We had over 4900 votes in the “ATL Law Firm Final Four” this weekend. Latham & Watkins and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton emerged as the winners and will now go head to head to determine which is the “coolest” law firm. During commercial breaks in the NCAA basketball final tonight between the University of Memphis and the University of Kansas, come to ATL and vote. Or just vote throughout the day and bill it to “firm development.”
We’ve given Latham a Memphis player’s image. If Memphis wins tonight, it will be the first national champion from outside a major conference since 1990. Since Latham was the only non-New York law firm to make the final four, we think they would sympathize. Cleary got a Kansas player’s image… because they both start with a hard “c” sound. Sports analysis is not our forte at ATL.
The polls close at midnight. Cast your vote here:
Last June, the WSJ Law Blog wondered: Are law students emotional wrecks? Here is more evidence — and there’s already quite a lot in these pages — that the answer to the question is yes.
It started out innocently enough. A legal recruiting assistant at Willkie Farr & Gallagher sent out this email on Friday:
From: [Legal Recruiting Assistant]@willkie.com Sent: 4/4/2008 9:44:44 AM To: [2008 Summer Associates] Subject: Re: Willkie T-Shirts
We hope that the final stretch of your year is going well and that you’re looking forward to joining us in a few weeks. Willkie t-shirts are being ordered for all of you, so we’ll need you to send your shirt size to us as soon as possible but no later than Friday, April 11 at noon. Please note that we will be placing the final order on that date and that if we do not have your size by then, we will order a large for you.
Because after we stuff you full of summer lunches, like foie gras-producing fowl, that’s all you will fit into.
Please reply to this message and provide your name and shirt size in the subject line. You can choose from the following standard men’s t-shirt sizes: small, medium, large, x-large, or xx-large. Example: “[Legal Recruiting Assistant], medium.”
Willkie hires some pretty smart summer associates — e.g., Jeremy Blachman, of Anonymous Lawyer fame — so we don’t know why Legal Recruiting Assistant felt the need to provide an example. Or maybe she just wanted to flaunt her status as a “medium”? (Then again, it’s not as prestigious as being a size zero.)
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and good luck with your upcoming exams. Thank you. ____________________ [redacted] Legal Recruiting Assistant Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP 787 7th Avenue New York, NY 10019
And then things got…. weird. Read the two super-strange email messages that one member of the summer class sent in response, after the jump.
Bizarre crime stories, when they give rise to legal charges, still fall within our jurisdiction as a legal tabloid. You may recall our recent story about a New Zealand man who claimed he was raped by a wombat (which allegedly left him speaking with an Australian accent).
And it’s not just wombats — hedgehogs are dangerous too, at least in New Zealand. From the AP:
A New Zealand man has been accused of assault with a prickly weapon — a hedgehog.
Police allege that William Singalargh, 27, picked up the hedgehog and threw it at a 15-year-old boy in the North Island east coast town of Whakatane on February 9.
“It hit the victim in the leg, causing a large, red welt and several puncture marks,” police Senior Sgt. Bruce Jenkins said Monday. The teen did not need medical treatment, he added.
Police arrested Singalargh shortly after the incident, and charged him with assault with a weapon — “namely the hedgehog,” Jenkins said.
Statutory interpretation junkies: Feel free to opine on whether it’s proper to charge this as “assault with a weapon.” This appears to be the applicable New Zealand statute:
202C: Assault with weapon
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years who,—
(a) In assaulting any person, uses any thing as a weapon; or
(b) While assaulting any person, has any thing with him or her in circumstances that prima facie show an intention to use it as a weapon.
The breadth of this statutory language would appear to encompass hedgehog wielding (“uses any thing as a weapon” (emphasis added)). But maybe we’re missing something that the enterprising defense lawyers among you can pick up on. Update: This never occurred to us, because we’re not animal lovers, but some of you suggest that an animal should not be considered a “thing.”
