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Keith Lee

Keith Lee

Lawyers, as a whole, tend to be a negative bunch. Reserved, contrarian, and antagonistic. It’s just part of the job. “But it doesn’t have to be that way!” some new lawyers like to say. “I’m going to have a optimistic attitude about my career! I’m going to follow my passion!” This mindset likely comes from being told for years by an over-eager education system (and overbearing parents) that they are special snowflakes and just need to have a positive outlook on things and everything will turn out alright.

And some research studies would indicate that they may be partially right, except for one fine detail….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pessimism Is Considered Prudence”

Bruce Stachenfeld

Bruce Stachenfeld

Many years ago in college I was a math major. Today I remember absolutely none of it; however, I remember why I liked it. It is because, if you don’t mess up your calculations, math tells you the truth.

Today, much has been written about the concept of “making partner” for an associate. I believe there was an article (I don’t remember where) that talked about the fact that at some firms 100 first-year associates are hired and the long-term process of “making partner” is like the Hunger Games (affiliate link), where associates are winnowed out until only a very few actually make the cut at the end.

The thought that some of the most brilliant people in our country would work themselves incredibly hard in high school to get into a great college – then work themselves even harder to get into a top law school – then work themselves even harder still to land a job at a top law firm – only to play the Hunger Games against other people who are as brilliant as they are for nine years to “make partner” defies logic. Why would any super-smart person do that? It also defies logic why major law firms, which have achieved the holy grail of any industry (namely, the ability to attract the greatest talent in the world), would squander (winnow) that talent away.

I will put those questions aside for the moment (and maybe address them in later articles) and here just talk about the math of “making partner” — and how there is really no reason for either of the foregoing issues to exist….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reinventing The Law Business: Making Partner — Doing The Math”

atl-regional-rankings-wide

The ATL Regional Law Firm Rankings expand on the findings of our Office rankings and provide a targeted look at the top firms in ten major markets.

Which are the top firms in your city?

See the complete rankings (and methodology) here.


hungry unemployedLaw school has been a wild ride for recent graduates since the beginning of the recession. Would-be lawyers’ employment woes have been chronicled in detail in almost every major publication since 2011, when the New York Times focused on the grim job prospects that awaited people after law school graduation.

This was not the case for all law school graduates, though. Those who were lucky enough to graduate from top-flight law schools often found themselves with jobs at large law firms. If graduates of the so-called “T14,” the upper echelon of law schools, somehow found themselves hopeless and jobless, their schools were quick to create public interest fellowship programs that would employ and pay them for a time. When those jobs ended, they were left to fend for themselves and struggle like the rest of their peers. Some graduates of superior law schools have continued to struggle for years after not being able to get their footing following the conclusion of their school-funded jobs.

Can you imagine what it must be like for one of these people to pass multiple bar exams and be unable to hold down a job? Can you imagine what it must be like to be a degree-holder from a prestigious law school drowning in so much debt that you’ve been forced to apply for food stamps and receive public assistance?

This is exactly what happened to a recent graduate of one of the best law schools in the country…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Graduate Of Elite Law School Forced To Live Off Welfare Due To Terrible State Of Job Market”

shocked billOuting the Biglaw attorney managing your project as callous and mean-spirited is probably not the right strategy for a contractor. Unless, of course, that contractor expects to be living in a van down by the river. Law is a remarkably small world, and these sorts of outbursts have a way of making the rounds — even without ATL getting involved.

On the other hand, through the dry sarcasm of the letter, the contractor’s complaints ring very familiar. It’s hard to blame a lawyer whose dignity is pushed to the limit for a pittance for lashing out.

And at least the parody of a heartfelt farewell is kind of funny….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Contract Attorney Rips Biglaw Supervisor In Farewell Email”

175px-Monica_lewinskyThe Washington Post reported this week that Monica Lewinsky was mistreated by the federal government — and not just by the head of the Executive Branch.

According to the article, a report just became public detailing misconduct by federal law enforcement in the way they approached Lewinsky at the start of her part of the investigation that lead to Clinton’s impeachment.

The report finds that the government’s approach was wrong. Lewinsky shouldn’t have been handled the way the FBI and prosecutor dealt with her.

How did the report reach that conclusion?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Monica Lewinsky and What’s Wrong With How the FBI Talks to People”

This oil law job is rigged.

This FT/LT oil law job is rigged.

