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British Angst + Kellyanne's Wisdom

The Careerist

February 7, 2018

 

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Here's my quick compilation of news you might have missed:

Most intriguing headline: "Almost all Anglo-Saxons' - DLA Europe partners lament 'UK-centric' senior partner race."

That appeared in Legal Week and the subject was who was likely to be elevated to the top dog spot at DLA: "The emergence of three London corporate lawyers as favourites to succeed Juan Picon as DLA Piper senior partner has prompted concerns among some continental partners about the continued Anglo-centric direction of the firm."

At first, I thought, wow—worries about Anglo-centricity! Those DLA partners must be super-progressive if they're complaining about having another white male ruler. 

Alas, the concern wasn't about lack of ethnic diversity. The good folks at DLA were worried about geography—namely, that its new leader was coming out of its London office, which stuck some as rather provincial for an international firm. Most of the article was about the internecine politics of jockeying for power in a big law firm—who's in/out, who's deserving, who's annoying, etc.

In fact, lack of ethnic or gender diversity didn't seem to enter the picture at all, though there was one woman (Bonella Ramsay, co-chair of the firm’s life sciences group) who's mentioned as a long-shot contender. One partner told Legal Week: "DLA has a poor track record in promoting women, so her election would be a powerful testament to the partnership’s willingness to address that."

It would be a powerful testament, but who's in the mood for that?

Speaking of provincial Brits:  This is a bit of a shocker. An astounding number of senior partners in U.K. law firms voted for Brexit, reports The Lawyer: "A new survey of our readers also shows that over a quarter (26 per cent) of managing and senior partners voted for Brexit. This is a higher percentage than the average leave vote in the legal market of 18 per cent."

That's also in contrast to the vote of lawyers in Britain overall, in which "an overwhelming 82 per cent of UK-based lawyers voted to remain in the EU in the referendum."

To put it all in context, can you imagine if 25 percent of managing partners and managing committee members voted for Donald Trump because they're smitten with his anti-NAFTA stance and his grand plans for the Mexican wall? 

You don't just get rainmakers and charmers. Dentons learned that lesson after it merged with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens last year.

RollOnFriday reports that Denton "placed a partner on a leave of absence and banned him from the premises after it was made aware of allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with female employees." The firm also issued a statement confirming the suspension, stressing that the "inappropriate behaviour were made against a Maclay Murray & Spens partner about 15 months ago, more than a year before its merger with Dentons."

Guess Dentons wants to make clear that the alleged naughtiness didn't happen under its watch. You can't blame 'em. Still, it's Denton's mess now. 

Dumbest lawyer of an Am Law 100 firm, so far this year. You might remember this bozo: that Los Angeles-based associate, Michael Potere, who was arrested this summer for trying to extort $210,000 and a piece of art from Denton, his former firm. (He was accused of downloading sensitive documents from the firm, then threatening to leak information to Above The Law.) 

Potere has cut a deal, according to the Recorder.  The upshot is that he's now been sentenced to five months in prison. The prison sentence is nothing compared to the long term ramifications: a conviction on his record, ruined career and the stamp of utter stupidity. 

Thr_kellyanne_conway_splash_conwayKellyanne Conway knows how to control her man. By that, I mean her boss Donald Trump—not her hubby George Conway, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, who seems like a perfectly sensible guy.

According to a new book, Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press and the War Over the Truth, by Howard Kurtz (no, not the one by Michael Wolf), Conway often uses a mother's touch in her dealings with the Prez (remember, she has four kids).

So what soothing words does she say to Trump when he's agitated and on the brink of doing something rash? "You’re really big. That’s really small." 

I bet that might work with a lot of guys.

 vchen@alm.com

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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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