If hedgehog hurling won’t fly as “assault with a weapon,” other charges are possible. The AP reports: “It was unclear if [Singalargh] also would face animal cruelty charges. The Herald said the hedgehog was dead when it was collected as evidence, but did not know if it was dead or alive at the time of the alleged attack. The Herald reported Singalargh’s arrest under the headline ‘Raise your hands and step away from the hedgehog.’”
P.S. A caveat: we’re not 100 percent certain that this is the correct statutory language. We just did very quick ‘n dirty legal research on Google. Perhaps the statute has been amended, superseded, etc. If we’re wrong about this being the operative statute, please let us know, and provide us with the correct statutory language. Thanks. Hedgehog used in non-lethal assault [AP] Assaults and injuries to the person [Statutes of New Zealand] Earlier: A PSA from ATL: Watch Out for Wombats!
While the results are still flowing in from last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on bar stipends, signing bonuses, and salary advances (1,130 responses and counting), today’s survey looks at money flowing in the opposite direction: from individual associates to great big institutions.
In other words, let’s talk about your student loans and other big debts. Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
– Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.
* Authorities enter compound of polygamist sect and remove more than 219 women and children. [CNN]
* Drug companies find some success, and hope for more in the future, in using preemption doctrine as a defense against lawsuits. [New York Times]
* Plaintiffs lawyers and witnesses associated with Dickie Scruggs barred, respectively, from representing policyholders and testifying in suits against State Farm. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Yahoo disses Microsoft again; Microsoft threatens a proxy fight. [New York Times]
* Mark Penn out as chief political strategist for Clinton, due to conflicts of interest. [Washington Post]
* Beyonce and Jay Z may be married! Crazy in love, indeed. [AP]
*Law school proved to be an excellent investment for the Clintons. [The Washington Post]
*Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will face a lawsuit that accuses him of stealing computer code, rules the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston. We checked and the “Zuckerberg is innocent” Facebook group only has 193 members. [Bloomberg via How Appealing]
*Hill staffers want legal action to protect their personal lives. [The Hill]
*Google is always running into privacy trouble. They have been sued by a Pennsylvania couple for the Google Street Views feature. [WSJ Blog]
Earlier in the week, this email went out to all the lawyers in the Restructuring Group at Kirkland & Ellis, from the head of the group:
04/01/2008 10:58 AM To: #FW Restructuring Attorneys Subject: Upcoming Dress Code Program
As part of our KIRT [Kirkland Institute of Restructuring Training] programs, I am pleased to announce a “dress for success” program, which will be held on each Monday for one hour for the next four weeks. I have arranged for outside speakers from a number of prominent men’s and women’s fine clothing stores to lead the programs. In light of the number of button down shirts being worn with suits and the number of associates (mostly, male) wearing boring and mismatched ties and shiny suits, the program is highly needed. Attendance for the program is strongly encouraged.
We’ve seen how bankruptcy lawyers dress. This is a wise idea. Just don’t bring in the Cleary Anti-Afro Lady.
Also — was the reference to the sartorial dubiousness of wearing button-down shirts with suits a shout-out to ATL? See here.
More after the jump.
On Wednesday, we reported on a D.C. paralegal/legal assistant/assistant seeking advice at Slate.com. We were disappointed in the letter writer’s horror story, and solicited readers for better stories. Here’s the cream of the crop:
How about working 1.5 years with a Federal judge who hasn’t bothered to learn my name?
Short, sweet, and to the point.
A few years ago, I was an associate in a mid-sized firm in a mid-sized Southern city. One day, there was a notice in the break/lunch room about a State Board of Health inspection of the facilities. I was a little surprised, so I mentioned it to another associate. They laughed and said that it was because a partner’s secretary made a complaint to the Board of Health about the partner’s habit of picking his nose and wiping it on documents before handing them to the secretary.
I worked at a V2 firm. There are sooo many good ones. A sampling….
1) A female attorney nicknamed “Satan’s Spawn” who only made comments in purple pen and refused to use any other tape flag besides purple. She would also chew Grape Trident late nite to stay awake and sometimes wore binder clips in her hair. HOT! Of course she made partner.
