Everyone enjoys the law firm gone bad. Think Wolfram & Hart; Bendini, Lambert & Locke; whatever the firm was that Devil was in charge of… Cravath? All right, it was really Milton, Chadwick & Waters, but whatever. The lawyer-hating masses like to see their biases lived out in the extreme, and lawyers enjoy the competence porn of thinking a law firm can really have an evil master plan. But these firms only exist in fiction, right?
So what the hell is going on with this firm?
Accusations are flying that this law practice was massively overfilling clients, instructing clients to harass and intimidate government officials, tailing people with P.I.s to accuse folks of traffic violations, and bugging people’s cars with GPS trackers.
It’s not plotting to birth the Antichrist, but it definitely sounds like bad news…
These are not rhetorical questions. We expect candor from the university we hired to educate us. As future lawyers, we won’t accept a Potemkin village and will see through any façade erected to make us feel that all is well. Reminding us that there is a new curriculum (which doesn’t seem to amount to more than shifting around the furniture on the Titanic) will not make us look away from the real issues.
I’m not surprised that Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people who want to have an affair but apparently lack confidence or creativity, is successful. There is nothing more desperate and gullible than an unhappily married person. I mean, happily married people are basically hollowed-out ghosts who can’t order a meal without discussing it in committee. Unhappily married people treat every social event like their last night on Earth, get sloppy drunk, and try to hook up with any co-worker or friend who shows them the slightest bit of affection. There’s a big difference between a homewrecker and a building inspector who simply acknowledges a home as “condemned.”
But let’s be clear, nobody wants to have meaningless sex with a middle-aged, unhappily married man, except: middle-aged, unhappily married women, 20-somethings with Daddy issues, goldiggers and crackwhores, and bridesmaids you meet at vacation/destination weddings. That’s the complete list. Ashley Madison is built on the nearly total lie that there are attractive women looking to bang married men who need to go online to find them as opposed to any bar anywhere in America at all times.
There’s nothing illegal about inducing men to pay money to interact with people who have pretty pictures and can talk dirty, even if those people are employees who are probably unattractive and have no intention of actually meeting and having sex with you anyway. The “party line” industry has been thriving for years. But Ashley Madison might want to settle with their employees who make up fake profiles, before some sad recently divorced dude with nothing to lose sues them for fraud…
When Dean Lawrence E. Mitchell of Case Western Reserve University School of Law announced earlier this week that he was taking a temporary leave of absence, we offered two theories about why. The first was that the university wanted to remove him from his post so it could conduct an independent investigation of the allegations made against him in a lawsuit by Professor Raymond Ku. The second was that Dean Mitchell wanted to devote his full time and energy to fighting Professor Ku’s lawsuit, which claims that the dean retaliated against Professor Ku after Ku reported alleged sexual harassment by the dean to university officials.
Of these two theories, the second is probably closer to the truth. Through his lawyers, Dean Mitchell is fighting back — hard — and the university seems to be supporting him all the way.
Since we’ve devoted extensive coverage to the allegations of the lawsuit against Dean Mitchell, let’s now hear the arguments defending him (and attacking Professor Ku). Some of them have been made by Dean Mitchell’s lawyers and the university, and some come from Case Western students and faculty members with whom we have communicated. They paint a most interesting picture….
(Please note the UPDATE added to the end of this post, a message just sent out to Case alumni by President Barbara R. Snyder.)
* “What about devil worshippers?” Justice Scalia may think Satan’s gotten “wilier,” but that doesn’t mean his supporters don’t deserve religious representation in their public meetings. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaker of the House John Boehner says that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes, tons of lawsuits will be filed — except that hasn’t happened in states with similar laws. Oopsie… [Reuters]
* Judge Shira Scheindlin isn’t going to just sit there and allow herself to be kicked off the stop and frisk case. In a rare move, she asked the Second Circuit to reverse its ruling and reinstate her. Go girl! [Reuters]
* Quinn Emanuel is welcoming a frequent firm-hopper (from Sidley to Clifford Chance to Cleary Gottlieb) into its ranks in D.C. to join Weil defectors Mike Lyle and Eric Lyttle. Best of luck! [Am Law Daily]
* Gibson Dunn scooped up Scott Hammond, a longtime leader of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Query just how large the dangling carrot at the end of the firm’s stick was. [Blog of Legal Times]
Dean Mitchell and the university haven’t commented much on the allegations of Professor Raymond Ku’s complaint (which was recently amended to add some juicier allegations). The university did issue a statement denying that retaliation occurred, and the dean told the Case community to keep calm and carry on.
To make that process easier, he’s stepping away from his deanly duties for a time. Let’s check out his announcement….
(Please note the UPDATE added at the end of this post.)
* “I Love Boobies” case may go to the Supreme Court. [Jezebel]
* Law firms are warning clients to beware of “Misclassification Creep” which is a “threat” to many businesses. Yeah, it’s a real shame that employees might start getting paid what they actually earn. [Corporate Counsel]
* Recurring ATL subject, Caskers craft spirits retailer, has been sold to Anderson Press. [Pandodaily]
* Meanwhile, another legally related business has raised a total of $850,000. Hopefully they can use some of that to make another hilarious commercial. [Techcrunch]
* Here are 10 things every new lawyer should do right now. Shorter version: start puckering up. [The Careerist]
* In horrible news, a missing Wayne State law student was found dead. [Detroit Free Press]
* A former Biglaw, current Midlaw associate has written a book and created this trailer to promote it. What if a sex toy manufacturer became a patent troll? Video embed after the jump…
Anyone who has ever worked with an expert witness understands the cardinal rules of the process. The expert must provide a truthful, considered opinion. As part of that, the expert needs to have a complete picture of the circumstances he or she is asked to evaluate and the expert has to be prepared to defend his or her conclusions on cross-examination. Experts are supposed to assist the fact-finder, not provide disingenuous opinions for a quick buck.
Attorneys aren’t required by Rule 26 to disclose communications with experts that are not expected to testify, but what about experts that the lawyers intended to call as witnesses and then decided against producing? Do they get magically transformed into “trial preparation experts” as soon as they render unfavorable opinions? One major firm has not only withheld unfavorable expert reports from the other side under this logic, but made a decades-long practice of it.
The firm characterizes their practice aggressive. Judges have called it “deceitful, dishonest” and “an affront to justice that simply cannot be tolerated.”
In all seriousness, the twisted tale of decades of withholding evidence from dying victims is the worst thing you’ll hear about all day….
Case Western is a prominent and well-ranked law school, #68 in the latest U.S. News rankings. It didn’t make the ATL Law School rankings, which stop at the top 50, but Case Western alumni give their alma mater a solid B-plus, as you can see from the school’s ATL Career Center profile.
But Mitchell’s fame comes less from Case Western and more from his national profile as a defender of legal education. Last year, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, Law School Is Worth the Money, that went viral.
Critics of Mitchell’s piece, including my colleague Elie Mystal, accused the dean of screwing over his students. Case Western charges tuition of almost $50,000, but less than 50 percent of its graduates secure full-time, long-term employment as lawyers, according to Law School Transparency.
Today Dean Mitchell is back in the news. A lawsuit filed this morning alleges that he screws his students more literally….
(See the UPDATE added below for the university’s response to the complaint.)
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 (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), 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.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
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:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.