From: Portnoy, Elliott I. Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 12:40 PM To: #Attorneys-All Subject: Rumors Regarding Charlotte and Summer Program
Many of you have recently heard claims regarding our Charlotte office that have emanated from certain blogs frequented by law students. I write today to let you know the facts, not rumor or speculation. Firmwide, we will have more than 50 Summer Associates joining us over the coming few months, and we plan to have 24 first-years joining us this Fall across the firm.
First, this fine website, while certainly “frequented by law students,” is also read by many other folks – e.g., law professors; associates, partners, and recruiting personnel at top law firms; in-house and government lawyers; law clerks and judges; and legal reporters and PR professionals.
Second, Portnoy attempts to draw a distinction between “facts” and “rumor.” But the core of what we reported – namely, that the firm has rescinded offers of summer and full-time employment in its Charlotte office – is a fact, acknowledged by Portnoy later on in his message.
Read the rest of that email message, with our running commentary, after the jump.
[Ed. note: Apologies for the radio silence for much of today. Alas, we've been experiencing some rather severe technical difficulties, in connection with the site redesign and relaunch. The next few days (and perhaps weeks) may be a little bumpy around here; please bear with us. Thanks for your patience.]
Here are two pieces of information that we’ve heard about Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman:
1. For incoming first-year associates, their start dates, originally set for early October 2008, are being pushed back. These new associates could start as late as January 2009. The delay is due to “a serious slowdown in business.”
2. For 2008 summer associates, the summer program has been reduced from 12 weeks to 10 weeks. Summer associates will not be allowed to work more than 10 weeks, even if they want to.
With respect to the first tip, concerning incoming full-time associates, we’ve heard it with respect to the Los Angeles office specifically. With respect to the second tip, concerning summer associates, we believe it to be a firmwide policy.
We contacted PWSP for confirmation and comment, earlier this week and again today. A firm spokesperson confirmed receipt of our inquiries but had no comment (as of the time of this posting; if we hear from her, we’ll update this post).
More details, plus reactions from some of our tipsters, after the jump.
Sunday’s Washington Post magazine has a narrative by journalist Mike Wise that features his love of his dog, a brush with icy death, and Jason Coates, a George Washington University 1L, who saved him from that death. The timeliness of this post is questionable as the heroic feat dates back to January and the GW Hatchet reported on it in February (in an article that we linked to in passing). But if the Washington Post deems it timely, so do we.
Wise was out jogging on a winter night late in January and managed to fall through the ice on the Potomac River. He had been submerged for over three minutes with hypothermia setting in when Coates appeared.
Read the exciting and dramatic narrative, after the jump.
Forbes caters to the business elite, so the latter title for this post is probably the most appropriate one. But ATL readers could wind up on either side of one of these suits, so read with whichever lens you prefer.
The article talks about some of the worst courts for certain types of defendants to land in. Los Angeles is knocked because “California allows disabled persons to recover monetary damages for ADA violations.” Here are some of the other named districts:
“There is a high degree of stability in what most people think are the most problematic places to get sued,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Rule of Lawyers. “If you put pins on a map for the top 50 most outrageous verdicts, bizarre run-away juries and so forth, you would find this belt around the Gulf Coast that runs from southern Texas across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. These are also some of the places people consider the worst places to get sued.”
Hmmm. These are also some of the states from which we get our most interesting stories. Florida seems to have the weirdest news stories by far, such as the recent Cheerleader group beating. What’s in the water down there?
Forbes.com asked the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), which surveys hundreds of defense attorneys and corporate executives every year for its report on litigation abuse on “Judicial Hellholes,” to list the places identified by the largest number of survey respondents as the worst possible places to be a defendant in particular types of lawsuits. The list they produced has a surprise or two for nearly everyone.
Hit with a personal-injury lawsuit? Better hope it’s not in Starr County, Texas. Class actions? Hopefully you won’t find out why John Grisham sets so many legal thrillers in Mississippi. Construction suits? Building’s not the only thing booming in Clark County, Nev. And journalists hoping to avoid libel suits may wish to avoid courts in Philadelphia, according to ATRA’s report for Forbes.
