Last summer, Winston & Strawn only had a 90% offer rate for summer associates. Last year, that was worrisome. This year, summers would likely injure baby seals for a 90% offer rate.
Summers are getting nervous, and it appears that a video conference from Winston’s managing partner, Tom Fitzgerald, didn’t help matters. Here is one tipster’s report of the proceedings:
The entire Winston summer class watched a video-conference speech given by Tom Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald explained that we would be notified of offers during Labor Day weekend. We were also told that the demand for legal services has plummeted, and that we were very talented and would do well no matter whatever field or firm we joined. He even talked about some past Winston summers who went on to do great things … Overall Tom seemed to be preparing us for a slaughter come September. He also mentioned at the end of his address that those who did get offers would start January 2011 at the earliest. Needless to say the summers were feeling pretty s****y.
We haven’t been able to confirm that Winston & Strawn will be instituting a mandatory deferral for summers that receive an offer to return full-time.
Of course, it’s not all bad news for the firm. Just last week, Winston hired Thomas Cottingham III and a number of other attorneys from Hunton & Williams. The move should bolster Winston’s Charlotte office — good news for the firm, as well as the city of Charlotte.
But expanding during a recession is always a difficult thing to do. After the jump, take a look at one attorney’s thoughts about how Winston’s expansion in China is going — thoughts apparently intended for the firm’s former and current chairmen, but accidentally disseminated firm-wide. UPDATE AFTER THE JUMP (1:00 P.M.): One Winston tipster says the “attorney” weighing in on the Chinese expansion is just a spammer.
Here’s a blast email that went out last night to journalists who regularly receive updates from the U.S. Department of Justice. This particular press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana.
Pay special attention to the subject line.
Fifteen minutes later, a corrected version went out. It was identical to the original version, except for a new subject line: “CORRECTED: FEDERAL GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENT ON INTERNET BOMB THREATS.”
If you’d like to read the full press release, notwithstanding its manifest suckiness, we’ve posted it after the jump.
This morning, we mentioned the University of Illinois College of Law admissions scandal. It appears that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich pressured the University of Illinois Chancellor, Richard Herman, and Heidi Hurd, former dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, to admit underqualified students who were politically connected. In exchange for admitting those students, university officials attempted to obtain jobs for graduates of the College of Law.
The Chicago Tribune reports the results of its investigation into the law school:
The documents show for the first time efforts to seek favors — in this case, jobs — for admissions, the most troubling evidence yet of how Illinois’ entrenched system of patronage crept into the state’s most prestigious public university.
They also detail the law school’s system for handling “Special Admits,” students backed by the politically connected, expanding the scope of a scandal prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation.
The paper has published the incriminating emails (PDF) it has uncovered. Warning, these emails are not safe for naive people who are unaccustomed with the “Chicago style” of getting things done. Here’s an exchange between the Chancellor and the Dean about what jobs would be appropriate in exchange for admitting politically connected students:
I suppose there are worse things than a dean trying to aggressively secure employment for her law graduates can’t pass the bar and can’t think. Of course, you’d hope that the dean would be even more focused on educating students so that they can pass the bar and, you know, think — but why cry over spilled milk?
In fact, some Illinois law graduates we spoke with had a very positive impression of Dean Hurd. Depending, of course, on what you mean by positive.
Some student impressions of the dean, and more emails, after the jump.
As we mentioned last night, there is an interesting debate over what White & Case should have done in response to the adulterous sex scandal involving its associate, “Miami White.” The Daily Business Review takes a look at some of the competing theories for crisis management:
For White & Case, the unwanted publicity raises a question all law firm managers and public relations professionals should consider: If an employee’s dirty laundry gets a public airing, how can a law firm respond to minimize the damage?
When asked about the matter, White & Case spokesman William Sancho in Miami offered a brusque “no comment.”
Hours later, an official firm statement came out: “This is a personal matter for the individual involved, and we cannot comment on it.”
It wasn’t really surprising when White & Case declined to respond to the affairs of SexyLexus. But I wonder if Miami White was told by the firm that he couldn’t comment in the press? Cuckolded in Canada said his piece, SexyLexus called in, but multiple phone calls and emails to Miami White have not been returned.
Regardless of the particular plight of Miami White, should White & Case have gone in a different direction? Let’s get into it after the jump.
The Bingham McCutchen “Stepford Secretary” has decided to speak out about her termination from Bingham and her decision to hire a lawyer.
In an email she sent to Above the Law, the Stepford Secretary describes her firm wide CHARACTER email as “totally harmless.” She also describes the way in which she was fired from Bingham:
I panicked prior to my termination. Bingham disconnected my computer, took my identification and escorted me out of the building.
Why a possible lawsuit? Bingham terminated me for violation of policy. There is no written policy regarding NOT being able to send mass internal emails. It says to use discretion. I’m sure that policy has been or will quickly be updated.
Stepford claims that she always intended her email to be an internal communication with in the firm. She writes that she didn’t even know Above the Law existed before she sent her email.
She does now.
Read her full email after the jump. She has requested that we maintain her anonymity to the general public.
Yesterday, we told you about a bizarre love triangle — or perhaps pentagon — between a husband, a wife, and an associate in the Miami office of White & Case. Today, the wife (a.k.a. “SexyLexus”) called us to explain her side of the story and her relationship with her husband (a.k.a. “Cuckolded in Canada”) and the White & Case attorney (a.k.a. “Miami White”). We once again ask that commenters refrain from using real names in the comments.
SexyLexus called to make one thing clear. She told us, in no uncertain terms, “I am not a whore.”
In his email to Miami White’s colleagues at White & Case, Cuckolded in Canada claimed that SexyLexus was a porn star. She disagrees with that characterization:
It’s a camera-site. That is all it is. I am not in contact with anybody, there is no contact between me and anybody on that camera-site.
In fact, SexyLexus claims that not only did Cuckolded in Canada know about her online presence, but that he encouraged her to do it in order to make money for the family:
He told me to get back on the camera-site. I was out of the business, but Cuckolded in Canada told me to get back on to make money for the family … I think it turned him on, me doing it. … He loved it.
Despite her showing off the goods on camera and pursuing liaisons of late, SexyLexus was vehement about the paternity of her children not being in doubt:
Yes, the kids are Cuckolded in Canada’s. They are all his.
Above the Law once again reached out to Cuckolded in Canada and Miami White, but neither responded to our multiple inquires. But SexyLexus has more information on both of those guys, which she shares with Above the Law after the jump.
As noted even in the New York Times, the global mega-firm of White & Case has been hit hard by the recession. But allegedly one of the firm’s associates has been hitting it up — with another man’s wife.
The supposedly cuckolded husband has no intention of allowing this White & Case attorney to get away with an affair. The husband sent two accusatory emails to dozens of recipients who know him and / or the White & Case attorney. The emails have bounced around White & Case’s Miami office — and beyond. Due to their wide circulation, many of you have probably seen them already.
We’ve replaced the names of the participants with pseudonyms, but you’ll get the gist. Here is the initial email sent out on Sunday afternoon from “Cuckolded in Canada,” addressed to (1) his wife, “SexyLexus” (the origin of that name will become clear later); (2) the White & Case associate she was allegedly cheating with, hereinafter “Miami White”; and (3) dozens of third parties:
From: Cuckolded in Canada Subject: When [Miami White] from White & Case Cheated with my Wife [SexyLexus] in May and June 2009
Families, wives, young children are valuable things. I work hard to take care of my family – a wife, 4 small children under the age of 6. It is the most valuable thing in the world to me.
When you decided to start sleeping with my wife while I was out of town over the last few weeks (May 27 – June 7 2009), you threatened my way of life, and you really hurt a lot of people – most notably the lives of my 4 very young children.
You are a securities lawyer at White & Case, so you know how to do due diligence. Perhaps you thought it was clever or fun, but attending a school recital with my wife who you’ve just met and started sleeping with over the last few weeks is extremely poor judgement. Sleeping with other mens wives, is alone, perhaps the poorest taste and the worst judgement all on its own. It implies a very low moral character. Perhaps you wish to plead ignorance, but a simple search on my name on the internet would indicate that I take a great deal of pride in my family. But after reviewing the text messages between you and my wife it would appear that you did the due diligence, that you knew she was spending the summer with me in Canada starting last week, and that we had small children and you were jeopardizing my family with your actions.
I have tried to contact you numerous times this week to address the situation and ask you to step aside… to let me address the issues now faced in our house. I have contacted your mobile at [Redacted] and your house at [Redacted] but you are too much of a coward to answer. You need to be made aware of your actions and the consequences they bear.
Miami White, and SexyLexus… what follows below are the text messages of your affair over the last few weeks as it unfolds. I would like to especially thank those at [my kids' school] that watched this unfold at the school concert last week, and did nothing to alert me or defend my family. That is certainly a church and a school I want my children to grow up learning from. You have all seen me drop my kids off and pick them up there every single day for the last year. Did you think to mention anything when I showed up there last Monday June 8 at my kids ceremonies? You know how important they are to me.
