End of Class

August 1, 2008 | Uncategorized  |  1 Comment

First, I want to thank you all for being a great class for me this year. Each group is different and I never know what you will be like. So it is always an adventure when one starts a class. And it continues to be an adventure until the end.

Please let me know how you get on in the future. If you have any questions, I am more than happy to try and answer them. My email is: [email protected]. I also run a “regular” blog at johnflood.blogspot.com called “Random Academic Thoughts (RATs)”, which is my regular means of communicating about what I do to the world.

I wish you the best of luck in your future careers and lives.

This article in the Financial Times discusses two lawyers in China today. One is a corporate lawyer, a Beijing partner for Jones Day; the other is a criminal lawyer trying to represent the dispossessed and powerless.

You can either read this article as a Word document or you can click to it here. In the clickable version there is a video of the interviews.

2_lawyers_in_china_2008

I promised you a couple of sample exam questions. If you have any comments or queries, don’t hesitate to contact me.

1. There are no certainties with globalization since we live in an increasingly risky society where law’s role is diminishing. Is this a justifiable position to adopt?
2. Comment on the statement that lawyers represent the ideal of a profession at its most powerful and potent.

Since I show films in this course, you should think about the answer to this question. Here’s another comment from Legal Blog Watch Alert.

The 25 Greatest Legal Movies

Mockingbird If only we could all be Atticus Finch. No doubt, the 1962 film, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is the greatest movie ever made about law and lawyering. But what other movies merit mention as the greatest legal movies? In The 25 Greatest Legal Movies, the August ABA Journal asks 12 prominent lawyers who teach film or are connected to the business to pick what they believe to be the best movies ever made about lawyers and the law. The judging panel ranges from a real judge, U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel in Chicago, who has appeared as an actor in two films, to a solo practitioner in Massachusetts, Lynne Spigelmire Viti, who teaches law, literature and film at Wellesley College. Their selections start with Gregory Peck’s classic portrayal of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch and end with the 1947 film that put Santa Claus on trial, “Miracle on 34th Street“.

At the magazine’s Web site, you can browse a gallery of images from the top-25 films and then vote for your favorites from among them. Accompanying all this is the feature article, “How I Learned to Litigate at the Movies,” in which four top trial lawyers reveal lessons they’ve learned about litigating from watching Hollywood movies. Steven O. Rosen, for example, cites the influence of the 1996 summer blockbuster, “Independence Day“. “Amid the special effects excitement and a rousing climactic battle—the aliens lose again!—the writer and director of Independence Day give us an important lesson about how to tell a story and how to persuade: Start big and end big,” he writes. “To borrow a term from astrophysics, it’s the big-bang approach.”

Sphere: Related Content

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 22, 2008 at 09:42 AM |

Further to my mention today of the ways law firm salaries are changing, here is a comment from Legal Blog Watch Alert:

The Cravath System and the Demise of Large Firm Business as We Know It

Professor Bill Henderson of the Empirical Legal Studies Blog has opened an interesting discussion with his recent analysis of the bimodal distribution of law firm starting salaries.  Essentially, Henderson’s salary charts reflect the current “winner take all” nature of the law firm marketplace, with a small percentage of talent collecting enormous salaries.  While this type of distribution is typical for industries like professional sports or celebrity entertainment, Henderson says that he’s never seen this type of distribution for “a normal labor market involving tens of thousands of people and not just a handful of superstars.”

But what’s more interesting is Henderson’s observation that law firms still have no interest in deviating from “the Cravath model” of paying top dollar for elite grads, even where they lack the mix of business to support it.  Henderson’s research shows that:

Partners in marquee practices like white collar crime, securities enforcement, M&A, private equity, emerging markets, and intellectual property litigation are disproportionately moving upstream to more profitable firms. Partners specializing in regulatory compliance, real estate, public finance, project finance, and trust & estates are disproportionately moving downstream….In the long-run, firms without an optimal mix of premium practice areas will have a hard time sticking with the Cravath system.  Increasingly, corporate clients are refusing to have their cases staffed by expensive first- or second-year associates who don’t know very much and tend to leave.  Hence, the training the clients are allegedly paying for has little or no future payoff.

In other words, for many large law firms, the wheels of their hallowed business model are falling off.  During this period of denial, every firm’s short term strategy is to work harder, promote fewer lawyers to equity partner, and de-equitize as needed.

Bruce MacEwen offers this take on Henderson’s data:

The bimodal distribution of starting lawyer salaries is not, economically speaking, an equilibrium condition. It will change.

The last great associate salary spike, from $125Kto $160K, took place roughly 18 months ago when times were flush. Even then, some firms began panting at the effort to keep up. (Recall that the instigator of that spike was Simpson Thacher, which didn’t have to raise its resting pulse to manage the spike.)

The next spike—I won’t predict when it will be but I will predict it will be to $200K—will leave a lot of firms crying “Uncle.” They will stop struggling to keep up with the receding red lights moving on down the highway. And it will be economically rational, geographically defensible, and culturally unifying.

At the end of the day, perhaps it’s not discontent with the lack of meaningful work or work/life balance that will bring change to — or the demise of — the current large firm business model. Yet again, it’s the economy, stupid.

Sphere: Related Content

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 21, 2008 at 01:16 PM |

Eleni Skordaki’s email is [email protected]. You will find her web page at the firm here.

Reading number 7 by Lincoln Caplan on the rise of Skadden as a legal empire shows a law firm determined to become a major global legal player. This item from the Lawyer.com shows how Skadden’s London office has reached a critical mass of work in its own right that it is becoming to be seen as a center that is not entirely dependent on the New York office for its work.

This follows on my class today.

Global Cities

July 20, 2008 | Uncategorized  |  Leave a Comment

The two major cities which we think of as the most global are London and New York City. Here is a comparison of the parentage of the births occurring in them in 2006.

Note that less than half of the babies born were born to English or US mothers. When you look at the nationalities of the others, you realize how globalized these two cities really are.

Article here: nyclondon_birth_stats1

The globalization of crime is closer than you think. In an article, “Bulgaria Hears Call to Impeach President”, in today’s Financial Times (see link below), the European Commission is considering witholding billions of dollars of aid from its newest member because of endemic corruption in government circles, including the president.

Even if you don’t read the entire article, take note of this one short paragraph that encapsulates what I have been trying to say on this topic:

One Olaf [EU Commission anti-fraud body] inquiry involved the illegal import into Bulgaria of Chinese rabbit meat, which was resold to customers in the EU after being repacked using false Argentine health certificates.

Can’t top that can you!

bulgaria_fraud

Bill Henderson of Indiana-Bloomington has produced an analysis of law firm salaries over the last 20 years or so that shows they no longer form a normal distribution with the bulk of earners clustered around the median or mean, but they now lie in two clusters at either end of the distribution. His article tells you why this is happening and why it will continue.

keep looking »