Not pictured: the Biglaw train barreling towards this family.
I’ve read this departure email three times this morning, all while a sleeping six-week-old snores up at me. It’s a departure memo where a Biglaw associate kind of admits that she can no longer juggle the demands of parenthood and the demands of being a Biglaw lawyer. In a way, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t know this woman, and I don’t know what her hopes and dreams are or might have been, but it shouldn’t be so damn hard — in the richest country on Earth — to have a big-time job and be a loving parent. The struggles highlighted by this woman make me sad as a new parent myself.
In another way, this memo is uplifting. You can’t have it all. When you finally come to accept that, it’s liberating. You don’t have to feel like a bad employee or a bad parent for not being able to do it all. As Al Pacino says in the Devil’s Advocate: “Guilt is like a bag of bricks, all you gotta do is set it down.”
So, take a look as one woman bows out of the rat race….
* What do Dolce & Gabbana have in common with Al Capone? No, not their impeccable fashion sense… [Fashionista]
* Keith Magness, the attorney accused of masturbating on his female colleague’s desk chair and dry cleaning, settled a lawsuit stemming from his allegedly unseemly behavior. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Eww, eww. Gross. Eww. [NOLA.com]
Last month, a commenter responded to one of my posts with something to the effect of, “I knew your writing would start to suck once you had a kid.”
That statement, I think, will inevitably end up being true. How can anybody possibly be focused at work when they have a newborn at home? I’m writing this post while my three-week-old baby is sleeping in a rocker next to me. That means that I’m, at most, paying about 30 percent attention to what I’m writing. I don’t have a fun Argo reference for you, because instead of seeing the latest movie event of the fall, I spent the weekend trying to lower my diaper changing time. Right now, I’m about as engaged with this post as Obama was engaged in his debate with Mitt Romney.
And my kid is only three weeks old, which means he’s still functionally immobile. What’s going to happen when he’s crawling around? What’s going to happen when my Jamaican nanny — if you have some info on good, “cost-effective” child care, let me know — is calling me to ask if it’s okay if he eats the dog’s treats?
Yeah, I think my job will suffer. And my “job” involves coming online and making law students cry. I don’t have to structure billion-dollar deals or even key-cite an opinion.
So I have to ask all these people who claim they’ve achieved some kind of work/life balance, and that they “have it all” — what the f**k are you talking about?
Hello. How are you guys? Working hard? Getting ready for the season of bonuses and profit distributions? Realizing that 3L year is just as useless as I’ve always said it was? I hope all is well.
You might have noticed that I was away last week. That’s because at 10:59 p.m. on September 24th, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Here’s my son, Claudius Elie Charles Mystal:
He’s a Libra, which means he’s supposed to have an affinity for lawyering. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to crush any law school dreams early on. Actually I’ve already got to start thinking about getting him into preschool. Bloomberg now has people going to school once they’re six weeks old.
Since I’ve got so much stuff to do, I’ll be out a couple more weeks. I’ve already learned that having a newborn is like going to jail in The Wire: you only lose two minutes of sleep, the minute you wake up and the minute before you get back to bed.
Why don’t our Comment of the Week winners step forward to claim their prizes? It makes us really sad (especially since we have to wade through an entire week’s worth of posts to pick out the best comments). Come on, with starting salaries as low as $145K, you don’t exactly have to be a 47 Percenter to appreciate a free t-shirt.
All complaining aside, we hope that this week’s winner will email us to collect what he’s due, because his comparison between Biglaw and parenting was spot on….
It’s time to take another look at some of the worst jobs being offered to recent law graduates around the country. Most people think that getting a J.D. is a path to high-salaried positions where you work in an office that smells of rich mahogany.
Today, we’re not looking at full-time jobs, though. We’re taking a look at some positions available for people looking to supplement their income. These are part-time positions, but if you are a student or a recent graduate who needs some extra cash, you should check these out.
