That’s the most shocking revelation in an interesting New York Times profile of H. Rodgin Cohen, the nation’s top banking M&A lawyer and chairman of the venerable Sullivan & Cromwell. From the NYT:
After [Cohen and his wife Barbara] had paid their [restaurant] check, they went to fetch the car, and Mr. Cohen, a Boston fan since his days at Harvard Law, glanced down at his BlackBerry to check on the Red Sox. He drives a Subaru, a humble ride for a man who earned millions last year arranging shotgun weddings for the busted firms of Wall Street, and standing next to Barbara in the darkness, Rodge Cohen, a titan of the banking bar, struggled with his automated key, initially unable to — woop woop woop — release the lock.
Unlocking car doors by remote control — where’s a good associate when you need one?
Now, in re Subarus, we have nothing against them; they are fine cars. Some of our best friends drive Subarus. One of our co-clerks — a member of the Elect, no less — drives a Subaru Forester. The judge for whom we clerked — Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), a top feeder judge — used to drive a purple Subaru (affectionately nicknamed “Grimace” by his clerks).
But as we know from the judicial pay controversy, federal judges don’t get compensated like partners at Sullivan & Cromwell. And Cohen is no ordinary S&C partner — he’s the chairman of the firm and its top rainmaker, generating tens of millions in business every year. A Subaru is shockingly downmarket for him. We realize that true wealth doesn’t have to advertise itself, and six-figure cars are for the nouveau riche, but this still seems a tad extreme.
More to the point, why is Rodge Cohen even driving himself? Wouldn’t it be more efficient for him to have a chauffeur-driven Maybach — john quinn, holla — so he can spend every waking minute on the phone, negotiating billion-dollar bank mergers? Isn’t it a waste of the brilliant Cohen’s brain cells to have him paying attention to yield signs when he could instead be thinking about yield curves?
More tidbits from the Rodge Cohen profile, along with commentary, after the jump.
We wanted to give people an opportunity to reminisce about John O’Quinn, the legendary personal injury attorney, who apparently died this morning in a car accident. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Prominent Houston attorney John O’Quinn was one of two men who died this morning when their SUV slammed into a large tree on Allen Parkway after the driver apparently lost control, police said. …
It wasn’t immediately clear whether O’Quinn or the other, still-unidentified victim was driving.
O’Quinn is a huge name in Texas and around the country. He made his mark in PI work:
O’Quinn, who made his fortune largely in personal injury cases, most notably in successful breast implant cases in the early 1990s, was a local philantrhopist. He gave money to the Harris County Children’s Assessment Center, the Houston Council on Alcohol and Drugs and various Texas Medical Center institutions including St. Luke’s Hospital, which has a tower bearing his name.
If you’ve been waiting for bar results in the “M” states of Massachusetts and Michigan, your wait is over. We’ve been inundated with emails like this one:
Long time reader, first time caller. Just letting you know that letters for the MA Bar Exam went out today. (I passed!!!)
Congratulations! You have established that you are not an idiot:
Massachusetts bar results were received in the mail today. You are retarded if you failed.
Meanwhile, in the Midwest, Michigan bar results are out:
Michigan July 2009 bar results have been released to examinees. I got mine today. But are there any jobs for those of us who passed?
Good question. Times may be tough for Colorado law grads (even taking into account this correction), but Michigan comes in FIRST when it comes to high unemployment.
Michigan’s unemployment rate may largely reflect the troubles of the car companies. But might the auto industry and the legal industry share some things in common?
Feel free to crow about your bar exam passage, bemoan your bar exam failure, or discuss legal employment conditions in Massachusetts and/or Michigan, in the comments.
Ed. note: This post has been updated. Please read below (updates in bold).
Not all Biglaw types are luxuriating in 1600 hours for the year. Some are still working long hours and spending late nights at the office. There can be hazards to late night assignments: canceled dinner plans, sleep deprivation, and running across an armed robbery in the car garage.
Such was the case last night, in a garage shared by many firms, including Paul Hastings. A Los Angeles attorney sent us this e-mail last night at midnight EDT/ 9 p.m. PDT:
This evening, some attys in the office received the following email:
“In case you guys were planning on leaving the office, there’s an armed car jacking going on in j2, its barricaded and cops aren’t letting anyone in. Some sort of stand-off with the cops now.”
