MCCUTCHEON TO FEC: IF THOMAS PAINE WAS ALIVE TODAY, WOULD USE INTERNET TO PROMOTE ‘COMMON SENSE’

Thomas-Paine-Portrait-Common-Sense-640x480Washington DC–On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, issued a ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC that struck down limits to the amount of money an individual could contribute during a two year period to all federal candidates, parties, and political action committees combined.

Monday Shaun McCutcheon, a one-time obscure electrical engineer from Alabama, made his way back to Washington DC to speak once again to the Federal Elections Commissions, this time on behalf of protecting freedom rights involving Internet-based political campaigns.

McCutcheon said that he hopes he isn’t being “presumptuous  to say that most of you know who I am and what I stand for. You know that I am not a corporation, and I’m not a billionaire. I’m trying to implement positive change as one of the people.”

He explained that the ruling of the McCutcheon v. FEC was about “aggregate limits, aggregate spending limits, not limits per contribution,” which he asserted that he did not challenge. He insisted that striking down aggregate limits “speaks directly to our First Amendment rights. Our most fundamental rights, the right to make reasonable contributions to as many candidates as we, the people, choose.”

The Vestavia Hills, Alabama native said that it is our constitutional right to participate in a democratic process as often and wherever we choose. “It has everything to do with the constitutional right of all citizens to support 10 candidates rather than nine, or 21 rather than 20,” he argued. McCutcheon remarked, “Happily, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed with me.”

Apropos of a new agenda to attempt to regulate the internet for political-content-oriented sites like Drudge Report, Breitbart, etc., McCutcheon said:

“The ultimate message in my case, whenever regulators, any regulators, engage in rulemaking, they and their stakeholders must carefully consider all such nonnegotiable constitutional rights before they do anything. They must, likewise, bear in mind that regulation for the sake of regulation is self-defeating. Needless regulation will not stop corruption. It will only play to the advantage of interests and candidates, usually incumbents. The struggle to reaffirm the inalienable rights of citizens to participate in the electoral process did not end with McCutcheon. If the struggle had ended there, we would not need further discussion.”

The first amendment advocate thinks that if anything should be regulated, it’s the government. “Imagine the opportunity and prosperity that we could be enjoying if we had aggregate limits on government spending instead of limits on the people,” he proposed. After all, he said, “If Thomas Paine was alive today he would be using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote Common Sense.”

See More: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/11/mccutcheon-to-fec-if-thomas-paine-was-alive-today-would-use-internet-to-promote-common-sense/

Philadelphia to host Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday it will hold its 2016 nominating convention in Philadelphia, where it will officially put forward its candidate who will try to succeed President Obama’s two terms in office.

The City of Brotherly Love beat out Brooklyn, New York and Columbus, Ohio to host the event, to be held the week of July 25. The DNC signed the final contract with Philadelphia Thursday morning.

“There is clearly no better city to have this special event than Philadelphia. The role of Philadelphia in shaping our nation’s history is unmatched,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat and chairwoman of the DNC.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said the convention is expected to cost $84 million, and expressed confidence they could raise the funds.

Democratic Convention

In choosing Philadelphia, Democrats bypassed holding their convention in the perennial swing state of Ohio, or New York, where former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumptive front-runner for the Democratic nomination, could househer campaign.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had promoted Brooklyn as an ideal spot, but his recent high-profile clashes with the city’s police department could have served as a point of tension as Democrats try to unify and rally behind their candidate. Ms. Wasserman Schultz, though, said the decision was based solely on logistics, security, and resources.

Columbus Mayor Marcus B. Coleman said the city would try to land a political convention in 2020.

Democrats last month announced the timing of their convention, which will be held the week after Republicans hold their in Cleveland.

Republicans and Democrats held their conventions in back-to-back weeks in 2012, but the GOP held theirs in Tampa the last week of August and Democrats held theirs in Charlotte the first week of September. In 2008, Democrats held their convention the last week of August in Denver and Republicans held theirs the first week of September in Minneapolis.

