Perhaps this is something that you’ve noticed: women who are newly engaged tend to brag about the way their fiancé proposed to them. And whether the proposal was bland or spectacular, it’s all these women seem to want to talk about.
So, what happens when you’ve got two criminal cases pending against you, and your boyfriend is just dying to pop the question? What happens when that same boyfriend has an order of protection against you due to allegations of domestic violence? Is that the kind of backstory you’d want to tell all your friends before spilling the beans on how your fiancé asked for your hand in marriage?
Apparently, the answer to the last question is “yes,” because this unlucky couple’s engagement tale was published in the local paper for all the world to see….
Last August, John J. O’Brien, who was once a highly regarded and well-liked partner in the celebrated M&A practice of Sullivan & Cromwell, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor tax offenses. The charges of conviction were mere misdemeanors, but the amounts involved were large, as you’d expect from a well-paid partner at S&C.
O’Brien was accused of failing to file income-tax returns for tax years 2001 to 2008, on almost $11 million in partnership income. In the end, he pleaded guilty to failing to file taxes relating to $9.2 million in partnership income, for tax years 2003 to 2008.
Earlier today, John O’Brien was sentenced. The sentencing hearing provided some interesting additional information about why O’Brien acted as he did.
So is O’Brien trading Biglaw for the Big House? And if so, how long a sentence did he receive?
If you look back at the great law firm departure memos of years past, you’ll see that almost all of them were written by associates. When partners leave Biglaw, they tend to do so in rather staid fashion, presumably because they have less to complain about (although query whether that’s always the case; see, e.g., A Partner’s Lament).
Every now and then, you’ll come across a colorful farewell message penned by a partner. One such email, sent out last Friday by a longtime partner leaving a major law firm, is now making the rounds. Here’s a teaser: “I have realized that I cannot simultaneously meet the demands of career and family. Without criticizing those who have chosen lucre over progeny, let me just say that I am leaving the practice of law.”
Wow. So who’s the partner in question, which firm did he just leave with such flair, and what’s he planning to do next?
We talk a lot here on Above the Law about the difficulties attorneys have in finding a work-life balance. Often Biglaw life becomes all work, all the time. Or sometimes, burned out attorneys run in the other direction entirely and open a bike shop, but it rarely feels like there is a viable in-between.
I’m inclined to say that if you have a passion, you should go for it, no matter what other people think. Lawyers should be allowed to wear different hats. Sometimes that means allegedly showing off your new boobs to co-workers. Sometimes it means making rap music.
And in one Ohio attorney’s case, it means writing, directing, producing, and starring in epically bizarre, Camelot-inspired heavy metal videos….
Parents wield an unbelievable amount of power in the naming of their children. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. Bizarre names can ensure that your child sits alone and friendless in the cafeteria for the better part of his formative years. Great names can spur children on to greatness.
Naming children after gods or powerful mythological figures, on the other hand, can create an unnecessary amount of pressure. These names set them up for failure. Sure, their names may make for better tattoo choices and save them from the ranks of misguided youth who think butterfly tramp stamps are good ideas. Still, unless they are blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, these children will likely lead lives full of vain attempts to live up to their names.
For instance, what would we expect from a man named Atlas? Great strength. After all, Atlas was forced to bear the weight of the entire sky on his shoulders. There’s even a World’s Strongest Man event named after him. But what do you do if you’re named Atlas and you’re not predisposed to feats of great strength? If you’re like the millions of other people in this world who don’t know what else to do, you become a lawyer. And like the great solo practitioners who have come before you, you come up with some sort of crazy shtick and a wacky website to try to set yourself apart from the masses.
Meet today’s solo practitioner, Joel Atlas Skirble. Dubbing himself “El Capitan,” Skirble, with the help of Team Atlas and his handy Atlasmobile, is saving the fine folks of Virginia and Maryland, one personal injury or criminal charge at a time….
Remember Isaac H. Stoltzfus from Intercourse, Pennsylvania? After handing out condom-stuffed acorns to women on the street outside the Statehouse in Harrisburg, Stoltzfus became our Judge of the Day back in September 2010. In the spirit of res ipsa loquitur, we kept our coverage short and sweet.
