How to make partner?

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clintonius
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby clintonius » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:13 pm

thrillhouse wrote:Thanks for the link. Thinking of "of counsel" like and permanent old associate, does that mean one is paid like a first year associate, mid-level, or 8th year just-before-partner associate?

I think compensation is often individualized, though assuming you're of counsel because you're in that nebulous area between associate and partner, your pay is likely somewhat above senior associate level. At least at some firms, it is possible (but very rare) to be promoted to partner after some time as of counsel.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:25 pm

Generally, there are three kinds of partners: finders, grinders, and minders.

Finders are the rainmakers; grinders are the ones that gain the expertise to get the work done at a high level; minders are the ones that are able to successfully navigate the political minefield of the firm and herd cats to get the business of the firm done.

Most partners can check more than one box, at least to some degree.

Whether you make partner is a combination of skill, work ethic, political savvy, and luck. You can work yourself to the bone and still not be considered partner material. You can have great skills, work ethic and political savvy, but have chosen a specialty where the partners with clout leave right before you come up for partnership, or have the economy tank on you when you are up, etc.

Of counsel means different things at different firms. You can't make universal statements about it. Sometimes it is given to people brought on for prestige (people very well known in the field that need a place to hang their hat on the rare occasion that they want to practice). Sometimes it is a stepping stone to partnership for laterals. Sometimes it is a title given to people who have "aged out" of associate, but can't be made partner yet. In this category it can be either a dead-end position or a holding place.

Veyron wrote:Don't know about other markets but around here a fair number of midlaw firms pay is 80-115 + small bonus for slightly fewer hours than biglaw. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.


Really? You would be happy working 80-100% of BigLaw hours and making 50-70% of the money? This is actually pretty soul crushing -- counting up your hours, realizing you've clocked in 2200 and made $135,000 and people in BigLaw made $210,00 for doing the same amount of work.

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ResolutePear
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Veyron wrote:Don't know about other markets but around here a fair number of midlaw firms pay is 80-115 + small bonus for slightly fewer hours than biglaw. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.


Really? You would be happy working 80-100% of BigLaw hours and making 50-70% of the money? This is actually pretty soul crushing -- counting up your hours, realizing you've clocked in 2200 and made $135,000 and people in BigLaw made $210,00 for doing the same amount of work.


TO be fair, anything over 70,000 is booze and stripper money. Only the clubs are missing out.

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Veyron
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby Veyron » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Generally, there are three kinds of partners: finders, grinders, and minders.

Finders are the rainmakers; grinders are the ones that gain the expertise to get the work done at a high level; minders are the ones that are able to successfully navigate the political minefield of the firm and herd cats to get the business of the firm done.

Most partners can check more than one box, at least to some degree.

Whether you make partner is a combination of skill, work ethic, political savvy, and luck. You can work yourself to the bone and still not be considered partner material. You can have great skills, work ethic and political savvy, but have chosen a specialty where the partners with clout leave right before you come up for partnership, or have the economy tank on you when you are up, etc.

Of counsel means different things at different firms. You can't make universal statements about it. Sometimes it is given to people brought on for prestige (people very well known in the field that need a place to hang their hat on the rare occasion that they want to practice). Sometimes it is a stepping stone to partnership for laterals. Sometimes it is a title given to people who have "aged out" of associate, but can't be made partner yet. In this category it can be either a dead-end position or a holding place.

Veyron wrote:Don't know about other markets but around here a fair number of midlaw firms pay is 80-115 + small bonus for slightly fewer hours than biglaw. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.


Really? You would be happy working 80-100% of BigLaw hours and making 50-70% of the money? This is actually pretty soul crushing -- counting up your hours, realizing you've clocked in 2200 and made $135,000 and people in BigLaw made $210,00 for doing the same amount of work.

In my market the pay difference is not that great. Also, partnership prospects are slightly higher at the midlaw than biglaw firms which is something to throw into the balance.
Besides, this is ITE we are talking about, even 80K even after debt is a comfortable living in a city that is not-ultra expensive.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:01 pm

clintonius wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:Thanks for the link. Thinking of "of counsel" like and permanent old associate, does that mean one is paid like a first year associate, mid-level, or 8th year just-before-partner associate?

I think compensation is often individualized, though assuming you're of counsel because you're in that nebulous area between associate and partner, your pay is likely somewhat above senior associate level. At least at some firms, it is possible (but very rare) to be promoted to partner after some time as of counsel.

What's the difference between Counsel and Of Counsel?
saw it here: http://www.paulweiss.com

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HugerThanSoup
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby HugerThanSoup » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:16 pm

HarlandBassett wrote:
clintonius wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:Thanks for the link. Thinking of "of counsel" like and permanent old associate, does that mean one is paid like a first year associate, mid-level, or 8th year just-before-partner associate?