See more at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/12/philadelphia-to-host-democratic-national-conventio/

Dentons Breaks Down the Glass Wall in China

Dentons

Throughout GLI’s history, we have worked closely with Dentons in order to assist them in growing their national and global presence.  We are proud to see Dentons’ latest merger has topped the legal news charts in recent weeks.  With good reason: the merger will undoubtedly make Dentons the largest firm in the world by head count.  The combined firm will have over 6,500 lawyers and will span across more than 50 countries.  But an equally amazing feat is that Dentons managed to further break the barrier between US and China Law.  It’s no secret American Law firms have been having issues breaking into the Chinese markets, but Dentons has certainly made those issues old news.

Something we notice that makes Dentons successful is the firm’s mastery of the use of the verein structure. This allows the firm to merge much more easily with other firms.  Another great benefit of this structure is the firm does not have to worry should China’s attempts at legal changes not emerge.  This offers Dentons great flexibility in the mergers they choose.

We are proud Dentons is merging with Dacheng as we have noticed a swell in the growth of Tier 2 cities in China and Dacheng has 42 offices in China including plenty in Tier 2 cities.  This merger for Dentons will greatly increase their market share in China from around 50 attorneys practicing in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to over 4,000 attorneys throughout China.  It is not likely we will see any other Am Law firm take such rapid strides into the Chinese market with Dacheng and Dentons cornering the market.

Our Top Legal Recruiter, Nancy Grimes, has great relationships with the leaders of Dentons US.  Because of these great relationships, Grimes was able to get further comments from the firms’ leaders: Joe Andrew and Elliott Portnoy.  We are happy to share their opinions regarding what this merger means for the future of Dentons:

Joe Andrew.Dentons

“With more lawyers in more places where our clients do business, this combination is not about being the largest law firm in the world it is about understanding what our clients need and delivering it. As the only big 10 firm not headquartered in the US or UK, our polycentric approach reflects how the global economy has fundamentally changed and the legal profession must change with it.”

-Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons.

“With the largest and fastest growing economy in the world, the attraction of China to our clients is strong. All of our competitors are looking East. By

Elliot Portnoy.Dentonsuniting East and West in one firm—not merely through a few offices in large cities, but with a deep presence across China—we can provide

Chinese businesses with global ambitions and international clients with interests inside China a reach and depth that simply can’t be found elsewhere.”

-Elliott Portnoy, Global Chief Executive Officer Dentons.

10 Mindsets That Will Radically Improve Your Business

Mind setSuccess is something all career-driven individuals desire yet it eludes many people — at least at the levels desired. Why are some businesspeople successful and others not?

It has everything to do with habits, beliefs, passion, flexibility and attitude.

Often there’s nothing really different between one entrepreneur and another in terms of ability, as each person can do whatever he or she wants. What it all comes down to is having the frame of mind to set practical habits and keep a balance between attachment and commitment and letting things happen.

Here are 10 mindsets for success:

1. Choose courage over fear.

To be successful, you have to have courage. And to become courageous, do courageous things. Much of being successful is about going beyond what you think you’re capable of — venturing into the unknown. Whether you fail or succeed, you will learn and grow.

Growth, in and of itself, means attaining a level of success whether it came from success or failure.

impossible2. Believe in yourself.

Attitude is everything. A negative attitude decreases success and a positive attitude creates success. Without that belief in yourself, you’ll lack a path to success.

Success is something that’s created. It’s not something that merely “happens.”

When you firmly believe in yourself, you can achieve virtually anything: It’s within this belief that you’ll find the power to create the resilience and fortitude needed to keep going when things get tough.

3. Choose good company.

Whom you surround yourself with is among the most important choices you’ll make as you climb up the business ladder. Negativity is contagious and if work groups, especially bosses, are negative, there will be a ceiling to your success.

To reach the goals you desire, be willing to change bosses if necessary. Or if you’re the boss, rid your team of toxic people immediately.

It only takes one toxic person to destroy the morale of an entire campaign. Further, when you surround yourself with other successful, goal-oriented individuals, you can learn from them and take on some of their habits to add to your own as you proceed along your road to success.

4. Adopt self-chosen goals.

Knowing and being clear about where you’re headed in business is something that must come from within. When your goals selected by you, you’re more motivated to achieve them.

That’s because by achieving these goals, you attain a new desired piece of yourself. When your goals arise from your instigation, they carry a deeper meaning and confer a greater impact on your identity.

Each self-selected goal realized adds a depth and an internal expansion to you as a person. Personal expansion is just one of the great gifts to come from succeeding in your business goals.

Sophiq_Plan_do_check_act_xl

5. Have a purpose and a vision.

Visualization is powerful because actions follow thoughts. A great technique for nurturing your vision and purpose is to make your goals visual. Some people use vision boards; others opt for treasure maps. And still others set goals identifying specific dates for their achievement.

Whatever works best is a matter for the individual to figure out.

I believe that anything that’s written down is more likely to be achieved than visions kept only in the head. When you make your purpose visual, you make it real. When you keep them in your mind, they remain wishes.

6. Accept the challenge.

There are few easy paths up a mountain and often they’re hard to find. Challenge will be an essential piece in any type of success in business.

And challenge is what creates your growth along the journey. Each challenge obstructing your path provides you with the chance to create a more defined direction toward attaining your dream vendors, customers, managers, employees — and numbers. For this reason, bless each challenge. Each one is a compass directing you toward new business leads, circumstances and opportunities.

7. Be discerning.

Selectivity creates success. You must think deeply and intelligently about the bigger picture and what it is you need for each step along the way to continue articulating and executing your business goals.

Mindfulness means being aware of all angles and staying sharply in touch with the present so that you do not have to clean up mistakes in the future.

Be discerning of group dynamics: which person is the best at what job, which customers or deals will take you the furthest and what it is that each moment is calling on you to do or change to be the most efficient.

That’s how selectivity offers you the pursuit of success.

risk reward8. Be willing to take risks.

There are no guarantees on any path to success in life or business. The unknown is always looming. Therefore, risk and education are often the mechanisms necessary for knowing more clearly if you’re on the right path.

If you’re afraid to risk, you will put limits on your success and stay where you’re comfortable. You cannot get what you want if you don’t risk rejection and go for what you desire.

9. Do what you love.

You’re more likely to succeed in business when you’re invested in your passion and making your career fit your personality. There is a way to find passion about anything and everything you do in life.

You may not love every part of your job but tolerating discomforts by looking at the bigger picture makes your investment of time and energy worthwhile.

Be willing to love and find purpose in all aspects of what your business requires, commit to it and see what you’re doing as being a benefit to others. When you love the business you’re in, there is nothing that can keep you from wanting to work at it, nurture it and make it grow.

10. Gratitude.

When you see life and career in terms of the lack in what you have achieved, you cannot drive your business up the ladder of success. Then negativity is impeding your progress.

You must look at all you have and realize how great what you have is as compared to the situation of many others.

When you have this attitude, you stop suffering and complaining about the small stuff. On each receipt you pay out, write thank you. That’s not only to thank the person, event, vendor or customer for what’s provided you but also to give a private thanks acknowledging that you have the abundance necessary to pay for the service, product or event.

Habits coupled with flexibility provide you with a path to success. Success is fluid and so rigidity will stand in its way.

Developing these mindsets give you a compass to navigate the ever-changing tides on the way to business and financial goals. These mindsets allow openness and flexibility while also providing you precise direction.

Morgan Lewis Brings Bingham Lawyers Into Leadership Fold

Morgan Lewis Logo

In the span of two days, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius made changes to leadership in nine of the firm’s 28 offices, with many of the changes adding a recently hired Bingham McCutchen partner to co-lead with an existing Morgan Lewis managing partner.

