* Weil Gotshal is tired of winnowing its workers, so this time around, the firm is relinquishing some of its real estate. The firm will have the same address as usual, but its space will be smaller — 20 percent smaller. [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s not just leaders of Biglaw firms who are looking to downsize. Leaders of midsize firms are trying to do the same thing, but with their management responsibilities instead of their people. Charming. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
* Lawyers are typically stereotyped by the uninformed as being some of the richest people in America. As luck would have it, some lawyers are the richest people in America. Which ones? We’ll have more on this later. [Am Law Daily]
* “If I could redo a year ago, I would still go. Just because I know that [law school] still opens doors.” We’ve got a correction: Silly 2L, Columbia Law — not law school in general — still opens doors. [USA Today]
* Tracy Morgan has spoken out for the first time since his tragic accident this summer, but only after Wal-Mart blamed him for getting hurt in the first place. It’s a rollback on pure class. [New York Daily News]
Ed. note: This is the latest post by Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.
I never wanted to be a corporate lawyer. After three mind-numbing years of law school, I barely wanted to be a lawyer, but at least being a litigator seemed mildly bearable. So when I got the call two weeks before starting that I was getting placed in the firm’s M&A department, I didn’t know the first thing about due diligence. I had done zero corporate work during my summer internship, and I didn’t have any idea what corporate lawyers did on a daily basis. Smash cut to me sitting in a dimly lit office in December aimlessly plugging provisions into a chart while being mentally and verbally abused by the midlevel associate above me in the deal. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or why any of this was important. Throughout my two years as an associate, I tried convincing myself that diligence was interesting — it was a way to learn about a company from the inside out.
The real truth is that I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t give this work to a paralegal or, better yet, a robot. Both could have done my job better and cheaper. Well, wouldn’t you know it, savvy former Weil Gotshal associate Noah Waisberg has built DiligenceEngine, a piece of software that will find key provisions in documents for you, put them into charts, and save your clients time and money on due diligence. And if I know Biglaw partners, they LOVE to save their clients money and shave hours off the bill.
This week, I’ll speak with Noah about why diligence sucks, why human lawyers suck at it, and how he left law to make your life as a reviewing attorney easier and a little less miserable…
* The world’s largest Harry Potter memorabilia collection belongs to a lawyer. His patronus is a shimmering gavel. [The Telegraph]
* The FCC has ended the sports blackout rule. Expect the NFL to go bankrupt within days. [Politico]
* No one expects to see “lawyer” on a Top 20 Work-Life Balance list, but there is one legal job out there coming in at number 11. [Glassdoor via Adjunct Law Prof Blog]
* Want to expose the severe problems of the over-criminalization of everything? Everyone with a warrant turn themselves in on one day. Call it “Warrant Day.” See how the system copes logistically and financially when all those citations come home to roost all at once. [Street Roots]
* Russia’s equivalent of Chief Justice Roberts advocates a return to serfdom. Now there’s an originalist! [Business Insider]
* Bow Tie Law talks about the role of discovery software in the duty of lawyers to review documents. Because document review is “legal work” when it’s about paying people a livable wage and “computer work” when it isn’t. [The Everlaw Blog]
* Before we get wrapped up in the cases the Supreme Court will decide, let’s remember all the cases it won’t decide. Because “we can tell a lot about what the court cares about—and what it doesn’t” from its cert decisions. [Slate]
* Elizabeth Garrett, USC Provost, will become the next president of Cornell. Garrett will also be a tenured faculty member at Cornell Law School and is bringing along her husband, Andrei Marmor, who will also join the law school. See, this is how you hire administrators: get someone willing to do double-duty with teaching! [Cornell Chronicle]
Sometimes, the internet seems to exist largely in order to rate things. User-generated and unverified reviews of everything from movies to cars abound. The thing with this proliferation of ratings, be they on Yelp, or Amazon, or whatever, is that we usually don’t have any idea whether or not the reviewer has any basis for his rating. (In fact, the spoof product review has become its own literary micro-genre.)
Spurious or baseless ratings are not a problem when it comes to ATL’s Insider Survey (17,300 responses and counting — thanks everyone!), in which practicing attorneys and current students evaluate their own schools or employers. Among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with over- and underrated practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, etc.
Which firms do those in-the-know consider to be better (or weaker) than their reputations?
The National Law Journal named its Elite Trial Lawyers for 2014. It’s a list of 50 firms that the National Law Journal selected through a vetting process that reviewed “more than 100 firms, poring over nominations and reporting on performance.” Making a nearly 50 percent cut on an entirely subjective list. That must have been rough.
