Biglaw

How would you like to be pursued by the Angel of Death? It doesn’t sound like much fun, right?

But it’s the latest plague to be visited upon certain former leaders of the now-bankrupt law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. Former D&L partner Henry C. Bunsow — nicknamed the Angel of Death by Alison Frankel of Thomson Reuters, due to his status as an ex-partner of three failed firms (Brobeck, Howrey, and Dewey) — has sued former leaders of Dewey, alleging that they misrepresented the firm’s finances.

Let’s learn about his allegations, as well as catch up on the latest wranglings in the Dewey bankruptcy case….

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You’ve heard about lawyers who schedule depositions at Dunkin’ Donuts, but you’ve probably never heard about lawyers who get their nails and their briefs polished at the same time.

It looks like the latest trend for professional women in New York is the “manicure meeting,” a time when participants must sit and listen to each other, instead of sitting and pretending to listen to each other (while at the same time endlessly following the Bill Urquhart directive to CHECK YOU EMAIL).

But how did the manicure meeting come into existence? And more importantly, is this feasible for the women of Biglaw?

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Last week, we asked our associate readers to tell us how their billable hours were shaping up in 2012 so far. The results are in, and partners and associates alike may be glad to learn that things seem pretty normal.

I mean, if you didn’t know that there hasn’t been a salary raise for five years, or that bonuses are now paid in Amex gift cards, you’d say that associate billables had achieved a happy balance.

Some people are working very hard, some people are slacking off, and most people are somewhere in the middle, keeping their heads down but not trying to be heroes…

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It’s that time again: it’s getting hot in herre [sic], and people at your firm have decided to take Nelly’s advice. While everyone’s gearing up for the big summer bash, you’ve got to deal with your next fashion headache. You’ve already been told that you should be wearing skirt suits and showing some leg on a day-to-day basis. And now that the weather is nice, lawyerly ladies want to know: can you, or rather, should you wear a bikini to your firm’s pool party?

We covered this issue last summer, where the be-all and end-all question was to boob or not to boob. At that point in time, I adopted an “if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it” stance. But now that I’m a year older, and (arguably) a year wiser, I’m here to offer our female readers some more mature advice to be used in this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with assistance from Kat Griffin of Corporette.

Keep reading for some Biglaw bathing suit etiquette that you shouldn’t have too much trouble following….

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D&L would've been better off doing this.

* Dewey even care if we spent money like it was going out of print? A new D&L bankruptcy court filing states that the failed firm used $43M of secured lenders’ funds in just one month in an attempt to save the ship from sinking. [Bloomberg]

* The Jerry Sandusky trial continues: Mike McQueary’s testimony in the former football coach’s case was pretty disgusting, but then again, most things are going to be pretty disgusting when you’re dealing with an alleged child predator. [Daily Item]

* A few ways you can tell this isn’t England: 1) our dental hygiene is generally better; 2) our royalty is entirely made up of reality TV stars; and 3) you still can’t serve people via social networking sites like Facebook. [paidContent]

* Foul ball(s)! Remember Clark Calvin Griffith, the former William Mitchell adjunct sports law professor who was accused of unsportsmanlike penile conduct? He pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. [Pioneer Press]

* “Do I have to read the whole settlement?” Yup! UC Irvine Law’s consumer protection clinic will work to see if banks are keeping their end of the bargain in a $25B foreclosure-abuse settlement. [Los Angeles Times]

* Anna Gristina, the accused “Millionaire Madam,” claims in a motion to dismiss that police tried to make her name her johns, one of whom is apparently “a prominent Manhattan lawyer.” But which one? [New York Post]

* CBS claims that ABC’s “Glass House” is a rip off of “Big Brother,” and the network is trying to block the show from airing. OMG, please let it air so we can see this law school dropout in action. [Celebrity Justice / FindLaw]

Since I began writing this column, I have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. After speaking with so many small-firm attorneys who talk excitedly about the challenges and rewards of owning their own businesses, I have toyed with the idea of doing the same. Because of my love-hate relationship with the practice of law, however, I have been trying to come up with other small business ideas. My latest brilliant business venture is a summer camp for unemployed people. Unfortunately, my dreams were dashed when a friend pointed out that my business was destined to fail because my target market had no money to spend on, well, anything. Boo.

