In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, it’s time to focus on time off.
ATL has previously reported on firms trimming the length of their summer programs, in part because of economic doldrums, but also at least purportedly in part because of vacation cycles.
As one firm’s managing partner put it: “We believe that the August vacation season for our attorneys is simply not a period that is conducive to a positive Summer Associate experience.”
So, it being “vacation season,” are you taking any?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.
In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, it’s time to focus on time off.
Back in February 2007, shortly after young gay lawyer Aaron Charney sued his former firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, alleging anti-gay discrimination and retaliation, the WSJ Law Blog asked: “Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over?”
Based on the experts it spoke to, the WSJ concluded that “it’ll be tough for Charney, though not impossible, to find work at another big firm.” In the comments to the WSJ post, readers were less optimistic. One described Charney as “toast” — a sentiment apparently shared by many ATL readers we heard from, who found laughable the notion that Aaron Charney might someday return to Biglaw.
If you were one of those who doubted that Aaron Charney could return to a large law firm, it’s time for you to eat one of these. Next month, Charney will be joining Clifford Chance, in the Magic Circle firm’s New York office.
We reached out to both Aaron Charney and Clifford Chance for confirmation and comment. Charney did not get back to us, but the firm did. From firm spokesperson Mike Kachel:
I can confirm that Aaron Charney, a talented lawyer, will join our New York office in early September from Sullivan & Cromwell as a fifth-year associate. Aaron’s presence will further strengthen our M&A practice and we’re delighted he’s joining us.
The firm is clearly pleased to have Charney on the team. But does everyone at Clifford Chance feel the same way? The CC source who tipped us off to the news alluded to some grumbling among the rank-and-file about Charney’s hiring (but didn’t specify why people wouldn’t want to have Charney as a colleague). As for why the firm wanted to hire Charney, this tipster suggested that Clifford Chance may want to improve its standing in the gay community, after settling a sexual orientation lawsuit brought by a gay partner in London last year.
Regardless of the naysayers’ views, this does seem like a felicitous pairing. Aaron Charney gets to return to the world of corporate law and deal work, which he clearly loves. Clifford Chance gets to beef up its New York M&A practice — and enhance its diversity record, too. Congratulations to both Charney and Clifford Chance!
P.S. Clifford Chance wasn’t the only firm that flirted with Charney. As we mentioned back in May, he also interviewed with Kramer Levin.
P.P.S. Whatever happened to Charney pal Gera Grinberg? Might Clifford Chance have room for him too?
Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over? [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: A Brokeback Lawfirm for the Other Side of the Pond
We hear that the Justice Department’s special report on our favorite DOJ diva, Monica Goodling, will be coming out later today — in fact, later this morning. Perhaps within 15 minutes or so, give or take….
Stay tuned. We’ll update this space with more as it emerges.
Update (10:08 AM): As we predicted, the report of the Office of the Inspector General, “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General,” has been released. To access it, click here (PDF).
We haven’t head the chance to read it yet (since we’re juggling several stories this morning). If you take a look at the report, please feel free to point out the most interesting portions, in the comments.
Further Update: More from NPR, the AP, and the WSJ Law Blog.
Justice Dept.’s Hiring Tactics Illegal, Report Says [National Public Radio]
DOJ: Former aide broke law in hiring scandal [Associated Press]
Who’s to Blame for GonzoGate? DOJ Report Points to Goodling [WSJ Law Blog]
* Conviction in Siemens bribery and corruption case. [Reuters]
* Another malpractice suit filed, this one against Thelen Reid. [The Recorder via Am Law Daily]
* Virginia jails must report foreign inmates to feds. [Washington Post]
* Shia LaBeouf arrested for DUI. [CNN]
* Mistrial motion in Barbie-Bratz dolls case, after juror booted for ethnic slurs. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Judge Charlies Brieant (S.D.N.Y.), RIP. [New York Times]
Let’s close out the week with one more post about everyone’s favorite summer associate scandal: the girl-on-girl kiss that got two summer associates fired from the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist & Vennum.
Now some of you may be getting lesbian kiss fatigue (although some of you may say, “no such thing!!!”). But having received this tip, we can’t sit on it, or we’d be accused of giving you only part of the story.
From a tipster (who provided additional identifying information to explain how he’s in a position to know this, which we’ve omitted to preserve his anonymity):
“[The Kiss] happened at a bar with a bunch of summer people after dinner at a partner’s house. [One of the summers] was probably just fired as a scapegoat, because that same night [another summer] made out with a married partner. I bet they didn’t fire that girl because they were afraid of employment discrimination suits.”
Well! All this scandalous talk — faux-lesbian kisses, orgiastic firm retreats — is making us blush.
