If you need it, build it. We needed help. And we saw an opportunity. So we took action, and now have another business as a result. I’ll explain. The need was simple. Because of our work with investors interested in understanding how patent litigation events impact on their investments, we found ourselves needing to monitor many active patent cases, in addition to the cases we were litigating ourselves. At one point, we considered hiring an intern to help with this specific task, at least during the trading day. But we quickly realized that solving this problem required a software-based solution. So we set out to build one. We looked for something available that would do the job, and failed to find anything useful.
Thanks in no small measure to the talent of our programmer, what we built worked. We were able to get automated alerts of new docket entries and opinions directly to our email. And we could do so for multiple cases, alleviating the concern that we would miss an important opinion. Because our clients tend to have sizable investments, there is a premium placed on our ability to let them know of litigation events quickly and to interpret those events for them, so that they could protect their positions or initiate new ones, based on the recently released publicly available information. As a fail-safe, we began having the alerts sent directly to subscribers of our consulting services. And now we have decided to offer it publicly (www.litigationalpha.com) to fellow lawyers, retail investors, and whoever else can benefit from automated alerts generated based off District Courts docket entries and opinions….
Biglaw associates are used to the “black hole” effect when it comes to their assignments. Sure the work is important and valuable, but because of the disconnect between a typical Biglaw attorney and an actual client, it can feel like any given assignment is destined for a “black hole,” rather than serving as a building block for solving a client’s problem. The further removed the lawyer is from the client, the more pronounced the effect. It can be a morale drainer, especially if it looks like the lawyer will never get the chance to work directly with a client on a matter of significance.
Working at a boutique or smaller firm, where there is more direct client contact by necessity, presents a different challenge to a lawyer’s motivation than the “black hole” effect. Because at a smaller firm, or even for partners in Biglaw firm lucky enough to make the adjustment from service partner to a true “counselor,” the lawyer in close contact with a client must confront the inherent limits in the attorney-client relationship. Yes, it can be much more rewarding to have a practice where you feel like you are partnering with your client to get things done. But it becomes all the more frustrating when you give advice, even good advice, that goes unheeded by that same client….
We’ve seen this many times before, how patents can hold back very useful developments. Notice how 3D printing is suddenly a big thing? It’s not because of any new miraculous breakthroughs, but because some key patents finally started expiring, allowing real innovation to move forward. We saw something similar in the field of infrared grills, which were put on the… uh… back burner (sorry) until key patents expired. Derek now points us to a similar example.
* In case you missed this piece of news amid yesterday’s Supreme Court madness, the Tenth Circuit found Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. It’s the first federal appeals court to make such a ruling. Hooray! [New York Times]
* “Just about everyone he came in contact with, he managed to corrupt.” Paul Daugerdas, formerly of Jenkins & Gilchrist, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in an $8B fraud scheme. [Businessweek]
* Despite what you may have been led to believe, not all patent awards are as high as those you see in media headlines. Fewer than 2% of infringement cases even result in damages. [National Law Journal]
* When is it okay to turn down a Biglaw offer and head to a plaintiffs firm? Probably when you’re planning to file a massive class-action suit against the MLB on behalf of minor leaguers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
* William Mitchell Law’s new J.D. program is the first of its kind to be approved by the ABA. It’s half online, half on-site (does 9 times count as half?), and we see more like this coming down the line. [U.S. News]
* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]
* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]
* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]
* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]
* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]
* After receiving an award, a young lawyer blasts legal aid cuts. [Legal Cheek]
* The Daily Show examines the ongoing effort to unionize college football with commentary by Dee Dee Benkie. She’s wrong of course — college football unions would work like professional sports unions representing players who face exactly the same workplace hazards, instead of stereotypical longshoremen — but it’s good to see even an anti-union advocate agreeing that players deserve something more than what they currently get. Video below…. [The Daily Show]
Since Lat tweeted this past weekend about my UpCounsel profile, I thought I would share some thoughts about my experience with the service to date. First off, compared to leaving a Biglaw partnership to open a new firm, trying out a new legal platform was easy. I first heard about UpCounsel from a former in-house client who had struck out on his own. He happens to now be back in-house, but at the time we discussed UpCounsel, he was very enthusiastic about his experience using the site. Since I happen to like trying out new things, signing up once I left Biglaw was an easy decision.
Notice how I did not join UpCounsel while a Biglaw partner. Such things are simply not done. For all of Biglaw’s talk about encouraging partners to be “entrepreneurial” or to “try new marketing ideas,” there is a lot of resistance to using “new ways” to reach potential new clients. Couple that inertia with a general distaste towards marketing individual lawyers at the expense of “firm branding” (aside from a select group of key current rainmakers), and platforms like UpCounsel face a Tough Mudder-level set of obstacles to overcome if they want to break into the Biglaw firm marketing rotation. But I don’t think UpCounsel and their “evolution of legal services”-oriented kin want to….
* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been operating without a director for almost a year and a half, and Sen. Orrin Hatch is calling it “inexcusable.” Here’s his politely pissed off letter to President Barack Obama. [Corporate Counsel]
* Weed has been legal and free flowing in Colorado for months, but now the state is starting to see its dark side. It seems morons who get too high are accidentally killing themselves and others. [New York Times]
* InfiLaw’s bid to purchase Charleston Law reached the pages of the NYT, with a shout-out to one “scrappy website” that referred to the company by its one true name: “diploma mill.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* “Why would you bring black people into the world?” An ex-lover/employee of Donald Sterling is suing him for racial and sexual harassment over lovely comments like this. She’s repped by Gloria Allred. [CNN]
* In sad news, Judge Harold Baer Jr. died last night. A giant of the Southern District of New York, Judge Baer will be remembered for his sound judicial temperament and his biting wit. [New York Law Journal]
* Paris Hilton hit with $2 million lawsuit for breaching a footwear deal. Does anyone still care enough about Paris Hilton to sign her to multi-million dollar sponsorship deals? [Radar Online]
* Kamala Harris may have a bright future, but her present has some issues. She started a task force to go after foreclosure consultant fraud and managed to pursue only 10 cases, fewer than her colleagues in other states despite California’s foreclosure crisis. Part of having a prestigious job is actually doing it. [East Bay Express]
* A Texas woman has filed suit claiming she was forced to give birth in solitary confinement, begging for — and not receiving — medical care. The baby died. But, hey, the baby came out of her, so it’s not a problem whether it lives any more in conservative Texas. [Feministing]
* Judge allows Bank of America to continue foreclosing on the home of Burt Reynolds. And somewhere Alex Trebek smiles. [WPEC]
* More on the female brain drain at law firms and how to fix it. [She Negotiates]
* 5 awesome charts that prove that patent litigation is officially out of hand. [Vox]
* Ray Rice’s lawyer offers a hypothetical of the videotaped altercation between Rice and his now-wife. This is why lawyers shouldn’t use hypotheticals. [Sports World News]
* Is there really a “third way” when it comes to Net Neutrality? This article makes a good case for rules allowing providers to take reasonable actions to address the different needs of Skype vs. email. [The Hill]
* Law firms are starting to think like media companies. Next thing you know, Biglaw will be all Hollywood. Video after the jump…. [Mimesis Law]
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.