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abramoff kilpatrick and bears.jpg* 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]

outsourcing biglaw aba tsunami.gifOur 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Outsourcing: Here’s the Pitch”

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpgDid 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Calculate Your Obama Tax Cut!”

bic layoffs no offers.jpgWhile 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide No Offer Watch: Buchanan Ingersoll”

EC map constitution.jpgMy new colleague over at Dealbreaker has written a somewhat modest proposal. John Carney proposes creating an auction market for Electoral College votes, so that states which are traditionally overlooked during presidential elections (like New York) can recoup some political relevance in the free market.
Among general concerns about the fundamental nature of democracy, I’m pretty sure Carney’s elegant proposal is illegal, unconstitutional, and could possibly lead to the creation of subatomic black holes that could end life on earth.
But I’m always up for a spirited legal debate. If anyone disagrees with my reading of the 12th Amendment, please feel free.
Still, many people (who do not live in Ohio or Florida) believe that the EC needs some serious tweaking. But few people agree on how to do it.
So … write your own amendment. Is a straight popular vote really the way to go, or does that disproportionally represent populous coastal states? If you like Carney’s suggestion, how can he make it work constitutionally?
You can’t change the nature of the democratic process without talking to the lawyers.
Could We Have A Market For Electoral College Votes? [Dealbreaker]

Arthur Culvahouse, chairman of O’Melveny & Myers, was in charge of vetting Sarah Palin and has been taking some heat.

But Culvahouse has more to worry about than the National Enquirer. Culvahouse is locked in a high-stakes political battle to keep his chairmanship at O’Melveny. O’Melveny’s policy committee, which recommends the chairperson subject to ratification by the full partnership, failed to select a clear winner over the past few weeks.

So now the sharks are circling….

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Van%20Winkle%20Law%20Firm%20Lawyer%20Ken.jpgWachtell may be the most prestigious firm out there (according to Vault), but it has the industry’s worst Web site, as rated by Jonathan Thrope of the American Lawyer. We’re not completely sure we trust his judgment though, since he was “sucked in” by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice’s animated dog. We waited for it to do something cool, but it just stretched and yawned.
According to Thrope, law firms are getting more serious about online marketing and using Web sites to create a distinctive brand. In general, law firm sites strike us as fairly dry. And boring. There are a few exceptions, like the Van Winkle Law Firm’s split personality bio page. North Carolina-based Van Winkle adds a personal touch to its site with dual bios (and photos) for many of its attorneys: one with professional highlights, and another focused on hobbies and life outside of work.
Other firms experiment with offbeat advertising, but seem to be using it to recruit attorneys, not clients. Like Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle’s creation of a Facebook page, and Stoel Rives’ free-style running promo on YouTube.
Of the assortment of staid sites in the AmLaw 100, five made Thrope’s cut for the worst. Check them out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Worst Law Firm Websites”

Hamptons mansion shingle style cottage.jpg[Ed. note: This is a continuation of the story started in this post by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters, which you should read first if you haven't done so already. It's about Hope's friend Anna, a young Wall Street lawyer and self-described "summer wife."]
It’s the first week of August. At around five o’clock, Anna’s BlackBerry begins buzzing with invitations to fancy restaurants like Amaranth or Cipriani, courtesy of the much older partners looking for summer wives. Anna likes to network and she likes to eat, so she’s game.
You’d never guess it by her lithe frame and recessed chest exposing clavicle bones, but Anna can eat and drink … a lot. And like all girls, she just likes attention — attention best demonstrated at lavish restaurants, and hotel bars where cucumber Martinis are served all night long. Anna is into the glam. She wears conservative charcoal gray Diane von Furstenberg dresses, but accessorizes sexy — strappy black sandals that crisscross at the ankles, dangling gold earrings, and a black lace camisole ever-so-subtly revealed. So if a much older, frumpy partner wants to be seen with her, he better be taking her somewhere gorgeous.
In any event, as the summer goes by and the dinners multiply (followed always by an invitation for a “nightcap” at the partner’s apartment), Anna grows increasingly fond of one of her suitors, Abraham. She realizes that it’s time for her to grow up, settle down, and take a summer husband. He has been courting her for a long time now. Calling her. Wining and dining her. Complimenting her. Texting her. Even sending her a car and driver.
He wants her. She is everything right that is wrong in his wife.
Finally, Anna capitulates. Very well — I’ll be your summer wife.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Wives (Part 2 of 2)”

