Fennemore aims to expand talent pool with new remote-work program


Law Firms

Fennemore aims to expand talent pool with new remote-work program

If you have at least 10 years of experience, a portable book of business worth at least $450,000 and a desire to work at home, Fennemore Craig may be looking for you. (Image from Shutterstock)

If you have at least 10 years of experience, a portable book of business worth at least $450,000 and a desire to work at home, Fennemore Craig may be looking for you.

Fennemore said Tuesday it is looking to hire lawyers with those qualifications who live in cities outside its 19 offices as part of a new remote-work program called Fennemore Forward, according to online information and a July 9 press release.

“If you are passionate about providing exceptional legal services and seeking a flexible, supportive and forward-thinking work environment, we want to hear from you,” the law firm said in online information.

Other BigLaw firms require lawyers to show up at the office four days per week or more, while “Fennemore is pioneering a new path that embraces flexibility,” according to a press release.

The new program currently has 18 attorneys and 35 allied legal professionals, Law.com reports. It will include new hires and Fennemore lawyers who previously worked in brick-and-mortar offices, said James Goodnow, the CEO of Fennemore, in an interview with Law.com.

“If you’re a top-quality lawyer at Fennemore, we want to make it work,” Goodnow told Law.com. “And we’re looking for people with unique areas of expertise that are complementary to our practice areas. There’s a much bigger talent pool, and we think we’d be crazy not to access that.”

Lawyers in the Fennemore program will have access to the firm’s technology, paraprofessional and administrative help, conference rooms and programs such as firm events and practice-group retreats.

Other resources include associate availability to help partners with work and a deep bench of “Am Law 200 quality talent,” said Chris Wilson, managing director of Fennemore Forward, in an interview with Law.com. He previously led more than 50 remote attorneys at Taylor English Duma.

Fennemore’s 19 offices are located in California at Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Oakland, Irvine (known as the Orange County office), Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Walnut Creek; in Colorado at Denver and Basalt; in Nevada at Las Vegas and Reno; in Texas at Mission (known as the McAllen office); in Arizona at Nogales, Phoenix and Tucson; and in Washington at Seattle.

Law.com and Law360 noted that another BigLaw firm, Husch Blackwell, operates another work-from-home program called the Link.





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After lawyers exceed status-letter limit by ‘whopping’ 70 pages, judge sees echoes of fictional Jarndyce case


Discovery

After lawyers exceed status-letter limit by ‘whopping’ 70 pages, judge sees echoes of fictional Jarndyce case

The handiwork of lawyers who crafted a joint 73-page monthly status letter won’t appear on the federal docket after a magistrate judge noted last week that it was a “whopping” 70 pages over the limit. (Image from Shutterstock)

The handiwork of lawyers who crafted a joint 73-page monthly status letter won’t appear on the federal docket after a magistrate judge noted last week that it was a “whopping” 70 pages over the limit.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang of the Southern District of New York ordered the letter to be removed from the docket, along with a filing that followed, Law360 reports.

The lengthy letter was filed amid discovery disputes in a lawsuit alleging that a Pakistani bank funded terrorism in Afghanistan.

The law firms representing the plaintiffs are Sparacino and Susman Godfrey, according to Law360. The firm representing the defendant Habib Bank is White & Case.

Wang told the parties at the last status conference “not to have the protracted letter-writing campaigns where you go back and forth arguing with each other,” she said in her July 1 order.

The warning was not heeded.

“It has become apparent that no amount of nudging or admonishing from the bench will curb these ‘letter-writing campaigns,’” Wang wrote in the order.

Wang said the parties must meet and confer in good faith to resolve their discovery disputes. If the parties still can’t reach agreement on their “myriad issues,” they must file a joint status letter limited to five, single-spaced pages. That page limit applies to future status letters, as well.

Wang also said she will “very likely” apportion or grant costs in rulings on future motions to compel discovery or to grant protective orders. She pointed to a civil procedural rule authorizing imposition of attorney fees when motions are not made in good faith or when objections are not substantially justified.

Wang saw parallels to the long-running contested-will case in the 1852 novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens.

“Discovery in this litigation is at risk of devolving into a modern-day Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, as it has ‘become so complicated, that no man alive knows what it means.’ and ‘no two … lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises,’” Wang wrote.

The case is King v. Habib Bank Limited.





