Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” takes a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital, and related issues. Some of these pieces have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.
There seems to have been a spasm an unusual concentration of articles recently advancing the theory (I generalize) that all is well in BigLaw and that in fact even the universally acknowledged cost/benefit mismatch of a J.D. degree is mistaken.
Regular readers know that I’m the last person to be apocalyptic about the legal industry writ large, but I also would like to believe I apply rigor in analysis and tough love in attitude, so when sloppy happy talk comes front and center. I feel compelled to respond.
Law schools first. I haven’t really entered the “Law school NPV—positive or negative?” debate, and I don’t plan to start. It’s of enormous import on many levels, from the tragic human toll to the socioeconomic policy questions it raises. It’s simply a bit far afield for me to give it the attention it deserves. And I’m not going to do a half-baked job. Still, for the yin and yang of this debate, I refer you to (first pro and then con):
* Edith Windsor’s lawyer said she thought her client’s case was “simple,” but it proved to take a little longer than she thought to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. [New York Law Journal]
* Conservative pols are up in arms about the SCOTUS decisions, promising to file constitutional amendments, but like Rand Paul said, “As a country, we can agree to disagree.” [Washington Post]
* Nate Silver breaks down gay marriage by the numbers. By August, 30% of Americans will live in states where same-sex marriage has been legalized. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]
* Wherein the ancient artifacts of a once storied and prestigious Biglaw firm are touted by a furniture liquidation company as “like new, for less!” Dewey know how embarrassing this is? [Am Law Daily]
* Sorry, Joel Tenenbaum, but the First Circuit affirmed your $675K debt to the RIAA. That’s what happens when you blame illegal downloads on burglars and foster kids. [Law & Disorder / Ars Technica]
* It looks like David Boies claimed two victories yesterday. The Court of Federal Claims gave Maurice Greenberg the green light to sue the U.S. over the terms of AIG’s bailout. [DealBook / New York Times]
* The makeup of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is very homogeneous. Out of 14 judges who served this year, 12 are Republican and half are former prosecutors. Some diversity please? [Reuters]
* Dewey know how much Judge Martin Glenn shaved off of Togut Segal & Segal’s $8.8M fees and expenses in the latest D&L payout approval? Just $167.76 for subway fare and meal overages. [Am Law Daily]
* Ted Boutrous of Gibson Dunn is a very busy man, but he’s been categorized as a “Twitter freak.” The man is a self-professed news junkie, and he follows @atlblog, so you know he’s cool. #winning [Bloomberg]
* Facebook has named a new general counsel. We wish a very warm welcome to Colin Stretch, a man who’s a Harvard Law graduate, a former Kellogg Huber partner, and a former Supreme Court clerk to Justice Breyer to boot. [Facebook]
* If you’re waiting for your check to come for the BARBRI class action suit that was settled back in 2007, then keep waiting. But hey, at least the law firms are starting to get paid. [National Law Journal]
* Ariel Castro, a man you might’ve eaten ribs with, is looking at additional indictments in the kidnapping case against him. Thus far, he’s pleaded not guilty to all of the 329 charges he currently faces. [CNN]
* “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Perhaps AG Eric Holder should’ve quit when he was ahead after President Obama’s first term, because now White House insiders are wishing he’d step down. [New York Times]
* Dewey think Steven Davis will ever live down claims that he brought about the death of a once legendary law firm? No, but at least his $19.5 million mismanagement settlement was approved. [Am Law Daily]
* “What’s disgusting? Union busting? Who’s disgusting? Joe Genova.” Damn. This partner had some issues with Legal Services NYC lawyers on strike outside his office last week. [New York Law Journal]
* With all of the talk about patent trolls, this Morgan Lewis attorney allegedly thought it would be a good idea to get a piece of the action. Oopsie, it sounds like you got some splainin’ to do. [Ars Technica]
* LEAVE THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW ALONE! TJSL alumni appreciate their alma mater so much they’re willing to sign love letters written by the school’s PR flack. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Widener Law is thinking of splitting its campuses into separately accredited schools, but this isn’t a cost-saving measure — neither were the buyout packages offered to professors. [Delaware Law Weekly]
* Alexis Wright, the Zumba instructor who ran a prostitution ring out of her dance studio, will ditch the workout and join the party in jail, because this hot mama was just sentenced to 10 months. [CNN]
So this isn’t a proper “Career Alternatives for Attorneys” post, but if the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) — the successor to the KGB — had their way, we would one day soon watch Spencer Mazyck of Bloomberg sitting down to interview a Russian spy.
