The makers of supposed cold-buster Airborne settled a class action lawsuit over false advertising claims today. When the herbal supplement first debuted ten years ago, the packaging proclaimed that it could “ward off colds.” Since then, the company has softened its claim, but the only study to support Airborne’s efficacy was conducted by two people and paid for by the company. No wonder it has agreed to pay back $23.3 million.
If you’ve bought Airborne recently and you saved your receipt, they’ll reimburse you the $6.99 (Walgreen’s price). Hey, it may be worth it to some people.
UPDATE: Good news! Our diligent commenters pointed out that as long as you have proof of purchase of one box of Airborne, you can get a refund for up to six additional boxes. That raises the stakes to roughly $48.93, which may be worth it to this law student.
That’s right, people. Kentucky Law’s lockers are unsafe. A tipster forwarded us the email that Associate Dean Bakert sent out today warning students not to keep books in their lockers until the security threat is addressed. There was a lock on the locker in question, but the crafty thug apparently broke it.
We know those law school books can be expensive, but they are not the things that a proper gangster steals. You can’t even brag about that, player.
We can think of some creative things the students could keep in their lockers instead of books. Like, you know, snacks and stuff. To our resourceful commenters: what helpful items would you suggest Kentucky’s law students keep in their lockers instead of books?
The text of the original email is posted after the jump.
I had to laugh out loud at Kramer Levin’s use of the daylight savings time maxim, “spring ahead/spring forward,” to suggest that we could do the same for our careers by coming to their firm. See the flyer below, which they seem to have sent to the entire 1L class.
Actually, we think it’s kinda cute! Check out those otherworldly tulips:
And it’s a helpful reminder for overworked law firm associates. If you have a conference call scheduled for, say, this Sunday morning at 10, you don’t want to miss it.
This is a pretty cool goof by Bill Rudnick, the new head of DLA Piper’s Chicago office. A group of partners just came over from Locke Lord Bissell, and apparently one of them went back to Locke Lord within a week.
Around 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday, three messages went out to the Chicago office all within a couple minutes. The first e-mail below went out first, followed by a “recall” message, and then the last message below.
Justin: “Ah, Steve, you won’t believe it! You know how it was white shirt, blue tie day at the office? Well I wore a blue tie AND a blue shirt…I mean we laughed for like, hours. Seriously Steve, hours.”
Today we address a fifth set of results, bypopulardemand: paternity leave.
As one tipster put it:
Can you also keep track of paternity leave? Firms will never really embrace work-life balance issues until they recognize that they affect both women AND men. Moreover, having lengthy maternity leave and poor paternity leave discriminates against gay couples and assumes that a woman will always be the primary caretaker.
But another comment suggests a (quickly refuted) rationale for providing shorter paid paternity leave:
The reason maternity leave is provided is because pregnancy is a legal disability. Therefore, employers (most of them) must provide you with the same rights as if you were disabled in any other way (if you’ve been there for a year), even though pregnancy is a voluntary disability. So if your firm has a 12-week disability, then it’s 12 weeks etc. (See Pregnancy Discrimination Act if I’m wrong on any of this, I’ve only seen it tangentially).
Obviously, there’s only one way to settle the debate . . . another running table. Check it out after the jump.
Debevoise & Plimpton has long been among New York’s most prestigious law firms. It’s also widely viewed as an excellent place to work.
In the past, Debevoise’s prestige has arguably outpaced its profits. It’s often ranked more highly on the Vault 100 than on the Am Law 100 (when ranked by profits per partner). In the most recent rankings, Debevoise was #13 on the Vault 100 and #20 on the Am Law 100 by PPP.
Perhaps that’s about to change. From Legal Week (via Law.com):
Debevoise & Plimpton has unveiled stellar financial results for 2007, with the New York law firm seeing both partner profits and fees climb by more than 20 percent over the last 12 months.
Profits per equity partner (PEP) at Debevoise rose by 26.5 percent from $1.81 million last year to a new high of $2.29 million. Global revenue, meanwhile, was up by 23.4 percent from $575 million in 2006 to $709.54 million.
A source who passed along this news added: “Although not mentioned in the article, several large investigations are the driving force behind these numbers.”
Of course, that’s not surprising. Thanks in large part to former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, internal investigations have long been a mainstay of Debevoise’s practice. They’re long-running and lucrative, since no company in deep doo-doo wants to look like it’s skimping on self-scrutiny. See, e.g., Siemens (aka Debevoise cash cow).
But how much cash will they get to keep? Discussion of a new tax proposal that will disproportionately affect partners at large law firms, after the jump.
