This coming Friday, it is the inalienable right of all Americans to sleep off their hangovers, or riot at Walmart, or do anything at all rather than work for The Man. But Biglaw is a different country. As illustrated by Elie’s decision matrix, the “choice” of whether to work on this sacred day is, for the denizens of the law firm world, fraught with other pressures and expectations. We all know that Biglaw careers demand a Faustian bargain: in return for their fat paychecks (and bonuses?), lawyers are expected to work grueling, unpredictable hours. This time of year, that reality is brought into sharp relief: the “holiday season,” with those “family obligations” and so forth, is something that occurs elsewhere.
But law firm billable expectations are not homogeneous. There are significant differences across practice areas, seniority levels, and, of course, individual firms. So how do the various practices, employment statuses, and firms stack up?
Alexandra Marchuk’s lawsuit against her former employer, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its top partners, Juan Monteverde, marches on. And this time the Faruqis are playing offense.
We previously noted the firm’s attempt to make Marchuk look like a bunny boiler — a mentally unstable young woman who was obsessed with Monteverde, the man whom she claims harassed her. And it looks like the firm is sticking to this strategy, trying to call into question Marchuk’s mental health.
Everyone enjoys the law firm gone bad. Think Wolfram & Hart; Bendini, Lambert & Locke; whatever the firm was that Devil was in charge of… Cravath? All right, it was really Milton, Chadwick & Waters, but whatever. The lawyer-hating masses like to see their biases lived out in the extreme, and lawyers enjoy the competence porn of thinking a law firm can really have an evil master plan. But these firms only exist in fiction, right?
So what the hell is going on with this firm?
Accusations are flying that this law practice was massively overfilling clients, instructing clients to harass and intimidate government officials, tailing people with P.I.s to accuse folks of traffic violations, and bugging people’s cars with GPS trackers.
It’s not plotting to birth the Antichrist, but it definitely sounds like bad news…
These are not rhetorical questions. We expect candor from the university we hired to educate us. As future lawyers, we won’t accept a Potemkin village and will see through any façade erected to make us feel that all is well. Reminding us that there is a new curriculum (which doesn’t seem to amount to more than shifting around the furniture on the Titanic) will not make us look away from the real issues.
I’m not surprised that Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people who want to have an affair but apparently lack confidence or creativity, is successful. There is nothing more desperate and gullible than an unhappily married person. I mean, happily married people are basically hollowed-out ghosts who can’t order a meal without discussing it in committee. Unhappily married people treat every social event like their last night on Earth, get sloppy drunk, and try to hook up with any co-worker or friend who shows them the slightest bit of affection. There’s a big difference between a homewrecker and a building inspector who simply acknowledges a home as “condemned.”
But let’s be clear, nobody wants to have meaningless sex with a middle-aged, unhappily married man, except: middle-aged, unhappily married women, 20-somethings with Daddy issues, goldiggers and crackwhores, and bridesmaids you meet at vacation/destination weddings. That’s the complete list. Ashley Madison is built on the nearly total lie that there are attractive women looking to bang married men who need to go online to find them as opposed to any bar anywhere in America at all times.
There’s nothing illegal about inducing men to pay money to interact with people who have pretty pictures and can talk dirty, even if those people are employees who are probably unattractive and have no intention of actually meeting and having sex with you anyway. The “party line” industry has been thriving for years. But Ashley Madison might want to settle with their employees who make up fake profiles, before some sad recently divorced dude with nothing to lose sues them for fraud…
When Dean Lawrence E. Mitchell of Case Western Reserve University School of Law announced earlier this week that he was taking a temporary leave of absence, we offered two theories about why. The first was that the university wanted to remove him from his post so it could conduct an independent investigation of the allegations made against him in a lawsuit by Professor Raymond Ku. The second was that Dean Mitchell wanted to devote his full time and energy to fighting Professor Ku’s lawsuit, which claims that the dean retaliated against Professor Ku after Ku reported alleged sexual harassment by the dean to university officials.
Of these two theories, the second is probably closer to the truth. Through his lawyers, Dean Mitchell is fighting back — hard — and the university seems to be supporting him all the way.
Since we’ve devoted extensive coverage to the allegations of the lawsuit against Dean Mitchell, let’s now hear the arguments defending him (and attacking Professor Ku). Some of them have been made by Dean Mitchell’s lawyers and the university, and some come from Case Western students and faculty members with whom we have communicated. They paint a most interesting picture….
(Please note the UPDATE added to the end of this post, a message just sent out to Case alumni by President Barbara R. Snyder.)
* “What about devil worshippers?” Justice Scalia may think Satan’s gotten “wilier,” but that doesn’t mean his supporters don’t deserve religious representation in their public meetings. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaker of the House John Boehner says that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes, tons of lawsuits will be filed — except that hasn’t happened in states with similar laws. Oopsie… [Reuters]
* Judge Shira Scheindlin isn’t going to just sit there and allow herself to be kicked off the stop and frisk case. In a rare move, she asked the Second Circuit to reverse its ruling and reinstate her. Go girl! [Reuters]
* Quinn Emanuel is welcoming a frequent firm-hopper (from Sidley to Clifford Chance to Cleary Gottlieb) into its ranks in D.C. to join Weil defectors Mike Lyle and Eric Lyttle. Best of luck! [Am Law Daily]
* Gibson Dunn scooped up Scott Hammond, a longtime leader of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Query just how large the dangling carrot at the end of the firm’s stick was. [Blog of Legal Times]
Dean Mitchell and the university haven’t commented much on the allegations of Professor Raymond Ku’s complaint (which was recently amended to add some juicier allegations). The university did issue a statement denying that retaliation occurred, and the dean told the Case community to keep calm and carry on.
To make that process easier, he’s stepping away from his deanly duties for a time. Let’s check out his announcement….
(Please note the UPDATE added at the end of this post.)
* “I Love Boobies” case may go to the Supreme Court. [Jezebel]
* Law firms are warning clients to beware of “Misclassification Creep” which is a “threat” to many businesses. Yeah, it’s a real shame that employees might start getting paid what they actually earn. [Corporate Counsel]
* Recurring ATL subject, Caskers craft spirits retailer, has been sold to Anderson Press. [Pandodaily]
* Meanwhile, another legally related business has raised a total of $850,000. Hopefully they can use some of that to make another hilarious commercial. [Techcrunch]
* Here are 10 things every new lawyer should do right now. Shorter version: start puckering up. [The Careerist]
* In horrible news, a missing Wayne State law student was found dead. [Detroit Free Press]
* A former Biglaw, current Midlaw associate has written a book and created this trailer to promote it. What if a sex toy manufacturer became a patent troll? Video embed after the jump…
Anyone who has ever worked with an expert witness understands the cardinal rules of the process. The expert must provide a truthful, considered opinion. As part of that, the expert needs to have a complete picture of the circumstances he or she is asked to evaluate and the expert has to be prepared to defend his or her conclusions on cross-examination. Experts are supposed to assist the fact-finder, not provide disingenuous opinions for a quick buck.
Attorneys aren’t required by Rule 26 to disclose communications with experts that are not expected to testify, but what about experts that the lawyers intended to call as witnesses and then decided against producing? Do they get magically transformed into “trial preparation experts” as soon as they render unfavorable opinions? One major firm has not only withheld unfavorable expert reports from the other side under this logic, but made a decades-long practice of it.
The firm characterizes their practice aggressive. Judges have called it “deceitful, dishonest” and “an affront to justice that simply cannot be tolerated.”
In all seriousness, the twisted tale of decades of withholding evidence from dying victims is the worst thing you’ll hear about all day….
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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