In the new movie Up in the Air — which is worth seeing, if you haven’t already — Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, is on a quest to rack up 10 million frequent flyer miles. That’s a heck of a lot of miles. In the Walter Kirn novel the film was based on, it was a more realistic one million miles (but, as film critic Kenneth Turan notes, “that’s product placement and inflation for you”).
To some people, however, 10 million miles — or points, the credit-card version of miles, also redeemable for free air travel and other goodies — is chump change. From the Miami Herald:
[Ponzi schemer Scott] Rothstein (inset left) racked up 20,920,701 rewards points on his Amex card — and the feds want to grab them all to help pay back his victims. Generally, American Express doles out one point for every dollar charged on the card, which can be used to buy merchandise, airline tickets, hotel rooms, restaurant meals and gift cards.
So, what did Scott Rothstein do to accrue all those points?
I can only recall one time when a partner “encouraged” me to use all of my vacation time. As I remember it, the conversation went something like this:
ME: I’m seriously considering killing you and all of the people in this building.
BOSS: Huzzah! I like that kind of fighting spirit. You will go far, young man.
ME: If I don’t sleep in the next two hours I cannot be responsible for my actions.
BOSS: Your tears make me strong.
ME: Fine. Fine! Enjoy the malpractice lawsuit I’m about to create with this priv log. Your treasured [senior associate] won’t catch my egregious errors. She’s so tired she’s here in sweatpants and a hairnet.
BOSS: Maybe you should take a vacation.
ME: Ya think?
BOSS: A permanent one.
ME: Exact… oh. Umm … [Elie starts to cry.]
BOSS: [Slurp] There, there. In a few weeks you will blow your entire budget on a last-minute getaway to Grand Cayman. You’ll feel momentarily better while at the same time convincing yourself that you cannot live without the salary I provide. Then you shall be [Slurp] refreshing … I mean “refreshed.”
But when I was working in Biglaw, the economy was booming, work was flowing, and all was right with the world.
Now, things are different. So it’s not that surprising that a firm like WilmerHale really wants people to use all of their vacation. Immediately.
We previously reported on Ropes & Gray hoarding Tamiflu for its employees. Reaction was mixed. Some people applauded Ropes looking out for the health of their employees and their families; others feared that Ropes was unwittingly contributing to a drug-resistant strain of the H1N1 virus.
But there are many ways to prevent an outbreak of piggy pestilence at a law firm near you. One of the most, dare I say rational, measures is to make sure that people who are sick aren’t coming into work.
That’s what they are doing at Akerman Senterfitt. The Washington Post reports (gavel bang: ABA Journal) that the firm is allowing people with the sickness to take time off of work, without counting it against their allotted leave time:
When Great Falls resident Carolyn Cuppernull’s 10-year-old daughter came down with swine flu, she didn’t have to take time off work to stay home with her.
Cuppernull is senior marketing manager of the Washington office of the law firm Akerman Senterfitt. Under the group’s former policy, she would have had to use paid leave to stay home if she or a relative got sick. But the firm recently updated its rules to allow employees to stay home with full pay — without using leave time — for H1N1-related absences.
Now that’s a way to make sure your office doesn’t suffer a swine flu outbreak without potentially contributing to the mutation of a global super virus.
Of course, there is a downside.
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Albert Freed (pictured) won a trip to Hawaii (not pictured). As part of the vacation celebration, Mrs. Freed bought her husband some new Hanes brand briefs. But Mr. Freed is a husky gentleman, and apparently the new trunks couldn’t contain all of his junk. He sued Hanes, claiming they made “defective” underwear.
Let me turn it over to Escambia County (FL) Judge Pat Kinsey:
A question for the guys out there: How long would it take you to correct a problem involving sandpaper and your penis? Don’t you think penis chafing is something that requires immediate attention and decisive action?
And while we’re here, how long does it take for you to notice your stuff hanging out where it is not supposed to be?
Check out Albert’s excuse after the jump.
Hello, Above the Law community. I’m back from hiatus. I’m away for a whole week and what happens, law firms stop laying people off. Coincidence? Dear God I hope so.
I didn’t follow any legal or non-legal news during my absence, so I’ll be counting on you guys to bring me up to speed. But I’m not too concerned. I’m like Tiger Woods on Sunday with a 54-hole lead, I never lose.
It’s great to be back.
Now that aspiring lawyers have taken the bar exam, they can relax and try to forget about it until the fall, when results come in. One way of relieving stress is “the bar trip”: a post-bar exam vacation to an exotic locale, for sun, surf, or snow, depending on one’s travel preferences.
The bar trip — the last hurrah before immersion into the grim realities of law firm life — is a tradition among law grads. But we’re hearing that the recession may be interfering with the tradition this year. With Biglaw start dates pushed back, and talk of lower salaries running rampant, law grads may be feeling less celebratory this year.
Purely anecdotally, law grads have told us that they’re scaling back. They’re not going on extravagant bar trips, and in some cases, not going on bar trips at all.
Are we only friends with fiscally conservative types, or is this actually a trend this year? Are you thinking of a “staycation,” or are you still planning a trip around the world?
If you’re traveling, please tell us where you’re heading and for how long. If you are heading out of the country, we hope you’ll be sure to spend some time in internet cafes checking out the latest ATL news. Earlier:Post-Bar Travel: Open Thread
Well, it’s my five-year wedding anniversary (yesterday). You know what that means. I’m responsible for a lot of wood.
In a desperate attempt to convince my wife to hang around for a sixth year, I’m taking the week off. Yeah, the whole week. It’s pretty cool to not be working at a law firm anymore. But it’ll be a “stay-cation,” because I don’t work at a law firm anymore. I hear the Yo-Yo Open is in the city this weekend.
I leave you in the always capable of hands of Mr. David Lat. Next week should be a lot of fun on Above the Law. New Vault rankings are coming out and either there will be a significant shake-up in the rankings or some people are going to lose there their ever-lovin’ minds.
Don’t forget to send your tips into [email protected]. Have fun, I’ll catch you on August 17th.
Stroking of breasts can (eventually) culminate in pregnancy. But, as far as we know, the breaststroke can’t.
Magdalena Kwiatkowska might disagree. She’s filing a lawsuit because her teenage daughter became pregnant during a recent trip to Egypt. From the Daily Mail (via Transracial):
A mother is suing a hotel claiming her teenage daughter fell pregnant simply from using a hotel swimming pool.
Magdalena Kwiatkowska says the 13-year-old conceived after coming into contact with ‘stray sperm’ in the water of an Egyptian resort.
[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here. Read part I of this piece here.]
After this dinner I’m still starving from, we hop into the car to drive to the purported “private” room we paid extra for. Now I’m really starting to believe murder or rape is a foregone conclusion. I attract criminals like Jewish men attract Asian girls. And here’s the thing, there’s nothing to stop anyone from doing anything. We’re not allowed to lock either our door nor the front door to the Brady Brunchesque house we will be staying in tonight. Our “private” room is in this house. I said a private room. Like hotel room. Not a room in some random family’s house. Not some room I’m not allowed to lock.
As I enter the spacious open living room containing a lot blue mats and a lot small purple chairs for meditation, I find a DVD player. Excellent. Civility. I’ll just do my Denise Austin Yoga for Abs video and skip class tomorrow. It’s almost pitch black in the room because not only do these people not eat, they don’t do electricity.
I walk over to the big glass window peering out over the water — trying to find the lake, and then, I hear this boy’s voice.
“Hey.” I turn around quickly.
Plaid flannel shirt. Black wire rimmed glasses. Scruffy beard. Red North Face jacket. So Ted Bundy.
I have met my maker.
Can Hope survive her first encounter with Ashram men? Non-homicidal details after the jump.
[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here.]
Well, as I told you in my last piece, I have been desperately searching for inner peace during these incredibly depressing times.
I decided, however, that I needed to amp up my desire for such peace. Meditation class was increasingly becoming too easy, and I was now ready to become a guru of inner peace. So, my friend Olivia and I packed up our car, left the comforts of our urban existence, and headed out to the great unknown. The Ashram.
I had found the Ashram online. It was a place where we could find balance, do yoga, and eat organic vegetarian meals. And it was dirt cheap, to boot. Girls, in case you missed the Times piece, ashrams are the new spas. We all have to cut back now. And isn’t it about time we work on our insides instead of outsides? Don’t worry. Those saddle bags are going to whittle away anyway due to scarce food supplies forecasted for fourth quarter ’09.
“I didn’t know it was a silent retreat all weekend. I thought that was just on Saturday.” Olivia, already breaking the rules, whispers to me upon arrival.
Oops. I forgot to shepardize this case. I don’t recall reading that part on the website.
More after the jump.
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…