From a blast email we received yesterday from Sullivan & Cromwell (yes, we’re on the S&C distribution list):
Please note Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s representation of Microsoft (U.S.) in its proposed US$ 44.6 billion acquisition of Yahoo! (U.S.), announced February 1, 2008. The S&C team on the transaction includes corporate/M&A partners James Morphy, Duncan McCurrach and Alexandra Korry in New York and Eric Krautheimer in Los Angeles.
If you followed the Aaron Charney saga as obsessively as we did, you’ll recall that Krautheimer and Korry were the tale’s two main villains — partners who, even if not harboring antigay bias, weren’t exactly the most fun people to work for. From an associate’s perspective, working on a high-profile deal for this dynamic duo must be super-exciting, but not without its challenges.
Programming note: For those of you in Chicago, we’ll be having a little ATL “happy hour,” starting in about half an hour. We’ll be hanging out in the Loop, at Miller’s Pub (134 S. Wabash btw. E. Adams and E. Monroe), from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Swing by and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood.
* Keen observations and provocative reflections about Michael Clayton, which Yale Law grad Patrick Radden Keefe describes as “an indictment of the mercenary universe of white-shoe law firms and a devastating—and unusually accurate—look at the demoralized lives of the lawyers who work for them.” [Slate via WSJ Law Blog]
* We usually dislike law firm ads with animal themes. But this one, for Womble Carlyle, is pretty darn cute. [copyranter]
* A sex-ed license? So what’s the equivalent of parallel parking on the licensing test? [PrawfsBlawg]
* Judge sentences molester to hell. Commenter: “That will teach him. My wife is the cook there.” [Syracuse.com]
Results are still flowing in from last week’s ATL / Lateral Linksurvey on leave and part-time arrangements. So far, we’re up to almost 700 responses, and we have received quite a few tips about maternity leave.
The running table of firms’ paid maternity leave policies that we posted yesterday has now been updated to include new information on Heller Ehrman, Nixon Peabody, Kaye Scholer, Cahill Gordon, Kirkland & Ellis, Freshfields, Kramer Levin, Thelen Reid, Goodwin Procter, and to correct information on Winston & Strawn and Mayer Brown.
Today, let’s talk about how associates view their firms’ policies, and also explore the availability of part-time, flex-time, and other alternative work/life-styles.
Overall, it looks like firms have room to improve:
Roughly 30% of respondents of either gender felt that their employer’s part-time and leave options were adequate, but 42% of female respondents and 28% of male respondents disagreed.
Fourteen percent of female respondents said that they felt uncomfortable asking for leave or part-time status, a discomfort shared by eighteen percent of male respondents.
Most other respondents weren’t sure, but only twelve percent of male respondents and five percent of female respondents didn’t care.
We sometimes find the Obama campaign to be maddeningly perfect. So Texas attorney Kirk Watson wins our Lawyer of the Day prize, for managing to humanize — through his screw-up, on national television — this picture-perfect, messianic movement.
A good summary, from a tipster:
Last night, at around 11 p.m., Chris Matthews really humiliated Texas state senator Kirk Watson. Watson was unable to name any of Obama’s legislative accomplishments, even though Watson has endorsed Obama. The video is awkwardly amusing and available over at Wonkette.
Another source from the Lone Star State adds: “Watson is very ambitious — much like Queen Hillary. He’s a partner with K&L Gates in Austin, although no one knows if he does any real legal work.”
Here’s one well-edited version of the video (see below; for a more complete clip, go here). Kirk Watson tries to dodge the question, but Chris Matthews, like a tough appellate judge grilling a hapless advocate, won’t let go:
The stereotypical law professor might be viewed as too disengaged from the “real world” to be a good politician. But as Barack Obama shows, it’s quite possible to move from legal academia into political life.
Now another prominent young law prof — who, by the way, is an outspoken Obama supporter — is contemplating Congress. From a Stanford Law School source:
Larry Lessig is considering a congressional run to replace Tom Lantos. Seems to have sparked a lot of energy and attention here on campus and in the Silicon Valley the last day or two.
No discussion yet about what happens to his Con Law class if he decides to run.
Time for lunch. We leave you with this appetizing email, which went out yesterday to the students and faculty of UC Hastings College of the Law.
Subject: Installation of green bike enclosure
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 13:21:33 -0800
To: [U.C. Hastings students and faculty]
Please be advised.
The new green bike enclosure for 200 McAllister is scheduled for installation on Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Due to nature of work involved (metal cutting, welding and lifting of heavy panels), the site will be off limits to all students, staff and faculty till Friday, February 22, 2008.
We apologize for the incontinence and the short notice. Thank you for your cooperation and support.
It’s not just Pepper Hamilton. Email screw-ups are committed by even the most renowned lawyers — like longtime Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum, a living legend of the product liability defense bar. As we previously wrote, “Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: ‘The Queen of Toxic Torts.'”
Some of [Mississippi Attorney General] Jim Hood’s proneness to gaffes must have rubbed off on Sheila Birnbaum of Skadden, Arps, a lead counsel for State Farm, when she was down in Mississippi to hear Hood testify February 6….
