General Spoiler Alert: You may not want to read this column if you have not yet finished reading “A Storm of Swords” (affiliate link) or finished watching season three of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Care has been taken to eliminate any spoilers, but by definition spoilers are personal, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the books or show.
Imagine a conference room. Filled with lawyers, in this case an Am Law 100 law firm’s D.C.-based bankruptcy practice. Fifteen lawyers in total. Four partners, two senior counsel, and nine associates of various experience levels. All came to the firm four years ago, when the then-nascent mega-firm picked up an entire D.C.-centric firm in a merger. The bankruptcy guys decided to go with the new outfit, choosing to remain with old colleagues and hoping for some exposure to the new mega-firm’s promised synergies. Business has been okay, even as the current year has been a little soft. In their minds, it also would have been nice to have more fellow bankruptcy practitioners in other offices, but despite their relative isolation (in geography and practice area), the group has managed to pick up a big matter or two via referral from other groups. Things are plodding along.
The head of the practice is about to turn the reins of the meeting over to one of the associates — who will be summarizing some recent case law out of Delaware. It is a spring Tuesday, and everyone is eating, drinking, or doing the smartphone stare. All of a sudden, the door swings open. In marches the office managing partner, flanked by the office manager/HR liason, and one of the D.C.-based members of the executive committee — who closes the door and locks it….
Lawyers who practice in small law firms are frequently in the media. The reason is simple: the cases we handle are interesting. When’s the last time your local TV station wanted to interview a Biglaw partner about a corporate transaction?
Stories of divorce, crime, ethics violations, catastrophic injuries caused by plane crashes, and whether the building collapse was caused by a construction defect are why Don Henley had a hit with “Dirty Laundry.” (I love the fact I was able to weave in a comment about Don Henley. Big fan.)
At some point, you may get a call from a local reporter because you either have a high-profile client, or the reporter knows you and there is a case in your practice area where your comments are requested.
Let’s begin with the obvious: lawyers like to talk. Lawyers like to talk when lots of people are listening. Lawyers like to get calls about cases. Lawyers like to get calls instead of the other lawyer getting calls. Media appearances are often considered free advertising. One of the best things about media appearances, paper or TV, is that most people don’t remember what you said, just that they saw you or your name. It goes like this: “I saw you in the paper.” “Oh yeah, what did you see?” “I don’t remember, I just remember seeing your name.” Thankfully, no one seems to remember you said something so ridiculous that it made you look borderline incompetent…
If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”
But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.
Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.
Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…
* Texas law student/international small-arms dealer Cody Wilson got shot down (pun!) days after revealing a fully security-proof 3D printable gun. The State Department pointed out that Wilson seems to be violating all manner of international arms agreements, which was pretty obvious when he went on video boasting about how his weapons were being used in hotbeds of civil strife. [Foreign Policy: Passport]
* The Juice may soon be loose! But probably not. O.J. Simpson has a hearing seeking a new trial in Las Vegas and blaming his former lawyer, Yale Galanter. Best part? Simpson claims Galanter approved the whole “armed, threatening confrontation” plan beforehand. Oops. [FOX News]
* Michael Arrington, a lawyer and “one of the most powerful people on the Internet,” is suing his ex-girlfriend for defamation. The complaint compiles some pretty salacious claims that she made via social media. [Valleywag]
* Just when you thought being an unpaid intern couldn’t be sadder, Judge Baer makes it sadder. [Fashionista]
* The “Thug’s Lawyer” got a reprieve when a judge tossed his indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, theft, and perjury. [The Advocate]
* The EEOC filed suit against a Miami company that required its employees to become Scientologists. In other news, someone actually thought they could get away with making all their employees join the Church of Scientology. [Lowering the Bar]
* The history of the Madison Avenue IPOs alluded to in last week’s Mad Men. [DealBook]
I suppose that’s a rhetorical question. When you live in a nation that’s been reduced to an army of mindless reality-TV-watching drones, it’s not exactly surprising that the average citizen is more inclined to trust a television judge than a jurist who’s been appointed to the highest court in the land.
We care more about the matching camouflage wedding couture Honey Boo Boo’s parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear, wore when they tied the knot this past weekend than the next round of controversial decisions that will be soon be handed down by the Supreme Court. We care more about the Kimye baby bump than the very existence of the Supreme Court, much less the names of the justices sitting on its esteemed bench.
No one who’s been paying any attention is taken aback by the fact that Americans care more about the people they see on television on a daily basis than names they once read in a textbook. That’s why the results of the latest Reader’s Digest Trust Poll as to this country’s judges are expected, and sad, and not at all surprising….
* A senior litigation associate at Paul Hastings, Ryan Nier, has decided to participate in something called the Death Race, and it has nothing to do with the drive for partnership. This Death Race is 50-mile mountain endurance/obstacle race that takes somewhere between 24 and 48 straight hours to finish. Only a handful complete the race every year, and Nier is determined to be one of them. From what we’re told, Paul Hastings has been entirely supportive of Nier, which is cool because he’s using it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. But who knows how supportive they’ll be when they realize he won’t have Blackberry access on top of the mountain for 48 hours. For more information about the Death Race, check out the website. [The Death Race]
* Law student golfing across the U.S. So, I take it summer associate gigs are still scarce? [Golf.com]
* “Guess What the Air Force’s Chief of Sexual Assault Prevention Was Just Arrested For…” Hard to top that headline. [Lowering the Bar]
* Harper Lee suing over “To Kill a Mockingbird” (affiliate link), alleging that the son-in-law of her literary agent botched the copyright. *Insert cheap Atticus Finch joke here* [Washington Post]
* Dr. Phil is suing Gawker alleging that the website posted a video of the pop psychologist’s interview with Manti Te’o, stifling ratings. So Dr. Phil thinks his audience strongly overlaps with Gawker’s. I’m incredulous. [Yahoo! Sports]
* This is why an over-aggressive cease and desist letter can get you into more trouble. Enter the world of the “miniature war-gaming community.” [Popehat]
* A guide to the questions applicants need to be able to answer at OCI. The best? “Describe a situation when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.” This provides insight into how the applicant will deal with virtually every situation that ever comes up in Biglaw. [Ms. JD]
When an opinion opens with a quote from The Wrath of Khan, something is about to happen.
What followed was a straightforward benchslap littered with Star Trek references. More than a little fitting that an opinion about allegedly illegal porn downloads would focus on the pop culture universe most closely associated with 40-year-old virgins.
It’s not the cohesive, brilliant opinion about strip clubs that we recently got out of Judge Fred Biery. Instead, the opinion draws wry smiles for laying out nothing but a string of references to Star Trek seemingly designed just to prove to his fellow nerds that the Judge knows Star Trek.
Which, in a sense, makes this opinion the most “Star Trek” thing ever…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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.
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