If you’re bummed about having to shelve your plans for a nice tropical vacation this summer, you’re not alone. According to 43% of survey respondents, this summer is turning out to be busier than the rest of the year.
The top reasons cited for the increased billables are that partners are bringing in more business (63%) and the economy is improving (42%). Some of the other reasons, however, are not as upbeat: respondents report having to pick up the slack for other associates who left their firm voluntarily or involuntarily (28%), or who went on vacation (15%).
Another 30% of survey respondents say that this summer has been slower than other months (while the remaining 27% of respondents report that their workload is about the same as the rest of the year).
Why the work slowdown? Which firms and practice areas are turning up the heat this summer? An which ones are cooling things down?
The world of large law firms isn’t all about prestige and pay. Although the Vault 100 prestige rankings and the Am Law 100 profit-per-partner rankings are closely watched, there are other ranking schemes out there — and some of these frameworks adopt a kinder, gentler outlook on Biglaw.
For example, take the American Lawyer’s A-List. Although the A-List rankings take law firm financial performance into account, they also factor in diversity, pro bono work, and associate satisfaction.
Associate satisfaction: that’s the driving force behind another important set of rankings, Vault’s just-released “Best Law Firms to Work For” list. The notion of “quality of life” at a law firm might seem laughable to some — but let’s face it, some firms are generally better workplaces than others. (Of course, your mileage may vary: some lawyers have great experiences at firms known for being awful, and some lawyers have awful experiences at firms known for being great.)
This year, the celebrity wattage is considerably lower. But there are still a few notable names floating out there (and we welcome additional submissions, by email). For example, we recently wrote about actor Wai Choy, a former co-star of Lindsay Lohan who is now summering at Proskauer in New York.
Our next celebrity summer associate isn’t super-famous in his own right (even though he’s as good-looking as many a Hollywood actor). Instead, he derives his celebrity from a famous father.
Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, which was joined in its entirety by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. SCOTUS reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that class action certification should not have been granted in this case, brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female Wal-Mart employees who alleged a pattern and practice of pay and promotion discrimination by the giant retailer.
Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. What did RBG have to say?
Allegations of criminal conduct can be made against attorneys from all walks of life. An innocent-looking solo practitioner in Illinois can be accused of prostitution. A partner in a well-regarded Minnesota law firm, the incoming president of the state bar association, can be accused of molesting a child (and convicted of criminal sexual conduct, after pleading guilty).
Such seamy accusations aren’t limited to the heartland; we also see them here in New York, at elite law firms. As we mentioned last night, Moshe Gerstein — a 35-year-old corporate associate in the New York office of Gibson Dunn, who also once worked at Skadden — has been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office with child pornography possession. And we’re not talking about garden-variety kiddie porn, but images of a particularly disturbing nature.
Let’s learn more about the charges against this young lawyer, have a look at Moshe’s mug, and hear from some tipsters who know him — including a former colleague….
Facebook goes on the offensive to protect its founder from a man it says is a scammer
When Facebook called Paul Ceglia, the man who claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg for half of Facebook, an “inveterate scam artist,” Ceglia’s lawyers at DLA Piper replied that the company had no facts to back that claim up. “We are prepared to move the case forward into discovery and our client looks forward to his day in court,” said DLA.
Facebook is ready for discovery too: their lawyers at Gibson Dunn have filed to expedite it. Their attached memorandum of law makes a strong case against Ceglia. Facebook’s hoping to give Ceglia his day in court, but it’s hoping that it’s a criminal court.
Facebook wants the original version of the contract that Ceglia claims Mark Zuckerberg signed and the emails that Ceglia said were exchanged regarding that contract. Facebook says they’re as fake as that app that claims to let you see who your Facebook stalkers are. To support their claims, they’ve dug into the dark corners of Ceglia’s past, mentioning again his drug and fraud convictions as well as disclosing a land scam that Ceglia has allegedly been running for years, that had not previously been discovered. Note to self: do not sue huge corporation with any potential skeletons in the closet.
If the allegations Facebook’s lawyers make are true, Ceglia could end up with prison time instead of a hefty chunk of Facebook stock.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg respond to Paul Ceglia, the wood chipper who claims to own half of Facebook
Now that the Winklevoss twins have been sent packing by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (with a kick in the ass on the way out the door from the rest of the Ninth Circuit), with a 0.00% chance of the Supreme Court taking their case, Facebook’s lawyers can focus on the latest “Actually, I Own Facebook” lawsuit.
Paul Ceglia claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to half of the company. Zuck supposedly signed away a stake in Facebook in 2003 while a Harvard undergrad in exchange for $2,000 in seed money from Ceglia.
In an amended complaint filed in April (with the help of DLA Piper), Ceglia claimed to have some damning emails from Zuckerberg where they discussed “the face book” project at length. Ceglia said the emails showed that Zuck deceived him, allegedly telling him the site was not very popular with the Harvard kids, and asking him if he would like his $2,000 back — at the same time as Zuckerberg was moving out to California to ramp up operations.
Lawyers at Gibson Dunn filed Facebook’s response to Ceglia’s lawsuit this week, calling him a scam artist and saying that the contract he claims to have is “doctored” and that the evidence he has produced is “fabricated.” Here’s the scorching opener to the answer, which was certainly written as much for the media as for the judge….
* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]
* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who can be seen every Thursday night on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page, shares none of Jan Brewer’s qualms about a “birther bill.” [Politico]
* The Ecuadorean Slapfight (also the name of my ska band in high school) between Patton Boggs, Gibson Dunn, and Chevron was squashed by a judge yesterday. [Reuters]
* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]
* A copyright troll has found a way to exact a toll without actually owning any copyrights. No word yet on whether anyone has gained entrance into the boy’s hole. [Wired via ABA Journal]
* Alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being transferred to another prison. Julian Assange celebrated the news by going dancing. [Fox News]
* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8′s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]
* Baker & McKenzie is being sued for $600 million. First they were the inspiration for Philadelphia. Then they gave me a cold offer. Now this? Horrific mistakes, all. [Sports Money / Forbes]
* Meanwhile, Bingham McCutchen is preemptively suing Frank McCourt for letting them screw him over so badly. [Los Angeles Times]
* The middleman in the Matthew Kluger brouhaha, Kenneth Robinson, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. No word yet on whether he is a gay dad. [Bloomberg]
* The Ninth Circuit ruled that the most controversial parts of the Arizona immigration law will remain blocked. [Washington Post]
* A man was fired from his job as a part-time urine monitor because he was born a woman. He’s suing (with help from Gibson Dunn), but has already found new employment. As a package handler. [New York Times]
* Speaking of packages, this employment discrimination lawsuit filed against a Dallas law firm is struggling with penis ID. [ABA Journal]
* NFL owners and players have been ordered into mediation by a federal judge. Who gives a sh*t? It’s a great band, it’s a bad band. It’s like pizza, baby! [ESPN]
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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