Finding a decent apartment in New York City can be a challenge. But compared to getting Claus von Bülow and O.J. Simpson off the hook — or, for that matter, shaping the brilliant minds of Harvard Law School students — it’s a walk in Central Park.
Alan Dershowitz — distinguished public intellectual, celebrated criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard — just purchased an apartment in NYC. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Dershowitz, 74. Although he has lived for years in Cambridge, the home of HLS, he was born in the Big Apple.
Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, but the prominent professor isn’t going back to the borough that GQ dubbed “the coolest city on the planet.” Instead, he’s moving to Manhattan. (C’mon, do you think Dersh put up with thousands of HLS brats over the years so he could wind up right back where he started?)
Which neighborhood is Dershowitz moving to? How fabulous is his apartment? How much did he pay for it? We have answers to all of these questions, plus comments from the good professor about his move….
Being an associate at a large law firm isn’t easy. Partners can be extremely demanding, sometimes unreasonably so. But because the partners sign the paychecks, most associates, especially associates with student loans hanging over them, have no choice but to obey. The associate’s fantasy of telling his least favorite partner to take this job and shove it is just that — a fantasy.
But not for every associate. Some associates are so wealthy that working in Biglaw is just something they do for fun. In today’s Lawyerly Lairs, we introduce you to an associate whose new apartment puts many a partner pad to shame….
* Steven Davis, D&L’s former chairman, really wants to make sure he’ll be able to use the firm’s insurance policy to defend himself, or else he’ll “suffer undue hardship.” Sorry, but after all the undue hardship you caused, nobody feels bad for you. [Am Law Daily]
* As it turns out, the Mitt “47 Percent” Romney recording may have been illegally taped, but Florida authorities aren’t investigating — a victim hasn’t come forward to complain. What, no “off the cuff” remarks this time, Mitt? [Washington Wire / Wall Street Journal]
* Even if you get disbarred, you can still go on to work for a Biglaw firm. In other news, apparently you can last about a month at Lewis Brisbois while using a stolen identity before you get fired. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
* Arizona’s governor was really excited that the injunction against SB 1070′s “show me your papers” provision was lifted by Judge Susan Bolton. She won’t be as excited when all of the lawsuits start rolling in. [Bloomberg]
* It’s probably bad if your dean resigns before the school opens. J. Michael Johnson, the ex-dean of Louisiana College School of Law, left to take a “great job offer” (i.e., not a law school deanship). [Shreveport Times]
* Good news, ladies! A serial subway “grinder” in NYC avoided jail time after ejaculating on three women in separate incidents, and now city pols are trying to make it harder for perverts to get off. [New York Daily News]
With both law school and the law school application season about to resume, let’s return to our popular series of Law School Success Stories. While we believe it’s important to provide our readers with accurate information about the perils of law school, including data about high lawyer unemployment and crushing student debt, we like to balance out the doom and gloom with stories of successful lawyers who made winning bets on legal education.
Today’s success story comes to us via the august pages of the New York Times. Even though this young lawyer didn’t go to a top-tier law school, he’s enjoying a phenomenal legal career, marked by fame and fortune.
His story contains valuable lessons for people thinking about, or already enrolled in, law school. Let’s learn more about him, shall we?
The law firm cafeteria is something of an anachronism. Having a large company mess hall where associates can grab a bite to eat without taking too much time to get lunch isn’t really necessary anymore. Nobody takes a “lunch hour” anymore. Associates can use Seamless and eat at their desks.
And we know partners aren’t eating in the firm cafeteria unless they are 80 years old and too busy to head to Peter Luger’s. No law firm cafeteria is nice enough to bring a client to; that’s why God created expense accounts.
But the cafeteria is still useful for secretaries and paralegals. At my old firm, the cafeteria was a great place to grab breakfast. At Debevoise, the cafeteria enjoys the best views of the block. We used to bring lawyers from Schulte Roth, which is housed on the lower floors at 919 Third Avenue, to show them our view (and to console them while they cried).
The point is, even as the Biglaw cafeteria has diminished relevance given our modern conveniences, you don’t want your firm perk to be disgusting. Last March, we learned that a number of Biglaw firms had received poor grades from the New York City Department of Health about the quality of their in-house cafeterias.
