As we recently discussed, we’re starting to enter the heart of darknessbar exam results season. Passing or failing the bar can mean the difference between having or not having a job — especially if you’re working for a small firm, which might be less forgiving of failure than a Biglaw behemoth (at least according to some readers).
The first state to release bar exam results, North Carolina, mailed them out on Friday, August 27. But if you’re waiting for results from one of the biggies, New York or California, you still have several weeks to go.
In the past two weeks, including today, some smaller but still sizable states announced their bar exam results. Let’s take a look….
Have you ever really needed a Jewish attorney but just didn’t know where to find one? Well, have no fear, the Jewish American Bar Association is here. There’s an ad that’s been making its way around the blogosphere that can be seen at a bus stop in south Florida:
There’s just one little problem. The Jewish American Bar Association might not be exactly what you think it is….
Protip: Don’t look up the Wikipedia entry for foreskin. Don’t do it even if you have to write a post about a baby who was given a circumcision against his parents’ wishes. Vera Delgado, the baby’s mother, had left the hospital to shower and get a change of clothes. Just long enough for Nurse Ratched and the gang to do the do. Delgado’s lawyer, Spencer Aronfeld, summed up the understandable reaction:
“It was horrific, quite frankly,” said Aronfeld. “The parents were very explicit they did not want him circumcised, and [the hospital] had asked the parents repeatedly.”
Since announcing Delgado would sue, Aronfeld said he has received countless supportive e-mail messages and seen social network postings from so-called “intactivists” who oppose circumcision.
“People who are passionate about not circumcising their children are sending me Facebook messages, like, “I love you. You are my hero!”
So the mother is suing the hospital. Of course (not of course), we all remember from law school (from Google) that Benjamin Cardozo wrote the seminal opinion in which an unwanted surgical procedure was legally classified as battery. And that’s exactly what the mother is suing the hospital for. All fine and well. Somebody messed up, and “Oops!” isn’t going to cut it.
But it’s not the dollar amount of $1 million that jumps out from the story….
No, we’re not talking about thatDavid J. Stern, the lawyer turned NBA commissioner. We’re talking about David J. Stern of Plantation, Florida, a leading lawyer to banks and financial services companies in mortgage-related and foreclosure proceedings.
Over the holiday weekend, the New York Times ran a lengthy article, by Gretchen Morgenson and Geraldine Fabrikant, focused on Florida’s new foreclosures-only courts. Florida’s court system has been so overwhelmed by foreclosure proceedings that the state earlier this year set aside $9.6 million to establish foreclosures-focused courts around the state, presided over by retired judges.
One of the major players in the new court system is David J. Stern, whom the Times describes as “[t]he lawyer most closely identified with Florida’s foreclosure morass.” And for his troubles, this “mystery man within the foreclosure world” has been richly rewarded — very richly rewarded.
Stern went to a fourth-tier law school, but financially he’s running circles around all those Stanford and NYU law grads who wound up as Biglaw partners. His inspiring story shows that, in the end, success in the law is not about where you went to school, but what you’re capable of doing.
Even if you graduated from a non-top-tier law school, if you’re aggressive and smart and entrepreneurial, you can do quite well for yourself. Let’s take a look at David Stern….
It sounds like something firms would try to keep on the down low, through anonymous postings on Craigslist. But in the new economy, it’s apparently no big deal for law firms to ask career services offices to send over students who are so desperate they’re willing to work for free. The ABA Journal reports:
Law schools in Florida have gotten a flood of requests from small and midsize law firms seeking summer associates willing to work for free — but career officials are not pleased…
Robert Levine, assistant dean for career development at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center, tells the Daily Business Review that the U.S. Department of Labor encourages unpaid internships to be coordinated through the school’s clinical program.
“It’s a big problem because the students want the experience and the firms need the help,” Levine told the publication. “All of the law schools throughout the state are dealing with this issue.”
Please tell me this is some kind of weird Florida problem, and this kind of behavior will be limited to the Sunshine State…
A pair of motions are bouncing around email inboxes this week, thanks to the “foot-tapping lawyer.” (This has nothing to do with Larry Craig, so read on without fear.)
It all started in July, when Florida law firm Rasco Klock sent a paralegal to Wilmington for a deposition. The firm is representing a plaintiff suing an insurance company, but one of their lead attorneys, Juan Carlos Antorcha, had to remain in Miami and conduct the deposition by video, with the paralegal handling the exhibits in person.
During the deposition of a witness for the defense, a strange noise caught the attention of the Perceptive Paralegal. After hearing clicking, he peeked beneath the table and saw a defense attorney’s foot tapping the foot of the deponent. He snapped a photo with his smartphone and sent it to Antorcha, who confronted the defense and halted the deposition. Rasco Klock then filed a very angry motion for sanctions, accusing the defense attorney of coaching the witness through foot tapping.
From the motion:
Before accusing a lawyer of acting in an unethical and unprofessional fashion, a fellow lawyer must think long and hard. Was the breach intentional? What were the circumstances? Was there any sense of contrition? Could the offending lawyer believe that his conduct had been appropriate?
The lawyer accused of foot-tapping is Brown Sims shareholder Kenneth Engerrand. On every single page of the 13-page motion for sanctions against him is the incriminating footsie photo…
Michael Diaz, Jr. has a high profile in Miami. These days, the University of Miami Law grad’s name tends to crop up in the business pages, but in the late 80s, he worked on a series of highly-publicized homicide cases as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. In 1990, he started his own international litigation shop, Diaz Reus & Targ, LLP. Business Week recently profiled him for his representation of Ponzi victims and big game asset hunting.
He’s a man with a reputation and serious weight (more of it is seen in this Business Week photo than in his firm photo), so he wasn’t pleased when someone honked and yelled at him in a grocery store parking lot. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Diaz was a passenger in a white Lexus that was blocking the entrance to a parking garage. James Bracco, 30, began honking at the Lexus and then tried driving around it, while yelling at the people in the Lexus. Diaz allegedly got out of the Lexus, opened the door of the offending car, punched the offending driver in the face (knocking some teeth loose), and then punched the offending driver’s girlfriend in the chest several times.
Since this is Florida, this, of course, took place at a Publix.
Sounds like someone has been watching too many Miami Vice reruns. Not cool, dude…
Attorney Kevin Napper got busted in a Tampa prostitution sting. It wasn’t a Spitzer-esque high-end call girl thing. Instead Napper tried to solicit a $40 blow job (from an undercover police officer) in a local red-light district. Classy.
Surely Napper could have afforded higher-end services. He rolled up to the undercover officer rocking a gold Mercedes E500.
Still, Napper did manage to buy himself a motherload of hypocrisy for his forty bucks. Napper is married to Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Katherine Gail Essrig. She must be so proud.
Maybe Napper’s wife could have seen this coming. Napper received his J.D. from the University of North Dakota. But in a deliciously cheap twist of fate, he received his B.A. from Moorhead State.
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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