Wall Street Journal

Steven Davis

“You just drove a major global law firm into the ground. What’s next?”

“I’m going to… Disney World Ras al Khaimah!”

“Ras al what? Why do you hate Batman?

Congratulations to Steven Davis, the former chairman of now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf, who recently landed a new job. As we mentioned earlier today, he has been appointed chief legal officer to the government of Ras al Khaimah, one of seven semi-autonomous emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

What could be drawing Steven to Arabia? And what are the downsides of the move?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know Where Former Chairman Steven Davis Is Going Next?”

Linear extrapolations are widely suspected of being unreliable, but maybe not widely enough. Stated differently, it’s a category error to engage in static, not dynamic, analysis. Stated yet differently, the interesting challenge is almost never to ask, “What can we do to solve this problem?” but instead, “What happens after we take this approach to solving the problem?”

Here’s an example. A long-running contributor to structural disequilibrium in the metropolitan New York traffic congestion pattern is that bridges across the East River are toll-free, whereas almost all other bridges and tunnels in the area carry tolls as high as $12 one-way. Not surprisingly, the East River bridges are chronically congested and “over capacity.” (The experts’ knowing diagnosis that they’re “over capacity” always amuses me; drivers are paying in time, not money: The “capacity” of the bridges is what it always has been.) So periodically proposals are floated to impose tolls on these bridges, with seemingly reliable projections of how much revenue would be collected based on today’s vehicle traffic multiplied by the average toll.

This is a linear extrapolation, a static analysis, and it’s wrong. It overlooks the question, “How will people alter their behavior in light of the tolls?” Obviously, the answer is that some will carpool, some will take mass transit, some will telecommute more often, some will use different combinations of bridges and tunnels. Whatever happens, toll revenue will fall short of {[today's traffic volume] x [proposed toll]}.

Now, in law school land, we have a stunning example of market dynamics at work….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Across the Desk: Students Outsmart Professors?”

This needs to be required reading before the next ABA meeting.

If there was ever an argument for laissez-faire market forces over bad and unhelpful regulation, it’s here where the American Bar Association seems hell-bent on preventing law schools from balancing their budgets in any way other than price-gouging students who are getting too smart to pay.

There’s a trend piece in the Wall Street Journal today, covering something that we’ve talked about on a more granular level, regarding law schools firing staff and sometimes law professors to cope with the declining number of law school applications.

But the ABA, ever tone-deaf to the concerns of the actual law students who have to pay or borrow money to support the broken system of American legal education, is actually in the process of trying to make it harder for accredited law schools to fire professors and control their costs. In a world where the market is saying “we no longer want to pay this much for these services,” the ABA is trying further regulate exactly what kinds of services law schools provide.

It’s madness, but that’s legal education in the 21st century…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Professors Enter A Time Of Consequences As ABA Fights To Preserve Their Status Quo”

* “I don’t believe judges should be filibustered.” Tell that to the rest of your Republican pals, Senator Hatch. D.C. Circuit nom Sri Srinivasan faced little drama at the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. [Bloomberg]

* A bipartisan gun regulation deal has been reached in the Senate, and of course the NRA is opposing it — well, except for the parts that expand gun rights. The group really likes those parts. [Washington Post]

* Trolling for patent partners? Bingham recently snagged five IP partners from DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office, including the former co-chair of DLA patent litigation department. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Time well spent: while Detroit hangs on the precipice of bankruptcy, local politicians are worrying about whether retaining Jones Day poses a conflict of interest for their emergency manager (Kevyn Orr, formerly of Jones Day). [Am Law Daily]

* NYLS — or should we say “New York’s law school” — is revamping its clinical program to kill two birds with one stone (e.g., fulfilling pro bono hours and boosting job prospects). [National Law Journal]

* For all the talk of his being a hard ass, Judge Rakoff is a nice guy after all! The judge gave an ex-SAC trader permission to go on a honeymoon after his release from prison. [DealBook / New York Times]

* If you’ve ever wondered how Lat spends his free time, sometimes he’s off writing book reviews for distinguished publications. Check out his review of Mistrial (affiliate link) here. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Lindsay Lohan is the victim.” What the Heller you talking about? LiLo’s lawyer thinks there’s a conspiracy among the prosecutors on her case that’s resulted in leaks of information to TMZ. [CNN]

Not pictured: Wall Street Journal.

[The article] lays it out. It gives motive, it gives you methodology, it reflects experts who think it’s valid. This is not the only piece. This article takes the same kind of approach that you have taken in this case.

I mean, frankly, I am totally puzzled, given that plaintiffs’ bar in this area uses the Wall Street Journal as their source of clients and cases, right? You guys read it every day, looking for scandal, right? Other people read People Magazine, but you read the Wall Street Journal.

– Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald (S.D.N.Y.), discussing inquiry notice of plaintiff’s claims with David Kovel of Kirby McInerney, counsel for plaintiffs in the Libor lawsuits, during Tuesday’s hearing.

(The article Judge Buchwald mentions ran in the Wall Street Journal in 2008 and raised serious questions about Libor’s integrity.)