When you think about it, Biglaw attorneys share a lot of qualities with spies: working long, odd hours; poring over reams of government documents searching for a few nuggets of information; and feeling that any mistake could cost them their lives.
If you feel you have what it takes to become a spy, give Russia a call because they’re all butthurt over losing out on a potential Biglaw spy…
* Dewey know when we’ll be able to stop using this pun? Hmm, at this rate, probably never. Steve Otillar and Citi recently settled their dueling suits over the ex-D&L partner’s capital contribution loan to the failed firm. [Am Law Daily]
* Cahill Gordon was supposed to investigate the Rutgers basketball scandal, but the firm cited a conflict of interest, so Skadden Arps stepped in. [Insert the joke of your choice here. I don't like or watch this sport.] [Reuters]
* She’s got a death wish: the aggravation phase of the Jodi Arias trial was postponed at the last minute yesterday, and some think it’s because of the interview she gave after the verdict was announced. [CNN]
* “Is there a public interest in unwanted pregnancies … that can often result in abortions?” The judge who ordered that Plan B be made available to all women regardless of age is pissed at the DOJ. [The Caucus / New York Times]
* Mary Jo White, the littlest litigatrix, will “review” the Securities and Exchange Commission’s policy of allowing financial firms to settle civil suits without affirming or denying culpability, but for now, she’s defending it. [Reuters]
* Dewey know what this failed firm is supposed to pay its advisers for work done during the first nine months of its bankruptcy proceedings? We certainly do, and it’s quite the pretty penny. [Am Law Daily]
* In a round of musical chairs that started at Weil Gotshal, Cadwalader just lost the co-chairs of its bankruptcy practice and another bankruptcy partner to O’Melveny. [DealBook / New York Times]
* In a move that shocked absolutely no one, attorneys for Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes announced they will enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for their client. [CNN]
* From the “hindsight is 20/20″ file: the judge who presided over the Casey Anthony trial thinks there was enough evidence to convict the ex-MILF. He also likened Jose Baez to a used car salesman. [AP]
* Check out Logan Beirne’s book (affiliate link). Even when sensationalizing George Washington’s rise from general to president, attention must be paid to the rule of law. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
The retirees and former partners with whom I have spoken feel shocked and betrayed. It’s very hard to reconcile the principal architect of the debacle paying nothing at this time while the retirees and innocent partner victims have had to pay back money to the firm. Davis’s note is regarded as a sham.
– David Bicks, a retired Dewey & LeBoeuf partner, offering remarks on the iniquitous nature of former D&L chairman Steven Davis’s promissory note filed in proposed settlement of the firm’s claims against him. Under the agreement, Davis, who is currently unemployed, owes the firm $511,145, and has until 2019 to pay up; thereafter, the rest will be forgiven.
* The DOJ is seeking treble damages against Lance Armstrong over his USPS sponsorship funds, alleging the athlete was “unjustly enriched.” This lawsuit is clearly on steroids; the bike dude’s got an eye for that sort of thing. [NBC News]
* Dewey know how much Steven Davis had to fork over to the firm’s estate to settle its mismanagement claims against him? It’s pocket change compared to what some former partners had to pay into the partner contribution plan. [Am Law Daily]
* “Golden handcuffs,” law school style: the Texas attorney general’s office is looking into the UT Law School Foundation. Apparently giving out forgivable loans to law profs like candy is a big no-no. [Austin Business Journal]
* Duncan Law hopes to get ABA accreditation through its conflict resolution center, which will “attract more students.” Yep, because more students equals more job opportunities. [Knoxville New Sentinel]
* The accused ricin guy might’ve been a whackjob, but the charges were dropped. His lawyer believes he was framed by a guy who was recently arrested on child molestation charges. Cray! [Bloomberg]
* Edward de Grazia, defender of sexually explicit novels in Jacobellis v. Ohio, RIP. [New York Times]
* With SCOTUS justices questioning standing in the Prop 8 case, and one even stating that gay marriage is newer than cell phones and the internet, you can guess where the decision is headed. [New York Times]
* “This badge of inequality must be extinguished.” With men like Ted Olson and David Boies representing the plaintiffs in Prop 8, at least we can say that they fought the good fight. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* It looks like Paul Ceglia’s zany misadventures in being fired as a client by Biglaw firms and suing Facebook may finally be at an end thanks this scathing 155-page recommendation of dismissal. [CNET]
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: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.