In State of the Union Address, Obama Vows to Act Alone on the Economy

WASHINGTON — After five years of fractious political combat, President Obama declared independence from Congress on Tuesday as he vowed to tackle economic disparity with a series of limited initiatives on jobs, wages and retirement that he will enact without legislative approval.

Promising “a year of action” as he tries to rejuvenate a presidency mired in low approval ratings and stymied by partisan stalemates, Mr. Obama used his annual State of the Union address to chart a new path forward relying on his own executive authority. But the defiant “with or without Congress” approach was more assertive than any of the individual policies he advanced.

“I’m eager to work with all of you,” a confident Mr. Obama told lawmakers of President_Barack_Obamaboth parties in the 65-minute nationally televised speech in the House chamber. “But America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The president’s appearance at the Capitol, with all the traditional pomp and anticipation punctuated by partisan standing ovations, came at a critical juncture as Mr. Obama seeks to define his remaining time in office. He touched on foreign policy, asserting that “American diplomacy backed by the threat of force” had forced Syria to give up chemical weapons and that “American diplomacy backed by pressure” had brought Iran to the negotiating table. And he repeated his plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan this year and threatened again to veto sanctions on Iran that disrupt his diplomatic efforts.

The most emotional point of the evening came with the introduction of Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger the president had met both before and after he was ravaged by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. As Sergeant Remsburg, blind in one eye and having to learn to walk again, made it to his feet in the first lady’s box, lawmakers of both parties gave him an extended ovation.

But Mr. Obama’s message centered on the wide gap between the wealthiest and other Americans as he positioned himself as a champion of those left behind in the modern economy. “Those at the top have never done better,” he said. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.

“The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead,” he added. “And too many still aren’t working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.”

To do so, the president announced an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for future federal contract workers and the creation of a new Treasury savings bond for workers without access to traditional retirement options. He proposed incentives for trucks running on alternative fuels and higher efficiency standards for those running on gasoline. And he announced a meeting on working families and a review of federal job training programs.

Mr. Obama was gambling that a series of ideas that seem small-bore on their own will add up to a larger collective vision of an America with expanded opportunity. But the moderate ambitions were a stark contrast to past years when Mr. Obama proposed sweeping legislation to remake the nation’s health care system, regulate Wall Street, curb climate change and restrict access to high-powered firearms.

Republicans responded by blaming Mr. Obama for the country’s economic problems, but the party’s leaders avoided the language of last year’s government shutdown and hoped to present what Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington called “a more hopeful, Republican vision” intended to appeal particularly to women in a midterm election year.

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Dynamite L/E Powerhouses Pave the Way for Hottest Lateral Move Trend

Following the newest trend in lateral moves, two rainmaker attorneys made the leap from an Am Law 100 firm to one of the most innovative firms in the country last week.  Our seasoned GLI recruiters recently noted several Am Law 100 lawyers who found their ideal growth opportunities at more strategic, entrepreneurial Am Law 200 firms.  Dawn M. Lurie joined Polsinelli last week from a top Am Law 100 firm in Washington, DC and brings with her over 20 years of experience.  Joining Dawn in her move is Mahsa Aliaskari, previously a special counsel with the same firm.

Dawn LurieDawn advises on U.S. and global immigration matters and is ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Legal 500, Chambers, Best Lawyers, and Who’s Who
Legal as well as other publications.  Formerly the leader of her firm’s Business Immigration and Compliance practice, Dawn is admitted in New Jersey and Washington, DC and received her Juris Doctorate from American University’s Washington College of Law. Dawn advises domestic corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 alien employment verification matters.  Dawn was attracted to Polsinelli because of their shared vision for the future and drive. Dawn felt it was the absolute best move which supported her client’s needs and was beneficial for her as well because all indicators point to huge growth initiatives now and continuing over the next 4-5 years.  “Polsinelli,” Dawn explained “has everything that the Am Law 100 firms are known for, but their huge flexibility, national practices, platforms and culture scream cooperation!”