DaNae Couch

* The Department of Justice has reached yet another settlement in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case, this time with Transocean Ltd. for $1.4 billion in civil and criminal penalties and fines. [National Law Journal]

* “[W]ith success comes regulatory scrutiny.” Google convinced the FTC to close its ongoing antitrust probe by promising to change its allegedly shady patent usage and purportedly skewed search terms. [Bloomberg]

* According to Littler Mendelson, federal contractors might want to consider sending out sequestration-related layoff notices to employees in order to comply with the WARN Act. America, f**k yeah! [Government Executive]

* Governor Andrew Cuomo will have a major impact on the New York Court of Appeals when appointing new judges. It could be a partisan decision, but his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, insists his son will leave politics at home. [Capital New York]

* When you write in defense of the value proposition of law school, you wind up in the op-ed pages of the NYT. When you tell the truth about it, you wind up in the opinion pages of the WSJ. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Remember Danae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who was crowned as Miss Texas? She’ll compete for the Miss America title next weekend. If you’d like to help her become a finalist, you can vote for her here! [KFYO]

In my humble opinion, there is nothing worse than billing time. Just think of the feeling you get when you’ve spent a day doing a million random tasks in your sad beige office, and you have no ten-minute entries to account for that day (i.e., you get no credit for a day spent at work doing work things). Not only is billing a pain, the practice of accounting for your time is even worse. While I was no better at it when I was at my Biglaw firm than at the small firm, the former had some software that would send me mean emails if I did not get my hours in on time. Oh, and there were scarier partners that would come after if me if I had a delinquent time report.

At the small firm, on the other hand, I was instructed to fill out time entries by hand, give them to my assistant to type into a billing program, review the print-out of the hours inputted by my assistant, and then send them off to the partner to review and approve.

I was less efficient at billing at the small firm than at my Biglaw firm. Not only did I lose precious ten-minute increments working with my assistant to bill hours, but I also worked on a minimum of four matters, and switching between matters meant less efficiency. And I suppose there are other things people do at small firms that they cannot bill for — like go get business or something?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Billing Sucks, But Small-Firm Lawyers Need To Do It Better”

Brett McGurk

Let me begin by making one thing clear: I support the nomination of Brett H. McGurk to serve as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq. He is eminently qualified for this post, in light of his extensive experience, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, dealing with the complex and sensitive issues that exist between the United States and Iraq.

Brett McGurk’s brilliance lies beyond dispute — he’s a member of the Elect, after all — and the same is true of his heroism and commitment to public service. In the late 1990s, while he was a summer associate at Cravath, he and a fellow summer rescued two drowning women during a beach outing gone awry. After graduating from Columbia Law School, he devoted his legal career to government service — clerking for Judge Dennis Jacobs (2d Cir.) and the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, working as a legal advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, serving on the National Security Council, and counseling two past ambassadors to Iraq, Ryan Crocker and Christopher Hill. McGurk possesses vast expertise about Iraq, acquired through the many years he has spent advancing U.S. interests in the region — at considerable personal risk to himself.

If you are a high-minded individual, you can stop reading here. If you are less high-minded, keep reading to learn about the sexy email messages that Brett McGurk allegedly exchanged with a prominent (and attractive) journalist….

Please note the UPDATES added at the end of this post.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Ambassadorial Nominee and Ex-SCOTUS Clerk’s Racy Emails”

I am always intrigued by articles giving advice on appropriate office behavior. For whatever reason, these advice columns almost always discuss the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of crying in the office. I am not sure why this is such a newsworthy topic, as I have rarely witnessed such behavior — either as a Biglaw associate or when I went to a small firm. And I only cried once in my five years of practice, and that was not in the office — it was in the elevator. Unfortunately a partner happened to be in the elevator with me, but I could not help it.

Last week the Wall Street Journal featured an article on this topic. Don’t Cry (At The Office) suggests that you not cry at the office (yes, shocking). The article goes on to suggest that you go home or to your therapist’s office to cry because while having feelings at work is a no-no, it is important to have feelings when you are off the clock.

After learning that one should not cry at the office, I decided to investigate other inappropriate behaviors. I have put together a list of forbidden actions for small-firm attorneys based on input from my cadre of small-firm Emily Posts.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Do Not Cry At Work And Other No-Nos”

Not frilly and girly enough!

It’s not often that one associates high fashion with female lawyers. And if such an association is to be made, it usually comes in the form of an Elle Woods / Legally Blonde joke. Instead, one is quick to conjure visions of boxy ’80s power suits with shoulder pads thick enough to warrant a cringe.

You’d think that with the sheer number of fashion sense for the workplace seminars, women would have stopped making the faux pas of dressing like they were anywhere but at a David E. Kelley-created law firm — but apparently, you’d be wrong.

So let us spell it out for all of our lovely lady lawyers, as the Wall Street Journal so eloquently did last night: “The power suit is over.” These days, power looks for women contain frills, ruffles, and even hints of (gasp!) pink.

While the power suit may be a fashion no-no, is it acceptable to wear these emerging trends to work?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attention Fashionistas: The Power Suit Is So Last Season”

Page 1 of 3123