At a quick glance, the list seems entirely reasonable. A lot of these names look like usual heavy-hitters. And congratulations to everyone who made the list.
We don’t have the official congratulations message from the National Law Journal to the firms, but this reader created one that perfectly captures the problem…
Now that Eric Holder has announced his departure as attorney general, talk has turned to who his successor will be — and should be. Early buzz has centered around Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, but there are other compelling candidates as well, including lots of legal luminaries that Above the Law readers will recognize.
Who will be our nation’s next AG? And who should be the next AG? Let’s discuss….
Every law talkin’ guy is weighing in on the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict early voting in Ohio. The decision broke down 5-4, along predictable party lines. The same five justices who gave corporations a blank check to buy elections, the same five justices who decided to declare racism over in the South, decided to stay the restriction on Ohio preventing the state from scaling back early voting from five weeks to four weeks. No opinion was given, but it’s likely that the conservative justices applied a narrow reading to voting rights protections under the Equal Protection clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, according to Professor Rick Hasen. Shocker.
I get it, politically. It’s obvious that Democrats feel like their electoral chances are enhanced by allowing everybody to vote as easily as possible. It’s also obvious that Republicans feel like their chances at the polls are better if fewer people vote and richer people have more influence. That’s politics. Census 2020, bring your pitchforks.
But Supreme Court justices are supposed to be above petty politics. And even though we know that they are not, what is the ideological advantage of being against voters? Their jobs are unassailable. They are unaccountable to the people. Why then make it harder for “the people” to elect who they want?
There is something admittedly odd about judges on Twitter. The stereotypical judge is stuffy, technologically challenged, and light on personality. Twitter, in contrast, is informal, tech-driven, and brimming over with quirkiness and individuality.
There are, to be sure, virtues to the traditional vision of the judge (well, maybe not the lack of tech savvy, but the other attributes). Judges who are formal, dry, and tight-lipped off the bench convey a strong sense of objectivity to the public and to the litigants who appear before them. These judges might not have much personality, but presumably they don’t have personal biases that would interfere with the impartial administration of justice. You might not want to have a beer with such judges, but you would want them handling your case.
So judicial tweeting might be unusual. Does that make it problematic? Should we have new judicial ethics rules to rein in judges on social media?
We talk a lot about the high cost of a legal education. Not only is it bankrupting students, but it severely cripples the profession by funneling students away from potential careers in lower paying work for the underprivileged or work in underserviced geographic areas — or at least funneling students into those careers for longer than the civic-minded student might want. So we applaud law schools that slash tuition.
Unfortunately, one of the illustrious T14 law schools in the ATL Rankings is going the other direction, proposing a tuition hike…
We should realize that this is an emperor that truly has no clothes. For too long, we have treated the Court [a]s if they are the high priests of the law, or at least as if they are the smartest and best lawyers in society.
I have previously discussed some of the hazards of storing your client files in the cloud and some of the safety precautions you can take to protect yourself. This year has really turned out some great advances in cloud storage, so I want to now run through the top three cloud choices for lawyers and evaluate the pros and cons.
I was an early adopter of Dropbox. I got the free 2gb account and slowly worked it up to about 30 gb through referrals and other promotions. When I decided that I needed more space, I decided to open up a paid Google Drive account because it was cheaper for large storage. I used that for my archives. Later, when I migrated over to Office 365, I moved my files over to OneDrive because I wanted to use the advantages of SharePoint. I slowly moved my files from Dropbox over to OneDrive (called SkyDrive back then) and experimented with the features until I was comfortable completely migrating my stuff over. I was simultaneously using all three because of the drawbacks that each had.
In March of this year, Google shot first and dramatically cut its pricing. The $9.99 a month that I was paying for 200 gb of online storage suddenly got upgraded to 1tb for the same price. The following month, Microsoft responded and offered 1tb of storage on OneDrive to all of its Office 365 subscribers. On late August this year, Dropbox joined the war, offering 1tb of storage for the same $9.99 a month price. Although I had most of my files in OneDrive, I needed a large repository for my large files, like the video files from 8-hour depositions or focus groups we had done. OneDrive only let you store files up to 2gb and I had lots of video files larger than that. On September 10, Microsoft announced that they now support files up to 10 gb and they have tripled their syncing speed.
After all of these developments, how do the cloud services compare?
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: