Grumpy old editor here. In my day, commencement was a simple affair. You showed up massively hung over and baked in the hot sun for a few hours. Eventually someone begrudgingly called your name, and you received your diploma.
* BP’s attempts to staunch the oil leak are still unsuccessful. Attorney General Eric Holder is taking a Gulf Coast vacation today to meet with state attorneys general and determine whether any laws have been broken. [New York Times]
* Woman sues Google for giving her walking directions that led her to be hit by a car. She may want to consider a suit against her lawyers for directing her to file this lawsuit. [Salt Lake Tribune]
* Law professor Peter Erlinder, who is imprisoned in Rwanda, is unwell and being represented by Kenyan lawyers. [Star Tribune]
* Kirkland partner John Desmarais decides to go solo and go plaintiff-oriented. [BusinessWeek]
* A “brilliant criminal defense attorney” in Texas turns into a not-so-brilliant criminal. [Houston Chronicle]
* Don’t tell anyone that the DADT law is a goner yet. [Politico]
* Legal recruiter (and ATL advertiser) Lateral Link shares tips on landing a new job. [CNN]
Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for business, if not for astronomers, and with that comes the arrival of the summer associates. Most years, it’s a months-long party, but lately it’s taken on a veneer of respectability as young gunners put on their best face and try on professionalism. Gone are the days of cruising through, knowing that you’d really have to screw up to not get an offer. Offer rates have plummeted from the high 90s to little better than a coin flip at some firms.
If you think you need advice on how to behave during the summer program, there’s plenty out there whatever your role.
Corporette has some practical advice on keeping the weight off while being tempted left, right, and center with the city’s finest food. Even Jones Day’s hiring partner has some advice.
The highest-profile incoming summer associate is probably Sara Hallmark (nee Albert), a competitor on America’s Next Top Model, who will be summering at Hogan Lovells’ DC office. Not that she in particular needs fashion advice, but the newly merged firm did feel the need to publish a dress code for the legacy Lovells lawyers who are about to be freed to enjoy their first casual Fridays. Even with everyone on their best behavior these days, and no clash of culture excuse, other firms still send the dress-code memos out. Weil Gotshal is one of the latest – at least they illustrated their version.
Howard B. Miller, President of the State Bar of California, penned a provocative letter for the California Bar Journal. In it, Miller suggests that the California bar has a duty to help stem the tide of law students graduating with a crushing amount of educational debt:
Do we in the profession have an obligation to deal with all this — especially the State Bar of California? I think we do.
Miller criticizes a wide range of people who have roles in our system of legal education. It’s pretty awesome…
The modern workplace plays host to three generations: the baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. A panel at the InsideCounsel SuperConference this week called the youngest of the bunch, Gen-Why?. The italics are likely meant to indicate a whiny tone, because this bunch, born from 1981 to 2001, are supposedly entitled and snotty. E.g., “You’re going to defer me for a year with a $60,000 stipend? Wah! I hate you!”
I attended the panel as did another legal blogger, Adrian Dayton. Check out his post on what’s wrong with Gen-Y. Despite their complaints about the young’uns, oldies tend to give in to their wishes, judging from the response one general counsel gave to a Gen-Yer who asked to head off to New Zealand for a year and have his job held until he got back.
A not-especially-snotty-or-entitled Gen-Yer was chosen for the panel: Jack Rossi, staff counsel at JetBlue, who scored an in-house offer directly out of law school. He admitted that some of the myths about his generation are true: he does like feedback and wants mentorship (and he’s gotten it in-house). An older baby boomer lawyer in the audience spoke up to say, “I wanted the same things as Jack, but I was not brave enough to ask for it… It was kind of ‘figure out for yourself.’ I think the fact that younger lawyers ask is actually a good thing.”
Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of tension in the room between Gen Y and Boomers, even when J.D. turned PhD panelist, Arin Reeves of The Athens Group, suggested Boomers were at fault for spoiling young folks given the wining-and-dining summer associate experience they created. “If you want to teach that work is the priority, take the events away,” said Reeves.
I think all of our Biglaw readers will agree with us in deeming that terrible advice.
In the room, greater tension seemed to exist between Gen X and Gen Y. “It sounds like we’re saying, ‘How are we going to accommodate an already spoiled generation?’” observed one Gen Xer.
Since I am Gen Y, and Elie is Gen X, we thought this would be an opportune time for a little ATL debate. I’ll let the old man go first…
UPDATE (May 30): Law student responds via YouTube, and shows off his very impressive office.
A law student in Massachusetts is looking for a job. He found a listing on Craigslist to work as a paralegal for a bankruptcy attorney. He applied, got an interview, and got an offer (kind of). But then he got into a spat with the attorney via email, preserved for posterity by The Docket.
The law student interviewed on Monday. On Tuesday, the female attorney sent him a rather candid email:
I have to confess, I am on the fence about offering you a position. This is a thought I had…tell me your thoughts.
The thought was that she would have the law student do a few freelance projects for a month, and if those went well, she would offer him a full-time position. He responded:
I can do any type of Motion, and research. I do not think a 30 day trial period is necessary. I would prefer bring me on full time to show you my capabilities.
That’s really not the right time for a grammatical typo, my law school friend.
In response, the lawyer laid out exactly why she had reservations about him, and wished him “best of luck in [his] job search.” That just made him crankier…
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.