Do you know why people go to law school? For most people, it’s not because they “love the law” or because they want to be part of the system of justice. It’s because they want to make money. Lots and lots of dirty, sexy money.
Granted, there are easier ways to make money in this world. You could work on your jumpshot. You could do… whatever it is they do in business school, between pub crawls masquerading as “networking events.” You could choose your parents wisely.
But still, if everything works out — and I mean everything — you might make an obscene amount of money in Biglaw. So much money that you can send around messages like this to your fellow attorneys….
A prominent partner left his white-shoe law firm some time ago, purportedly for falsifying expenses. A juicy detail that is less widely known: some of the fake expenses were for what might be described as improper forms of entertainment.
(This blind item — relating to someone who left his firm prior to 2010 — has nothing to do with Ted Freedman, the former Kirkland & Ellis senior partner whose recent departure we covered last month. Please note the update we’ve appended near the end of our earlier post, quoting a source stating that Freedman simply retired.)
Actually, we’re not sure that it’s herpes; that’s just a guess, based on context clues. But apparently some prominent, white-shoe law firm has been hit by an outbreak of a sexually-transmitted disease.
No matter when it’s done, job hunting usually sucks balls. When done in the middle of the Great Recession, it feels like the balls are covered in tangled hair and pointy skin-piercing spikes. It’s painful and you have to be careful.
One disgruntled attorney recently emailed us about a company that he suspects is trying to take advantage of desperate job hunters. He calls it “a new type of scam preying on unemployed lawyers.”
He responded via an ad on Craigslist to an “assets management company” seeking IP attorneys for full-time or part-time contract work. We’ll call the company Pay To Work, LLC. In the ad, PTW says it’s looking for “entrepreneurial” attorneys to do intellectual property work. It says its clients include scientists, inventors, writers, artists, celebrities, universities, and multi-national corporations. That sounds pretty sweet!
But there are some big catches. First off, “partners” are supposed to pay $295/month for “administrative fees.” Second off, the company has no clients at the moment. It’s a start-up in the “set-up phase.” So if you sign up and start paying $300 a month, what exactly are you getting for your money?
Over the weekend, the New York Times took employers to task for taking advantage of university kids eager to get work experience. Unpaid internships abound, and the recession has made it easier for corporate employers to cry poor, and bring on free labor.
However, there are strict federal guidelines [PDF] around unpaid internships, and many are breaking the law by giving their eager little beavers noneducational menial work. The folks at the Labor Department are on to this devious scheme:
Convinced that many unpaid internships violate minimum wage laws, officials in Oregon, California and other states have begun investigations and fined employers. Last year, M. Patricia Smith, then New York’s labor commissioner, ordered investigations into several firms’ internships. Now, as the federal Labor Department’s top law enforcement official, she and the wage and hour division are stepping up enforcement nationwide.
While most of the abusive internships are in the exciting worlds of fashion, film, media, and music, there was at least one poor NYU student suckered into cleaning out bathrooms for free at a law firm…
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.