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The Donald and Wachtell, Lipton + More Weird Stuff

Vivia Chen

August 20, 2016


Donald Trump's run for president has up the ante on weird news. We can't possibly compete, but we will still do our best to keep you amused. Here's our compilation of the strange, puzzling, fascinating tidbits in our world:

1. Trump's Connection to Wachtell Lipton.

From where I sit (New York), Trump is not getting much Big Law support. I've only met one partner who's leaning towards Trump (not to worry, I won't out you). But maybe Trump's luck will change with the appointment of Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager.

Conway_georgeWhy? Because she's married to George Conway (left), a partner at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Though much more low profile than his wife, Conway has bona fide anti-Clinton credentials: He was an advisor to Paula Jones, Bill Clinton's former paramour turned nemesis, and, reportedly (according to The Observer, before it was bought by Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner), a key source to the Drudge Report, the conservative blog, about Jones.

Of course, we contacted Conway about whether he'll be active in the Trump campaign and enlist his partners. Alas, he has not answered.

So will some of the richest lawyers (profit per partner was $6.6 million last year) in the land be joining the Trump wagon? Don't count on it, says a Wachtell partner. Though the firm's partners will surely benefit from Trump's tax plan (whatever it is), this partner describes the firm as "Hillaryland."

2. "Oops. Never Mind!" Says Dorsey & Whitney.

It was weird that a prominent law firm like Dorsey & Whitney would host Martin Shkreli, the nasty boy of pharma, as a speaker at its life sciences symposium on September 29. (Shkreli gained notoriety by hiking the price of a lifesaving drug from $13.50 a pill to $750 when he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals; he has since been indicted for securities fraud.)

Even more weird was the response I got when I asked the firm about how it decided to invite Shkreli.  It sent me a new press release: 

"International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced today that Martin Shkreli will not be a panelist at its upcoming 4D Symposium on September 29, 2016 in Palo Alto."

The firm sent our sister publication The Recorder a lengthier statement about the retraction: "We concluded that controversy surrounding Mr. Shkreli would detract from the focus of the 4D Symposium on critical issues and trends affecting emerging and established life sciences companies and their investors."

Detraction? No kidding. What was Dorsey & Whitney thinking in inviting such a scoundrel in the first place?

3. Want Top Grades in Law School? Head to Texas!

If you're worried about the stress of maintaining high grades in law school, may be suggest that you consider schools in states that permit students to carry guns? Our hunch is that if let your law professor know that you're coming to class armed, you'll get a lot more respect—and higher grades.

Several states (including Colorado, Idaho, Utah) now allow students in state universities to bear arms, Texas AG Ken Paxton takes it even farther: He intends to go after professors who don't permit students to bring guns to their class. (Paxton made his intention clear in his motion to dismiss a law suit brought by three University of Texas professors who are challenging the state's law concerning guns on campus).

The Wall Street Journal law blog reports that the three professors are arguing that guns in classrooms would " 'chill' their First Amendment rights by limiting classroom discussion," raising "the possibility that one or more of their students is armed would make the teachers afraid of exploring subjects that might provoke heated reactions."

That chilling effect will likely mean the demise of the Socratic method too. Plus, don't forget grade inflation to boot! Really, does law school get any better than that?


 Photo: Martin Shkreli, Kellyanne Conway and Mr. Trump


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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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