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Mekka Don.jpgHaving just discussed Janet Jackson (or her breasts), we’re going to remain on the subject of music. This installment in our continuing series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys — i.e., “things you can do with a law degree other than Biglaw (or contract attorney work)” — is inspired by lawyer turned rapper Mekka Don.

There are many attorneys out there with musical side projects. When do you decide to take the leap and dive into your music career full-time? According to Mekka Don, the answer is “after one year at Weil.” He wrote to us in March:

My name is Emeka Onyejekwe (aka Mekka Don) and in the spring I left my job at a top ten law firm in order to help save Hip Hop. I graduated from NYU in 2006 and worked at the firm for a little less than a year. Many people (probably including you, lol) think I’m crazy, but I believe it was a calling from God. I’ve begun to memorialize what I am doing through a reality show.

He may be too late. According to Nas, hip hop is dead! But good luck with that.

ABA Journal’s July issue has a profile piece on the “legal hustler.” Taking the struggling artist career route sounds challenging. To make ends meet, Onyejekwe is “modeling, event planning and sports marketing along with running a small legal practice with his sister.”

Does a legal background help much in this career? Once you make it big, those contracts classes may come in handy. It also looks to be useful in the comments on the ABA piece. Someone questioned Mekka Don’s use of “Law & Order” for the title of his mixtape, and he responds by citing the “fair use” doctrine.

More on Mekka Don, after the jump.

A day in the life of a rapper sounds a bit better than 12 hours of doc review. Here’s the description in his e-mail to us:

A typical day in the life of Mekka Don can involve a Phat Farm photo shoot in the morning, then hitting the movie set in the afternoon where he is playing a lead role in an independent film. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without laying some tracks in the music studio then popping into one of Mekka Don’s parties at night. Add in negotiating a contract or litigating a case for a legal client and Mekka Don earns his additional moniker – “the Legal Hustler”.

In the ABA Journal piece, Mekka Don says he doesn’t regret law school, and that he loves the law, but that he hasn’t been getting a whole lot of support from the legal community.

Q: What sort of reaction are you getting from the legal community?

To my face they say it’s cool, but behind my back there are a lot of negative responses. Some black lawyers think this is the worst possible thing I could have done in the black community. But almost every piece of criticism is from someone who’s never heard my music.

So one downside to pursuit of your music dreams is fellow lawyers making fun of you… until you make it big! Then they’ll all be lining up to represent you.

Street Legal [ABA Journal]

Earlier: Prior Career Alternatives posts (scroll down)

Hong Kong skyline HK island skyline Above the Law blog.jpgWe and our sponsors on this series of articles, Kinney Recruiting, Inc., have taken some heat in the comments and our inboxes over the last two months. Now that we have slowed up a bit at work, after being slammed for several weeks, next week we’ll move forward with more substance about what it’s actually like to work here in Asia.
Perhaps what follows will assist some of you in understanding why Kinney’s involved. We thought it might be cathartic (for us) and informative (for you) for us to lay out why we turn to Kinney Recruiting as a source of information for these posts.
This article discusses what we think you should look for in a U.S. associate recruiter for the Asia market. We’ll use Kinney as an example, because we think they make the grade, but we aren’t saying that only Kinney can do a good job representing a U.S. associate in the Asia markets.
If you are considering a job search in Asia, you should put a lot of thought into the recruiter selection process. Don’t just go with the next recruiter that cold calls you. The process is much more complicated than simply making a move down the street or to another domestic market. It’s a higher-risk process for both the candidate and the target firms.
We suggest that you ask any recruiter who wishes to represent you in Asia the following questions before sending in your resume:

1) How many U.S. associate placements has the recruiter made in the particular Asia market you are targeting? Some U.S.-based recruiters that claim expertise in Asia have actually made few if any placements there, and many Asia-based recruiters have placed exclusively locally-qualified attorneys.

2) Can the recruiter provide five or more references of past U.S. associate placements in Asia?

3) Can the recruiter provide detailed information about the interview / hiring process? The process can take months and include numerous phone calls, video conferences, and Asia travel.

4) Who are the specific partner contacts the recruiter has at each target firm and in your practice area?

5) How much time does the recruiter spend in Asia each year? Ask for details regarding particular cities and firm office visits.

6) Can the recruiter provide details regarding expat / cola / housing packages at each firm you are targeting?

7) Can the recruiter provide you with details regarding the practice focuses at each of your target firms, including sample deal sheets?

