Last week, we attended OutLaws: A Discussion With Out Lawyers, held at the LGBT Community Center here in New York. The event featured “out lawyers sharing different perspectives and stories — how they got to where they are professionally, as well as what went right, what didn’t, how they’d approach things differently today, and the specific challenges they faced as an LGBT person.”
The panel was moderated by Lisa Linsky, a litigation partner at McDermott Will & Emery. She was joined by Michael Colosi, general counsel for Kenneth Cole; Phylliss Delgreco, associate general counsel and senior vice president at Citigroup; and Roberta Kaplan, a litigation partner at Paul Weiss.
The freewheeling discussion was quite enlightening. You can read about it after the jump.
The New York Times reports on a growing trend in American business: the cancellation of holiday parties. With the stock market having finished its worst month since 1987, and with layoffs running rampant, there’s not much to celebrate. People, this is no time for egg nog.
But some law firms won’t be bullied into relinquishing the Christmas spirit. From the NYT:
[S]ome companies see holiday gatherings, whatever the style and scale, as an important hedge against sagging morale — particularly at a time when raises and bonuses will likely be scarce.
“It’s important to get people together for a little social event at that time of year, especially when it’s been as tough a year as this,” said Peter Horowitz, a spokesman for the Wall Street law firm Shearman & Sterling, which is planning holiday lunches and dinners at less expensive restaurants this year. “But at the same time, you have to make sure that you don’t go overboard.”
Perhaps this bodes well for bonuses at Shearman? Hopefully S&S stockings will be filled with cash and not coal.
Or are holiday parties the opium of the masses for Biglaw? Throw everyone a big party, with lots of booze, then announce low bonuses the next day, when they’re too hungover to complain?
When we write about high-profile lawyers changing jobs, we’re usually talking about moves between law firms, or maybe between government and Biglaw. This latest transition is a bit different.
From MTO (which claims to be “the most visited black website in the world”):
Jennifer Hudson’s fiancé and VH1 reality star David “Punk” Otunga of the “I Love New York” series has a new occupation…. Punk has been training for months in WWE’s Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory – and has now signed to a deal with WWE.
But don’t expect to see him in the ring anytime soon. Punk has been on a sabbatical from FCW due to the recent Hudson family tragedy.
One tipster is unimpressed: “From Harvard Law School to I Love New York to the WWE. Unfortunately the next stop is probably porn.”
But we think this is great — and extend our congratulations to Otunga (who, unlike many HLS grads, has the sculpted physique required by wrestling). He’s moving up in the entertainment world and developing his own independent career, so he won’t be known merely as the husband of a more famous female. Cf. Guy Ritchie.
One HLS grad is about to become the leader of the free world, and another is about to become the leader of world wrestling. Harvard Law School alums lead interesting lives.
Elie Mystal is editor of Above the Law.
His first name is pronounced like Eliot without the “it,” and his last name is pronounced like Cristal (the champagne).
Prior to winning the ATL Idol Contest, Elie wrote about politics and popular culture at City Hall News and the New York Press. Elie received a degree in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He still has a rash from all the poison ivy.
He used to be a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton but quit the legal profession in lieu of stripping naked and lighting himself on fire.
Elie is a proud and basically competent husband. He is a contributor at True/Slant and enjoys the Mets, dogs, and arguing with strangers.
When we kicked off our associate bonus speculation, we mentioned that Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe had already locked themselves into a 2008 bonus structure. We wondered if Orrick might rethink their bonuses in light of the current state of the economy. Morgan Lewis has already announced that they will not be making bonus decisions until 2009, when they hope to have a better read on the economy.
Today, Orrick assured us that the firm would not look to change their bonus plan. A firm spokesperson put the issue succinctly:
We are committed to using the previously announced bonus schedule.
This year’s bonuses are secured, but Orrick is still considering a much longer term change: ending the lockstep structure of associate salary.
Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter has spoken about this issue before. In an article for the American Lawyer this summer, Baxter pointed out the value of the current, lockstep system. But he also said:
Given the changing nature of the law practice, the changing expectations of clients, the changing outlook of Generation Y, law firms would be remiss if they did not re-examine the associate model.
We understand that Baxter has been cautiously talking to people and gauging interest in this idea.
