“My Gump, my Gump, my lovely Akin Gump. Check it out….“
What’s going on at Akin Gump? That seems to be what many of you are wondering, based on some comments posted to a recent open thread featuring the firm:
“What is happening to Akin Gump DC? I saw that a bunch of lit partners just left.”
“I’ve heard the same thing…. Akin appears to be losing tons of partners and the DC office is rumored to be in turmoil. It does, however, have Tom Goldstein, which is sure to attract gunners who think they’ll be arguing cases in three years.”
“I read somewhere that the changes at Akin are part of some larger strategic plan. Anyone know anything about that?”
As a matter of fact, yes — Kim Eisler does. He writes, over at Washingtonian:
Over the past few months, 950-lawyer Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has lost about 45 lawyers, including two of its rainmakers, Michael Madigan and Richard Wyatt Jr. Tensions are said to be high, with partners in the New York office unhappy that the Washington lawyers are not producing their share of revenue. To increase productivity, Akin Gump pushed out 5 percent of its lawyers who, in management’s view, were not generating enough income. The firm also closed its office in Taipei, one of 12 it maintained outside of Washington, and insiders predict the money-losing Beijing office will be next to go. The China offices have been expensive failures in the eyes of New York partners, who are pressing Washington to stop the bleeding….
This weekend, the New York Times explored the cascade of sadness left behind after massive layoffs. Aside from fear, the Times noted that there can be a productivity downgrade that shows up in real economic terms.
Too often, their anxious and overworked remaining employees become risk-averse and unproductive, or leave for other jobs. As companies hire new workers or turn to outside vendors to compensate, the short-term savings from layoffs can evaporate.
The National Law Journal also has some stern advice for layoff-happy firms. According to Bruce McEwen of Adam Smith Esq., “law firms that slash associate numbers in hopes of keeping profits-per-partner high may be headed for trouble.”
What else law firms can try, beyond going to $190K, after the jump.
Although Barack Obama is just days away from accepting the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination (acceptance song speculation here), some Hillary Clinton supporters refuse to give up. From the Philadelphia Daily News:
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has faced so many false rumors about his family history that it has put his birth certificate on the Internet: he was born in Honolulu, nearly two years after Hawaii became a state, making Obama a U.S. citizen by birth.
But that hasn’t stopped Montgomery County lawyer Philip J. Berg from challenging Obama’s qualifications to be president.
Berg, a Hillary Clinton supporter, announced he’s filing a federal lawsuit today, claiming that Obama lost his citizenship when his mother relocated the family to Indonesia when Barack was a boy.
Under the law, however, moving to a foreign country does not negate an American’s citizenship.
Bad enough for Rule 11? In Berg’s defense — or maybe not — he makes other claims, too (e.g., that Obama was actually born in Kenya). You can check out the full complaint by clicking here. Raining on Barack’s Parade [Philadelphia Daily News (fourth item)] Berg v. Obama: Complaint (PDF)
Over the last several weeks, we’ve run quite a few ATL / Lateral Link surveys about summer associate issues like assignments, offers, and, of course, lunch.
But no matter what the survey topic, two debates have consistently emerged in the comments:
1) Are summer associates an appropriate use of firm resources and associate time?
2) Are the LOLcat pictures accompanying the surveys absolutely awesome, or really annoying?
Of course, it’s not that surprising to see summer associates and LOLcats — two creatures linked by their youth, their frequent proximity to food, their occasional fluffy nature, and, alas, their occasional misspellings — prompting relatively parallel debates among ATL readers (especially since those similarities prompted the use of LOLcats as pictures for the summer associate surveys).
And now that the summer programs are over and the on-campus interview season has begun, both debates are in full swing.
On the substantive front, a number of firms are heavily weighing the impact of summer programs on firm resources (like cash), and many are now narrowing their on-campus recruiting or even scrapping summer programs altogether in some offices, as Kash covered over here.
Meanwhile, on the fluffier front, the LOLcat debate also surged last week. Check out some of the funnier comments, and take today’s survey, after the jump.
Jingoistic competition is fun, but why should handing out medals be the sole province of the IOC? Athletes and David Rivkin should not be the only ones getting a taste of Olympic glory.
Here at ATL, we’ve put law firms on the (imaginary) field of competition and are now ready to reveal the gold medal winners in a number of sports.
After the jump, see the winners, and weigh in on which firms would be champions in sports we did not pick for prime time.
A Coney Island businessman is suing the city for damaging the Bentley he was driving when he killed a Brooklyn dad in a hit-and-run accident.
Harry Shasho, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, says the NYPD failed to safeguard the battered black 2005 Bentley GT luxury sedan that was impounded as evidence of the fatal crash. He’s asking for at least $190,000.
