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!
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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