The Recorder has published the people who will be in charge of winding down operations at Thelen:
The three members of Thelen’s dissolution committee are David Graybeal, Douglas Davidson and Thomas Hill. The firm has also hired as outside counsel Peter Gilhuly, the Latham & Watkins bankruptcy partner who advised Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison on its dissolution half a decade ago.
We already know that some Thelen people have found a new home. It’s been widely published that Nixon Peabody has sent offer letters to 60 former Thelen partners and associates.
But all of those offer letters were sent to attorneys in Thelen’s Manhattan office. San Francisco associates haven’t yet been picked up in droves. In fact, the New York focus of the dissolution committee members is causing some consternation with other partners at the firm:
Some former Thelen partners voiced frustration over Hill’s inclusion as a member of the wind-down committee.
Hill was in a position of “running the numbers” in his former role, one former Thelen lawyer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You would think that would be a reason to keep him off the committee.” People were not happy with the way Hill ran the office, the lawyer said, citing complaints that he didn’t consider other’s ideas and generally did not communicate.
Readers have cited Thelen’s expansion beyond their traditional San Francisco roots as part of the problem. Now, a cadre of non-San Francisco based partners will be overseeing the end.
We reported earlier that Powell Goldstein is set to be acquired by Bryan Cave. We’ve been told to expect an official announcement from Bryan Cave on Monday.
PoGo has still not directly responded to ATL about the rumors that a number of associates, staff, and partners could be on their way out of the door. But we understand that they have sent around an internal email addressing some concerns in light of the merger information. A tipster tells us that the email offered the following clarifications:
1) Everyone has a job. This is a specific term of the deal.
2) BC wants to expand the Atlanta office. …
3) We have no problems at all with our finances. Credit is strong, bank relationships are strong, etc.
We have not gotten our hands on the merger agreement between PoGo and Bryan Cave. But the “promise” that every job is secured is encouraging. The email does not speak to our previous reporting that PoGo’s banks threatened to pull their credit line if a merger was not reached. But regardless of what could have happened, the firm’s contention that they are in a strong financial position is certainly worth noting.
Yesterday we introduced you to DB (not his real name — please keep it that way), formerly an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. At S&C, and in law school before that, DB became notorious for bragging about his wealth and making politically incorrect remarks.
We collected some of his impolitic quips in our prior post, and other anecdotes surfaced in the comments (e.g., here and here). For your reading pleasure, here are a few more stories:
In law school, at a firm reception in the Time Warner center, DB got drunk and started going on about how he was wearing crocodile shoes that cost thousands of dollars and how his brother drove a more expensive car than the partners at the host firm.
At an S&C firm retreat, the same one where he made his comments about the ballet, DB was placed in charge of entertainment for one evening. This included brainstorming for the “S&C Superlatives” contest, which is supposed to feature innocuous, yearbook-style items like “Miss Congeniality,” “Best Smile,” or “Most Athletic.”
The items suggested by DB? “Sluttiest Partner” and “Partner Most Likely To Sleep With His Secretary.”
DB once said, to a highly attractive summer associate he encountered in the hallway, “You really aren’t that hot. Everyone thinks you are, but outside of here you really aren’t.”
In fairness to DB, he has his defenders and positive attributes. One tipster describes him as “a bright guy,” and another as “nice in a weird way,” as well as unusually generous and thoughtful at times. A third raves about his hotness, including “six-pack abs and amazing arms.” As for the sexist (and homophobic) quips, they may be best attributed not to malice, but to personal issues that DB is probably still working through.
His colorful comments, however, aren’t what got DB in truly hot water. Find out what did, after the jump.
Instead of adding to the drumbeat of bad news, the University of Buffalo Law School has taken a novel approach to navigating the current economic climate. A UB student tipster reports:
Job prospects at the University of Buffalo School of Law are so BAD that the CSO has given up hope! Instead of looking for firms’ with availability, the CSO is now offering a course on knitting. Although students will soon be jobless and homeless post-graduation, at least we won’t be cold!
The Buffalo career services office confirmed that they were indeed offering their students an opportunity to learn a real trade:
To all you knitters, crocheters and other crafty ones out there:
As the weather cools and the snow starts to fly, doesn’t it feel good to have a nice warm, woolly UFO (un-finished object) on your needles?? If you understood that last sentence, and would like to spend an hour with like-minded knit-wits, please [Redacted].
