* Jamie McCourt, a former family law attorney, strikes out in trying to set aside her divorce settlement with Frank McCourt, former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. She’s stuck with $131 million and several luxury homes. #richpeopleproblems [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* An inquest reveals that a Hogan Lovells partner who took his own life had warned a colleague that he was going to kill himself the day before his death. [Daily Mail via ABA Journal]
* If you’re in New York this weekend, go see Arguendo. Or buy tickets for the 7 p.m. performance on September 22, when I’ll be doing a talkback with artistic director John Collins after the show. Enter the discount code “ABOVE” for $35 tickets (a special rate for ATL readers). [Public Theater]
Alas, Justice Ginsburg wasn’t spotted slurping down noodles at Tony Cheng’s. Rather, Her Honor was in D.C.’s Chinatown for a theater performance, which is more her speed. (She also loves the opera, of course.)
The Eyes of the Law celebrity sighting took place on Friday evening. Our eyewitness reports:
RBG spotted at the theater! It was opening night of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Free for All” production of Twelfth Night at Sidney Harman Hall (yes, as in Rep. Jane Harman’s husband), across from the Verizon Center in D.C’s Chinatown.
The “Free for All” is an annual event in which the Company puts on a free Shakespeare show for Washington for a couple weeks in the summer.
Free theater is nice and all, but Justice Ginsburg doesn’t need handouts. She and her late husband, Martin Ginsburg, revealed assets worth as much as $45 million at the time of her most recent financial disclosure.
So, did our correspondent get to chat with Justice Ginsburg?
Your Above the Law editors spent Sunday afternoon watching a group of talented players in a high-stakes battle. A veteran of the field locked horns with a newcomer.
No, we’re not talking about the Vikings-Saints game. We saw James Spader, David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington play lawyers in a matinee performance of David Mamet’s Race, which opened on Broadway last month.
Spader and Grier play Jack Lawson and Henry Brown, the name partners of Lawson & Brown, a high-profile criminal defense firm. Kerry Washington plays Susan, a fresh-from-law-school associate who is new to the firm. A powerful and rich white man accused of raping a black woman drops by, hoping to have the firm take his case.
The short play — it has two acts, but comes in at under two hours — takes place in the firm’s war room, a conference room lined with books that will look familiar to ATL readers. The Lawson & Brown attorneys discuss whether to take the case and what their strategy should be.
Obviously, we think the legal world is an exciting place, and we are always thrilled to see lawyers get dramatic treatment. Unless the treatment is terrible.
This treatment was impressive. Perhaps it helped to have two lawyers, Peggy Hill and Georgetown law professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz (Lat’s law school classmate), as producers.
Check out our reviews, after the jump.
Despite their ideological differences, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg bond over their shared love for the opera. Both judicial luminaries attended Saturday’s opening night performance of Ariadne auf Naxos, at the Washington National Opera. If you’re into Article III celebrity sightings, the D.C. opera house is where it’s at.
Not only did the justices attend the opera; they also participated. An eyewitness evaluation of their performances, plus a photo of Justice Scalia with a sexy soprano in his lap, after the jump.
This year’s batch of summer associates are roughing it at Biglaw summer camp, with fewer meals out on the firm and less lavish events. To make matters worse, some summers are being told now that their future job will be deferred. Summer associates at Skadden and Ropes & Gray have been informed that they can’t come back to the camping ground until 2011. Tents can’t be repitched at Orrick until 2012.
This seems like a good time to focus on the light side of the summer associate experience. For the past month, we’ve been soliciting entries for our Summer Associate Event Contest of 2009. They came trickling in slowly, whether because there aren’t many events to brag about or because summer associates are too busy (or too scared) to email us. One SA was so fearful of “tipping” us that the announcement about the firm’s event was sent anonymously via snail mail. [FN1]
One ATL reader from a small firm had this to say about the environment at firms this summer:
Our firm does a lot of corporate bankruptcy work, so we’re faring better in this economic storm than most, but we had to scale back our summer associate program a bit. We do not have as many summer associates as we used to, and we are not having as many major, expensive events. No more big-ticket concerts; no more dinner theater on a river boat; no more renting out an entire movie theater for a pre-release movie showing….
Certainly, the difficulties of this economy are showing in the makeup of our summer class: because we have a summer program at all (unlike many law firms), we’re getting students from higher ranked schools. Most of them are from Top 20 law schools, all of them from Top 75 law schools, none of them from the fourth-tier local law school that usually supplies some of our summer class. And our summer associates are noticeably more stressed about the experience and their prospects than I’ve seen in the past 10 summers.
Despite the foregoing, we have a nice selection of events for the contest. We ask you to vote on the best one, plus offer a few honorable mentions (for events involving public urination and broken bones), after the jump.
Your ATL editors kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with a trip to the East 13th Street Theater in Manhattan, where we saw A More Perfect Union, presented by the Epic Theater Ensemble. The play, by Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen, is about two members of The Elect — i.e., two Supreme Court clerks, who fall in love while clerking at the U.S. Supreme Court. Maddie, a white Jewish woman from Ohio, clerks for a fictional conservative justice called “The Wise One”; James, an African-American man from Georgia, clerks for a fictional liberal justice called “The Enlightened One.”
Like the night we spent reviewing Law Revue videos, there were highlights and low points. A big highlight was a post-play discussion featuring former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse. As you know, we are what some might call Greenhouse groupies, though she was not as excited to talk to us as we were to talk to her. We just got a little handshake, a “nice to see you,” and an introduction to her daughter.
The post-show discussion also included professors Elizabeth Emens and Susan Sturm, both of Columbia Law School. Professor Sturm mentioned being a law school classmate of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whom she described as “a straightforward person, who doesn’t hide from her background or make decisions based on it.” She also defended Judge Sotomayor’s Berkeley remarks about personal experience informing a judge’s jurisprudence, noting that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg basically said as much in discussing the recent strip search case before the Court (noting that her colleagues, who seemed less sensitive to the plaintiff’s plight, “have never been a 13-year-old girl”).
Obviously, we think the legal world is an exciting place, and we are always thrilled to see the courts get dramatic treatments. But our standards for fictional treatment of the courts, and especially the Court, are high.
Check out our reviews, after the jump.
If you’re in New York today (Sunday) and looking for something to do in the afternoon, consider checking out Thurgood. It’s a one-man show about the life of Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), starring Laurence Fishburne (best known as Morpheus of The Matrix, but with a long list of other film and theater credits).
It’s an entertaining and educational production, and Laurence Fishburne turns in a superb performance. As one friend of ours, an ex-theater major, put it, “Fishburne was able to make the audience forget that this is a one-man show.”
As one might expect from a play based on the life of a heroic historical figure, Thurgood occasionally verges on the pedantic and preachy (“one person can make a difference”; “we know how far we’ve come — but we also know how far we still have to go”). Law nerds might find feel patronized by the more expository parts of the play, like the mini-reviews of Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. You can often sense the “message” button being pushed.
But hey, everyone needs a refresher course every now and then. And there are enough interesting bits of biographical trivia — as well as ample entertainment, in the form of humorous anecdotes from Marshall’s life, well-told by Fishburne — to make you forgive the more didactic or heavy-handed elements.
If you’d like to see Thurgood, you need to act fast; it’s closing today. The 3 p.m. matinee is the final performance. You can probably get discounted tickets at the TKTS booth (since Thurgood was there last week, and there were definitely a few empty seats at the performance we attended yesterday).
Additional thoughts — if you’re planning on seeing the play, save these for later, so you can form your own opinions free of taint — after the jump.
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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