The announcement last week that the SEC was charging Goldman Sachs with civil fraud should have erupted through the financial world like the volcano Eyjafjallajökull.
I never thought I would quote actor/lawyer Ben Stein (most famous for uttering “Bueller? Bueller?”), but even I was struck by the comments he had on the matter.
If these allegations are true, and maybe they aren’t, this is simply the worst behavior in finance by a large firm I have ever seen. I taught securities law for six years. I wrote about financial fraud for Barron’s and the New York Times for many years.
I have never seen such a blatant disregard for ethics, and possibly the law, by a large Wall Street firm as is alleged in this case. I wrote about wrongdoing by Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. in the 1980s and helped bring it to justice and then helped taxpayers recover money the firm had stolen. I never saw at Drexel the level of outright contempt for law that Goldman’s Fabrice Tourre and his colleagues showed in this case, if the facts are as alleged — and again, they may not be: allegations aren’t proof.
Now, the SEC has also sent a letter to 19 banks to further examine their use of Repo 105, an accounting trick that hid Lehman’s failures before its downfall.
So what does this mean for Biglaw and legal technology? Well, besides the fact that many of us will be very busy for years to come. I will explain some other possible ramifications and opportunities, after the jump.
Facebook is a godsend for office workers. It’s where we flee when we’re bored. It’s where we go for updates on our friends’ lives. And it’s where we vent when work sucks.
Florida state prosecutor Brandon White was marooned in a terrible trial last week, and decided to work through his frustrations creatively, by composing a parody of the Gilligan’s Island theme song worthy of a Law Revue show.
According to the Sun Sentinel, he posted his composition to Facebook on the second day of the trial — Wednesday, April 14th — just after 11 p.m. We apologize in advance for getting the Gilligan’s Island theme song stuck in your head. Lyrics via TCPalm:
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trial,
That started from this court in St. Lucie County.
The lead prosecutor was a good woman, the 2nd chair was totally awesome,
Six jurors were ready for trial that day for a four hour trial, a four hour trial.
The trial started easy enough but then became rough
The judge and jury confused,
If not for the courage of the fearless prosecutors
The trial would be lost, the trial would be lost.
He goes on to describe the others stuck in the same boat as him, including “the gangbanger defendant”…
Let’s continue our march through the U.S. News law school rankings. Today we finish up the traditional top-14 — and we’ll throw in the schools tied for 15th, because we’re pretty sick of hearing UT and UCLA students whine. To refresh your memory, here’s the next group of schools:
All joking aside, dropping to #6 is really not that big of a deal. NYU Law students will be fine — check out how the kicked it on the basketball court just after the rankings came out…
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with corruption for — among other things — allegedly attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich has not been hiding from the public eye. Since being charged, he has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and competed in The Celebrity Apprentice (Donald Trump fired him in the fourth episode).
The trial is set for June 3. Blagojevich’s defense team is sparring with federal prosecutors over the 500 hours of recordings from secret FBI wiretaps, and how they should be used at trial. The big-haired former governor wants jurors to sit through 200 hours of tape.
Blagojevich’s love of being on camera has not faded. He has a J.D. from Pepperdine, but must have a certification in spin and cliché from some other venerable institution. He issued a challenge to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at a press conference on Tuesday. The bombastic display drew media cameras, but didn’t do much to bring the judge around to his side. A round-up of Blagojevichisms from Tuesday’s press conference, after the jump.
* Arizona State is paying out $700,000 for turning the Havasupai tribe into unwitting genetic guinea pigs. [New York Times]
* Jan Crawford confirms shortlist of ten potential Supreme Court nominees with the White House. There are some new names there, including Seventh Circuit judge Ann Claire Williams and someone named “Elana Kagan.” [Crossroads/CBS]
* If Judge Diane Wood can handle Posner and Easterbrook, she can handle Scalia and Kennedy. [New York Times]
Lat here. Today’s topic: transparency in how law schools report their graduates’ “employment outcomes” — i.e., the jobs that their graduates obtain.
When we attended admitted students’ weekend at Yale Law School — back in 1996, so almost 15 years ago — we were given detailed lists showing where the past few classes ended up working. The graduates were listed in alphabetical order, and below each person’s name was the name and address of their employer. For prospective law students, it was reassuring to see so many federal judicial clerkships and large law firms on these lists. The implicit message: if you graduate — or when you graduate, since we’re talking about YLS, not known for failing people (although it does have grades) — you will be able to secure a good job.
Alas, we understand that not all law schools are so forthcoming about where their alumni end up working (or not working, in this economy). There have been widespread allegations of law schools gaming the system, by massaging or manipulating the employment data they report to the American Bar Association and, perhaps even more importantly, to U.S. News & World Reports (for use in the magazine’s highly influential law school rankings). There have even been claims of law schools outright lying about how many of their graduates wind up employed, where they end up working, and how much they earn from these jobs.
Most observers are content just to complain about law schools not being forthcoming enough about employment information. But two enterprising law students at Vanderbilt — Kyle McEntee and Patrick Lynch, a 2L and 3L, respectively — are doing more. They’ve started a nonprofit organization, Law School Transparency, which has the goal of “encouraging and facilitating the transparent flow of law school employment information.” They’ve also written a paper, A Way Forward: Improving Transparency in Employment Reporting at American Law Schools (SSRN download), proposing a new approach to reporting of job outcomes by law schools.
More details and links — plus commentary from Elie, who feels strongly about this issue — after the jump.
I am a lawyer, not a lobbyist. Goldman Sachs has hired me as a lawyer — to provide legal advice and to assist in its legal representation — and that is what I am doing.
– Greg Craig, former White House Counsel and now a partner at Skadden, explaining why he is not bound by the president’s ethics policy barring former White House officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.
Back in March, a couple of 3Ls took it upon themselves to try to pressure Mayer Brown into letting them know their start dates. You know them as “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,” though Rosencrantz later revealed himself to be NYU 3L, Chuck Egbuonu (a.k.a. Mr. Chuck).
Chuck and his cohort were widely criticized for essentially threatening the firm with a “public relations nightmare” unless Mayer Brown told them when they could start. Eventually Mr. Chuck reported that he had spoken with Mayer Brown regarding start dates:
I just received a phone call from partners at Mayer Brown informing me that decisions are being made as we speak, and we will be informed of the decisions in a timely manner.
We published that story on March 5th. Today is April 21st. Apparently Mayer Brown’s understanding of the phrase of “timely manner” is much like the South’s comprehension of the phrase “with all deliberate speed.”
Incoming Mayer Brown associates are about to graduate and need to know where they are going in a couple of months. But Mayer Brown seems content to make their new hires wait, and wait, and wait…
The ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, is constantly being updated with responses from users and the latest news from the legal markets. While layoffs seem to have abated for the most part, many firms are now coping with the effects of the economic downturn by making major changes to compensation structures and partnership prospects.
Click here to find out what kind of salary increase associates at a certain Chicago-based firm can look forward to under the firm’s new compensation structure.
Click here to find out what associates at a certain "pedigreed" New York firm think about their chances for partnership under an increasingly "up and out" promotion system.
Use the Career Center’s firm snapshots and comparison tool to find the most up-to-date information on compensation structures, benefit programs and layoffs at dozens of Big Law firms across the country.
If you followed my reports from the Future of Legal Education conference, you’ll note that “experiential learning” was a big buzzword among those contemplating how to make their students more desirable to potential employers. Many law school deans and faculty touted their school’s experiential course offerings, ranging from traditional clinical courses to for-credit externships.
Many law students — especially ones staring at the terrible market for recent graduates — feel that these programs will help them get jobs. Why wouldn’t they? Traditional legal education doesn’t seem to be helping them, yet their law schools keep jacking up tuition.
This month, students at Georgetown University Law Center decided that GULC’s for-credit externship opportunities were not on par with the offerings at other peer institutions. The GULC Student Bar Association put together a proposal for the faculty that called for more resources to be put into the school’s experiential courses. The SBA also wanted more school credit given for externships. The proposal seems to be in keeping with what employers claim they want from law school graduates: better practical training, better understanding of client services, better legal problem solving. Isn’t that the wave of the future?
No, according to a very vocal minority of Georgetown faculty. The proposal touched off a serious debate on campus. And some professors have gotten into the fracas with heavy-hitting arguments against the proposal…
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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