Mahsa AliaskariMahsa was the leader of her firm’s Los Angeles Immigration group.  She represents national and international employers before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of Labor in connection with immigration-related employment matters. Providing practical and innovative strategies and immigration practices that work for companies since 1998, she has assisted various companies, professionals and skilled workers in obtaining immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.  She focuses her practice on business professionals across a number of industries, including health care, finance, trade, retail, manufacturing, technology and entertainment. Mahsa was drawn to Polsinelli due to their vast growth possibilities.

GLI wishes Dawn and Mahsa all the best with their new firm.

GLI/Grimes Legal, Inc. has been assisting in successful placements like these for over 25 years.  Following the suit of many groundbreaking partners, Dawn and Mahsa made a move from a top Am Law 100 firm to one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial firms in America;  a smart strategy.  GLI strategizes to recruit and place world-class talent for outstanding law firms of any size or location – partners, practice heads, practice groups, and mergers.  With coast-to-coast contacts and a network of highly skilled recruiters, we use our unmatched experience to exceed your expectations every time.

GRG says financial litigation is still active in 2014!

Top staffing and document review firm, GRG, Grimes Recruitment Group says that financial litigation remains active in 2014!  Also, after a review of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2014, it appears that 70% of them are valued above £100 million.  Below is a summarized list of the top 20 cases of 2014:

1) JP Morgan Chase Bank and JP Morgan Securities Ltd.  v. Berlin Transport Authority

2) Apex Global Management Ltd v (1) FI Call Ltd (2) Global Torch Ltd (3) HRH Prince Abdulaziz Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (4) Emad Mahmoud Ahmed Abu-Ayshih (5) HRH Prince Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

3) Evans v the Attorney General & Ors and Evans v The Information Commissioner & Ors

4) (1) Inna Gudavadze; (2) Iya Patarkatsishvili; (3) Liana Zhmotova; (4) Nana Patarkatsishvili v Vasily Anisimov

5) (1) UBS; (2) Depfa Bank plc v (1) Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig

6) Bank of St Petersburg v Vitaly Arkhangelsky & Anor

7) Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Ltd & Ors v Dow Deutschland Incorporated & Ors

complex-financial-litigation-big-picture

8) (1) Fortress Value Recovery Fund LLC (2) ZBS Capital Partners LP (3) Cypress Way European Asset Investors II Sarl v Blue Skye Special Opportunities Fund LP & Ors, Stepstone

9) Pensionenfonds Vervoer v Goldman Sachs Asset Management

10) (1) Bancroft II GP Jersey Ltd and (2) Bancroft 2 LP v (1) Weil Gotshal & Manges and (2) Jozef Maly

11) National Grid Electricity Transmission plc v ABB Ltd & Ors

12) (1) Robert Tchenguiz (2) R20 Ltd (3) Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees SA. (4) Vincent Tchenguiz (5) Vincos Ltd (6) Euro Investments Overseas Inc (7) Amora Investments Ltd v  The Director of the Serious Fraud Office

13) (1) Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & (2) Bank Alkhair BSC v (1) Al Refai  (2) Kroll Associates UK Ltd (3) Alex Richardson (4) FTI Consulting Group Ltd – 2012 Folio 834

14) Accolade Wines v Volkerfitzpatrick (2) Volkervessels (3) Goodman (4) Keller (5) Twintec (6) GJ3&4

15) MCashback v Nabarro Nathanson

16) Arcadia & Ors v Mastercard & Ors

17) Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustee Ltd v (1) Stena Line Ltd (2) P&O Ferries Ltd (3) Sealion Shipping Ltd (4) International Marine Transportation Ltd (5) Terence Brown.

