Getting laid off must really suck. The victim is not only left without a steady income and with a blemish on the résumé, but with a deep sense of betrayal. Trusted co-workers and team members who provided positive feedback one day turned a cold shoulder the next.
And worse, the person being let go is rarely the “proximate cause” of this career black mark. The economy takes a bad turn, or some partner has botched a case and lost a key client, triggering a layoff.
That’s a recipe for depression.
But it’s important not to let that depression reach the level of “calling former colleagues and threatening to kill them.”
Unfortunately, federal prosecutors say a top law school graduate didn’t get that message…
* Bad boy! After last week’s dramatic bench performance by Justice Samuel Alito, the Alliance For Justice, a liberal watchdog group, is petitioning the Supreme Court to adopt and adhere to a code of conduct. [National Law Journal]
* There’s been a changing of the guard at the Supreme Court, where Scott Harris will be stepping into the role of Clerk of Court in September. Here’s hoping he can fill William Suter’s shoes. [Supreme Court of the United States]
* If you’re in-house and searching for the best outside counsel, you may be best served by going to one of these Biglaw firms. But which were the “absolute best”? Take a wild guess. [Corporate Counsel]
* “Let’s record this as a threat…” If you say so. Wherein a former Bryan Cave attorney gets federally indicted for threatening to murder a colleague still employed at the firm. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
* And just like that, the tide keeps on rolling. With the departure of Kenneth Randall, Alabama Law has appointed Professor William Brewbaker as acting dean until an interim dean is chosen. [AL.com]
Ed. note: Welcome to the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, a recurring feature that gives notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as information about their firms and themselves.
Don Lents is chair of Bryan Cave LLP. His practice focuses on M&A, corporate governance, and securities law, with particular emphasis upon multinational and domestic mergers. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.
Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the firms that the Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. These are the firms that corporate clients turn to when they’ve got bet-the-company litigation. From Exxon Mobil to Apple to Walmart, and everywhere in between, these are the clients with the deepest of pockets, and if you care at all about the business end of the law, then this is a list that you should care about.
But this time around, the list looks a little different. Due to the state of the economy, general counsel are now looking for more ways to reduce costs, and are constantly seeking out alternative fee structures. The firms on this year’s list may have been the ones that were most amenable to such changes.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at which firms topped this year’s list….
* Dewey know how much it costs to keep this failed firm on life support while its remaining partners try to collect D&L’s unpaid bills? A little more than $2M a month, according to the latest reports. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former Missouri senators — including two Am Law 200 partners — are asking begging Rep. Todd Akin to step aside so the Republicans’ chances of securing the Senate seat aren’t legitimately raped. [Am Law Daily]
* Howrey going to explain this one to the judge? The defunct firm is blaming a deadly forklift accident at a document-storage warehouse for hindering its wind-down process. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]
* “No matter what they said, it’s not material? Is that what you’re alleging?” It figures that a Skadden partner argued that employment statistics were irrelevant in the fraud class action suit against Brooklyn Law School, but at least the judge attempted to set him straight. [National Law Journal]
* Alaska is suing to overturn federal oversight of its elections, because the portions of the VRA aimed at protecting African Americans aren’t applicable if you can see Russia from your house. [Chicago Tribune]
* An official at ICE is suing because his boss, a woman, allegedly “created a frat house-type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.” Pledging totally sucks, bro. [New York Times]
* Psst, we think we know what Victoria’s secret is, and she’s no angel. According to police, she’s got a very bad temper, and if you deny her money for booze, she may strangle you to death with her bra. [Daily Mail]
Advanced technology designed to thwart aggressive air conditioning.
When we do stories about law school weather problems, they usually involve the facilities being too hot for the students. That’s because air conditioning costs money, and law schools don’t like to spend money on current students.
But once you get out of school and start an office job (or “win the lottery” as people from the class of 2011 call it), the problem isn’t going to be that your office is too hot. The problem is going to be that your office blasts the AC so high that you’ll think you’ve been running around a hedge maze at the Overlook (just click on the link, millennials).
That’s right, for a lot of lawyers, it’s freezing up in here. And since we’re talking about lawyers, you know we’re talking about people who like to bitch….
For most luxury shoppers, a trip to Neiman Marcus is the stuff that dreams are made of. After all, bags overflowing with designer merchandise can usually put a smile on any face, no matter the cost. But for others, such a shopping excursion just serves as a reminder of all the sex, lies, and betrayal that go hand-in-hand with a bitter divorce.
Because apparently when your husband stops in to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise year after year, it’s essential for your former personal shopper to allegedly swipe his “credit card” — over, and over, and over again….
At least that’s what one divorcée in Texas is alleging. She filed suit against Neiman Marcus after the luxury retailer refused to take back $1.4 million worth of gifts that she attempted to return after discovering her ex-husband’s alleged affair….
In August of 2009, while driving around Silicon Valley after speaking at Santa Clara Law, I saw an office park in East Palo Alto with a sign that jumped out at me. Being a Biglaw groupie, I stopped and snapped a picture:
I parked, got out of my rental car, and walked around. I was struck by the beauty of the overall office complex, with its expansive plaza, immaculate landscaping, and fountains. It was a veritable law firm Xanadu!
According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), small law firms have adopted the mantra: merge or die. Indeed, the number of law firm mergers is staggering. “At least 60 mergers occurred in the U.S. and abroad last year, the highest level since 2008 and a 54% jump from 2010, according to legal-industry consulting firm Altman Weil Inc. Industry experts expect the figure to rise this year.”
Why the up-tick in mergers? The economic downturn has caused a shift when it comes to legal service providers: it is a “seller’s market for the first time in 20 years.” In other words, law firms are not able to raise rates in order to increase profits. So, small firms turn to mergers as a way to increase their revenue and allow them to compete with all-purpose, larger firms. Randall H. Miller, who as managing partner at Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen LLP helped engineer its acquisition by Bryan Cave, explained that “[l]ittle by little, our ability to service our clients’ needs ha[d] been limited by our smaller size,” which was why he pushed for the merger.
Yet, small firm to large firm mergers are not the answer for all small firms. The article featured several potential problems….
* Herman Cain’s got Wood over all of these sexual harassment accusers. No, seriously. He hired Bryan Cave defector L. Lin Wood to handle his possible defamation claims. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Sad and depressing old man news: Joe Paterno’s legal innocence was irrelevant. Instead of letting him retire at the end of the year, the Penn State Board of Trustees fired him last night. [New York Times]
* A woman from Idaho with some real backwoods charm. What to do when your husband — a lawyer — plots to kill you? Stand by your man and blame the corrupt government. [ABC News]
* Tired of getting screwed? Mayor Bloomberg makes nice with the OWS people, congratulating them for “generally . . . not break[ing] the law.” What a sad great accomplishment. [New York Post]
* And this is why you don’t play games with your résumé, folks. Here’s some proof that next time you lie about being covered in Ivy, you’re going to get a wicked bad rash. [Boston Herald]
* If assignments like this appeared more often, I bet people would stop procrastinating so much and do their homework all day, every day (and then do it again for extra credit). [Arizona Republic]
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.
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