After the Haitian earthquake last year, we saw law firms step up in a big way to support relief efforts down there. Hopefully we will see the same reaction to the ever-increasing tragedy unfolding in Japan. Given an 8.9 a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, a massive tsunami, and a nuclear disaster that is already the second-worst nuclear accident in history, you hope that Japan will get all the help that the world can provide.
If anything, the nuclear meltdown angle is obscuring the humanitarian crisis currently happening in Japan. We know that Americans can’t focus on something unless there is some tangential relationship to something bad that could happen here, but you’d think that the possibility of 10,000 deaths would be enough to trigger our humanitarian concern without obsessing about apocalyptic scenarios.
Thankfully, a couple of law firms aren’t waiting for Japan to start glowing before making efforts to help…
Here in New York City, the headquarters of Above the Law, we’re still dealing with the aftermath of the Great Blizzard of 2010. Check out our slideshow for some images (like the one at right).
Although the snowstorm ended on Monday, and it’s now Wednesday night, many streets remain unplowed and many sidewalks uncleared. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, generally praised for his tremendous competence, is taking a lot of flak for the city’s inadequate response.
And that’s just in terms of politics and public relations. Wait until the lawyers get involved!
What possible causes of action could arise out of the snowstorm? Let’s discuss….
As I alluded to last week, today I was supposed to be getting some action down in sunny Florida. Alas, thanks to the massive blizzard that hit the East Coast last night, I’m stuck in my Manhattan apartment — after three consecutive flights got canceled on me.
I’m grumpy, but understanding (and enjoying a Glee marathon — finishing up season one). The snowstorm was epic, after all. It’s over now, but the effects linger.
As we mentioned this weekend, the BP oil spill has been capped (for the time being), and now we can fully focus on who needs to get paid. As with so many things, it’s Ken Feinberg’s world and we’re just living in it. Bloomberg reports:
Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing a $20 billion fund to pay damage claims from BP Plc’s oil spill, pledged to create a system “more generous and more beneficial” to spill victims than taking the company to court.
More generous than court? Ooohh, judicial system, Czar Feinberg is calling you out. You gonna just take that?
It’s getting hot in herre
So turn off all your lights.
I am… getting so hot…
I wanna turn my lights off! [FN1]
Here on the East Coast, things are heating up. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the legal job market.
We’re speaking much more literally. For the past few days, New York, Washington, and places in between have been in the grips of a brutal heat wave. On Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures in NYC broke record highs, entering triple-digit territory.
Today, mercifully, has been a bit better. In D.C., temps will top out in the mid-to-upper 90s this afternoon. As a Washington Post reader quipped, “Only in the mid 90′s today… better grab a jacket before leaving the house!”
They say lawyers are cold-blooded creatures — but we get hot too. How are law firms and law schools coping with the heat?
Not many people are happy about the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — with the possible exceptions of (1) Elena Kagan, whose confirmation to the Supreme Court is all but guaranteed (since everyone’s too distracted to oppose her); (2) the lawyers who are getting work out of this disaster (as discussed below); and (3) whoever is behind the fake BP Twitter account, which currently has over 167,000 followers.
But today brings some news that might make some people a little less angry at BP. Even though the government probably couldn’t have forced the oil giant to set up a $20 billion fund to pay oil spill claims, for the reasons explained by Professor David Zaring, BP is setting up such a fund voluntarily. The New York Times reports:
The White House and BP agreed on Wednesday that the oil giant would create an independent $20 billion fund to pay claims arising from the worst oil spill in American history.
Bowing to pressure from the Obama administration, the company also said it would suspend paying dividends to its shareholders for the rest of the year and would compensate oil field workers for lost wages.
There are actually several legal angles to the BP drama. For example, who will administer this massive fund? And which firms are getting a piece of all the defense-side action?
Jamie Gorelick is a Washington D.C. power lawyer. She’s a former Deputy Attorney General, former general counsel to the Defense Department, and current partner at WilmerHale, where she chairs the national security and public policy practice groups. She’s had — and continues to have — an amazing career.
Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick will head the legal team for British oil giant BP PLC as it prepares to respond to legal challenges related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwire reported Wednesday.
“We have been retained to help the company respond to the numerous congressional inquiries that are underway,” Gorelick, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said in an e-mail to Greenwire. “We have not been retained to advocate for any position.”
Yay. Snowpacolypse 2.0! Snowmageddon! The Snopture!
(Wait, there’s more….)
Dandruff 2010. The Winter of Our Snowcontent. Weekday of Marital Sex — 2010. Waiting for Snowdot. Entirely Seasonal Weather for February!
(Okay, I’m finished.)
Who has the day off? More to the point, does having a “snow day” even matter anymore?
Telecommunication kills the snow day, after the jump.
We were beset by technical difficulties here at ATL yesterday (as we explained in our Twitter feed). We apologize for the site outages; hopefully the situation will be better next week.
At least we didn’t have to go out in the snow. Our brethren in D.C. were not as fortunate. The Washington Post reports:
The full weight of winter brought life in much of the Washington region to a standstill Saturday as a storm predicted to be one of the most powerful on record dumped 12 to 21 inches of snow overnight. …
[O]fficials pleaded with people to stay off the roads until conditions improve. People were confined to their homes by the mountains of snow, many in the dark as trees brought down power lines.
Stay off the roads? But we’ve got an LSAT to take, damn it.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.