Once you get into a top law school, staying on the Biglaw course requires determination, talent and a clear headed focus on your goals. Getting out of Biglaw requires all the same strengths, mixed with a little bit of crazy.
J. Ashwin Madia has been a law firm associate and a Marine, and now he’s running for Congress. But like so many of us his journey started in the relative safety of a top law school. The friends of his from NYU Law might know him better as Jigar. Madia starting using his middle names when he joined the Marines.
The few Marines I’ve met all talk about a desire to give back to the community and Madia is no different:
My parents came to this country with $19 between them, and they bought an $11 bottle of champagne and they started with $8 in this country. So this was a small way to give something back.
Where Madia is different is that his post-bar trip was disturbingly similar to boot camp, insofar as he had to go to boot camp.
The marines are kind of unique in that if you fly a plane or drive a tank or are a lawyer, you all go through the same training. It was funny, after I took the bar exam I had 8 months of crawling around in the mud and shooting a machine gun and learning martial arts and learning how to be a rifle platoon commander.
Madia helped the Iraqi government formulate their legal system, focusing on getting suspected terrorists competent defense lawyers, fair trials, and if guilty, speedy incarceration.
He has also had more traditional legal jobs. After his tour with the in the Marine corps, Madia went back to Minnesota (where he is from) to work at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in their IP department.
But, you know, sometimes I would look out of the window there and just think of other things I could be doing.
More about Ashwin Madia and his G.I. Joe advice to Biglaw associates after the break.
Fans of Sex and the City will recall the famous episode in which Carrie was dumped via post-it note. If law firm mergers are like relationships, here’s a tale that seems as classy as breaking up by post-it. [FN1]
The New York office of Gunderson Dettmer was all set to move, en masse, to Cooley Godward. The 30 or so Gunderson attorneys had new, Cooley-issued Blackberries and laptops, with new email accounts and software already set up. They were set to start this past Tuesday.
On the Friday before Labor Day, the main partner in Gunderson’s NYC office simply called to let the Cooley crew know the move was off. This was not taken well by Cooley, since this had been considered a done deal for some time. The Gunderson lead partner did not even bother to call the CEO of Cooley, but instead called a relatively junior partner to break the news.
“Cooley is really pissed,” according to our tipster, “but they are moving forward.” Just like a jilted lover, Cooley seems to take the view that doing well is the best revenge: “They happen to be about to open a new office in a strategic location in the U.S., with a big bang, and with double-digit numbers of lateral partners as part of the potential deal.”
There is a body of law that governs who keeps the engagement ring when a wedding is called off. Could it be applied by analogy to those Cooley-issued BlackBerries and laptops?
Gunderson did not respond to our requests for comment. We reached out to Cooley, which declined to comment through a spokesperson.
[FN1] We adore post-its, and we love those little colored flags even more; but they can’t be used for everything.
Last month, after Judge Elizabeth Halverson lost her reelection bid, we lamented her imminent departure from these pages.
It seems that we spoke too soon. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Embattled District Judge Elizabeth Halverson is in the hospital after she was assaulted by her husband, Las Vegas police said this morning. Her injuries are not life threatening.
Police were called to her house late last night to respond to a domestic violence call. Police said her husband, Edward Halverson, 49, hit her with a frying pan.
They always said the frying pan would be the death of her.
Edward Halverson was booked into the county jail on one attempted murder, one count battery with substantial bodily harm and one count battery with a deadly weapon.
This is not Ed Halverson’s first brush with the law; he’s a convicted felon. Judge Halverson may have been prescient when she nicknamed her hubby “Evil Ed.”
Domestic violence is a serious issue. We wish Judge Halverson a speedy recovery from her injuries. (We also remind her that our offer of a column on Above the Law still stands.) Judge Halverson hospitalized, husband jailed after attack [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Thelen and Nixon Peabody are in merger talks, with a possible agreement pending, according to sources close to the situation. The law firms have been in extensive talks, with Nixon Peabody leaders traveling to San Francisco to meet with Thelen leaders, according to two sources.
Foley & Lardner. You’ve heard the rumors. We’ve heard the rumors. Foley & Lardner have heard the rumors and chosen not to respond. But the smoke screen cannot obscure the summer structure fire.
Multiple tipsters coalesced around these numbers: 9 of 21 Foley Chicago summers received offers. But six of those offers went to IP attorneys, leaving non-IP summers with a stunning 3 of 15 success rate.
I’m no mathlete, but that doesn’t look like the 90% offer rate like we’ve been hearing from other firms.
And as we’ve seen with other firms, going to a top school was no summer offer safety net. Again, thus far the firm isn’t talking so we can’t know for sure, but it appears that HYS summers went 0 for 4 at Foley Chicago.
Read what people are saying below the fold.
* Senator John McCain had a tough act to follow after the electrifying Wednesday night speech by his VP pick, Sarah Palin. He accepted the nomination and promised that change is a-comin.’ [Washington Post]
* Nearly 400 protesters were arrested outside of the Republican National Convention last night. For singing a Rage Against the Machine song? [CNN]
* A Texas inmate slated for execution next week says the judge and prosecutor in his case were too friendly outside the court. A hearing has been set to investigate the alleged love affair and the fairness of the trial. [New York Times]
* California voters like medical marijuana, but the courts and AG Jerry Brown are not the biggest fans. [Los Angeles Daily News]
* Arthur Culvahouse wins! [Law.com]
* The Kilpatrick saga has come to an end. This is a look at the three Michigan laws that brought about his downfall. [Detroit Free Press]
Google is getting into the browser wars with their new Chrome product.