We’ll be knitting, crocheting, or engaging any other textile-related, portable projects together. We hope that it will become a regular standing group, where we can sit, knit, chat, get help, find new patterns, share techniques and ideas, talk about our favorite LYS, and generally “commune with the yarn.” …
We had a great group of around seven people last year, representing the faculty, library, staff, and students. Some were expert knitters, and others were just starting out, so feel free to join us regardless of skill level, or if you’d like to learn…
As always, crocheters, needlepointers, quilters, macrame-ers, etc. are welcome
Earlier this year, we presented a series of threads on career alternatives for attorneys. As it turns out, there are things you can do with a law degree other than working for a large law firm — and now that large law firms are laying off lawyers and even dissolving, now is a good time to revisit the topic.
One career alternative we didn’t include in the first go-round was living by the pen — probably ‘cuz it’s pretty hard to pull off. As one commenter quipped about another daunting alternative (entrepreneurship), “maybe I should try out for the Yankees while I’m at it.”
Not everyone can be John Grisham or Scott Turow. Being a writer is not so much an alternative to being an attorney as it is something you can do on the side.
Unless your spouse is willing to let you quit your job and pursue the literary dream. Malcolm Gladwell of the New Yorker wrote a piece recently about creativity, and how it is not the sole provenance of the young. The piece revolves around an attorney who quit his job at Akin Gump to become a full-time writer and spent 18 years at it, eventually writing a book of short stories that won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award. All the while, his wife, a Thompson & Knight partner, acted as his literary patron (i.e., the family breadwinner).
If you have a patron, or if you have lots of creativity, or if you just love spinning tales, perhaps you should think about trying your hand at the writing craft.
Last night, we attended a panel discussion at the New York City Bar Association: Non-Fiction: True Crime Stories & the Truth about Being a Lawyer-Writer. Speaking were JD-holders Thomas Adcock of the New York Law Journal, former Brooklyn prosecutor Dennis Hawkins, and legal PR maven Rosemarie Yu. Thomas Adcock has written seven books, including Dark Maze, which received an Edgar award. Hawkins and Yu have recently had their work published in the non-fiction anthology Brooklyn Noir 3.
All three are patron-less, balancing work with writing. Check out their tips for other aspiring writers, from getting started to getting published, after the jump.
Heller Ehrman and Thelen dissolved after big time mergers fell through. While our readers have been speculating on the next capitulation to the financial crisis, it seems that Powell Goldstein has narrowly avoided a full scale dissolution thanks to Bryan Cave. A tipster reports:
Powell Goldstein, which has been an prominent firm in Atlanta since 1909, will no longer exist next week. PoGo partners voted last week to approve an acquisition by Bryan Cave, and BC will announce the acquisition on Monday.
Bryan Cave did not return multiple calls requesting comment on the story. Meanwhile, a PoGo spokesperson said “I have nothing to report” when asked about the acquisition.
As we understand it, the union between Bryan Cave and PoGo is not a “merger” so much as it is a buy-out. Additional tipsters have reported that nobody from PoGo — not staff, not associates, not even partners — is safe. Equity partners could be let go early next week.
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
The JOBS Act created new tools for companies to publicly advertise securities deals online. As a result, thousands of new deals have hit the market and hundreds of millions in capital has been raised, spurring a wealth of new business development opportunities for attorneys.
Fund deals, startup capital raises, PIPE deals and loan syndicates are just a handful of the transactions benefiting from the JOBS Act. InvestorID FirmTM is a platform designed to help attorneys equip their clients with the workflow, marketing and compliance tools to publicly solicit a securities offering online. By providing clients with the tools to painlessly navigate the regulatory landscape of general solicitation, InvestorID FirmTM helps attorneys add value above just legal services.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) went into effect in 2013 and permits Regulation D offerings of securities to be advertised publicly. This means that funds and companies can now use social media, emails and web sites to market transactions to new “accredited” investors.
However, with these new powers come new pain points. InvestorID FirmTM provides a secure, fully hosted, cloud-based platform with a breadth of tools for your clients, including: