The school year has begun for many a fresh-faced law student. Most 1Ls have likely performed the starting school rituals: they’ve bought their textbooks, chosen their classes, and watched “The Paper Chase.”
Now that these lawyer wannabes have embarked on the three year quest for a J.D. (three years for now at least), it is time for sage ones to offer advice on making the most of the experience.
Around the web, there are various lists. Here are some of our favorite tips:
Once you get into a top law school, staying on the Biglaw course requires determination, talent and a clear headed focus on your goals. Getting out of Biglaw requires all the same strengths, mixed with a little bit of crazy.
J. Ashwin Madia has been a law firm associate and a Marine, and now he’s running for Congress. But like so many of us his journey started in the relative safety of a top law school. The friends of his from NYU Law might know him better as Jigar. Madia starting using his middle names when he joined the Marines.
The few Marines I’ve met all talk about a desire to give back to the community and Madia is no different:
My parents came to this country with $19 between them, and they bought an $11 bottle of champagne and they started with $8 in this country. So this was a small way to give something back.
Where Madia is different is that his post-bar trip was disturbingly similar to boot camp, insofar as he had to go to boot camp.
The marines are kind of unique in that if you fly a plane or drive a tank or are a lawyer, you all go through the same training. It was funny, after I took the bar exam I had 8 months of crawling around in the mud and shooting a machine gun and learning martial arts and learning how to be a rifle platoon commander.
Madia helped the Iraqi government formulate their legal system, focusing on getting suspected terrorists competent defense lawyers, fair trials, and if guilty, speedy incarceration.
He has also had more traditional legal jobs. After his tour with the in the Marine corps, Madia went back to Minnesota (where he is from) to work at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in their IP department.
But, you know, sometimes I would look out of the window there and just think of other things I could be doing.
More about Ashwin Madia and his G.I. Joe advice to Biglaw associates after the break.
Fans of Sex and the City will recall the famous episode in which Carrie was dumped via post-it note. If law firm mergers are like relationships, here’s a tale that seems as classy as breaking up by post-it. [FN1]
The New York office of Gunderson Dettmer was all set to move, en masse, to Cooley Godward. The 30 or so Gunderson attorneys had new, Cooley-issued Blackberries and laptops, with new email accounts and software already set up. They were set to start this past Tuesday.
On the Friday before Labor Day, the main partner in Gunderson’s NYC office simply called to let the Cooley crew know the move was off. This was not taken well by Cooley, since this had been considered a done deal for some time. The Gunderson lead partner did not even bother to call the CEO of Cooley, but instead called a relatively junior partner to break the news.
“Cooley is really pissed,” according to our tipster, “but they are moving forward.” Just like a jilted lover, Cooley seems to take the view that doing well is the best revenge: “They happen to be about to open a new office in a strategic location in the U.S., with a big bang, and with double-digit numbers of lateral partners as part of the potential deal.”
There is a body of law that governs who keeps the engagement ring when a wedding is called off. Could it be applied by analogy to those Cooley-issued BlackBerries and laptops?
Gunderson did not respond to our requests for comment. We reached out to Cooley, which declined to comment through a spokesperson.
[FN1] We adore post-its, and we love those little colored flags even more; but they can’t be used for everything.
Last month, after Judge Elizabeth Halverson lost her reelection bid, we lamented her imminent departure from these pages.
It seems that we spoke too soon. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Embattled District Judge Elizabeth Halverson is in the hospital after she was assaulted by her husband, Las Vegas police said this morning. Her injuries are not life threatening.
Police were called to her house late last night to respond to a domestic violence call. Police said her husband, Edward Halverson, 49, hit her with a frying pan.
They always said the frying pan would be the death of her.
Edward Halverson was booked into the county jail on one attempted murder, one count battery with substantial bodily harm and one count battery with a deadly weapon.
This is not Ed Halverson’s first brush with the law; he’s a convicted felon. Judge Halverson may have been prescient when she nicknamed her hubby “Evil Ed.”
Domestic violence is a serious issue. We wish Judge Halverson a speedy recovery from her injuries. (We also remind her that our offer of a column on Above the Law still stands.) Judge Halverson hospitalized, husband jailed after attack [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Thelen and Nixon Peabody are in merger talks, with a possible agreement pending, according to sources close to the situation. The law firms have been in extensive talks, with Nixon Peabody leaders traveling to San Francisco to meet with Thelen leaders, according to two sources.
Foley & Lardner. You’ve heard the rumors. We’ve heard the rumors. Foley & Lardner have heard the rumors and chosen not to respond. But the smoke screen cannot obscure the summer structure fire.
Multiple tipsters coalesced around these numbers: 9 of 21 Foley Chicago summers received offers. But six of those offers went to IP attorneys, leaving non-IP summers with a stunning 3 of 15 success rate.
I’m no mathlete, but that doesn’t look like the 90% offer rate like we’ve been hearing from other firms.
And as we’ve seen with other firms, going to a top school was no summer offer safety net. Again, thus far the firm isn’t talking so we can’t know for sure, but it appears that HYS summers went 0 for 4 at Foley Chicago.
