* Texan Toxic Tort attorney Fred Baron has died. His profile went national this year due to his support for John Edwards (and his mistress) and his campaign to secure an experimental drug to treat his cancer. [Dallas Morning News]
* New York AG Andrew Cuomo is on the case of big executive bonuses in the wake of the bank bailout. [New York Times]
* New York divorce lawyers aren’t very good at making their marriage work. [Newsday]
* Here’s a horror story for you. Paralegal beheads a gang member, puts pieces of the body in plastic, and buries them. His attorney/employer is defending him, saying his paralegal “did not have a chance to call 911.” Happy Halloween! [Associated Press]
* Milberg Weiss hires a ringer to win a lawyer league basketball game against the Food Bank of New York. That adds up to a law firm cheating to win an exhibition against a charity. But the Food Bank lawyers responded in the only reasonable way. [Supreme Dicta]
* Don’t forget to bid for Item #16, a fun night with Kash and Lat while I drunkenly murder a homophone in the background. [Equal Justice Foundation]
In what could be a trend, DLA Piper has canceled the holiday party for their Chicago office. The move is similar to Fried Frank’s decision to scrap their holiday festivities, but there is no indication on whether DLA intends to donate any of their party money to charity (as Fried Frank did).
Spokespeople for DLA Piper did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It’s not just the legal community that’s scaling back on holiday cheer. Yesterday, Barclays announced they were canceling their holiday party too. For a complete list of the financial firms that have gone Grinch, see our sister site, Dealbreaker.
The holiday party is just one notch on the ever tighter belt. More after the break.
Ah, Sullivan & Cromwell. It’s a top law firm — not just in prestige and profits, but also blog fodder. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner who defrauded firm and clients of half a million dollars through expense fraud); Aaron Charney (associate who sued the firm for antigay discrimination, while still employed there).
When people leave 125 Broad Street, they go out with a bang. Today, courtesy of several tipsters, we bring you the tale of another former SullCrom employee who departed under less than ideal circumstances. Let’s call him “DB,” short for “douchebag.”
(To those of you who find the term offensive, we say: if it’s good enough for the Second Circuit, it’s good enough for ATL. Also, we use it affectionately.)
During law school, DB developed a reputation “as a racist, sexist jerkoff who always flaunted the fact that he was wealthy.” Here’s why:
His first words upon meeting his law school roommates: “Hi, I’m DB. I’m independently wealthy.”
In a class discussion about price discrimination and consumer choice, he said: “Sometimes when I’m in a real hurry, I am forced to fly coach.”
At a law firm reception, he said to the attorneys, “Don’t you miss the good old days when there were no girls at a place like this, except for hookers and strippers?”
This charming lad then made his way to 125 Broad Street, where he joined GP (general practice; S&C-speak for “Corporate”) at Sullivan. Now, S&C pays well — in addition to generous base salaries and year-end bonuses, they pay supplemental bonuses to senior associates. But DB was unimpressed:
“My allowance used to be bigger than whatever I earn from this place. I feel so poor now that I’m working.”
Bell Boyd & Lloyd managing partner Nancy Bertoglio has confirmed the layoffs we reported earlier today. She stated that 10 associates were laid off today:
Like many firms, Bell Boyd is facing unprecedented market conditions and we are taking measures to ensure the firm’s efficient operation and growth. Today regrettably, Management, in individual meetings with associates, asked 10 to leave effective January 1, 2009. The associates affected were representative of practices across the firm, and none were first year associates. All are in the Chicago office. This is a belt-tightening measure that will put us in a better position to ride out the economic storm and remain competitive in what we expect will be a challenging business environment for law firms and our clients.
At least the firm didn’t throw mud on the associates on the way out of the door. This message makes it clear that the layoffs were done for economic reasons, not because the 10 associates were “under performing” in some way.
Good luck to the most recent additions to the job hunting community.
Dechert has just announced the hiring of former Heller chairman Matt Larrabee. His official partnership with Dechert is thought to be a mere formality.
From Dechert’s press release:
“Matt’s experience is unusually diverse, with each of his practice areas intersecting with a number of Dechert’s core litigation practices: class action defense, antitrust, fraud claims, and complex commercial litigation,” said Dechert chairman Barton J. Winokur. “Perhaps most importantly, Matt will provide yet another highly experienced and sophisticated first chair litigator to Dechert’s already impressive group of trial lawyers. I think everyone would agree that Matt is one of the most respected trial attorneys in the nation and we welcome him to the firm.”
One firm’s loss is another firm’s gain. If Dechert ever has to dissolve, they’ve got a new pro in house.