18) Godiva Mortgages Ltd  v Travelers Insurance Company Ltd  and Willmett Solicitors (third party) Royal and Sun Alliance plc (4th Party) The Law Society (5th Party)

19) Trustees Of The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme Ltd & Ors v the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc / John Greenwood & Ors v Frederick Goodwin & Ors

20) Deutsche Bank & Ors v Unitech Global Ltd & Anor (the lenders action) / Deutsche Bank v Unitech Ltd (the swap action)

For more information including detailed summaries about each case, please follow the link below:

http://bit.ly/1dcUH9i

Happy New Year!

Top Legal Search Specialist Nancy Grimes and all of the GLI/GRG team wish you all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2014.  Happy New Year!

Happy-New-Year-2014

Nelson Mandela – From Political Prisoner to Change Catalyst for the World

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela meant many things to many people.  Many projected on him a god-like persona as a “political superman”.  Others saw in him the qualities they wanted or feared.  For many years, his government silenced him as a faceless terrorist and communist.  Others saw him as a savior who single-handedly won freedom for South Africa.  Many of us only saw the political mission, not the man behind it, and, when we did, what man was that?  Nelson Mandella once reflected on working for peace this way, “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

Hundreds of dignitaries ventured from all over the world to take part in his memorial service.  Thousands of civilians from every continent came to pay their respects.  Who did they come to see?  Which Mandela left his mark on their lives?  Was it the victim turned victor?  The prisoner turned President?  Was it the lone hero and political magician or the wise leader of a liberation movement?   Mandela brought a fresh outlook to the political scene, daring to ask pointed questions of would-be leaders like, “What do you stand for?  What is your agenda?  How will the country benefit from your leadership?”  He showed his people, his country and the world the great prizes conciliation and forgiveness could deliver.    Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela, but may your dream and your mission live on!

The holiday networking survival guide

Posted by Amanda Augustine
December 03, 2013 @ 02:28 PM

Make the most of this festive season by networking your way through the holidays.

networking_holiday_toast‘Tis the season for holiday parties, open houses, family get-togethers…and networking!

Whether you love it or loathe it, networking has become a key component in every professional’s career development and job-search strategy. It can help you establish your personal brand, uncover new job leads, and gain valuable insight into a prospective employer.

The holidays are an especially great time to put your networking skills to work. Below are some of my favorite articles that cover all aspects of networking, from developing your elevator pitch to incorporating networking into your everyday life.

 

Happy holiday networking!

 

5 tips for networking success
Start networking today to take your job search to the next level.

How to network without begging
Leverage your professional network during a job search without begging for favors.

Networking anytime, anywhere
Incorporate networking into your regular routine to boost your career.

How to pitch your value: Dissecting the elevator pitch
Develop a strong elevator pitch that highlights your key skill sets, passions, and job goals.

Mastering the informational interview for your job search
If you’re exploring new industries or career paths, incorporate informational interviews into your job-search strategy.

Work your next networking event
Build a strategy to maximize the benefits of every networking opportunity.

Want to learn more? Click on the following link for additional information on networking.

 

Amanda AugustineAmanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

 

Black Friday Shopping Online? Data Says These 10 Sites Will Make It Painless

Clare O’Connor, Forbes Staff

11/21/2013 @ 11:14AM

 

BlackFriday hysteria sets in outside a Target.

Black Friday lines outsideFor every intrepid bargain hunter willing to sleep in a frosty tent outside a Best Buy for a slightly cheaper TV, there’s a horrified homebody who’d rather wait out Black Friday altogether — or maybe spend it online.

If your Thanksgiving weekend plans involve your couch, laptop and credit card, you’ll want to pay heed to the latest online customer care rankings from StellaService. The startup, profiled by Forbes in September, tracks hundreds of data points in thousands of monthly transactions to act as a Nielsen or J.D. Power & Associates for internet retail.
Mystery shoppers scattered nationwide order and return $10 shirts, $1,000 bicycle parts and every conceivable product in between, stress-testing customer service at every step.

