We’ll get back to the subject of payraises for law firm associates in a minute. For now, here’s a quick update on the other story that Biglaw is abuzz about: Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, the case filed against S&C by associate Aaron Charney, alleging anti-gay discrimination and retaliation.
We’re monitoring coverage of this lawsuit through a news feed. Here are links to, and excerpts from, the latest stories:
1. Maple Grief [TheLawyer.com]
[O]ne charge [in the Charney Complaint] strikes [us] as particularly heinous. And that is that partners at the firm said the prevailing attitude internally was that “S&C considers all Canadians to be irrelevant”.
Given that the firm’s M&A lawyers spent most of last year defending Canadian nickel producer Inco on a £9.3bn hostile bid, we would be keen to hear Sullivan’s arguments played out in a tribunal.
We have a Google News Alert set to notify us every time there’s a new article about Aaron Charney or Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. As the lawsuit moves forward, we will read and digest all of the news coverage for you. Think of ATL as your “one-stop shopping” source for Charney v. S&C news.
Here are the latest news stories that have been brought to our attention:
1. Lawyer Sues Top Firm Over “Anti-Gay Bias” [New York Post]
This article characterizes Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell as a “$15 million” lawsuit. The version of the Complaint that we’ve seen, however, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages (“Prayer for Relief”).
We emailed Aaron Charney to clarify this. We inquired whether he had amended his Complaint, or announced an intention to amend it, to seek $15 million in damages.
Charney responded: “I have not amended the complaint or specified damages in the complaint.” So this was just an error on the part of the New York Post. Quelle surprise.
2. Bias Charged at Top NY Law Firm [Gay City News]
Not much new in this article, since it’s based largely upon prior reporting by other news organizations. The following paragraph was based upon original reporting:
Charney’s complaint was being circulated via a Web site on Tuesday and was spreading “like wildfire” among the informal gay law associates network in New York, according to a New York Law School faculty colleague of this reporter who received it via e-mail from a friend.
Next month the Career and Professional Development Center at Duke Law School will for the first time offer a workshop called Dealing With Conflict and Difficult People. In September the negotiation program in Harvard Law School’s executive education series will present a seminar called Dealing With Difficult People and Difficult Situations.
Who says law schools don’t prepare their students for the “real world”?
Of course, most law schools don’t need to offer “workshops” for dealing with pricks. Students learn these lessons through practice — by dealing with professors. Disclaimer: Please do not interpret this post as our taking sides in either Charney v. S&C or Shanettagate. Consider this provocative quote from the article (emphases added): “[S]ome scholars say, the problem is not the difficult people themselves. IT IS YOU.”
Furthermore, reasonable minds can differ over who is the “jerk” in a particular situation. The article mentions “[t]he explosive boss” as one example of a jerk, but it also cites “the Complainer, the Whiner and the Sniper” as jerkly archetypes. So the S&C partners might argue that Aaron Charney is a “jerk,” or Shanetta Cutlar might label Ty Clevenger as a “jerk.” Help, I’m Surrounded by Jerks [New York Times]
Would you trust this man to write your biography?
If so, you might be waiting a long time. In fact, you might be DEAD before it’s finished (or even started). Professor Stephen Wermiel, of American University’s Washington College of Law, has been working on a biography of the late Justice William J.Brennan Jr. for some TWENTY YEARS. Professor Wermiel “began” the project back in 1987, when he covered the Supreme Court for the Wall Street Journal, and Justice Brennan was still on the SCOTUS.
More background, from the Legal Times:
Brennan, who retired from the Court in 1990 and died in 1997, picked Wermiel as his biographer and had hopes of reading the book in his lifetime.
Brennan’s son William Brennan III, who died in 2004, was openly critical of Wermiel’s delay. In a stinging New Yorker essay that quoted Brennan III before he died, legal writer Jeffrey Toobin said Wermiel was guilty of “dawdling” and lumped Wermiel together with Gerald Gunther and Andrew Kaufman, whose biographies of Learned Hand and Benjamin Cardozo, respectively, took more than 20 years to complete.
So is this delay a problem? Find out after the jump.
We’ve already started using it, so this should come as no surprise. But just to make it official, we now declare FELDSUK the winner of our nickname contest for the fabulous Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk (previously described as the “Brangelina of the legal academy”).
We tried to defend our initial nickname selection, “Noahjeannie”; but you were unpersuaded. The victory of “Feldsuk” was decisive:
From government to academia:
* The brilliant Michelle Boardman is returning to teach at George Mason University School of Law. Professor Boardman had been on leave, serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. From government to private practice:
* Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, resigned from the Justice Department earlier this week, stating that she plans to return to the private sector.
(Interestingly enough, her alleged beau, J. Steven Griles — a former deputy secretary of the interior, who Interior Department sources say has been dating Wooldridge — has been notified that he’s a target in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation.)
* Bankruptcy Chief Judge Melanie Cyganowski (E.D.N.Y.) is resigning to become chair of the bankruptcy litigation practice of Greenberg Traurig (NY). From private practice to government:
* Steven M. Cohen, a partner at Cooley Godward Kronish, has been selected by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as his new chief of staff. Lateral moves:
* White-collar defense lawyers John Moscow and Jack Blum, to Baker Hostetler (NY), from New York boutique Rosner Moscow & Napierala. Moscow and Blum are gurus of the law of money laundering.
