* Mandatory retirement for law firm partners: pro or con? Depends on what you dislike more: rigid and economically irrational rules, or funny-smelling old people walking the halls. [Adam Smith, Esq.]
* We’re still investigating those Latham layoff rumors. In the meantime, you can follow Wall Street layoffs over at our big sibling site. [DealBreaker]
* Hillary Clinton: She who laughs loudest, laughs worst? [TalkLeft]
* Blawg Review #128 — coming all the way from Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. [Lex Ferenda via Blawg Review] Update (5:15 PM): With respect to Latham, a firm spokesperson stated that any layoff rumors are untrue. We’ve checked with a few of our own sources at the firm, and they also expressed no knowledge of any layoffs. If you’ve heard anything to the contrary, please drop us a line.
Some time ago, we received this interesting tip, about WilmerHale (in D.C.):
WH continues to go downhill. Why is it that no one ever seems to write or care about this?
I’m an associate and treated fairly well. But the support staff receives brutal treatment. I heard that one of our HR people who almost died of cancer this spring was told that the firm couldn’t accommodate her disability because it didn’t make “good business sense.” She has been here for 13 years, [with] excellent evaluations, and has been fighting for her life. Now she has to fight for her job when her doctor says she still is disabled. She [was] given six weeks by our Chief Human Resources Officer to come back full-time. After one week she was demoted and given no particular reason why.
It won’t be long before they treat the rest of us the same way. By the way, lawyers and staff alike continue to leave in droves. Does anyone care that a Washington institution has crumbled into hubris and greed?
The firm did not respond to our inquiry into this item. If you have more info, feel free to email us.
A little more about WilmerHale, including some happy news, after the jump.
Following in the footsteps of Sullivan & Cromwell partner Eric Krautheimer, today’s Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day also has a law degree from a Tier 4 law school, supplemented by an LLM from NYU. And just like Eric Krautheimer, his tremendously successful career provides support for the proposition that it’s not where you got your legal education, but what you do with it, that counts. Name: Benjamin Brafman Law School: Ohio Northern University, J.D., with distinction, 1974 Current Position: Partner, Brafman & Associates, P.C. Why He’s Our Winner: Brafman is one of New York’s top criminal defense attorneys, with a long list of celebrity clients (including, for a time, Michael Jackson). Our tipster sums it up nicely: “He represented Diddy! He probably met J.Lo! How can you beat that?” Brafman & Associates, P.C. [Lawyers.com] Benjamin Brafman [Wikipedia] Little Big Man [New York Magazine]
As we mentioned on Friday, due to the popularity of Non-Top-Tier Law School Week, we’ve extended it to include all of this week. We will continue to explore — and to challenge — the following claim:
Even if times might be great for Biglaw shops and the top-tier grads they hire, it’s hard out here for graduates of non-elite law schools (especially those not at the top of their class).
The thesis was articulated last week in this post, based on this Wall Street Journal article.
This latest post falls on the “challenge” side of the ledger. Several readers have emailed us to point out that, in essence, not all non-top-tier schools are created equal. Geography — i.e., presence in (or proximity to) a strong legal market, especially one without many top law schools to compete with — makes a big difference.
What do we mean by all this? Find out, after the jump.
Law school can be thought of as a Harry Potter-style “sorting hat” for law students (as Dave Hoffman suggests). Similarly, the recent round of pay raises can be thought of as a sorting hat for law firms.
Nathan Carlile has this excellent article in the current issue of the Legal Times:
Call it a near miss.
Earlier this year, New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett raised starting salaries for first-year associates to $160,000. In the competition to recruit top talent, the tactic was similar to one used by Kenyan marathon runners: a midrace burst to separate elite competitors from the pack of pretenders.
But while Simpson’s bump momentarily opened up a $25,000 gap between top-end New York firms and their Washington counterparts, the pack soon matched the move. Eight months later, starting salaries for first-years at most of the 200 largest firms nationwide remain bunched at $160,000.
More discussion — including rumors of Skadden leading a new round of pay raises in New York City — after the jump.
Last week we honored Judge Samuel B. Kent with our prestigious Judge of the Day award, based on his alleged sexual harassment of a court employee. Now the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council has also recognized Judge Kent. From Texas Lawyer:
The Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [on Friday] issued an order reprimanding and admonishing U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Galveston. The order relates to a complaint of judicial misconduct lodged against the judge on May 21 alleging sexual harassment toward an employee of the federal judicial system.
