Intellectual Property

Ed. note: Please welcome our newest columnist, Gaston Kroub of Kroub, Silbersher & Kolmykov PLLC, an intellectual property litigation boutique here in New York. He’ll be writing about leaving a Biglaw partnership to start his own firm.

This is a position I never thought I would be in. I am sure my partners feel the same way. If someone would have told me last Thanksgiving that within a year I would, together with two of my colleagues, give notice at my firm to start an IP boutique, I would have laughed. After all, Biglaw was all I knew, starting with my first full-time position as a first-year associate at Greenberg Traurig over a decade (and well over twenty thousand billable hours or so) ago. Leaving Biglaw to start my own boutique? I had honestly never given it a thought before this year.

Now that I am a whole week into the experience, I am happy to report that I have never been more excited for the next stage of my professional career. Even though I no longer have a large office with a view of the Statue of Liberty (and actually am working from home as we negotiate for space), there is something sweet about trying to build a business on my own terms, working together with partners that I have come to value and trust. After all, they had the courage to make the leap as well. While the decision was not an easy one, it already feels like the right one.

A little bit of background about me….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Leaving To Launch An IP Boutique”

Is thirteen an unlucky number? Apparently not at Quinn Emanuel, the high-powered litigation firm that just went for a baker’s dozen in naming new partners.

This past weekend, the Quinn partnership gathered in California for their partner retreat. Agenda items included selecting new partners and setting the bonus scale.

Does a large partner class bode well for bonuses? Because this is the biggest partner class Quinn has named in several years….

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In an era when “disruption” is celebrated, the world of large law firms is one of the last redoubts of conventional wisdom. For a uniquely rule- and precedent-bound profession, this makes sense. Biglaw’s conventional wisdom has the added virtue of being reliable. For example, we can count on Cravath taking the lead — at least chronologically — on bonuses, and for DLA Piper to have the most random Third developing-world offices.

Another reflection of conventional wisdom is the way in which Biglaw lends itself to — and revels in — superlatives and rankings. There tends to be a generally acknowledged and perennially dominant player (or a few) in most practice areas: Wachtell Lipton for M&A, Weil Gotshal for Chapter 11 work, Patton Boggs for lobbying, and so forth. There’s no doubt that many worthy firms get overlooked.

Last year we took a look at which firms’ practice groups were considered “underrated” by peers in the field. Among the notable 2012 nominees: Cahill for corporate law, Arnold & Porter in litigation, and Proskauer for its bankruptcy and tax practices.

We wondered whether the same practice groups were still considered by practitioners to be unfairly underrated. Or are there other firms deserving more recognition?

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They told me, if I could sit on the stage so nobody climbed over me, I could drink beer till the show was over.
Gimme Shelter

Hells Angels are the Kleenex of biker gangs. Sure, there are the Mongols, the Outlaws, the Warlocks, the Diablos, the Cool Ranch Doritos. But all of those gangs take up relatively little space in the collective imagination. And one of those gangs isn’t even a gang. It’s a corn chip!

Anyway, the Angels’ ubiquity in popular culture means that when anyone anywhere thinks of roving gangs of motorcycle-riding degenerates, they think of the Angels. Hunter Thompson, Altamont, Sonny Barger and the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test placed the gang at the forefront of that fashion trend known as the 60s. And as Atticus Finch quipped, “Even bellbottoms need a lawyer.”

So it was that the New York Times banged out an extra-long feature on the gang and their litigious ways over the long weekend.

That last sentence was the closest I could get the words “gang” and “bang” together. Let’s see if I have better luck later in this post….

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This coming Friday, it is the inalienable right of all Americans to sleep off their hangovers, or riot at Walmart, or do anything at all rather than work for The Man. But Biglaw is a different country. As illustrated by Elie’s decision matrix, the “choice” of whether to work on this sacred day is, for the denizens of the law firm world, fraught with other pressures and expectations. We all know that Biglaw careers demand a Faustian bargain: in return for their fat paychecks (and bonuses?), lawyers are expected to work grueling, unpredictable hours. This time of year, that reality is brought into sharp relief: the “holiday season,” with those “family obligations” and so forth, is something that occurs elsewhere.

But law firm billable expectations are not homogeneous. There are significant differences across practice areas, seniority levels, and, of course, individual firms. So how do the various practices, employment statuses, and firms stack up?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Best Of Hours, The Worst Of Hours: ATL Survey Ratings”

* You’d think that when discussing major reforms to the patent system, the director of the USPTO would be there, but you’d be wrong. You’d also be wrong if you thought we had a director right now. [National Law Journal]

* Welcome to the future of Biglaw: Allen & Overy has realized that it’s a waste of money to keep hiring in a weak market, so the firm is recruiting its alumni to serve as contract attorneys in times of higher legal demand. [Legal Week]

* Dean Gregory Maggs, the interim leader of George Washington University Law, is being lauded for increasing first-year enrollment by 22 percent in a time of crisis. Excellent work, sir. You flood that job market. [GW Hatchet]