The moves are part of Morgan Lewis’ overall effort to integrate the more than 500 lawyers who joined the firm in a mass lateral move from Bingham on Nov. 24. Along with including Bingham attorneys on the firmwide management committee and making office leadership changes, Morgan Lewis has also charged its legacy attorneys with serving as a “buddy” to Bingham lawyers to help them in the transition.

Jami Wintz McKeon, who took over as chairwoman of Morgan Lewis in October, has plenty of experience with integration, instituting similar programs at the firm when she helped bring 150 Brobeck Phleger & Harrison attorneys on board more than a decade ago.

McKeon said in a statement to The Legal on Jan. 23 that the firm regularly changes office leadership roles, and often at the start of a new year.

“This year, in addition to making those changes, we decided to add co-managing partners in those cities where we have many new colleagues, and in particular, in offices that have grown considerably in size,” McKeon said. “This is good both for integration purposes and also because it lets us take advantage of new talent in our firm.”

McKeon said the firm has also added new practice leaders, in some instances because the firm gained new practices in the deal and in other instances because Morgan Lewis wanted to increase leadership in practices significantly expanded by the Bingham additions.

“One of the areas that we are the most focused on is a seamless integration and, in our experience, we have found that the buddy system is a great way to welcome new colleagues,” McKeon said. “I am happy to say the buddy system is up and running and we have received very positive feedback on it.”

Männchengruppe

Joseph Altonji of LawVision Group in Chicago said integration is critical whether it be a one-off lateral partner or a merger, though with slightly different approaches. And unfortunately, he said, it is often something that is an afterthought for firms, getting little consideration until after a deal is done.

Altonji said he isn’t a huge fan of co-leadership positions, at least for a long period of time, because it confuses things and can diffuse responsibilities. That is particularly the case at the practice leadership level, he said, where a merger that does not include office overlap could see integration stifled when co-leaders of a practice stick to managing their respective, legacy territories.

Office leadership is more of an administrative role than a strategic function, he said, making co-leadership of an office seem like job multiplication. Though he again noted that it is important to get new lawyers in such a large acquisition into leadership positions, he cautioned that it shouldn’t be joint leadership for an extended period.

“I would focus on trying to get to integration first, efficiency second and ultimately clarity on who is responsible for what fairly quickly,” Altonji said.

As to the timeframe for the co-leadership positions, McKeon said in her statement to The Legal that “the roles do change on a regular basis, but we plan on maintaining dual managing partners in our offices where it makes the most sense for the near term at least.”

As McKeon noted, Morgan Lewis has created dual office leadership in some of its largest offices, such as Washington, D.C., where it has 400 lawyers, and New York, where there are 300 lawyers.

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China’s Biggest Law Firm Nears Deal With Dentons

Dentons

The largest law firm in mainland China has struck a deal to combine forces with Dentons, an expansion-minded global law firm, a novel tie-up that could signal a growing desire by Chinese officials to give their fast-growing companies easier access to Western markets.

But it comes at a time when other ventures by Western firms in China have often proved unprofitable, partly because China places strict restrictions on Western lawyers working in the country. This week, New York-based international firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP said it would effectively shut down its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices after about a little less than a decade in Asia.

In the deal, which has been approved by the partnerships of both firms, Dentons has agreed to combine with Dacheng, a firm of approximately 4,000 lawyers spread mostly throughout China.

Dentons, a firm known for its bankruptcy and mergers-and-acquisitions practices, among others, is itself the product of several mergers in recent years. It was formed in 2013 by the three-way merger of Canada-based Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP; Salans, a firm founded in Paris with offices throughout Europe; and SNR Denton, the product of a 2010 cross-Atlantic merger.

The combined firm, with over 6,500 lawyers spread across more than 50 countries, would be the largest law firm in the world, by lawyer head count. The deal proposal awaits approval from Chinese regulators, which management teams from both firms expect as soon as early next week.

