Departure Memos

Jeh Johnson

Last year was a pretty great one for partners of Paul Weiss. And we’re not talking just about profits per partner, although we expect they’ll be robust once again.

In June, Roberta Kaplan scored a big win in the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. Representing Edie Windsor, a widow who got hit with hefty taxes when her wife passed away, Kaplan got section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act struck down. Just yesterday, we declared Robbie Kaplan our 2013 Lawyer of the Year.

But she wasn’t the only PW partner who had an exciting 2013. In December, Jeh Johnson left the firm to become our nation’s fourth Secretary of Homeland Security.

On the morning of December 19, Johnson sent around a wonderful departure memo, which we’d like to share with you now….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Departure Memo Of The Day: Jeh Johnson Parting With Paul Weiss”

This is my eightieth column as Anonymous Partner, and the last one that will appear weekly on these pages. I may, on occasion, comment on important pieces that Lat does regarding Biglaw. Based on the things I saw and heard over the last two years, whether at my firm or through people sharing information with me through this column, there will be no lack of Biglaw-related developments to comment on.

So much of the truth about what is going in Biglaw remains hidden, partly by the design of firm management teams and partly by the tendency of those who work in Biglaw to keep quiet. Above the Law adds some transparency, but there’s only so much that it can do. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to give my take on what being a Biglaw partner means today. I wish I had company, as an industry in change really needs all of those with a stake in its future to speak up….

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Things have quieted down a bit on the Weil Gotshal front. About a week has passed since our last report on Biglaw’s biggest source of drama.

Today we have some news to share about WGM — information gleaned from partner departure memos out of Dallas, the site of the biggest defections, and a real estate report from New York, the King’s Landing of Weil Gotshal….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Liz Brown, author of Life After Law: Finding Work You Love With the J.D. You Have (affiliate link), offers suggestions for at least appearing engaged at the office while contemplating leaving the law behind.

Someone asked me a great question the other day. “I’m having a hard time staying engaged at the office,” she explained. “I want to leave, but I’m not sure what to do next. How do I keep up the appearance that I’m still interested in practicing law while I figure out my next move?”

This in-between stage is hard in so many ways. It can be hard to force yourself to work on cases when you no longer care about the outcome. It can be hard to make yourself meet your billable hour minimum when you find the work dull and unrewarding. It can be hard to act happy, or at least not to growl at people, when you desperately want to do something else. Here are seven strategies for the summer of your discontent.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Would you accept this guy at your law school?

Last month, we wrote about a law school graduate who decided to “renounce” his U.S. Citizenship in a departure memo to no one in particular. The letter was somewhat threatening and was sent in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, so it was a little bit difficult to make fun of him.

But now the guy is out with a video. And it seems like maybe he’s been checked out by the FBI? At the very least, he doesn’t seem to be actively threatening to go on a shooting spree.

Also, a tipster says his “Calvin Candie” voice is a recent affectation. I think we can all feel safe laughing now…

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If you have a friend who might be interested in serving as the general counsel to a leading technology company, you might want to give that person a poke. As we mentioned earlier today, a top job is about to open up: Ted Ullyot plans to step down as GC of Facebook in the not-too-distant future.

What types of issues has Ullyot tackled in his time at Facebook? How well has he been compensated in his role? Where might he be headed next?

Let’s look at some SEC filings, as well as his departure memo….

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Less demeaning than working in Biglaw?

Do little kids actually threaten to run away and join the circus anymore? Do people still go to the circus anymore? When I think of “circus,” I think of “vaguely mistreated animals and freakish humans objectified for the amusement of the masses.”

Or, if it’s “not that kind of circus,” then I think you are talking about homosexual, ambidextrous French people.

Either way, I’m not thinking of “fun for the whole family,” and I’m certainly not thinking of a place that people run to in order to be free and live beyond society’s rules and prohibitions.

But I’m no longer a Biglaw lawyer. If I was, maybe leaving my job to join the circus would be like living a dream…

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Over the years, we’ve seen some strange and surprising law firm departure memos. They come not just from associates but from partners as well. See, e.g., this famous (or infamous) Skadden partner’s departure memo.

Today we bring you another weird farewell message penned by a partner. It’s strange because it burns bridges in a big way, making all kinds of incendiary allegations against the Am Law 100 firm involved.

You’d think that a leading employment lawyer would show greater discretion on his way out the door. Well, think again….

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I really think this guy is just a troll, but it’s too soon to be funny.

Around here, we love crazy departure memos. Today, we have us a real whooper.

Unfortunately, some guy sent out a crazy, slightly unhinged “renunciation” of his U.S. citizenship to some of his law school classmates just this past Saturday, mere hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, was finally captured. All of a sudden, a dude claiming that he’s going to go into the Florida wilderness and will return as a “revolutionary” sounds less “OMG, look at this crazy law graduate,” and more “Umm, is anybody taking a look at this crazy law graduate?”

I mean, we’re talking about a guy who apparently changed his name to “Augustus Invictus.” So we’re almost certainly talking about some kind of troll. A “too soon” troll, at least I hope….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Kind Of Unhinged Departure Memo That Would Have Been WAY Funnier Before The Marathon Attack”

Oh, I pity the prospective law student who thinks that getting into law school means that he’ll never have to work at Burger King again.

There’s a departure memo going around the internet today — a kid sent a mean (and mildly racist) memo to his colleagues as he ended his employment relationship with Burger King. The kid is going to law school and feels the confidence to end his resignation letter with: “So, consider our bridges burnt.”

Or “flame broiled,” as it were.

But if all he’s got lined up is law school admission, I hope he’s still on good terms with the people at Wendy’s or something….

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