And for all of you that think running around with other mens wives or husbands behind their spouses backs is acceptable behaviour – recognize that there are consequences and that many of us that will fight for our families and ferociously defend our home and children.
How’s that for an opening salvo? Wait until Cuckolded starts revealing the text messages between his wife and her purported paramours, after the jump.
We’ve been following the trials and tribulations of the former Bingham McCutchen “Stepford Secretary” who sent out a mission statement to the firm about CHARACTER. After the email, the secretary was fired by Bingham.
Now, she’s lawyered-up. No complaint has been filed, but we understand that the secretary has hired an attorney and is considering her options.
What possible claims could she have?
We understand that the Stepford Secretary was let go for violating the firm’s email policy, and insubordination. But she had been with the firm for over ten years. According to some of our sources, the Stepford secretary doesn’t see her email as “insubordinate,” because the email didn’t disparage the firm. As one tipster puts it:
Bingham never bothered to ask why she sent the email or what provoked the cry for help.
A couple of days ago, we brought you the story of a Bingham McCutchen secretary who believed that her firm had great “CHARACTER,” despite these tough economic times. She closed her remarks with this:
So, although I am grateful for my job and middle class life, I realize that living daily in fear and conforming to play a Stepford role will not ensure either. Besides, I value and respect too many of the people at Bingham. I’ll stick with good old CHARACTER.
As we — and many others — anticipated, that secretary is no longer employed at Bingham.
The firm would not comment about its internal decision, but multiple sources independently tell us that she has been let go. As we understand it, she was fired on Wednesday.
One of our commenters had this insightful response to the Stepford Secretary’s situation:
I think this and eekboy’s “rant” is a reflection of our times. Everyone thinks their opinion is important and should be heard. While I don’t doubt this secretary has a beef on her mind, I believe she and eekboy have no concept of boundaries. This is part of the facebook/twitter/blog phenomenon where everyone thinks they can say WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want, WHEREVER they want.
She should’ve sent that to close friends and peer colleagues. Sending it to the entire firm is just selfish and egotistical.
But it could be that the secretary had more to say.
Details after the jump.
Don’t call it a memo, call it a mission statement.
This afternoon, just before lunch, a secretary in the New York office of Bingham McCutchen decided to express her feelings about the recession to her law firm colleagues. All of them. All Bingham partners, counsel, associates, and staff, in every office, received this message to ponder over lunch:
In recent times we read and talk primarily of those who have lost their jobs. Those of us that remain employed, specifically for this content, in the field of “Corporate America”, are clinging so tightly to the stability and familiarity of ones’ employment that we are losing, in my opinion, an already underrated quality, CHARACTER (for some that may be assuming that they had any in the first place, and likely they are clueless to who they are).
Many years have passed now since I joined the legal profession. I can remember meeting a first year associate, and sinking into my chair when I realized I was older than my assignment. I have been truly fortunate during my many years. I have worked with ground-breaking woman and bright young associates who eventually became partner. I have experienced co-workers get married, have babies, even cried with them over loss of dear friends (R.I.P. Howie, Mike and sadly several others).
As I look around lately, I see nail biting and unshowered attorneys (more driven than ever), which is another great concern – the lack of recognition for the importance of Quality of Life. But that’s another story). In conversation with colleagues I hear in whispers “well, we have our jobs”. Some of these people, now unrecognizable to me, I have known for countless years. It is as if their zest is gone, overshadowed by their fears, desperate to justify their worth to the company. These were some of the brightest and most innovative people I have ever professionally known.
Good. Good. Keep typing. I am unarmed. Keep writing this email and take the Quinn Emanuel associate’s place by my side.
Crack open a beer and watch the train wreck continue after the jump.
When you talk to a prospective lateral about your firm during their first meeting, the conversation can go deep, sideways, and in circles. There is so much to share and discuss. What path of a dialogue can you follow to get better odds of a favorable conclusion?
Consider this template as a model you can use to discuss your firm’s opportunity. This simplifies the conversation and gives you a mental framework so the discussion is meaningful, relevant and moves things forward.
The Four P’s
In my transition from retained corporate executive search to legal search, I saw that there were many levels of complexity in the move of a partner transitioning from firm A to firm B. In placing an executive in a corporation, it was simple because of the linear nature of relationships in corporations. In a law firm, because of the multi-layered aspect of the interdependent relationships that each partner must manage with others, the dialogue is much more involved.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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