Once a month, StellaService releases a report tracking e-commerce performance across four service areas — phone, email, shipping and returns — in 10 retail categories, from department stores to office supplies. In October’s report, released on Wednesday and available in full here, the following websites came out on top overall, beating out the big boys like Amazon.com and Walmart:

RalphLauren.com
LLBean.com
JCrew.com
KateSpade.com
Shopbop.com
Net-A-Porter.com
Nordstrom.com
Reebok.com
Aeropostale.com
Wayfair.com

 
This is Ralph Lauren’s first time at number one, besting J. Crew, a perennial customer service achiever and the winner three months running.

StellaService noted that RalphLauren.com was particularly strong in phone support: the average customer waited less than 30 seconds to get a human voice on the phone. Even more impressively, 100% of these mystery shoppers’ concerns were resolved during that phone call. (LLBean.com was actually faster, answering customer calls in a speedy 12 seconds on average, but failed to make the top five for shipping or returns.)

Other worthwhile tidbits to take into account as the biggest online shopping weekend of the year approaches? While billionaire Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s had some trouble with his manners of late, his employees are far more friendly. The cult yoga retailer’s phone support topped the sportswear category in October, with competitor UnderArmour at number two.

In the ever-popular holiday retail category of electronics, HP’s website dropped from the top for the first time in 2013 due to a slower than normal response time to emails.

TigerDirect.com and Apple killed the competition in shipping, although the iPad purveyor missed the delivery date on one order, keeping them out of the top spot.
For more on the data behind online customer service, read Forbes’ profile of StellaService and its young founders here.

Ready to Go Lateral? Know What You’re Worth, What Firms Want

 

Posted on November 21, 2013 by Kandy Hopkins
Are you thinking about making a lateral move to another firm? You need to know what you’re worth and what firms want before deciding which firms you have a realistic chance at marketing yourself to—or which firms you should to allow to woo you. After all, lateral matchmaking “is a rigorous process that requires a multifaceted approach to satisfy a multitude of criteria,” or so writes Michael Allen, managing principal of Lateral Link, for Above the Law.
“One of the first things firms look at is a lateral’s client list to determine if there are any conflicts,” Allen writes. “Substantial conflicts can make a lateral application DOA.
“Each firm has a unique culture and looks for different traits in lateral partners,” he continues. “Nonetheless, most firms have a baseline, a minimum threshold a lawyer must meet in order to seem attractive, at least at first glance.”
The baseline traits firms look for are:
Profitability (e.g., portable business, bill rates, hours, and leverage). Allen notes that it’s not just a lawyer’s total portable business that prospective law firms take into account, but that business’s profitability (total portable business worth minus total costs to service that work). Firms are also leery of partners whose current billable hour doesn’t match up closely enough with their own, as the clients you bring with you are likely to leave if you’re suddenly charging them substantially more at your new firm.
Pedigree (e.g., law school).  Where you went to law school counts as you’re more likely to fit in at (and be recruited by) firms with lawyers who attended schools on the same tier as your own. Allen notes that of the current partners at Paul Hastings, 34 percent went to a top-10 law school—as did 57 percent of partners laterally hired by them in the last two years.
Vintage (e.g., increased worth with age). Firms want partners whose profitability will increase over time. “Firms expect younger partners—about fifteen years out of school—to have smaller books, but most want to see a junior partner with at least a demonstrable showing of portable business,” Allen writes. “When a partner reaches senior status, a firm would like to see a book of business double or triple what the firm would require of a young buck.”
GPA. Believe it or not, some firms do actually care about your GPA. Knowing up front if the firm you’re talking to cares and what they expect can help you quickly rule out that firm as a potential new employer.
“Firms also look at prospective lateral’s clients to ascertain if there is any overlap between the lateral and one of their own partners,” Allen writes. “In most cases, a firm will eschew a lateral if they feel there is too much overlap between one of their own partners and the prospective lateral, unless capturing the client outweighs cannibalizing current business.”
Want to find out what your grade would be in today’s lateral market? Lateral Link created a game that’ll show you what you’re worth. Check it out at Above the Law.

