In Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince, chapter 19 — “That One Should Avoid Being Despised And Hated” — contains Machaivelli’s only suggested restrictions on the Prince’s absolute power. Machiavelli essentially argues that the Prince must not take the people’s sheep (“sheep” being a metaphor for the ability of peasants to have enough food) or their women (“women” being a metaphor for women). He writes: “It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain. And when neither their property nor honour is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways.”
These are good restrictions for all who find themselves in positions of inscrutable power. Most men will suffer any other form of servitude so long as they have enough to eat and are allowed exclusive access to their own wives. The 1% will be just fine, so long as they don’t institute some kind of system of polygamy that allows the wealthy to marry-up all of the available women.
Machaivelli’s advice applies just as easily to a totalitarian ruler of a country as it does to a managing partner of a law firm. Managing partners, ignore Machiavelli at your peril. You could end up with a full-scale revolt on your hands — or, at the very least, an embarrassing lawsuit from a former, allegedly cuckolded partner….
Edwards Angell & Wildman Harrold: A match made in heaven?
What results from the coupling of an angel and a wild man? One might think: angel + wild man = air traffic nightmare.
In the law firm context, however, the result is quite different. Edwards Angell is merging with Wildman Harrold, to form Edwards Wildman Palmer. The merger will take effect on October 1 and “will bring together 650 lawyers across two legacy firms renowned for their deep experience, shared dedication to client service, and highly collaborative cultures,” according to the new firm’s website.
What else do we know about Edwards Wildman Palmer? And what might be motivating this merger?
I'm pretty sure this was the only child to die under suspicious circumstances in the past three years.
* Caylee’s Law would make it a felony for anybody to grieve for their child in any way that doesn’t involve law enforcement within the hour. I trust the libertarian crowd is going to help me point out how this is dumb. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Big time antitrust lawyer Christine A. Varney is leaving the Justice Department and heading to Cravath (perhaps as a replacement of sorts for Katherine Forrest). So it looks like there was some money left over after spring bonuses for Cravath to make a new hire. Phew. [Dealbook]
* Even judges in Flori-duh are allegedly bats**t crazy. [Obscure Store]
* In more reasonable news coming out of Florida, this reminds me of the “mock trial” club in high school. [Miami New Times]
* Courtesy of NALP, here’s more evidence that the class of 2010 is totally screwed. You know, I wish I could have the entire class over to my house for a big pity party. We could all hang out and play Rock Band, and at the end everybody could have a cup of my delicious homemade Kool-Aid. [NALP]
* Chicago law firm merger mania? I just hope nothing messes with the name “Wildman Harrold.” [ABA Journal]
What is the upside in forcing colleagues to stay who don’t want to be there anymore? That’s unclear.
But the downside should be obvious. Letting it get to this point is like putting up a big red sign to potential future partners at Wildman that reads: “If you ever leave us we’ll do everything we can to screw you.” Wildman might not be at the boiling rabbits stage, but it’s pretty easy to get a reputation as that crazy chick nobody wants to date.
Of course, to hear Wildman tell it, nothing unusual is going on here, the firm is just following its procedures…
Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks. Law Shucks has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
For a while there it would look like the first consecutive weeks without layoffs since this time last year (by our reckoning, you have to go back to the weeks ending October 9 and October 2, 2008). Alas, one firm did come through with staff layoffs, about which more after the jump.
As usual, we begin with the US macroeconomic picture, and as usual, it ain’t pretty. For the week, the S&P 500 was down about 2%. That was the second straight week of losses, and the DJIA had its biggest weekly decline in three months. 263,000 net jobs were lost in September and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent, despite perhaps the technical end of the recession. As with the stock market, bad results are one thing, but results worse than expectations are another, and that was the case here. Consensus estimates were net losses of 175,000, so the actual results were way short. August’s revised numbers were slightly better than original reports, though.
[T]he report also buttressed fears that economic expansion would be weak and hesitant, with scarce paychecks and economic anxiety remaining prominent features of American life well into next year.
“This is a weak report,” said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. “The rate of job loss has tapered off, but we still haven’t reached the point where businesses are willing to hire.”
Could this create political difficulties for the president?
Wildman Harrold has decided to give a majority of its incoming associates the Fox. Am Law Daily reports that the firm has rescinded offers to 10 of its 14 associates. Unlike Arent Fox, Wildman will not be giving its would-be incoming associates any stipend.
On the Wildman Harrold career page, they really like numbers. They evidently haven’t had a chance to update their summer associate page; they’re probably busy with fall recruiting. So I figured I’d give them a hand.
Wildman, by the numbers:
* 10 – Number of offers rescinded to class of 2009 associates (out of 14). * 4 – Number of offers extended to 2009 summer associates (out of 17). * 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in January 2009. * 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in April 2009.
Wildman is a Chicago based firm. Yesterday, we told you that the Illinois bar results were out. You don’t think that Wildman rescinded offers right after the bar results came out do you? More details after the jump.
While the cutting edge firms have moved onto cutting salaries, there are still firms that are getting through their layoffs.
Yesterday, Above the Law learned that Wildman Harrold decided to go through another round of cuts. Here is the firm statement:
We have reduced our associate ranks by 10 and our secretarial staff by 7. The individuals affected by these reductions are all high quality employees and professionals, who have made valuable contributions to our firm. Our diverse profile as a firm remains unchanged by these departures.
Wildman Harrold, a Chicago based law firm of over 200 lawyers (and an ATL commenter favorite) has laid off 10 lawyers.
The firm has confirmed that there were “approximately” 5 income partners and 5 associates let go. Our tipsters also report that eight staffers were also let go, but the firm did not confirm that information.
One tipster reports that Wildman’s managing partner had previously promised that there would be no layoffs at the firm:
The Managing Partner, Robert Shuftan, assured associates a month and a half ago that the firm would not be conducting layoffs unless something “catastrophic’ happened to the firm.
Another tipster reports:
The laid off attorneys were told that the moves were necessary because of the current economic climate.
But the firm contends that the layoffs were part of its annual review process.
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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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