I think compensation is often individualized, though assuming you're of counsel because you're in that nebulous area between associate and partner, your pay is likely somewhat above senior associate level. At least at some firms, it is possible (but very rare) to be promoted to partner after some time as of counsel.

What's the difference between Counsel and Of Counsel?
saw it here: http://www.paulweiss.com


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that the "of counsel" designation at Paul Weiss is reserved for "retired" partners. This seems to be a common industry designation for older attorneys who want to remain affiliated with the firm without putting in the hours as a partner.

The "counsel" designation is less clear and might be, as one of the previous posters suggested, a place-holder title. Many of the counsel appear to be mid-90s to early 2000's law school graduates. Either they are waiting for partner promotion (unlikely) or they are filling a niche (e.g. environmental matters, Article 9 transactions, etc...). This also seems to be a common designation for associates who don't make partner, yet are valuable to the firm and want to remain there.

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thesealocust
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:17 pm

Veyron wrote:Also, partnership prospects are slightly higher at the midlaw than biglaw firms which is something to throw into the balance.


This is only true if you look at one firm at a time. Associates from firms with the worst partnership odds routinely lateral to other firms and make partner.

Taking 100 people starting at V5 type (not necessarily the NYC V5, but top of the food chain firms in major markets) and 100 people starting at regional midlaw, all 100 of which wish to practice for decades in a firm environment, and I'd bet you all the money I will ever earn that the former group has overwhelmingly better success at becoming partner, even if relatively few do so at the firm they begin with.

deathviaboredom
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby deathviaboredom » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:31 pm

E.
Last edited by deathviaboredom on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thesealocust
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:33 pm

deathviaboredom wrote:At what age are people made partner, usually?


Usually something like 7 years (give or take) after beginning at the firm.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:58 pm

thesealocust wrote:
deathviaboredom wrote:At what age are people made partner, usually?


Usually something like 7 years (give or take) after beginning at the firm.

9th year associates..
http://www.legalunderground.com/2005/02 ... ries_.html

lawschoolman1
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby lawschoolman1 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:18 pm

If a partner at a firm is a true "rainmaker" does that mean he/she spends less time on actual paperwork than other partners? I guess what I'm getting at is if the primary function of the lawyer at that stage basically is traveling from meeting to meeting to acquire clients?

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thesealocust
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:35 pm

lawschoolman1 wrote:If a partner at a firm is a true "rainmaker" does that mean he/she spends less time on actual paperwork than other partners? I guess what I'm getting at is if the primary function of the lawyer at that stage basically is traveling from meeting to meeting to acquire clients?


Yes.

I've heard many senior lawyers comment (or complain) that they spend more time managing / dealing with clients than they do lawyering. Obviously it varies a lot based on practice and firm structure, but it's a real possibility.

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A'nold
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby A'nold » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:41 pm

How the freak do you rainmake?

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IzziesGal
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby IzziesGal » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:45 pm

HugerThanSoup wrote:
HarlandBassett wrote:
clintonius wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:Thanks for the link. Thinking of "of counsel" like and permanent old associate, does that mean one is paid like a first year associate, mid-level, or 8th year just-before-partner associate?

I think compensation is often individualized, though assuming you're of counsel because you're in that nebulous area between associate and partner, your pay is likely somewhat above senior associate level. At least at some firms, it is possible (but very rare) to be promoted to partner after some time as of counsel.

What's the difference between Counsel and Of Counsel?
saw it here: http://www.paulweiss.com


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that the "of counsel" designation at Paul Weiss is reserved for "retired" partners. This seems to be a common industry designation for older attorneys who want to remain affiliated with the firm without putting in the hours as a partner.

The "counsel" designation is less clear and might be, as one of the previous posters suggested, a place-holder title. Many of the counsel appear to be mid-90s to early 2000's law school graduates. Either they are waiting for partner promotion (unlikely) or they are filling a niche (e.g. environmental matters, Article 9 transactions, etc...). This also seems to be a common designation for associates who don't make partner, yet are valuable to the firm and want to remain there.


This is not true at all. I worked in the V15 for two years before law school on the business side, and "of counsel" was the firm's consolation prize for not making partner. Whenever someone was promoted to "of counsel," everyone knew what it meant - they would either stay as "of counsel" forever, or leave and hopefully get promoted to partner at another firm. This was industry standard, at least in 2007-2009 in NY among the top firms. It's typically a kiss of death if you have partner track dreams. You're too good to remain an associate for 8 years, but not good enough to make millions as a partner.
Last edited by IzziesGal on Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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drylo
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby drylo » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:15 pm

Veyron wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Generally, there are three kinds of partners: finders, grinders, and minders.

Finders are the rainmakers; grinders are the ones that gain the expertise to get the work done at a high level; minders are the ones that are able to successfully navigate the political minefield of the firm and herd cats to get the business of the firm done.

