Atlanta-based law firm Balch & Bingham has decided to let their employees work four days a week in response to high gas prices and gas shortages in some areas. People can take off Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, once the firm figures out how to shuffle things around so that there is adequate coverage on all days. According to the ABA Journal:
Managing partner T. Joshua R. Archer says the idea came to him on Tuesday, as he was walking the halls and overheard a secretary ask the office manager if she could leave early to get in line at a station that she’d heard had gas to sell.
“It seems like a good idea from an efficiency and productivity standpoint,” he tells the legal publication, pointing out that it should be easier to find gas when others are working. Plus, having a full tank reduces stress because it’s one less thing to worry about.
Sounds great. We’re sure that everybody who lives in a commuter suburb can appreciate laying off the gas one day a week.
But there’s a catch:
They also are expected to work the same amount of hours, over four days, as they ordinarily would over five.
For the staff that could take advantage of this “perk,” how does a ten-hour day reduce stress?
Here was an opportunity for Balch & Bingham to do something really nice for their employees. You could have given them a half-day off, or a gas credit, or something. But instead it seems like Mr. Archer just came up with a way to get a nice press story without actually helping his employees or costing the firm a single cent.
Even Terri Garr’s “Schooner Tuna” boss was able to figure out the difference between a cheap gimmick and a helping hand.
With all the doom and gloom about the economy, it’s easy to forget that some law firms are doing really, really well.
American Lawyer has come out with their Global 100 rankings (subscription) report. Am Law reports that most stable global firms are based across the pond:
After madly shedding partners, doubling-down their bets on foreign offices, and tightening their management controls, the global Magic Circle practices–Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Linklaters–look a little better-dressed than many of their rivals in the United States. The irony is that the English firms have succeeded by following the lesson of their American peers: They’ve hedged their bets. For U.S. firms, in the past that has meant a healthy dose of litigation and bankruptcy work to balance a corporate shortfall. For the British, the strategy has been geographic: spreading their risk across several continents.
Whatever. Maybe someday you’ll be able to buy back an undesirable position in Yorktown.
The U.S.A. is still well represented when it comes to profits per partner:
Cadwalader’s inclusion on this list is … offensive (the list is based on 2007 numbers), but how about Quinn Emanuel! One of five firms worldwide with PPP over $3,000,000.
Jason John Jingleheimer Schmidt Keller is a full service criminal defense attorney. He’s there for you at your arraignment, at your trial, and even when you get the shakes:
According to court documents, Keller, 34, on at least three separate occasions this year, allegedly smuggled heroin, a cell phone and cell phone charger into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail.
Well, what was he supposed to do? Not provide his clients with a reliable hook up? Obviously he gave his clients all the means to acquire this precious substance on their own and only stepped in when nobody else would mule them the needed medication.
Keller’s clients don’t sound like the kind of guys you say no to:
Some of the inmates are members of a violent criminal street gang, the Mexican Mafia, and at least one is known to be Keller’s client, the Arizona attorney general’s office said.
Hopefully, the Mexican Mafia saved some of their contraband to share with Mr. Donkey Esquire.
If there is one factor that ties most attorneys into the current market crisis: it’s called “law school debt.” Almost every young associate has a significant amount of money they still owe their hyper-expensive professional school (and if you don’t, I hope your trust fund is tanking right now). For many, that debt drives them into the open arms of Biglaw.
The National Law Journal reports that current and prospective law students are about to get credit-crunched:
But because banks are doling out less money to lenders, private loans are getting harder to come by, said New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar, who is also chairman of the board of directors of education lender Access Group.
That means it will be more difficult for law school graduates to secure private loans, and graduates will likely pay higher interest rates if they do get a private loan to bridge the gap between graduation and the bar.
Recent law graduates also will be entering the workforce during a slow economy, which means they may spend more time in the job search process.
We’ve reported that some firms have pushed back their starting dates, which will likely cause recent graduates to rely even more heavily on loans.
But as with everything else going on in the markets right now, nobody really knows what is going to happen. The WSJ Law Blog asks a pertinent question:
We know that those bar-takers with BigLaw jobs lined up can ask their firms for a hefty advance on their first year salaries. But others must rely on private loans to fund the two or three month stretch between graduation and the bar exam. We’re curious: Have rates on those loans gone up? Are post-grads still relying on them?
After the jump, it’s time to talk about solutions:
In times of high anxiety, firm-wide meetings make people nervous. It’s a little early for bonus discussion, so what might be in the cards? A merger? Layoffs?
We reached out to the firm for comment. Jonathan Groner, a Jenner spokesperson, described the upcoming event as simply a regular meeting with associates, held in the ordinary course. He declined to discuss the agenda for the meeting, citing its internal nature.
