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.]
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!