Monthly Archives: February 2010

I Love you; I Love you Not

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“I love you, I love you not”…. I use to go through several dozen flowers a day. Sitting on the floor of the house; lying back on searing asbestos with a whole bunch of my neighbor’s prize collection of roses.

I would hold them just above my head and break them very so gently, petal by petal muttering to myself as they fall only to get breezed away by the slightest of winds.

Petal by Petal; that was the rule; I love you; I love you not; that was the pattern; yet as I approach the last petal; the “Not” always made me hesitate at first; only to bend the rules and that Petal become two; so it wont end as a “Not”. For, I was 16 and nothing else made more sense that those 3 words;

Argh…. I am so jealous of my 16 year old self. Reality check: back to my procedure assignment now.

Myths on Big Firm Law Practice

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Another interesting insight by Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota who before private practice as partner in a big firm for 8 years before leaving for a “greater calling”

“On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession” (1999) 52 Vanderbilt Law Review 871

Arguments for Big Firm practice

1. Training: Where is the breath

First, the breadth of training is as important as its depth. True, it is nice if associates can take the time to learn to draft interrogatories the right way. But it is also nice if associates can get to do something other than draft interrogatories. The life of an associate in a big firm litigation group is dominated by library research, writing briefs, drafting discovery requests, and responding to discovery requests. A typical junior associate will have little client contact, take few depositions, do little negotiating with opposing counsel, argue almost no motions or appeals, and try not a single case”. Talking about corporate work is no better; do you want to be know in Who’s Who Legal guy #04 that knows everything about clause #365 of a syndication lending agreement? Or do you want to be that lawyer who creates a springing security on unsecured loan at default.

I believe the most valuable training that any young lawyer receives comes from observing and being observed by more experienced attorneys. This type of one-on-one mentoring is disappearing in big firms for a number of reasons, including the pressure to bill hours, the pressure to attract and retain clients, the pressure to minimize legal costs, the increasing size of law firms, and the increasing mobility of lawyers and high turnover rate demotivating senior lawyers “wasting” time on associates.

2. Interesting or Challenging Work

What is “interesting” or “challenging” is in the eye of the beholder. If your idea of challenging work is having the time to research a complicated issue of securities law, then you will find more interesting work in a big firm. But if your idea of challenging work is helping a client get divorced without losing her children or putting a diabolically clever criminal behind bars or helping a client realize her dream of opening a small business, then you are likely to be bored in a big firm. What many lawyers find most gratifying about practicing law is having ordinary people show up at their offices with problems, and then seeing the lives of those people improved in tangible ways as a direct result of their lawyer’s efforts. Such lawyers will not find working in big firms to be either very interesting or very challenging.

If you go to a big firm, you will have to find a niche, and the bigger your firm, the smaller your niche is likely to be. If you become an expert in chartering banks, you will charter banks, day in and day out. If you are assigned to defend that billion dollar antitrust action against MNCs, you might spend six or seven years of your life working on that one case–and doing so as the fifth lawyer on a five lawyer team. Some lawyers like to be able to specialize; others do not. It depends on the lawyer.

I (author) developed a national reputation for defending religious organizations in clergy sexual misconduct cases. I worked on hundreds of those cases, sending out pretty much the same interrogatories, getting back pretty much the same answers, reading pretty much the same medical records, asking pretty much the same questions at depositions, filing pretty much the same summary judgment motions. I found the work interesting, but the fiftieth case was not as interesting as the first, and the hundredth case was not as interesting as the fiftieth.

3. Collegiality

Again, there is something to this. At a big firm you will be surrounded by attorneys who got good grades (Dean Listers) at good schools. Most of them will even be good lawyers. And it is indeed nice to walk down the hall and talk to the leading tax lawyer in town or to walk farther down the hall and give an assignment to a young associate fresh off a Judicial Law Clerkship programme. But, being part of a law firm with outstanding lawyers does not mean much if those lawyers don’t know you or are indifferent to you. Many big firm partners don’t even know their partners in their departments much less other department or even the dozens of “here today, gone tomorrow” associates

4. Its only short term

Everyone wants to go to big firm because they know that jumping from big firm to small firm to inhouse is easy or I need a 14 month bonus to pay off my student loans. Both of these are valid reasons but they come at a price. The Big Firm culture is going to change you and mold you into something you didnt bargained for.

And that is my point: When it comes right down to it, there is one and only one reason to go to a big firm: money. “The old law firm–one characterized by collegiality, intellectual challenge and institutional clients–is dead and gone.” What’s left? “Money, Money, Money.”