Dentons, which represents a roster of large multinational companies, including Coca-Cola Co. , Total SA and HSBC HoldingsPLC, had revenue of about $1.3 billion in 2013, the last year for which figures are available.

MergerIn recent years, Dacheng has represented a host of big Chinese companies, including China Railway Construction Corp. , China Development Bank and Sunshine Insurance Group Corp. Revenue figures for the firm weren’t available.

For decades, Western lawyers in China have generally been barred from appearing in court or from appearing in front of the government—restrictions that often lead Western firms to hire “local” Chinese counsel to handle issues inside the country.

“It’s an extremely difficult place for Western firms to practice and to practice profitably,” said legal consultant Brad Hildebrandt.

But the Dentons-Dacheng deal, if approved, will allow Dentons clients access to a stable of lawyers cleared to practice in China without hiring another firm, according to Joseph Andrew, the global chair of Dentons.

The firm involves an increasingly common structure known as a verein, an association between partnerships that share a common name, but remain financially independent. The only other combination between a Chinese and a Western firm—the 2012 deal between King & Wood, based in Beijing, and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques—was also structured as a verein.

Law-firm mergers, even those following the looser verein structure, sometimes suffer from insurmountable cultural differences or other problems—such as approaches to partner pay. Deals that span time zones and involve language barriers can be especially tricky to pull off. Another possible issue, according to some law-firm experts: worry by some clients that sensitive information passed to firm lawyers may fall into the hands of Chinese competitors, or even the Chinese government.

A spokeswoman for Dentons said that the firm has developed a “comprehensive” cybersecurity approach, and that “only lawyers and professionals who need to know the client’s business…will be able to access client information necessary to collaborate in serving the client.” The firm will be known as Dentons outside China and Dacheng inside China. The firm’s logo will include the Chinese characters for Dacheng, followed by the Dentons name.

Mr. Andrew said the deal would give the firm’s clients “unparalleled access” into an economy that has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade—and stands poised to keep growing.

The president of Dacheng, Peng Xuefeng, said that the deal would bring the firm’s clients in much closer touch with the rest of the world. “Now is the time for Chinese enterprises to go outbound, to invest in the rest of the world,” he said.

Top Litigation Firms by Law School Pedigree

Graduate

Lawyers as a group dislike uncertainty, and “prestige”—whether of schools or firms—serves as an organizing principle and social validator, letting everyone know where they stand. The lawyer hive mind consistently orders itself in precise ways: consider how the U.S. News “T14” is basically set in stone and how the Vault rankings remain remarkably stable year after year. As late as 2015, Biglaw remains as clubby as Bertie Wooster.

There are two broad ways to think about this phenomenon:

  1. The practitioners of law at the highest level exist in a sort of closed loop and that is how it should be. The filter of “prestige” is a necessary thing. While the most talented and capable people will presumably succeed regardless, we need some way to differentiate among the rest. But when a person’s talent level is fundamentally unknowable, prestige might not be a perfect tool, but it is what we have. The assumption that one must be doing something right in order to become associated with prestigious institutions is rational.
  2. This obsession with credentialism is harmful to the profession. This nebulous concept of “prestige” is too dubious a metric upon which to base the choice of a school or employer.

Whichever camp you fall in, there is no gainsaying the outsized role prestige plays in both the educational and professional wings of the legal industry.

A glance at these rankings shows that boutiques dominate the top of the list, “outperforming” their larger competitors in terms of credentials. Of course, some might say it’s inapt to compare boutiques and Biglaw as they have such distinct recruitment models. (For example, large firms don’t have to fill up summer associate classes.) Yet if Biglaw serves as the talent funnel for the high-end boutiques, then either the prestige of law school really does correlate with eventual attorney quality OR the boutiques are as beholden to the entrenched credentialism as the rest of the profession, only maybe more so.