Kwame%20Kilpatrick%20Mayor%20Kwame%20M%20Kilpatrick%20Above%20the%20Law%20blog.jpg* Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani were in attack dog mode during the Republican convention last night. [New York Times]
* A look at the laws that govern Facebook. Being too active can get you banned, as our very own David Lat discovered. [Washington Post]
* Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick heads to court today for his criminal perjury case. Will he plead guilty and resign? Or will he keep dragging this thing out? Stay tuned. [Detroit Free Press]
* Perhaps Kilpatrick’s extramarital text messaging behavior has a genetic component. He could be one of the men carrying the “commitment-phobia” gene. [Los Angeles Times]
* Disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff will be sentenced today in his corruption trial. [Associated Press]
* Pizza delivery man to be tried for the murder of his teacher wife’s teenage lover. [CNN]
* Emergency budget crisis for courts in England. [The Times]
* An argument against lawyers for president. “The problem is that lawyers usually do not run companies, defend the country, lead people, build things, grow food or create capital.” [San Jose Mercury News]

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgMethinks the judge doth protest too much? From the Houston Chronicle:

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent stood before a fellow federal judge this morning and vehemently proclaimed his innocence of three federal sexual crimes in his indictment.

“I plead absolutely, unequivocally not guilty and look very much forward to a trial on the merits of what I consider flagrant, scurrilous charges,” Kent stated with force to U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Edward Prado.

“For the record I absolutely intend to testify, and we are going to bring a horde of witnesses,” Kent said.

He also promised “a killer alibi,” “a s**tload of exculpatory evidence,” and an exonerating sex tape.
Is it necessary to Mirandize a longtime judge? Better be on the safe side:

Prado frequently said things such as “You pretty well know the routine,” and “As you know, you have the right to remain silent.”

The defendant’s status as a sitting federal judge led to some other, lighter moments. More below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Kent Objects to His Indictment. Strenuously.”

orange faced honeyeater.jpg* Work life balance … now with testicles! []
* Heller Ehrman continues to bleed people. [ABA Journal]
* Biglaw associates, count yourselves lucky. At least you are not interning for the New York Sun. [Gawker]
* People cite Wikipedia? In class? To a professor? [PrawfsBlawg]
* Everybody thinks they’re an expert on interviews, even the experts. [Legal Times (subscription)]

  • 03 Sep 2008 at 5:21 PM
  • Uncategorized

The Cadwalader Files: Partners Are People Too

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgWe’ve finally finished reading the full American Lawyer article (subscription) about the internal machinations at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. With great access to firm chair Chris White, Nate Raymond weaves together a brilliant tale of greed, homogenization, and the differences between running a law firm and running a business.
We encourage you to read the full article. For those busy trying to hang onto their jobs, we’ll give you a few excerpts.
One thing is very clear: the partners over there are totally screwed too, at least as much as you can be “screwed” while making millions of dollars a year:

At Cadwalader, the push for profits is relentless. The average Cadwalader partner brings in around $5 million in revenue, and has to worry all the time about maintaining those numbers. “We expect people to produce,” Link says, unapologetically. “Cadwalader is a meritocracy.” High performers are rewarded with shares and bonuses-at the expense of those farther down the food chain.

Talk about a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.
As we reported yesterday, there is just no way of knowing right now if the defection of Andrew Perel is an outlier or a precursor. Yet White talks about his departed partners in language usually reserved for junior associates:

White contends that many of the partners who leave are people who couldn’t keep up. “In some respects, peer pressure doesn’t go away [when you're a partner],” he says. “When you’re in an environment where everyone is performing at a very high level, and you’re accustomed to performing at that level, it becomes difficult when you’re not performing at that level.”

More about the new (!) Cadwalader business plan, after the jump.

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