We retract any and all prior remarks suggesting the folks at Lindquist are prudes and squares. To the contrary, it sounds like the place is so buck wild that lesbian lip-action is on the mild side of the spectrum. We are — involuntarily, mind you — imagining Nancy Vollertsen dancing on a table.
Okay, this scandal may have run its course; all good things come to an end. But we remain open to corrections, in case we’ve gotten anything wrong. Feel free to send any info our way, by email (subject line: “Lindquist and Vennum Summer Associate Scandal”). Thanks.
Earlier: Prior coverage of The Kiss (scroll down)
When we recently lamented the lack of summer associate scandals, in the New York Observer, did we speak too soon? Although we may be in the home stretch, law firm summer associate programs are not yet over — and neither, thankfully, are the salacious tales they generate.
Here’s a story we’ve known about for a while — it happened late last week — which has already surfaced elsewhere on the web. We’ve delayed on reporting about it because we wanted to get more confirmation and give the parties involved a chance to comment.
We reached out to numerous representatives of the firm — managing partner Daryle Uphoff, chief marketing officer Greg Wolsky, recruiting director Lisanne Weisz, diversity coordinator Nancy Vollertsen — by phone and by email, yesterday and today. We also contacted the two summers involved, via Facebook message. Nobody has gotten back to us, despite ample time to do so. We’ll have to push ahead without them.
Since we’ve heard the story from multiple sources, all offering generally consistent accounts, we are fairly confident in its accuracy. But if you have any corrections or additions to offer, please email us (subject line: “Lindquist and Vennum Summer Associate Scandal”).
Here are some of the versions we heard (many tipsters sent it in):
1. Word through the grapevine is that two female summer associates at Minneapolis firm Lindquist & Vennum were fired recently for getting drunk at a firm event and making out with each other.
2. I’m an associate at a large Minneapolis firm, and word is that two female summer associates at Lindquist & Vennum, another of the large firms in town, got drunk at a summer associate event and were making out with each other. They were fired on Friday.
3. [Two summers at] Lindquist & Vennum were fired over the weekend. Drinking was involved; however, the firm supplied it to them during a boat cruise in 90+ degree weather. Can you get this posted? I want more information.
4. I am a summer associate at a Minneapolis law firm. I can tell that you that two female Lindquist and Vennum summer associates were recently fired (within the last week). I could not tell you for sure why they were fired, but the rumor is that they were drunk at some sort of firm social event (one that had partners present), and started to make out with each other.
And they got fired for this? We’re surprised the old-white-male partners didn’t cheer them on.
Update / Correction: According to reports received after this post was published, whether the SAs were “making out” or merely kissing on the lips is unclear. Furthermore, the event in question was not the boat cruise, but a post-dinner gathering at a bar. For an update post containing additional information and corrections, see here.
One tipster pointed us to some corroborating evidence:
Lindquist has removed all photos/references of the two from its summer associate section on its website.
This is true. We verified it ourselves, by comparing the current summer associate page, which lists eight summers, to an older version, which lists ten summers. (But please do not post in the comments any links to archived or cached versions of the page.)
You can read more, if you want to — if you don’t, then don’t — after the jump.
That’s the question we attempt to tackle in our latest New York Observer column. It’s illustrated with an Aquagirl cartoon, seen in miniature at right. Click on the thumbnail to be taken to the article, where you can see the original version at full size.
In the piece, we lament the relative dearth of summer associate stories this year. It certainly has been a quiet summer at New York law firms.
But with respect to the rest of the country, did we speak too soon? We’re hearing some delicious SA gossip out of Minneapolis.
But we’d like to get more details and confirmation before running with it. If you can help us out, please email us. Thanks.
Update: Martha Neil of the ABA Journal gives us a kind shout-out over here.
Further Update: You can read about the Minneapolis summer associate story over here.
Tart Reform! Facing Heat, Legal Ladies and Laddies Stay Buttoned [New York Observer]
Law Blogger Laments Lack of Summer Associate Scandals [ABA Journal]
David Remes, who made Law Blog headlines last week for removing his pants at a news conference in Yemen, is leaving the firm, according to the Legal Times, which reported the news over the weekend. Remes will reportedly devote himself exclusively to human rights litigation.
Last week, we reported that Remes (Columbia, Harvard Law), who’s representing 15 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, removed his pants at a news conference in Yemen. Remes was attempting to demonstrate what he feels are the inappropriate body searches that detainees are undergoing several times per day.
“At the press conference in Yemen — this is a society where the rule of morality is so strict — I wanted to drive home the degree of humiliation that these searches cause by illustrating a typical body search,” Remes told the LB.
Biglaw doesn’t like seeing those kinds of briefs.
Remes Resigns from Covington & Burling [BLT]
David Remes, Who Dropped His Pants in Yemen, to Leave Covington [Wall Street Journal Law Blog]
We have not yet seen the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. It’s too bad we’re not summering at Simpson Thacher in New York. Have you seen the film? Does it live up to the hype?