Most partners can check more than one box, at least to some degree.

Whether you make partner is a combination of skill, work ethic, political savvy, and luck. You can work yourself to the bone and still not be considered partner material. You can have great skills, work ethic and political savvy, but have chosen a specialty where the partners with clout leave right before you come up for partnership, or have the economy tank on you when you are up, etc.

Of counsel means different things at different firms. You can't make universal statements about it. Sometimes it is given to people brought on for prestige (people very well known in the field that need a place to hang their hat on the rare occasion that they want to practice). Sometimes it is a stepping stone to partnership for laterals. Sometimes it is a title given to people who have "aged out" of associate, but can't be made partner yet. In this category it can be either a dead-end position or a holding place.

Veyron wrote:Don't know about other markets but around here a fair number of midlaw firms pay is 80-115 + small bonus for slightly fewer hours than biglaw. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.


Really? You would be happy working 80-100% of BigLaw hours and making 50-70% of the money? This is actually pretty soul crushing -- counting up your hours, realizing you've clocked in 2200 and made $135,000 and people in BigLaw made $210,00 for doing the same amount of work.

In my market the pay difference is not that great. Also, partnership prospects are slightly higher at the midlaw than biglaw firms which is something to throw into the balance.
Besides, this is ITE we are talking about, even 80K even after debt is a comfortable living in a city that is not-ultra expensive.


The hours depend on the firm, but there are plenty of firms that require a lot fewer hours than NYC biglaw firms (or other firms that pay $160k). If you are looking at billing 1800 hours and making $110k vs. billing 2400 hours and making $160k, the ratio of hours/pay is not that far apart. Plus, if you consider cost of living differences in a lot of smaller markets, that smaller firm could start to look a lot better.

[Caveat: of course, this all depends on what people mean when they refer to "midlaw" and "biglaw"... but to me, the point is well-taken that a smaller firm in a secondary market that pays $100k+ and (actually) expects 1800-1900 hours is an attractive option.]

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HugerThanSoup
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby HugerThanSoup » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:53 pm

IzziesGal wrote:This is not true at all. I worked in the V15 for two years before law school on the business side, and "of counsel" was the firm's consolation prize for not making partner. Whenever someone was promoted to "of counsel," everyone knew what it meant - they would either stay as "of counsel" forever, or leave and hopefully get promoted to partner at another firm. This was industry standard, at least in 2007-2009 in NY among the top firms. It's typically a kiss of death if you have partner track dreams. You're too good to remain an associate for 8 years, but not good enough to make millions as a partner.


Your limited experience at a V15 is not indicative of what is considered "common."

1. Wachtell: 18 "of counsel" (almost all former partners)
2. Cravath: 1 "of counsel"; 2 "special counsel"; 9 "senior counsel" (all former partners)
3. Skadden: 37 "of counsel" (several are former partners, some are not, for some it's unclear)
4. Sul Crom: 23 "of counsel" (most, if not all, of whom are former partners)
5. Davis Polk: 0 "of counsel"; 1 "general counsel" (former partner); 39 "senior counsel" (no info re: former partnership)

You can go through the rest of the "V15" if you want, the results will be similar. As other posters made clear, every firm is different and the term "of counsel" (or at some firms "special counsel") is often but certainly not always used to refer to former partners who advise and handle matters on behalf of the firm.


tl;dr version:

Check you ABA definition of "of counsel":

ABA Formal Op. 90-357 wrote:(1) the "part-time practitioner, who practices law in association with a firm, but on basis different from that of the mainstream lawyers in the firm"; (2) a retired partner of the firm who is available for consultation; (3) a lawyer, usually a lateral hire, brought into the firm with the expectation that the lawyer will shortly become a partner; and (4) a lawyer who occupies a permanent senior position in the firm with no expectation of becoming a partner.


Is it the only definition? No. Is it "common"? Yes.

lawschoolman1
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby lawschoolman1 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:00 am

thesealocust wrote:
lawschoolman1 wrote:If a partner at a firm is a true "rainmaker" does that mean he/she spends less time on actual paperwork than other partners? I guess what I'm getting at is if the primary function of the lawyer at that stage basically is traveling from meeting to meeting to acquire clients?


Yes.

I've heard many senior lawyers comment (or complain) that they spend more time managing / dealing with clients than they do lawyering. Obviously it varies a lot based on practice and firm structure, but it's a real possibility.




This actually appeals to me. I'm actually more interested in making the deal happen.

Anomaly
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby Anomaly » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:19 am

lawschoolman1 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
lawschoolman1 wrote:If a partner at a firm is a true "rainmaker" does that mean he/she spends less time on actual paperwork than other partners? I guess what I'm getting at is if the primary function of the lawyer at that stage basically is traveling from meeting to meeting to acquire clients?


Yes.