* Threatening a judge, even in song, is still threatening. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Obama’s White House microbrew is now the subject of a FOIA request. Instead of a bus tour, I think Obama should just travel around the country holding beer summits. [Legal Blog Watch]
* I’m pretty sure the social contract will be unenforceable in a Romney administration. It’s unenforceable in an Obama administration too, but Obama tries to seem sad about that. [Salon]
* I do hope that the GOP has some kind of “Rape: Accepted Definitions” seminar at their convention this week. They clearly don’t seem to understand what the term means, legally, as evidence by the Pennsylvania Republican who seems to think that a consensual out-of-wedlock pregnancy is kind of like rape. [TPM]
* Here are the top eight reasons people are stressed at work. I wonder if anybody wants to see the top eight reasons people are who are unemployed are stressed out. [Huffington Post]
* Yeah, I think we need to make it easier for people to get guns. Sure. Why not. It’s not easy enough to get a gun to carry out a mass shooting/turn a mass shooting into a mass shootout. [Forbes]
* We drafted one of the Above the Law fantasy football leagues last night (I hate my team). Professor Marc Edelman has a fun paper on the regulation of fantasy sports. I’m still pissed at him for causing me to have to spend $2 on my freaking kicker. [SSRN]
35-22-30. Measurements of an old-school pinup girl, sure. But my point in raising those numbers is a different one. These numbers can actually be used to highlight the special challenges that most women, in particular those who have or want families, face in Biglaw. I think it is still safe to assume that such women are the majority.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the progress of women in Biglaw, as measured by the amount of equity women partners at Biglaw firms and the like. First things first. Biglaw is no longer a man’s club in terms of opportunity. Female associates get hired, and fired, and choose to leave, just like male associates. They get made partner, included on pitches, and in some cases lead their firms. All great — no reason not to tap into the entirety of the human gene pool in order to make more money. Biglaw is a business after all. And there is no dispute that women, at all levels, can contribute to the success of Biglaw — and do.
But in over a decade in Biglaw, I have heard, and seen, horror stories of never-married, very successful professional women, who are desperate to start families, but attract only a parade of gold-diggers, social retards, or other undesirables….
* What happens if a Supreme Court clerk violates the Code of Conduct and leaks information to the press at the behest of a justice? At worst, he’d probably be forced to wash dirty socks from the SCOTUS morning exercise class. [National Law Journal]
* “[T]he great expectations when he was elected have not come to fruition.” Making judicial nominations wasn’t a high political priority, so President Barack Obama will be ending his term with just 125 lower-court appointments in the federal judiciary. [New York Times]
* If there’s anything that Paul Ryan’s good at, it’s soliciting money from lawyers and Biglaw firms. Alston & Bird tops the list of legal campaign contributors, with Patton Boggs in a close second. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]
* Apparently the female reproduction system shuts down to prevent conception upon rape. This improbable tidbit from a man who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. [Wall Street Journal]
* But a great way to take some of the heat off of the “legitimate rape” dude is to break news about another Congressman’s nude swim in the Sea of Galilee while in Israel. Excellent work on this distraction. [POLITICO]
* What crisis? Despite a steep decline in applicants, the average law school’s tuition will climb by more than double the rate of inflation this fall. It’s really heartwarming how they put students first. [National Law Journal]
* Customs agents in Los Angeles seized 20,457 pairs of faux Christian Louboutins that would’ve been worth approximately $18M. For this heinous crime of fashion, the offending shoes will undergo a trial by fire. [CNN]
* Karma sure is a Blitsch. Matthew Couloute, the alleged lawyerly Lothario who got slammed by his exes on LiarsCheatersRUs.com, is now being slammed by someone else: his soon-to-be ex-wife. [New York Post]
* Beauty school dropout, no pube hair trimming days for you! Seventeen female plaintiffs have alleged that a cosmetology instructor subjected them to less-than-sanitary lessons in a federal suit. [New York Daily News]
It’s time to do a little Louisiana educational potpourri. There are simply too many acts of stupidity being done by people who run religious and charter schools in the state, and one of them is so stupid that it’s probably illegal.
I’m not throwing the word “stupid” around casually. I’m talking about some real, honest to God, poor decisions and worthless statements coming out of the state.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the “prophet” who runs a charter school and the biology textbook that teaches the Loch Ness monster is real. But did you know about the character school conducting a witch hunt for and expelling girls “suspected” of being pregnant? Yeah, that last one caught the eye of the ACLU….
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…