This is my last report about the Harvard Law School/New York Law School Future of Education Conference. If you read the previous installments, you’ll note that assembled law school deans, professors, and other educators spent a lot of time talking about the past. Towards the end of the day however, the conference turned forward looking with a panel about “Possible Alternative Models” to legal education.
The future, it seems, is in a holding pattern until law school professors can figure out how to get tenure under alternative models of legal education.
* I think I know why we are all so obsessed with the U.S. News rankings. [True/Slant]
* New York City to close “rubber rooms.” [Examiner]
* Let’s say you love guns and hate criminals. After the criminal has paid his debt to society, should he be able to purchase a gun? Should he be able to arrange for the sale of a gun? [The Volokh Conspiracy]
Now, just a few months later, it appears that Davis is striking out on his own. From the Washington Post:
Lanny J. Davis, the former White House counsel and longtime Clinton booster, is launching his own eponymous law-and-lobbying shop, according to a draft announcement obtained by The Post. Lanny J. Davis & Associates LLP will provide “a unique combination of traditional legal and litigation services plus media/crisis management, and legislative/public policy strategies to solve U.S. and international client problems,” the announcement says. Davis, a cable television staple who has often run afoul of more liberal Democrats, highlights his avowed centrism as a prime benefit for potential clients….
The new venture means Davis will step down as partner at the global law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, but he says he will continue to write a column for “The Hill” newspaper and contribute to a legal strategies blog that he began last year.
We reached out to McDermott, and a firm spokesperson confirmed that Davis is leaving the firm.
So who else is going with him, and what prompted the move?
Today Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, regarding the Court’s budget. It started out jovially, with Justice Thomas poking fun at Justice Breyer for agreeing with him for the very first time (at the 15 minute mark, regarding taking questions from the committee).
But an hour in, things got testy between the congressmen and the justices. Josh Blackman brought to our attention that the issue of Supreme Court clerk diversity came up. Congressman Ander Crenshaw asked the Justices why the members of the Elect are overwhelmingly graduates from Yale and Harvard. He delicately asked if they’re more qualified or if there are a disproportionate number of them applying for clerkships.
This led to a fifteen-minute discussion about clerkship diversity that started with alma maters, then moved to ethnic diversity. In response, Thomas threw the other SCOTUS justices under the bus (e.g., “MY clerks are diverse”), then threw feeder judges under the bus, and then threw law schools under the bus (e.g., “that pool comes from the law schools”).
But then Congresswoman Barbara Lee hit him with the bus…
Given the recession, a lot of lawyers shut out of Biglaw are trying to get jobs with small firms. The problem is, the skills required to get one of those jobs are not obvious to your average recent law school graduate.
Of course, small and solo practitioners want to help young lawyers better themselves! In the spirit of helping, here’s what one small practitioner sent to the ABA’s solo and small firm mailing list, SOLOSEZ:
I just received a resume and cover letter from a young attorney seeking employment in my firm. I honestly don’t notice things like spelling errors because I can’t spell myself, but I’m sure the letter and resume were flawless technically. I didn’t even read it that closely because the cover letter was addressed “Dear Sir or Madam:”
Here’s my response to the job seeker. Yes, I addressed it to him personally, but I’ll keep that private for his sake.
Undoubtedly, this response will be so helpful. Let’s take a look at this public service announcement…
In 2008, we made the “Qualcomm Six” our lawyers of the day. The six were outside counsel for the technology company in a patent dispute with Broadcom and got caught up in an electronic discovery scandal – tens of thousands of documents were not turned over in the case. The six attorneys were sanctioned by Magistrate Judge Barbara Major for “intentionally hiding or recklessly ignoring relevant documents, ignoring or rejecting numerous warning signs that Qualcomm’s document search was inadequate, and blindly accepting Qualcomm’s unsupported assurances that its document search was adequate.”
But upon further scrutiny, the sanctions against the five lawyers from Day Casebeer and one from Heller Ehrman were lifted. When attorney-client privilege was waived so that they could speak in their own defense, it became clear that Qualcomm employees had stonewalled the lawyers. From the ABA Journal:
In her ruling lifting sanctions, Major noted an “incredible lack of candor” by Qualcomm employees and said there was no bad faith by the lawyers.