I've heard many senior lawyers comment (or complain) that they spend more time managing / dealing with clients than they do lawyering. Obviously it varies a lot based on practice and firm structure, but it's a real possibility.




This actually appeals to me. I'm actually more interested in making the deal happen.


Be an investment banker.

NewJersey1
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby NewJersey1 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:35 am

Surprisingly, I agree with Veyron on this one. Most true "biglaw" lawyers are out within five years, and in many cases the exit isn't pretty. Some land awesome jobs in private equity firms, banks, or boutique firms. But a lot wind up out of work for a long time before moving onto another big firm as "damaged goods," and/or end up taking really strange jobs in government or with nonprofits. Not cool nonprofits or cool government jobs, but like ineffectual sort of bland crap that pays $75k for a long long time. As nice as the $160k and Davis Polk stamp looks from law school, for many it is the top of their earning power and it's all downhill afterward.

Smaller firms paying like $100-120k that take on fewer associates seem to provide more upward mobility. If you find a good one that has a real culture of promoting from within you have a good chance of winding up making about $500-600k as a partner. While its not the $1.5 mil you have a 1/15 chance of getting if you make it to partner at a bigger firm it's still a really nice income and much more than most ejected associates from hugelaw wind up making. I am actually hoping to find a firm like this after my hugelaw summer. I'd much rather make a bit less now but have a steady, awesome income later than make 160+ for three years and then struggle to figure out what to do after ejection.

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reasonable_man
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:38 am

I like this thread... Usually 10% of a TLS thread will be composed of posts made by people that can articulately discuss the topic at hand with some level experience to call upon. This thread may actually be hovering below 1%.

lawschoolman1
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby lawschoolman1 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:46 am

Anomaly wrote:
lawschoolman1 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
lawschoolman1 wrote:If a partner at a firm is a true "rainmaker" does that mean he/she spends less time on actual paperwork than other partners? I guess what I'm getting at is if the primary function of the lawyer at that stage basically is traveling from meeting to meeting to acquire clients?


Yes.

I've heard many senior lawyers comment (or complain) that they spend more time managing / dealing with clients than they do lawyering. Obviously it varies a lot based on practice and firm structure, but it's a real possibility.




This actually appeals to me. I'm actually more interested in making the deal happen.


Be an investment banker.



I have been hearing from more and more JD's they moved into IB and Private Equity after starting at a law firm and building connections.

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ResolutePear
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby ResolutePear » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:52 am

reasonable_man wrote:I like this thread... Usually 10% of a TLS thread will be composed of posts made by people that can articulately discuss the topic at hand with some level experience to call upon. This thread may actually be hovering below 1%.

That's because everybody on TLS knows the answer to making partner:

Suck and munch on lots of crotch. Preferably equal to 10% of your billable hours. Think of it like.. vacation.

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A'nold
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby A'nold » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:17 am

reasonable_man wrote:I like this thread... Usually 10% of a TLS thread will be composed of posts made by people that can articulately discuss the topic at hand with some level experience to call upon. This thread may actually be hovering below 1%.

:lol: Awesome. Perfectly played too, considering you set it up so well that I had to read the 1% punch line twice to make sure I read it right. 8)

NewJersey1
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby NewJersey1 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:38 am

A'nold wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:I like this thread... Usually 10% of a TLS thread will be composed of posts made by people that can articulately discuss the topic at hand with some level experience to call upon. This thread may actually be hovering below 1%.

:lol: Awesome. Perfectly played too, considering you set it up so well that I had to read the 1% punch line twice to make sure I read it right. 8)


You are a loser.

Danteshek
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Re: How to make partner?

Postby Danteshek » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:41 am

A&O wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:How does "of counsel" function at Skadden? I'm pretty clueless as to how "of counsel" functions at all, really. I've heard so many different version that I'm not sure what to believe. Anybody feel like they have a strong sense of what "of counsel" entails generally?


Again, it varies significantly from firm to firm. At some firms, it functions like an "emeritus" title does for a professor at a university, or is sometimes conferred to partners who have significant responsibilities outside the firm.

Regarding Skadden:

The special counsel position was reportedly offered to lawyers who were as capable as partners and, in view of their legal achievements, proved the worth of the new title. But most special counsels were viewed by associates as figures marked by an asterisk–different, if not second-class, and kept primarily because the firm needed an experience lawyer to fill a technical role that no partner did. Matt Rosen (a partner): "A client called up and asked whether he could take a security interest in somebody's tax-refund claim. I made some phone calls and found there was a woman here"–a special counsel–"who knows everything there is to know about this."


Would post more, but don't want to get in trouble. This was taken from, "Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire: Skadden."

Edit: Turns out you can read the relevant passage by searching for the page on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Skadden-Power-Mon ... 425&sr=8-1

Just search for "special counsel" and read the pages.


What is "special" about being "special counsel"? Come on. Just tell us what you know...




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