So, I’ll just go ahead and admit this up front: I’m going to brag a little. But I think you’ll agree it’s for a worthy cause. And if you don’t … hey, this is my blog. I’ll brag if I want to.
Anyway, here’s the thing. This little item from the Chicago Tribune made me chuckle:
Daley will be “of counsel” to the firm, an advisory position in which the firm can “draw on his vast knowledge, experience and relationships globally to contribute to the continued growth of the firm,” it said in a news release.
He won’t participate in any work involving the City of Chicago of any affiliated agencies, the firm added.
Financial terms were not revealed.
I remember it like it was just yesterday. (Here’s where the bragging comes in.) It was the fall of 1985. I was a second year law student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and I was at the top of my game. Interviewing with all the big Chicago law firms for summer internships, being taken to lunch, as was the tradition, getting offers from nearly all of them … except: Katten, Muchin & Zavis. And the worst part was, I didn’t even get a free lunch out of the deal.
Okay, kidding aside, this much is true. Typically, in the early part of your second year in law school you interview for summer associate positions with law firms or corporate legal departments, the idea being to land a job for the summer between your second and third years – to test the waters, mostly; and, if you liked the place and they liked you, there was a reasonable chance that that summer job could morph into a permanent gig. So it’s kind of a big deal. Ordinarily the first interview with a firm is conducted on campus, and if the people sent to campus to do the initial interviewing take to you, you then get a call-back interview at the firm where you meet several more lawyers and you typically get taken to lunch. Or dinner, if the call back interview takes place in the afternoon. But, minimally, you get lunch.
It’s also true that I got call back interviews from several of the large firms I interviewed with on campus, including Katten Muchin, and it’s true that most of those firms gave me offers but Katten Muchin did not. For some reason – most likely sour grapes – I still recall interviewing with Katten Muchin in their Chicago offices that fall; and, in particular, I recall that it was a largely humorless place. Maybe that’s because I was all of twenty-three years old at the time and more than a little wet behind the years, but I specifically recall this: Back then, Katten Muchin was doing some work for the Chicago White Sox and they were quite proud of that fact. In an interview with one particularly dour senior associate or junior partner, I jokingly mentioned that I was a Cubs fan and asked if that would be held against me. As god is my witness, he looked at me – serious as a heart attack – and said: We don’t joke about things like that.
I remember that, and I remember the fact that they didn’t buy me lunch – which I took as a great breach of Law School Interviewing Etiquette. You always got lunch.
But the thing that really struck me was the White Sox business and my apparent Cubs-related faux pas. I always figured that’s pretty much what iced the deal for me. Or caused the deal not to be iced. Or, whatever.
So I had to laugh when I heard that Richard M. Daley – the World’s Foremost White Sox Fan – was offered a job at Katten Muchin after finishing his tenure as Mayor of Chicago. Richard M. Daley, the guy who reputedly flunked the Illinois Bar Exam twice before passing it on his third try, got hired by a firm that snubbed me … maybe over my loyalty to the Cubs, maybe not.
Of course, I left out one little detail from the Tribune article I quoted above. That first sentence? The whole thing reads:
Chicago on Tuesday [Dec. 2, 2008] said it agreed to lease its parking meter system to a fund managed by Morgan Stanley in a 75-year, $1.16 billion deal, the latest privatization deal by the city as it struggles to close a yawning budget deficit.
The deal with Chicago Parking Meter LLC, an infrastructure investment fund managed by Morgan Stanley, marks the first time a U.S. city has privatized its parking meter system. It adds to the list of infrastructure assets Chicago has cashed in on with leases of an airport, a toll road, and some downtown parking lots.
The deal covers more than 36,000 parking spaces, with rates on many meters expected to quadruple to $1 an hour.
Apparently, Katten Muchin helped negotiate that deal for the city. In fact, “the city has paid [Katten Muchin] more than $1.2 million for work on privatization deals and other matters since 2005,” including the parking meter deal, the lease of the city’s Skyway toll bridge, and city’s failed attempt to lease Midway Airport to private concerns. Huh. How do you like that.
So maybe the Mayor’s fealty to the White Sox wasn’t a determining factor in his landing the Katten Muchin job after all. But I wonder if they bought him lunch.
© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.