In the not-so-new normal, clients continue to refuse to pay full freight for inexperienced first-year attorneys to work on their legal matters — or, as one law firm recently mused, “client demand for first year associates has declined.”
What’s a Biglaw firm to do?
It seems that one firm has found a pretty good solution to this problem: make someone else hire those lawyers to work as junior in-house lawyers, and then bring them into the fold as associates after they’ve gained some real-world experience.
Which Biglaw firm has teamed up with a big bank — the biggest bank in the U.S. — for this program?
Some have wondered whether Bingham might “fall victim to its own strategy” — i.e., whether the firm, which grew in power and profitability by swallowing up other firms, might itself get eaten up by a rival.
So what’s the latest on the Bingham merger talk front? And what might happen if the talks go further?
* Robert Manfred Jr., formerly a partner of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, is now the commissioner of Major League Baseball, and he beat out another former Biglaw buddy from Kelley Drye & Warren to snag the job. [Am Law Daily]
* “My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” Michele Roberts is the first lady to lead the NBAPU, and you don’t want to mess with her. [New York Times]
* In case you haven’t heard by now, Governor Rick Perry was indicted on Friday on felony charges of abusing his power in office. Aww, poor guy. Not for nothing, but we can’t wait to see his mug shot. [New York Times]
* Quinnipiac Law has a new building that cost $50 million, and it’s designed to hold between 400 and 500 students. With only 292 students currently enrolled, that’s a lot of wishful thinking. [New Haven Register]
* “This is a lawsuit against the lawyers for being lawyers, for doing what lawyers do.” It also seems to be a lawsuit that’s allegedly about sex, lies, illegal video tapes… and Waffle House. [Daily Report (reg. req.)]
* Suit filed questioning the parentage of Blue Ivy Carter. Plaintiff claims to be the real… mother? Hm. You’d think that would be pretty easy for everyone to remember. [International Business Times]
* The Washington D.C.-area NFL team has filed suit to get its trademark back. They think the USPTO are Indian Givers. [DCist]
* The ACLU is asking courts to define “freedom of the press” in the wake of Ferguson. I understand their impulse, I just don’t think they’re gonna like the answer. [Fox2Now]
* A 71-year-old lawyer allegedly called two escorts over to his house and they asked for more money. Even for rich lawyers it’s the principle of the thing. [South Florida Lawyers]
* Sad to see Professor Larry Tribe join the “let’s blame the teachers instead of funding public schools” parade. But now that he’s become a high-profile supporter of ending tenure for those teaching the young, perhaps he’ll renounce his own tenure. Or at least fight to revoke it from all his colleagues. [National Law Journal]
* A Colombian lawyer is suing FIFA for $1.3 billion over bad officiating. Of all the things FIFA deserves to get sued over, this isn’t making the list. [Washington Post]
* Congratulations to Rob Manfred, a Harvard Law grad formerly of Morgan Lewis, on his promotion to MLB Commissioner. He will continue the proud tradition of keeping us bored all summer long while we wait for football to come back. [New York Times]
* New lawsuit says Google kept records of plans to infringe intellectual property… on Post-Its. Unwise. Office supplies are for back-to-school shopping, not writing down wrongful acts. [Valleywag]
* If you’re a current 3L or a law grad about to come off a clerkship, NOAA has a job opportunity for you. Imagine how exciting it will be when the next Sharknado happens! [USAJobs via NOAA]
* The Coalition for Court Transparency sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, pleading that he allow cameras in the courtroom. Not sure how well this will go over, thanks to last month’s oral arguments interruption by a protestor. [Legal Times]
* Hot on the heels of the news that the firm posted its worst financial performance in six years, Bingham McCutcheon is leaking laterals. Morgan Lewis just poached four lawyers across three cities right out from under the firm’s nose. [Am Law Daily]
* If you were a law school dean, we sincerely hope you’d just live with the consequences of an enrollment decline instead of lowering your admission standards to put more asses in seats. [National Law Journal]
* Nancy Grace must defend herself against a defamation suit filed by Michael Skakel. It’s almost fitting that she’d get sued over talking about someone allegedly masturbating in a tree. [Hollywood Reporter]
* Things seem to be getting worse and worse over at Patton Boggs. Sure, the firm is trying to shack up with Squire Sanders, but Chevron/Ecuador lawsuit engineer James Tyrell may soon lead a new brigade of defectors out the door. [Businessweek]
* Morgan Lewis & Bockius just poached its first chief operating officer from a rival Biglaw firm. Anthony Licata most recently served as COO at Dechert, so we have a feeling he’ll do just fine at his new home in Philly. Congratulations! [Law 360 (sub. req.)]
* It’s a whole lot easier to get into law school these days, especially when some of the new admissions requirements including having a pulse and the ability to sign loan documents. Case in point: 42% percent of applicants were accepted at this “top-tier” school last year. [GW Hatchet]
* Just saying, but if you “dislike stressful, busy work environments,” the time to determine if law school was right for you was before you actually went to law school. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
Which Biglaw firms are the best? Which Biglaw firms are the best in terms of providing quality client service? Those are two very different questions. Just because a particular law firm is classified as being one of the best does not mean it isn’t chock full of arrogant a-holes (there’s actually a ranking for that). On the other hand, just because a law firm is overflowing with arrogant a-holes does not mean that it isn’t one of the best. It can be a fairly complicated equation, and general counsel are often forced to pick the perfect sweet spot when choosing outside counsel for litigation matters.
How does your firm stack up against the others, and how can you increase the likelihood that yours will be chosen to represent some of the biggest brands in the business? Being rated as one of the “absolute best” by general counsel in terms of client service will certainly give your firm a fighting chance.
Did your firm make this year’s ranking of the Client Service 30? Take a look and find out…
Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.
Jami Wintz McKeon is chair-elect of Morgan Lewis and leader of the firm’s litigation practice. She is responsible for the strategic and day-to-day operation of the litigation practice, made up of 700 litigators in 25 global offices.
1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next 5 years?
Columbia University Law School: 8/12
Cornell University Law School: 8/6
Duke University School of Law: 8/15
Duquesne University School of Law: 8/22
Fordham University School of Law: 8/21
George Washington University Law School: 8/13
Georgetown University Law Center: 8/13
Harvard Law School: 8/14
Howard University School of Law: 8/13
University of Florida, Levin College of Law: 8/14
New York University School of Law: 8/14
Northwestern University School of Law: 8/19
Rutgers University School of Law, Camden: 8/15
Rutgers University School of Law, Newark: 8/13
Santa Clara University School of Law: 8/15
Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law: 8/13
Stanford University Law School: 8/28
Temple University, Beasley School of Law: 8/15
University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law: 8/5
University of California, Davis School of Law: 8/12
University of California, Hastings College of Law: 8/6
University of California, Hastings College of Law (Tax): 8/6
University of California, Irvine, School of Law: 8/8
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law: 8/8
University of Chicago Law School: 8/27
University of Houston Law Center: 8/22
University of Illinois College of Law: 8/14
University of Miami School of Law: 8/14
University of Michigan Law School: 8/19
University of Pennsylvania Law School: 8/12
University of Pittsburgh School of Law: 8/20
University of San Francisco School of Law: 8/12
University of Southern California Law School: 8/7
University of Texas School of Law: 8/15
University of Virginia School of Law: 8/14
Villanova University School of Law: 8/16