It sounds like Shasho needs a bit of a reality check:
Shasho says the Bentley was in “excellent condition … with no noticeable defects or damage” when he turned himself in, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The police report tells a different story. It describes the car as crumpled and the windshield “depressed and fractured” by the violent impact with [victim Louis] Couch that left his body parts strewn across the street.
The suit seeks damages from the city, the NYPD and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
We’re back with another installment in our series of open threads on the Vault 100. This is an opportunity for insiders to sound off on their firms for the benefit of wannabe potential first-year and lateral associates.
Here are the next ten on the Vault list, with prestige scores in parentheses:
The most interesting set of “notable perks” in this bunch can be found at Boies Schiller. On the upside, there is an annual trip to Jamaica for attorneys and their families — in December, no less — but on the downside, it’s a “sweatshop run by a genius.” This makes us think of David Boies as the legal profession’s Santa Claus — who likes to take the elves to Montego Bay.
We invite the curious to ask questions about these firms, and for those in-the-know to take pity. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
* A 72-year-old accountant from Minnesota challenged the IRS, and won. The accountant now wants a second Boston Tea Party. [Associated Press]
* Wilmer Hale has launched a series of associate blogs as part of a new recruiting effort. [BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* The Olympics aren’t the only thing bailing on Beijing. The managing partner for Cadwalader’s Beijing office is moving to Allen & Overy in Shanghai. [Law.com]
* Wrestlers Chris Kanyon, Raven and Above Average Mike are trying to smackdown the Vince McMahon in court. The three brought a class-action lawsuit against the WWE claiming that they are employees, not independent contractors. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog via Overlawyered]
* D.C. Circuit upholds constitutionality of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. [Bloomberg via WSJ Law Blog]
* Former L.A. Times editorial page editor sues ex-girlfriend over “Grazer-gate” controversy; she claims it’s retaliation for a restraining order. [THR, Esq. via Gawker]
In a text message sent out at around 3 a.m. today, Senator Barack Obama announced his running mate: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., of Delaware.
Lawyers should be happy with Obama’s veep pick. There are lots of legal angles to Senator Biden:
like Obama (Harvard Law ’91), Joe Biden is a lawyer by training (Syracuse Law ’68);
he practiced law in Wilmington, Delaware, for a few years (before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, at age 29);
since 1991, he’s taught a seminar in constitutional law at Widener University School of Law; and
* Say what? UT isn’t the top law school in Texas? [TaxProf Blog]
* As of now, Barack Obama hasn’t named his running mate. But who wants to be VP anyway? As Peter Feld observes, “in recent years, the vice presidential nomination has become a near-certain ticket to oblivion.” [Gawker]
* Mickey Mouse isn’t protected by copyright? Woo-hoo! Let’s use a picture of him to decorate this post. [Los Angeles Times]
* Supreme Courtships, the TV show, didn’t pan out. But maybe Supreme Courtship, the new Christopher Buckley book, will fare better. [Washington Post]
* How to go to law school like a porn star. Traci Bryant — an adult-film actress, licensed prostitute, and 1L — says it’s all about “thinking outside the box.” We have no doubt. [Bitter Lawyer]
This has probably already been done at some law school parody show or “law revue.” If so, feel free to point that out, in the comments.
But if not — of even if it has, but someone wants to revisit it, in light of the current (dismal) state of the legal job market — here are suggested lyrics for No Offer, No Cry (to the tune of Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry):
No offer, no cry No offer, no cry
Said – said – said: I remember when we used to sit In the career services office in law school, Observing the Biglaw hypocrites As they would mingle with the good people we meet.
Classmates we have, oh, classmates we’ve lost Along the way. In 3L interviewing, you can’t forget your past;
So dry your tears, I say.
Earlier this month, we raised the subject of cold offers. Now it’s time to talk about a topic we raised last year, but have not yet raised this year: the cold offer’s crueler cousin, the NO OFFER.
We hear that no-offering is on the rise — which is not surprising, given the tanking economy and Biglaw layoffs. Which law firms are doling out no-offers to their summer associates this year? Feel free to discuss, in the comments.
As always, caveat lector. Information in the comments has not been verified, and we make no representations or warranties as to its accuracy. Read at your own risk.
If you’d like to send us a tip that you are capable of vouching for — e.g., you were a summer at the firm in question — please email us (subject line: “No Offer – [Firm Name]“). For tips submitted via email, we will try to verify them if we can, and possibly revert to you with a list of no-offer factories (to use last year’s coinage). Thanks. Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Cold Offers Fall Recruiting Open Thread: No-Offer Factories
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.