Archive for the ‘Law Firms’ Category

Work-Life Balance: The Art of the Interview

November 3, 2006

For Tamina Alon, the choices are clear. The 26-year-old Hastings student would much rather have her law books in one hand and her two little boys in her lap than juggle her parenting obligations and a 90-hour work week at a firm — which is why more law students seem to be having kids while they’re still in school.

The flip side, Alon said, is that you get the short end of the stick in interviewing for jobs. “They don’t want people with families,” the president of Parents at Hastings said. “They say: go to the government, they have nice 9-to-5 positions, you will do fine there.”

When she asks working attorneys how their family life is, she invariably gets two responses. “They are surprised,” she said. “Or I get laughter: ‘What family life?’ they ask.”

The advice Alon gets is to wait to get the job offer, then spring the news that you’re pregnant or a parent.



Patel Scolds Lawyers With Sharply Titled Order

November 1, 2006

Seyfarth Shaw lawyers couldn’t have thought it a good sign when their motion to clarify — filed in defense of client Costco in an employment discrimination action — provoked a reply from Judge Marilyn Patel entitled “Order Clarifying That Which Need Not Be Clarified.”

Indeed, the San Francisco federal judge smacked down the defense’s entreaties last week in language usually reserved for petulant children.


Milberg Probe Draws a Little More Attention

November 1, 2006

The Milberg Weiss case is making people jittery — again. Fortune Magazine wrote another big story on the saga (largely retread) and Fortune and the Daily Journal both wrote about the interesting presence of former Milberg expert witness John Torkelsen in downtown L.A. Long viewed by prosecutors as a key to the case, the expert, who was sentenced earlier this year to federal prison time in New Jersey, was moved to an L.A. facility weeks ago, ostensibly for a handwriting examplar. But his continued presence in SoCal has many lawyers in the case wondering if he’s flipped — or if prosecutors are just massaging him to coax out some bit of information.

In the meantime, Milberg’s lawyers are working hard to assert attorney-client privilege over any documents they can possibly fit under that umbrella, while prosecutors need to figure out if they can use the testimony of Steven Cooperman, the man who began the entire probe — or if his sketchy past makes him too tainted.

Lawyers involved with the case say the tension is unlikely to dissipate before the next big break — prosecutors risk judicial upset if they don’t file additional indictments by the end of the month.

Justin Scheck


Dorsey-Flehr: A Merger That Didn’t Take

October 31, 2006

With merger mania gripping the legal community this week, it’s worth remembering that sometimes these ventures don’t work out so well.

Take the news this week that Dorsey & Whitney may shutter its San Francisco office. That office is itself the result of a 2002 merger between what was then 750-lawyer Dorsey & Whitney and 27-lawyer IP boutique Flehr Hohbach Test Albritton & Herbert of San Francisco.


What’s in a Name: Labeling the Thelen Merger

October 30, 2006

It’s another merger — San Francisco-based Thelen Reid & Priest is combining forces with New York-based Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner — and of course you’re wondering why one name was chosen to go before the other.

According to Thelen Reid & Priest head Stephen O’Neal, it was never a topic of discussion.

“We’re certainly larger, so I don’t think it was a surprise,” O’Neal said, who will serve as co-chairman with Brown co-managing partner Julian Millstein at the new firm.

Though they don’t get to be first on the stationery, Brown did get to retain three of its names — one more than Thelen. O’Neal said that it was due to the fact that Brown is a first-generation firm whose founders are still working with the firm.

Although the new name is shorter than the eight total names between the two firms, it could get shorter still.

Millstein said the name is not set in stone and could be shortened for marketing purposes as time goes on.

Zusha Elinson

Chasing the Dewey Orrick Name Mystery

October 27, 2006

Thomas E. Dewey famously said, “When you’re leading, don’t talk.”

As the promising merger between the law firm that bears his name, Dewey Ballentine, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe draws closer to completion, the parties are apparently taking his advice to heart when discussing the name of the new firm: “Dewey Orrick.”

Ralph Baxter Jr. and Morton Pierce, the co-chairmen-to-be, could not be induced to comment on the rumor, snatched off the Wall Street Journal’s law blog, that “the Thomas Dewey estate allows them to use the Dewey name only if it comes first.”

There was, however, one leader who was willing to say something.


Secret Behind the ‘Dewey Orrick’ Name?

October 25, 2006

Ralph Baxter Jr. and Morton Pierce were eager to share the highlights of the upcoming merger between their firms, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Dewey Ballantine.

Well, most of them.


In-House Counsel Take on Outside Expenses

October 24, 2006

Nothing irks in-house counsel more than unreasonable expenses in outside counsel bills. But what’s considered unreasonable? A couple of in-housers offered their thoughts Tuesday at an Association of Corporate Counsel seminar in San Diego. (Technically, the subject was “Leading Edge Processes for Selecting Outside Counsel.” But an important first step toward selecting would appear to be eliminating past overbillers.) (more…)

Wilson’s Hits Just Keep On Coming

October 20, 2006

When a report on stock option backdating says there is no evidence your law firm did anything illegal or hid anything from investors — much less that your shop invented the practice — you might breathe a little easier.

For Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, though, those positives resembled a disclaimer in a probing publication issued by The Corporate Library, an investor advocate and research firm based in Portland, Maine. (You can get the report online, but it’ll cost ya.)

The report says that Wilson’s multiple roles at companies under backdating scrutiny — i.e. serving as outside counsel while Wilson partners simultaneously sat on the board that awarded stock options to the law firm — could spell trouble for their clients.


Beginning of the End of L.A.’s Detective Scandal?

October 17, 2006

The private eye scandal that promised to devastate L.A.’s legal community hasn’t really delivered: Aside from high-profile litigator Terry Christensen, few of the people indicted for allegedly hiring detective Anthony Pellicano to engage in illegal wiretapping register on the legal radar screen. It’s not so surprising in hindsight that they seem to be the types that we outside L.A. imagine as crowding the margins of Hollywood — people clawing for a buck at the periphery of celebrity.

Over the last few weeks, though, as prosecutors and defense lawyers try to work out a trial date for Christensen — the erstwhile lead partner at the firm now known as Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro — rumblings in the L.A. bar have begun about a new wave of subpoenas sent out to attorneys at Greenberg Glusker, one of L.A.’s top firms and the home of Bertram Fields, the famed entertainment litigator.