But it appears that Cravath’s food fortunes have significantly improved…
* Dewey have some false expectations of success for this partner settlement agreement? Only one in four affected partners have signed on the dotted line, but advisers think the plan will win bankruptcy court approval. [Am Law Daily]
* “There comes a point where the prospects of substantially increasing your income just outweigh everything else.” Even on his $168K salary, this appellate judge wasn’t rich in New York City, so he quit his job. [New York Law Journal]
* The middle class needs lawyers, and unemployed law school graduates need jobs. The solution for both problems seems pretty obvious, but starting a firm still costs money, no matter how “prudent” you are. [National Law Journal]
* “This is a time when law schools are trying to look carefully at their expenses and not add to them.” New York’s new pro bono initiative may come at a cost for law schools, too. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Much to Great Britain’s dismay, Ecuador has announced that it will grant political asylum to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. Sucks for Ecuador, because Assange is known to not flush the toilet. [New York Times]
* A smooth criminal gets a break: Michael Jackson’s father dropped a wrongful death suit against Dr. Conrad Murray. It probably would’ve been helpful if his attorneys could actually practice in California. [Washington Post]
* Did Lindsay Lohan’s lawyers plagiarize documents from internet websites in their defamation filings against Pitbull? You can deny it all you want, but his lawyer is out for blood and sanctions. [New York Daily News]
On Friday, I took a little trip to the New York County Clerk’s office to become registered as a marriage officiant in the state of New York.
Let me say that again: I can now legally marry people. Like a mayor. Or a ship’s captain.
Going through the process of becoming a marriage officiant has given me a wonderful look at the state of our marriage laws, and my hours at the clerk’s office were the perfect icing. Let me say just say that the closer you get to the legal process of marriage, the more ridiculous gay marriage opponents appear.
I mean, come on, if I can legally marry people, how “sacred” or “traditional” is the institution of marriage really? Besides, have you looked at some of the man/woman combinations that are getting married these days? I just think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fists at Him and say, “Instead of helping the poor or sick or infirm, we’re all going to eat chicken sandwiches to show that we’ll defend as sacred something that can be done in two hours at the freaking clerk’s office.”
Let’s just say that the number of gay people getting marriage licenses was dwarfed by the number of men standing their with pregnant girlfriends looking like their balls were being held in a vise grip….
Contrary to popular belief, many lawyers who toil in Biglaw actually enjoy what they do. This is especially true of partners (as opposed to associates who just pass through on their way to in-house or government opportunities). Some partners enjoy their work so much that they’d do it for free — or at least for much less than the millions they typically receive.
Of course, even if you find fulfillment in the work you do as a law firm partner, you can’t deny that the other benefits are nice. Being a Biglaw partner certainly allows you to provide an upscale lifestyle for your family. And it might permit you to enjoy an early retirement for yourself.
When you earn millions of dollars a year in partner profits, with lucrative retirement benefits on top of that (assuming your firm doesn’t do a Dewey), you don’t need to work until you’re 65 or 70. Instead, you can get an early start on your golden years, pursuing all of the hobbies and interests that you never had the chance to explore while billing 2000-plus hours a year.
That’s exactly what a retired Skadden corporate partner, James Freund, has been doing. Freund, who is now 77, retired from SASMF back in 1996, around the age of 61 (a little early, but not hugely so).
A few years ago, Freund scaled back his lifestyle. He traded in his $5 million townhouse for an apartment — one that cost a mere $3 million. Being a retired Skadden M&A partner is a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it….
Last month, in the inaugural post in our series of Law School Success Stories, we focused on the theme of “the value of thrift.” We outlined a “low risk” approach to law school, profiling happy law school graduates who secured their law degrees without going into excessive debt — under $50K upon graduation, which is the recommendation of Professor Brian Tamanaha, author of a new book (affiliate link) about reforming legal education.
Today we’re going to cover the flip side: the “high risk, high reward” approach to legal education. In some ways this is a dangerous theme. The promise of Biglaw bucks is the siren song that leads many to crash on the rocks of joblessness and crippling debt (as Will Meyerhofer discussed earlier today).
Some law schools clearlyexaggerate the ability of a legal education to increase a person’s career prospects and earning potential. But for some subset of law students, however small, law school does turn out to be a golden ticket. Their numbers might be inflated, but they do exist. Law school has allowed these individuals to increase their incomes dramatically. And — shocker! — many of these J.D. holders actually enjoy their lucrative new jobs.
Read about a young woman who went from being a secretary to having a secretary — along with a six-figure paycheck. Meet a young man with a rather unmarketable undergraduate degree who now, thanks to law school, makes bank in New York City.
Here’s another way of describing today’s success stories: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you….”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.