So yay! No sanctions! But what of the over two years that these lawyers have had this hanging over their heads? As I’m sure many of you recall, the beginning of 2008 was when the legal industry began to self-implode. Day Casebeer merged with Howrey. Heller Ehrman really self-imploded.
All the while, these six lawyers have been in sanction limbo. The four partners involved had more to fall back on. Day Casebeer partner James Batchelder jumped on the Howrey bandwagon. Heller Ehrman’s Stanley Young wound up at Covington. Casebeer’s Christian Mammen and Lee Patch went off on their own.
But what if you’re a junior associate caught up in this mess? In early 2008, no less. Adam Bier (NYU Law ’04) had joined Casebeer in 2005 after clerking. He was part of a large team of junior associates staffed on the Qualcomm case. Though he wasn’t involved in the initial discovery, he did help stumble upon the mass o’ undisclosed documents while preparing witnesses for trial, and thus had the distinction of being involved in the sanctions.
If you were job searching in 2008, you know it was tough. Imagine if you had the added disadvantage of a hugely publicized discovery scandal and sanctions on your resumé. We caught up with him yesterday about how he made it through the wilderness, and eventually started his own firm…
Ed. note: Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks, ever since its publication (including hitting the #1 spot).
Although she’s now a writer, with a total of five bestselling and/or critically acclaimed books to her name, Rubin started her career as a lawyer. She graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, and clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court, for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Feel free to check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, or join the Happiness Project Facebook page.
We asked Gretchen Rubin to offer us some happiness advice aimed at a lawyerly audience. Her guest post appears below.
By Gretchen Rubin
A few years ago, I decided to do a happiness project. I spent a year testing the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. From my experience, to be happier, it helps to think about the little things in life—and also the big things. Here are some ideas specifically targeted to lawyers:
Tackle the little things: Happiness can seem like a lofty, abstract goal, but a great place to start is with your own body and daily schedule.
Get enough sleep. We adjust to chronic sleep deprivation and don’t realize how much it weighs on us. According to one study, a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two factors that upset people’s daily moods at work (along with tight work deadlines — another problem many lawyers face). It’s tempting to stay up late, especially if that’s the fun part of your day, but the morning comes fast. (Here are some sleep tips.)
Get some exercise—preferably outside. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Just go for a ten-minute walk at lunchtime. People who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, feel cheerier, and perform better at work. (Here are some tips for sticking to an exercise routine.)
Today is April 15: TAX DAY. The day you have to cough up some of your hard-earned cash to Uncle Sam. The time each year when you must render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.
We reached out to some tax gurus and groupies for thoughts on this special day. They provided us with a wealth of insights and links — plus opportunities to GET FREE STUFF, and alleviate the financial burden associated with today….
* Taking a closer look at Elena Kagan’s previous visits to One First Street. [New York Times]
* Yahoo is battling Colorado federal prosecutors over the need for a warrant to obtain users’ email that is less than 180 days old. If it’s more than 180 days old, they don’t even need the warrant. [Threat Level/Wired]
We reported on the leaked U.S. News law school rankings on Tuesday afternoon. That leak was correct, and the 2011 rankings are officially up on the U.S. News website, right now.
That’s bad news for NYU kids. They should try asking Berkeley students how transparent it looks to say that you go to a “top 6″ law school.
There was some movement within the top 14, but no school fell out of the so-called “T14.” This seems like a logical time to remind people why the T14 are referenced in this manner. The top 14 schools have been the top 14 schools for as long as most people can remember. Sure, they’ll change their positions relative to each other from year to year; but none of the schools that are in the T14 have been ranked lower than 14th in quite some time.
So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this year’s version of the T14….
Each year, at law schools across the nation, a few brave — some might say foolhardy — students take a break from outlining case law, and set it to music instead. The Annual Law Revue (or whatever it’s called at your law school) allows students to parody the law and life in law school. And now, thanks to the wonder of file-sharing sites, the musical creations last beyond the run of the show, and can be enjoyed (or hated) over and over again on YouTube.
Last year, we held our first ever Law Revue Video Contest, and UVA’s Con Luv video took home the big prize (though it’s unclear if they ever collected their prizes).
We’re holding the contest again this year. Rules after the jump…
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.