2) Once, a Partner threw a chair in the general direction of two paralegals and his partner secretary. The chair broke. The Partner was still popular with them because he’d take them out drinking.
3) Not to be outdone, I also heard (right after it happened, from the source) of a Partner who had told his secretary to hold all calls. Well, an important C-level client called and said he must speak with Partner X. The secretary demurred, but the caller was insistent. So, cute, kind secretary knocked, popped her head in and said, “Partner X, I know you said to hold all calls, but Important C-level client really needs to…” Partner X whirled around from his desk to face her and flung his pen toward her head, just like a dart. Luckily, not having played darts for a while since he was a V2 partner and all, the pen whizzed right by her ear and LODGED IN THE WALL.
This commenter had a total of eight stories. We took the top three. See the rest here.
8: approx. number of associates I know of, self included, who have had some version of the “talking with a partner about case and he walks into the bathroom and keeps talking to me, sits down in the stall and continues talking about the case” scenario.
The level of horror of this story varies, depending on how long one has to stay in the bathroom and how stinky it is.
Thanks for your horrific contributions. We hope we don’t have nightmares tonight. Earlier:ATL Seeks REAL Horror Stories
The latest Job of the Week, brought to you by Lateral Link, is a unique opportunity for a senior attorney looking to become General Counsel of one of the most prominent public institutions in the country. This position is one of Lateral Link’s exclusive positions. You can get more information over at Lateral Link. Position: General Counsel Location: Los Angeles Description: This public institution is currently seeking an individual with an exceptional background to lead the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel is a high-performance legal department with the highest professional standards and integrity, providing first-class legal service to the staff supporting the institution. The Office of General Counsel strives to be the preeminent legal department, driven by innovation and integrity to support high-quality instruction and public education. The individual will lead an organization committed to protecting the legal interests of the institution.
The Office of General Counsel has just under 100 staff members, including over 30 attorneys, and supervises numerous outside firms on District matters. As General Counsel, the candidate will advise the Board and senior staff on key issues affecting major policy decisions. The General Counsel will work closely with and will serve as a resource to other divisions. Skills: The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of leading and managing a complex legal office and a demonstrated ability to motivate a diverse and talented team of professionals. The candidate must be able to work efficiently with legal and non-legal staff, clients and the community, and must have a record of advising senior management in their decision making process. Significant experience with government entities is a plus. Requirements include: At least ten years of experience as a practicing member of the bar. California Bar membership. Experience in education law is desirable, but not required. Job Code: 8480
For more information, please visit Lateral Link. Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)
The rumors that we alluded to earlier are true: Dewey & LeBoeuf is shuttering three offices. Here is the firm’s official statement on the office closings:
As part of its global strategy to expand the firm’s resources in major capital markets throughout the world, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be closing its offices in Jacksonville, FL, Austin, TX and Hartford, CT.
All attorneys in these locations have been asked to remain with Dewey & LeBoeuf and relocate to one of the firm’s other offices. They will have the opportunity to integrate their practices within the firm’s network of over 1,400 lawyers in 13 countries. The decision is designed to continue the successful integration of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which saw its profits per partner increase to $1.57 million in 2007 following the October 1, 2007 merger.
The Jacksonville office, which has 10 lawyers, will close in December 2008. The Hartford office, which has 22 lawyers, will close in February 2009. The firm will continue to maintain a small presence in Hartford. The Austin office, which has 16 lawyers, will close in March 2009.
So that’s the official word. See also this story from the Austin Business Journal.
The allusion to D&L’s “global strategy to expand the firm’s resources in major capital markets” is consistent with this rumor we heard: “Word on the street is that a consultant told Dewey to close Hartford because small market offices will preclude them from ever really competing with Skadden et al.”
Given the firm’s size, the number of lawyers affected by the closings isn’t huge: fewer than 50, out of over 1,400. But some folks are still unhappy campers.
Some gossip, and a little kvetching, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.