Working as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice offers many advantages over toiling as a law firm associate. Greater responsibility. Better hours. Nicer bosses (with some exceptions).
But working for the DOJ has disadvantages too. Lower pay. Less support staff. No Aeron chairsworking pens.
And maybe rats snacking on your toddler. From a tipster:
Cadwalader may have bed bugs, but the Justice Department’s child care center has rats. The center is… managed by a board of directors, mainly middle aged DOJ lawyers.
Here’s an email making the rounds. My favorite line is “They will stay upstairs for play the rat of the day.”
It’s a beautiful April afternoon (at least here on the East Coast). You shouldn’t be in front of your computer right now.
But in case you are, here are a few quick items of interest:
1. Columbia Faculty Hire Faces Human Rights Questions [New York Sun]
We went to law school with Matt Waxman (OT 2000/Souter). It’s unfortunate that he’s the subject of such controversy, because he’s a true mensch — and one of the “good guys” with respect to human rights issues. As the Sun notes:
“The criticism of Mr. Waxman as insensitive to human rights concerns is seen as paradoxical in some circles since he dissented from aspects of the Bush administration’s policy on detainees and argued that the Geneva Conventions should be the official policy for all those in military hands.”
There’s always something to say about the Aaron Charney / Sullivan & Cromwell litigation. In this excellent post, Professor Arthur Leonard offers some intriguing speculation about some recent (and bizarre) developments in the case.
The federal government is being represented by Jonathan Cohn (OT 2000/Thomas), another former O’Scannlain clerk, currently serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Appellate. Good luck, Jon!
That’s what the student group discussed in this WSJ Law Blog post should be renamed.
Here’s our candid take. A lot of what these students are looking for — in terms of reduced hours and improved work-life balance, in exchange for a smaller paycheck — already exists. It can be found by working for a midsize or small law firm, working for government, working as in-house counsel, or starting your own practice.
But it’s futile to try and export these principles to large law firms. There’s a reason they call it “Biglaw.” If you want the money and prestige of working for an AmLaw 100 law firm, you need to make sacrifices.
The members of Law Students Building A Better Legal Profession may respond: “Well, we ARE willing to make sacrifices. As we state in our manifesto, ‘We are willing to be paid less in exchange for a better working life.’”
Okay, fine. So why don’t you hang up your own shingle, or go work for a midsize or boutique law firm? We hear Gallion & Spielvogel is accepting resumes.
In other words: Why do you feel entitled to a specific work/life balance in the context of a large law firm? Why can’t you just practice in some other professional context? Or leave the law altogether if you find something you enjoy more?
News flash: there is life, and legal practice, outside of the AmLaw or Vault 100. Hundreds of thousands of American lawyers work as solo practitioners, for midsize or small firms, for in-house legal departments, or for state or federal government. They have happy professional and personal lives. They earn enough to feed themselves — and even their kids, too.
But if some attorneys WANT to work 2500+ hours a year, never see their families, and go through multiple divorces, in exchange for seven-figure paydays, who are you to spoil their fun?
Maybe you don’t enjoy smoking, or drinking, or sky-diving. But if these activities don’t affect you — secondhand smoke isn’t that much of a problem, thanks to indoor smoking bans — then you should let other people engage in them.
Live and let live, we say. Live and let live. You Say You Want a Big-Law Revolution [WSJ Law Blog] Law Students Building A Better Legal Profession [official website]
The U.S. Attorneys firing scandal has claimed its first victim (other than the fired U.S. Attorneys): D. Kyle Sampson
Sampson, who served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, tendered his resignation on Monday. It was reported that Sampson failed to keep AG Gonzales and other top Justice Department officials in the loop about his discussions with former White House Counsel Harriet Miers concerning possible U.S. Attorney firings.
An interesting profile of Sampson, written by Eric Lipton, appeared in yesterday’s New York Times. It includes good detail about Sampson’s meteoric rise through conservative legal circles, as well as some backstory about Sampson’s own desire to serve as U.S. Attorney for Utah.
It’s a serious and sober portrait. If you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side, replete with discussion of Sampson’s skills on the basketball court, check out what we received from a helpful tipster. It appears after the jump.
He’s getting lectured on ethics and accountability by our favorite former First Lady: Of course, Hillary Clinton was accused of similar conduct — firing public servants to make way for cronies — in the Travelgate scandal. But there’s a critical difference between them: Hillary is delicious, and Alberto Gonzales is not. Update: Oh yeah, the situations differ in otherrespects, too. But the deliciousness differential is the most important factor by far. Random aside: Before he took the podium at yesterday’s news conference, Attorney General Gonzales gave a peck on the cheek to a striking blonde woman. We believe that the kissed colleague was Alice Fisher, the diva-licious queen of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, but we’re not sure. If you know for certain, please confirm. EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton Calls for Gonzales’ Resignation [ABC News]
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave a news briefing this afternoon on the controversial firings of eight U.S. Attorneys. When we saw him on CNN, stepping in front of the cameras for an unplanned press conference, we immediately thought: “Is he resigning?”
