There’s just something about riding on crowded Amtrak trains that causes Biglaw attorneys to lose all of their inhibitions. From fondling one another to making $300,000 partnership offers to casually discussing future layoffs, their indiscretion knows no bounds. Perhaps they choose to throw caution to the wind because they think no one cares about the business of law, or that no one is really listening to what they’re saying or watching what they’re doing, but that’s simply not the case. We’ve got eyes and ears everywhere, and no one is safe.
Today’s Biglaw blind item occurred on yet another Amtrak train, and deals with some longstanding archetypes: an attorney who “sounded like a real jerk” and a law student who “sounded desperate.” It seems like this attorney has hate in his heart for his firm’s summer associates…
If you’re reading Above the Law, you want to go to law school, you’re in law school, or you graduated from law school. We hate to break it to you, but you and yours were some of the worst people on the planet as law students.
The law students and lawyers reading know this to be true. The prospective law students are still living in a dreamland where they think they’re going to bake and eat cakes filled with rainbows and smiles with their classmates, and be happy. You’re not going to be truly happy, not even one little bit.
You’re going to find a small group of people you think are normal, call them friends, and bitch about the rest of the gunners and freaks in your class. The rest of the gunners and freaks in your class are going to do the same thing, but they’re going to bitch about you. It’s like a high school clique-fest all over again, and you’ve even got the lockers to show for it. If you’re a law student, you’re probably a terrible human being.
We’re in the middle of law firm interview season. We’ve offered you both cheerful and depressing takes on the summer associate recruiting process.
Speaking of depressing things, interviews are frequently followed by rejection. Trust me, I know; I’ve received many rejections over the years. I recently contributed one of my “favorite” rejection letters to an online compilation (see page 27 of the pamphlet, or page 15 of the PDF, reprinted with the permission of Justice Scalia).
That was a kind and gracious rejection letter, which is what you’d expect from a genteel institution like the U.S. Supreme Court. When Biglaw firms turn your dreams to shame, they aren’t quite as nice….
There’s a great episode of 30 Rock where Twofer (the black character who went to Harvard) gets offended when Tracy Morgan (the black character who did not go to Harvard) says “the n-word” to him, colloquially, as black people allegedly say to each other based on movies and music. Twofer threatens to sue Tracy Morgan for workplace harassment, while Tracy argues that it’s okay for black people to use the word. Then there’s a great, great scene where Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan try to get Twofer to say the word too.
It doesn’t go well. He says it, Morgan threatens to punch him, and Fey says, “It just sounds so hateful coming from you.” The scene pretty much explains why I personally don’t use the word. I don’t say it around white people, I don’t say it to other black people, I don’t use it when I’m getting a haircut, and I don’t use it around the dinner table with my family at Thanksgiving. It’s not a word that I can “pull off” (I can pull it off in writing when I use it ironically, I think), and I’m totally okay with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who sees intense hypocrisy in the fact that some black people can and do pull it off while no white person (outside of Louie C.K. and maybe Bill Maher) is allowed to try. White people got a 400-year head start in the New World, and black people can deploy an extra noun when listening to Jay-Z. There are greater tragedies.
But the N-word is not a “professional” word, and I don’t think it should be used in that context. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white or from whatever racist planet Rush Limbaugh is from. At the point where you are using the n-word to talk to your employees, you need to help yourself to a thesaurus.
Apparently, there’s a jury of my peers who agrees with me…
The pages of Above the Law are littered with lawyers who have tried to use their status as legal eagles to get out of brushes with law enforcement. Not their legal knowledge — smart lawyers who have run-ins with the law keep their mouths shut, don’t blow, and save their arguments for judges instead of arresting officers. But smart attorneys make for boring stories.
It’s the people who think that just being a lawyer will keep them out of jail who bring the real fun. Once a cop gets a look at your Cravath prestige points (or the local equivalent), he’ll just look the other way and allow you to stumble to your car.
Think of folks like the young associate who allegedly told a police officer, “You are going to… die. I’m a lawyer. You can Google me.” Or the future prosecutor who allegedly said, “I start with the Linn County Prosecutor’s Office next Tuesday. I want you to arrest me for not signing this.” Or the prominent lawyer who allegedly said, “You can’t arrest me. I represent Seattle and King County. You are making a mistake.”
Well, today we have another classy Seattle legal lady. But this one allegedly did her talking not just with her mouth, but with her anus…
“I am hyper-sensitive when it comes to name calling and ethnic slurs — just look at my name. I bristle when people are derided as dumb Polacks, greedy Jews, smelly Pakis, stupid beaners, camel jockeys, frogs and gooks. There are many more but no reason to list them all.”
Throwing a temper-tantrum in your office is better than throwing one in a parking lot.
I know, I know — when most of you think of “class,” you think of a small Long Island law firm that represents a small-town school district. So I’m sure it’s going to come as a shock to you that one of these Island lawyers engaged in a profanity-laced tirade after a school board meeting, in which he cursed out some parents in a parking lot.
This is Long Island we’re talking about, old sport. Respected Long Island attorneys don’t resort to such ribald language. If “Strong Island” isn’t careful, it’s going to be viewed as no better than the Jersey Shore.
Wait… I’m being told that we’re already there. Oh well, might as well take a look at this video of this lawyer calling somebody’s mom the C-word after a school board meeting….
Ed. note: We hope that you had a great July 4th — and that you’re enjoying a four-day weekend. But if you’re at work today and looking for diversion, check us early and often — we will be posting today (although on a reduced publication schedule).
* Lawyer of the Day Long Weekend: Christopher Kirby, whose profanity-laced tirade at the mother of a special-education student during a school board meeting has gone viral. Stay classy, Chris. [New York Daily News]
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
Connecticut plaintiffs-side boutique litigation firm (12 lawyers) seeks full-time associate with 2-4 years litigation experience, top tier undergraduate and law school education. Journal or clerkship experience a plus; highest ethical standards and strong work ethic required. Familiarity with Connecticut state court legal practice is preferred, but not required.
The firm handles sophisticated, high-end cases for plaintiffs, including individuals and businesses with significant claims in a wide array of matters. Our cases often have important public policy implications, and are litigated in state and federal courts throughout Connecticut. Representative areas of practice include medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, business torts, deceptive trade practices and other complex commercial litigation, and products liability.
Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.