If any Heller Ehrman attorneys were hoping that a major firm would sweep in and hire a whole bunch of Hellerites, the Dissolution Committee is warning you not to hold your breath. The Recorder reports:
On Tuesday, Peter Benvenutti, the chairman of the dissolution committee now controlling the firm, confirmed whispers that Baker & McKenzie and Winston & Strawn, both one-time merger candidates, had withdrawn proposals to pick up large groups of lawyers and their expensive real estate. While Benvenutti would not say whether deals on this scale are being discussed with any other firms, he did say there’s interest in taking over certain of the firm’s leases, and “we expect to have clarity in a day or two.”
At this point, why would Baker or Winston Strawn take on expensive lawyers when they can just sit back and cherry pick the superstars they want? We haven’t heard any story of a Heller rainmaker saying “If I come, these 30 people are coming with me.”
Charlotte Feeney sued L’Oreal Inc. because she accidentally dyed her hair dark-brown instead of blonde. She claims that L’Oreal mislabeled the box of hair-dye, while L’Oreal presumably used the “she’s an idiot” defense.
Freeney claimed to have suffered real damages. She said that being a brunette ruined her social life:
She says she suffered headaches and anxiety, missed the attention that blondes receive and had to stay home and wear hats most of the time.
It’s unclear what color the rug is, but Freeney claims the dark dye did irreparable damage to her curtains. She says that she can never go back to being a blonde again and now has to take anti-depressants.
We suggest that Freeney lay off the zoloft and open herself to the wonderful life of being a brunette. Armed with her new hair color — and nights and weekends uncluttered with the pressure of companionship or sex — Freeney can do all sorts of things. She will no longer be hated by other women, and she can begin the hard work of learning how to read confusing box labels at the local Duane Reade.
A Connecticut judge dismissed Freeney’s lawsuit, he said:
The plaintiff submitted no facts, no opinions and no standards to substantiate either of the allegations.
Should she decide to appeal, she might want to add the need for “facts and opinions” as further evidence of suffering because of her follicle deformity.
Freeney’s lawyer, David Laudano, said that he hadn’t even read the judge’s decision. Via internal monologue, Laudano added “Jeez. I wish this average looking woman would stop pestering me about her ‘cases’ and ‘options.’ I’m so bored. I want to work with new and exciting clients.”
Ha ha ha ha … oh hi Charlotte. Sure you look great. No, I’m not ignoring you. Hey, what are you doing with my pet rabbit? Stop. STOP OH DEAR GOD STOP!!!
Jerry Seinfeld is stuck in a bit of a legal mess (and it’s not the first time). He and his wife have been sued by cookbook author Missy Chase Lapine, who claims that Jessica Seinfeld plagiarized her recipes for the best-selling Deceptively Delicious Cookbook. Deceptive, indeed.
Then Jerry went on David Letterman and made jokes about Ms. Lapine, comparing her “to ‘wackos’ who had stalked Letterman. Seinfeld added that the ‘hysterical’ Lapine was a ‘three-name woman’ and ‘if you read history, many of the three-name people do become assassins.’” So then Lapine hit him with a slander lawsuit. It’s a Seinfeld episode gone horribly, horribly wrong. Kind of like the last, really unfunny episode of the series, which also took place in a courtroom.
Now, Jerry is seeking summary judgment claiming that “his remarks were consistent with a ‘recurring theme’ of his comedy and not slanderous.” Here’s an excerpt from the motion from Smoking Gun:
So his defense is along the lines of, “Have you seen that one episode of Seinfeld?” Seinfeld references usually work among friends, but will they do the trick in the Southern District of New York?
When a law school dean threatens a massive invasion of privacy, something stinks.
The Assistant Dean of Students at University of Minnesota Law School is Erin Keyes. You might remember her for her 3rd place performance in our Law School Dean Hotties Contest.
But having a pretty face doesn’t prevent Keyes from getting dirty when the job requires. Yesterday she sent around a school-wide email:
We have had several recent reports about a strong, offensive odor emanating from a small section of the Law School’s locker room. If you believe you may have left a lunch or other item behind, we ask that you remove it immediately. Starting at 3 PM today, staff from the Law School’s Facilities office will begin opening lockers to find and remove the source of the odor.
We appreciate your cooperation, and in the future, ask all students to ensure that no perishable food items are left in lockers.
We’ll get back to dirty smelly puns in a second.
But UMN Law students should take immediate action. Take your drugs out of your locker NOW. 3:00 p.m. will be upon you soon and if one of you leaves the crystal meth (or whatever they are doing in the upper Midwest these days) in your locker, you will be mocked. You’ll be mocked on ATL, in court, and later when somebody who knows your story buys coffee from you.
End of PSA announcement.
Back to the smell (if there is such a thing) after the jump.
Back in February, our ATL / Lateral Link survey on politics in the workplace found that 74% of you were discussing politics in the workplace, but less than 3% of you felt any need to conform to a particular political view.
At the time, 20% of respondents said that their fellow associates had tried to convince them to vote for someone, and about 15% said that an associate had asked them to contribute to a campaign.
But those were the days of Hillary and Huckabee.
Now that we’re down to John McCain and That One, what do office politics look like today? Is there more pressure to attend events? Vote a certain way? Make a contribution?
Let’s find out.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
I work for two partners at my firm – a senior one and a junior one. The senior partner routinely assigns me less urgent work, but he expects his projects to be handled immediately. The junior partner assigns me more urgent deal work, which also must be done immediately. Both partners hound me to attend to their projects, and if I do the senior partner’s work before the junior partner’s, the senior partner is pissed off, and vice versa. I’ve sent an email asking them how I should prioritize the projects, and neither has responded. I feel like I’m screwed either way. What would you recommend I do?
Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Rock and a Hard Place -
Advances in sheep cloning give associates hope that they will soon be able to be in two places at once, double bill and send themselves for coffee. Alas, that glorious day is not yet upon us. For now, you have to pick one of the projects, tackle it first and piss a partner off. Thus the question becomes, which partner is it better to enrage?
Most people would probably tell you to do the senior partner’s project first, because while his work may be less pressing, he has more clout at partner meetings and owns two Ferraris. Prioritizing memoranda to files may keep the senior partner momentarily happy, but in doing so you’ll look like a slacker to the rest of the deal team. And when purchase agreements go out the door with brackets around Section 9.2.1 stating “pending IP review,” you’ll look like an asshat in front of the client.
Believe it or not, you were not primarily hired to preserve your own job, but rather to advise firm clients. The senior partner may have more hiring/firing power over you than the junior partner, but it’s your duty to convey to the senior partner that the deal team, the junior partner and the client cumulatively outweigh him, even if he is obese. Telling him “not right now” won’t be easy, but it’s nothing that his wife and lady friend haven’t done before.
David Kernell, the now infamous 20-year-old hacker who got access into Sarah Palin’s private email account, has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Kernell is the son of the Democratic chairperson of Tennessee’s House Government Operations Committee.
The A.P. reports:
Kernell, an economics major at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release.
What kind of emails is David Kernell sending around that made him think that a 44-year old woman would have anything newsworthy in her email account? She’s a grandmother. Did he really think that Palin would use email to send around scandalous photos?
Five years and $250,000 seems like the right price to pay for such rank stupidity.
Pundits and news junkies aren’t the only people talking about presidential politics these days. Some attorneys want to add their two cents as well.
We saw earlier what happened when Orrick attorneys used the firm-wide email list to espouse political views. But Jack Levin, a partner at K&E Chicago, apparently felt that he had learned from the Orrick situation. He sent around what can only be described as a partner’s version of a “HTH” firm-wide email:
From: Jack Levin
Sent: 10/07/2008 03:31 PM CDT
To: #FW Attorneys
Subject: Federal income taxes
In case clients ask you about likely tax policy for high-income folks should Obama be elected, I briefly summarize below Obama’s tax positions(announced 8/14/08) with respect to income tax on high end folks.
This memo is not intended to solicit votes or contributions to any particular candidate, but simply to permit you to converse knowledgeably with clients about Obama tax positions:
* Individual long-term capital gain (“LTCG”) top rate 20%, same as under President Bill Clinton.
* Individual dividend income top rate 20%, same as LTCG, lower than Clinton administration when dividends were taxed at ordinary income (“OI”) rates up to 39.6%.
* Individual OItop rate 39.6%, same as under President Clinton.
* Social security(FICA) payroll tax — currently imposed on individual’s compensation up to $102,000 per year (which amount increases slightly each year with inflation) at 12.4% rate (half on employer and half on employee) — Obama proposes no change for a decade and then (if necessary to save social security system) tax between 2% and 4% (half on employer and half on employee) on individual’s compensation in excess of $250,000 per year.
Is this useful information that the whole firm needs to know?
Mr. Levin failed to remind his K&E colleagues that he had previously been outed by Law.com as an Obama tax policy adviser:
At Kirkland, appellate and litigation head Christopher Landau is a member of McCain’s Justice Advisory Committee, while partner Jack Levin advises Obama on tax policy and Jewish community relations.
Reaction pours in from around the firm after the jump.
* One of the first big decisions to result from the Supreme Court’s Boumediene ruling. Judge Ricardo M. Urbina orders that 17 Uighur detainees be released by next week. [New York Times]
* California has had a Gold Ring Rush. Over 11,000 couples have married since the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, meaning more same-sex marriages than Massachusetts has had over four years. [New York Times]
* The latest bizarre twist in the corruption trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. [WSJ Law Blog]
* In case you’re tired of analyzing the debates along policy lines, here’s the rundown on Obama and McCain’s Nashville face-off in terms of body language, style, and vocal control. One candidate was a jazz musician while the other was the Energizer Bunny. [Los Angeles Times]
The case of the hurtful homosexuals v. SDFD ended yesterday in mistrial. The jury could not decide if four firefighters were victims of sexual harassment. The men were “forced” to march in a San Diego gay pride parade and also taunted during the march:
The firefighters claimed they were humiliated by taunts and sexual gestures from parade watchers in San Diego.
Their complaint said parade participants included “a group of radical homosexual men” dressed in nun habits and others who yelled comments such as, “You’re making me hot!” and, “I can’t breathe, give me mouth to mouth!”
“Radical homosexual men?” Obviously these firefighters have never been to Chelsea (or even Hell’s Kitchen).
At the time SDFD policy was to make participation in the parade mandatory under anti-discrimination laws. SDFD has since made participation voluntary.
San Diego’s city attorney was happy with the outcome of the case:
City Attorney Michael Aguirre said the lawsuit “was about greed” and declared the jury’s deadlock a total victory. … Aguirre told jurors that the men were assigned to the parade after another crew backed out due to a death in one member’s family. He said the parade is a city-sanctioned event, just like celebrations of the Fourth of July and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The firefighters’ attorney said that they would seek a new trial.
But let’s flip the gender and orientation for a second. Would it be sexual harassment for a group of guys to shout “you’re making me hot” at women marching in a parade? It seems like the same standard should apply to a sexual harassment charge in both cases, if at all.
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.
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.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
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.