Lawyer turned Survivor contestant Charlie Herschel, right, with your above-signed writer (in the yellow Survivor do-rag).
As previously reported in these pages, Charlie Herschel — a 29-year-old, openly gay associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York — is a contestant on Survivor: Gabon, which had its two-hour season premiere last night. We’re pleased to report that Charlie is still in the running for the one million dollars. To read more about our handsome hero, including details of his friendship with fellow gay Clay Aiken, check out this interesting interview with Herschel in The Advocate.
Last night, we headed over to Professor Thom’s in the East Village, to attend a “Survivor” premiere party in Charlie’s honor. It was hosted by his employer, Weil Gotshal — which is doing well in the downturn, thanks in large part to its top-flight bankruptcy practice.
Correction: The party was not officially hosted by Weil, although many WGM attorneys were in attendance.
More discussion, plus a slideshow of party pics, after the jump.
Charlie Herschel has been a fan of SURVIVOR since the first season and has been training for it ever since. A lawyer for one of the top 10 most prestigious law firms in the world, Herschel is ready to try his persuasion skills on a different type of jury.
This 29-year-old, marathon-running attorney and University of Pennsylvania graduate says he is above nothing when he gets to the island. Charlie’s strategy is to be authentic but with a twist. “With high risks, come high rewards, but the risks must be calculated.” The middle son of three boys and a native New Yorker, the Ivy Leaguer is not afraid to claw his way to the top.
If Herschel can survive in the Biglaw jungle, Gabon should be a piece of cake. And there’s precedent for lawyers faring well on Survivor. E.g., Yul Kwon (winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, and a year behind us at YLS).
Now, large law firms can be a bit stodgy. Some don’t react well to their associates’ forays into reality television. See, e.g., David Otunga (from I Love New York 2, and no longer at Sidley); Jeremy Anderson (from The Bachelorette, and no longer at Hunton & Williams). But see Denise Gitsham (welcomed back by K&L Gates, after appearing on The Bachelor); Stacy Rotner (still at Sidley, after appearing on The Apprentice; guess it’s more respectable than I Love New York 2).
What was Weil’s response to Charlie Herschel going on Survivor? Find out — and ogle photos of a shirtless Herschel — after the jump.
Six lawyers, currently or formerly at large law firms, hoping to make the jump to the writing life (read: working in pajamas). One leading legal tabloid, in need of its next lead editor. A mass of angry anonymous commenters, looking for someone new with whom to have a love-hate relationship.
“THIS…. is ATL Idol.”
It’s a reality-show-style competition, in which site readers will pick the new editor in chief of AboveTheLaw.com — the recipient of some 3 million page views a month, described by the Washington Post as “a must-read legal blog.” We believe it to be the first time that a full-time blogging gig — one with a salary you can live on, health insurance, and even a 401(k) — has been awarded through a “reality blogging” contest.
Back in May, we posted a help wanted ad for a new full-time writer here at Above the Law. Over the weeks that followed, we received a slew of excellent applications. We also located additional prospects through personal networking. All in all, we probably considered almost 100 talented candidates.
We narrowed the list down to six highly impressive finalists. But we found the prospect of choosing just one of them to be agonizing.
So we’ve decided to outsource this task to you, the readership of Above the Law. Over the next three weeks, the finalists will blog on ATL, for your consideration. Just as they would on a true reality TV show, the “assignments” will vary from week to week (details about them to follow).
Each Friday, we will open the polls, allowing you to vote for your favorite — the blogger you’d like to see take the helm at this venerable legal tabloid. At the end of week one, the bottom two out of six finalists — the pair of contestants with the fewest votes — will be eliminated. Next week, the reader vote will take four finalists down to two. In the third and final week, the two finalists will go head to head, in a legal blogging deathmatch. Your votes will determine the winner, Above the Law’s new leader.
ATL readers are an opinionated bunch, so we expect you to have strong views about the contestants (which you should feel free to share in the comments). But to those of you who need more guidance when voting, fear not. Just like American Idol, ATL Idol will provide you with three “celebrity judges,” to offer their expert opinions of the contestants’ blogging, and to inform and guide the electorate.
Our judges, who are all leading legal bloggers in their own right, need no introduction. But we’ll introduce them anyway, briefly. They are (in alphabetical order):
Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
Our impressive panel is well-balanced, featuring representatives from three major groups of legal bloggers: one law professor, one practicing lawyer, and one professional journalist. We’ll leave it to you to decide — perhaps based on how caustic their commentary is — who’s Simon, who’s Randy, and who’s Paula. Update: Professor Althouse emphatically rejects any suggestion that she’ll be the Paula Abdul of this contest. This is just as well; when we invited Dahlia Lithwick to serve as a judge, she called “dibs” on Paula.