* Just because you have a law degree doesn’t mean you’re “entitled to rise up and become partner.” Getting a job in the new normal involves having a good attitude and social graces. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Ladies, if you get pregnant after a fling with an Olympic medalist and move out of state, please know your “appropriation of the child while in utero [will be deemed] irresponsible, reprehensible.” [New York Times]

* GTL stands for “Gym, Tan, Laundry,” but the owner of these Jersey Shore clubs thinks it stands for “Gym, Tan, Lawsuit” — thanks to losses uncovered by its insurer in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. [Newark Star-Ledger]

When we sit down at Thanksgiving this year, we’ll give thanks for Weil Gotshal. Over the past few months, the highly prestigious and profitable firm has generated a cornucopia of tasty news to cover.

And the drama isn’t over yet. Instead, the soap opera continues.

Soap operas feature ups as well as downs; they’re not all bad news (because that would be boring). Births and marriages balance out deaths and divorces.

So for today’s Weil Gotshal update, we’ll start with the happy stuff — new partners! — before moving on to the gloomier news….

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Look out Inspector Gadget!!!

* CeeLo Green, through his attorney, tells the judge and prosecutors in his criminal case to, um, Forget themselves. He’s miffed that the judge and prosecutors set up cameras during his arraignment and left themselves out of the shot creating a false impression of guilt. This marks the first time this guy didn’t want a camera fixated solely on him. [TMZ]

* Samsung wants a mistrial in its case with Apple because Apple’s attorney, Harold McElhinny, implied in his closing argument that American-made jobs building TV sets moved overseas because companies failed to protect intellectual property. Samsung is arguing that this is racist. [Bloomberg]

* Remember the matter of the attorney supposedly stalking a jury? Well, the judge has overturned the verdict over it. [Courthouse News Service]

* A week in the life of a Biglaw litigation associate. It’s a decent list, but where were the Thursday Night Football and Netflix? [Big Law Rebel]

* JPMorgan is awfully sorry for making the conscious decision to sell toxic securities that helped destroy the economy. “Our bad, y’all!” [Gawker]

* The justices who penned Bush v. Gore shamelessly admitted how terrible the decision was by trying to claim it had no precedential value. Unfortunately, no one listened to them. [Mother Jones]

* In addition to the many law firms that are contributing to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, several Asian-American lawyer groups are organizing a fundraising event this coming Monday. If you’re in New York, please consider attending! [Facebook; AABANY]

* In sad news, the son of Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee shot and killed himself in the courtyard of the LDS Temple in Henderson, NV. Our thoughts are with Judge Bybee and his family. [Las Vegas Review-Journal (gavel bang: Las Vegas Law Blog)]

* A Pennsylvania newspaper just retracted its 1863 editorial panning the Gettysburg Address. Civil War CYA is all the rage these days. First Mississippi outlaws slavery, now this. [NBC News]

* “Man fired cannon during dispute.” That sums it up. [My FoxNY]

* Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker indicted for the murder of an elderly lawyer. His defense should invoke his maxim “even if you make mistakes you’re lovable.” [Huffington Post]

* The man who shot and killed Renisha McBride was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and a felony firearm charge. [CBS Detroit]

* Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman needs to give up this dumb quest to change New York law to keep his job. [Overlawyered]

* Anti-religious jury tactics in intellectual property cases. Jesus! Or, not Jesus. Or, whatever. [Patently-O]

* Law is complex and nuanced and that’s a good thing. [Popehat]

* A follow-up on a previous item. Election fraud complaint dismissed in the case of Machiavellian Alabama Greeks. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Speaking of the Gettysburg Address, here’s how it would go down with modern political consultants per the great Bob Newhart. Routine after the jump… [YouTube]

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* Citi reports that firms saw a revenue jump of 2.7 percent in the third quarter. Revenue has now finally outpaced expenses for the year. Let the good times roll? [The AmLaw Daily]

* In regulatory fun, the Comptroller of the Currency issued some regulations on how banks can use consulting firms to comply with enforcement orders. In a nutshell, consultants should do their jobs rather than be a rubber stamp for the banks. Once again regulation arrives long after common sense required it. [Washington Post]

* A new company called Fantex Holdings might turn your fantasy football chatter into insider trading when it starts securitizing athletes. Now TacoCorp can endure an SEC investigation just like real companies. [Corporate Counsel]

* Microsoft’s IP counsel is opening a new office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Congratulations of the Ctrl+Alt+Deleting your career as an outside counsel. [Corporate Counsel]

* Harvey Updyke, the Alabama fan who destroyed Auburn’s landmark trees, owes $796,000 according to a judge. Roll Tide. [Courthouse News Service]

* Veterans applying to law school should take these tips to heart. [Blueprint Prep]

* The Amanda Knox trial has a ton of experts involved. No defendant, but a ton of experts. [The Expert Institute]

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