Discovery disputes, like a certain other thing, happen. But it’s not often that these happenings make the pages of the New York Times. An article on the front page of the business section reports:
Dell has been accused of withholding evidence, including e-mails among its top executives, in a lawsuit over faulty computers it sold to businesses, according to a filing made Thursday. Advanced Internet Technologies filed a motion in Federal District Court in North Carolina asserting that Dell had deliberately violated a court order by failing to produce documents written by its executives, including the company’s chief executive and founder, Michael S. Dell.
The filing is the latest twist in a three-year-old lawsuit brought by A.I.T. that accuses Dell of selling at least 11.8 million faulty PCs over three years and then trying to hide problems with the computers from customers. A.I.T., an Internet services company, says it lost business as a result of the broken Dell machines.
Ironically enough, one of the apparent victims was the law firm representing Dell in the case….
There are many big questions in life. For example, email etiquette. “To” or “dear” or just a name? “Best” or “best regards” or “sincerely” or just your initials? Instant response or tasteful 15-minute delay?
Like many of the big questions, it’s hard to come up with definitive answers. But one summer associate has a core belief system that he thinks all fellow lawyers and law students should embrace:
The summer intern season / horror show is winding down. For the sake of next year’s crop of law student summer interns/associates, could you please post a commentary on annoying email habits? Maybe something similar to George Costanza’s rules for workplace behavior. Anyways, I was fortunate to work at least three years before heading back to school and learned some useful lessons about email etiquette. Apparently, these lessons do not reach most of my over achieving, nobody-has-ever-told-me-no-before law school classmates who come straight from undergrad.
- Chester Copperpot
Copperpot has brought Four Commandments back from the digital mountaintop. We blaspheme against some of them after the jump….
When times are tough, the tough get… whiny? A law student at Emory is frustrated by the lack of jobs being offered up by Career Services and circulated an email airing his or her discontent. Addressed to “My Fellow Emory Law Students,” it lambasts the employees charged with helping Emory grads land jobs.
It’s available in full after the jump, but here’s an excerpt:
This has gotten absolutely ridiculous. When we first entered Emory Law School, jobs were plentiful and career services could sit around and do nothing. Things are much different now. In 2008, the market collapse stunned the legal job market. Those $160,000+ jobs went from plentiful to a rare commodity, yet our tuition continues to rise and our loans accrue.
What has career services done? Nothing. Remember this item on Abovethelaw from exactly a year ago? Apparently, they’ve been a little too calm in this storm. Nevertheless, they still operate under their prior m.o. (sit in the office, do nothing but play solitaire, and expect jobs to walk into their office). Whenever students complain about the lack of OCI jobs (that will be discussed in another paragraph below), their response always references the down economy. When we ask for advice, we are told “Network.” Upon further inquiry about networking tips, we are told, “Talk to people.” They haven’t even attempted the extremes at Duke or SMU Law; options exist, but they don’t want to do the work.
Have Duke’s Bridge to Practice and SMU’s Test Drive set a new bar? Is it a fair expectation that part of your law school tuition go towards paying someone to hire you?
We reached out to Emory’s career services office for their response to the criticism. Assistant Dean of Career Services Janet Hutchinson took a break from solitaire to get back to us…
Here at Above the Law, we like to provide a service to our readers. Sometimes things happen at a law firm that you just can’t talk about to your colleagues. But you can always tell us.
Last week, we corresponded with a frustrated attorney. Despite the fact that he’s quite senior and has changed firms looking for a better situation, he’s still dealing with the kind of casual disrespect most associates all across the land must suffer:
I sit here today at my new law firm, still disgruntled, I find myself writing a fictitious response to a real email sent to me on Monday by my boss. I actually sent the fictitious email to my brother, for pleasure reading, and not to my boss of course. I thought I would share it with you.
The very real email he received from the partner in question seems innocuous enough:
Please let me know if you are licensed in Kansas. I have some work that needs to be done over there.
It’s a harmless enough request, until you learn a little bit more of the backstory that this associate just wishes he could explain to the partner…
We’re hoping the Harvard Law School email controversy has run its course — and we suspect that it has. (But we still invite you to take our reader poll on whether Crimson DNA’s email was racist or offensive.)
Before we close the door on this story, we’d like to give you the background on how it all got started. It’s disturbing — and a cautionary tale for all of us.