As Futurelawyer points out, who needs a new browser (besides anybody who still uses IE)? But Chrome is made by Google and Google knows what they are doing so we assume the product will sell.
Take a closer look at the boilerplate Terms of Service Agreement, before you download the browser. We’re not sure if Google’s lawyers were trying to make hours or just drunk, but if they had their way, Chrome would own everything, everywhere, forever. From Valleywag:
[A]ny “content” you “submit, post or display” using the service — whether you own its copyright or not — gives Google a “perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute” it?
* Bad news for Jack Abramoff: he got four years. Good news for Jack Abramoff: they’ll stipulate that “Tiny” can only bend him over and [redacted] then begin [censored] right before he [dear god no] and tosses his salad. So he’s got that going for him. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A Texas judge invalidated the patent of NuBra, suggesting that a strapless bra that enhances cleavage yet can be worn under sheer clothing is not one of the top ten greatest inventions of this decade. [Fox Business via ABA Journal]
* Is Sarah Palin in favor of jury nullification? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* How come we never hear anything about building a wall across our Canadian border? [Overlawyered; Inside Toronto]
* Is the plaintiff in this case Svetlana Kirilenko from the Sopranos? [Supreme Dicta]
* A lawyer’s guide to reading to your kids, in case you’re up for partner. [National Law Journal (subscription)]
* Detroit, your long sexual nightmare is at an end. Finally the denizens of the city can go back to wishing they were somewhere else in peace and tranquility. [Detroit Free Press]
Our recent post about outsourcing sparked some interesting debate about whether junior-level work will be shipped out of the country in the near future.
The commenters seemed to break into three camps: (1) you’re an idiot, outsourcing is already here; (2) you’re an idiot, ain’t nobody gonna take my job, USA, USA; and (3) you’re an idiot.
Fair enough on all counts. But wherever you stand on the issue it should be noted that people are trying to convince your partners to outsource, now.
Ron Friedmann of Integreon, a large legal process outsourcing firm, has written a treatise to convince firms to outsource the work most junior associates do for a living. He starts out talking in language managing partners love:
Until recently, firms emphasized revenue growth over cost reduction. They have merged, invested in marketing, added practice groups, and opened offices around the world. Now, however, with a recession likely, cost control is of growing interest.
Most people should know what “cost control” is code for. But let Friedmann do the double talk:
Outsourcing converts fixed costs to variable ones and avoids the need to borrow. Many law firms are under-capitalized. Partners may therefore want to avoid fixed commitments and to minimize borrowing. Similarly, law departments have small capital budgets and like to avoid locking in headcount. For both, outsourcing provides flexibility and avoids capital commitments.
Capital commitments? Like summer associate programs that offer rising 3Ls jobs over a year before they report to work? Great.
Friedmann tries to be funny, after the break.
Did you watch Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech last night? Of course you did; it was a must-see. And regardless of your politics, you can’t deny that she delivered it superbly, with polish and poise. In short, at least as a stylistic matter, it was the Best Speech Ever.
But how was the Palin speech as a matter of substance? The AP fact-checked it and identified some issues:
PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”
THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.
Who cares about Kansas — what about Biglaw associates (and partners)? How would they be affected by Obama’s tax plan? With their six- and seven-figure salaries, some are doing a lot better than “middle income.”
Check out some surprising numbers, after the jump.
While we continue to pester firms about no offer information, it appears that one firm dipped significantly below the 90% threshold for summer associate offers, at least in the New York office. Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is another firm that has reported an oversubscribed summer associate class. That said, Buchanan Ingersoll spokesperson Lori Lecker reports that the summers were at least busy:
[W]e had more than enough work to keep all of our summer associates busy throughout the course of the program, and we received positive feedback from the class on the quality of work. We generated over 300 projects for our summers to work on this year.
Most firms don’t bother to tout how much work their summer class had, but Buchanan is fighting specific reports that attorneys are struggling to make their billables firmwide. Just two weeks ago it was reported that barely a quarter of the firms 500 lawyers were on target, and that average associate hours had fallen below 1,650.
So the summers had work, but did they get jobs? More on that after the jump.
My new colleague over at Dealbreaker has written a somewhat modest proposal. John Carney proposes creating an auction market for Electoral College votes, so that states which are traditionally overlooked during presidential elections (like New York) can recoup some political relevance in the free market.
Among general concerns about the fundamental nature of democracy, I’m pretty sure Carney’s elegant proposal is illegal, unconstitutional, and could possibly lead to the creation of subatomic black holes that could end life on earth.
But I’m always up for a spirited legal debate. If anyone disagrees with my reading of the 12th Amendment, please feel free.
Still, many people (who do not live in Ohio or Florida) believe that the EC needs some serious tweaking. But few people agree on how to do it.
So … write your own amendment. Is a straight popular vote really the way to go, or does that disproportionally represent populous coastal states? If you like Carney’s suggestion, how can he make it work constitutionally?
You can’t change the nature of the democratic process without talking to the lawyers. Could We Have A Market For Electoral College Votes? [Dealbreaker]
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.