A former case manager for Kent, Cathy McBroom, confirms she filed a complaint against the judge. She declines further comment. McBroom currently works in the clerk’s office in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.
You can access the order here (PDF). But as a tipster notes, “All the juicy stuff will ‘not be disclosed.’ No fun at all.”
Fear not, judicial gossip aficionados. The Houston Chronicle has more details:
Kent is accused of harassing and inappropriately touching his 49-year-old case manager in his chambers in March….
On the day of the incident, other employees saw McBroom crying and visibly upset, according to interviews. A few weeks later, McBroom transferred to another federal court job in Houston. McBroom was so shaken by the encounter, “She (was) a basket case,” an acquaintance said.
McBroom has retained Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who would not comment for now on the particulars of the case.
Not good news for Judge Kent. Hardin is one of Houston’s top trial lawyers.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Additional allegations against Judge Kent, after the jump.
Judge Fried issued his decision in response to S&C’s partial motion to dismiss. Though both sides landed blows, it seems that S&C can claim itself the victor of this battle. The Court dismissed Charney’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”) and Conspiracy causes of action, albeit without prejudice. However, at least as it stands now, it appears that Charney may have difficulty reviving these claims. But it was not a complete victory for S&C. The Court declined to strike most of the paragraphs from the Complaint that S&C had requested.
More from Jonas here, and Justice Bernard Fried’s order here (PDF). Jonas titled his post “The Empire Strikes Back.” But why did he use a photo of Sharon Nelles instead of H. Rodgin Cohen (who is closer in age and appearance to Emperor Palpatine)?
Professor Arthur Leonard offers the detailed, thorough analysis that we’ve come to expect from him. Here’s an excerpt:
So, what does all this mean? I’m not entirely sure….
I had thought that these additional claims were separate and distinct from the NYC HRL [Human Rights Law] claims, as relating to the activities of S&C and Gallion in reaction to the lawsuit rather than to S&C’s treatment of Charney as an employee. That is, the HRL claims related to what happened before Charney filed his original lawsuit. The intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was addressed to the tactics that S&C then used after the lawsuit was filed to try to pressure Charney to back down, and the conspiracy claim was specifically aimed at the enlistment of attorney Gallion to add to the pressure and sidetrack Grinberg from allying himself with Charney
Does Fried’s action in dismissing these additional legal claims but refusing to strike almost all the factual allegation paragraphs of the complaint that specifically relate to them mean that he believes the events that came after the first complaint are now part of the overall case under the city Human Rights Law? If so, then Charney has lost nothing by this dismissal order, and the judge has at least implicitly ratified the idea that S&C’s response to his complaint becomes part of the retaliation case, at the very least.
* Ann Althouse on the Chelsea Clinton restaurant photo controversy from earlier this week: “‘We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us.’ What kind of crap is that?” [Althouse]
* Our apologies to Brian Dalton of Vault for the snark from earlier today. How were we to know that a New York Times reporter would screw up a quote so badly? [Void for Vagueness]
* During a little over a year at Patterson Belknap, Michael Mukasey apparently earned about $1.9 million. And he wants to be AG to a lame-duck president, for a little over a year, because… [Bloomberg News via WSJ Law Blog]
* Congratulations to Hofstra on its #1 status! (Among tier 3 and tier 4 faculties.) [TaxProf Blog]
* John Carney argues that SEC chairman Chris Cox should reject the new proposed proxy access rule, which would actually harm ordinary investors. That Carney, he’s so contrarian. [DealBreaker]
* Are you a young lawyer looking for financial advice? Check this out. [WSJ Law Blog]
Courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link, here is the latest Job of the Week: Company: Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. (Columbia, Maryland) Position Description: The medical care company, which commercializes products from adult bone marrow, seeks a Chief Intellectual Property Counsel to work in Columbia, Maryland. As the successful candidate will manage the company’s IP-related matters, the position requires 6+ years of experience, with a law firm and/or biotechnology corporate environment; a scientific background, preferably a Ph.D. in a biological or chemical field; admission to a State bar and the U.S. Patent & Trademark office; and experience with preparation and prosecution of patents (U.S. and foreign). Location: Columbia, Maryland Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
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:
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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.