Two quick items about Clifford Chance, concerning two favorite topics here at ATL: layoff rumors and bonuses. A tipster at the firm told us:
CC/NY has laid off more structured finance associates in the wake of the six associates laid off last October. At least two more structured finance associates have been laid off in February — one straight layoff and one “pushed out,” i.e., strong-armed to leave — and there are rumors of more to come in other areas as well (such as M&A)….
The morale is low and associates [fear] that the CC/NY of the 2002 Memo vintage has come back. How can a firm which pretends to be one of the New York elite firms resort to layoffs as soon as market has slowed down? This is fantasy.
We contacted the firm, and spoke on the phone with a spokesperson:
“There have not been any layoffs since the six associates affected last October, not in structured finance nor any other practice. There aren’t any plans [for layoffs] in any practice area.”
“I’m not saying that we don’t continually monitor our business and work allocation. But we haven’t had layoffs in terms in terms of people being asked to leave for economic reasons. The layoffs in October were in direct response to market conditions in a very specialized product area, rather than a trend.”
We’re inclined to credit the firm on this. A firm that openly acknowledges layoffs, as Clifford Chance did, has more credibility when it denies layoffs than a firm that sheds a suspiciously high number of lawyers, but claims that everything is “business as usual.”
But we do have a correction to our prior report that Clifford Chance paid market bonuses, on an across-the-board / lockstep basis. Read more, after the jump.
Some lawyers are really into cars. One prominent practitioner here in Washington collects Ferraris — but Tefft Smith is a fairly senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis, and you probably aren’t.
So what you should do in the car department? From the ATL mailbag:
I’m a 3L with an offer to BigLaw in California. I’m planning on purchasing a car, but I’m wondering what is appropriate for a junior associate. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but a friend of mine said that he saw some partners treat associates differently if their cars were nicer then theirs. He also said, clients aren’t too happy seeing young associates driving around in Mercedes and BMW’s. Is there any truth to this?
I don’t want to buy a Honda Civic or something; I want people to take me seriously. But I also don’t want to be too flashy. I was thinking either an Acura TSX or a Lexus IS 300.
FYI — I’ll be working in Northern California, so I don’t need to have a super flashy car to pick up the L.A. girls.
We can understand partners not liking it when associates have absurdly nice autos. But on the flip side, we once heard about an associate at a white-collar criminal defense boutique whose boss ordered him to upgrade his vehicle — a Civic, coincidentally enough — because it would be bad for clients to see him in a Honda. The partner helpfully provided the associate with a list of acceptable luxury car makes (and the associate ended up getting a Volvo, one of the more reasonably priced options).
So, ATL readers, whaddya think? We look forward to your feedback, in the comments. Born to Run: Tefft Smith and His Ferrari Fever [Legal Times]
Here’s your daily dose of schadenfreude. Associates aren’t the only ones suffering in the economic downturn; partners are getting axed too. From the Chicago Tribune:
Jenner & Block, a top Chicago law firm best known for its trial attorneys, has downsized its partnership for the second time in two years.
At least 10 partners have been told in recent weeks they will have to give up their equity in the firm, with some being asked to leave, according to people familiar with the discussions….
“We periodically review how each of our partners and associates are doing and act on those reviews,” [firm chairman Anton] Valukas said. “It’s nothing different this year than we’ve done in other years.”
* Skadden lawyers, take care. Police are investigating an explosion at the military recruiting station in Times Square. [AP]
* Loose lips leaks ship’s info, gets convicted. [IHT via WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaking of leaking, a Swiss bank has dropped its suit against Wikileaks. [San Francisco Chronicle via How Appealing]
* More FBI privacy screw-ups. [AP]
* Fidelity settles with SEC for $8 million in improper-gifts case. Among the gifts improperly received by Fidelity employees: a dwarf-tossing competition. [New York Times]
* An update on the troubles of Dickie Scruggs — who, by the way, hasn’t had such a great career in the post-tobacco period. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Law firm merger mania: McGuireWoods “merges” with Helms Mulliss & Wicker (although query whether it’s more of an acquisition — McGuireWoods has 750 lawyers to Helms Mulliss’s 145, and the new entity will keep the McGuireWoods name). [Charlotte Observer]
* Three days of jailhouse rockin’ for Elvis impersonator who shows up to court “apparently drunk, and sporting sunglasses and a rhinestone-studded shirt with a scarf draped around his neck.” Not clear whether he was held in contempt for the inebriation or the fashion missteps. [AP]
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 (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), 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.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
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:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.