Last week, we attended and reported on a talk at UVA Law School by Dahlia Lithwick, who discussed covering the Supreme Court. Now we bring you coverage of another interesting event, featuring more navel-gazing by legal journalists:
Reporting the Law: A Year-End Review New York Law School
Moderator: Brian Lehrer, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC
Panelists: Emily Bazelon, senior editor, Slate; Dirk Olin, editor, Judicial Reports.com; Dan Slater, lead writer, WSJ Law Blog; Candace Trunzo, editor in chief, Star magazine.
The two lawyers on the panel, Bazelon and Slater, are pretty young things — and were smartly dressed for the occasion. Bazelon, whose features are reminiscent of Christy Turlington’s, wore a white v-neck blouse and well-tailored brown sweater. Slater, baby-faced yet lantern-jawed, wore a gray suit with a blue windowpane pattern, a blue patterned shirt, and a dark navy tie with pink stars (très preppy).
Oh, sorry — we got distracted by the superficial. We have more substantive comments as well.
If you’re interested in the legal media, you can read about the panel discussion after the jump.
Time is running out on this month’s ATL Lawyer of the Year and Second Favorite Blog After ATL polls, both sponsored by ATL and Lateral Link.
So far, we’re up to just over 2,600 votes for Lawyer of the Year, and Wall Street Journal pick Loyola 2L is still going strong. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has a roughly 2.5 to 1 lead over Hillary Clinton, and Alberto Gonzales is stamping out civil rights stomping on music rights attorney Ray Beckerman . . . but pretty much nobody else.
On the blogging front, the Wall Street Journal remains the blog to beat, while Above The Law is still in second place and Volokh Conspiracy is on track for third, having opened up a hefty lead over Patently-O and SCOTUSblog. Write-in candidate Ms. JD has overpowered Overlawyered, and Likelihood of Confusion has turned the tables on Professor Bainbridge and is now closing in on Skadden Insider.
We’ll post the final results on Thursday.
But while you’re voting for the champions above, are you also voting with your feet at work? In last month’s ATL / Lateral Linkjob survey about 20% of you responded that you were considering leaving your current firms once you received your bonus. But that was before many of you knew what your bonuses were going to be.
So last week, we asked you whether your job searches were indeed underway. Find out if the answers changed after the jump.
[M]ost of the laid-off lawyers worked in Cadwalader’s New York headquarters though the firm’s Charlotte, N.C., office was also affected. All were in the firm’s global finance and capital markets practices. Almost all of the affected lawyers were associates, said [management committee member Gregory] Markel, though he said one or two counsel may also have been let go.
[Per Markel:] “We concluded that this was not a three-month phenomenon or even a six-month phenomenon.”
Mr. Markel also said the firm was confident there would be no more layoffs in the future. After yesterday’s action, the firm will still have around 260 lawyers in the two affected practices.
A number of law firms active in the area have already announced cutbacks. Clifford Chance terminated a six-lawyer group in November. Thacher Proffitt & Wood and McKee Nelson both have offered buyouts to large numbers of associates working in the area.
“We were very careful about this, and we waited to see if there were any signs of the economy turning around” before letting lawyers go, says Cadwalader partner Gregory Markel, chairman of the firm’s litigation department. “We didn’t see any evidence of this turning around.”
Cadwalader is one of the most prominent law firms to recently announce layoffs, which could trigger a chain reaction among other firms; capital markets and real-estate practices are down at many firms.
It is still relatively rare for large law firms to engage in mass staff reductions. For one, many large law firms boast specialties, such as litigation and bankruptcy, that typically pick up during down economies.
3. From an observant tipster not at CWT (and presumably happy about it):
“CWT apparently doesn’t update its lateral recruiting page very often, as it currently claims to be looking for structured finance and capital markets attorneys in several offices. See here.”
4. From a source at the firm, an interesting theory about how the news was disseminated, including a possible explanation for why it wasn’t announced announced internally first:
[A] partner in Corporate leaked all this information about the Capital Markets situation to a bunch of associates. Some of it was false, some true. [Management was] really upset with him because they wanted this information to come in an official announcement or meeting, not in rumors flying around.
I’m thinking they accelerated the press announcement because the information started leaking to outside sources, rather than staying inside. I still definitely think that they could have released it internally first, but there may have been other circumstances that I don’t know about. I am not sure if the press release and the corporate partner things are related, but it seems like they would not have released it so abruptly if it didn’t happen. Whenever something major happens, it is usually disclosed internally first.
Reactions were varied to Amir Efrati’s controversial, widely read, front-page Wall Street Journal story about the job prospects for graduates of non-elite law schools. Some students and alumni of non-top-tier law schools hailed the piece for revealing some dirty secrets about American legal education. But not everyone was so pleased.
From a tipster at Brooklyn Law School:
I thought you would be interested in hearing about a BLS Career Services breakfast held this morning. Apparently the director of Career Services at BLS, Joan King, was asked about her reaction to the WSJ article. (Note: this breakfast is an annual event, and was not held as a reaction to the article).
