Arthur Culvahouse, chairman of O’Melveny & Myers, was in charge of vetting Sarah Palin and has been taking some heat.
But Culvahouse has more to worry about than the National Enquirer. Culvahouse is locked in a high-stakes political battle to keep his chairmanship at O’Melveny. O’Melveny’s policy committee, which recommends the chairperson subject to ratification by the full partnership, failed to select a clear winner over the past few weeks.
Wachtell may be the most prestigious firm out there (according to Vault), but it has the industry’s worst Web site, as rated by Jonathan Thrope of the American Lawyer. We’re not completely sure we trust his judgment though, since he was “sucked in” by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice’s animated dog. We waited for it to do something cool, but it just stretched and yawned.
According to Thrope, law firms are getting more serious about online marketing and using Web sites to create a distinctive brand. In general, law firm sites strike us as fairly dry. And boring. There are a few exceptions, like the Van Winkle Law Firm’s split personality bio page. North Carolina-based Van Winkle adds a personal touch to its site with dual bios (and photos) for many of its attorneys: one with professional highlights, and another focused on hobbies and life outside of work.
Other firms experiment with offbeat advertising, but seem to be using it to recruit attorneys, not clients. Like Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle’s creation of a Facebook page, and Stoel Rives’ free-style running promo on YouTube.
Of the assortment of staid sites in the AmLaw 100, five made Thrope’s cut for the worst. Check them out after the jump.
[Ed. note: This is a continuation of the story started in this post by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters, which you should read first if you haven't done so already. It's about Hope's friend Anna, a young Wall Street lawyer and self-described "summer wife."]
It’s the first week of August. At around five o’clock, Anna’s BlackBerry begins buzzing with invitations to fancy restaurants like Amaranth or Cipriani, courtesy of the much older partners looking for summer wives. Anna likes to network and she likes to eat, so she’s game.
You’d never guess it by her lithe frame and recessed chest exposing clavicle bones, but Anna can eat and drink … a lot. And like all girls, she just likes attention — attention best demonstrated at lavish restaurants, and hotel bars where cucumber Martinis are served all night long. Anna is into the glam. She wears conservative charcoal gray Diane von Furstenberg dresses, but accessorizes sexy — strappy black sandals that crisscross at the ankles, dangling gold earrings, and a black lace camisole ever-so-subtly revealed. So if a much older, frumpy partner wants to be seen with her, he better be taking her somewhere gorgeous.
In any event, as the summer goes by and the dinners multiply (followed always by an invitation for a “nightcap” at the partner’s apartment), Anna grows increasingly fond of one of her suitors, Abraham. She realizes that it’s time for her to grow up, settle down, and take a summer husband. He has been courting her for a long time now. Calling her. Wining and dining her. Complimenting her. Texting her. Even sending her a car and driver.
He wants her. She is everything right that is wrong in his wife.
Finally, Anna capitulates. Very well — I’ll be your summer wife.
Read more, after the jump.
* Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani were in attack dog mode during the Republican convention last night. [New York Times]
* A look at the laws that govern Facebook. Being too active can get you banned, as our very own David Lat discovered. [Washington Post]
* Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick heads to court today for his criminal perjury case. Will he plead guilty and resign? Or will he keep dragging this thing out? Stay tuned. [Detroit Free Press]
* Perhaps Kilpatrick’s extramarital text messaging behavior has a genetic component. He could be one of the men carrying the “commitment-phobia” gene. [Los Angeles Times]
* Disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff will be sentenced today in his corruption trial. [Associated Press]
* Pizza delivery man to be tried for the murder of his teacher wife’s teenage lover. [CNN]
* Emergency budget crisis for courts in England. [The Times]
* An argument against lawyers for president. “The problem is that lawyers usually do not run companies, defend the country, lead people, build things, grow food or create capital.” [San Jose Mercury News]
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent stood before a fellow federal judge this morning and vehemently proclaimed his innocence of three federal sexual crimes in his indictment.
“I plead absolutely, unequivocally not guilty and look very much forward to a trial on the merits of what I consider flagrant, scurrilous charges,” Kent stated with force to U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Edward Prado.
“For the record I absolutely intend to testify, and we are going to bring a horde of witnesses,” Kent said.
He also promised “a killer alibi,” “a s**tload of exculpatory evidence,” and an exonerating sex tape.
Is it necessary to Mirandize a longtime judge? Better be on the safe side:
Prado frequently said things such as “You pretty well know the routine,” and “As you know, you have the right to remain silent.”
The defendant’s status as a sitting federal judge led to some other, lighter moments. More below the fold.
* Work life balance … now with testicles! [Law.com]
* Heller Ehrman continues to bleed people. [ABA Journal]
* Biglaw associates, count yourselves lucky. At least you are not interning for the New York Sun. [Gawker]
* People cite Wikipedia? In class? To a professor? [PrawfsBlawg]
* Everybody thinks they’re an expert on interviews, even the experts. [Legal Times (subscription)]
We’ve finally finished reading the full American Lawyer article (subscription) about the internal machinations at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. With great access to firm chair Chris White, Nate Raymond weaves together a brilliant tale of greed, homogenization, and the differences between running a law firm and running a business.
