Recently submitted to Fortune magazine by “Bored in BlackBerryLand”:
I am a recent law-school graduate and, though I’m not yet working at a law firm, I have friends who are. I understand that things in international firms happen 24/7, 365 days a year, and I want to be as supportive of my friends’ careers as I expect them to be of mine.
My question is, to what degree in social settings, on a regular basis, should friends be checking their BlackBerries, and at what point should I say something? What’s rude and what’s truly necessary?
So, readers, whaddya think? Check out what the expert had to say, express yourselves in the comments, and take our poll — after the jump.
* Let’s just steal Drudge’s tagline: “JUDGE: PLAME HAS NO GAME.” [Washington Post; Associated Press]
(But she does bear an uncanny resemblance to Patricia Wettig, who plays Holly Harper on Brothers and Sisters. See photos at right.)
* A lawsuit against Hillary’s pollster, Mark Penn, has been dropped. [AP]
(Watch out: your employer might be reading your Blackberry messages.)
* Lots of lawyers among the D.C. Madam’s clientele. [CNN]
(“[B]ut of course in Washington it sometimes feels like everyone is a lawyer.”)
* Escalation in the battle over executive privilege. [Washington Post]
(Bush Administration to Congress: “You wanna prosecute us for contempt? You and what prosecutor?”)
Hi, Billy Merck here once again, hosting through the end of the week so that Lat can take another brief vacation. No intro post this time; check here or here if you don’t know who we are. But enough of that, let’s get right to it.
The Wall Street Journal has this article about the extremely high demand from employees for and the equally strong reticence on the part of businesses, including of course large law firms, to give access to corporate email services on the soon to be released Apple iPhone. From the article:
While millions of consumers are eagerly anticipating Apple Inc.’s launch of its iPhone next week, Bill Caraher is bracing for the worst.
Mr. Caraher, technology director of von Briesen & Roper, a Milwaukee law firm, says he is being besieged by inquiries from employees wondering whether the office’s email system can be used with the device.
His answer, at least initially, has been no. The main problem is that the iPhone can’t send and receive email through the company’s corporate BlackBerry email servers. He says he is unwilling to look into workarounds, because they might compromise the company’s security. “It’s another hole in the system people can exploit,” he says.
Despite concerns about opening up email systems, Apple is apparently pushing to grab some crackberry market share:
All this may change later this month when Apple plans to unveil the iPhone. According to a person close to Apple, the company is expected to fight for this market, currently dominated by players like BlackBerry’s RIM, Palm Inc. and, increasingly, Nokia Corp. and Motorola. If Apple comes up with an acceptable strategy for integrating with business software systems, many companies might change their tunes.
At least one law firm is open to the idea:
Other businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP of New York has been getting hit with a range of iPhone inquiries, according to spokeswoman Claudia Freeman. The law firm may try to support the device once it is launched, she says.
So we have three questions we’d like to throw out there to open up discussion:
1) Will law firms open up their email systems to the iPhone?
2) If they do, will the iPhone grab a substantial chunk of the crackberry market?
3) Will whether a firm integrates the iPhone into email services become a factor in the compensation wars?
* “Crackberry” is used in the context of this post to refer to any device similar in function to a Blackberry, and is not limited to the Blackberry.
Are you a Biglaw associate who left the office early last night, relying upon your trusty Blackberry to keep you posted about what was going on back at work? If so, your reliance was misplaced. From the NYT:
Technical problems at Research in Motion cut off wireless e-mail service to millions of users of its BlackBerry hand-held devices in the United States for more than 10 hours overnight.
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, which has the largest BlackBerry customer base in the world, said the service was lost to all carriers in the United States around 8 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. RIM told AT&T Wireless that the problem that caused the shutdown was resolved by 6 a.m. Eastern time today. However, he said that the enormous backlog of e-mail messages that must now be processed would continue to delay or disrupt service for some users.