16 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day

Jacquelyn Smith

Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff

Forbes.com

How do you spend your lunch break? Do you quickly chow down a sandwich at a nearby deli with your eyes glued to your Blackberry? Do you devour a salad at your desk with one hand on your keyboard? Perhaps you skip lunch altogether because you have “too much on your plate.”

“A common complaint I hear is about lunch time getting squeezed down to ten minutes, or to nothing at all, with people eating on the fly or eating while hunched over their computers,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work.

Why does this happen? Because America has become such a work-obsessed society that we tend to shun the notion of taking a break, explains Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD, organizational psychologist and author of The YOU Plan. “Just like professional athletes, we all need the energy from calories for our minds to function at their best. And we all need a little time to recharge, too.”

Last month I laid out the 16 things you should do at the start of every work day and the 16 things you should do at the end of every work day. I concluded that how you spend the first few and last few hours in the office can have a significant effect on your level of productivity. As it turns out, what you do during your lunch hour can be just as important, and that time shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking a midday break during which you refuel and re-energize can not only make you a better employee, but also a healthier and happier person.

“You should be as strategic about your lunch hour as you are about your day in general,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.

With the help of career and workplace experts Michael Kerr, Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Lynn Taylor, Anita Attridge, Alexandra Levit and David Shindler, I compiled a list of 16 things all workers should do during their lunch break.

“It’s critical to make the most of lunch and remind yourself that by taking a proper break you will accomplish more in the long run, and that productivity and creativity will increase, while your levels of stress and fatigue will diminish,” Kerr says.

Anita Attridge, a career and executive coach with the Five O’Clock Club, a career coaching organization, adds that taking time to disconnect from your work provides renewed energy, and, as a result, makes the rest of the day go more smoothly. “Typically, the afternoon can bring some lulls that can be offset by having been away from your desk. Talking with people about something besides work during lunchtime can also boost your energy level and improve your mood.”

Alexandra Levit, the author of Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, agrees. A lunch break not only fuels your motivation to power toward the end of the day, it also gives you something to look forward to in the morning. “Most people accomplish work best in short bursts with breaks in between, so organizing your schedule around these natural energy peaks will help you be more productive.”

What you do during your midday break might vary depending on your job, company culture or personal priorities—but the experts agree all workers should try to do these 16 things during lunch hour:

Make a plan. “Don’t squander your lunch break because it’s ‘free time,’” Taylor says. Time is a non-renewable resource, wherever you are, whatever the time of day. Try your best to plan it out and make the most of it.

You should also plan your activities immediately after lunch, Kerr suggests. “Giving thought to how you prioritize and schedule events in the afternoon can maximize your productivity. For example, scheduling a meeting or conference call right after lunch may end up causing you stress over the lunch hour or you may end up squeezing the lunch break in order to get back in time and be ready for the meeting.”

Take a real break. Breaking from work for 60 seconds to chow down your lunch at your desk doesn’t count. “In order to get a period of true respite, the time has to involve an actual break from work,” Levit says. Try not to check your e-mail, bring work with you or talk about work during lunch.

Decompress. The first thing you should do when your lunch break begins is take a deep breath and relax, Taylor suggests. “You’ve likely been on over-drive all morning, putting out fires. Before you decide how to spend that golden hour, take a couple minutes to clear your head. Take your break-neck pace to a halt; don’t automatically jump to the next ‘to do’ item. When you’re relaxed, you can better strategize your goals with a broader and wiser perspective.”

Get up from your desk or work space. “Staying at your desk is a big no-no in my book,” Kerr says. “There are more and more reports on the dangers of sitting too long, so even just getting up to walk to another room to eat is important, or better still, getting outside for some fresh air and a quick walk can do wonders for the body and spirit.”

Even if you don’t sit at a desk, you should get away from your work space during lunch, as it will help you clear your mind. Continue reading