counts. Name: Benjamin Brafman Law School: Ohio Northern University, J.D., with distinction, 1974 Current Position: Partner, Brafman & Associates, P.C. Why He’s Our Winner: Brafman is one of New York’s top criminal defense attorneys, with a long list of celebrity clients (including, for a time, Michael Jackson). Our tipster sums it up nicely: “He represented Diddy! He probably met J.Lo! How can you beat that?” Brafman & Associates, P.C. [Lawyers.com] Benjamin Brafman [Wikipedia] Little Big Man [New York Magazine]
Personnel changes are everywhere today — and not just on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon. Some notable moves within the legal profession: Lateral Moves:
* Private equity and M&A lawyer Dennis Barsky, to Jones Day, from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
* Corporate lawyer Jonathan Stapleton and investment-funds lawyer Margaret Paradis, to Baker & McKenzie (NY), from Arnold & Porter and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, respectively.
* Insurance and financial services lawyer Chiu-Ti Jansen, to Sidley Austin, from LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. Government to Private Sector:
* Marc Agnifilo, former head of the violent and organized crime unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey, is joining Brafman and Associates. Yes, that Brafman — renowned criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, Diddy-defending attorney to the stars.
(Disclosure: Marc Agnifilo is a former colleague of ours, as well as a tremendously experienced and exceptionally talented lawyer. He has a fantastic sense of humor. And he’s the nephew of celebrated writer Don DeLillo.) Firm Adds Two NY Corporate Partners [NYLawyer.com] NY Private Equity Partner Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com] NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com] Baker & McKenzie LLP Announces Ambitious New Strategy and Leadership Team in New York [Baker & McKenzie]
Today’s big move is from the government to the private sector:
* Renowned Enron prosecutor Sean Berkowitz, to the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins. The much-anticipated move took place after the young legal superstar was wooed by many other top firms. Berkowitz will be an equity partner at Latham, where profits per partner clock in at $1.6 million — at least ten times what he earned as an AUSA.
(Berkowitz, you may recall, was dating financial reporter Bethany McLean, who covered the Enron trial for Fortune magazine. Anyone know whether they are still an item — and if so, how serious? Partner profits are great for buying engagement rings.)
The boom in white-collar criminal prosecutions has created lots of job opportunities for government lawyers. Another notable move: former SEC lawyer David Mittelman, headed for the San Francisco office of Reed Smith. New Partners:
* Cleary Gottlieb, aka Clearly Goatlips — we hadn’t heard that one before, it’s a good one — names eight new partners and six new counsel. No word on whether a swimming test was required.
Here’s the firm’s press release. See if you know any of these soon-to-be millionaires. Lateral Moves:
* Patent prosecutrix Margaret Brivanlou, to King & Spalding (NY), from Jones Day. (She joined Jones Day when it gobbled up much of what had been IP boutique Pennie & Edmonds.)
* Litigator Daniel Murdock, to Fulbright & Jaworski (NY), from Winston & Strawn (where he formerly chaired the New York litigation practice). New Firm:
* Charles Ross, former head of the white-collar practice at Herrick Feinstein, has left to start his own firm. Charles A. Ross & Associates will handle criminal defense and some civil cases. Ross is also a former law partner of the Diddy-defending Benjmain Brafman, go-to guy for celebrities with legal problems. Cleary Gottlieb Announces 14 New Partners and Counsel Worldwide [Cleary Gottlieb] Enron Prosecutor Berkowitz Joins Latham & Watkins [WSJ Law Blog] Firm Nabs SEC Attorney [NYLawyer.com]
Celebrity sighting columns are a staple of gossip magazines and gossip blogs. E.g., Gawker Stalker, Wonk’d, Judicial Sightations. So, in this spirit, we proudly present The Eyes of the Law — your source for all the legal celebrity sightings that are fit to print (and a few that aren’t).
Since we don’t get out that much — we get an electrical shock if we stray ten feet from our keyboard — we need your help. We’ll need you to make the sightings and submit them to us, by email (subject line: “Sighting”). Then we’ll publish them on the internet, for all the world to enjoy. (We’ve already received a few; keep ‘em coming!)
A few tips and guidelines to help you in your celeb-spotting:
(1) When you make a sighting, please be as observant as possible. How was the person looking — hot, or not? What were they wearing? What kind of mood were they in? Were they alone, or with others?
(2) On a related note, digital photographs to support your sighting are especially welcome. A thousand words, etc.
(3) A true “sighting” requires seeing the personality outside of their natural habitat — and preferably doing something that one might not expect them to be doing. So sightings of federal judges in courthouses and law school deans in the halls of their schools don’t count. But we welcome sightings of judges or deans at, say, a baseball game — or, better yet, a nudie bar.
Here are the types of people who qualify as sighting subjects in our book:
(1) any federal judge (but we’re talking Article III here — no bankruptcy or magistrate judges, ick);
(4) famous practicing lawyers, like David Boies, Ted Olson, Mark Geragos, or Ben Brafman (if you have to explain who they are, they’re not famous);
(5) prominent law school deans, like current Yale dean Harold Koh, current Harvard dean Elena Kagan, and former Stanford dean Kathleen Sullivan;
(6) well-known law professors, like Laurence Tribe, Lawrence Lessig, Lani Guinier, or Anita Hill (no, your first-year legal writing instructor doesn’t count); and
(7) law-related television personalities, like Judge Judy Sheindlin, Nancy Grace, or Jeffrey Toobin.
This list is not exhaustive; we may have overlooked certain categories of legal eagles that we’d like you to spot. But it gives you a good idea of the kinds of people we’re interested in.
So enough idle chatter; get to it. Rustle up some juicy sightings, and submit them to us forthwith, by email. Much thanks!
When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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@example.com.
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