There are many more questions to ask at early stages of the process, but these should help you determine whether the recruiter you’re dealing with can truly add value to your job search.
If the recruiter can’t answer these questions in a way that demonstrates familiarity with the Asia markets, could he/she still place you? Sure he could. A doctor who has never taken out an appendix could probably get yours out safely, too. But do you want your doctor experimenting on your appendix, or someone else’s? Be realistic — you want the best services if you are going to be trying your luck in Asia these days. A recruiter who has won the trust of hiring partners through repeated experiences with them will not only have more information to add to the mix for you, but will also be more likely to get the ear of the people who will make decisions about whether your future will be with a good firm out here.
Next week we’ll look at the actual state of the market out here in Asia, market by market. While the five of us have Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo covered, we’ll also be gathering data from our colleagues at firms in mainland China and other parts of Asia. If you know of specific openings or needs in these markets, please contact us.
Earlier: Prior installments of the Asia Chronicles (scroll down)
[Disclosure: Kinney Recruiting, which has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past two years, is the sponsor of this post.]

Mosley_orgy.jpgBritish barrister Max Mosley is the president of the International Automobile Federation (F.I.A.). When he’s not overseeing Formula One, he’s allegedly into sadomasochistic sex play. Unfortunately for him, a $5,000 “party” that he arranged was caught on hidden cameras by News of the World, a British tabloid. The encounter, now on YouTube, involved German prison guards and lots of spanking.

Mosley is now seeking punitive damages from News of the World for invasion of privacy — and for giving the story a Nazi spin. Such suits are almost never a good move from a PR-standpoint, since the trial brings even more attention to the source of embarrassment. Now every one from the New York Times to ESPN is reporting on it.

Taking the witness stand at the start of a two-week High Court hearing, Mosley said he had paid $5,000 for the “party,” but insisted no Nazi fantasies were involved. The News of the World said participants wore German-style uniforms and spoke in German as they acted out scenes involving prisoners and guards.

Mosley said he and the women had acted out a German prison scenario, but without any military aspect.

Next time, Mosley should probably stick to British prison scenarios, to avoid the possible Nazi confusion.

The Nazi allegations are especially sensitive because Mosley is the son of the late Oswald Mosley, leader of Britain’s fascist movement before World War II and a friend of Adolf Hitler.

“There was not even a hint of that,” Mosley said of the Nazi claims. He said he could “think of few things more unerotic than Nazi role-play.”

But, apparently, having a prison guard tell him to bend over a bench does the trick. More salacious details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL International: ‘We were just role-playing a German prison, not a Nazi German prison.’”

  • 11 Jul 2008 at 11:04 AM

Lawyer of the Day: Troy King

Troy King Alabama Attorney General AG gay sex.jpgThese allegations are unconfirmed. We pass them along merely because everyone is talking about them — and you want to know what everyone is talking about, even if it turns out to be inaccurate, which is why you read sites like this one.
From Ken Layne of Wonkette (whose post has received, as of the time of this posting, 35,682 page views):

This may come as a shock, but a prominent anti-homosexual Republican attorney general has apparently been caught having homosexual sex intercourse with his homosexual gay male assistant. Bonus: The dude’s wife caught him, in their bed. This is the rumor that the AG’s office has officially denied, so now of course everybody is spilling the sordid details.

AG in question is Troy King, who, of course, is only interested in outlawing homosexuality and sex toys. His gay lover is either a college “buddy,” or a very young youngster and “Homecoming King” from Troy University. What are the odds of a dude named Troy King getting caught in bed with a Homecoming King from Troy University? This seems like a wacky sitcom plot, on a gay porn channel. (Is this what that Will & Grace was about?)

Based on his headshot, the boyishly appealing King is something of a hottie (at least by state attorney general standards; maybe we should have a state AG hotties contest, since they’re all public figures and fair game). But we were still amused by the reaction of Wonkette commenter “HomoPolitico”: “What really pisses me off is that THIS guy is nailing prime college jock ass and I’m not.”
We also liked this quip, a few comments down in the thread: “Wait? A bed!? Not a truck stop or a bathroom stall? What a conservative.”
Anti-Gay Alabama A.G. Caught Being Gay [Wonkette]

bedbug bed bug Columbia Law School.jpgFirst Cadwalader. Then Cravath.
Now, Columbia. From a CLS source:

You’ve got to throw some more shame on the bedbug issue! According to the housing people, six Columbia Law School summer associates who are living in Lenfest Hall (the law school housing building) have brought Cravath bedbugs home, and the building’s infested!

They hired a “scientist” to run around with a bedbug-trained sniffing dog to root out the infestation; the building’s supposed to be crawling with them. WTF?

How can a firm like Cravath not be on top of something like this? Now I’ve got to be worried about catching cooties…

Look, punk: those are Cravath bed bugs. They’re too good for you. Count yourself lucky that they’ve decided to grace your crappy dorm with their presence.
If you stop your whining, and ask nicely, they might do the Cravath walk. Up and down your back.

