* A few weeks back, we mentioned some legal lessons gleaned from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. Turns out, you might not need law school to become a lawyer. Maybe all you need is a Spotify subscription and a good set of headphones. [FindLaw]
* Government security guard finds suspicious bag and stashes it under his desk, where it chills out for a couple of weeks. Oh yeah, I should probably mention — there was A BOMB in the bag. Nice work, Sherlock. [CNN]
* If you rat someone out, you might avoid prson. But in Illinois, if you end up in prison, don’t be surprised if you end up with a real rat as a cellmate. Maybe a roach too, if you get particularly unlucky. [WBEZ]
Now that Citigroup decided that the recession was over, hopefully this layoff news will start to dissipate. But we wanted to catch up on some layoff news that happened yesterday that we weren’t able to get to. Pircher Nichols & Meeks had its second round of layoffs, and the numbers were surprisingly similar to the first round of cuts.
Leo Pircher explained the news to Above the Law:
The Firm laid off eight attorneys, five in Los Angeles and three in Chicago. Two of the attorneys were first years.
In early December, Pircher Nichols also laid off attorneys, eight attorneys to be exact. Those cuts included one first year.
First years aren’t safe at large law firms, and they’ll find no quarter at mid-sized law firms either.
On Friday we reported that Epstein Becker & Green might have set the bonus market for regional firms to zero. While associates at firms outside the AmLaw 100 have every reason to worry about receiving any bonus at all, it’s worth remembering that the terrible economic conditions are still causing layoffs.
We received word that 8 associates were let go from Pircher, Nichols & Meeks. The firm confirmed the move today:
The Firm laid off a total of 8 of its 75 attorneys, seven in Los Angeles and one in Chicago. One of those laid off was a first year. Four staff members were also laid off. The Firm’s practice is concentrated in commercial real estate. Work in this area has declined in the last 6 months and our clients have told us that it is not likely to pick up substantially in 2009. We therefore reluctantly decided that we must reduce the number of our people to match the amount of business we see going forward. We do not anticipate further layoffs. The persons laid off are all fine and competent people and we intend to help them find new positions.
Letting go of 8 people in a firm of 75 is a deep cut. But there certainly isn’t enough commercial real estate work to go around.
It was nice for Mr. Pircher to say that his former employees were fine people, and I’m sure that those former associates will appreciate any help the firm can offer.
The options for lawyers at mid-sized firms keep getting worse. Behind Door #1: $0 Bonus. Behind Door #2: Layoffs. Behind Door #3: Falling on your knees and praying that you didn’t inadvertently choose Door #1 or Door #2.
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.
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.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
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.