* Will we have a nominee for Attorney General Eric Holder’s position “shortly after the election”? Per a White House spokesperson, our lame-duck Congress might just get a chance to confirm America’s next top lawyer. [WSJ Law Blog]

* In the wake of an associate general counsel’s suicide last week, Deutsche Bank has taken steps to further separate its legal and compliance teams to tamp down on its “legal and regulatory headaches.” Well then. [Corporate Counsel]

* David Tresch, Mayer Brown’s former chief information officer, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in bilking the firm out of $4.8 million. Hey, it could’ve been worse, says his lawyer, whose client got off relatively easily. [Am Law Daily]

* Thanks to the rise of the “energy phenomenon,” law schools have started to offer various classes focusing on oil and gas law in the hopes of making their graduates employable. Good luck with that. [Times Online]

* If you plan to retake the LSAT, you need to study smarter. Don’t sweat it too much, though — it’s not like you’ve got a lot of competition trying to apply to law school. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

iStock_000016003404_LargeRemember when state attorneys general used to band together and take down tobacco companies? The diversified power of state actors accomplished what the centralized federal government — so easily influenced by corporate lobbyists — never could. Ascendant state power short-circuited Washington’s carefully cultivated lobbying relationship. Whether working in conjunction or individually (like in New York, where Eliot Spitzer routinely embarrassed the Feds by taking the time to actually do their jobs), state AG offices became the most important public watchdogs in the country, capable of dealing significant blows to corporate bad actors much faster than any legislature.

But the powers-that-be don’t stay on the mat for long. Biglaw lobbyists have since taken the lead in targeting AGs and zealously advocating for their clients by hobnobbing with top cops at lavish functions and political fundraising events….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “State AGs — They’re Just Like Us! (If We Take Big Gifts From Biglaw Corporate Lobbyists)”

LaurenceLeavy* As the World Series draws to a close, be sure to salute Miami-based lawyer Laurence Leavy, who will be sitting front and center behind home plate tonight wearing a garish Miami Marlins jersey. Troll so hard, buddy! [CBS Sports]

* Speaking of the World Series: Do you think you know the law? How about baseball? Here’s a Law and Baseball trivia competition in the form of a crossword. Act fast because the first one with a completed entry is declared the winner. [Dewey B Strategic]

* Thomas Jefferson School of Law restructures its debt and manages to stay alive! Oh happy day! [TaxProfBlog]

* Selling yourself is important, but NOT selling yourself may be more powerful. [Law and More]

* I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising, but there’s a hefty hiring and pay gap between the sexes in the expert witness industry. [The Expert Institute]

* Donald Trump’s “Trump University” can add “RICO defendant” to its list of accomplishments after a federal judge grants class certifications to students suing the school. [Law 360]

* A discussion of the lack of diversity on the Court cites our list of Supreme Court clerks and notes that Justice Clarence Thomas practices what he preaches about expanding opportunity beyond Harvard and Yale. [Los Angeles Times]

* Elie joined Daniel Gershburg on his podcast to discuss legal education, Vegas, and the phenomenon of Walmart Law, Inc. Podcast embedded below…. [I Am The Law Podcast]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.29.14″

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This is going to sound like a simple mistake. This is going to sound like a legal “technicality” that has resulted in a sex offender going free. But when a judge upends a central pillar of American law, even accidentally, there’s no other outcome.

Here’s the story, from ABA JournalGuilty not guilty:

The Los Angeles judge erred during the December 2006 voir dire in the sex-crime trial of Bryant Keith Williams, according to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge said Williams had pleaded guilty to the charges, though he intended to say Williams had pleaded not guilty.

The judge’s error came to light when jurors who had been deliberating for less than an hour sent the judge a note. “As a group,” the note read, “we the jury feel we heard the judge state the defendant pleaded guilty before the trial. Is this true?”

The judge tried to correct his mistake. He said that the defendant pleaded “not” guilty, and asked the jurors if they could still look back on the trial with that in mind. One juror was dismissed. The rest said that they could, and returned a guilty verdict.

Continue reading on Above the Law Redline…

merger law firm mergerThese are challenging times for the nation’s 200k+ law firms. Just look at the pace of mergers. Combination announcements appear almost weekly.

In fact, 2013 was a record year for law firm mergers. And, based on the first nine months of this year, 2014 will end with a similar number of transactions. Although the mega-mergers grab the headlines, a big number of transactions are between smaller firms or smaller firms being scooped up by larger concerns seeking to gain a foothold in new markets.

Last month, The American Lawyer reported on this record merger pace citing deals closed in the hot southwest legal market. Two notables:

  • LeClairRyan’s merger with Houston’s Hays, McConn
  • Fox Rothschild’s combination with David & Goodman in Dallas

In both mergers, Roger Hayse and Andy Jillson of Hayse LLC advised Hays McConn and David & Goodman in their respective transactions and helped shepherd those two firms through to successful deals. Why are Roger and Andy front and center in this robust merger market? For one, they have walked in your shoes. Here are two guys who led and helped build a strong regional firm that included the strategy of merger. So, how should small to medium-sized firms approach a merger strategy? What are the “rules of the road” for achieving a successful merger? What are the best ways to manage the inherent risks?

Let’s hear from Roger and Andy:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Strategy Of Merger: 4 Steps To Success For Law Firm Leaders”

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