Biglaw

How do you think we pick lawyers to defend us in litigation?

Judging from some of the emails I get, this is the picture in your mind’s eye:

“Hey, boss, we just got sued in New York. We’ll have to defend ourselves.”

“Shoot! New York City! Do they have any lawyers there?”

“Damned if I know. Lemme grab the New York City phone directory and take a look.”

An hour later:

“Good news, boss. There’re a whole gaggle of lawyers in New York. I think we should hire Bigg & Mediocre.”

“Why’s that?”

“They have an 800 number, so we’ll save some money. And they have a whole bunch of lawyers; one of ‘em probably knows what this ‘RICO’ thing stands for. And their website is really fancy; you wouldn’t believe it.”

“Great! Call that 800 number and ask them to connect you to a litigator.”

If that’s what corporations are doing, then at least you know how to develop business . . . .

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Earlier this month, we reported on Bingham McCutchen and Morgan Lewis & Bockius’s agreement to merge. The 750-lawyer Bingham firm has been going through a rough patch lately, so news of the deal with 1,200-lawyer Morgan Lewis sounded like a rescue to some observers.

But rescues come with terms and conditions. What are the ones at issue here? There’s good news for some Bingham partners, and bad news for others….

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She’s not a porn star, she’s a law student. We could see where you might be confused by that one.

* Now that we know Eric Holder is resigning, there’s been speculation as to where he’ll go next. The obvious choice is a return to Covington & Burling, but he could still surprise everyone. [National Law Journal]

* “Judicial campaign cash is burning a hole in the Constitution.” State court judges are pumping money into their election campaigns, and some have been left to wonder about its true price. [New York Times]

* Details have emerged as to conditions that must be met for Bingham McCutchen’s proposed merger with Morgan Lewis: partner promises, de-equitizations, and forgivable loans, oh my! [Reuters (sub. req.)]

* In the wake of Dean Makau Mutua’s decision to step down at Buffalo Law, a “deep rift” among faculty has been brought to light. The school’s future doesn’t seem as “bright” as we were once told. [Buffalo News]

* A former law student who was falsely identified as a porn star on the radio had her day in court and pulled out a win. Here’s the money shot: she’s walking away with $1 million in damages. [Kansas City Star]


Ed. note: Stat of the Week is a new feature that pulls data points from ATL Research as well as noteworthy sources across the web.

Rumors of a Bingham McCutchen/Morgan Lewis merger were confirmed this week when news broke that the two firms had reached an agreement to combine. The firms have a lot in common in terms of financial metrics: for 2013, Bingham came in at $1.48 million for profits per partner and $960,000 for revenue per lawyer, while Morgan Lewis posted similar numbers, $1.57 million and $945,000, in those categories (according to Am Law).

Something the two firms don’t have in common? The direction they’ve been heading in….

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Kamala D. Harris is ‘by far, the best looking attorney general.’

* Solicitor General Don Verrilli may be a frontrunner to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, but the competition seems to be stiff. Kamala Harris, anyone? [USA Today]

* FBI Director James Comey is annoyed by Apple and Google marketing their encryption prowess for privacy’s sake — it’ll “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* White & Case just hopped aboard the onshore outsourcing train with its announcement that it would open a services center in Tampa, Florida. The move will create about 100 jobs, but we’d love to know how many it’s negating. [Tampa Bay Times]

* Slater & Gordon, the world’s first publicly traded law firm, has been on an “acquisition spree” in England. Earlier this month, it picked up a patent practice, and now it’s in talks with a litigation shop. [Am Law Daily]

* “Law school is a major gamble,” and people are more informed, but that somehow isn’t stopping people from applying. This is a great article to read if you’re still considering going all in. [New York Observer]

Derek Jeter is retiring. If you follow sports, you know that one of the most overrated players in history is calling it quits. If you don’t follow sports, you probably also know this.

A few days ago, Jeter hit a foul ball (he has problems hitting balls in play at this point). Blue Jays third baseman Danny Valencia threw the ball to a dad, who gave it to his daughter, who promptly threw the ball back because little kids like to throw things.

UPDATE (9/25/2014, 4:56 p.m.): The embed appears to be broken. We will continue to try and fix it. In the meantime, the video is available here:


More ABC news videos | Latest world news

Turns out, the dad in that video — who ultimately got the ball back — is a Biglaw lawyer! Work/life balance for the win….

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Michael Allen

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Michael Allen is Managing Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

Every week I hear both good and bad stories about legal recruiters from both associates and partners.

From strong regional names like Alan Miles and Kay Hoppe, to larger international firms like MLA Global and Lateral Link, we all share some common practices, but also operate very differently with our clients and candidates.

There are quite a few names I won’t mention, who regularly garner the attention from partners and associates for questionable recruiter practices.

In a practice that involves highly confidential matters, it is important to chose a recruiter that is servicing your needs and not their own. I compiled a list of six telltale signs your recruiter may not be prioritizing your interests in your search for a new firm.

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Alma Asay

It’s the one about the tech-illiterate Biglaw associate (I know, you’ve heard that one) who walks away from her promising career at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country . . . to invent a new category of software. . . for litigating! A magical software program that makes you better as a litigator and is so cool that you wish you thought of it yourself.

For this next profile in legal entrepreneurship, I’m excited to introduce Alma Asay, creator of Allegory. You may not have heard of Allegory yet, but pretty soon, it will be a household name for every litigator who wants to be at the top of their game.

Alma’s story has a special place in my heart because she is living my dream: bringing her success in Biglaw to the whole legal community through the wonders of technology. I met Alma earlier this year in Palo Alto, where she was embracing her inner Silicon Valley and I was speaking at Stanford Law’s awesome CodeX FutureLaw conference.  We chatted over cocktails about the legal industry, law firm shenanigans, and life after Biglaw for those of us who didn’t run away screaming. I loved her stories of adventures in legal startup, and her product. Hopefully, you will too.

(Did I mention I get paid by the click?  I’m kidding, but really, keep reading . . . this is a good one).

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Most of you know that Lexpert “ranks” Canadian law firms and lawyers every year. I thought it would be interesting to take a totally unscientific look at the Lexpert rankings and see if anything monumental comes out of it.

Here are the rules for reading this column:

1. It’s all meant in good fun. Don’t send me nasty emails if you don’t agree with something I write.

2. Read Rule #1 again.

A little background for those of you who don’t know. Lexpert has a methodology for divining the best law firms and lawyers by practice areas. I have no idea what the methodology is and I don’t care. I think all ranking methodologies are next to useless. What is important is once you declare you’re going to rank something, and put those rankings into a glossy magazine, people (lawyers and clients) put some stock into them. Lexpert could use a Capuchin monkey to pick names out of a hat and a lawyer would still brag to her mom if she was named one of Lexpert’s leading attorneys.

Lexpert has four categories: Most Frequently Recommended, Consistently Recommended, Repeatedly Recommended, and Everybody Else. Okay, it doesn’t use Everybody Else, but you get the drift. You’re either in one of the Recommended categories, or you’re on the outside looking in…

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Now, I don’t consider myself the most religious person you’re likely to meet. But I’ve had my fair share of Judeo-Christian indoctrination. And there is one phrase that has always stuck with me: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Sure, I mostly remember the phrase as my Nana would cluckingly utter it, in a tone that seemed far less Christian than a strict textual interpretation might suggest, but the point remains. Sometimes it is necessary to appreciate the dumb luck and seemingly small and inconsequential decisions that separate your good fortune from those with far less.

That is certainly how I feel about the poor, dumb bastard who had the audacity to take on Biglaw….

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