Working at a small law firm definitely has its perks. You’ll be able to get to know most, if not all, of the partners on a one-on-one basis; oftentimes, you’ll be able to bring in clients to the firm as a mere associate; and perhaps most importantly, your job won’t make you hate the law quite as much, because the overall environment will be more friendly and collegial.
But on the flip side of that analysis, such collegiality can sometimes lead to misplaced casualness in terms of emails about office behavior. It’s just that your office is so small that sending off-the-cuff nastygrams can become commonplace. You’d be surprised how quickly an email request that others not use your french vanilla coffee creamer can turn into an f-bomb-laden screed.
So you can only imagine the kind of email that would be sent if there was a nasty stench pervading the nostrils of all who inhabited the office….
In case you haven’t noticed by now, law students tend to be an overly dramatic bunch. If something inconveniences them, their lives have been ruined. If they don’t immediately get their way, they’ll storm off to Change.org and write a petition about it. And if something bad happens to them and they’ve got access to a school-wide listserv, then my God, abandon all hope ye who open that email.
Around these parts, we’re prone to calling these people “Millennials” — the special little snowflakes who’ve been raised to believe that they can do no wrong. That’s why we love it so when one of them gets smacked down by one of their more cynical peers.
Earlier this week, an enraged student from a T14 law school sent out a fiery email to the entire school because oh nooooes, someone had stolen her lunch, which is obviously the worst thing that’s ever happened in this chick’s life. But we’re kind of happy that this most awful event occurred, because the reply email is absolutely fabulous….
Whether you are a partner or associate, working in Biglaw or in a boutique, the key to success is developing a book of business. And the key to developing business is to focus instead on developing a book of relationships. As I wrote before, “business is an engagement, a lawsuit, a transaction; it is measured in money. A relationship is a connection with a human being. A book of business is virtually impossible for an associate to build. A book of relationships is available to first year associates and partners alike.” No matter how good a lawyer you may be, people still want to do business with people they know and like on a personal level…
It’s a classic story: you run a major produce company and you look at your books and realize, “Oops, I’ve accidentally funneled millions of dollars to terrorist groups.” And then those groups commit some of the “terrorist acts” that form their wheelhouse and their victims and their families look to your company for recompense.
I mean, that would be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
What can you do?
According to an Ohio appellate court, you can’t ask your insurance carrier to bail you out….
* “We are a teaching institution. We teach by not having television. We are judged by what we write.” Justices Kennedy and Breyer aren’t ready for their close-ups — they’re adamantly opposed to cameras in the courtroom. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Another thing Justices Kennedy and Breyer are adamantly opposed to is the sequester. They say that these unnecessary budget cuts will hit the criminal justice system where it hurts: its already overflowing docket. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* A liberal film critic took a shot at Justice Clarence Thomas by likening him to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the head house slave in Django Unchained. Methinks this is a RACEIST™ comparison, n’est–ce pas? [Reason Magazine]
* Reed Smith has a new managing partner, Edward Estrada, who plans to “aggressively recruit laterals.” No relation to Erik Estrada, but if he gets a pair of those cool sunglasses, we approve. [New York Law Journal]
* A better deal was reached in the BAR/BRI antitrust case. Say goodbye to the coupons, and hello to $9.5 million in cold hard cash… which means you’re going to get like $80 if you’re lucky. [National Law Journal]
* “This is a very disgusting case.” Why yes, yes it is. A mother is suing because she claims her son ate a used condom off the floor of a McDonald’s play area. It’s doubtful that she approved of the special sauce. [Reuters]
I guess soda pushers will have to go back to slinging rocks.
In case you haven’t been following along with developments inside Mike Bloomberg’s militarized nanny state, last year our elected tyrant outlawed the sale of soda in sizes over 16 ounces at movie theaters and other public places. The mayor felt that nobody needed more than 16 ounces of soda in one sitting, notwithstanding the fact that nobody asked him what my mother thinks.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.