Recommended reads:

Being an ethical lawyer

Meet the Hollywood Lawyer

Irresistible Men and Women

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For the unfamiliar: Above are George Clooney and Megan Fox; Apparently, George Clooney scores 0.98 out of 1  Megan Fox 0.86 out of 1 for Irresistibly.

A recent survey carried out by a UK based company had found that the top 20 things men and women find irresistible about each other.

20 THINGS WOMEN FIND IRRESISTIBLE

1.         Smile

2.         Sense of humour

3.         Thoughtfulness

4.         Generosity

5.         Intelligence

6.         Affectionate

7.         The ability to laugh at themselves

8.         A cheeky, naughty side

9.         Loves family

10.        A toned body

11.        Attentiveness

12.        Holding eye contact a little too long

13.        Passionate

14.       Strong forearms

15.        Being good with kids

16.        Positive

17.        Look good in a suit

18.        Confidence

19.        Broad shoulders

20.        Stubble

A very demanding list no doubt; The crossed out ones were done by me as Strong forearms and toned body are quite similar and the ability to laugh at themselves similar means a guy with humility or a sense of humor (#2). As, you can see physical appearance only came in at #10 and after. We are not concerned about what makes someone attractive as irresistibly is something broader and “harder” to find, which maybe why women give more emphasis on personality and character rather than looks. For the male readers, I would like to recommend doing a self-evaluation; see what you are from the list and rate yourself; I was 0.68 out of 1. Fortunately, losing out on certain things which can always be improved or worked on.

20 THINGS MEN FIND IRRESISTIBLE

1.         Great body

2.         Cleavage

3.         Sense of humour

4.         Great smile

5.         Find me funny

6.         Stockings and Suspenders

7.         A cute giggle

8.         Nice smell

9.         The ability to laugh at themselves

10.        Reliability

11.        Short skirts

12.        Knee high boots

13.        The Girl Next Door look

14.        Mischievous nature

15.        Long legs

16.        Optimistic

17.        Good listener

18.        Intellectual conversation

19.        Gazing eyes

20.        Good with money

Guys, Guys Guys; an irresistible women is:

A women with a hot body and long legs wearing a short skirt, stockings and knee high boots (Heel boots- my preference) who can smile and laugh at a guy’s jokes

Her intellect and ability to maintain a conversation or listen to you rank WAY WAY down at #18 and #17. Seriously, I get the feeling that a stereotypical guy’s irresistible  girl is a hooker or pretty much any women at a night club. Oh well, survey’s “dont” lie and well if this is an irresistible girl in most guys’ eyes I am surprised why the survey went on say that  “average see someone they quite fancy at least twice a day, but meeting someone irresistible is a rarer occurrence – just twice in their lifetime. But one in 10 claim to have NEVER met someone they couldn’t take their eyes off. I guess the survey participants don’t go to strip clubs that often 🙂

My humble opinion is that for a girl to be irresistible in my eyes; she must be able to maintain a decent enough conversation that it can make a guy forget for that few minutes or hours about her cleavage, hot body or short skirt with high heels. I like say:

If you cant understand the words of the movie just watch the pictures; it might not be the best experience but at least you can keep yourself entertained

For rating system: give each factor the “reverse” amount as stated on the list; for example: if you have a good body; its 20 not 1; cleavage 19 not 2; good with money 1 not 20 etc. and then divide the final score by 210.

Being an ethical lawyer

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NOTE: The original article is courtesy of Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, “On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession” (1999) 52 Vanderbilt Law Review 871. I have edited and rephrased certain content to allow ease or enhance the ideas proposed. And I take full responsibility of any mistakes and errors expressed

The Big Firm attraction

“Want to know what a first year associate at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles makes? $ 88,000. How about a sixth year associate at Dewey Ballantine in New York? $ 166,500, plus a $ 26,500 bonus. Profits per partner at McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago? $ 700,000. These are figures may seem attractive specially when these were hefty pay cheques by “Big Firms” from 11 years ago!
Reading about the incomes of your rivals will bring on either intense envy or smug Schadenfreude. Big firm culture also reflects the many ways in which lawyers who are winning the game broadcast their success.
A first year male associate will buy his suits off the rack at a department store; a couple years later, he will be at Brooks Brothers; a few years after that, a salesperson will come to his office, with tape measures and fabric swatches in hand.
Similar ostentatious progress will be demonstrated with regard to everything from watches to cell phones to running shoes to child care arrangements to private social clubs. When lawyers speak with envy or admiration about other lawyers, they do not mention a lawyer’s devotion to family or public service, or a lawyer’s innate sense of fairness, or even a lawyer’s skill at trying cases or closing deals, nearly as much as they mention a lawyer’s billable hours, or stable of clients, or annual income.
It is very difficult for a young lawyer immersed in this culture day after day to maintain the values she had as a law student. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, young lawyers change. They begin to admire things they did not admire before, be ashamed of things they were not ashamed of before, find it impossible to live without things they lived without before. Somewhere, somehow, a lawyer changes from a person who gets intense pleasure from being able to buy her first car stereo to a person enraged over a $ 400,000 bonus.