As it turns out, no — emphatically not. Attorney General Gonzales is not going anywhere, at least for now. But a Gonzales resignation no longer lies outside the realm of possibility. Earlier this week, Gonzales accepted the resignation of Kyle Sampson, his chief of staff, who reportedly failed to brief other senior DOJ officials about his discussions with former White House Counsel Harriet Miers about the firings.
Furthermore, White House press secretary Tony Snow declared that President Bush “has confidence” in Alberto Gonzales. Uh-oh — inside the Beltway, that’s the kiss of death. Recall that the president expressed his “confidence” in former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shortly before canning his ass.
This morning the WSJ Law Blog upgraded the U.S. Attorney controversy from “an imbroglio” to “a mess.” We’re not sure that’s an upgrade exactly. But assuming it is, we will see their “mess,” and raise them a “s**tstorm.” Gonzales: Prosecutors Firings Mishandled [Associated Press] If It’s Gone-Zales, Then Who Should be the Next AG? [WSJ Law Blog] Alberto Gonzales Lives To Justify Atrocities Another Day [Wonkette]
Here are some recent, noteworthy moves within the D.C. legal community: Inside the Administration:
* Conservative legal superstar Jennifer Brosnahan has left the White House Counsel’s office, where she was one of the more senior associate counsels, to become the new deputy general counsel at the Department of Transportation. From government to private practice:
* As previously reported by Ken Vogel of The Politico, Michael Toner has left the Federal Election Commission, to build an election law practice at Bryan Cave (which, by the way, recently raised associate salaries). Within the Fourth Estate:
* One of the most knowledgeable legal scribes around, Benjamin Wittes, is leaving the Washington Post, after some nine years at the venerable paper.
(Wittes, the author of Confirmation Wars (previously praised here), is currently on book leave from the Post. He’s working on another book about the federal courts.) FEC Revolving Door Swings Faster [The Politico]
Despite the catchy and provocative title we’ve bestowed upon this story, we must confess: We don’t completely “get” the quasi-scandal surrounding the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys around the country.
Well, after reading your informative comments, and in light of subsequent revelations, we’re beginning to get it. The Democrats are having a field day with this — and one can hardly blame them.
More discussion after the jump.
Now it’s time for a post about one of our favorite subjects: the magnificent Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. First, check out what’s currently gracing the front page of the Drudge Report: The audio clip is pretty awesome. To listen, click here.
Second, we’d like to take this opportunity to chastise any and all lawyers who enjoyed top government posts during the Clinton Administration, but now refuse to support Senator Clinton in her bid for the White House.
Here are two prominent examples. With apologies to Stephen Colbert, who isn’t exactly a Hillary supporter, a “Wag of the Finger” to:
Craig is doing this despite his close personal ties to the Clintons; the fact that he held multiple posts in the Clinton Administration, at the White House and State Department; and the alma mater he shares with the Clintons (Yale Law School — rival to Obama’s Harvard Law).
2. Jeh Charles Johnson. Paul Weiss partner Jeh Johnson, a successful New York litigator and prominent political fundraiser, served as general counsel to the Air Force under President Clinton. Yet he too has also turned his back on Senator Clinton, his home state legislator, to raise funds for Barack Obama.
Despite the catchy and provocative title we’ve bestowed upon this story, we must confess: We don’t completely “get” the quasi-scandal surrounding the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys around the country (which the WSJ Law Blog has officially upgraded from a “flap” to an “imbroglio”).
The fired folks were not career prosecutors. The chief federal prosecutor in a district is a political appointee, who serves at the pleasure of the president. The president’s power over these posts is pretty much plenary (subject to the Senate’s “advise and consent” function, of course).
For better or worse, U.S. Attorney posts have long been treated as “patronage” posts — in both Republican and Democratic administrations. When a new president takes office, he generally cashiers all (or nearly all) of the 94 U.S. Attorneys, even if they’re doing perfectly fine jobs.
An incoming president doesn’t have to give any reason for dismissing a federal prosecutor. If he did, the reason might be something like: “‘Cause I want to give the job to my fundraising buddy and/or political ally.”
Consider the example of our former boss, Christopher J. Christie, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Christie has been widely praised as a dynamic and effective U.S. attorney — praise that is raising speculation about what he might do next. But at the time he assumed the post, he had practically no criminal law experience. Critics claimed that Chris Christie’s main “qualification” for the job was his (and his family’s) skill at raising funds for Bush.
True? Maybe; maybe not. But that’s why they call it politics, people.
Continued ramblings, plus lots of links, after the jump.
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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