Ed. note: This post is written by Will Meyerhofer, a Biglaw attorney turned psychotherapist, whom we profiled. A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate, he holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work. He blogs at The People’s Therapist.
A New York Times article from a few weeks ago holds enormous potential ramifications for lawyers bent over their desks at big law firms. The tentative conclusion of the piece was simple: if you are dealing with minor depression, or in fact, with anything other than massive, serious depression, popping anti-depressant pills is probably a waste of time. In fact, a placebo might do you more good.
How many lawyers are currently taking anti-depressants? According to the admittedly anecdotal evidence from the lawyers I’ve seen over the years in my private practice, quite a few.
It’s such a lawyerly thing to do. You figure out you’re depressed, so you do something about it — march over to your doctor, or maybe a high-powered shrink with a top reputation, get diagnosed, and get your pills. The whole thing takes a few minutes, and you’re back on the job. No wasting billable hours, no whining and complaining on a therapist’s couch — you take care of the problem and move on. Take a pill and knock it off with the martyr routine.
However, there are a few problems with anti-depressants…
Should Judge Richard Posner leave the Seventh Circuit and run for president? He certainly has the beginnings of a platform.
And, despite some possible leftward drift, Judge Posner’s tendencies still seem to point in a libertarian direction. From The Atlantic:
1. Remove all limits on the immigration of highly skilled workers, or persons of wealth. (This should be done gradually, so as not to increase unemployment while the unemployment rate remains very high.)
2. Decriminalize most drug offenses in order to reduce the prison population, perhaps by as much as a half, which will both economize on government expenditures and increase the number of workers. (Again and for the same reason, phase in gradually.)
3. Curtail medical malpractice liability, which increases medical costs gratuitously (because the courts are very poor at identifying actual malpractice) and, more important, engenders a great deal of very costly, and largely worthless, “defensive medicine.”
Last decade — back in the aughts — a Holland & Knight real estate partner got up to some very bad things. While we have heard that coke can be an aid for sleep-deprived attorneys, it caused problems for Theodore Silva Jr.
Silva was formerly a partner in Holland & Knight’s D.C. office. According to the National Law Journal, in 2005, Silva forged signatures and created fictitious notaries for an easement agreement. Then he lied to his clients and bar counsel about that and about his cocaine use:
[Silva] attributed his conduct to stress, cocaine use and drinking. The incident cost the firm about $150,000 in expenses plus 50 hours’ work from another Holland & Knight partner who had to rectify the problems.
Silva, who had made partner in 1995, was fired by Holland & Knight in 2006. The District of Columbia Board of Professional Responsibility just issued its report [PDF] and its recommendation for discipline last week.
The Legal Blog Network is surprised that this conduct was not enough to get Silva disbarred. We’re surprised to learn that Silva had a coke use criminal charge in 2002 and that it passed the sniff test at Holland & Knight. As long as the snow helped Silva make it rain, it seems the firm didn’t mind what he did with his dollars.
The voting wasn’t even close. There were seven entrants, but Akin walked away with over 44 percent of the vote. It was the commenters’ favorite, too:
“I work at HayBoo [Haynes and Boone], and really like our card. But I was actually laughing (alone in my office) at Akin Gump’s. A little cliched, but still, well-executed.”
“Akin hands down. All others were simply dreadful.”
“OK, the Akin Gump ‘holiday’ card (we all know we are talking xmas cards here) is hands down the best by a very wide margin, although the Goodwin Procter ‘gift’ of a pile of blow on the mantle at the end of their e-card was a nice touch.”
Once again, congratulations to Akin Gump on a well-deserved victory!
P.S. We received a few nice late submissions, like Proctor Heyman (inspired by the Abbey Road album cover) and Howard Rice (donating the savings from sending electronic rather than physical cards to a charity chosen by readers). Unfortunately, we were unable to include them because voting was already underway. Check ATL early and often, so as not to miss our contests and other features.
The case of Levy v. Sedgwick Detert Moran Arnold LLP — aka “Sex, Drugs, and 3000 Billable Hours” — is starting to look more like Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell with each new filing. Just as S&C did in the Charney case, the Sedgwick firm has filed a motion to strike portions of the complaint that it views as “scandalous” (i.e., of greatest interest to Above the Law readers).