* Feuding Harvard students near settlement over Facebook founding. [New York Times]
* Princess Di’s death deemed criminal; but was it also the butler on the witness stand with the perjury? [CNN]
* Call girls testify in DC Madam case. [Washington Post]
* Justice Scalia, “not a nut,” on CSPAN tonight. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Fourth Circuit hears “enemy combatant” case. [Washington
* AG Mukasey looks super-old, but at least his front office is fresh-faced. [Washington Post]
* An apple pie we can understand, but a picnic table? [NBC10.com]
* Who knew? Blogging can be lethal. We need to find ourselves a good plaintiffs’ attorney. [Jeremy Blachman; New York Times]
* Somehow, some bloggers survive — and thrive. Belated birthday wishes to the PrawfsBlawg crew. [PrawfsBlawg]
* In case you’re wondering, PrawfsBlawg is #14 on the latest Law Prof Blog Rankings. [TaxProf Blog]
* Proof of prejudice, via a video game? [Mediation Channel]
* “947 years they can never get back.” (And no, this has nothing to do with Biglaw associates.) [Innocence Blog]
* If tax time is making you unhappy, find relief in some of these tax tracks, from Steven Zelin, The Singing CPA. [The Singing CPA via TaxProf Blog]
* We linked to them previously (via the Volokh Conspiracy), but in case you missed them, here are some interesting interviews with eight Supreme Court justices, conducted by legal writing guru Bryan Garner. [LawProse]
* Blawg Review #154. Did you know that yesterday was World Health Day? [HealthBlawg via Blawg Review]
Here’s a bit of follow-up on last week’s post about Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. We heard from a number of tipsters, and their reports are consistent with the rumors previously reported:
1. Sonnenschein is rescinding offers of summer employment to incoming summer associates in the Charlotte office.
2. Sonnenschein is rescinding offers to full-time associates who were set to start work in the Charlotte office in the fall.
We have not heard from the firm since our initial inquiries last week — despite repeated efforts, including some made yesterday. We are inclined to agree with this commenter:
Their lack of response must mean it’s true. Rescinding offers is about the worst thing a firm can do for its rep. There’s no way they’re going to confirm it if it is true, and they would’ve immediately disputed it if it is false.
Read what our tipsters had to say, after the jump.
Okay, so you already knew that. Last year, in a widely read, front-page story for the Wall Street Journal, Amir Efrati reported on the non-Biglaw blues: the challenging job market and not-so-hot financial prospects faced by many law school graduates (many of whom are saddled with heavy debt).
A month later, the Des Moines Register basically rewrote Efrati’s story. But Efrati couldn’t have been that offended, since his article was thematically similar to this piece by Leigh Jones, which appeared in the National Law Journal a few months earlier.
Preemption is a bitch. In this media-saturated age, it’s difficult to be truly original.
Nevertheless, even if these articles all sort of sound alike, they generate buzz and traffic — which may explain why they keep getting written, over and over again. The latest is a rather lengthy cover story from the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine, by Greg Burns.
From one of the many tipsters who emailed us about it: “Nothing earth shattering revealed, but this article discusses the ‘haves and have nots’ of the legal profession.” Another reader noted:
I assume you’ve seen the Chicago Trib article on low lawyer salaries, for those not in BigLaw. Not that this discrepancy is a shocker to you, but your fans seem to enjoy lording their big, uh, paychecks over their less fortunate brethren, while taking perverse pleasure in working 20-hour days for the free dinner and ride home. As such, this seems like a perfect comment clusterf**k topic.
A third quipped: “Not sure if news, but enjoy!” We concur. Even if the piece’s thesis is nothing new, at least it’s well-reported, chock full of interesting anecdotes and data.
More discussion, after the jump.
Over 2000 votes are in. It’s you, Latham & Watkins! Latham’s the “coolest,” baby! By a .6% margin.
One of our readers from Cleary an unnamed firm expressed disappointment in the poll’s closing at midnight PST instead of EST. ATL believes in time zone equity and refused to exercise a New York East Coast bias.
The caveat on this ATL tournament is that Latham is the “coolest” law firm in the Vault’s top sixteen, due to our arbitrary tournament selection for the Sweet Sixteen. There was some complaining about the tournament in the comments section, but we think you guiltily and secretly loved it. At least, 2000 of you did. Should the ATL tournament start with 64 firms next time?
Maybe Latham will use the 2008 ATL title of “coolest” firm in their recruiting next year. We sure hope so.
The voting map surprised us, after the jump.
Former Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:
A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.
Those Texans love the word of God. In 2005, they went to SCOTUS to defend a monument to the 10 Commandments that stands on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Hailing from San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery is invoking the higher power in his judgment against a religious school’s right to join a Texan school membership league.
In a ruling Tuesday denying Cornerstone Christian Schools’ attempt to join the state’s premier extracurricular organization, a federal judge chided the school’s founder and famed preacher John Hagee for contradicting at times his own Christian tenets, using numerous references to the Bible, Koran and even a famous fairy tale.
Who needs precedent and constitutional law when there’s so much wisdom to be found in Grimm tales and Disney movies? Let’s look at the opinion….
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.
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.