Rank

Firm

Attorney Count

Median Rank

Mean School IQR

1 Bancroft PLLC 15 2 4.8
2 Willenken Wilson 13 4 3.9
3 Kellogg Huber 69 4 4.5
4 Bartlit Beck 79 4 6.0
5 Lankler Siffert 26 4 6.3
6 Morvillo Abramowitz 35 6 5.1
7 Keker & Van Nest 82 6 5.9
8 Williams & Connolly 117 7 6.4
9 Covington & Burling 401 8 7.5
10 Bird Marella 35 8 8.1
11 Boies, Schiller & Flexner 227 8 12.2
12 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 490 9 9.2
13 Zuckerman Spaeder 76 9.5 9.8
14 Yetter Coleman 32 10 10.4
15 MoloLamken 22 10 10.9
16 Jenner & Block 257 10 11.6
17 Morrison & Foerster 380 10 11.6
18 Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan 201 10 13.5
19 Goldman Ismail 18 11 9.6
20 Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr 633 12 12.9
21 Kobre & Kim 45 13 14.0
22 Weisbrod Matteis 19 13 14.2
23 Hughes Hubbard & Reed 218 13 16.1
24 Gibbs & Bruns 32 15 15.0
25 Arnold & Porter 399 15 16.4
26 Beck Redden 46 15 28.0
27 Paul Hastings 347 16 16.9
28 Horvitz & Levy 36 16 17.4
29 Browne George 14 16 17.5
30 Crowell & Moring 277 20 20.8
31 Fish & Richardson 266 20 23.6
32 Alston & Bird 398 20 24.3
33 Steptoe & Johnson 308 20 24.6
34 Winston & Strawn 514 20 26.2
35 Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner 283 20 27.4
36 Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell 289 27 31.3
37 Bickel & Brewer 44 28 34.8
38 Kilpatrick Townsend & Stocktown 288 29 25.2
39 Faeger Baker Daniels 356 29 31.7
40 Barnes & Thornburg 292 29 41.9
41 McKenna Long & Aldridge 268 36 38.0
42 Levine Lee 10 36 39.7
43 Baker & Hostetler 456 36 41.3
44 Lee Tran & Liang 30 38 34.1
45 Pepper Hamilton 291 49 43.8
46 Jackson Lewis LLP 252 56 57.0
47 Blank Rome 285 61 59.3
48 Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart 401 61 60.1

 

Can Millennials Disrupt The Biglaw Status Quo Bias Toward Diversity?

We’ll never be younger than we are today. Our youth and prime of life are fleeting. As George Bernard Shaw famously declared, “youth is wasted on the young.” Our generation, the Millennials, is said to be the most racially tolerant of any generation. However, we may not be Diverse Attorneysas racially tolerant as the media triumphs, or as we are led to believe. Still, in 2009 45% of Millennials believed in “improving the position of blacks and other minorities ‘even if it mean[t] giving them preferential treatment.’” Contrast our support with Gen Xers (30%), Boomers (27%), and the Silent Generation (25%) and you might believe our belief system and social construction could be quite different than of those before us. As Brian Easter, CEO of Nebo Agency, asks, “So the question is… can Millennials’ beliefs be turned into actions? Or, like the pigs of Animal Farm, will they become what they despise?” Of the 223 firms The American Lawyer surveyed, minorities account for just 14.1% of all attorneys. Among partners, only 7.6% are minorities. According to NALP, only 5.4% of partners at the 200 largest firms are minorities. In other words, 92-94% of Biglaw partners are white. When it comes to diversity in the legal profession, the status quo is our enemy. How can we best deal with this reality? We must begin to ask the hard questions if we want to understand the true causes. We should strive to discover the most optimal ways to influence change in the industry. As agents of change, our success is incumbent upon those willing to swim upstream, against the current. Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer at Acumen Fund, has highlighted four things that are necessary for social change to happen. He derived these four keys from a speech by Bryan Stevenson, the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson’s TED talk about America’s justice system has attracted more than two million views and “inspired one of the longest and loudest standing ovations in TED history.” As noted by Dichter, Stevenson states the four things required for social change are:

