As we near the end of 2012, we can definitely declare this year to be a momentous one for LGBT rights and equality. Two federal appeals courts struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (and the Supreme Court will soon consider whether to grant review in the DOMA litigation, which it almost certainly will). On Election Day, voters across the country came out in favor of marriage equality. The good people of Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, making her our nation’s first openly gay senator.
Despite these advances, being an LGBT attorney presents unique challenges. When it comes to welcoming gay and lesbian lawyers, not all firms are created equal.
The good news, though, is that Biglaw made a big showing in the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Corporate Equality Index, which scores large U.S. employers in terms of how LGBT-friendly they are in their policies and practices. Which firms are letting their rainbow flags fly?
* In a move to “end the vacancy crisis,” one week after being reelected, and one day after the Senate returned to session, Barack Obama nominated seven people for open seats on federal district courts, including two S.D.N.Y. slots. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Dewey know how much the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to pay the now defunct firm for its work on the team’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case? About $13M — the equivalent of their pitcher’s salary, or 62% of their first baseman’s pay. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Which Biglaw firms in the Am Law 200 are the most LGBT friendly? Overall, of the 145 firms that participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s survey, 71 received perfect scores. Absolutely fabulous! [Am Law Daily]
* The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education wants to know what should be done about law schools. This is a time to keep it simple, stupid: change EVERYTHING! [National Law Journal]
* The New York Court of Appeals invoked the Major Disaster Rule for the first time ever, allowing out-of-state attorneys to perform pro bono services for Hurricane Sandy victims. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* William Adams, the Texas family court judge who got caught beating his daughter, returned to the bench yesterday after a year-long suspension. At least he won’t get physical abuse cases, anymore. [Fox News]
* John Coffey, Senior Status Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, RIP. [Journal Sentinel]
We’re entering on-campus interviewing season. If you’re a law student going through OCI, or if you’re a lawyer involved in your firm’s recruiting process, be sure to check out Above the Law’s new law student career center, a repository job search resources, and our law firm directory, where law firms get letter grades in different categories.
One area that interviewees are always interested in is diversity. Diverse attorneys — okay, that’s a bad way of putting it — minority attorneys want to know where they’ll feel welcome. Even lawyers who aren’t minorities want workplaces that are open and inclusive. And corporate clients are increasingly keen on sending their work to firms that show a commitment to diversity.
So which Biglaw firms are the biggest on diversity? Let’s check out the latest rankings….
* Dear ABA: could you please at least LOOK at what’s going on at Rutgers-Camden. We’ve already looked at their arguably misleading ads. Now Paul Campos has figured that the school may have been massively under-reporting the amount of debt people graduate with to the ABA (scroll down to Upate III). Seriously ABA, do one small part of your freaking job JUST ONCE. [Inside the Law School Scam]
* Here’s a great way to lower the cost of education: make books free. I mean, it’ll never, ever happen, but it’s a good idea. [CALI via Tax Prof Blog]
* Law students might need a bit of a refresher on supply and demand before they hit up fall recruiting. [Adam Smith Esq.]
* Legacy LeBoeuf retirees have also been screwed by the D&L fiasco. Boy, Dewey know how they feel. [WSJ Law Blog]
Billable-hour requirements are generally like the price of gas: they just keep going up. A law professor might compare it to a one-way ratchet. As law firms try to increase their profitability — by doing more work with less manpower, thanks to recessionary layoffs that haven’t been completely reversed — they ask more and more of their lawyers. Right?
Well, not necessarily. One Biglaw firm recently lowered its hours requirement — and instituted some other perks worth noting.
* You wonder if the Supreme Court justices who went to the State of the Union even noticed Gabrielle Giffords last night, much less were humble enough to learn anything from her example. [Slate]
* Rapelisberger Roethlisberger settles his case. [NBC Sports]
* Let me get this straight, first conservative parents want the magical creation story taught in schools. Now they want “ex-gay therapy” to be taught as well. Here’s a thought: why don’t you teach your kids that in church, and let schools focus on things that are actually real. [Huffington Post]
* Pepperdine University won’t let students form an LGBT organization because it’s against God’s will. Also against God’s will, intelligent people going to Pepperdine. [The Advocate]
* Should companies help us recover our purchases if they are stolen? I’d settle for increased taxes so we can afford more police officers to do that job, but don’t mind me, I’m the guy who thinks government has a responsibility to its citizens. [Overlawyered]
NYU Law School seems to have a problem with graffiti. Hate graffiti. Last year, NYU had to bring in the NYPD hate crimes task force to deal with somebody who scrawled “damn orthodox jews” in the main NYU Law building.
This year, there’s been another incident of hateful graffiti at the law school. Honestly, I don’t know why the kids can’t keep this stuff on the 6 train where it belongs. Or maybe they should be tagging up some phat outlines instead of defacing their school.
Apparently this graffiti was anti-gay and directed at one specific student….
Don't you hate it when the guy you happen to be sleeping with touches your junk and you have to go all octagon on him?
An MMA fighter and sometimes bouncer awakens to find a gay guy sleeping in his bed with his hands down his pants. Naturally, the fighter removes the gay guy’s hand and beats him to a pulp. At trial, the fighter claims the brutal assault was in self defense.
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I woke up with some dude’s hand down my pants and had to nearly beat him to death just to get out of the room I’d have… zero dollars because that never freaking happens.
But that’s the story Dale Edward Cutler told a Michigan appeals court. Yet, even assuming Cutler’s facts to be true, the appeals court still ruled that his use of force was too excessive to claim self defense….
As we all await a vote on gay marriage in New York, the New York Observer came out with a wonderful list: the 50 most powerful gay people in New York. They’ve called them “power gays,” and that, my friends, is just fun to say. Here, I’ll use it in a scene.
OLD GUY: Is that guy over there… a gay?
ELIE: No. He’s a POWER gay.
The number one most powerful gay person in New York is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. That makes sense. Christine Quinn could well be the next mayor of New York City, and unlike other potential NYC mayoral candidates, she doesn’t have a penis that can be photographed and disseminated over Twitter.
But, more relevant for our purposes, the power gays include a number of lawyers….
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
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:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.