The Chicago market is really tough these days. In the past month, 21 associates lost their jobs with Katten, 25 associates were laid off from Sonneschein, and Jenner Block parted ways with 10 partners.
A tipster tells us that Bell Boyd’s Chicago office could be the next firm to suffer the layoff bug:
18 fired this morning, some 1st years, some 4th and 5th years. Firm wide meeting at noon central
We have contacted the firm, but they have not yet responded.
We will update you as soon as we can confirm or deny this report.
Update (3:03): Bell Boyd has confirmed 10 associate layoffs. Please see here for additional coverage.
There are moments in life when one is confronted with the inconsideration of others and can be moved to despise one’s fellow man — e.g., when stepping in discarded bubble gum, or passing through an exhaled cloud of smoke while jogging.
One Yale Law School student had a moment like this in the ladies’ restroom, and she has blasted the student list-serv urging greater consideration in the future.
Here is an excerpt:
Dear Prissy Chicks of YLS,
WHY do you squat over the toilet seat and splatter it with pee instead of just sitting on it like everybody else — or at least cleaning up after yourself? I just went to the ladies room downstairs by the ATM and two of those friggin toilets were liberally spritzed, thanks to your selfish carelessness. Consider:
1. Yes, toilet seats at our school come into contact with the asses and thighs of many many people. But your ass and thighs are not alone in this world!!! Would it kill you to put your naked buttcheeks on the toilet seat, anyway? It’s not like you’re going to be eating off them! By squatting above the toilet seat and cattily spraying everywhere, you force sensible women to deal with your uric carnage. You either make that toilet unusable, or make the braver women wipe off your peepee…
You might not want to sit on the toilet seat, but *nobody* wants their bum and thighs to be dampened by your prissy potty puddles.
The hazard of being a female. There have been many replies to this, reproduced after the jump. We wanted to highlight this comment, scoring a point for Harvard in the YLS / HLS debate:
You’d think a school with the resources of YLS could tend to its most basic sanitation requirements. (Harvard provides free tampons in the women’s restrooms, and perhaps their toilets function, as well.)
Full angry e-mail — with detailed instructions on bathroom use, and myriad replies — after the jump.
We’ve reported that firms with “oversubscribed” summer classes are calling up 2Ls and encouraging them to not accept their 2009 summer associate offers. Unlike Akin Gump’s move, the tactic is a clever dodge around the NALP guidelines. As we understand it, firms are not committing these “cold offers” to email, instead using the telephone and avoiding a paper trail.
Career services departments are trying to cope with this new law firm tactic. Some Michigan students received this email from their career services dean:
Hi. It is my understanding that you have an offer from White and Case in New York. After talking to contacts in the New York legal market, it appears that White and Case may have over-hired for next summer and has a particularly large class. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to take another offer if you have one.
According to the WSJ Law Blog, White & Case claims ignorance over why Michigan would send out this email:
A spokesman for White & Case told the Law Blog: “We don’t know, honestly, why a law school career services office would send out these letters. No on has talked to us about the situation, and we’ve certainly not encouraged anyone to send out letters to students.”
Notice how White & Case did not say “we intend to honor every summer associate offer we’ve made.”
We have been consistently encouraging 2Ls to accept their offers sooner rather than later. Many career services departments have echoed that advice. White & Case joins Proskauer as one of the firm that has been “outed” as telling people that they should look elsewhere for offers, but we suspect that many firms are doing this.
A central theme running through this week’s bonus speculation was that bonus decisions would be made much later this year than last year. As first reported here, Cravath kicked off the bonus season last year on October 29th, 2007. But in 2006, Milbank didn’t get the ball rolling until December 8th.
The first solid information that bonus decisions could be made a lot later this season came in today from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. MLB associates were notified that bonuses would not be paid before the holidays via a firm wide email.
Unless something very strange happens, California’s electoral votes are already spoken for. In fact, we might know the next President long before the California polls close.
But regardless of the national election, there are many reasons why Californians should go vote on November, 4th. For many, Proposition 8 (the initiative to ban gay marriage) will be the signature issue on the ballot.
We have reported on attorneys from Orrick and Proskauer staking out positions on Prop. 8. Yesterday, the Daily Journal did a thorough breakdown of Prop. 8 campaign spending.
The California Marriage Protection Act has prompted more than 2,600 attorneys, judges and law professors to write checks totaling at least $1.6 million, but the committees that oppose the measure received 14 percent more money from the legal community than those who support it, an analysis by the Daily Journal shows.
No Biglaw firm took an “official” stance on the issue, but the Daily Journal reported that attorneys at Knobbe Martens, Sheppard, Mullin, Latham & Watkins, Richter & Hampton and Kirkland & Ellis led in terms of individual contributions.
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: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.