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BigLaw firm confirms staff layoffs with ‘generous separation packages’


Law Firms

BigLaw firm confirms staff layoffs with ‘generous separation packages’

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has confirmed staff layoffs earlier this year after Above the Law published a leaked memo with the announcement. No lawyers were laid off, the law firm said. (Image from Shutterstock)

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has confirmed staff layoffs earlier this year after Above the Law published a leaked memo with the announcement.

No lawyers were laid off, the law firm said.

Above the Law, Law360 and Law.com published a statement by the firm.

“Faegre Drinker eliminated a small number of support roles effective Feb. 9, 2024, representing less than 5% of our total operations and administrative head count. No attorney or consulting professional roles were impacted. The firm offered generous separation packages to support individuals as they transitioned from the firm.”

The leaked memo added that laid-off employees would have access to free mental health services.

Faegre Drinker is the product of a 2020 merger between Faegre Baker Daniels and Drinker Biddle & Reath.

According to Law360, 216 lawyers left the firm in the three years following the combination. But the overall decrease in U.S. head count was lower during that time period, amounting to about 100 people.

The firm is hiring lateral lawyers and law grads, however. This year, the firm added lawyers from BigLaw firms that include Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders, K&L Gates, Sidley Austin, Proskauer Rose and DLA Piper.





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Summer reading picks and why a YMCA-funded crusade against obscenity matters today


The Modern Law Library

Summer reading picks and why a YMCA-funded crusade against obscenity matters today

Image from Shutterstock.

Do you need some distractions during vacation travel or while lying directly under your A/C unit and sweating? It’s time for The Modern Law Library’s summer recommendations episode, in which host Lee Rawles shares her pop culture picks with you, plus a re-airing of one of our older episodes with current relevance.

As states navigate a post-Dobbs world, a series of federal and state regulations known as Comstock laws are being discussed as avenues to further restrict access to abortion drugs and birth control.

In 2018, with Roe v. Wade still the law of the land, Rawles and Amy Werbel discussed the fiery namesake of those laws and Werbel’s book Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock.

It sheds light on how a 19th century U.S. Postal Service agent funded by the Young Men’s Christian Association created obscenity restrictions so sweeping that medical textbooks were seized and destroyed for displaying anatomical diagrams.

Rawles also shares some favorites from what she’s been reading and listening to since our 2023 year-end pop culture picks episode. If you have favorite reads so far in 2024, send your recommendations to [email protected] with a brief description, and we may choose to highlight them on our social media.

Mentioned in the episode:

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In This Podcast:





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Federal judge who banned female prosecutor from his courtroom won’t face discipline after giving up cases


Judiciary

Federal judge who banned female prosecutor from his courtroom won’t face discipline after giving up cases

A federal judge who banned a female prosecutor from his courtroom and made alleged “disparaging remarks” about female attorneys won’t face discipline for his actions. (Image from Shutterstock)

A federal judge who banned a female prosecutor from his courtroom and made alleged “disparaging remarks” about female attorneys won’t face discipline for his actions.

No action will be taken on an ethics complaint against U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas because he has taken senior inactive status and relinquished his cases, according to a June 12 order by the judicial council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans.

The order didn’t name Hughes, but the document references incidents involving the judge. Chief 5th Circuit Judge Priscilla Richman signed the order, made public on the court’s website last week.

Reuters and Bloomberg Law covered the order.

Lynn Nettleton Hughes
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas in Houston. (Photo by the U.S. government, PD US Courts, via Wikimedia Commons)

The 5th Circuit had criticized Hughes’ remarks in a footnote to a July 2018 opinion.

Hughes had commented after dismissing a fraud case against the owner of an adoption agency because of alleged prosecution mistakes that included withholding a document file until the eve of trial.

“It was lot simpler when you guys wore dark suits, white shirts and navy ties,” Hughes said. “We didn’t let girls do it in the old days.”

Hughes previously told the Houston Chronicle that the remark was about poorly dressed FBI agents, not attorneys.

The footnote said the remarks, made in the presence of a female prosecutor, were “demeaning, inappropriate and beneath the dignity of a federal judge.”

Hughes later permanently banned the female prosecutor from his courtroom, a decision lifted by the 5th Circuit in July 2022.

