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Chastity, Cravath, and Alec Baldwin

Vivia Chen

February 14, 2013

Maybe it's because I have the February blahs. Maybe I'm just a bit grumpy. For whatever reason, some recent news items strike me as spectacularly anticlimactic. May I share?

Virgin362px-Leighton,_Frederic_-_Invocation1. How many times can Cravath lose its virginity? As I'm sure you've heard by now, Cravath took on a new lateral partner: David Kappos, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Wall Street Journal calls it "a rare and splashy 'lateral' hire for the New York law firm." Other news outlets made a similar big fuss about the hire.

The premise of the fuss is that Cravath almost never deigns to hire laterally—something the firm says it's done only four times in the last 50 years. (The firm doesn't count Herbert Camp, a partner who lateraled over from the now defunct Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine, because he started at Cravath as an associate.)

Okay, the first time Cravath hired laterally was news; the second time was noteworthy; the third time was a pattern. Clearly, Cravath is no blushing maiden in the lateral market anymore. It has to put its money on the table and hustle for potential revenue-generators like everyone else. It's mortal, okay? Can't we get that through our heads?

2. Trusts and estates is dead at Big Law. Duh! Debevoise & Plimpton is getting rid of its trusts and estates department, and you'd think someone just pulled the plug on beloved Grandma. According to The New York Times, there were ripples of shock that a patrician firm like Debevoise would cut loose one of its old-guard practices.

Schulte Roth & Zabel's William Zabel told the NYT: “It saddens me to see a great law firm terminate its estates department.” He added, "It would seem to be a byproduct of the economics of our society, making the law into more of a business than a profession. That saddens me even more.”

I'm sorry, but is this really news? How often do we need to say, "I'm shocked, shocked" that law firms are in it for filthy lucre? I'll tell you what would truly be news: If an elite Wall Street firm launched a full-fledged T&E practice in this day and age.

Its-complicated-hbo.com3. In real life, he went for the young chick. Got that? I thought it was ironic (and maybe a bit sad) that More, a magazine aimed at women over 40, commemorated Valentine's Day on its site with a still of Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin looking at each other lovingly from the movie It's Complicated (left). In the movie (spoiler alert!), Baldwin falls for Streep, his former wife, and tires of his current young sexy wife. The movie affirms [the fantasy] that real men want a substantive, age-appropriate relationship.

Ha—what hokum! The real Alec Baldwin, who's in his fifties, married a 28-year-old yoga teacher, who's now expecting their first child. Hey, did you really expect him to crawl back to Kim Bassinger?


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From my recollection Kim left Alec. That's why he was so bitter and left that unfortunate message for their daughter. I wonder whether she got enough therapy to make up for that?! Well, at least he's got another chance with the new baby that's on the way. Love, marriage, sex and babies--the things great tabloids are made of!

Same could be said of Jack Nicholson in nearly every movie but especially the forgettable one with Helen Hunt.

But about T&E, with so many boomers nearing death, much to our dismay, I don't get it? What am I missing? The market should be booming or nearly so (pun intended).

Like the baldwin stuff- but don't suggest that kim would even want that angry pig back! Not to mention, i believe she's the one thay ditched him in the first place... that said, i agree with the premise- men do not get mature and deep with age. They start behi.d women on that front, and they stay there.

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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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