Should Jenner associates be worried? Probably not. What we’re hearing is that the meeting will bring good news. Word on the street is that it’s being held to tell everyone — in the wake of Heller Ehrman’s collapse, and general economic turmoil — that Jenner is doing just fine. Managing partner Susan Levy will offer words of reassurance to all assembled. [FN1]
So the meeting is expected to be a non-event. But if it turns out to be more momentous, we will let you know.
[FN1] With respect to Susan Levy, one tipster tells us: “Yay to Jenner for selecting a female managing partner. She may not be able to see Russia from her office in Chicago, but she was ready to lead from Day 1.”
(By the way, speaking of Jenner and gender, the firm was recently honored by Working Mother as one of the best law firms for women.)
In The Commentator, NYU Law School’s student newspaper, Andrew Gehring vehemently disagrees with the changes adopted by HLS and SLS:
Attempting to provide content to [Stanford Law School Dean Larry] Kramer ‘s claim about “pedagogical benefits” is a more or less futile exercise. I can see no way for a grading system that essentially just eliminates the +/- aspect of the standard system to have an impact on a professor’s teaching style, so the claim about “innovation” seems hollow. (Even if we accept that the system refocuses students on learning–which I’ll dispute momentarily–it seems like professors always teach to get their students to learn, not to get the best grade.) And there’s no more freedom for “designing metrics of evaluat[ion]” under the new system than there would be under a traditional system that isn’t tied to a curve.
Wow. Tell us what you really think.
One tipster suggests that NYU is just feeling like an old, bald man shopping for a corvette:
NYUs student magazine published an editorial slamming Harvards new grading policy and defending NYUs/Columbias traditional approach, which to me seemed very interesting and a standard pattern in NYUs general inferiority complex.
Earlier this week we reported on Sarah Palin’s apparent inability to name more than one important SCOTUS case.
Some commenters felt that we should reserve judgment on Palin’s judicial knowledge until we had “confirmation” about those opinions. Some people also questioned what her VP opponent, Joe Biden, might say under similar circumstances.
Well, now we have video:
Some key excerpts for those who cannot play the video after the jump.
* The Senate is ready to bail out. Senate-approved rescue plan will go to the House on Friday. [Washington Post]
* SCOTUS will not revisit its decision on the death penalty for child rapists. Still unconstitutional. [Washington Post]
* “How would you like to be Osama Bin Laden’s lawyer?” [Doyle Reports]
* Two Neiman Marcus employees were having sex at the office. Their manager installed a camera to catch them. Then he fired them. And showed the tape to a few people, including a nationwide online database of security personnel. It’s so wrong, but so right. [Chicago Tribune via AmLaw Daily]
The U.S. economy may be going down, down, down — but traffic on ATL is up, up, up. When it comes to your new editor, Elie Mystal, it seems that you like him, you really like him (which is not surprising, since you picked him, through the ATL Idol contest).
In September, Elie’s first full month on the job, the site received a record number of unique visitors (over 325,000) and pageviews (almost 4 million). Congratulations to Elie and the rest of the ATL team — associate editor Kashmir Hill, survey czar Justin Bernold, wedding watcher Laurie Lin, advice columnist Marin, and last but not least, crowd favorite Hope Winters.
More importantly, we extend our deepest thanks to you, our readers. This site would be nothing without you — and your many visits (keep refreshing those browsers), comments (even the nasty ones — a pageview is a pageview), and tips (please keep ‘em coming, by email).
Let’s keep on having fun — or as much fun as can be had during these tough times. NY to 190!
(Or, more realistically, NY to the Milbank promise. But that may be wishful thinking. Word on the street is that half a dozen major New York law firms plan lawyer layoffs in the first quarter of 2009. Stay tuned to ATL; we’ll bring you all the latest developments, as they happen.)
P.S. September 2008 was also a record month for ATL’s sister sites, Dealbreaker and Fashionista. Congrats to them as well!
P.P.S. Dealbreaker is actively seeking additional full-time writers. To apply or learn more, see here. Thanks.
A Stanford law school graduate suspected of paying off her costly student loans by running a high-priced escort service has now been hit with federal tax evasion charges.
In court papers filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court, prosecutors allege that Cristina Warthen failed to pay taxes on more than $133,000 she earned as a prostitute in 2003, jetting off as a call girl for clients in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and other cities. The government has charged her with felony tax evasion for failing to pay about $25,000 in federal income taxes.
Warthen’s business as a reputed high-priced hooker was first revealed several years ago, when the federal government searched her then-home in Oakland and seized more than $61,000 in cash suspected to be linked to her escort business. Court papers allege that starting in 2001, Warthen, then Cristina Schultz, used the name “Brazil” and advertised her escort services on a Web site, TouchofBrazil.net.
Jiminy jillickers! ATL editors are going all over the place over the next month or so. Or at least all over the Eastern Seaboard. If we aren’t heading to your neck of the woods on these trips, never fear, we may hit you up on the next time around. We’ve already hit up Houston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the past year.
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: