* Still more benchslappery, this time from the Second Circuit. Professor Nita Farahany wonders whether Judge Gary Sharpe “may have missed a few important days of his genetics class in high school or in college.” [Law and Biosciences Digest]
* In other federal judicial news: I’ve never bought into the silly claim that Clarence Thomas is the jurisprudential puppet of Antonin Scalia — and Linda Greenhouse’s analysis of the Term thus far confirms CT’s independence from AS. [Opinionator/ New York Times]
This has not been a great weekend for the University of Pittsburgh community. As many of you know, the school’s college basketball team choked disappointed fans with an early round exit from the NCAA tournament.
You should always avoid comparing a school’s basketball team with its law school, but it appears that things aren’t going much better at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While there is some evidence that the legal economy is recovering, the improving fortunes have not trickled all the way down to 3Ls searching for work….
A little over a year ago, law firms came up with a unique plan to deal with the problem of too many associates and not enough work to go around: the deferral. It did not apply just to incoming associates; it was also offered up to those already at the firm who were open to a year-long sabbatical.
We know that many of you decided (or had to) seek out work in the public sector. But when the mainstream media picked up on the fact that law firms were paying their employees to go away from a year, they focused on those doing fun things, like the Skadden Sidebar associate planning a trip around the world. How many other deferred dreamers have taken the opportunity to do something offbeat?
Or something about beats. Rap Genius, a website that analyzes rap lyrics (called ingenious by Nick Antosca of the Huffington Post for its breakdown of Empire State of Mind), is the creation of a DL Pursuer. The site is now nine months old, and Mahbod Moghadam (Stanford Law ’08) is hoping it’s his escape out of law. Which would be a good thing, since Dewey & LeBeouf is having a hard time reabsorbing its DL Pursuits associates.
Moghadam is quite a character: he sent us a bizarre photo involving a carrot, he’s the ex-boyfriend of Victoria of Downtown Girls, and he convinced two Yale friends to quit their jobs (at Google and D. E. Shaw) to work with him on Rap Genius. What kind of Jedi mind tricks is this guy using?
Having just discussed Janet Jackson (or her breasts), we’re going to remain on the subject of music. This installment in our continuing series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys — i.e., “things you can do with a law degree other than Biglaw (or contract attorney work)” — is inspired by lawyer turned rapper Mekka Don.
There are many attorneys out there with musical side projects. When do you decide to take the leap and dive into your music career full-time? According to Mekka Don, the answer is “after one year at Weil.” He wrote to us in March:
My name is Emeka Onyejekwe (aka Mekka Don) and in the spring I left my job at a top ten law firm in order to help save Hip Hop. I graduated from NYU in 2006 and worked at the firm for a little less than a year. Many people (probably including you, lol) think I’m crazy, but I believe it was a calling from God. I’ve begun to memorialize what I am doing through a reality show.
He may be too late. According to Nas, hip hop is dead! But good luck with that.
ABA Journal’s July issue has a profile piece on the “legal hustler.” Taking the struggling artist career route sounds challenging. To make ends meet, Onyejekwe is “modeling, event planning and sports marketing along with running a small legal practice with his sister.”
Does a legal background help much in this career? Once you make it big, those contracts classes may come in handy. It also looks to be useful in the comments on the ABA piece. Someone questioned Mekka Don’s use of “Law & Order” for the title of his mixtape, and he responds by citing the “fair use” doctrine.
More on Mekka Don, after the jump.
A day in the life of a rapper sounds a bit better than 12 hours of doc review. Here’s the description in his e-mail to us:
A typical day in the life of Mekka Don can involve a Phat Farm photo shoot in the morning, then hitting the movie set in the afternoon where he is playing a lead role in an independent film. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without laying some tracks in the music studio then popping into one of Mekka Don’s parties at night. Add in negotiating a contract or litigating a case for a legal client and Mekka Don earns his additional moniker – “the Legal Hustler”.
In the ABA Journal piece, Mekka Don says he doesn’t regret law school, and that he loves the law, but that he hasn’t been getting a whole lot of support from the legal community.
Q: What sort of reaction are you getting from the legal community?
To my face they say it’s cool, but behind my back there are a lot of negative responses. Some black lawyers think this is the worst possible thing I could have done in the black community. But almost every piece of criticism is from someone who’s never heard my music.
So one downside to pursuit of your music dreams is fellow lawyers making fun of you… until you make it big! Then they’ll all be lining up to represent 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 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…