Over the past few months, we’ve offered extensive coverage of Bingham McCutchen, the once high-flying law firm that’s now struggling to survive. Bingham has remained mainly mum during these trying times.
This week, however, managing partner Steven Browne — who took over earlier this year from Bingham’s longtime leader, Jay Zimmerman — has been on a charm offensive. He gave interviews to the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal, which along with the American Lawyer ran long pieces on the state of affairs at the firm. We’ll share with you the new and most notable material from all three stories.
Before we get to the substantive stuff, though, let’s check out the Wall Street Journal’s interesting choice of a photo for its Bingham piece….
Fake stash house robbery cases are a shameful example of the worst of federal law enforcement.
Here’s how they work. An undercover — generally with the ATF — meets someone who has a criminal record (that part becomes important later). The ATF agent tells the person that there’s a stash house out there, and that it has a whole bunch of drugs in it. Also money. It doesn’t really matter how much — the agent can make up virtually any number he wants. Maybe there are 150 kilos of cocaine in there. Maybe a million. It’s whatever the agent thinks he can dream up and sell.
The agent sells the person on the idea that there’s a vulnerability in the stash house and it can be easily robbed. The agent gives the person a car, or guns, or whatever the guy isn’t able to get on his own. He encourages the guy to recruit more people. You need a lot of bodies to rob stash houses that don’t exist.
They plan the robbery. The agent tape records them planning the robbery. Then they strap up to go rob the stash house that the agent made up.
Surprise! The agent arrests the guy and his friends. And it gets worse…
* Everyone knows Bingham McCutchen is considering a merger with Morgan Lewis, but not many know bankruptcy may be an option. It’s a remote option, but still an option. [Boston Globe]
* When Kaye Scholer moved offices, it left behind most of its library. “It tells you everything you need to know about law firm libraries”: they’re no longer as necessary as before. [New York Times]
* Everyone loves the Sixth Amendment: Thanks to money from Koch Industries, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will offer better indigent defense training. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The judge in Adrian Peterson’s case won’t be replaced, despite the fact that he called the lawyers involved in the case “media whores.” Meh, Peterson’s attorney says he’s been called worse. [Bloomberg]
* Gilberto Valle, better known as the “Cannibal Cop,” really wants to go to law school. He’s apparently scored quite well on LSAT practice tests. Do law school ladies look delicious or what? [New York Post]
A few weeks ago, I asked for stories from former solo practitioners who have closed up shop and their reasons why. I received a fair number of responses. Some did well, moving on to BigGov, better larger law firms, or decent non-legal jobs, and some even started profitable businesses.
Others dug themselves into a deeper hole. Some got further into debt. Others made no money for years. And others became estranged from family and friends.
From time to time, I want to feature these stories as case studies for people considering going into solo practice.
For today’s inaugural feature, I will profile a lawyer who became a solo practitioner because he had no other options. Things seemed to be going well until something went wrong….
* His dreams of becoming a solicitor were sidetracked when he was “jailed for slapping a sleeping woman in the face with his penis while a friend filmed it on his phone.” Well, yeah that’ll happen. [Daily Mail]
* A bunch of Blackwater guys got convicted. It did astoundingly little to fix the “hiring unsupervised mercenaries” thing. [Redline]
* The final report, drafted by Cadwalader, reveals that UNC’s African and Afro-American Studies department was basically a sham to keep athletes academically eligible. For almost 20 years. I don’t get it, I mean, UNC wasn’t even good for most of those years. [Deadspin]
* Apparently it’s frowned upon for prospective judges to say that someone “would prefer to see [my opponent] remain on the bench since [she] would allow him to have unsupervised visits with his own daughter, in spite of the evidence.” Good to know. [The Times-Picayune]
* Hey NYC law community! The Young Professionals Leadership Council is throwing a prom at 230 Fifth to raise money to cure Cystic Fibrosis. So break out your formal wear and try to get through this prom without puking out of a limo window. All for a good cause. [Cystic Fibrosis Foundation]
* Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee passed away yesterday. Bradlee may be most famous for his role in pursuing Watergate, but fighting the Pentagon Papers case all the way to the Supreme Court helped shape First Amendment law in the latter half of the 20th century. [What About Clients?]
Above the Law and Kaplan Bar Review are heading to Washington, D.C., for trivia night on Thursday, November 6. If you missed us last time, here’s your chance to have some fun. Drink up, prove your smarts, and get a chance to win mini iPads for your team (maximum of five per team).
Did you hear that sound? Listen carefully. What is that row? It’s the sound of alternative legal providers’ footfalls, gaining on you.
According to Legal Business magazine (a UK-based trade publication), one of the top ten “overall advisors” in the UK market is Axiom. Huh? Let me repeat that. In a survey of major corporate clients in the UK, one of the top ten “advisors” is NOT a law firm, but an alternative legal services corporation.
Step quickly, chaps! We’ve got a spanner in the works, and pretty soon we’ll be ten a penny! (look it up)
Legal Business noted, that this breach of the coveted top ten, was “significant” and “demonstrate[ed] how non-law firm providers are winning over some bluechip clients.” I take something different from these results: Big Law take note, alt.legal firms are not just “winning over some bluechip clients,” we are gaining the respect and trust of their corporate counsel clients. To be recognized as commercially viable is one thing, but this recognition awards that ephemeral prize of every attorney’s desire: prestige. For those of you who believed that change is coming, keep reading. For those that don’t… well, the link probably won’t work on your Blackberry anyway.
[R]eading the record with just a dash of common sense tells us that chefs who happen to be American citizens surely have the capacity to learn how to cook Brazilian steaks and perform the relevant related tasks. To maintain otherwise, as Fogo de Chao does, is to imply that Brazilian chefs are essentially born with (or somehow absorb during their formative years) a cooking skill that cannot be acquired through reasonable training, which seems an entirely untenable proposition.
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: