Steven Harper

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

As discussed previously, Steven Harper threw down the gauntlet when it comes to top law schools focusing all their recruiting efforts on Biglaw placements. And the woman who reads my tea leaves said that small law firms are becoming the new black. But you do not need to take their word for it. I have it from on high (i.e., from someone at Harvard Law School) that small law firms might merit the attention of the top of the U.S. News law school hierarchy.

I decided to test my working hypothesis — that graduates from top schools are considering small firms for their post-graduate employment — on the head of the Office of Career Services at HLS, Assistant Dean Mark Weber….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Advice From A Real Expert on Choosing a Small Firm”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Like many unhappy lawyers, I find Cee Lo Green’s F**k You — which has been picked up by radio stations in a more family-friendly version, Forget You — to be a personal theme song (a la Ally McBeal). Indeed, I often fantasize that I am dancing around my office in an inappropriately short skirt-suit, belting out the chorus to many of my co-workers.

And I am not alone in appreciating the cathartic properties of this special song. We all saw those crazy kids at GWU Law School, in their feather-boa-filled tirade against law school gunners.

Steven Harper, a retired Kirkland & Ellis partner who now teaches at Northwestern Law (and blogs), is the latest to invoke Mr. Lo Green. He seems to be giving the F**k You to Biglaw — and maybe a little bit to former NU Law Dean David Van Zandt, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Forget You, Biglaw (oo, oo, ooo)”

Bill Lerach, looking sex-ay.

* Lawsuit lending, i.e., investing in lawsuits, is a booming business — but are plaintiffs getting screwed (again)? [New York Times]

* The “state secrets” doctrine goes before the Supreme Court tomorrow. [USA Today via How Appealing]

* Elsewhere in SCOTUS news, Justice Breyer gets a shout-out in the title of a new study: “‘People Did Sometimes Stick Things in my Underwear': The Function of Laughter at the U.S. Supreme Court.” [Washington Post]

* The new year is off to a great start for M&A lawyers. [Am Law Daily]

Arthur Cutillo

* A second ex-Ropes & Gray associate, Arthur Cutillo, pleaded guilty on Friday to charges arising out of the Galleon Group insider trading scandal. (Brien Santarlas pleaded guilty back in December 2009.) [Bloomberg via ABA Journal]

* If Cutillo and Santerlas go to prison, what can they expect? Check out Nathan Koppel’s interesting interview with former high-flying plaintiffs’ lawyer Bill Lerach, which touches on Lerach’s time in the big house (including a story about how he got the prison TV switched back to CNBC). [WSJ Law Blog]

* Steven Harper, the Kirkland & Ellis partner turned blogger, writes: “Are law schools deceiving prospective students into incurring huge debt for degrees that aren’t worth it? Of course they are.” [The Belly of the Beast]


Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

I like what Steven Harper’s doing these days. After 30 years at Kirkland & Ellis, he retired from the fray, and he now comments on big law firms from an outsider’s perspective, at The Belly of the Beast. Although Harper’s critiques are often cutting, I think they reflect his underlying concern, not animosity, about law firm life.

But, to my eye, Harper recently missed a trick. In a recent column at the AmLaw Daily, Harper speculated that big law firms may prefer lockstep compensation to merit-based systems because merit-based reviews require partners to invest nonbillable time thinking carefully about associate performance. There’s no incentive for partners to invest that nonbillable time, says Harper, so firms settle for lockstep — and firms thus delay giving meaningful (and ultimately helpful) guidance to associates.

I think it’s worse than that. I think there’s actually an invidious incentive for partners at large firms to mislead associates about their performance. Why?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: A Tangent on Merit-Based Compensation”

Page 4 of 41234