Becoming Unethical?

As the values of an attorney change, so, too, does her ability to practice law ethically. The process that I have described will obviously push a lawyer away from practicing law ethically in the broadest sense–that is, in the sense of leading a balanced life and meeting non-work-related responsibilities. When work becomes all-consuming, it consumes all. To succeed in today’s big firm, a lawyer must live without a single “compelling, time consuming, and deeply valued interest outside the practice of law.”

Unethical lawyers do not start out being unethical;

They start out just like you–as perfectly decent young men or women who have every intention of practicing law ethically. They do not become unethical overnight; they become unethical just as you will (if you become unethical)–a little bit at a time. And they do not become unethical by shredding incriminating documents or bribing jurors; they become unethical just as you are likely to–by cutting a corner here, by stretching the truth a bit there. Simply when the work consumes you and it becomes the very “essence” of your existence.

“Let’s first be clear on what I (author) mean by practicing law ethically. I mean three things.

1. You generally have to comply with the formal disciplinary rules… I don’t have anything against the formal rules. Often, they are all that stands between an unethical  lawyer and a vulnerable client. You should learn them and follow them.

But you should also understand that the formal rules represent nothing more than “the lowest common denominator of conduct that a highly self-interested group will tolerate”…

Complying with the rules is usually a neccessary, but never a sufficient, part of being an ethical lawyer

2. The second thing you must do to be an ethical lawyer is to act ethically in your work, even when you aren’t required to do so by any rule…Don’t get sucked into the game.   

Don’t let money become the most important thing in your life.

Don’t fall into the trap of measuring your worth as an attorney–or as a human being–by how much money you make.

Scenario:

When you are at that barbeque at the senior partner’s house, instead of wistfully telling yourself, “This is the life,” ask the senior partner some questions. (I’m speaking figuratively here; you probably don’t want to actually ask these questions aloud.)

  1. Ask him how often he sees the gigantic house in which he lives. If he’s honest, you will find out that he hasn’t seen his home during daylight for almost four weeks, and that the only reason he came home at a decent hour tonight is to host the barbeque.
  2. Or ask him how often he’s actually sat on that antique settee in that expensively decorated living room. You will find out that the room is only used for entertaining guests.
  3. Or ask him about his beautiful wife. You will find out that she is the third Mrs. Partner and that the lawyers for the first two Mrs. Partners are driving him crazy.
  4. Or ask him about those beautiful children whose photographs are everywhere. You will find out that they live with their mothers, not with him; that he never sees one of them because she hates his guts; and that he sees the other two only on holidays–that is, when he is not working on the holidays, which isn’t often.
  5. And then ask him when is the last time he read a good book.
  6. Or watched television.
  7. Or took a walk.
  8. Or sat on his porch.
  9. Or cooked a meal.
  10. Or went fishing.
  11. Or did volunteer work.
  12. Or went to church. Or did anything that was not in some way related to work. Get the picture?

3. This lead on to the third thing you must do to be an ethical lawyer is to live an ethical life…

But being admitted to the bar does not absolve you of your responsibilities outside of work – to your family, to your friends, to your community, and, if you’re a person of faith, to your God.

To practice law ethically, your must meet those responsibilities, which means that you must live a balanced life. If you become a workaholic lawyer, you will be unhealthy, probably unhappy, and, I would argue, unethical.

Now I recognize that we live in an age of moral relativism… Your reaction to my claim that an unbalanced life is an unethical life may very well be, “That’s just your opinion.” It is my opinion, but it is surely not just my opinion. I would be surprised if the belief system to which you subscribe – whether it be religiously or secularly based – regards a life dominated by the pursuit of wealth to the exclusion of all else as an ethical life, or an attorney who meets only his responsibilities to his clients and law partners as an ethical person.”

Also recommended readings Meet the Hollywood Lawyer

Life bigger than that

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Education above all else

Offbrown 2005

Yes, since I can remember that was my motto. I believed that academic success or pursuing individual goals meant everything. Parents, girlfriends or even social networking can wait; they all DONT provide guaranteed success but a double degree from NUS DOES?  My personality was intertwined with academic success that I was just not perceptive to anything else; everything else came second and then you came along.

Surprisingly, you were everything I didn’t expect; we didn’t even speak the same language much less communicate on the same plane. I can remember my popular lingo and intellectual charm just never worked on you. My core competences were brushed aside and I had to use an unfamiliar set of skills. And to be frank that just wasn’t an arena I was ever good at.