Richman said she agreed with 5th Circuit opinions finding that the judge’s conduct was improper, but there was no need to act given his senior inactive status.

See also:

5th Circuit Keeps Count: It has kicked federal judge off 6 cases, thrice reversed his discovery refusals

5th Circuit tosses federal judge from sixth case after he ‘candidly revealed’ disdain for antitrust law

Federal judge who said he would ‘crush’ plaintiff’s case prejudged her bias claims, 5th Circuit says

Federal judge tossed from case for ‘immovable’ views, suggestion that US lawyers are lazy and arrogant

Judge who dismissed racial slur claim as ‘surprising to Colonel Sanders’ gets sensitivity lesson





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Federal judge who abruptly resigned had been referred for possible impeachment recommendation


Judiciary

Federal judge who abruptly resigned had been referred for possible impeachment recommendation

A federal judge in Alaska abruptly announced his resignation last week after a determination that he had “no filter” in conversations with his law clerks, had “no hesitation” in using inappropriate language, and had a “sexualized relationship” with a law clerk. (Image from Shutterstock)

A federal judge in Alaska abruptly announced his resignation last week after a determination that he had “no filter” in conversations with his law clerks, had “no hesitation” in using inappropriate language, and had a “sexualized relationship” with a law clerk.

U.S. District Judge Joshua M. Kindred of the District of Alaska announced his July 8 resignation last week after the judicial council of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco requested his resignation and referred the ethics matter to the U.S. Judicial Conference to consider impeachment, according to a July 8 press release and a May 23 order released Monday.

The judicial council of the 9th Circuit adopted the findings of a special investigating committee and imposed a public reprimand.

Judge Joshua_Kindred Wikimedia Commons_200px
U.S. District Judge Joshua M. Kindred of the District of Alaska announced his July 8 resignation last week. (Photo by Snickers2686, PD US Courts, via Wikimedia Commons)

The judicial council concluded that Kindred created a hostile work environment for his law clerks and had a “sexualized relationship” with one law clerk that continued when she became an assistant U.S. attorney. She did not appear before Kindred in cases, however.

Kindred also “deliberately misled” a special committee investigating the ethics allegations and stuck to his story until faced with “overwhelming evidence,” the judicial council said.

Kindred had texted the law clerk that he got to see her from a “pretty amazing perspective” after an alleged sexual incident at Kindred’s temporary apartment in October 2022. The clerk said she accompanied Kindred to his home because he said he wanted to talk, and she went into the bedroom at his insistence.

“I just remember thinking like there’s nothing I can do about this, like this is about to happen,” the clerk reported. “I remember just feeling like, yeah, finally, like you win like the game.”

Kindred had described the encounter as a “brief romantic interlude” and said he was not the aggressor. He also said the encounter was consensual.

“The record is inconclusive on that point,” the judicial council said.

Kindred also behaved inappropriately in his relationships with other law clerks, the judicial council said.

“Judge Kindred appeared to have no filter as to the topics he would discuss with the clerks,” the judicial council said. “He discussed his past dating life, his romantic preferences, his sex life, the law clerks’ boyfriends and dating lives, his divorce, his interest in and communications with potential romantic or sexual partners, and his disparaging opinions of his colleagues. He also made disparaging comments about public and political figures.”

Kindred’s statements about public figures included assertions that he was a big hit at a dinner party “due to how much s- – – I talked about [former Alaska Gov.] Sarah Palin” and his claim that he told a GOP senator “to eat a d- – -.” Kindred was an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

Kindred “also had no hesitation in using language that was inappropriate in a professional setting, such as encouraging rating people based on ‘f- – -ability,’” and telling stories about sexual relations in a hot tub, the judicial council said.

“In the few instances where clerks came to Judge Kindred to discuss his inappropriate behavior, they were belittled or ostracized, and, in one instance, a clerk left the clerkship,” according to the judicial council.

The judicial council acknowledged that the law clerks appeared at times to “initiate or reciprocate Judge Kindred’s communications about personal matters” but noted that they may have been driven by “the inherent power imbalance in chambers.” The clerks “liked the judge personally and viewed him as a friendly figure, but they also wanted follow-on references, especially if they sought to remain in Alaska, where the legal community is very small,” the judicial council said.

Among the publications covering the findings are Bloomberg Law and the Washington Post. How Appealing links to additional stories.





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