* Star Magazine says that Katie Holmes is a drug addict. Which drug? Scientology. She might win the libel lawsuit, but her ultimate judge will be Xenu. [Reuters]
* A judge in Illinois won’t let a defendant who looks like the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons get her hair done or wear makeup at trial. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* A judge in New York, on the other hand, will give a defendant the tie off his neck and the Brooks Brothers shirt off his back just so he can look stylish in court. [New York Post]
* Just because your kid went to the prom with a Muslim doesn’t mean that you’re down with Islam — especially not when you want to make it a felony to follow Shariah law. [Washington Post]
* Christina Aguilera got arrested for being drunk in public. Someone needs to put that genie back in her bottle before she heads the way of other infamous Mouseketeers. [ABC News]
* How desperate do you have to be to molest your kid in exchange for a date? How stupid do you have to be to think child porn therapy is real? The answer to both questions is VERY. [Detroit Free Press]
* The SEC has accused Goldman Sachs’s ex-director of insider trading. The next insider trading he’ll probably be doing is for cigarettes in the pokey. [Wall Street Journal]
The fantastically successful firm of Goldman Sachs isn’t just “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” It also discriminates against women, according to the allegations in a lawsuit filed earlier today.
Three female ex-employees of Goldman Sachs accuse the venerable bank of maintaining an “outdated corporate culture” that discriminates against women in terms of pay and promotions. The Goldman Girls — not to be confused with Betty White et al. — seek class-action certification for a class consisting of all female managing directors, vice presidents and associates in the last six years.
The lawsuit alleges that women are underrepresented in GS management, making up just 14 percent of partners, 17 percent of managing directors, and 29 percent of vice presidents. Given what it means to be a partner at Goldman — the New York Times recently described it as “the equivalent of winning the lottery,” in an interesting article about some GS partners being stripped of partnership (law firms aren’t the only ones who can play that game) — the stakes are high.
That’s the straightforward stuff. Other claims in the lawsuit, as noted by Nathan Koppel of the Wall Street Journal, are “a bit more salacious”….
Last November, we scrutinized the compensation of one of America’s best-paid in-house lawyers: Gregory Palm, general counsel of Goldman Sachs. There was some nit-picking from readers about the precise size of his (pay) package, reflected in the various updates appended to the post, but there was unanimity on the main point: serving as Goldman’s top lawyer is a path to riches.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published a long, interesting, behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations between Goldman and the SEC that culminated in the bank’s $550 million settlement — negotiations in which Greg Palm played a leading role. For some good commentary on Louise Story’s article, check out Larry Ribstein (who sees the case as a strike suit that just happened to be brought by the SEC).
What we found most intriguing about the NYT piece — which weighed in at a hefty 3,200 words, as noted by the WSJ Law Blog — was the delicious dish about Gregory Palm’s pay….
If you missed the Goldman Sachs Congressional hearing today, you missed the height of unintentional comedy. There are too many highlights to mention. Senator Carl Levin using a dirty word, the ongoing train wreck that is Senator Tom Coburn, it was the kind of hearing that makes you laugh out loud at Congress (and secretly weep for our country). I’ll let Bess Levin of our sister site, Dealbreaker, describe a particularly lively twenty minute exchange:
* 10:09: Carl [Levin]: “Goldman Sachs treats clients like objects (of profit).” Jackie Treehorn, a former prop trader, was the first to pioneer this model at the firm.
* 10:16: Goldman made money off its shorts. Dun Dun Dun.
* 10:26: Apparently Goldman didn’t just hurt its clients, it hurt everyone in the world. Take a moment right now to show us on the doll where Goldman touched you.
Today H. Rodgin Cohen officially moves his Subaru into the right-hand lane, making way for Joseph C. Shenker to take the pole position as Sullivan & Cromwell’s new managing partner. Rodge will still be around, but leadership of the firm shifts to Shenker. Both the New York Times and Am Law Daily have marked this momentous occasion with write-ups on Shenker today.
Reading about Shenker reveals that there are three kinds of people in life: people who work for Goldman Sachs, people who work with Goldman Sachs, and people who lose:
Mr. Shenker, whose practice ranges from mergers and acquisitions to real estate to tax and estate planning, may not be the highly connected banking lawyer that Mr. Cohen is. But he maintains a sterling reputation of his own, maintaining close relationships with real estate magnates and one of the firm’s most significant clients: Goldman Sachs.
It appears that becoming managing partner of S&C is just the latest in a long list of accomplishments in Shenker’s career.
Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about compensation for Wall Street bankers. The article explained how, due to criticism from the public and from Congress, banks shifted employee comp away from cash and towards stocks and options. This shift was supposed to align pay with performance, averting an AIG situation of rewarding failure.
Now, thanks to the recovery in bank shares — fueled in part by generous government bailouts, and not necessarily the brilliant performance of bank employees — these stock and option grants are turning out to be super-lucrative. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Goldman Sachs, for instance, sharply cut nearly all bonuses it paid last year but gave some executives more options than usual.
The company gave its general counsel, for example, 104,868 stock options and 14,117 shares in December, when the bank’s stock was around $78.
Now the bank’s shares have more than doubled in value, making that stock and option award worth nearly $12 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm in Redwood Shores, Calif.
Sullivan & Cromwell partners, eat your hearts out. Not only does Goldman GC Gregory Palm get to boss you around, he also makes more money than you do.
It’s NCAA Tournament time, which means that if you get married this weekend or the next two, your guests will be cursing you as they surreptitiously refresh their BlackBerries. We therefore applaud this week’s brides, who planned their weddings for this past weekend, before the madness struck. They are — if we may say so — our Cinderellas.
* Paris isn’t the only Hilton getting in trouble for sex. The former manager of a restaurant in the Hilton Minneapolis is suing the Hilton for “undirected” sexual harrassment because he walked in on upper management having an orgy. [Courthouse News Service]
* GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors, is not allowing holders of so-called SmartNotes to exchange thier notes for more secure bonds. The exchange, which the company is offering as a ploy to get some of the bail-out money, is “limited to institutional notes and does not include retail debt instruments.” This means that holders of SmartNotes may get nothing if the company goes bankrupt, which could lead to some serious law suits. [Bloomberg.com]
* Lawyers: 1, bankers: 0. Former bankruptcy lawyer James H.M. Sprayregen is returning to Kirkland & Ellis after a three-year stint in the restructuring group at Goldman Sachs. The decision represents a triumph for corporate lawyers in their long standing rivalry against financiers. [The New York Times]
* Protestors in Thailand have concentrated their efforts on the airports in anticipation of a court verdict Tuesday that will likely order the Somchai’s People Power Party to disband. [Reuters]
* A plea-deal has been offered to an 8-year-old boy in Arizona, who confessed to killing his father and another man. [ABC News]
* The Federal Trade Commission is stopping the merger of two software companies because of the potential loss of competition. Capitalism will prevail! [Courthouse News Service]
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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