While most insisted that I work hard and be the best I can be, you always implored that I relax and take it slow; “work will wait but life wont”; it made me realized that all my life I was about getting to that destination I dreamed of since I was 15 and never took a step back to enjoy the journey.

End of the day, honestly I always had the strength and determination to reach my goals and all I needed was someone to keep me human, make me live in the present and to remind me what I was missing.

Now, I am pushed to do something I knew would only be eventual. Most of them tell me that this is the best thing to do; for you. F&^K, Why am I this hopeless when it comes to women!

Offbrown’s Review of the iPad©

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Disclaimer: The information provided is not a substitute for legal and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If any user or buyer requires advice or other professional assistance, each such user or buyer should always consult his or her own professional advisors or qualified third parties and discuss the facts and circumstances. The reviewer takes no responsible for any representations or warranties made and it is made on a non-professional capacity.

It was the most expected Apple product after the iphone. The Apple stock prices reached its peak since its incorporation a day before the launch of ipad only to drop by 4% as the ipad was unveiled a day later. So, is this reflective of the market sentiments about the ipad?

Do you remember when the ipod was released? It was really long time ago but I would like to draw your attention to the majority public perception then, which I think the below three comment summarize quite well.

EliteMacor: iPoop… iCry. I was so hoping for something more.

WeezerX80: Great just what the world needs, another freaking MP3 player. Go Steve! Where’s the Newton?!

Pants: Sounds very revolutionary to me. 😦 hey – heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive and crap server line up? 😦 or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm? 😦

Nobody Special: No F-ing way: All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.

Dave: I really wanted to like it. Really. But do the math: 20GB hard drive: $199 from APS tech. MP3 player: $50 from Best Buy. You save $150 plus get an extra 15 Gig of storage!

Yet, only in a matter of few years; ipod is the biggest thing in the MP3/MP4 market.

So, I just think it boils down to the brilliance of Steve Job; his pure ability to identify a market gap and bring the attention of the customer to that gap, which even the customer never taught existed.

Review:

I think I should attempt to deal with the disadvantages of ipad first;

1. No Multi-tasking;

Let me say this straight up: The iPad (and the iPhone) supports background processes. It supports multiple processes, and it can do this without any adverse effects on your battery life. This capability however, is reserved for built in applications, and not for third party applications. So you can listen to music, receive emails, and have the iTunes app download podcasts while you send out tweets through your twitter client and use IM. The reason for not supporting third party apps is look at what has happened to the jailbreak iphones; most of them have terrible battery life due poor performance and battery consumption of third party apps. So, to give that 10 hours battery life with increase performance, Apple just restricted your multi-tasking abilities not prevented it.

2. No flash support:

Please, this is the worst one; the debate on the effectiveness of flash compared to other technologies like html 5 has gone on for the last decade and yet not settled. Some say Html 5 is just a better mode; providing for better typography through CSS and is less prone to crashes. Most browser are experiencing with this and even youtube has their videos in hmtl 5 mode. Most programmers are split of the better choice and Apple choosing one over the other doesn’t make Apple’s choice wrong. And if you can learn one thing from Apple is that they always manage to identify  future potential and opportunities.

3. Storage too small:

For the people who watched the official intro by Steve Jobs; he said it was the “third” category of Apple products. Hence, basically no one is expecting you to have a ipad as the ONLY electronic device with you. It would be justifiable to assume that you either have a laptop/desktop or smartphone. Hence, the synchronization ability of these products enables users to appropriately manage  their space. And honestly, did you really want a 250 GB ipad which ain’t this sleak ?

4. No Camera: Really ? What do users really want? a camera, wide screen, faster processor, full Mac OS hardware base running software! and at a low price. Seriously, we have to be practical and the exclusion of the camera would have just been a cost saving move. And mostly, most ipad users would have an iphone, imac/macbook and even digital camera. Why on earth another camera? Maybe people just want to have everything irrespective of its practical usefulness in that context

6. No USB: no USB or Ethernet ports is a problem since it can be inconvenient to get an external support called “adapters”. But, I wouldn’t consider this a dealbreaker since it may milk the buyer off some more money but end of day it is still workable.

On the plus side:

Instead of holding on to your old notions of how computers should work, take a look at what the new offers. The iPad is a half inch thick device, with multi-touch, forever connected to the internet, simplified, focused, affordable, and most importantly, can be superbly productive. Sure it won’t be just as efficient and productive as your desktop or laptop, and that’s why they will continue to remain production machines, but given the iPad’s size and mobility it would definitely open up a new market which netbooks only falsely assumed they were targeting and capturing.

Finally, a look at the people’s really issues with the ipad;