Check back later today, when we’ll post brief bios of the six finalists. And check back throughout this week – and, of course, over the next three weeks – to figure out which writers you love, and which you’d leave. The identity of ATL’s next editor rests in your hands.
We’re expecting this contest to be fun and exciting. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. And once the polls are open, we pass along to you the exhortation of Ryan Seacrest: “America, don’t forget to vote!” Update: The bios of the finalists are now posted over here. Earlier: Help Wanted: ATL Seeks A New Writer
A first-year Dallas associate (who took the February 2008 bar) was placed on probation by Hunton Williams after asking for a leave of absence to do The Bachelorette. The firm is apparently waiting for the season to air before making a final decision, although they obviously plan to fire him. Who has the gall to ask for a leave of absence during their first year, especially to do a reality TV show? But assuming it’s a legitimate reason to request time off, is Hunton’s reaction reasonable and fair?
His name is Jeremy Anderson… There’s a rumor that he makes it to the final three. His bio was taken off Hunton’s website.
When we called Hunton about the layoff rumors in Charlotte, we also asked about Anderson. The only comment we got from their spokesperson was, “On a personal note, I love the show.”
We appreciate your sending this along, ATL readers. As one of you predicts, we will “enjoy covering Jeremy . . . and his abs.”
When law students are choosing among law firms, they inquire into such predictable things. What’s the firm’s billable hour requirement? How is work distributed? What about pro bono? For lawyers involved in recruiting, it must get boring to have to answer the same questions over and over again.
So law students, next time you interview with a firm, ask about something that really matters: What is the firm’s policy towards associates who want to participate in reality television shows?
Is the firm supportive of such endeavors? Can I take a leave of absence for the show’s filming, and then return in good standing? If so, will my year-end bonus get prorated?
As it turns out, Biglaw shops take different approaches to reality TV. It was rumored that Sidley Austin was none too pleased when associate David Otunga decided to participate in I Love New York 2 (and he is no longer at the firm). As for his performance on the show, the Harvard Law School grad made it to the final three, before losing to “Buddha” and “Tailor Made.”
Contrast Sidley’s reaction to that of K&L Gates. The firm allowed an associate in its Washington office — the highly attractive Denise Gitsham, 30, a recent Georgetown Law grad and former Bush aide — to take leave to be on “The Bachelor.” Now it welcomes her back with open arms. From an email recently sent around by D.C.-based partner Mark Ruge:
This Monday, at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, is the season premier of the hit television show, The Bachelor. (“The Bachelor” is the nation’s highest-rated reality TV show in the 18-45 female demographic group. It is now entering its 12th season on network television.)
Believe it or not, one of the contestants this season will be our own associate Denise Gitsham, who was away “on location” during much of February. Here is a link to the show’s web site and Denise’s bio:
Denise’s name, photo, and bio were submitted to the show by her cousin, and Denise was selected to be one of the show’s 25 bachelorettes out of more than 12,000 applicants. She was under extreme confidentiality requirements during her adventure (and still is to some degree). At least now, though, she is free to admit what she was doing during her mysterious leave in February.
Just thought you would like to know…
K&L Gates lawyers: if you need to send something to Denise via intra-office mail, the delivery should be accompanied by a rose. Thanks.
P.S. We can’t find Denise Gitsham on the firm website (although we did find a “Denise Stiffarm” in Seattle). We’re guessing that Denise has been too busy filming The Bachelor to fill out all that pesky bar admission paperwork. Update: Denise Gitsham is now on the K&L Gates website. Denise Gitsham bio [The Bachelor]
We just caught the second half of I Love New York 2 (previously discussed here and here). Wow.
Even by the debased standards of reality television, the show couldn’t be any more trashy. We felt our IQ plummeting as the minutes passed. We won’t tune in next week, since we don’t have the points to spare.
And no, we’re not TV snobs. Our favorite shows include ANTM, Gossip Girl, and Desperate Housewives. We like good trash TV as much as, if not more than, the next guy (or girl). But it has to be quality trash, if that makes any sense. (As for defining quality trash, we cite Justice Stewart: we know it when we see it.)
But look, don’t take our word for it. From a commenter (one of the few to opine on the show itself, as opposed to affirmation action, the legal academy, and the plight of minorities in America):
Since I’m not arguing about race, HLS, Obama or any of these issues, my post probably doesn’t belong. But I was personally quite amused to [see] a Big Law associate on my secret vice: vh1 reality programming….
