Today’s notable move involves Andy DeVooght, coming out of the U.S. Attorney’s in Chicago. DeVooght has an enviable résumé. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he worked as a partner at Winston & Strawn and clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court, for the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.
Instead of returning to Biglaw, a common path for someone in DeVooght’s shoes, he’s joining a buzz-generating boutique. Which one?
As regular readers of Lawyerly Lairs know well, some attorneys have beautiful — and expensive — homes. As we’ve just learned from the impressive submissions in our contest to find the best law firm offices in America, many attorneys’ workplaces are no less spectacular.
With the help of Mary Kate Sullivan, our wonderful intern here at Above the Law, I’ve winnowed the large and impressive field to eight finalists. There’s nice diversity here, in terms of firms (Biglaw versus non-Biglaw); decor (traditional versus modern); and geography (seven different cities, located all over the country).
Ed. note: This is the final column by Anonymous Partner based on his interview of a more-senior partner, “Old School Partner” (“OSP”). You can read the first column here and the second column here.
We had been talking for a while, when the conversation turned to Old School Partner’s experiences as a general counsel. He pulled no punches. “I was a very sophisticated consumer of legal services,” Old School Partner told me. In short, Old School Partner, when he turned to outside counsel, had high standards.
Having already decided to leave the security of a leadership position at a Biglaw firm for in-house life, Old School Partner demanded the same attention to detail and professionalism from his chosen outside counsel as he displayed when doing work for his former clients. As an example, he shared how he went about choosing litigation counsel.
“I was looking for counselors,” he told me, and that meant no fluffy credentials without real experience backing them up. “I wanted trial lawyers with real trial experience, who could have the confidence to forego a deposition that was not going to be of any value at trial.” Unlike many clients today, Old School Partner was willing to pay top dollar for real guidance, and did not default to assigning his cases to the lowest bidder or a firm that had a “preferred relationship” with his company. I got the sense that he viewed each case his company was engaged in as a business problem that needed solving, and was willing to pay handsomely for a solution — because he realized that throwing money at a litigation “team” was ultimately less effective and more costly than buying top-drawer help….
* A photo of $211,223.04 that Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal raised for charity. Hopefully this means that the Oatmeal/Charles Carreon lawsuit circus is finally leaving town. [The Oatmeal]
* “Bada da da daaah… I’m loving it! Now give me my Big Mac or I’ll shoot you in the face.” [Legal Juice]
* A San Francisco restaurant finds an creative way around California’s new foie gras ban. Force-fed duck liver 4Lyfe! [Inside Scoop SF]
* The Supreme Court Term feels like a distant memory, but now’s a good time to look back on it with added perspective. Courtesy of MoloLamken, here’s a great guide to the big business cases of the Supreme Court Term just ended. Download or print it, then read it at your leisure. [MoloLamken (PDF)]
I believe the defendant failed a saving throw against berserker, so when he killed those people he didn't know right from wrong.
* Dressing shrinks as wizards when they testify would be an AWESOME idea. I’m serious. Why can’t we have this? And titles, too. “Your Honor, I call Dr. Freud — Ph.D in weakness management and keeper of the sacred staffs of Ivory guard — to the stand.” [Overlawyered]
* iTextbooks! Could be awesome, could widen the gap between the rich and the iPoor. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]
* Old lawyer accidentally smuggles a gun onto a plane, mainly because security — which noticed said gun — forgot to stop her. TSA doesn’t make us more safe, folks. It just makes us more molested. [Daily Mail]
* Apparently, LLMs go great with Brazilians. The people, not the grooming. Or maybe both — I don’t know, but I was only asked about people. [Live Mint]
* To be clear, putting slavery analogies into our math problems is bad… unless you are a college basketball or football star trying to work out how much you got paid in free tuition for last night’s game, versus how much the university made off of the performance of your team. Then the analogy is “apt.” [CBS Atlanta]
What do you predict for the legal profession in 2020?
* Florida gets a lot of flak, but the state seems to be doing something right with respect to defamation lawsuits. [The Legal Satyricon]
* “How is law school like the NFL draft?” (Aside from the high risk of getting your brains scrambled.) [Freakonomics]
* Let’s “think the unthinkable” about the legal profession in 2020, suggests Matt Homann. Bruce Carton: “50 percent of U.S. law schools will close their doors due to overcapacity.” [the [non]billable hour and Legal Blog Watch]
* Some readers apparently mistook this satirical communication from Jose Baez, counsel to Casey Anthony, for the real thing. And maybe that wasn’t so unfounded. [ABA Journal]
* Kenneth Moreno, one of the two NYPD officers acquitted of raping a drunk woman, isn’t out of the legal woods yet: he faces drug possession charges for heroin allegedly stashed in his precinct locker. [DNA Info]
* Courtesy of MoloLamken, here’s a great guide to the big business cases of the Supreme Court Term just ended. Download or print it, then read it at the gym or on the subway. [MoloLamken]
* Good news for job-seeking law students: JD Match is now free. So what do you have to lose? Give it a whirl. [JD Match]
* Musical Chairs: Guidepost Solutions welcomes litigatrix Carolyn Renzin, formerly a partner at elite boutique Stillman Friedman. [Guidepost Solutions]
Last week we told you about our spring event for law students who want to learn about how to make the most of their summer experience. Like many of the things we do around here, it should be a lot of fun. But it should also be extremely useful — to law students who need to turn their internships into full-time offers, law students who don’t have jobs yet and are exploring all their options, and law students who just want general career advice from a panel of experts.
Over the course of this week, we’ll be revealing the other panelists (in addition to David Lat and Elie Mystal). First up is our small-firm partner: Steven Molo, founding partner of the litigation boutique MoloLamken (whose launch we covered here). Before starting MoloLamken, Steve was a prosecutor in Chicago; a partner at Winston & Strawn, where he served on the firm’s Executive Committee; and a partner at Shearman & Sterling. Given the breadth of his career experiences, Steve has a tremendous amount of wisdom to impart.
There’s a small admission fee (to help us cover the cost of the venue), but we’re extending the $5 DISCOUNT until Friday, March 18, at 11:59 PM, because some people were away on vacation last week and didn’t get a chance to take advantage of the offer. We’ll also be giving away free ATL t-shirts to the next 25 people to sign up (as well as everybody who signed up last week). Just enter the following discount code when registering: Y084BG.
But don’t delay, since seating is limited, and the discount code expires on Friday night. You can get details and register by clicking here (or on the button above). See you on the 6th!
People are talking about an interesting Slate article entitled “Leaving Big Law Behind: The many frustrations that cause well-paid lawyers to hang out their own shingles.” It’s currently the most-read piece on the site. But it’s actually quite similar, even down to some of the sources, to an article that appeared a few days earlier in Crain’s New York Business:
A lawyer’s hourly billing rate used to be a badge of pride — the higher the number, the more valuable (and supposedly brilliant) the lawyer. But over the past 18 months, a strange phenomenon has been sweeping the legal arena: Partners at major law firms are quitting because they want to be able to charge less for their services.
This is, of course, not a new development. Kash and I wrote about it in a December 2009 cover story for Washingtonian magazine, in which we interviewed a former member of the $1,000-an-hour club who left a large law firm and started his own shop so he could offer clients better value. But all the recent coverage — in Crain’s, Slate, and elsewhere — suggests that the trend is picking up steam.
Which kinds of lawyers are leaving Biglaw to hang up their own shingles? Why are they doing it? And how’s it going for them?
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…