Saturday, January 31, 2009
New Law Firm
7:34 am est
If you haven't heard the news already, I am happy to announce that I have joined the Business Transactions team at Taylor English Duma
I'll be continuing to represent growing private and public companies, with an emphasis on transactional
matters and corporate securities.
I had been hearing lots of good things about my old friend Marc Taylor even while
I was in-house at EasyLink. I have known Marc for roughly twenty years, as he was one of the two lawyers from Powell
Goldstein who took me to dinner the night before my summer associate interview at that firm all the way back in the Fall of
After making partner at Powell Goldstein, and an in-house stint at a health care company, Marc and
his partners formed a new law firm in an attempt to show that there was a better way for lawyers to serve their clients.
(The firm began as Taylor-Busch but changed its name to Taylor English Duma in early 2009. The new website and domain
name should be out soon.)Taylor English Duma
is noteworthy for the way it provides value to clients. The firm doesn't have young associates. Nearly every
lawyer at the firm is at least ten years out of law school. This means that clients aren't paying 'big firm'
rates to teach younger lawyers their craft. Files are handled leanly, meaning that the lawyer you engage on a matter
is the lawyer who works the matter.
In this era of cost-cutting and value-consciousness, I think Taylor English
Duma has the opportunity to provide clients with exceptional value in legal services. If you would like to hear more,
you can reach me at jwilson "at" taylor-busch.com.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Business is Booming at Small Law Firms
7:31 am est
Business is booming at small law firms that charge competitive fees, according to the ABA Journal.
The article notes that price conscious companies are looking for quality lawyers who charge more reasonable rates than
the big firms.
I think we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the trend that has run over the past
10 years or so in which regional firms have morphed into international firms, opening offices in every large city on the map.
The trend has spurred a fantastic growth in equity partner profits, but with a number of unfavorable side effects.
Among those has been an alarming increase in billable rates at the top 200 firms where, in Atlanta at least, partners are
often billing out over $500 per hour. Most small and mid-cap companies simply can't afford that kind of representation.
The good news is that they don't have to. There are still firms out there, usually with a smaller geographic
footprint, with equally talented and experienced lawyers who don't need to charge $500 per hour to make a living.
They will be the ones who do the best in this economic downturn.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
8:50 am est
According to Law.com, a Long Island surgeon is suing his estranged wife for compensation for the kidney he donated to her prior to their separation:
"Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, told reporters at his lawyer's Long
Island office Wednesday that he decided to go public with his demand for kidney compensation because he has grown frustrated
with the negotiations with his estranged wife."
Law.com quotes several divorce lawyers who claim that the
case will not succeed:
"I've been in this business over 40 years and I've never heard of that,"
said Seymour J. Reisman, a Long Island divorce lawyer. "It's not marital property, not a marital asset you can put
a price tag on."
Manhattan attorney Susan Moss said, "The good doctor is out of luck and out a kidney.
This is similar to cases where a husband wants to be repaid for the cost of breast implants and the such. Our judges are not
willing to value such assets, so to speak."
Top 100 Legal Blogs
8:25 am est
The ABA Journal has released their list
of top 100 legal blogs. Incredibly, they seem to have missed me again! Robert Ambrogi
notes that the ABA Journal seems to have disqualified a large number of votes and that may have affected parts of the outcome.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Breitbart's "Big Hollywood"
5:10 pm est
Breitbart's Big Hollywood
group blog opens today. Here's how he describes it
"On Tuesday, I launch Big Hollywood, a big group blog that will feature hundreds of the big minds from
the fields of politics, journalism, entertainment and culture.
Big Hollywood is not a “celebrity” gabfest
or a gossip outpost - it is a continuous politics and culture posting board for those who think something has gone drastically
wrong and that Hollywood should return to its patriotic roots.
Big Hollywood’s modest objective: to change
the entertainment industry. To make Hollywood something we can believe in - again. In order to give millions of Americans
Until conservatives, libertarians and Republicans - who will be the lion’s share of Big Hollywood’s
contributors - recognize that (pop) culture is the big prize and that politics is secondary, there will be no victory in this
This is an ambitious undertaking, but worthwhile efforts often are. It's hard
to argue with Breitbart's point that Hollywood has had a negative influence on our culture in the past several decades.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
A Growth Industry in a Down Economy: Buying Patents
7:46 am est
It seems some companies are using the recession to find better pricing on their patent acquisitions
. According to Ocean Tomo's
Andrew Ramer, "There's been a drastic increase in the percentage of corporate buyers year over year."
Ocean Tomo calls itself the "intellectual capital merchant banc" and handles patent valuations, searches, license
management and patent auctions. Its auctions are probably what it is best known for, however, drawing patent enforcement
firms from around the world.
Ocean Tomo's Spring 2009 auction will be March 26-27 in San Francisco.
Top Litigation Boutiques
7:33 am est
The American Lawyer
lists its "top litigation boutiques" of the year.
As a general counsel, I believe that hiring
a litigation is hiring a person. You look for a litigator that you trust, who knows the law and is going to be committed
to getting you the result you want. The "label" that litigation wears (i.e., the name of the firm) just isn't
The trick for businesses, however, is to tell the difference between a good litigator and one that
isn't as good. Because that's a hard difference to discern, business people sometimes rely too much on the law
firm's reputation or size: that's one of the reasons, I believe, that the mega firms have done so well over the past
decade. If the average CFO can't tell the difference between two lawyers, he or she might as well choose the one
that comes from the well-known mega firm because if it all goes south, the CFO can express shock and amazement that the mega
firm failed to come through.
That has become an expensive proposition, however. Mega firm billable rates
for partners are generally more than $500 per hour. Hourly rates for associates (who are smart young lawyers but
lacking the experience and judgment to go it alone) are often more than $300 per hour.
The bottom line: If you
can hire the lawyer you like and that lawyer can get you good results, don't worry about the name of the firm.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Senate Democrats Plan to Delay Seating Burris
8:41 am est
Roland Burris, the appointee of embattled Illinois Governor Blagojivich to take Barack Obama's Senate seat, sought
to force the Illinois Secretary of State to certify his appointment by filing a complaint for a writ of mandamus before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Senate Democratic leaders, perhaps realizing that they lack the legal power to refuse to seat Burris, are planning a 90-day referral to the Senate Rules Committee to "investigate" Burris' credentials in the event he does get them certified
by the Illinois Secretary of State.
The end game for Senate Democrats remains unclear, however. So
long as the Senate lacks the power to refuse to seat Burris and so long as his appointment is legal under Illinois law, they
may delay his appointment for a time but will not be able to avoid it forever.
Man Made Climate Change a Con
8:26 am est
According to Irish Environmental Minister Sammy Wilson
“I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves
how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous
examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it,
fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well."
“I mean I get it in the Assembly all
the time and most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about climate change, not read one
book about climate change, if you asked them to explain how they believe there’s a connection between CO2 emission and
the effects which they claim there’s going to be, if you ask them to explain the thought process or the modelling that
is required and the assumptions behind that and how tenuous all the connections are, they wouldn’t have a clue.