We now know that Stoltzfus was cited with one count of disorderly conduct, but that charge was dropped. In April, the Judicial Conduct Board filed a complaint against Stoltzfus because… well, let’s not split hairs here, the dude was handing out acorns that he had personally hollowed out and stuffed with condoms. That is some pretty bizarre behavior, but Stoltzfus claimed it was just a prank, and filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
On Wednesday, the state Court of Judicial Discipline dismissed the complaint, but why? We’ve got the scoop, after the jump….
Remember John J. O’Brien? Back in April 2009, we wrote about the mysterious departure of John O’Brien from Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was a well-regarded and well-liked partner in the M&A department. In a follow-up post in December 2009, we noted : “When partners leave a place like Sullivan & Cromwell, there’s often a story behind the departure.”
In our December 2009 post, we reported that John O’Brien “left Sullivan & Cromwell due to an issue relating to his taxes.” We added that the problem was personal, i.e., that it did not implicate S&C or any of its clients (unlike the fraud of another former SullCrom partner, Carlos Spinelli-Noseda, who defrauded the firm and its clients of more than $500K).
Some readers pushed back on this reporting. They claimed that John O’Brien left voluntarily and for perfectly innocent reasons. They told us to leave O’Brien alone. They accused us of harboring ill-will towards Sullivan & Cromwell (even though, to be honest, large law firms are somewhat interchangeable for us here at ATL; they’re all just potential sources of news to write about).
In light of all the flak we took for our John O’Brien coverage — similar to the criticism we received for covering Theodore Freedman’sdeparture from Kirkland & Ellis, a few months before Freedman got indicted by the feds — please forgive us for gloating a little. (This gloating is directed at our critics, not at John O’Brien; we have nothing against O’Brien and wish him the best of luck in moving on with his life.)
Today brings news that John J. O’Brien has been hit with federal criminal charges. Like Ted Freedman, John O’Brien has been hit with tax-related charges. But the numbers involved are larger — a lot larger….
UPDATE (7 PM): O’Brien pleaded guilty. See the update appended to the end of this post.
Earlier this year, we told you the strange tale of Thomas Walkley. A lawyer in Ohio, Walkley founded and runs Cafe 41:11, a coffeeshop for at-risk youth. Back in January, Walkley was accused of exposing himself to two teenage boys who applied to work at the cafe.
Walkley admitted showing his junk to the teens, but claimed that it was done for educational and mentoring purposes. Guys at my all-boys Catholic high school used to educate and mentor me all the time, it was no big deal.
The authorities didn’t buy Walkley’s argument. They tried to take him to trial.
Now we have some updates on Tom Walkley — plus comments given to Above the Law by a mother whose teenage son worked for Walkley at Cafe 41:11….
Toréador, en garde ! Toréador ! Toréador ! Et songe bien, oui, songe en combattant Qu'un œil noir te regarde.
My fellow Americans, I have some terrible news to tell you. I’ve just been made aware of a terrible secret. Apparently all the fears you’ve heard from the far right about the desire of certain liberal justices to impose foreign law on the Unites States of America were justified. I know, I know — I’m as shocked as you are.
I don’t know how else to make sense of what is going to happen tomorrow. The far, far right was right. They just got the kind of foreign law wrong. The Supreme Court doesn’t want to impose Sharia law on us; instead, they want to impose French law on us.
I know this because on Friday, July 22, Justice Stephen Breyer is going to go to that bastion of liberal elitism, Harvard Law School, and deliver an entire address in French. Sacré bleu!
Let’s look at the announcement….
UPDATE (5:30 PM): Please see the update added to the end of this post.
As we mentioned in the story, our coverage of Freedman’s departure was prompted by “interesting rumors.” We hoped that our post would result in additional corroboration of what we were hearing. Alas, our write-up just prompted the usual attacks from Kirkland Kool-Aid drinkers, who accused us in the comments of harboring ill-will toward K&E and engaging in shoddy journalism.
Well, this time we’ll enjoy the last laugh (not because we have anything against K&E — we don’t — but because we like being proven correct). We can share what we know about Ted Freedman, because the rumors are now embodied in a federal criminal indictment….
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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