From the affirmation in support of the motion:
3. This motion seeks to strike certain unnecessary, prejudicial and scandalous allegations made by Plaintiff Alan Levy (“Plaintiff” or “Levy”) in his employment discrimination action against his former employer, the law firm of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP (“Sedgwick” or the “Firm”) and Scott Haworth (“Haworth”) [pictured], the partner with whom he primarily worked.
4. The sole purpose of Plaintiff’s irrelevant and salacious allegations — regarding alleged adultery and drug use by Defendant Haworth — is to embarrass the Firm and Haworth and provide Levy with some emotional catharsis for the bitterness he bears.
Well, maybe not the sole purpose. Another purpose might be to embarrass the defendants into settling (just as S&C settled the Charney case). A third purpose — okay, not a purpose, but by a byproduct — might be entertaining Above the Law readers. Given that we edit a legal tabloid, we’re hoping the motion to strike gets denied.
Speaking of “salacious allegations,” this is not the first time Scott Haworth has been accused of inappropriate conduct.
An inflammatory allegation from a prior employment discrimination lawsuit, plus assorted observations about the Sedgwick firm website, after the jump.
Ben Harper says that “what’s from the earth is of the greatest worth.” Yesterday, ex-U.S. attorney John McKay weighed in on the marijuana debate, and said that “what’s from the earth” shouldn’t be illegal.
Instructing federal agencies to ignore congressional laws is not a fix, said McKay. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
McKay faulted Congress for failing to take initiative on the issue. It is not the place of federal prosecutors or law officers to make policy, he said, nor should the White House go it alone.
In the end, he argued, marijuana should not be lumped in with cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin as part of the war on drugs. Marijuana law, McKay said, “should look a lot more like alcohol (regulations) and a lot less like cocaine and methamphetamine (laws).”
Colorado’s attorney general agrees… when it comes to state coffers. AG John Suthers says it’s okay for his state to tax medical marijuana.
A recent Marie Claire article made us realize that this is not just a question of theoretical interest to some of you. Apparently, there are Biglaw types out there toking up! One 29-year-old corporate attorney told the magazine that pot is essential for relaxation after getting chewed out by a partner.
When ex-associates sue their former firms, a fun time is had by all — with the possible exception of the litigants. Dirty laundry is aired, often for the amusement of onlookers. Here are some classics:
Charlene Morisseau v. DLA Piper (African-American female associate filed $250 million lawsuit against her former firm; firm accused plaintiff of rudeness and insubordination, e.g., throwing a partner out of her office).
Today’s Lawsuit of the Day, Alan Levy v. Sedgwick Detert Moran Arnold LLP (PDF), is a similar suit. Alan Levy (pictured), a former associate at Sedgwick, alleges that his employment was terminated on the basis of disability — to wit, severe depression and a breakdown, brought on in part by the abusive treatment he received at the hands of a partner, Scott Haworth.
So, what was the alleged abuse inflicted upon Levy by Haworth?
If you’re going to have a little afternoon delight with a stripper, why not head to the local cemetery? We applaud South Carolina deputy assistant attorney general and former legislator Roland Corning for really getting into the Halloween spirit this week by getting his jollies at the graveyard.
Unfortunately, his Monday lunch treat got tricky when a police officer happened by. From CBS News:
Deputy assistant attorney general Roland Corning said he was on his lunch break when a police officer found him with a stripper, a Viagra pill, and sex toys in his sports utility vehicle, according to Corning’s boss.
Let’s learn a bit more about the stripper, shall we?
For a while we had a commenter who liked to comment “Legalize it!” on every post, with “it” referring to marijuana. This person is surely quite happy today. From the New York Times:
People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.
In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that make some allowance for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the department said it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources, and that going after individuals who were in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.
Apologies for not getting to this story earlier. Sometimes things fall through the cracks around here. (We were offline for much of Thursday and Friday, attending Lavender Law.)
Last week, a federal magistrate judge questioned the propriety of the U.S. Attorney’s Office moving to dismiss a marijuana possession charge against Andrew Sullivan. Yes, thatAndrew Sullivan — the noted political pundit, author, and blogger (and proponent of marijuana legalization).
Judge Collings issued his saucy opinion (PDF) on Thursday. Later that day, the story was broken by The Docket. The case has also been covered by Gawker, Wonkette, and the WSJ Law Blog, among other outlets (links collected below).
So we won’t rehash what you’ve probably already read. But feel free to take our reader poll and to discuss the case in the comments.
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.