Three years ago, the eminent civil rights historian Taylor Branch wrote a scathing essay in The Atlantic that compared college athletics to slavery. In that piece, he wrote that college sports carried with it “the unmistakeable whiff of the plantation.” Comparisons to slavery cannot be brought lightly, of course. This is not Kristallnacht after all.
Three years later, the plantation house still stands. As if we are taking a remedial class taught by Howard Zinn, we now arrive at organized labor. This week, it was reported that members of Northwestern University’s football team had filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board in order to be recognized as a labor union. If successful, communism.
Whether you believe that college football players should be granted fifteen minute smoke breaks every four hours or not, I think it’s safe to say that we all fervently pray for the day that the NCAA perishes after a long, yet valiant, struggle with butt cancer. Because of that, there were very few outright denunciations of Northwestern University’s actions in the media this week. Still, let’s get a lay of the land, shall we?
Let’s talk Samuel Gompers. Let’s talk Hoffa. Let’s talk sports….
Why did we expect fireworks from discovery? Because of the lurid nature of Marchuk’s allegations, including severe sexual harassment and (effectively) sexual assault, and because of the Faruqi firm’s aggressive response, which included suing Marchuk for defamation and claiming that it was Marchuk who was obsessed with Monteverde.
But it wasn’t just another “he said, she said” type of situation. Both sides claimed that third-party witnesses and contemporaneous documents would corroborate their respective and conflicting accounts.
Discovery is now underway in the case. Witnesses have been deposed, and documents have been produced. What kind of portrait do they paint?
I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams. I hope cheerleaders across the NFL will step forward to join me in demanding respect and fair compensation.
– Lacy T., a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, commenting on her proposed wage-and-hour class action lawsuit against the team. Lacy alleges that when all cheer squad commitments are taken into consideration, including time spent rehearsing, performing, and appearing at required events, she makes $5 per hour, which is less than the California state minimum wage of $8 per hour.
The law firm of Seyfarth Shaw, known for its labor and employment expertise, just released its tenth annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report. The report details the important trends in workplace litigation going into 2014 and analyzes “1,123 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis.”
The verdict, in a nutshell, is that the Supreme Court has bent over backward to protect businesses from these suits, but they still come up… and one category of workplace suit is even growing exponentially. Any guesses?
So what are businesses going to face out there this year?
* Mayor Bloomberg is filing suit to overturn New York’s Living Wage law, because wasting a bunch of money pursuing a lawsuit for the last two weeks of his term is the kind of efficiency he brings to the table as a biznessmun. [DNAInfo]
* Judge Richard Leon puts the NSA metadata surveillance program on ice. Looks like someone’s going to get bugged. [Slate]
* Someone’s asking for a fake college transcript in Baton Rouge. Pretty sure LSU’s athletic department could give you a hand. [Law and More]
* Considering the polygamy ruling in Utah, here’s an interesting analysis of the constitutionality of bestiality laws. This seems like an appropriate place to link this song about a guy who broke into the Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* Here’s a fun game: replace the name of the school and the course of study and marvel at how easily it could pass for an article Elie wrote. [Huffington Post]
* These folks got smacked with a cybersquatting charge because they used a logical domain name to publicize an ongoing dispute. It’s a lot easier to sue people than to build a solid home. [IT-Lex]
* In sad news, the victim in a recent carjacking-related killing was Dustin Friedland, a Syracuse law grad whose wife Jamie, also a lawyer, worked with Adam Leitman Bailey. Our thoughts are with the Friedland family. [NY Daily News]
* The Beastie Boys are suing GoldieBlox over the latter’s viral ad set to a parody of “Girls.” Unlike GoldieBlox, NYU Law professor Chris Sprigman doesn’t need an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to burst the Beastie Boys’ bubble. Video embedded after the jump… [Bloomberg Law via YouTube]
As mentioned in yesterday’s Morning Docket, William Henig’s case against Quinn Emanuel has survived a Motion to Dismiss. For those of you that haven’t been following this case closely, Henig is the contract attorney-cum-plaintiff suing Quinn for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York State law claiming the document review work he was hired to perform does not amount to the practice of law.
While Staci is correct — we humble peasants are rejoicing — I wouldn’t start mentally cashing those back OT checks just yet…
* “This should be a red flag for everyone in legal education and the law firm world.” According to NALP, the percentage of women associates has dropped for the fourth consecutive year. That’s just lovely. [National Law Journal]
* Next summer, the co-CEOs of Hogan Lovells from legacy firms Hogan & Hartson and Lovells will make way for a single CEO structure. If approved by vote, Stephen Immelt will be in charge. Congratulations! [Am Law Daily]
* And the peasants rejoiced, for one of the FLSA overtime suits filed by a document review attorney has survived a motion to dismiss. Quinn Emanuel must have been genuinely shocked by this judge’s ruling. [Am Law Daily]
* “One thing we understand is law and economics.” Yet another law school finally, finally gets it. George Mason University School of Law has agreed to freeze its tuition — for the time being. We may have more on this development later today. [InTheCapital]
* George Huguely V, the UVA LAX bro convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, has got one hell of a lawyer. Paul Clement is arguing his client’s right to counsel was violated at trial. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Today we have a story of a contract attorney who made good — well, a contract attorney who got a permanent position. That position was called “staff attorney” and he still had to review documents, but now with health insurance.
But what happens when that staff attorney feels like he is on the losing end of favoritism, finds himself passed over for promotions, and eventually gets fired? You get employment litigation.
Which firm finds itself defending against a document-reviewer-cum-staff attorney’s claims of age discrimination?
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?
Alexandra Marchuk’s lawsuit against her former employer, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its top partners, Juan Monteverde, marches on. And this time the Faruqis are playing offense.
We previously noted the firm’s attempt to make Marchuk look like a bunny boiler — a mentally unstable young woman who was obsessed with Monteverde, the man whom she claims harassed her. And it looks like the firm is sticking to this strategy, trying to call into question Marchuk’s mental health.
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…