We’ve previously written about Sullivan & Cromwell’s so-called mailroom of death. To make a long story short (see our previous coverage here, here, and here for the full background), a Biglaw mailroom mixup caused Cory Maples, a Alabama death-row inmate, to miss a deadline for filing an appeal. The Supreme Court intervened, and ruled that in light of a “perfect storm of misfortune,” Maples would not be barred from appealing his conviction because of S&C’s epic screw-up.
Of particular note, however, is the fact that this pro bono debacle came about thanks to the apparent forgetfulness of Jaasi Munanka and Clara Ingen-Housz, two former SullCrom associates. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed this out in her majority opinion (PDF), stating that “[w]hen the associates left Sullivan & Cromwell, they never notified Maples and didn’t seek leave to withdraw.” Because when you effectively abandon a client, SCOTUS is sure to call you out for doing so.
Both Munanka and Ingen-Housz have since moved onwards and upwards. Munanka is now a partner at Hogan Lovells in Denver, and last we heard of Ingen-Housz, she was an associate at Baker & McKenzie. But as always, our tipsters have been keeping a watchful eye on the situation, and now we’ve got some news about Ingen-Housz’s employment situation….
* The first day of jury deliberations in the Rajat Gupta insider-trading case ended without a verdict. Benula Bensam’s boredom is epic — the poor girl can’t even blog about the trial anymore. [Bloomberg]
* Baker & McKenzie is celebrating its 50th year in Toronto, Canada by handing out spring bonuses luring in lateral hires. Welcome aboard to Kent Beattie, formerly of Slavies Davies. [Globe and Mail]
* You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape Sandusky’s love. Alleged Victim No. 9 testified that he screamed for help in vain while staying in the former coach’s allegedly “soundproof” basement. [CNN]
* It’s hard out here for a shoeshiner: Cooley Law grads suing their alma mater over allegedly misleading employment statistics may face an “uphill battle” when it comes to fraud allegations. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The CEO of Caesars Entertainment has proclaimed that he has “tremendous confidence” that online poker will become legal in the near future. So much for keeping your poker face on that one, eh? [MSN Money]
* Imagine my surprise when I found out that a yet another man in Springfield, MA, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Here’s the surprise… the dangerous weapon was wasabi sauce. [TIME]
* Yesterday marked day two of jury deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. The former presidential candidate says he’s “doing OK,” but you know he’s secretly pissing his pants over going to prison. [ABC News]
* Martin Weisberg, a former Baker & McKenzie partner, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He faces up to 15 years for both crimes. Like he wasn’t earning enough as a Biglaw partner. [New York Law Journal]
* A judge told two fashion houses to leave it on the runway, and not in the courtroom, but that’s not going to stop Gucci from collecting its due. Guess owes the company $4.66M for trademark infringement. [Bloomberg]
* If you’re wondering what you’re going to have to do to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, it’s really quite simple. Get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you’ll be set. [National Law Journal]
* What’s the difference between looted art and art looted by the Nazis? The Hitler part. Proposed art legislation will ban all museum recovery claims, except those of families affected by the Holocaust. [New York Times]
* “”I can’t believe f**king Allred called you!” In a total attention whore battle royale, Okorie Okorocha has sued Gloria Allred for allegedly stealing both of his clients in the John Travolta gay sex scandal. [CNN]
President Barack Obama now supports marriage equality. And so do many major law firms, it seems. More than 30 top firms provide the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits” or the “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits.” (If you’re not familiar with this benefit, also known as the “gay gross-up,” see this explanation.)
Since our last discussion of which Biglaw firms offer the tax offset, a few more names have jumped on the bandwagon. Let’s find out which ones, shall we?
As we mentioned last week, the American Lawyer recently released its highly influential, closely watched Am Law 100 law firm rankings. And despite all the doom and gloom permeating the legal profession, as well as the stagnant bonuses for associates lucky enough to make it into Biglaw, partners at large law firms are living just as large as ever.
In a way, the recovery in Biglaw is not unlike the recovery in America in general. If you were already well-off, you’re doing great now. It’s just not trickling down to anybody else. See, e.g., anemic spring bonuses.
Interestingly enough, the division of the world into “haves and have-nots” continues even into the world of major law firms. Partners at super-top-tier firms are putting even more distance between themselves and partners at less high-powered or less profitable firms.
* The Am Law numbers are out. PPP is up 3 percent. Dollar, dollar bill y’all. [American Lawyer]
* Hasbro — the makers of Nerf guns, a.k.a. the best toys ever — apparently hired some Baker & McKenzie attorneys to intimidate a guy who runs an Australian Nerf fan site. I hope they “intimidated” him with Nerf guns, because it would be funny, and no one would actually get hurt. [Crikey]
* At 85 years old, Congressman (and Georgetown Law grad) John Dingell learned that “teabagging” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means. Better late than never! [The Daily Dolt]
* I’m surprised that there are enough businesses horrible brave enough to ask for potential employees’ personal electronic information that it necessitates legislation. But I’m not complaining. [RedTape / MSNBC]
* Finding out that repeated concussions and head injuries may cause long-term brain damage is only surprising to people who have suffered repeated concussions and head injuries. [LexisNexis]
* A 14-year-old Georgia girl and her parents have sued some of her classmates because they acted like bitches on Facebook. Are these girls bullies? Yep. Is it the proper solution to turn the situation into 90210: Courtroom Edition? I still don’t think so. [Threat Level / Wired]
* Support local businesses, like your high-end neighborhood brothel. The Manhattan Madam is now accepting donations… to help her make bail by Mother’s Day. [Dealbreaker]
* Vote for Lat as the most likeable lawyer of 2012! [Likeable U]
In the nascent spirit of positivity aroundhere, let’s take a look at where, according to our research, Biglaw’s happiest troopers can be found.
To be sure, lawyers are a notoriously depressive lot. Various studies — and presumably Will Meyerhofer — suggest that the characteristics that make a good lawyer actually correlate with clinical depression. Combine these alleged traits with crushing debt, an oversaturated job market, and an uncertain future, and the industry seems mired in malaise.
But what about those fortunate ones who’ve managed to snag a coveted Biglaw gig? Why, not only are they employed, but they have a realistic chance to pay off their loans. Are they any more upbeat than the industry’s rank-and-file? Our own survey data strongly suggests the answer is definitely maybe.
Respondents to our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey give their “firm morale” a mean rating of 6.81 out of 10. (By the way, if you haven’t yet, please take the survey here.) For context, lawyers rate morale a bit higher than “hours” (6.55) and bit lower than “training” (6.88). So, generally speaking, firm morale is not conspicuously singled out by lawyers as a negative.
But which are the happiest firms? And the unhappiest? Let’s have a look at the Biglaw shops getting top marks for esprit de corps….
The mega-firm of Baker & McKenzie has a global footprint, with 70 offices in 42 countries. It’s one of the world’s largest law firms, in terms of both headcount and revenue.
But are Baker’s 70 offices about to become… 69? For weeks, reports have been circulating about the possible demise of the firm’s outpost in San Diego. As you may recall, this little office is home to big drama.
Let’s look at the latest news about Baker in San Diego….
We like to talk a lot about prestige around here, but at Cravath, associates are learning that you can’t spend “prestige points” on your student debt repayments.
Branding is a little easier to take to the bank. It’s something that firm managers and leaders work hard to develop and maintain that can directly lead to business opportunities. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Am Law Daily published an Acritas report on firm branding. The results will surprise the prestige conscious among you.
This list of firms with a stronger brand than the erstwhile bonus setters at CSM is astounding….
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, 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.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…