In the past week or so, the romantic exploits (and misadventures) of lawyers and law students have been in the news. Here are a few noteworthy links:
1. ‘ABORT’ SHOCK IN GIANT DIVORCE [New York Post]
Football star Amani Toomer (at right), a wide receiver for the Giants, is divorcing his wife, Dr. Yola Dabrowski. The parties’ divorce filings are full of salacious allegations, but here’s what jumped out at us:
Dabrowski’s papers complain that Toomer: … * Sabotaged her dream of becoming a lawyer by stealing her computer and files, making it impossible to study for her law-school exams and leading to her getting an incomplete for the term.
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the way to a law student’s heart — or the way to break her heart, as the case may be — is through her papers.
[W]hen she didn’t want to have sex, Toomer acted “irrationally and outrageously” – once urinating on her clothes, and another time tossing her BlackBerry into the Hudson River.
Destroying your spouse’s Blackberry? Now you’ve thrown down the gauntlet. If The War of the Roses were updated for 2007, there would surely be a scene of Blackberry destruction.
2. Date Lab [Washington Post]
“Date Lab,” in which the Post sets up two people on a blind date and then writes it up, is one of our favorite guilty pleasures. This recent date, involving Pillsbury Winthrop associate Damon Colbert (at right), actually went fairly well. (The column is more fun when the dates are disasters.)
But the WaPo reader comments — “the two shallowest people in all of Creation,” “this Date Lab made me unbearably sad” — are kinda vicious. And we thought ATL commenters were harsh….
3. Page Six: Ready To Wed [New York Post] Gillian Hearst Engaged! [Socialite Rank]
From Page Six:
LOVE is in the air for Hearst heir Gillian Hearst-Shaw and her yearlong boyfriend, Christian Simonds. Sources say the gorgeous brunette socialite and philanthropist was proposed to with “a blindingly huge diamond engagement ring” from Simonds. Her hubby-to-be, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, popped the question last weekend, following a romantic sleigh ride for two in the Berkshires. Mazel tov!
Page Six doesn’t identify his firm, but as Socialite Rank points out, Christian Simonds is an associate in the New York office of Lowenstein Sandler. Next time you make a disparaging remark about the New York office of a New Jersey law firm, ask yourself: “If my firm is so much better, then why am I not marrying a beautiful media heiress?”
4. Wendi Adelson and Dan Markel [New York Times]
Happy Anniversary to Wendi Adelson and fellow legal blogger Dan Markel, of PrawfsBlawg fame!
Fred Fielding, the incoming White House counsel, did pretty well for himself when the Blackberry litigation was settled. His firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, represented NTP, the patent holding company that won a $612.5 million settlement from Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry. Wiley Rein took the case on a contingency-fee basis. Ka-ching!
But some people did even better than Fielding — like Donald Stout (at right), patent lawyer to the late inventor, Thomas Campana. Here’s an explanation of how the Blackberry spoils were divvied up:
Biggest single winner was Joletta Campana, widowed second wife and former secretary of patent-holder Thomas Campana Jr., who received one-third [of the $612.5 million,] or about $200 million. Wiley, Rein & Fielding also received $200 million, a huge sum given that in 2004 the Washington, D.C. firm’s two hundred and fifty lawyers generated about $140 million in total revenue. The final $200 million was shared by Donald Stout and some colleagues at his Alexandria-based law firm.
So how did Donald Stout spend his windfall? On real estate, of course. From Washingtonian magazine, via Wonkette, here’s an account of “The Stouthouse”:
Lawyer Donald Stout put up $6.8 million for a 15,000 square-foot Georgian on more than four acres near the Madeira School in Great Falls, VA — this after his Arlington patent-holding firm won a settlement against the makers of BlackBerry and earned him $177 million. HGTV’s Dream Builders featured the six-bedroom, ten-bath house in a segment taped before the sale.
WOW. This place makes the Feldsuk house look like a law school dorm. At a Tier 4 school.
For those of you who share our obsession with high-end real estate, there’s more discussion of The Stouthouse, plus links, after the jump.
A 12-step program for Blackberry addicts strikes us as an exercise in futility. When we worked at a law firm, we took our Blackberry with us everywhere. Once we Blackberried a paralegal from the dentist’s chair — while waiting for the anesthesia to wear off, after having four wisdom teeth removed.
