Friday night, I attended the first ever Innocence Project of Florida dinner. I was invited by a close, personal Twitter follower board member, and upon acceptance, asked by someone in one of my Google+ circles the Incoming Chair of the Innocence of Project of Florida to turn over a fairly large amount of cash to be a co-sponsor. Apparently, while Holland & Knight was receiving an award for their thousands of hours helping to free the wrongfully convicted, money for the dinner wasn’t pouring in from the establishment. Maybe next year.
As lawyer-type dinners go, it was a little different — poor lawyers representing alleged violent criminals mixed with Biglaw lawyers who spent the last decade doing the same, as well as three dozen judges, the elected state attorney, the appointed United States Attorney, and a slew of law students. Also in the crowd were a half-dozen exonerees. The exonerees included James Bain, who served more time than any other exoneree — 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He went to jail when I was four years old, and got out as I was planning a trip for my 40th birthday.
The night had its share of speeches and awards. One of the awards went to lawyer Marty McClain, whose client, Juan Melendez, was there among the suits wearing a t-shirt. Juan spent 17 years, eight months, and one day on death row before being exonerated. Marty’s other client, Frank Lee Smith, couldn’t make it because he died of cancer on death row before being exonerated. At his table was Marty’s high school buddy, actor Tony Shalhoub, who looked like a stalking fan taking pictures on his phone when his lawyer-friend was honored for being poor and a hero. While people were asking Shalhoub for pictures and autographs, he was busy being enamored with Marty….
Anybody can say no to crack, but I know Superheroes who wouldn't turn down $160K.
It’s a story so common that it’s almost a cliché to bring it up. Idealistic young people show up at law school full of commitment to the public interest or something similar, time passes, and three years later they’re all heading off to S&C, to Proskauer, to the best Biglaw job they can find. Or they clerk for a year and then go to one of these firms. If they don’t get teaching jobs, you’ll see them sharing offices in the highest-paying law firm they can find.
It happens all the time. And, for the most part, it always happens for the same reason: money. Oh, individuals will tell themselves they gave up on their low-paying dreams for all sorts of reasons. But they’re just trying to make themselves feel better. It’s always about the money. ALWAYS.
Trust me, if it wasn’t always about the money, I would not be able to guarantee a traffic spike whenever I put “bonus” in a headline. Or whenever I write about law firms paying first-year associates more than $160K.
Right now, at Harvard Law School, there is a group of students trying to push back on this transformation of idealistic Harvard Law students into materialistic lawyer drones. It’s a really nice, heartfelt effort, one that we don’t see nearly enough of on campus.
I’m going to be sad when reality wears them out like a Colombian prostitute on some Secret Service agents….
Over the past few days, we’ve been documenting debonair d-bag Tucker Max and his failed attempt to donate $500,000 to Planned Parenthood. Whether or not you think the organization should have accepted his money, you’ve got to at least give the man a hand for trying to do some good in this world — no matter his intentions.
That being said, another organization that is certainly worthy of Max’s half-million has stepped up to the plate. This organization wants Max’s money badly, so badly, in fact, that its executives have turned around to take it like a desperate dog in heat.
Which organization are we talking about? None other than PETA….
We recently wrote about world-renowned d-bag Tucker Max, and his attempt to donate $500,000 to Planned Parenthood of Texas. The organization’s executives snubbed their noses at Max’s half-million because they didn’t “feel it would be appropriate, given . . . [his] body of work.” This happened in August of 2011, but rejection hurts, even when you’re a hardcore bro. Max was unable to abort his frustration with the situation, and almost fittingly, he waited just about the length of a full-term pregnancy to reveal the dirty details of what went down.
But why did he wait so long to start spreading the news about this injustice? Wouldn’t the women of Texas have wanted to know about this sooner? Maybe it’s because he was scamming us all along….
When we last checked in with self-proclaimed a-hole and famed misogynist author Tucker Max, he was busy getting sued by his alma mater, Duke Law School, over some allegedly missing tuition money. Almost two years later, Max has decided to hang up his bro hat. Believe it or not, he’s retiring from his hard-partying lifestyle, and he claims that he’s attempting to become a mature adult.
With his choice to become a big boy came some big-boy problems, like how to alleviate his huge tax burdens and promote his new book at the same time. Eventually, Max decided to make a charitable donation to an organization he’s relied upon many times in the past (thanks to his former womanizing ways): Planned Parenthood. And wasn’t just any donation — this was a $500,000 donation meant for a women’s organization in Texas that desperately needed funding.
But Planned Parenthood didn’t want his money. Why? Because he’s Tucker Max….
Although lawyers make up 43 percent of Congress, and 60 percent of the U.S. Senate, according to Governing magazine, “[s]ince 1976, the number of lawyers in legislatures has declined by nearly a quarter, from more than 22 percent of all lawmakers to less than 17 percent.”
There, of course, is a natural path from lawyer to legislator. But the low pay, travel, time commitment, and mud slinging that we see on TV and the internet turn many lawyers away from public service.
The current political landscape also causes lawyers to be uninterested in participating in politics at any level, whether it means lobbying, running campaigns, fundraising, or attending political functions.
People have really given Mitt Romney hell for saying he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” But really, it’s not just wealthy Republican Mormons who lack compassion for the very poor in this country. Ronald Reagan’s greatest legacy to the Republican Party was that he made it okay for them to categorically disregard the plight of the structurally poor and blame them for their own suffering. And for the most part Democrats have decided that in order to win they must show a similar callousness towards the poor. The poor don’t vote, and so both parties conspire to ignore the impoverished — or worse, talk down to those who were stupid enough to be born to the wrong parents.
At an individual level, nearly all of us are complicit as well. Well, I’ll just speak for me: I do my part to not care about the permanent underclass that lives in the richest society on Earth. I won’t even give money to homeless people on the street unless they sing or dance or perform some sort of talent. One time I gave “James,” a blind man who panhandles on the 4/5/6, line at the same times I head into the office, $20 — not because I wanted to be kind but because I got so sick of his spiel (“I’m legally blind, I get a little bit of disability but that only leaves me $18 a month for food.”). I thought he might leave me alone for the rest of the month.
I don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes wants poor people to just go away….
Yale is making a slight change to its low-income loan forgiveness program, and it’s going to make it a little harder for people who leave Yale Law School and take low-paying jobs.
Now, this isn’t anything to yell and scream about. Yale is still committed to making loan repayment feasible for people who don’t take the Biglaw money and run. And they still have one of the most generous programs in the country.
But the program is getting a little less generous. Which isn’t a great sign about the long-term ability of lawyers who have the financial flexibility to service poor or working-class clients….
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.
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.