13 August 2007
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•The tip of the Greenberg
Frustrations boiled over for one stressed associate at Greenberg Traurig recently. His resignation letter has been doing the rounds on US blogs, and it makes for good reading.
Above the Law (www.above thelaw.com) features the letter in full with the best bits highlighted in red. There are sure to be a few UK lawyers who sympathise with this person.
"I hereby formally terminate my employment with Greenberg Traurig. My two main reasons for doing so are as follows:"I do not enjoy the practice of corporate law. At all. I find it extremely tedious and stressful. I particularly do not enjoy the following activities: reviewing contracts, drafting contracts, editing contracts, research (sic) company law and strategizing about deal structure."
The first point does rather beg the question: why get into corporate law in the first place?Point two keeps up the momentum.
"At this point in my life I want to work a job with predictable hours. I want to work a job where I am not connected to a BlackBerry. I want to work a job where I am not expected to work past 6."
The brutal honesty continues: "I do apologize for accepting this job in the first place. I also apologize to the lawyers whose short term workload will increase because I am leaving. There's no good way to spin this other than I'm kind of screwing you on this one. Hopefully I can make it up to you one day."
Nice save at the end there - you never want to burn your bridges.
•Throw away the keys
Although Robocop may just be a distant dream of the future, Robojudge is alive and well and living in eastern China's Shangdong province.
According to Chinese news service Xinhua (www.xinhuanet. com/english), judges in the Zichuan District Court in Shangdong have been using a computer system to calculate jail terms for criminals.
The report says judges just type in the details of a case and within a minute the computer system will provide a suggestion on the length of a sentence.
Judges still have the discretion to adjust the sentence based on their own understanding of the particular case.
The story quotes Wang Hongmei, a presiding judge with Zichuan District Court, who said: "We see the system as progress. However, we also realise that it is very difficult to pass sentences by relying solely on digital programs."
Well, as long as they're not checking their Facebook profiles during proceedings, then there shouldn't be too much harm in it.
•Don't bucks the system
Every firm should have an insider blog like Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom's. The Skadden Insider (skadden insider.blogspot.com) picks out highlights of the internal workings of the firm for public derision.
The blog is written by two people, both employed by the firm.
"We're not disgruntled and we don't have an axe to grind," they write. "We just thought a Skadden blog would be fun. Hopefully it will be."
Rather worryingly the latest post is from June, which could mean they were unmasked and sacked by the firm. Or that they're just on holiday.
Luckily the last post is a good one, revealing the contents of an internal email surrounding the visit of presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton to the firm.
The email said: "While some have suggested that $500 is expensive, for a chance like this, it is truly a bargain. At a typical campaign event you'd pay $250 to join a thousand other people and hear the Senator speak from across a crowded ballroom."
The deal is sweetened by a covert threat: "It is also a chance to join with the partners who have made substantial personal contributions for this event to show support from Skadden."
That sounds rather a lot like "turn up or clear out your desk".