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with two attorneys who have identified a way to take advantage of the bad economy in a way that, unlike my plan, made financial sense. The idea is simple: offer in-house counsel seeking to reduce their legal fees reduced legal fees for the same high quality work. Yet another idea I wished I had come up with (note: I firmly believe that I created Pinterest because I started clipping stuff out of magazines in 1992)….

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I think we can say that the notion of spring bonuses is officially dead. It’s already June, and the summer solstice is right around the corner. The lockstep Biglaw firms are just not going to be paying spring bonuses this year.

But spring/summer tips are still alive and well. When Sullivan & Cromwell announced its spring bonuses, I wrote, “This isn’t a bonus, it’s a tip.” S&C paid its associates between $1,000 and $5,000 this spring, a sum that is really a tip when you are a Biglaw Manhattan attorney.

Now Skadden is getting into the tip-giving game. The partners there are digging deep into their pockets and coming up with some loose change to dispense to their associates. If you work really hard at Skadden, you might just get a gift card! (Hey, it’s more than what Cravath is doing.)

So how much are we talking about?

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Ed. note: A sizable chunk of the Above the Law readership consists of partners at large law firms. Please welcome our newest writer, Anonymous Partner, who will write a candid column speaking to this demographic.

It’s about time. Time for someone like me to offer some perspective on what being a partner is, can, and should be all about. Time to leverage Above the Law’s bully pulpit to give a voice to current and future senior-level legal industry players (in addition to the valuable but inherently distanced insights of former partners, consultants, and law professors). Where a managing partner, or a general counsel, or even a newly-minted partner can let me, and by extension you, know what is really going on in this centaur-like hybrid of a business/profession. Where we can discuss what works, what is broken, and whether buying in to Biglaw is something to celebrate or to pity.

Now, Biglaw has signed all my paychecks, and it is where I have cast my lot until now, so Biglaw is what this column will discuss. And because my name does not stare back at me in gold-plated glory when I step off the elevator in the morning, this column will have to be anonymous, at least for the initial stages. Being anonymous will allow me to be as candid as possible when sharing my thoughts with you.

That said, you deserve to know at least a little about me….

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* Dewey know how insolvency laws work in Dubai? The failed firm’s partners in the United Arab Emirates have filed for creditor protection in the hopes of receiving end-of-service payments. [The National]

* “This is your fault.” “Uh, no, this is all your fault.” “I’m going to sue you.” “Not if I sue you first.” Florida and the DOJ got into a good old fashioned slap fight yesterday over the purging of the state’s voter rolls. [Reuters]

* And now for your morning dose of nasty ass sexual abuse allegations. The testimony in the Jerry Sandusky case will continue today, with more lurid accounts from the former football coach’s accusers. [Bloomberg]

* Is this what it’s come to in the legal profession? Are people really so desperate for work that they’re willing to apply in droves for a job that pays less than minimum wage? By all accounts, it sure looks like it. [ABA Journal]

* Tips for parents of law school applicants? Screw that, ours are better: 1) tell your kid to read ATL; 2) smack your kid in the face if he still wants to apply; 3) repeat if necessary. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* A female security official for the NBA who happens to be a law school graduate is suing for employment discrimination. And no one cares about women’s basketball any more than they did before. [New York Times]

Breaking news to lawyers at firms: In-house, we have these things called “business plans.”

Our business units prepare those plans at least annually. The plans typically contain both general objectives (such as achieving a specified level of organic growth, or margin, or whatever) and concrete steps that the business will take to achieve those objectives (such as introducing new products, controlling specified expenses, or whatever).

In-house law departments may create those plans, too. We commit to implement controls, or improve response times, or give a specified number of training sessions to a specified number of people, or the like. Depending on the corporation, a lawyer may be paid less than his target bonus if he doesn’t achieve his objectives and perform according to plan. A system like that is pretty good at grabbing folks’ attention and causing things to be done.

Do law firms (or individual lawyers at firms) prepare business plans?

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