Ed. note: This is the first installment of Righteous Indignation, one of Above the Law’s new columns for conservative-minded lawyers.
In this new column, I’ll occasionally be weighing in on legal issues from a conservative, right-of-center political perspective. My aim for my contributions is to balance the liberal heft that regularly gets thrown around on the pages of Above the Law. (That’s got to be a metaphorical scale we’re using to do the balancing, if Elie’s on one end and I’m on the other.)
Where am I coming from that I might alter the usual ATL ideological balance?
* Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day! While we focus a lot on lawyers, judges, and law students, I’d like to take this opportunity to appreciate our legal staff audience — the secretaries, paralegals, clerks, recruiters, office managers, word processors, receptionists, and everyone else affiliated with the legal practice other than the J.D. crowd. Not only do you do great work, but you help keep this site running with your anonymous tips. Keep ‘em coming! [Above the Law]
* A mega-retailer with a reputation for ruthlessly destroying its competitors makes life difficult for anyone who has to subpoena them? No! [Associate's Mind]
* UVA College Republicans see a massive infringement of student rights in the administration’s decision that fraternities conclude pledging early as an anti-hazing measure. Republicans: Protecting your God-given right to create a naked pyramid since Abu Ghraib. [Cavalier Daily]
* “The Blogger as Public Intellectual.” See, we’re a lot more than dick jokes about law firms, people. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Of all the reasons to lock your cell phone, “To Avoid Arrest” is one of them. [Legal Juice]
* Biglaw explained: Clinical depression is contagious. [Law and More]
* SJL Attorney Search has acquired The Shannon Group, a Washington, D.C.-based career transition, coaching and talent development firm. [Wall Street Journal (press release)]
* Arrested Development is coming back soon! Check out this infographic that tells you which Arrested Development character you are. To the surprise of no one, I’m Lucille. Unfortunately, Barry Zuckercorn, Maggie Lizer, and Bob Loblaw aren’t options. [OK Gorgeous]
* Save for an unintelligible joke made last month, it’s been seven years since Clarence Thomas has spoken during oral arguments, much less asked a question, but with no offense to his colleagues, he’d rather “allow the advocates to advocate.” [Washington Post]
* Sorry, members of the American public, but something like 95 percent of you are too stupid to understand what’s going on during Supreme Court hearings, so there’s no point in having cameras in the courtroom to film them. (Sotomayor, J.) [New York Times]
* “Having an empty bench means people don’t get their cases heard,” but it seems like Senate Republicans could not care less. Obama’s facelift for the federal judiciary is going to have to wait a little while longer. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* A lawgasm for prestige nerds: the Harvard Law Review received federal trademark protection, and with that, the number three law school in the country gained some bragging rights over Yale. [Daily Report (reg. req.)]
* Oh my God, you guys, law school applications are down, no one can find jobs, and recent graduates are in debt up to their eyeballs. This is totally new information that no one’s heard before. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
* Turning to your parents for law school advice is perhaps the worst idea in the world — after all, they’re the cause of your “special little snowflake” syndrome in the first place. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
From buying their family’s love to buying luxurious lawyerly lairs, attorneys at the nation’s largest firms do a lot of things with their wallets — and now they’re voting with them, too. Earlier this month, we brought you a story about Obama v. Romney in terms of which presidential candidate was leading in the race to collect campaign contributions from the wonderful world of Biglaw.
At present, Obama has an advantage over Romney, with $1.9 million pouring in from America’s 20 biggest firms, as opposed to just over $1 million for his opponent. When we last wrote about this important issue, lawyers from DLA Piper proved to be Obama’s greatest supporters, while Kirkland & Ellis showed up strong for Romney. But what we really want to know is which other firms are opening their hearts wallets for these political adversaries.
With only a little more than a month until Election 2012, let’s take a look at the firms that are making some of the largest (and smallest) political donations….
* There are only 56 days until Election 2012. Does anyone actually think that’s enough time to resolve all of the state election law battles? Even if it is, we could still be looking at a “potential disaster” in terms of post-election litigation. [New York Times]
* “It’s a horrible feeling when you keep waiting for the phone to ring and slowly realize that it isn’t…” Second-year law students are learning that waiting to see if you’re getting a summer associate position is a lot like dating — but worse. [Wall Street Journal]
* Meanwhile, law school graduates are trying to figure out what to do because the call never came. Per the BLS, the legal sector lost 1,400 jobs in August. Must be encouraging if you’re looking for a job. [Am Law Daily]
* Seventeen years after the conclusion of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, the lead prosecutor on the case accused the late Johnnie Cochran of tampering with the infamous glove. Um, better late than never? [Reuters]
* “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.” Because being groped by a cop wasn’t traumatic enough, this judge wants you to know that it was all your fault. [New York Daily News]
* If you allegedly tell a judge’s clerk that his boss should “get the f**k off all [your] cases,” and then follow up by allegedly telling the judge to “straighten the f**k up,” then your next stop is probably jail. [National Law Journal]
* Fashion law goes to Fashion Week and makes it work: Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute celebrated its clinics with a presentation at Lincoln Center. Papa Gunn would be so proud. [Crain's New York Business]
While liberals and the “lamestream media” are fixated on the planks dealing with “abortion” and “gay marriage,” the platform includes some lower-profile planks worth checking out. Here are five that stuck out to me as a lawyer….
* Patton Boggs partner Benjamin Ginsberg serves as the Mitt Romney campaign’s top lawyer, and he’s taking flak for GOP rules revisions that have been likened to “killing a fly with a sledgehammer.” [Am Law Daily]
* “I am still shocked that I did everything right and find myself on the brink of destitution.” This just in from the Things Everyone Already Knew Desk: even law firms have been hit hard by the recession. [Washington Times]
* The lead lawyer in the inquisition against Madam Justice Lori Douglas turned in a resignation letter. Perhaps he grew tired of being part of judicial farce that’s spread wider than Her Honor’s legs. [Canadian Press]
* A would-be law student wants to know if he has a good chance of getting into a top 20 school with a low 150s LSAT and an average GPA. You’ll get in everywhere you apply! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* Roger Fisher, Harvard Law School professor and co-author of “Getting to Yes,” RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Unhappy with eleventy billion dollars in damages due to Apple, Samsung will begin its appeals, perhaps even to the Supreme Court (because you know that SCOTUS wants a bite at the proverbial literal patent apple). [Wall Street Journal]
* And speaking of that jury award, jury foreman Velvin Hogan had this to say about it: “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.” Yeah, because a billion dollars in damages isn’t unreasonable at all. [Reuters]
* Do judges with lawyerly license plates avoid traffic infractions instead of getting tickets? The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct is investigating this issue of epic importance. [New York Law Journal]
* If bill collectors are threatening to sue you over your credit-card debts, you better pray that your case lands on Judge Noach Dear’s docket, because in his courtroom, “it’s dismiss, dismiss, dismiss.” [New York Post]
* Hippies can file lawsuits, too: Burning Man starts today, but the event’s organizers claim that its Nevada venue is pursuing a new theme in view of a “drastic increase in fees” — burning money. [All Things Digital]
* Protestors should be allowed to act however they want when carrying prohibited machetes in Republican National Convention event zones. This was the first, and definitely the coolest, RNC arrest made. [ABC News]
* That’s one hell of a “rainy day fund.” Greenberg Traurig is asking for $24M over the next two years, and has no plans to do it again in the near future. [Daily Business Review]
* Lots of law firms have been listening to that Petula Clark song about how great things are downtown, because that’s where their offices are headed. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Republicans are begging Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to quit, but he’s vowed to stay the course. “[A]bortion is never an option,” not even for his campaign. [New York Times]
* Dipping and squeezing is serious business in the condiment world, and that’s why there’s a patent lawsuit over this innovative ketchup packet. [Huffington Post]
* Career alternatives for attorneys: sci-fi salvaging savior? This entertainment lawyer is taking out-of-print fantasy novels and turning them into e-books. Sometimes being a nerd is pretty cool. [New York Daily News]
* Obama’s win for health care reform didn’t result in a polling bump for him, but it did result in an even higher disapproval rating for SCOTUS, at least as far as Republicans are concerned… [POLITCO; CBS News]
* … which may be why Chief Justice John Roberts escaped to “an impregnable island fortress” to avoid the Right’s fury, criticism, and scorn as soon as he could after the ACA opinion dropped. [New York Times]
* “[W]e have learned from the mistakes that were made.” That lesson only cost a few billion dollars. GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3B in the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history. [Wall Street Journal]
* After losing a bid to quash a subpoena, Twitter has to turn over info about an #OWS protester’s tweets. OMG, please respond to that thing in 140 characters or less. [Bloomberg]
* Unlike most recent law school grads, Yale Law’s Vanessa Selbst hasn’t been hedging her bets in bar prep classes. Instead, she went all in, played her cards right, and won $244K at the World Series of Poker. [ESPN]
* Divorce really does bring out the best in people. Alec Baldwin says that if given the chance, he would murder his ex-wife Kim Basinger’s lawyer “with a baseball bat.” Gee, tell us how you really feel. [New York Post]
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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