Ms. King said she was contacted in the research-gathering stage by the WSJ author, who interviewed her about the job market for BLS students. She believes that there were some omissions in the article, and that the writer had an agenda: to prove his hypothesis, without highlighting some additional facts.
Amir Efrati, if you see Joan King in a dark alley, turn the other way — and RUN. If you mess with a girl from Brooklyn, you WILL regret it.
And there’s more. Check it out, after the jump.
But it was much more fun to speculate that he was pulling a Judith Miller, hiding out because of his role in Brokeback Lawfirm.
As it turns out, there’s pretty much no doubt that Aaron Charney leaked the Goldman Sachs / Sullivan & Cromwell reviews to Peter Lattman and the Wall Street Journal (as if there was much doubt before). The newly available S&C motion to dismiss states, on page 8, that at the February 1 TRO hearing before Justice Charles Ramos, “Charney admitted that he had the stolen documents described in the Wall Street Journal.” Unless someone else stole the documents, and Charney just happened to stumble upon them and pick them up, his confession to possessing the stolen documents is tantamount to an admission that he stole the documents.
As for Peter Lattman and his story about the Microsoft antitrust case in Iowa — which is now “DOA,” as Lattman puts it, since the parties have settled — we do feel bad for Lattman.
The poor guy spent a week in “snowy, subzero Des Moines.” And he’s not even running for president. Microsoft Settles Iowa Antitrust Class-Action [WSJ Law Blog] Earlier: And Lindsay Lohan Really Was Suffering From ‘Exhaustion’ Brokeback Lawfirm: The S&C Motion to Dismiss
Here is the first set of our photographs from yesterday’s hearing in New York Supreme Court in the lawsuit(s) between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell (litigation nickname still to be determined).
We’ve taken a page from the Lavi Soloway playbook: these photos are thumbnail images. If you click on the thumbail, you’ll be able to see a larger version of the picture, in all of its glory.
More photographs, after the jump.
The WSJ Law Blog has just posted a copy of the Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney complaint. You can access it by clicking here (PDF). How exciting!
We’ll have some thoughts on it shortly. If you’ve already read the S&C Complaint, please opine in the comments.
Lavi Soloway’s already all over the story. As Soloway points out, Charney is now represented by counsel.
So if you play for Team Aaron — no, not in THAT sense (although there’s probably a lot of overlap) — you should feel a lot better. You no longer need to stay up at night, worrying about your boy proceeding pro se against a Biglaw behemoth.
P.S. The PDF of the S&C Complaint is a little blurry. But don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; you gotta love those MSM resources. Thanks, Wall Street Journal! Update: We’ve now had the chance to read the Complaint. Our thoughts on it appear here and here. S&C Strikes Back at Now-Former Associate [WSJ Law Blog via Lavi Soloway] Sullivan & Cromwell LLP v. Aaron Brett Charney (PDF)
Well before Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell was ever filed, the venerable law firm was dealing with some serious issues. As aptly summarized by New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, “Sullivan & Cromwell lost about 30 percent of its associates in 2004 and 2005. It might take more than a raise to fix that.”
From a fascinating rather interesting Wall Street Journal article by Peter Lattman (which we meant to write about yesterday, before we got swamped by all the pay raise news):
Faced with a surge in turnover of its associates, the prestigious law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has been putting on a charm offensive to hold onto junior lawyers.
The crash course in etiquette went into high gear at a partners meeting last February. To deal with low associate morale and high attrition, a confidential slide presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal urged partners to say things like “thank you” and “good work” to associates they supervise.
What else should partners do? “Return associates’ phone calls as quickly as you would a partner’s or client’s,” said one bullet. “Be sensitive to not canceling associates’ vacations,” said another.
Additional bullet-points made these helpful suggestions:
“Don’t tell gay associates that they like taking it up the ass (because they might be tops rather than bottoms).”
“Refrain from subjecting associates to profanity-laced tirades in which you tell them they should be fired.”
* Tax litigators B. John Williams, Jr. and Alan Swirski, to Skadden Arps (DC), from Shearman & Sterling (DC).
The WSJ Law Blog refers to the two men as “Tax Litigation Studs.” First: What do these guys look like? Second: Is using the word “stud” conduct unbecoming an MSM blog? (Just kidding, Peter.)
* Geroge Sullivan, to Greenberg Traurig (NY), from Morgan Stanley (where he headed litigation at the firm’s retail brokerage and investment management arm). Government to Private Sector:
* Mark Feldman, to BDO Seidman’s litigation and fraud investigation practice, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (where he headed the office’s organized crime and racketeering section for over 10 years). Shearman Tax Litigation Studs Decamp to Skadden [WSJ Law Blog] Morgan Stanley Litigation Chief to Join Firm in NY [NYLawyer.com] Organized Crime Prosecutor Joins BDO Seidman [NYLawyer.com]
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
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…
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