Though I would have to say, seeing as how law firms are in the business of questioning the “good judgment” of associates, I think exhibiting an interest in dating NEW YORK [a/k/a Tiffany Pollard] is clearly a poor example of judgment.
She’s crazy, looks like a [transsexual] with a cheap breast enhancement, and did I forget to mention CRAZY?
Frighteningly enough, the exact same description — “crazy, looks like a [transsexual] with a cheap breast enhancement, and did I forget to mention CRAZY” — also applies to Tiffany “New York” Pollard’s mother, Sister Patterson. While we harbor a weakness for strong, African-American women, we want them to look like women (and work at the Justice Department).
And what about the fate of the two legal eagles on the show — David Otunga, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Sidley Austin associate, and Juan McCullum, a 2L at Mississippi College of Law? As you can see from the show’s Wikipedia page, which has already been updated with the results of tonight’s episode, they’re both still in the running.
And Christopher Columbus Langdell is turning over in his grave. I Love New York 2 [VH1 (official website)] I Love New York 2 [Wikipedia] Earlier: Sidley Hates on Old People, Reality TV Stars He Feels Pretty, Oh So Pretty
When we wrote about David Otunga, the Harvard Law School graduate and former Sidley Austin associate now known as “Punk” on the reality show I Love New York 2, we requested more information about a second contestant with a legal background: a current law student who goes by “Pretty.”
A number of you kindly obliged. We now know that “Pretty” is Juan McCullum, 24, a 2L at the Mississippi College School of Law. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State University, where he was a Student Association officer. He was working at the Mississippi Attorney General’s office this summer.
For more about McCullum, read this article, from the Clarion-Ledger. Or turn down the volume on your speakers and check out his MySpace page, which is almost as annoying as David Otunga’s.
Juan McCullum is a handsome guy, so his nickname of “Pretty” makes sense to us. But he may not be the “prettiest” person on his campus. That honor may belong to Katie Rader, a 3L at Mississippi College law school and one of the Hawaiian Tropic girls.
Check out her photo, after the jump.
In case you’re not familiar with the show, here’s a synopsis:
“Tiffany “New York” Pollard is jumping back into the dating pool to find the man of her dreams. A fresh crop of twenty men are brought together to compete for her heart and this time the selection process has a twist….some of the chosen contestants vying for New York’s heart have been hand-picked by online users and some have been chosen by Tiffany’s outspoken mother, Sister Patterson.”
Back to our tipster:
[Otunga] was brought in as one of three or four “Mama’s Boys” (potential suitors selected by New York’s mother) and nicknamed “Punk.” He told New York that he was perfect for her, since he was an HLS grad and a lawyer at “one of the top law firms in the world.”
Unfortunately, that law firm — Sidley Austin — didn’t appreciate his appearance on the show, and the firm recently “suggested” to him that it may be in his best interest to pursue his “acting career” instead of his legal career. He’s no longer on the firm’s webpage.
No wonder the producers of The Bachelor are so eager to have a lawyer as the Bachelor. With their impressive educational pedigrees and generally high incomes — even non-top-tier law grads earn more than the average American — lawyers are a desirable demographic. And relying upon the contestants to keep lawyers watching might not be a smart idea, since legal eagles keep getting shot down on the show.
From a tipster (a distinguished law professor, which goes to show that even geniuses enjoy trashy TV shows):
[O]n last night’s season premiere of the Bachelor, both of the law students were sent home in the first cut. The Phoenix Suns dancer stayed.
I only caught the beginning, when they were all being introduced, and I noticed the two law students – couldn’t figure out for sure what schools they were at. I’m guessing this show was taped over the summer, so this may have been their substitute for a summer associateship. In hindsight, a bad decision….
I was on the phone the rest of the time, and only learned later that they were both cut. They were decent-looking, though, so I wonder if it was their winning law school personality that made the difference…
We agree. The eliminated contestants — Juli, 24, of Chicago, and Natalie, 25, of Duncanville, TX — are quite comely. We’re guessing they go to non-top-tier law schools, which have hotter students.
We don’t watch The Bachelor; we prefer to spend our trash TV time on Gossip Girl. But if you saw the season premiere, and paid more attention than our tipster, we welcome your thoughts on why the law students got cut. Update: From another source:
“Not sure what law school Juli attends (I believe it’s Michigan, but I don’t have confirmation on that), but I CAN confirm that she was a summer associate at Katten’s Chicago office. She left partway through the summer to film the show, and she STILL got an offer. True story.”
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.