Check out the fabulously fun attorney bio page of the North Carolina-based Van Winkle Law Firm. Each of the attorneys has a normal bio, featuring practice highlights and professional affiliations. But the firm has decided to liven up some of their lawyers’ profiles with links to an alternate bio — click on the “Meet [Lawyer Name]” link at the bottom of the page — which reveals the attorney’s hobbies, likes and dislikes. (Okay, there aren’t dislikes, but there should be.)
Each attorney with an alternate bio has dual photos. One is the staid, professional photo, and the other is a “character photo,” giving visual clues to their interests outside of work. It reminds us of playing dress up with Barbie and Ken dolls.
For example, this one goes from boring lawyer to crazy biker!
Van Winkle Law Firm Lawyer Ken.jpg
Witness the other transformations — note that you can click on each image to be taken directly to the featured lawyer’s webpage — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: It’s Dress-Up Barbie Time!”

Cass Sunstein Samantha Power engaged ATL Above the Law blog.jpgBack in May, we broke the news of the engagement of celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power. Both are Harvard-trained lawyers and high-profile advisers — current in Sunstein’s case, and former in Power’s case (see Monstergate) — to fellow HLS grad Barack Obama.

In the fall, Professor Sunstein will be teaching law at Harvard, where Professor Power teaches at the Kennedy School of Government. His relationship with Power reportedly played a major role in his decision to leave the University of Chicago, his longtime home in legal academia.

If you doubted our original report about the Power-Sunstein engagement, your doubts were misplaced. It’s now official. From the Irish Independent:

The man who brought them together was unavoidably detained elsewhere. Barack Obama has the small matter of a US presidential campaign to fight.

[On Friday], a world away in rain-lashed Co Kerry, two of his friends tied the knot. The wind blew and the rain poured down but it could not spoil a very special Fourth of July for Samantha Power.

Obama’s former adviser married Professor Cass Sunstein in Mary Immaculate Church, on the edge of the sea at Loher near Waterville, Co Kerry.

Irish-American academic and writer Samantha (38) arrived for her marriage to the 54-year-old law professor at the church in the parish of Caherdaniel, the home turf of 19th century politician, the Liberator Daniel O’Connell.

The couple met while working on the Obama presidential campaign.

The celebrated Sunstein and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Power are boldface names, and the person who brought them together is probably going to be the next President of the United States. But because their nuptials were not featured in the august pages of the New York Times — we wonder why they didn’t submit themselves (because they would have made the cut if they had) — Power and Sunstein are not eligible for consideration in the next installment of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch.

But we obviously could not let their wedding go unremarked. Hence this special report, which you can think of as “LEWW Supp.”

More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (Bonus Edition): Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein Get Hitched”

LEWW champagne2.jpgAs promised, we’re back with our second installment of LEWW this week. We think you’ll agree that this one features some of our finest contestants of the season. A SCOTUS clerkship (finally!), a Rhodes, more YLS grads — enjoy this special Independence Day edition of the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch!
Here are the names:

1. Stephanie Denton and Zeno Baucus
2. Mary Fan and Dean Kawamoto
3. Emma Terrell and Trevor Leitch
4. Courtenay Van Sciver and Peter Washkowitz
5. Maria Glover and Derek Ho

Click on the “continue reading” link below to see these couples’ photos and sparkly credentials.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 6.15 and 6.22: Ho-ly Owned”

travel.jpgWith bar exams taking place at the end of this month, a bunch of almost-lawyers are furiously studying away. It’s not the worst way to spend the dog days of summer… but it’s pretty bad. If you’re in that boat, we wish you luck (and encourage you to spend your study breaks here at ATL).
While few look forward to taking the bar, many look forward to post-bar, pre-start-date travel: the legendary, celebrated bar trip, your last hurrah before immersion into the grim realities of law firm life. With Biglaw start dates pushed back at quite a few firms (see here, here, and here), some of you may have more travel time than expected.
So where are you headed, and how long are you staying there? Or where are you considering going? Is Europe still a desirable destination, or does the weakness of the dollar put it out of reach? Is southeast Asia still a popular pick, or is a post-bar trip to Thailand so “five minutes ago”? Please share your views, in the comments.
If nothing else, this post should trigger you to buy airplane tickets — e.g., on a 21-day advance fare — if you haven’t done so already. Last-minute airfare deals seem to be a thing of the past (perhaps due to rising fuel costs). If you want to get a ticket using frequent flyer miles, you need to act fast — heck, you may even be too late — given the dwindling supply of such seats.
Kash leaves today for two months in Hong Kong — an unfortunate destination in terms of weather right now, described by the Lonely Planet guide as “punishingly hot and humid” during the summer. Hope you’ve made wiser choices!