* Litigators Michael Armstrong, Paul Rooney, and William Purcell, to the newly opened New York office of Howrey. They come from, respectively, Cooley Godward Kronish, solo practice, and K&L Gates.
* Five litigators, to the new Houston office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, from litigation boutique Edwards, Burns & Krider. Names here.
* Intellectual property litigator Richard Pettus, to King & Spalding (NY), from McDermott, Will & Emery (NY).
* Corporate lawyer Michael Nissim, to Vedder Price (NY), from McDermott, Will & Emery (NY).
Links after the jump.
JudithVladeck, a top labor lawyer and advocate for women’s rights, passed away earlier this week. She was 83 and a resident of Manhattan.
From the New York Times obituary:
Proud of her courtroom contentiousness, Ms. Vladeck brought a combination of showmanship and detailed analysis of salary histories and job performance to her cases. She took on potent opponents like major Wall Street investment firms, the Union Carbide Corporation and the City University of New York — and usually won, or settled for millions.
A chain-smoker known for working 11-hour days well into her 70s, Ms. Vladeck was a partner in Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, the Manhattan law firm that her husband, Stephen, helped start in 1948 and she joined in 1957.
The whole point of being a mono-monikered celebrity entity is that you get covered, and covered, and covered by the media. This coverage continues, long after the public claims to be sick of you and cries out for mercy.
But really they’re not sick of you. This is why Brangelina still moves magazines.
As for the Brangelina of the legal academy, Harvard Law profs Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, the jury is still out on what to call them. To vote in our nickname poll, click here.
But we DO know what to call the good professors’ recently acquired, $2.8 million house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Coldwell Banker has some suggestions: “Imposing,” “lovely,” “magnificent,” and “exceptional.”
We agree. Check it out:
If this reader comment is correct — and it appears to be, since various details match up with the New York Observer article (an 1873 Victorian with five fireplaces and a pool) — Professors Feldman and Suk will be taking up residence in the shown above. As you can see, it’s one nice pile o’ bricks.
Sometimes real estate listings get pulled after outside websites link to them. We hate it when that happens.
To preserve this information for posterity, we took a screencap of the original property listing. Check it out, after the jump.
Earlier today, we bestowed the nickname of Noajeannie upon celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk — the Brangelina of the legal academy. But some of you backseat bloggers suggested other names for this overachieving couple, such as “Feldsuk” and “Jeannoah.”
We like “Noajeannie” for several reasons:
1. It scans exactly like “Brangelina.” Compare no-ah-JEAN-nie with bran-juh-LEE-nuh.
2. It puts his name before hers, since his star arguably shines slightly brighter than hers (although, quite obviously, both of them are amazing).
3. Celebrity nicknames tend to work best with first rather than last names. This is why “Bennifer” and “Brangelina” are superior to “Vaughniston.”
Nevertheless, we will adhere to the democratic process. Hence this poll:
One name we definitely don’t like: Sukfeld. It sounds like a pornographic version of “Seinfeld.”
(For the record, though, “Suk” is pronounced “sook” rather than “suck.” We happen to know this ’cause we went to school with Jeannie Suk’s similarly brilliant little sister, Julie Suk (now a law professor at Cardozo). Like her big sis, Julie Suk was a Marshall Scholar and a law clerk to Judge Harry Edwards (D.C. Cir.). But Julie Suk went to Harvard College and Yale Law School, whereas Jeannie Suk did the reverse: Yale College, Harvard Law School.)
P.S. Speaking of polls, if you haven’t done so already, cast your vote for your favorite First Circuit judge. We’ll close this poll tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern time. Thanks. Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: It’s Still Good to be Noah and Jeannie
Last Friday night, we attended a Yale Law School alumni dinner here in Washington, at Acadiana restaurant. It was timed to coincide with the big AALS conference of law professors in DC, since so many YLS alums are in legal academia.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was Professor Heather Gerken, who was snatched up from Harvard by Yale last year. She gave an interesting talk about her proposal for a “Democracy Index,” a national system for ranking the election-law practices of the different states. (We won’t repeat her remarks here, since Professor Gerken’s proposal is laid out in detail in her Legal Times commentary.)
Before Professor Gerken spoke, the audience was addressed by Dean Harold Hongju Koh. He updated us about recent developments at the law school, and gave the standard spiel about the brilliance and diversity of Yale’s first-year class.
(In case you’re wondering, the Yale 1Ls have a median GPA of 3.91. Their ranks include oodles of Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars… and a massage therapist. You can have the Rhodies, the whole lot of ‘em; just give us the massage therapist.)
Dean Koh also delivered remarks that could be viewed as part of his new charm offensive: an attempt to reach out to YLS conservatives, in the wake of some criticism onthatfront.
Some random photos — plus very surprising news about Justice Clarence Thomas and Yale Law School, the alma mater he’s had a rocky relationship with — after the jump.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
The proper hair styling product might just be the only thing standing between you and your dream job. And the best way to find what works for you is to try the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear on the market every month—everything from haircare and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets.
As the leading discovery commerce platform, Birchbox is redefining the retail process by offering consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best grooming and lifestyle products out there. It’s a full 360-degree process: try, learn, buy. Once you sign up and fill out your profile, head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine to find article and video tutorials on how to get the most out your monthly box products. Pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points for every purchase.
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?
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!