Our correspondent has since retired. We have inquiries in to Paul Hastings but have not gotten an official statement yet. Are there any early risers on the West Coast who know more about this? Send us tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. UPDATE: The Los Angeles garage in question is shared by Paul Hastings and other noteworthy Biglaw firms, such as Morgan Lewis, Winston & Strawn, and Jones Day.
The full story from a building manager is that a woman — we don’t know her Biglaw affiliation, if any — was approached by a man in the parking lot who demanded that she surrender her car keys. She did and called the police. That precipitated the closing of the garage. The police investigated the crime scene for a couple of hours, which is why nobody was allowed to leave the building during that time. No “stand-off,” just a crime scene investigation.
The criminal was not apprehended, but police reports indicate that the criminal left behind some physical evidence. As we understand it, the car jacker was not armed.
We’ll keep updating this post as we have more details to report.
Before the recession, this would have surprised me. Now, it seems relatively pedestrian. The Joplin Globe reports (via the ABA Journal):
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Lawyers Chris Meek and Nathan Coleman are taking it on the road. They have turned a 2002 Volkswagen Rialta into a mobile law office.
“It’s a convenience factor for our clients,” Coleman said of the recreational vehicle, sometimes called a Winnebago Rialta.
I’m a summer associate in Texas (3,500 sq. ft., wife, etc) and I drive to work where I park my car in the office’s parking lot. My car is a 2005 BMW. Should I be concerned about looking like a jackass?
Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
Dear Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,
You should always be concerned about looking like a jackass, whether it’s rolling up to work in a Beemer or wearing a fedora at Sunday brunch. In any other year, normal associates might look forward to the summer class arriving; but this year, the summers are viewed as intruders, freshly arrived to snatch associates’ jobs out from under them. Despite the ludicrous scavenger hunts and game nights concocted in your honor, make no mistake; you’re persona non grata at terra law firma, and your goal this summer should be to be as unobtrusive as possible. Your car should reflect your humility as well as your groundling status at the firm, and a BMW, no matter how ancient, will never do that. You’ll need to lease, but what should you get?
Driving up in a car of the Ferrari/Lamborghini/Lotus ilk is obviously out, since you’re not Richard Gere from Pretty Woman and this is not a “dream date” with Jillian on the The Bachelorette. Jaguars are for eccentric billionaires, Ford Probes are for high school sleazebags and Mercury Sables are for drug dealers. Since you’re in Texas, you may be tempted to trade in your BMW for a pickup truck, but I strenuously advise against this since pickups indicate that spend your free time listening to Toby Keith while patrolling the Mexico border with a rifle and Coonhound named Rusty. Toyota Priuses are for wimps, and minivans are for people who drive carpool or own florist shops. DeLoreans, Pintos, GMs and other cars that are dangerous and/or no longer made are always cool.
When I worked as an intern in Newark, I drove a 1997 teal Toyota Camry with Cobra rims (not kidding). The smooth handling and tape deck made many people very jealous, and when someone stole my front left rim, I learned firsthand the dangers of driving flashy cars. Go with something junky, like a Kia or an Isuzu, but if you don’t feel like shelling out the extra cash, your best bet is a Huffy. Get the one with the basket so you can take your laptop home.
Elie loses his sh*t while parallel parking, after the jump.
The big news story for today, as noted in Morning Docket, is the bankruptcy filing of General Motors. Developments on the GM front are being closely covered over at our sister site, Dealbreaker (which also welcomes a new writer today).
There are some legal angles to the GM story, of course. The bankruptcy will generate lots of work for several top firms, as noted by the WSJ Law Blog and Am Law Daily.
But you don’t need a law degree to play a major role in this drama. From the New York Times:
It is not every 31-year-old who, in a first government job, finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism. But that, in short, is the job description for Brian Deese, a not-quite graduate of Yale Law School who had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took on his nearly unseen role in remaking the American automotive industry….
“There was a time between Nov. 4 and mid-February when I was the only full-time member of the auto task force,” Mr. Deese, a special assistant to the president for economic policy, acknowledged recently as he hurried between his desk at the White House and the Treasury building next door. “It was a little scary.”
Maybe more than a little scary. But YLS grads students can do anything, right?
Find out how Brian Deese landed this gig, and take our reader poll asking what should be done with GM, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.