Read what people are saying below the fold.
* Senator John McCain had a tough act to follow after the electrifying Wednesday night speech by his VP pick, Sarah Palin. He accepted the nomination and promised that change is a-comin.’ [Washington Post]
* Nearly 400 protesters were arrested outside of the Republican National Convention last night. For singing a Rage Against the Machine song? [CNN]
* A Texas inmate slated for execution next week says the judge and prosecutor in his case were too friendly outside the court. A hearing has been set to investigate the alleged love affair and the fairness of the trial. [New York Times]
* California voters like medical marijuana, but the courts and AG Jerry Brown are not the biggest fans. [Los Angeles Daily News]
* Arthur Culvahouse wins! [Law.com]
* The Kilpatrick saga has come to an end. This is a look at the three Michigan laws that brought about his downfall. [Detroit Free Press]
Google is getting into the browser wars with their new Chrome product.
As Futurelawyer points out, who needs a new browser (besides anybody who still uses IE)? But Chrome is made by Google and Google knows what they are doing so we assume the product will sell.
Take a closer look at the boilerplate Terms of Service Agreement, before you download the browser. We’re not sure if Google’s lawyers were trying to make hours or just drunk, but if they had their way, Chrome would own everything, everywhere, forever. From Valleywag:
[A]ny “content” you “submit, post or display” using the service — whether you own its copyright or not — gives Google a “perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute” it?
* Bad news for Jack Abramoff: he got four years. Good news for Jack Abramoff: they’ll stipulate that “Tiny” can only bend him over and [redacted] then begin [censored] right before he [dear god no] and tosses his salad. So he’s got that going for him. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A Texas judge invalidated the patent of NuBra, suggesting that a strapless bra that enhances cleavage yet can be worn under sheer clothing is not one of the top ten greatest inventions of this decade. [Fox Business via ABA Journal]
* Is Sarah Palin in favor of jury nullification? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* How come we never hear anything about building a wall across our Canadian border? [Overlawyered; Inside Toronto]
* Is the plaintiff in this case Svetlana Kirilenko from the Sopranos? [Supreme Dicta]
* A lawyer’s guide to reading to your kids, in case you’re up for partner. [National Law Journal (subscription)]
* Detroit, your long sexual nightmare is at an end. Finally the denizens of the city can go back to wishing they were somewhere else in peace and tranquility. [Detroit Free Press]
Our recent post about outsourcing sparked some interesting debate about whether junior-level work will be shipped out of the country in the near future.
The commenters seemed to break into three camps: (1) you’re an idiot, outsourcing is already here; (2) you’re an idiot, ain’t nobody gonna take my job, USA, USA; and (3) you’re an idiot.
Fair enough on all counts. But wherever you stand on the issue it should be noted that people are trying to convince your partners to outsource, now.
Ron Friedmann of Integreon, a large legal process outsourcing firm, has written a treatise to convince firms to outsource the work most junior associates do for a living. He starts out talking in language managing partners love:
Until recently, firms emphasized revenue growth over cost reduction. They have merged, invested in marketing, added practice groups, and opened offices around the world. Now, however, with a recession likely, cost control is of growing interest.
Most people should know what “cost control” is code for. But let Friedmann do the double talk:
Outsourcing converts fixed costs to variable ones and avoids the need to borrow. Many law firms are under-capitalized. Partners may therefore want to avoid fixed commitments and to minimize borrowing. Similarly, law departments have small capital budgets and like to avoid locking in headcount. For both, outsourcing provides flexibility and avoids capital commitments.
Capital commitments? Like summer associate programs that offer rising 3Ls jobs over a year before they report to work? Great.
Friedmann tries to be funny, after the break.
Did you watch Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech last night? Of course you did; it was a must-see. And regardless of your politics, you can’t deny that she delivered it superbly, with polish and poise. In short, at least as a stylistic matter, it was the Best Speech Ever.
But how was the Palin speech as a matter of substance? The AP fact-checked it and identified some issues:
PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”
THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.
Who cares about Kansas — what about Biglaw associates (and partners)? How would they be affected by Obama’s tax plan? With their six- and seven-figure salaries, some are doing a lot better than “middle income.”
Check out some surprising numbers, after the jump.
While we continue to pester firms about no offer information, it appears that one firm dipped significantly below the 90% threshold for summer associate offers, at least in the New York office. Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is another firm that has reported an oversubscribed summer associate class. That said, Buchanan Ingersoll spokesperson Lori Lecker reports that the summers were at least busy:
[W]e had more than enough work to keep all of our summer associates busy throughout the course of the program, and we received positive feedback from the class on the quality of work. We generated over 300 projects for our summers to work on this year.
Most firms don’t bother to tout how much work their summer class had, but Buchanan is fighting specific reports that attorneys are struggling to make their billables firmwide. Just two weeks ago it was reported that barely a quarter of the firms 500 lawyers were on target, and that average associate hours had fallen below 1,650.
So the summers had work, but did they get jobs? More on that after the jump.
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.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
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Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!