Here’s a message to all lawyers drafting demand letters. Before you fire off that deliciously evil, in-your-face, incendiary letter replete with all those unreasonable demands you dreamed up over the last 30 minutes of editing, take a good hard look at what you’ve written, and then stop. Just… stop.
What did you think you were going to gain? Did you hope it would help your letter stand out? Prove to your adversary that you’re really serious? Set a bold opening bid for negotiations? Are there visions of a terrified person reading your letter and running to the phone to give your client everything under the sun?
Because none of that is going to happen. All you’ve managed to do is torpedo your credibility… and now you’ll probably end up getting trolled by a popularlegalindustry website.
Take, for example, these guys, whose string of ridiculous demands not only failed to reduce their adversary to jelly, it elicited a declaratory judgment suit.
So the question is, “Would You Rather: Be self-satisfied over your own cleverness or save your client from litigation?”
It’s so refreshing when the filings and correspondence in celebrity lawsuits live up to personalities involved. So it’s a tremendous joy when a bombastic and confrontational figure has a lawyer willing to colorfully snark up a settlement offer… and then let that letter leak so we can all revel in it.
In this case, the litigant is retired former All-Star Jack Clark, who is being sued by the still-active, but nonetheless also former All-Star Albert Pujols, after Clark repeatedly and publicly accused Pujols of using steroids. How much of a career dick is Jack Clark? His Wikipedia entry uses the words “rift,” “feuded,” and “enjoyed playing for manager Billy Martin.”
In any event, Clark’s lawyer endeavored to make a settlement offer worthy of his client and produced an enjoyable read for all involved. So let’s take a look at what Clark offered Albert Pujols, if that is his real name….
If you enjoy fashion, check out our sister site, Fashionista.com.
Fashion law is a quickly-growing specialty practice area — a place where lawyers can aspire to dress stylishly while honing their legal skills in the glamorous world of haute couture law. You may never see all of the models and bottles a career in law once guaranteed, but you might get to work on their contracts.
A lawyer working in the business of beauty can expect to do a great deal of intellectual property work (after all, trademark law is sexier when you’re doing it in designer duds). An IP student group at a leading law school took that to heart, and decided to hold a symposium on the topic of fashion law.
The students pulled out all the stops for the event: they got Biglaw sponsorship, they created an eye-catching flyer, and they lined up some of the greats of the fashion law world to speak. Needless to say, they expected a great turnout.
What they didn’t expect was to be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter from a high-end fashion house….
Have you ever noticed that some lawyers become different people when they get in front of a keyboard?
It’s like a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of thing. They might be perfectly pleasant individuals in real life, capable of warmth or at least civility to their fellow human beings. But get them in front of a computer with a law-firm template on the screen, and they turn into some sort of lawyerly unmanned drone.
Most lawyers, especially junior lawyers, have an idea about what a lawyer letter is supposed to look like. It generally has fancy lawyerly words like “pursuant to,” and it usually includes lawyerly weirdnesses like parenthetically writing numbers in figures after having just spelled out the numbers in words (“If we do not receive a response for you and/or your counsel in five (5) days …”), and it almost always contains threats about Very Bad Things happening. And they tend to be uniformly douchey.
But here are four (4) reasons why lawyer letters are less effective than phone calls.…
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…