In 1920, Lydia C. Chamberlain, a woman from Des Moines who moved to Manhattan, donated her $500,000 estate to create a fellowship at Columbia University. The fellowship had a few restrictions. Notably, recipients were not allowed to study “law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary surgery or theology.” Ha. Seems reasonable. Oh, and the recipients had to be from Iowa and had to move back to Iowa after completing their studies.
This kind of dead-hand control should really not be allowed in our modern, global society, but that’s not why the “Lydia C. Roberts graduate and traveling fellowships” is making news today. It’s making news because the other restriction is that recipients of the fellowship have to be white. “Of the Caucasian race” is the exact formulation.
This isn’t just a story about racism, it’s a story about institutional advantages white people have that some of them pretend to not even be aware of…
Did Sandy’s thumb tip the scales in favor of Obama? Yesterday, we asked you, the ATL readers, and the answer was an emphatic no. For just last week, you predicted a comfortable reelection, despite the contemporaneous claims of a dead heat. And you were right. So, apart from the election, where the Superstorm seems to have been of little account, we wondered how Sandy (ed. note: are we still talking about the damn storm?) was, in your view, handled by your employers and schools.
Responses to our ATL Insider Survey tell us that, generally speaking, lawyers rate their employers highly in more abstract areas (e.g., “satisfaction” and “culture”) and lower in more concrete categories (e.g., “compensation” and “training”). Last week, we in the Northeast megalopolis all faced the very concrete challenge of Superstorm Sandy. Since then, we’ve covered how many firms have acquitted themselves admirably in the wake of the storm, with pro bono efforts and charitable contributions to support relief and recovery efforts.
But how about during the run-up to Sandy? Yesterday, we asked our readers who live and work in Sandy-impacted areas to assess the performance of their schools or employers in the face of the storm: how prepared were they? Was sufficient technology in place to continue operations? And how are things going now, a week later? This, in addition to a question about how the storm might have affected the outcome of yesterday’s election. Read on for the results….
Partner meetings should be better. As I discussed in last week’s column, Biglaw firms tend to hold glorified lunches, sprinkled with some generic info-passing, instead of real informative meetings for partners.
It does not have to be that way — even if your Biglaw firm ascribes to a “partners are just our highest-paid employees” ethic. And especially if your firm is serious about involving partners in the firm’s business as much as possible in these days of behemoth Biglaw firms.
What kinds of improvements to partner meetings would I advocate implementing?
Seeing as half the Eastern seaboard is underwater or in the dark or throwing a massive party, perhaps the only other topic Americans care about right now is — you guessed it — next week’s presidential election.
Most of us know how granular the campaigning has become these last few weeks, as the candidates vie for the heart and mind of the ever elusive swing voter. But for some time now, both Mitt Romney and President Obama have taken advantage of another highly detailed, technical voter research strategy. They dig up electronic information about voters using data-mining techniques pioneered by everyone’s favorite American institutions: online retailers.
Yep. Because the process voting for president is just the same as deciding what new XBox game to buy…
Hey look: a word cloud of ATL reader comments regarding the election
Most national polling data on the presidential race shows an essentially dead heat between the Kenyan communist and the plutocrat in magical underpants. The president seems to have a lead in the electoral college race, and Romney appears to have a slight edge in the overall count, but this may just be statistical noise. Any and all recent movement in the data is well within the margin of error. Nobody can say with a straight face that they really have a solid grasp of where things stand.
* “We have all the resources and infrastructure we need for any potential dispute or recount.” Because elections aren’t just for Election Day anymore. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* UC Hastings College of the Law has set up a symposium fund to honor fallen alumnus J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. [NBC Bay Area]
* People realize that the next President will probably get to appoint a couple of SCOTUS justices, right? [Slate]
* That’s some costly attorney misconduct: a lawyer who got slapped with a $10,000 sanction for “egregious conduct” at a deposition now has to pay an additional $36,274 in legal fees. [New York Law Journal]
* Gloria Allred’s “October Surprise” for Mitt Romney didn’t exactly go according to plan, but that’s probably because she never filed the appropriate motions related to the gag order in this decades old divorce case wherein Mitt Romney testified. [Bloomberg]
* This Election Day, 16 Biglaw firms in offices across the country will be manning an Election Protection hotline to field questions, because despite the bad jokes about the legal profession, “lawyers can play a really valuable civic role.” [Am Law Daily]
* “We never make decisions to eliminate positions with any discriminatory conduct.” In other news from the CYA Department, Paul Hastings really doesn’t like getting sued by former legal secretaries who were laid off by the firm. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* The assistant dean of academic support at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law claims the school discriminated against her based on her skin color. Did we mention she’s white? [Courthouse News Service]
* Apparently the allegations of false reporting levied against TJSL are a “crock of crap” because the school claims the ex-employee who told on them never alerted the dean. Hmm… [Thomas Jefferson School of Law]
* A nice pipe dream: now that “the twilight of the generalist law degree is here,” perhaps law schools will move to a two-year model, with an optional third year for specialization purposes. [DealBook / New York Times]
As a legal observer of the final presidential talking points exchange debate, the moment that stood out to me was when Mitt Romney pledged to “indict” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “under the Genocide Convention.” This is not the first time Romney has expressed this sentiment, having told reporters last month that he would pursue legal action against Ahmadinejad.
Uh-oh! Mahmoud, watch out for that process server.
This is not exactly a “get tough” military option as much as an “empty symbolic gesture,” but that’s understandable, because, as the media can’t stop telling us, “women don’t like scary conflict.”
But what exactly is Romney talking about? How does one indict the President of Iran? Let’s journey down the rabbit hole of international law…
* While the mainstream media may claim the presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is neck-and-neck in a dead heat, the majority of Am Law 200 managing partners are predicting the incumbent will be reelected for another four years. [Am Law Daily]
* In the meantime, infamous media whores Donald Trump and Gloria Allred have both promised “October surprises” for our presidential candidates. Guess we’ll finally find out what they’re yapping about later today after Allred gets back from court and the Don tweets. [ABC News]
* “These lawyers are my kind of scum. Fearless and inventive.” Raj Rajaratnam’s attorneys plan to appeal his insider trading conviction later this week on claims that the government improperly wiretapped him. [DealBook / New York Times]
* There’s no way this statute is going to be pushed back into the closet. New York’s Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the state’s gay marriage law on the basis of a violation of open-meeting laws. [Bloomberg]
* Lindsay Lohan’s father wants a judge to place the fading star under a conservatorship. Hey, it worked for Britney Spears, right? And on the plus side, it’s a great way to get her name back into the news. [CNN]
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.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.