Biglaw

There are certain legal skills of critical importance that receive the same level of attention as a mid-summer pilot for a sitcom not expected to make it to the fall slate. In fact, there is usually a disconnect, particularly in Biglaw, between what is “taught” and what lawyers really need to learn as they develop. A recent anniversary of sorts reminded me of an example. Let’s discuss the notably unglamorous, but often critically important, role of “second chair” at a hearing or trial.

For the uninitiated, the typical hierarchy on a litigation matter for lawyers is support (faceless associate research drones), team member (associate or higher who is “on the case” but may not even get to sit at counsel table), second chair (trusty lieutenant, perhaps content in the role, or perhaps gunning for more), and first chair (field marshal winning the war and the peace on behalf of a grateful if lighter-pocketed client.)

August is the anniversary of my first patent trial, well over a decade ago….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Warming the Chair (Part 1)”

It’s that time of the year when law students should start preparing for on-campus interviews. They’re straightforward, right? Wrong. ATL’s recruiting experts have designed this challenge to help you determine whether you really know how to nail the interview. Take the On-Campus Interviewing for Law Firms challenge and find out if you are truly ready for OCI season.

(This challenge is brought to you in partnership with our friends at CredSpark.)

Take the On-Campus Interviewing for Law Firms challenge here.

Woo, Biglaw! Being a summer associate is the best!

There are several things that we can learn from this year’s summer associate event contest, because our readers’ unique tastes manifested themselves in the results. Lawyers and law students really like pop music performed by some of the hottest acts in America, but they love liquor even more. They’re wishy-washy when it comes to sporting events, but they absolutely hate cooking. After all, cooking is a real non-sequitur when Biglaw attorneys survive on Seamless.

Keeping these facts in mind, which firm do you think we’ll crown as the winner of this year’s competition?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Summer Associate Event Contest (2014): The Winner!”

J.D. = Just Debt

* Baker & McKenzie was bumped from the top spot in the Global 100 last year when DLA Piper swooped in to steal the firm’s glory. This year, B&M is back with a vengeance, and richer than ever. Take that, DLA dopes. [Am Law Daily]

* “I’m pretty sure I just got fired.” Before the bud business was big enough for Biglaw, the mere suggestion of going green was allegedly enough to warrant some pretty major disciplinary action from a leading law firm. [National Law Journal]

* Judge Thomas Griesa is toying with holding Argentina in contempt for saying that it didn’t default. Argentina struck back with the social media hashtag #GrieFault. Clever. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team has an expert who says that any jury in Massachusetts will be tainted because of the “inflammatory” news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The ABA’s new Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education held its first public hearing to try to figure out why law school tuition is high. The ABA is so late to the party it’s not even funny. [ABA Journal]

Just because there aren’t as many people applying to law school, doesn’t mean you should apply to law school. Even if there are fewer people to compete with, what can your feeble skills do against the machines?

From the annals my large “I told you so” files, a few years ago I predicted that the “Watson” technology — computers that can answer complex and subtle questions like Watson on Jeopardy — could be a threat to associate jobs. Now, that technology appears closer than ever to making a real impact on client services.

And it’s not just Watson. There are a lot of technologies floating around that threaten to make much entry-level associate work obsolete. If you are going to law school based on a bet of where the legal job market might be in three or four years, you might want to hedge against the rise of the machines…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Robots Are Coming For Your Jobs”

Woo, Biglaw! Being a summer associate is the best!

Summer associate class sizes may be smaller than they were back in the good old days, but Biglaw firms seem to have used the shrinking summer pool as an excuse to throw events that were overflowing with an abundance of awesomeness. Offers are still being tossed out like Mardi Gras beads, and life was very, very good for this summer’s crop of Biglaw initiates.

But just how good are we talking here? We think the fact that we received an overwhelming number of nominations for this year’s summer associate event contest speaks volumes. We managed to whittle down the list of 20+ gushing nominations we received to just eight of the most amazing. Some were cultural extravaganzas, others were athletic outings, but all were fun and absolutely fabulous. Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination.

Did your firm make the cut this year? Take a look to find out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Summer Associate Event Contest (2014): The Finalists”

* When it comes to all of the same-sex marriage cases that are currently before the Sixth Circuit, the deciding vote could be cast by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a Republican appointee. [National Law Journal]

* Weil Gotshal snagged a partner from right under one of its largest competitor’s noses. Ray Schrock, formerly of Kirkland & Ellis, may someday co-chair Weil’s restructuring group. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “I got the reward that most volunteers get — which is I ended up having to read many, many hundreds of pages.” This Ogletree Deakins partner figured out how to undo Obamacare in his spare time, and all he got were these lousy bifocals. [Greenville News]

* On-campus interviewing season is almost upon us, so we’re going to give you all of the tips you can stomach. Here are a few more ways that you can hit all of your interviews out of the park. [The Careerist]

* Albany Law and the University at Albany are shockingly not already affiliated with each other, but they’re exploring an “operational alliance.” Will that mean fewer faculty buyouts, or…? [Albany Business Review]

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on lateral partner moves from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Michael Allen is Managing Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

For senior associates up for partner, firms have become increasingly focused on business potential and less so on an associate’s ability to outclass others in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

In the days of yore, the partner track in Biglaw was oftentimes a reward for consistent competence and professionalism. In an era of PPP and RPL, most firms (other than the Cravath, Quinn, or Simpson Thacher types) are less likely to promote associates unless they see real revenue-generating potential.

If you find yourself in your fifth to tenth year and are unsure whether you will make partner, here are four steps to help you steer your career…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What To Do When The Partner Track Closes”

I’m sitting in a Vancouver, BC coffee shop with Gerry Riskin, author of the Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices blog. We’re talking about leadership and the differing mindsets of lawyers and business people. Our conversation was prompted by Gerry’s mindset slide:

The Professional's Mindset and the Slight Edge Theory

I can relate. Early in my legal career, I worked with lawyers in leadership roles who wore this mindset like body armor. They did not inspire. They did not act in ways that moved people closer to a common goal. They often left a bad wake. They lacked awareness. They were not good leaders….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mindset Matters: Lawyers Who Lead Well Are Receptive to Change”

Bruce Stachenfeld

I am famous for a saying. Actually I am not really famous, but I have a saying that I have been, well, saying for years, as follows:

“Lawyers are only happy when they’re miserable.”

What I mean is this: You are working round-the-clock so much you haven’t even been home for a full day and hardly at all for a month on a doozie of a deal. You are completely sick of it. All you can think of is when the deal will be “over.” You are clearly “miserable.” If only you could have your personal life back! Then, finally, the deal closes — at last. Your client is wiring out the funds. As the transfer of funds is happening, a (terrible) thought races through your mind. You hate yourself for the thought — you try not to have the thought — but you simply can’t help it… and the thought is that you are kind of worried because you have nothing to do now and that is disquieting… gee, what if work has really slowed… at some point this will be a real problem. You’ve had your personal life back for maybe a second — you haven’t even taken a shower — and you are worrying where your next deal will come from.

Or the other way around. Work has been slow — very slow — for a couple of months. You have enjoyed some rounds of golf and gone out to a bunch of dinners and lunches, but you really would like a nice tricky and challenging deal to sink your teeth into. And of course you are mindful of the fact that like it or not lawyers just have to bill hours. That is how we make a living, and you just aren’t billing hours. Not a good thing. You are edgy — if only you could have a big deal to work on….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reinventing The Law Business: Are Lawyers Only Happy When They’re Miserable?”

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