In fact, establishing “Blackberry-free” time periods could end up getting you in trouble. Under certain circumstances, it might constitute malpractice. We agree with commenter Willie:
This all sounds swell in theory, but until clients agree to obey the same rules, it will be difficult to observe these common sensical boundaries.
As for the so-called “BlackBerry orphans,” kids who feel neglected by their Blackberry-obsessed parents, the solution is simple. Follow Arianna Huffington’s example: get your child a Blackberry of her own. Then she’ll spend all her time emailing with her friends, instead of bothering you while you’re trying to get work done.
It’s never too early to give your kid a Blackberry. Even babies can appreciate them:
During the long-running patent litigation between NTP and Research in Motion, Blackberry uses periodically had to confront the possibility of having their happily vibrating devices rendered useless. Such an apocalyptic scenario was averted when RIM settled with NTP — for the handsome sum of $612.5 million (of which $200 million wound up in the coffers of D.C. powerhouse firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding).
Now it’s time for users of another wireless email device to get stress-induced acne breakouts. From the New York Post:
NTP, the tiny Richmond, Va.-based patent-holding company, is setting its sights on industry giant Palm for [patent infringement].
NTP’s lawsuit against the maker of the popular Treo smart phones raises the specter of a prolonged legal battle similar to the one that kept millions of BlackBerry users on tenterhooks as they awaited a federal judge’s ruling on whether they could continue using their cherished mobile e-mail devices.
Palm reportedly has $500 million in cash lying around, so they should be able to pay a sizable settlement — or defend the lawsuit vigorously.
But maybe they can also set up a little legal defense fund. Treo-toting celebs like Lindsay Lohan will probably be more than happy to chip in, to preserve their uninterrupted access to good vibrations.
(Speaking of email troubles, we’re still having some of our own. See here.) NPT Now Schemes for Palm [New York Post]
Last Friday, at the Annual American Cinematheque Awards ceremony (honoring George Clooney), scandal-prone starlet Linday Lohan was slapped with a subpoena. And it happened on the red carpet.
Was Lindsay being haled into court for her hideous keyhole-front halter gown, made of restored 14th-century chain mail, and trimmed with packaging twine? Actually, no.
Lindsay was being served with a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case involving her mother, Dina Lohan, who is being sued for breach of contract by two music producers and managers. TMZ.com reports:
It all started after the actress was approached by a woman who Lindsay assumed was an autograph seeker on her way out of the event. Lindsay said to the woman “You’re my first autograph!” to which the woman promptly answered “You’ve been served.” According to witnesses, Lindsay then dropped the paperwork and chased after the process server. No word on whether she caught up to the process server.
We’re wondering two things. First, what kind of shoes was Lindsay wearing? Second, why did she run after the process server? Was she hoping to return the subpoena to her?
If so, it was misguided thinking on Lindsay’s part. Service of process is governed by the same rule as the second-grade playground: “No backsies.”
P.S. As you can see from the photo, Lindsay Lohan is just like a Biglaw attorney — she never leaves home without her Blackberry. [Ed. note: Or is that a Treo? See the comments. We haven't had a Blackberry in years (which is both a good and bad thing).] Lindsay: You Got Served [TMZ.com] Lindsay Gets Served! A Shocking Red Carpet Summons!!! [PerezHilton.com] Lindsay Lohan Served With a Subpoena — On the Red Carpet! [WSJ Law Blog]
“No,” Daddy tried to explain, “it’s not THAT kind of blackberry…”
Photograph provided courtesy of a former Wachtell Lipton colleague of ours, Scott L. Black (whom we identify here with his permission; our default rule is anonymity for tipsters). Meet the absolutely adorable Shoshana Black, daughter of Scott and Marnie Black, a high-powered exec at MTV.
You may recall Scott Black from this recent Fortune magazine piece on the David Pajcin / Gene Plotkin insider trading scandal, which we highlighted in a previous post. Black, senior trial counsel at the SEC, nailed Pajcin in deposition questioning. Pajcin pleaded guilty to criminal charges and is now assisting the government with its investigation. Partners in Crime: I-bankers, Insider Trades, Moles, Strippers… [Fortune] Earlier:Non-Sequiturs: 09.22.06
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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