Here in New York, we’re in the midst of the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, a race sponsored by JPMorgan that raises money for the Central Park Conservancy. An ATL reader at a major New York law firm described the race (which is really two races; it’s now run over two consecutive evenings, due to the large number of participants):
[The Challenge] is a 3.5 mile race in Central Park that took place yesterday and will finish tonight. See here. Last year, there were over 6,500 finishers — a number of whom ran on “teams” for BigLaw.
While this particular race is NYC-centric, I think a story about how difficult it is to stay even semi-fit as a BigLaw attorney would strike a chord with your readers.
Indeed. Although many lawyers are avid runners, including marathoners, balancing training with billing hours isn’t easy. But some manage to find the time, as our source points out….
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.
When I summered at Shearman & Sterling back in the late ’90s, the partners had just voted on whether to install a gym in the building or create a formal dining room.
Needless to say, they went with the dining room.
It was strictly lawyers-only. At the center stood a buffet fit for a cruise ship, replete with heaping chafing dishes. On certain days, they even had a “prime rib station,” manned by a guy wearing a toque.
This was the golden trough. We fed with complete abandon – at least on days when we weren’t being whisked off to The Four Seasons by a partner pretending to remember our names.
The joke was that all summer associates at Shearman gained 15 pounds.
It wasn’t a joke. We did.
Almost overnight a relatively in-shape pack of law students morphed into a fresh, pudgy litter of big firm attorneys.
It’s no secret law firms ply you with food to address the fact that they’re denying you everything else.
It’s hard to fit the gym into your schedule. Sometimes it’s even harder to fit it into your budget. Especially if you live in New York, where monthly gym membership fees could fetch you a studio apartment somewhere in flyover country. Of course, there are more hard bodies to ogle at Equinox than in Phoenix.
That’s why we spend the long hours at the office, sitting motionless at desks, staring hard at a computer: to make the big bucks so we can afford to go to the gym. It would suck to have a low-paying blue-collar job where you spend all day lifting heavy stuff, manipulating machinery, and running around, because then you couldn’t afford to go to the gym to…
Hmmm…. Well, it’s easy to afford a New York gym membership when you’ve got a Biglaw salary, but it’s not so easy if you’re a New York law student paying for it with your student loans. Is a hard body really worth it with an 8.5% interest rate?
Columbia 2L Julia Neyman, 24, has found a way around this dilemma. As reported by the New York Daily News this week, she’s spending a year taking advantage of free gym promotions across the five burroughs and chronicling it on her blog, Buns of Steal. (Gawker felt the need to point out the double meaning in that title, but we assume you all get it.)
From the Daily News: “Neyman will do whatever it takes to score no-cost gym sessions: lie, finagle, beg and even flirt.”
Well, not exactly, says Neyman. We caught up with her yesterday about her pro bono gym program….
The New York City marathon happens this Sunday. We know many lawyers who will be running it, and we wish them luck.
The marathon did not impose a minimum age until 1981 (16, raised to 18 in 1988). Pegged to the upcoming marathon, the New York Times had a fascinating article earlier this week about child marathoners, focusing on Wesley Paul, Scott Black (pictured), and Howie Breinan:
The adventures of Paul, Black and Breinan offer a glimpse into a forgotten aspect of the running boom of the late 1970s. Preternaturally self-disciplined, they were among about 75 children (ages 8 to 13) who tackled the early years of the New York City Marathon in a time of novelty and naïveté….
With no conclusive study, physicians still debate risks to children who compete in marathons, like muscular-skeletal injuries, stunted growth, burnout, parental pressures and the ability to handle heat stress.
Another risk: going on to become a securities lawyer. Two out of the three child marathoners profiled by the Times now practice in that field.
Have you ever considered the possibility of getting sued for not being able to dance? That’s the reality now facing James Graeber, who allegedly flung a hedge fund employee right off of a dance floor at a New Jersey wedding. The New York Post reports:
An Upper West Side woman is suing a rowdy reveler who drunkenly clobbered her on the dance floor at his sister’s reception last year.
Christine Mancision said she was grooving after dinner at the Hyatt Morristown in New Jersey when, “all of a sudden, I turn and I’m grabbed by this really tall individual.”
“I had no idea who he was. And he grabbed my arm and spun me around to dance with me and then just flung me off to the side of the dance floor, and I went flying to the floor,” the petite 27-year-old recalled.