Meanwhile, Batman star Christian Bale was arrested in London, before being released on bail. From the Daily Mail:
Batman star Christian Bale was released on police bail today after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting two family members.
The Hollywood actor was questioned for four hours at Belgravia police station in central London and later bailed to a date in September pending further inquiries.
Bale, 34, is alleged to have lashed out at his mother Jenny, 61, and sister Sharon, 40, in his suite at Park Lane’s Dorchester Hotel on Sunday night.
If true — Bale denies the allegations — such conduct is most unbecoming of Bruce Wayne.
Batman star Christian Bale released on bail amid claims he assaulted his own mother and sister [Daily Mail via Drudge Report]
CHRISTIAN BALE DENIES ASSAULT ALLEGATION [AP via New York Post]
We’re currently running a caption contest for the photo at right. We’re not the only ones with an ongoing legally-themed caption contest. If one flips to the back of the current infamous New Yorker issue, the cartoon for their caption contest (Contest #153) is set in a courtroom. We’ll keep an eye on that contest, and issue an opinion on the finalists when they are announced.
We prefer not to give you the context for caption contest photos, but the background on this one is as exposed as the lawyer in the photo. It’s up on Yahoo! News, the WSJ Law Blog, and the ABA Journal, among other places. It got more publicity over the weekend, with the news that David Remes, the pants-dropping partner in the picture, is leaving Covington & Burling (as reported by the Legal Times; see also the WSJ, via New York magazine).
We’re pushing on with the contest, since we had over 200 entries. These are our finalists:
A. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief…”
B. “Million Dollar Pants Lawsuit: Part 2″
C. “Ya know, John, I think the school board had something else in mind when they asked for an assembly on the how the penal system works.”
D. “Having been found guilty of malpractice, the lawyer literally had his pants sued off.”
E. “Another unsuccessful effort to get ‘junk’ science before the jury.”
F. “And now my junior partner has something he’d like to say…”
G. “[Y]our honor, i thought you said you wanted to take a closer look at the briefs.”
H. “You think that jury was hung?”
I. “Counsel, the phrase ‘may it please the court’ is NOT a literal request.”
J. “Other Van Winkle Law Firm partners have expressed concern that Joe represented his favorite extracurricular activity a little too enthusiastically in his ‘Meet Joe’ bio photo.”
Earlier: ATL Caption Contest: Tighty-Whities
Having just discussed Janet Jackson (or her breasts), we’re going to remain on the subject of music. This installment in our continuing series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys — i.e., “things you can do with a law degree other than Biglaw (or contract attorney work)” — is inspired by lawyer turned rapper Mekka Don.
There are many attorneys out there with musical side projects. When do you decide to take the leap and dive into your music career full-time? According to Mekka Don, the answer is “after one year at Weil.” He wrote to us in March:
My name is Emeka Onyejekwe (aka Mekka Don) and in the spring I left my job at a top ten law firm in order to help save Hip Hop. I graduated from NYU in 2006 and worked at the firm for a little less than a year. Many people (probably including you, lol) think I’m crazy, but I believe it was a calling from God. I’ve begun to memorialize what I am doing through a reality show.
He may be too late. According to Nas, hip hop is dead! But good luck with that.
ABA Journal’s July issue has a profile piece on the “legal hustler.” Taking the struggling artist career route sounds challenging. To make ends meet, Onyejekwe is “modeling, event planning and sports marketing along with running a small legal practice with his sister.”
Does a legal background help much in this career? Once you make it big, those contracts classes may come in handy. It also looks to be useful in the comments on the ABA piece. Someone questioned Mekka Don’s use of “Law & Order” for the title of his mixtape, and he responds by citing the “fair use” doctrine.
More on Mekka Don, after the jump.
A day in the life of a rapper sounds a bit better than 12 hours of doc review. Here’s the description in his e-mail to us:
A typical day in the life of Mekka Don can involve a Phat Farm photo shoot in the morning, then hitting the movie set in the afternoon where he is playing a lead role in an independent film. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without laying some tracks in the music studio then popping into one of Mekka Don’s parties at night. Add in negotiating a contract or litigating a case for a legal client and Mekka Don earns his additional moniker – “the Legal Hustler”.
In the ABA Journal piece, Mekka Don says he doesn’t regret law school, and that he loves the law, but that he hasn’t been getting a whole lot of support from the legal community.
Q: What sort of reaction are you getting from the legal community?
To my face they say it’s cool, but behind my back there are a lot of negative responses. Some black lawyers think this is the worst possible thing I could have done in the black community. But almost every piece of criticism is from someone who’s never heard my music.
So one downside to pursuit of your music dreams is fellow lawyers making fun of you… until you make it big! Then they’ll all be lining up to represent you.
Street Legal [ABA Journal]