MacEachern.jpgOrange County Superior Court Judge Kelly MacEachern is no longer listed among the judges on the court’s website, but you can still Google her bio. We suspect that only in California would a judge list “rollerblading” as her number one interest.
MacEachern was removed from office yesterday for filing “false and misleading expense claims for a legal conference in San Diego,” then lying about it when she got caught. Oh, the tangled webs we weave.
The conference didn’t get off to a good start for her. From the L.A. Times:

[MacEachern] tried to enroll in two classes — “Excellence in Judging” and “Statements of Decision” — during the weeklong San Diego conference, according to the commission.

About a week later, she was informed that she was denied entry into the “Excellence in Judging” course, held Monday through Wednesday, because she lacked the required experience of eight years or more on the bench.

Denied entry into “Excellence in Judging?” How odd.

She was, however, accepted into the one-day “Statements of Decision” class and was told the state would directly pay the Hyatt Regency for one night’s stay, up to $110.

MacEachern decided to stay at the hotel for a week anyway, and included the three “unauthorized nights” in her reimbursement request. Perhaps she needed the time to rollerblade in San Diego.

In a series of e-mails with the court’s travel coordinator, Rick Valadez, MacEachern reported that when she arrived at the conference, “there was a mix-up with my registration,” so she “just sat in on the Judicial Excellence class on Monday.” She also said she sat in on a domestic violence class Thursday.
MacEachern, confronted by Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Nancy Stock after an investigation by her office, conceded that she had not attended either of the classes and that her e-mail to Valadez was misleading, according to the commission. She then withdrew her claim.

“Mix-up” is a great catchall phrase that usually allows for back-pedaling. Unfortunately, it’s hard to back-pedal out of trying to bill the state for your personal vacation. Oh well, more time for rollerblading!
Orange County judge is removed from bench [Los Angeles Times]

heller dc gun control 1.jpg
Today, barring some unforeseen development, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the D.C. gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller. Heller is truly a blockbuster case, and the ruling — the Court’s first major pronouncement on the Second Amendment in 68 years (or arguably ever) — is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the entire Term.
When Heller was argued back in March, numerous people camped out overnight to secure seats in the courtroom for the historic proceedings. As you may recall, we took an ATL Field Trip to visit them (see here and here). We now revisit that day, in advance of the opinion hand-down later this morning, and pass along some photos we took of the Heller campers (and neglected to share before).
The mood among the crowd in front of One First Street was festive. The group included law students and recent alumni from Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, and GW law schools. The first seven people in line had camped out the night before our visit, meaning that they wound up sleeping in front of the Court for two consecutive nights to snag their coveted seats. There were also numerous members of the media present (e.g., a Swiss TV crew).
We took an informal survey of the first 20 campers, to find out their views on the case. Fifteen of the 20 supported Heller and an individual right to bear arms (although their views differed somewhat on what might constitute reasonable regulation). Four were in favor of the D.C. gun ban in its current form. One described himself as a “swing vote,” a la Justice Kennedy.
We also took some photographs. The picture appearing at the top of this post is of Richard Hohensee, previously introduced to ATL readers here. You can see the rest of the pics, which together constitute a photo essay of sorts about the Heller case, by clicking here (or on the Picasa web album link below).
Photo Album: District of Columbia v. Heller [Picasa]

Uncle Sam Wants You for Biglaw Recruiting.jpgWe resume our series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys. If you have a law degree, but can’t get into / aren’t interested in Biglaw or contract attorney work, what are some other good options?
One of you snarkily suggested manager at Legal Sea Foods (which, by the way, has excellent clam chowder). But in an effort to cabin the universe of possibilities, we’re going to focus on fields where a law degree adds significant value or is at least somewhat relevant.
Thus far we’ve discussed working as a law librarian or for a major accounting firm, two fields popular with holders of J.D. degrees. If you have a suggested alternative career path, please email us (subject line: “Career Alternatives”), and include some basic info about the field that you’re nominating (e.g., how to get into it, pluses and minuses, salary data, etc.).
Today we’re going to focus on the people who bring you aboard in Biglaw: law firm recruiting coordinators (or, to use the NALP terminology, “legal recruitment and attorney management professionals”). They’re the law firm employees who work with law schools to set up the fall interviewing process, coordinate on-campus and callback interviews, run summer associate programs (read: plan awesomely fun events for aspiring pro wrestlers), and generally oversee the process of hiring and recruiting qualified attorneys at major law firms.
(Note: Also falling under the broad terms “legal recruiter” or “recruiting professional” are people who work for legal search firms / headhunters — e.g., Kinney, Lateral Link, Mestel. We’ll discuss them in a future post.)
If you’re curious about opportunities in law firm recruiting departments, read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Alternatives for Attorneys: Law Firm Recruiting Coordinator”

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