Turn around, bright eyes Every now and then I fall apart Turn around, bright eyes F***in every now and then I fall apart And I need you now tonight I f***in need you more than ever.
In related news, people who can dance do not go to weddings in New Jersey.
Mancision suffered a broken wrist and is suing James Graeber. But she’s also suing the Hyatt, for reasons passing understanding.
Details and updates after the jump.
When Justice Sonia Sotomayor needs to work off all the rice, beans and pork she’s consumed, she hits the gym.
Alas, it appears that Her Honor’s Equinox gym membership was canceled, after she apparently refused to show identification when trying to enter the premises. We’re with Justice Sotomayor on this: she’s a frickin’ federal judge, the closest thing this nation has to an aristocracy. Showing ID is for little people!
Sure, Barack Obama showed his birth certificate identification when he visited Equinox health clubs during the campaign. But he’s Article II — ick, having to run for election, how déclassé — and Justice Sotomayor is Article III, fabulous and life-tenured.
Luckily, the SCOTUS has its own gym — replete with a basketball court, aka “the highest court in the land.” And Justice Sotomayor won’t have to worry about being recognized at One First Street (where even the law clerks are recognized on sight by the Supreme Court police). Sotomayor v. Equinox Fitness: The Case of the Canceled Membership [New York magazine]
(Gavel bang: commenter.)
Last night, George Sodini, 48, walked into an LA Fitness Center near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and opened fire on those exercising inside. Early reports say he killed three women and injured up to 15, including his ex-girlfriend. He then turned the gun on himself.
Sodini’s LinkedIn profile says he was a systems analyst at K&L Gates. We reached out to the firm this morning. A spokesperson responded to say:
K&L Gates is deeply saddened by last night’s events, and offers its condolences to the families and friends of all who were involved in this terrible tragedy.
ABC News has found Sodini’s online diary. We ran a WhoIs search and determined that the diary is not a hoax. A George Sodini of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, registered the website in August 2000.
It is incredibly disturbing.
Not all firms are cutting back on the perks. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has an enthused article today about the perks to be had at the small Tennessee firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson.
The article, “Legal firm helps its employees find essential balance,” talks about the firm’s AMAZING perks:
Something refreshing for body and soul is happening within the 119-year-old walls that house a venerable Memphis law firm.
Refreshing as a good yoga session. Strengthening as a brisk core-body workout. And uplifting as guest speakers whose work has made Memphis a better place.
Sweet. You can work out at work! And they friggin’ bring in guest speakers at lunch. Wow! Do they have as much free coffee as you can drink too?
If you thought firm life in Memphis couldn’t compare to Biglaw in the big city, think again:
That quest for balance explains why Leah Hillis strolled down the hallways on a recent lunch hour wearing workout clothes for a yoga session.
The associate attorney headed for the firm’s large, third-story storeroom overlooking Court Square… Other exercise classes to strengthen the core-body are Mondays and Fridays in the same unfinished space, which holds files of old cases, surplus furniture and cleaning supplies.
The classes are inexpensive: $4 for yoga and $3 for the core-body sessions.
Only $4 to work out in the storage closet!
If that’s not your cup of tea, you can spend lunch with a guest speaker during one of the firm’s “fireside chats” in the Crump Room. A recent speaker mentioned in the article is a Holocaust survivor. Fun times. Law and life: Legal firm helps its employees find essential balance [Memphis Commercial Appeal]
We know you legal folk struggle with your weight. Nearly 70 percent of respondents to Justin’s weighty April survey admitted to putting on the pounds since embarking on the legal track. Maybe it’s because you’re such deep thinkers!
Thinking makes you hungry, says Science Daily. A Canadian research team has found that intellectual work, that stuff lawyers do so much of, causes a substantial increase in caloric intake:
The research team, supervised by Dr. Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.
The researchers had already shown that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6% and 29.4 % increase, respectively, compared with the rest period.
Perhaps you can fight the bulge by thinking less hard. Another option is to get an in-work work-out with a treadmill desk — Quinn Emanuel’s Aaron Craig logs five to six miles a day at the office.
If resolved to keep the paunch, the intellectual fatties can at least take comfort in knowing that the thin lawyers are the dumb ones. [Ed. note: There was no substantial increase in caloric intake as a result of coming up with that bit of logic.]
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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.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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