  1. We need to get proximate to injustice. “The only solutions that work are the ones that are developed when one has an up-close view of a problem.”
  2. Change the narrative. “What is really going on when, say, a 14 year old black boy lashes out and throws a book at a teacher? Is the solution to incarcerate that child or to ask what happens to a child who has lived for 14 years surrounded by violence?”
  3. Keep hopeful. “We give up on issues that we believe are hopeless, wrongs that we tell ourselves simply cannot be righted. ‘Injustice prevails when hopelessness persists.’”
  4. Do uncomfortable things. “Whether it is the people who led or joined the civil rights movement (or any other movement that created large-scale change), each and every person made a decision at a critical juncture that they were willing to be uncomfortable and put themselves on the line.”

Change rarely consists of an episodic narrative, but rather it often takes a critical mass or impassioned minority over time to invoke a difference. There are early adapters to every disruptive technology, activism is no different. As Robert Louis Stevens once said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

planting-seeds

Anything we accomplish will be because we have stood on the shoulders of giants. Anything the generation after us accomplishes or strives to accomplish can help be determined by us, and those that came before us, as well. Perhaps Bob Marley captures this idea the best when he sings, “Rise up fallen fighters. Rise and take your stance again…. As a man sow, shall he reap, and I know that talk is cheap. But the heat of the battle is as sweet as the victory.” Many people, especially in my generation, misconstrue Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M. (cash rules everything around me) philosophy to mean that one’s own ultimate goal should be the almighty dollar. But as RZA has stated, “‘C.R.E.A.M.’ really says what we went through to get this money. And cash does rule everything around me, but it don’t rule me. That’s how come we got it. It’s good because we came from the bottom of the bottomless pit. . . . when Wu-Tang came together, we vowed brotherhood to each other. When you stick together with your brothers, man, you can’t lose.” Last Sunday, numerous minorities were nominated and awarded Golden Globes from the film industry, a notoriously tough industry for minorities to break through (e.g., #OscarsSoWhite). Just as 94% of partners at the largest 200 largest firms are white, so too 94% of Oscar voters are white — only 2% are black and 2% are Latino. The Oscar Academy Awards won’t nearly be as diverse as the Golden Globes Awards. Correlation or causation? Remember my theorem? Anyways, three speeches at the Golden Globes really caught my attention. The speakers were diverse, but the message was singular. Just as Wu-Tang preached brotherhood, so too did the speakers reiterate the same sentiment — we are all our brother’s keeper. In her inaugural appearance, Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. In her acceptance speech, Rodriguez declared, “This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to be seen as heroes.” Backstage, Rodriguez teared up and stated “the nomination alone was a win for me because it allowed Latinos to see themselves in a beautiful light…. We are dealing with a society that is so diverse, so beautiful and so human. We need to remember that we have the same stories, and see it as such.” Fargo was awarded the Golden Globe award for best TV movie or TV mini-series Sunday night. Creator Noah Hawley said the award was a tribute to “the heart of what Fargo is about – that you can change the world, not through grand acts of heroism, but just by being decent to people…. As Marge Gunderson [Fargo’s main character] so eloquently put it: ‘There’s more to life than a little money, you know.’” Selma’s “Glory” won the Global Globe for best original score in a motion picture. In his acceptance speech, Common proclaimed, “As I got to know the people of the civil rights movement, I realized, I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity… Now is our time to change the world, Selma is now.” Accidental activists do not exist. We cannot hope our way to change. Diversity needs to be fought for, it needs a voice. As Common raps in “Glory,” “No one can win the war individually. It takes the wisdom of the elders’ and young peoples’ energy.” Can Millennials disrupt the Biglaw status quo bias toward diversity? Yes, we can, and we will.