Our initial report on this story was missing some important pieces of information, which we did not acquire until later. This post will attempt to provide a more complete report of how one Harvard 3L’s personal email message, shared with just a handful of friends, became national news….
UPDATE: We’ve added a statement from one of the principal players, “Yelena,” after the jump.
If you’re tired of reading about the Harvard Law School email controversy — judging from our traffic and comment levels, most of you aren’t, but maybe some of you are — we have some good news. Our coverage is winding down. (We do have a few loose ends to tie up, though, which may take us into the weekend or early next week.)
Before we conclude, we’d like to hear from you, our readers. We’ve heard from the commenters, of course — but many readers never comment, so the commenters aren’t representative of everyone.
Reader polls, which draw much larger participation than the comments, offer a better gauge of audience sentiment. We’d like to poll you on two questions:
(1) Was Crimson DNA’s email racist?
(2) Was Crimson DNA’s email offensive?
Please vote in our two reader polls, after the jump.
Harvard BLSA denounces racially inflammatory language – The Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) strongly condemns the racially inflammatory email that was circulated among the entire Harvard Law School community. Like many individuals who read its content, we find the message to be deplorable and offensive. We are open to thoughtful discourse on even the most controversial of views, and yet we categorically reject the archaic notion that African-Americans are genetically inferior to white people. We recognize, however, that this issue is much larger than any single email or any particular student.
Was that so hard? The foregoing paragraph is a pitch-perfect assessment of the situation and an effective response.
The BLSA letter goes on to say that HBLSA should not (and apparently does not) want to be the focus of attention here…
Elie here: just wanted to make sure you all know what’s coming.
Few things embarrass me like the Harvard Black Law Students Association. It could be the most credible foil to systemic racism against black law students. It has instead become a convenient tool to be used by those who wish to ignore the racial tensions in our system of legal education.
Don’t believe me? Earlier this week, we learned that a sole white kid called blacks genetically dumber than whites, and Harvard BLSA backed down — stepped and fetched, if you will — in the face of one solitary white person. It’s not the first time (we’ll get to the tragically impotent reaction to Kiwi Camara later). But at a point when the entire law school world would have at least considered what Harvard BLSA had to say, the organization sought to cover their own ass in the media, instead of standing up on the behalf of maligned black law students everywhere.
I cannot and do not wish to speak for all black law students and lawyers. But when confronted with abject racism, I can find the courage to speak for myself. I believe that gives me more balls than BLSA…
Martha Minow, Dean of the Harvard Law School — and, by the way, a possible Supreme Court nominee — has issued a statement regarding the allegedly racist email by a third-year Harvard Law School student that has been making the rounds. (We refer to the 3L in these pages as simply “CRIMSON DNA” or “DNA”; please do not post DNA’s real name in the comments.)
Not surprisingly for a law professor, Dean Minow avails herself of the teaching moment that the Harvard Black Law Students Association apparently passed on. She writes:
This sad and unfortunate incident prompts both reflection and reassertion of important community principles and ideals. We seek to encourage freedom of expression, but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility. This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice. The circulation of one student’s comment does not reflect the views of the school or the overwhelming majority of the members of this community.
Dean Minow condemns the substance of the email in question:
Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group, including race-based insensitivity or hostility. The particular comment in question unfortunately resonates with old and hurtful misconceptions. As an educational institution, we are especially dedicated to exposing to the light of inquiry false views about individuals or groups.
She also highlights a point we emphasized last night, namely, that BLSA did not publicize the email or pressure DNA’s future employer (a federal judge) to rescind a job offer.
The dean’s statement refers to an apology written by DNA. We haven’t seen the apology in question (although we’re trying to obtain it). If you have a copy, please email us (subject line: “HLS Apology”).
Dean Minow’s full statement appears after the jump.
Earlier today, we wrote about an email controversy emanating from the halls of Harvard Law School. A 3L at HLS — referred to in these pages simply as “CRIMSON DNA,” and please help us keep it that way — sent out an email message that some construed as “racist.” In the email, “CRIMSON DNA,” following up on remarks made during an apparently spirited dinner conversation, wrote as follows:
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic.
That was just the opening. Read the rest of DNA’s email over here.
We now bring you some corrections and clarifications, as well as additional discussion — in case the 100+ tweets, 800+ comments, and 1,000+ Facebook shares weren’t enough for you….
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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.
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.
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