Of all the different Biglaw constituencies, legal secretaries have probably suffered the most in terms of recent layoffs. In this technological age, lawyers do their own typing, don’t give dictation as much, and can use voice-recognition software when they do. Shorthand isn’t as valuable a skill as it used to be.
So what should a legal secretary facing a voluntary buyout or an involuntary layoff do with himself? Assuming he’s not ready to take the money and run (or retire), he should find new employment. And that might require obtaining new skills, ones that are in greater demand in 2013.
Some might tell a displaced legal secretary, “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Technology.” If technology taketh away jobs, it can also giveth, right?
Well, not so fast. Even techie types are getting laid off, as the latest layoff news demonstrates….
* PepsiCo can no longer label its Naked juices as “natural” because the only place you can find more unnatural substances in something naked is in a Vivid Video production. [New York Daily News]
* The New Yorker shines a light on the world of civil asset forfeiture. In honor of Shark Week, the article should have spent a lot more time on the United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins case. [The New Yorker]
* Thomas J. Kim, the Chief Counsel and Associate Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance since 2007, is going to be a partner at Sidley Austin. Don’t let the revolving door hit you on the way out! [Bloomberg Businessweek]
We’ve just entered August, so you know what that means: the start of on-campus interviewing season. If you’re a law student researching firms or a lawyer involved in your firm’s recruiting efforts, check out Above the Law’s law firm directory, where law firms get letter grades in different categories. Law firms might look alike on the surface, but there are very real differences between them, as our grading system reflects.
For example, law firms diverge when it comes to diversity. While every firm gives lip service to diversity, some firms have the goods to back up their claims, while others do not.
Let’s check out the latest diversity rankings, from two different news outlets, to see which firms are truly diverse….
Working as a lawyer for the federal government can be a pretty sweet gig. The work is interesting, the hours are reasonable, and the pay is good (at least by public-sector standards).
But it appears that there are sweeter jobs — literally as well as figuratively. Earlier this month, we told you about Warren Brown, who left his position as a lawyer for the Department of Health and Human Services so he could launch CakeLove, the successful bakery chain.
Today we bring you the story of another lawyer for the federal government who is getting her just desserts. We hope you’ve eaten lunch already, because hearing about her crazily creative flavors of ice cream will make you hungry….
Believe it or not, Biglaw isn’t all about prestige, especially when looking at the legal profession through the lens of the “new normal.” These days, in a supposedly post-recession world, working at a large firm is an aspirational stepping stone on the way to a debt-free life. Associates willingly offer their wrists for Biglaw’s golden handcuffs in the hope of some day being able to escape them for happier pastures.
But for prospective Biglaw employees who have an embarrassment of riches available to them (i.e., offers from multiple firms), wouldn’t it be nice to be able to choose the firm where you’ll have the best quality of life? Or any life at all? Such a thing does exist within the hallowed halls of large law firms, and there’s even a ranking to prove it.
Hot on the heels of its prestige rankings (which still matter to the people who care so very deeply about just how impressive they are), Vault has released its annual quality of life rankings. Sure, some firms may be more prestigious than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good places to work.
After a major shake-up in the rankings, which firms made Vault’s top ten this year?
Every year, the American Lawyer trots out its rankings at about the same time — first the highly influential Am Law 100 and Am Law 200, which are then followed up by the A-List. Think of this ranking as the legal professions’s Westminster: everyone is yipping excitedly over the possibility of being named “best in show” at this Biglaw beauty contest.
The A-List differs from the Am Law 100 and 200 rankings in that there’s only one financial metric here (revenue per lawyer). The other factors involved are pro bono work, attorney diversity, and perhaps most importantly, associate satisfaction. In years past, associate satisfaction has represented only 16 percent of a firm’s total A-List score, but taking a nosedive or making significant gains in this area can turn it into a game changer.
So, which 20 firms made the grade this year? Let’s find out…
But this has started to change over the past few years, as managing partner Thomas Reid discussed in an August 2011 interview with Am Law Daily. In the August 2010 to August 2011 period, DPW hired a half-dozen prominent lateral partners.
And the lateral hiring spree continues (although not without the occasionalsnag). Let’s hear about Davis Polk’s latest high-profile hire, a new lateral partner at Paul Hastings, and an addition to the leadership of Orrick….
* A senior litigation associate at Paul Hastings, Ryan Nier, has decided to participate in something called the Death Race, and it has nothing to do with the drive for partnership. This Death Race is 50-mile mountain endurance/obstacle race that takes somewhere between 24 and 48 straight hours to finish. Only a handful complete the race every year, and Nier is determined to be one of them. From what we’re told, Paul Hastings has been entirely supportive of Nier, which is cool because he’s using it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. But who knows how supportive they’ll be when they realize he won’t have Blackberry access on top of the mountain for 48 hours. For more information about the Death Race, check out the website. [The Death Race]
* Law student golfing across the U.S. So, I take it summer associate gigs are still scarce? [Golf.com]
* “Guess What the Air Force’s Chief of Sexual Assault Prevention Was Just Arrested For…” Hard to top that headline. [Lowering the Bar]
* Harper Lee suing over “To Kill a Mockingbird” (affiliate link), alleging that the son-in-law of her literary agent botched the copyright. *Insert cheap Atticus Finch joke here* [Washington Post]
* Dr. Phil is suing Gawker alleging that the website posted a video of the pop psychologist’s interview with Manti Te’o, stifling ratings. So Dr. Phil thinks his audience strongly overlaps with Gawker’s. I’m incredulous. [Yahoo! Sports]
* This is why an over-aggressive cease and desist letter can get you into more trouble. Enter the world of the “miniature war-gaming community.” [Popehat]
* A guide to the questions applicants need to be able to answer at OCI. The best? “Describe a situation when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.” This provides insight into how the applicant will deal with virtually every situation that ever comes up in Biglaw. [Ms. JD]
* Yesterday, we shared Paul Caron’s plan to end the sequester by forcing government officials to experience delays due to air traffic control furloughs. Well, Congress voted to end the furloughs. We should have known that once the sequester inconvenienced a member of Congress this would end. [Reuters via Yahoo!]
* Ken Langone does not agree with Richard Farley of Paul Hastings. And tells him so. Loudly. [DealBreaker]
* If you’re looking for CLE credits in Houston, check out this event where you can win a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun for your trouble. And it counts for Ethics! [NRA Blog]
* “Izadi suggested she could pay her law school tuition by turning tricks.” Is a pimp really that much worse than Sallie Mae? [Las Vegas Review Journal]
* Overlawyered is now part of the CATO Institute. Enjoy working for the Koch brothers! I hear they’re really easy to work with over there. [Overlawyered]
* Getting tossed from a case for “bad behavior”? That’s the Chicago way! [Chicago Tribune]
* An interview with American Lawyer Editor-in-Chief Robin Sparkman about the newly released Am Law 100 law firm rankings, after the jump….
Continuing our annual tradition honoring March Madness, Above the Law is running a law-related bracket, advancing law firms or law schools based on the outcome of reader polls. If you’ve been around for a while, you know the drill. But remember, I’m the new guy, so I’ve made a couple changes to the format this year.
This year, it’s time to talk about law firms. Specifically, your collective editors pose this question: Which law firm has the brightest future? The economy is still fragile and people are writing books with scary titles like The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis (affiliate link). The firms in our competition may look healthy today, but we all could have said the same thing at one time about Howrey, Brobeck, Heller, or Dewey.
What firm’s future is so bright their senior partners gotta wear shades?
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.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
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