The NCAA claims to be committed to a “culture of personal responsibility and individual accountability.” Unfortunately that culture does not extend to its leadership, who whine and bully with the best of them when the law doesn’t let them indulge their every whim.
Witness the NCAA’s annual Final Four address over the weekend. NCAA President Mark Emmert and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the press that they are prepared to forfeit millions rather than accede to a legal obligation to share any revenue with players. This isn’t the first time NCAA Bigwigs have lobbed the threat of blowing up their own cash cow rather than share with the kids risking injury in the gladiatorial pit for the benefit of universities. Last year, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said that his schools would quit Division I athletics if the Ed O’Bannon case rules that schools can’t unilaterally sell the likenesses of players for profit.
There’s a certain majesty in being so committed to cutting off your nose to spite your face….
Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s new poet-in-residence, Qui Tam. You can read the rest of his law-related poetry over here.
In football, a lateral pass by definition cannot go forward. I thought about that in the merry-go-round lateral market of the mid 00s; a whole lot of sideways movement and shuffling around, most of it just trying to put off a little longer the oncoming inevitability of a bone-crunching tackle in the form of Biglaw up and out. Two lateral experiences…
Surprisingly this lawyer isn’t named “Captain Obvious.”
He’s James Kidney, an SEC Enforcement lawyer who joined the agency in 1986 and served there ever since with a four-year detour to work at Aetna. At his well-attended (about 70 people) retirement party, he fulfilled the dream of every retiring employee and called out the B.S. he’d witnessed in his years on the job. And at the SEC, that B.S. dealt mostly with a revolving door culture of fearful superiors more interested in harassing low-level offenders while turning a blind eye to anyone with responsibility on Wall Street.
I still have many friends at Columbia, and it was great to see them. I was on the faculty appointments committee that helped hire some of them, and I now regret that we placed such emphasis on their basketball abilities in the hiring process.
It’s time to answer the age old question: how useless are political science majors?
Actually the question is what undergraduate majors provide the best credentials to a law school admissions officer deciding how to best game the U.S. News rankings create a mutually rewarding academic environment. Political science majors don’t look so hot as a category. Even philosophy majors do better than poli-sci students on the LSAT. I guess realizing that law school is the only marketable skill they’ll be able to get since Slavoj Žižek already has “being paid to spout off about ‘The Real’ while dressed as a homeless man” locked up is a powerful incentive to study.
Professor Derek Muller of Pepperdine Law took the time to crunch the numbers for the 2013 incoming class and arranged the findings into a handy chart.
Is anyone tired of Chris Brown yet? I was tired of him months ago, then I got a second wind and am still interested in watching him crash.
Yesterday, the trial court heard a motion to dismiss by Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos. The motion contended that the prosecutors abused the grand jury process by using it as an opportunity to test their case. Denying the motion, Judge Patricia Wynn said there is no problem with prosecutors testing their case in seeking an indictment before the grand jury.
Brown was not present at the hearing, having taken the world’s slowest flight to D.C. via the U.S. Marshals Service (five days in total). The court did grant a motion to sever Brown’s bodyguard’s trial from Brown’s trial — which was helpful to the defense, so that the bodyguard can testify for Brown in Brown’s trial…
One of the things that was always interesting about Biglaw was just how much the skills of senior partners were celebrated, even in the absence of any verification. Or rigorous comparison to their peers, for that matter. Such exaltation of abilities was not limited to individual lawyers, of course, but extended also to practice groups and even other firms. In fact, a fair amount of Biglaw’s “prestige” is pollinated by secondhand anecdotal evidence, many times passed along by people who have either never seen their subjects in action or who are not qualified to distinguish between a great performance and a mediocre one.
Of course, I do not doubt that many, if not the vast majority of, Biglaw reputations are well-earned. For example, even though my knowledge of real estate law is severely limited, I would feel comfortable hiring some of my old colleagues at Greenberg Traurig in New York for real estate help, should I ever be in a position to acquire or dispose of some commercial real estate. I admit that I have no frame of reference, other than reputation and some personal relationships, supporting such a prospective choice. But it is not like I could “shadow” a closing and figure out which set of lawyers is doing a better job anyway. “Wow, those guys really put out a nice refreshment spread in the room with the closing binders” would be the level of my analysis. Probably not a good idea to choose counsel solely on that basis.
* The Eighth Circuit axed a $900K jury award after a lawyer recounted her tale of sexual harassment by a law professor at Drake University Law during closing arguments. Well, that sucks, but we’d really love to know which professor this was. [ABA Journal]
* If flat is the new up, then mergers must be the new growth. The new year is upon us, and law firms are on track to either meet or break the merger record set in 2013. Thus far, 22 firms have announced mergers or acquisitions in 2014. [Washington Post]
* A lawyer in Minnesota who’s been in trouble with the bar quite a few times was recently charged with setting his girlfriend on fire. Yikes, someone’s way too excited about the Fargo mini-series. [Star-Tribune]
* Oscar Pistorius took the stand in his murder trial yesterday, revealing that when he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he was really trying to protect her. This case gives us the sads. [New York Times]
* Sorry we’re not sorry about the toupee: Paramount wants this Wolf of Wall Street suit dismissed since it’s undeniable the plaintiff was part of “bizarre travesty that was Stratton Oakmont.” [Hollywood Reporter]
The cold call is miffed
and there you are
you’re squirming for your life
you’re a falling star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
because you’re Tier Four…
One Shining Moment, your debt’s piling up
One Shining Moment, your career’s frozen in time
It’s over. After 5 rounds of voting, we finally have a champion in the ATL March Madness tournament. Thanks to your voting, we can crown the Worst Law School in America. The championship featured 1-seeded Thomas M. Cooley against 8-seeded Liberty.
* Never text angry. A New York judge just put the kibosh on a man’s suit to secure the return of a $53,000 engagement ring from his jilted would-be wife because he sent an ill-advised angry text. [MyFoxNY]
* A German judge allegedly sold thousands of answers to law exams. When authorities closed in, the judge went on the run before being caught with “€30,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and… a 26-year-old Romanian woman.” Who knew bar exam answer keys were the new Blue Sky. [The Local]
* Here’s the 50 Most Comfortable Prisons in the World. Hopefully the judge above will land in JVA Fuhlsbuettel Prison. [Arrest Records]
* Judge lambasts the Bronx DA’s office after an ADA failed to reveal evidence that would have freed a man held at Rikers Island on bogus rape charges. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. [New York Daily News]
Most days, I’m proud of owning my own small law firm. And while technically, I’m not a solo — I’ve had an assistant for over eight years now as well as a revolving crew of of counsel, part-time associates and independent contractors — many of my colleagues lump me and most very small law firms into that category nonetheless. So when other solos act foolishly or unprofessionally, it reflects poorly on the rest of us.
Understand, I’m not picking on solos. Let’s face it — large law firms are hardly paragons of upstanding conduct; one needn’t look further than the recent Dewey & LeBoeuf scandal as proof. But for whatever reason, when Biglaw behaves badly, that conduct doesn’t diminish the reputation of Biglaw in the eyes of judges and other lawyers as it does for solos.
So that’s why it bugs me when solos do stupid — and often avoidable — things. Here are my top three peeves:
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.