We encourage you to read the full article. For those busy trying to hang onto their jobs, we’ll give you a few excerpts.
One thing is very clear: the partners over there are totally screwed too, at least as much as you can be “screwed” while making millions of dollars a year:
At Cadwalader, the push for profits is relentless. The average Cadwalader partner brings in around $5 million in revenue, and has to worry all the time about maintaining those numbers. “We expect people to produce,” Link says, unapologetically. “Cadwalader is a meritocracy.” High performers are rewarded with shares and bonuses-at the expense of those farther down the food chain.
Talk about a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.
As we reported yesterday, there is just no way of knowing right now if the defection of Andrew Perel is an outlier or a precursor. Yet White talks about his departed partners in language usually reserved for junior associates:
White contends that many of the partners who leave are people who couldn’t keep up. “In some respects, peer pressure doesn’t go away [when you're a partner],” he says. “When you’re in an environment where everyone is performing at a very high level, and you’re accustomed to performing at that level, it becomes difficult when you’re not performing at that level.”
More about the new (!) Cadwalader business plan, after the jump.
My friend Anna is a summer wife.
You see, her “summer” husband, Abraham, does what all high-powered law firm partners do each summer: he dispatches his wife to the summer home in the Hamptons or Shelter Island or Martha’s Vineyard.
This allows Biglaw partners to supper in the city with the single senior (or summer) associates. I mean, these guys can’t be alone at dinnertime. They have to supper with someone, so why not with an associate who is close by or, better yet, in the same office?
One night, after I meet Abraham, I ask him about his family in exile, and how he is adjusting to their absence from his day- to-day life. He says: “Well, it’s better for the kids to be out there in the summer…. They have the beach, their grandparents are there….”
Blah. Blah. Blah. We’re in the midst of a global warming crisis; we’re all supposed to be wearing SPF 45, even when just driving in our cars. Do the kids really need that much sun and sea? And is it really benefiting them if their father is absent from their lives most days of the week? Or is this arrangement really better for you, Abraham?
Read more, after the jump.
If you want to change how law firms behave, you have to change what their clients want.
Some companies are trying to do just that. Du Pont, Shell, and Wal-Mart have teamed up to publish a list of law firms that are owned by women or minorities. The National Law Journal reports that this list is a just a directory of law firms that the companies themselves have used in the past. But the goal is clearly to push clients towards retaining law firms that place an emphasis on gender and racial diversity.
NLJ quotes DuPont’s general counsel, Tom Sager:
Judges, juries and public officials are becoming more diverse, so companies benefit from using firms that offer a diverse set of lawyers who can identify with these decision-makers.
Sound laudable? Or at least appropriately self-interested? Read about the counterargument after the jump.
We continue our series on no offers with new information from DLA and Bryan Cave.
First the good news. The reports on DLA Piper no offers seem to be exaggerated. We had heard that as many as 1/3rd of the of the DLA summer calls had been no offered. But DLA spokesperson Jason Costa assures us that the final number of offers will be “significantly above” 2/3rds of the class.
Costa reports that DLA’s summer associate review is still ongoing. Therefore there are DLA summers who will receive offers from the firm, but have not yet been contacted.
But we’re not living in the 90s and a 100% offer rate is probably a little too much to hope for. Costa emphasized that an “overwhelming majority” of summers will receive offers.
Costa also said that he was not aware of any summers that had been “wait-listed,” or received offers yet told to continue looking for other employment. The people at Bryan Cave also emphasized the strength of their summer class, while admitting that not every summer associate would be receiving an offer.
After the jump, firms try to locate the magic number.
Ridiculum brings us the story of Tiffany Shah. A fictional Duke 2L (we hope) who never learned the Major League lesson about celebrating when the guy next to you just died.
Not that there aren’t many real life Tiffany Shah’s out there. This excerpt could be about any number of 2Ls who need to reassess their lives.
A typical conversation goes something like this: ‘Hello. Is this SULLIVAN AND CROMWELL? Yes, SULLIVAN? Great! I have an OFFER to come back and I’d LOVE to schedule an interview.’ And not only does she place emphasis on the firm name but she turns around and looks at the whole freakin’ room while doing it.
With the hurricane season upon us, residents of coastal states are watching the radar and making storm plans. While New Orleans residents are wondering whether it’s safe to go home after Hurricane Gustav, their attorney general wants to make sure it’s affordable to come home.
Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell plans to crack down on price-gougers, after getting complaints about inflated prices for hotel rooms and gasoline. But who isn’t complaining about gasoline prices these days?
From The Daily Advertiser:
The attorney general said that under state law, owners, managers, employees and “anyone who participates in jacking up prices” is subject to a $500 fine and six months in prison on each count of price gouging.
“Like a rattlesnake, first we give a warning,” ["Buddy"] said. But if a business doesn’t comply with the law, “then we bite.”
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.
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.