Joe Flom, R.I.P. — and R.I.C.H. As you might expect from the name partner of one of the world’s largest and most lucrative law firms, Flom left behind a vast fortune.
It might seem tacky to talk about this. But that hasn’t stopped us before given Flom’s commitment to charity, it’s actually heartwarming to see all of the worthy causes that will be receiving much-needed funds from the Flom estate.
So how much are we talking about? And who are beneficiaries of his will?
Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.
As I have previously discussed, one thing I wish to accomplish with this column (in addition to the instant boost of self-esteem I receive whenever I read a comment) is to provide specific information to attorneys considering small firms. To that end, meet Ray Prather and Daniel Ebner, principals of Prather Ebner LLP.
Ray Prather was a successful solo practitioner specializing in estate and trust planning. Dan Ebner, an HLS grad and former district court clerk, was a Kirkland & Ellis associate. Realizing that their backgrounds complemented each other — that Prather had experience in running a small firm, and that Ebner had a valuable referral source in Biglaw connections — these partners in life decided to become partners in law.
Let’s face it: the best thing about dying is that you are reunited with your loved ones on a puffy cloud get to control people from beyond the grave. I don’t look forward to dying, but the one thing that brings me comfort is knowing that my funeral playlist will be epic, as I’ve taken the liberty of including it in my will (Thong Song, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Red Red Wine, Mambo #5, etc.).
Elizabeth Edwards, who died on December 7th after losing her battle with breast cancer, didn’t exactly pull a Leona Helmsley, screw her children and leave nearly everything to her dog. But she did exact revenge on her cheating, megalomaniac estranged husband:
Elizabeth Edwards left everything to her children, with no mention of her estranged husband, John Edwards, in her will.
“All of my furniture, furnishings, household goods, jewelry, china, silverware and personal effects and any automobiles … to be divided among them …” Edwards says in the document dated December 1.
Yowza. Not even an “I acknowledge my husband, John Edwards, whom I intentionally omit from this will” put in for good measure. In the words of MTV’s best dating show: John, You Are Dismissed…
As we mentioned last week, Above the Law, in cooperation with our friends at ALI-ABA, will be assisting you with your Continuing Legal Education needs. We regularly review the comprehensive CLE offerings of ALI-ABA and pick out selected courses that look particularly interesting to us. Here are the two for this week:
Estate Planning 101: Practical Strategies for Estate and Gift Planning: Due to the demise of the estate tax in 2010 and the resulting complications, this area of law has gotten very tricky. Not every client has the impeccable estate planning sense of George Steinbrenner. If you’re new to estate planning, if you’re a seasoned attorney looking for a refresher, or if you just want a basic working knowledge of estate planning and related tax issues — perhaps you expect to come into an inheritance in the next few years? — you should check out this course.
Public Speaking and Oral Advocacy: How To Do It Well: Effective public speaking is a skill that every lawyer, regardless of practice area, needs to possess. This reasonably priced course will teach you what you need to know. And really, knocking off some CLE hours while also learning how to speak nicely — in a bar or at the bar — is a no-brainer.
Both of these courses are taking place this week, so don’t delay on registering. You can take them live, in New York City (Estate Planning) or Philadelphia (Public Speaking), or you can access them as live video webcasts. To learn more, click on the links below.
Over on Am Law, The Careerist has been doing a series of interviews with hiring partners at Biglaw firms. They are fun reads, at least if you like to see the extreme hubris exhibited by hiring partners during this buyers’ market for fresh associate talent. A month ago, Jones Day’s hiring partner gave a really good interview, one that sounded much more badass before JD popped its layoff cherry.
Despite her death back in February 2007, Anna Nicole Smith (aka Vickie Lynn Marshall) continues to make headlines. From the Ninth Circuit comes bad news for her former lawyer (and lover) Howard K. Stern, and her daughter, Daniellynn. From E! Online:
[A court] said today that the estate of Anna Nicole Smith is not entitled to the $300 million-plus judgment previously awarded from her late oil tycoon hubby’s billion-dollar estate.
The court battle over Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II’s millions has been ongoing since 1995.
You can download the opinion from the Ninth Circuit here [PDF]. You’ll see a familiar name on the list of counsel.
Kathleen Sullivan, new name partner at Quinn Emanuel, filed an amicus brief in the case for the Washington Legal Foundation, arguing in support of the decision by the Texas probate court that originally denied Smith’s claim to Marshall’s $1.6 billion fortune.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Dechert partner G. Eric Brunstad, the veteran Supreme Court litigator who represented the victorious estate of Pierce Marshall in this case. (Brunstad was also Lat’s bankruptcy law professor at Yale.)
If you’re in the northeast and not enjoying today’s frigid temperatures, consider the latest Job of the Week. It’s a position for someone who wants to head to Florida and help structure the estates of all those other people heading to Florida (aka the T&E jackpot). With fine white sand beaches, beautiful sunsets and pina coladas, who could ask for anything more? Position: Trusts and Estates Attorney Location: Sarasota, FL Description: A prestigious Florida firm is looking for a Trusts and Estates attorney with 3-5 years experience drafting estate plans in Florida. Interested candidates must be a member of the Florida Bar, and must have an LL.M. in Tax or Estate Planning. Experience with Form 706 Estate Tax returns is required, and the ability to handle probate administration is also a plus. This firm is looking for someone who is community oriented, a team player and a good personality fit for the firm’s sophisticated Estate Planning practice group.
If you are interested in this position, please contact Scott Hodes, the newest member of the Lateral Link team, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scott handles attorney placement for the Florida market.
Lateral Link is actively hiring additional attorney recruiters with prior recruiting experience. If you are qualified and interested, please contact Michael Allen at email@example.com. Earlier:Prior Job of the Week listings
We continue our series of open threads about small law firms focused on different areas of practice. In light of the turmoil being experienced by Biglaw, as well as the many laid-off lawyers and job-hunting law students looking for other opportunities, now is an excellent time to look beyond large law firms.
Today we turn our attention to TRUSTS AND ESTATES. What is it like to work at a small (or at least non-big) firm focused on T&E work? What are your hours like? Your compensation? What do you like the most — and the least — about your job?
Please discuss, in the comments.
Speaking of trusts and estates, at the recent Lavender Law conference we attended a workshop on advanced estate planning. The panelists offered advice that might be helpful to people who practice in, or aspire to practice in, trusts and estates.
Read about it, after the jump.
For those of you who followed the South Carolina bar exam controversy, previously discussed here and here, we bring you an update.
The South Carolina Supreme Court recently issued a supplemental statement on the matter. According to the Court, the elimination of the Trusts and Estates section from the scoring process had nothing to do with complaints from the kids of prominent public figures.
An excerpt from the court’s statement, after the jump.
Remember the alleged South Carolina bar exam shenanigans, which we discussed in these pages last week? There are some updates. See the links collected below, including a fairly barebones statement from the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Also, here’s what appears to be an interesting email that made the rounds in the wake of the results announcement. It was purportedly sent by one of the test takers who initially failed to other individuals who sat for the S.C. bar exam:
First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score.
My Dad and [redacted's] dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not to come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it.
So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are [names redacted]. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know so that we add them to the list. The scores are important too because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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