Birnbaum accidentally replied to all the people on the distribution list for an e-mail Hood’s press spokeswoman sent out this morning to a number of people, including reporters. Birnbaum thought she was responding to other State Farm lawyers.
Ah, the perils of “reply all.” Perhaps a CLE course should be given on how to use it properly?
(Part of the class could be devoted to client confidentiality issues. I Can Haz Ethics Credits?)
P.S. Birnbaum, by the way, does very nicely for herself. Back in May 2001, Forbes published an interesting list of some of the country’s highest-paid corporate lawyers. Birnbaum reportedly earned $3.8 million a year — and that was back in 2000-2001, before the latest Biglaw boom.
Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell wants to make it clear that the firm has a single associate pay system, says Jerry Clements [pictured], chairwoman of the 721-lawyer firm that formed with the October 2007 merger of Texas’ Locke Liddell & Sapp and Chicago-based Lord, Bissell & Brook. Clements says she did send a 2008 compensation memo to former Locke Liddell associates on Feb. 5, but she also had sent one in late December 2007 to former Lord, Bissell associates.
“There is clearly one structure that applies to everybody,” she says, noting that the firm’s management is in the process of integrating the two associate compensation systems. “The thought that folks would think that we would have two different compensation structures within one firm would be a little bit amazing to me,” says Clements, a partner in Austin.
Clements says the firm sent two memos because Lord, Bissell associates were accustomed to receiving a salary memo in December, and Locke Liddell associates usually received one by early February. Clements says the February memo addressed to “Legacy LLS associates” was more detailed, however, because management had settled on a new deferred-compensation component by then. “What’s causing the blog upset is that the Lord memo did not include the deferred compensation piece because we had not decided on it yet,” says Clements, referring to a Feb. 12 posting on the Above the Law blog. Since Feb. 5, management has been tweaking the associate compensation system, Clements says. The firm sent an updated compensation memo to all 285 associates on Feb. 14, spokeswoman Julie Gilbert says. She declines to provide a copy, saying it’s confidential.
Many ATL readers have a weakness for obscure debates about punctuation, grammar, usage, and style. See, e.g., here, here, and here. It makes sense; after all, lawyers are paid to worry about such things as proper comma placement.
So we weren’t surprised when several of you drew our attention to this interesting New York Times article, all about the semicolon. The piece, currently at the top of the Most Emailed Articles list, has a legal angle:
People have lost fortunes and even been put to death because of imprecise punctuation involving semicolons in legal papers. In 2004, a court in San Francisco rejected a conservative group’s challenge to a statute allowing gay marriage because the operative phrases were separated incorrectly by a semicolon instead of by the proper conjunction.
According to the Times, “whatever one’s personal feelings about semicolons, some people don’t use them because they never learned how.” Are you a member of that group?
* Federal judge shuts down website devoted to posting leaked information and documents. We no likee. [New York Times]
* SCOTUS won’t hear wiretapping case. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* But they have picked up another case on the exclusionary rule. [New York Times]
* Government rebuttals in L’Affaire Scruggs. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A look at the colorful ex-spymaster under scrutiny in the CIA tapes inquiry. [New York Times]
* If you’ve been savaged by anonymous commenters on a blog or message board, don’t take it personally; it’s just something about the internets. (Also, note the nice shout-out to law prof Dan Solove.) [CNN]
* Ten consecutive victories for Obama over Clinton. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* “The Obama Delusion.” [Washington Post]
By all accounts, Robert Somma had been a top-notch U.S. bankruptcy judge since his appointment to the bench in 2004 and a top-notch bankruptcy practitioner for many years before that. The sense of many in the Boston area is that the 63-year-old’s retirement Friday from his $158,000-a-year bench seat is a tragedy….
A footnote to this story is that a legal-blogger may have contributed to the judge’s decision to resign.
No, not us! By the time we got to the story, it had been all over the news. Also, for the record, we fully support transvestism.
More after the jump.
* A user’s guide to the snazzy new version of our sibling site, DealBreaker. The redesigned ATL, which will make its debut sometime in the next few weeks, will look similar. [DealBreaker]
* “There is basically a large sector of white workers with arts majors” — e.g., marriage counselors, therapists, and lawyers — “that would otherwise be unemployed were it not for the high rate of divorce.” [Stuff White People Like]
* Lawyers and law professors are suckers for rankings — like the Top 30 Law Prof Blogs, ranked by both visitors and page views. [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of law-prof bloggers, here is Ann Althouse’s photo essay about her experience voting today in Wisconsin. [Althouse]
* Oh, in case you’re wondering, she’s voting for Obama. [Instapundit]
* Seeing as we’re in Chicago this week — the ATL “happy hour” is tomorrow night, details here — we thought we’d give a shout-out to John Marshall Law School. From a tipster:
Since you’re in Chicago, I thought it might be appropriate to promote some Chicago schools while slamming Harvard.
John Marshall just got back from a national competition in Harvard and swept! They took first AND second place.
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
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: