Snoopy works from home instead of going to the MetLife Building.
This morning we reported on bedbugs at Winston & Strawn’s New York office. Alas, the problem might be much larger than we initially anticipated.
That’s because Winston & Strawn is located in the iconic MetLife building, at 200 Park Avenue in Manhattan. After this morning’s post went up, a spokesperson from Winston told us that all inquires about the bed bugs were being referred to the building’s landlord, real estate giant Tishman Speyer.
Are bedbugs crawling around the whole MetLife building? We don’t know yet; Tishman Speyer hasn’t returned our phone calls.
But if bed bugs are a threat to all the tenants of the MetLife building, there are three other law firms that could be getting very itchy…
Here in New York, we’re not worried about hurricanes, we’re not worried about terrorists, we’re not worried about whether or not Derek Jeter “cheated” to get on base. We are worried about one thing: bedbugs.
Bed bugs are everywhere. Lat has this theory that we’ve reached bedbug epidemic stage and that everybody eventually will have them at same point. I’m retraining my Lhasa Apso to be a bed bug sniffing dog in hopes of making a little extra money. The threat of coming into contact with somebody who has been in contact with somebody who knows somebody who had bed bugs is real.
So you can imagine the horror felt by associates in the New York office of Winston & Strawn, when they received an early morning, pre-recorded phone message from the firm…
I recently wondered, on Twitter, whether it’s only a matter of time before everyone in Manhattan has bed bugs. Bedbugs are like death and taxes: they will get you eventually, and the only question is when.
For lawyers and staff in the legendary Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the answer may be: soon. An employee in the office informs us that a bedbug-sniffing canine was brought into the 80 Centre Street building this afternoon — and that the dog alerted to the presence of bedbugs in multiple locations. Furthermore, rumor has it that (1) the powers-that-be in the office have known about bedbugs at 80 Centre Street for at least a week, and (2) the main building, at One Hogan Place, has had bedbugs for even longer.
(Right now Robert Morgenthau is probably thinking to himself, “Thank God I left that dump for Wachtell.” Morgenthau’s sucessor as DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., is probably scratching himself.)
“Several offices apparently came back positive for bed bugs,” said our source. “But, bizarrely, they are only going to fumigate those specific offices — not the entire building, like they should.”
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a bit of a bedbug breakout in the Brooklyn D.A.’s office. We thought it was kind of funny, but people who work in that office are not laughing. Instead, emails have been flying around the office — and one message in particular is both informative and hysterical. It’s just hard to decide if it’s hysterical (haha) or hysterical (dogs and cats living together).
The emails are coming from someone who calls himself or herself “Not Taking Bed Bugs” (“NTBB”). This individual is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. NTBB is trying to incite some collective action from the employees in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office:
Please photograph every bed bug bite you get. Keep records of where in the office you were when you noticed it. Always inform [Lady Scapegoat] via email – exactly how many bites. She needs your help. She needs to know. They need a “paper trail” to document the progress.
Keep your own record of bed bug sighting and always inform [Lady Scapegoat] via email immediately exactly where and when. She needs your help. She needs to know. They need a “paper trail” to document the progress.
IF YOU ARE ANXIOUS FROM BED BUGS, PLEASE CALL IN SICK. ANXIETY IS A DISEASE WITH A MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS.
Over the weekend, we linked to the Gothamist story about the bed bug problem plaguing the Kings County D.A.’s office. The bed bug epidemic is sweeping New York. Yes, California, have your laughs. Just know that in New York we slough off bed begs; in California, the Earth itself will scratch you off into the ocean.
Still, your Manhattan-based Above the Law editorial team is well-protected from the brunt of this plague, as the New York Daily News reports:
Ten percent of respondents in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn reported bedbugs at work, as did 8% of Bronx residents, but just 3% of Manhattanites were afflicted.
And I bet those 3% of Manhattanites are the ones who fall for the occasional “come to my [party / wedding / wake] in Brooklyn, it’s not that far” email. Idiots. If God wanted us to cross rivers and risk the savages of the outer boroughs, he would have provided more helicopter pads.
Oh we kid, Kings County, ’cause living in Brooklyn is like living in Manhattan, only not nearly as cool. And because when the Kings County D.A.’s Office has a bed bug problem, they send out some hilarious emails.
You’ve got to throw some more shame on the bedbug issue! According to the housing people, six Columbia Law School summer associates who are living in Lenfest Hall (the law school housing building) have brought Cravath bedbugs home, and the building’s infested!
They hired a “scientist” to run around with a bedbug-trained sniffing dog to root out the infestation; the building’s supposed to be crawling with them. WTF?
How can a firm like Cravath not be on top of something like this? Now I’ve got to be worried about catching cooties…
Look, punk: those are Cravath bed bugs. They’re too good for you. Count yourself lucky that they’ve decided to grace your crappy dorm with their presence.
If you stop your whining, and ask nicely, they might do the Cravath walk. Up and down your back.
Hiring partners and recruiting coordinators at Wachtell and S&C, it’s time to break out the champagne:
CRAVATH HAS BEDBUGS!!!
Yes, that’s right. The Worldwide Plaza headquarters of Cravath, Swaine & Moore — perhaps the country’s most prestigious law firm, and one of its most profitable — has some unwelcome visitors. And no, 2L interview season ended months ago.
Here’s what we’ve learned, from multiple sources at CSM:
1. An email was sent around Cravath last week about the presence of bed bugs at the firm.
2. A few bedbugs were found on two floors, the 21st floor and the 41st floor, which are being fumigated.
3. Two employees had bedbugs in their apartments and told the firm, which caused the firm to investigate.
4. The 21st floor is a paralegal / administration floor, but the 41st floor is a litigation floor — which means that one of the two employees may be a lawyer.
6. Both of the employees are still with the firm (i.e., they have not been fired, like the poor soul at Cadwalader who, rumor has it, got canned after self-reporting).
7. The email about the bed bug problem was protected against forwarding or copying.
Apparently Cravath and Cadwalader have something in common other than the Bear Stearns deal. [FN1]
As you may recall, in June 2007, Cadwalader reported a bedbug problem. A few months later, they announced lawyer layoffs.
Are associate layoffs like bedbugs? Will they start off at relatively less prestigious firms — we say “relatively,” since Cadwalader is still plenty prestigious (#26 on the Vault 100) — and move all the way to the top of the list? Will Rodge Cohen and Ed Herlihy be scratching themselves furiously as they negotiate the next big bank merger?
Words of wisdom to incoming Cravath summer associates: go to as many events as you can, and spend as little time as possible at the Death Star. May the force be with you.
We contacted Cravath, which declined comment through a spokesperson. If you have anything to add on the situation, please feel free to email us. Thanks.
[FN1] The bedbug email went around Cravath before the JP Morgan Chase / Bear Stearns deal was initiated. So there would be no merit to a conspiracy theory that Cadwalader gave the cooties to Cravath by sneaking them into a box shipment destined for Worldwide Plaza. Earlier: Breaking: Cadwalader Overrun By Bed Bugs!!!
Sources in the New York office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft have informed us that a bed bug has been found on the 20th floor. It is believed that said bedbug infiltrated the premises through a delivery or box shipment. Perhaps it was hidden in a document production from opposing counsel?
Attorneys were notified of this breach in CWT’s bed bug security via email. We haven’t seen the email message, which we understand was protected against forwarding, printing, or copying.
But if you have further details, please post them in the comments (or email us). Thanks! Update: We like this commenter’s speculation: “Cameron Diaz brought it!” Earlier: Breaking: Cadwalader Overrun By Bed Bugs!!! Cameron Diaz at Cadwalader!
Working as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice offers many advantages over toiling as a law firm associate. Greater responsibility. Better hours. Nicer bosses (with some exceptions).
But working for the DOJ has disadvantages too. Lower pay. Less support staff. No Aeron chairsworking pens.
And maybe rats snacking on your toddler. From a tipster:
Cadwalader may have bed bugs, but the Justice Department’s child care center has rats. The center is… managed by a board of directors, mainly middle aged DOJ lawyers.
Here’s an email making the rounds. My favorite line is “They will stay upstairs for play the rat of the day.”
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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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