Boot Camp Basics

Before starting work at Andrews Kurth on Oct. 1, the firm’s nine incoming first-year associates will participate in a boot camp. It won’t involve sprints on a track and pushups at a park. Instead, the associates will spend three weeks in a business-education boot camp in Houston run by The Fullbridge Program of Cambridge, Mass. “Everybody finished their education with different degrees of business background. To help level that playing field, this is one quick opportunity . . .,” says Bob Jewell, the firm’s managing partner. “We want our people to understand the clients’ business.” Jewell says the boot camp, which will run Sept. 4 through Sept. 24, will help the new lawyers understand business and learn skills such as financial analysis. The firm is requiring all first-years to participate before they actually start work to avoid any conflicting demands on their time from clients or senior lawyers, he says. Marty DeBusk, Andrews Kurth’s partner in charge of professional development, says the boot camp is similar to a master’s in business administration program and the graduation ceremony calls for presentations by the new lawyers. “Part of the skills are public speaking, teamwork and putting together a presentation, if you will,” she says. According to Andrews Kurth, the firm is the first in Texas to use The Fullbridge Program for its new associates.

Picture Pages

Houston lawyer Benny Agosto Jr. says his 10-year-old daughter Victoria has wanted to write a book for a while, so they co-authored a children’s book about how lawyers can help fight injustice. A 9-year-old girl named Victoria is the main character of the colorfully illustrated picture book called “Victoria Goes to Court.” “It’s a Law Day kind of book,” says Agosto, a partner in Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston who recently finished a term as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. In the book, Victoria, a fourth-grader who loves soccer and has three older brothers — like Victoria Agosto — learns about the concept of injustice in history class. In the book, Victoria’s teacher tells her that she can become a lawyer to fight injustice in court, and Victoria learns at a Law Day assembly at school that “lawyers help people solve problems and fight injustice when something bad or illegal happens to them.” Victoria also learns in the book that lawyers can become teachers, legislators, trial lawyers, judges or president. The final page of the book tells readers to follow their dreams. Agosto, a trial lawyer, says he read the book, which he and his daughter published earlier this year, to attendees at a Law Day celebration in May. The self-published book is available from Agosto for a donation to the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas.

NFL Players and Firms Settle

Former NFL players are settling a malpractice action against class counsel at McKool Smith and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, according to court papers filed Aug. 30. In 2008, lawyers from McKool Smith helped Manatt represent the players in a $28 million settlement with the NFL Players Association over licensing and marketing revenue. The players later sued both firms in federal court in San Francisco, claiming that they blew their chance to win greater damages. U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the suit in December 2010 and said the players should have objected before the case was settled. The players appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on April 18. In June, the players reached an agreement with McKool Smith, but not Manatt, and asked the 9th Circuit to send their appeal back to district court. The 9th Circuit said it couldn’t dismiss the appeal related to McKool, while keeping the part with Manatt that had not settled. On Aug. 30, plaintiffs attorneys at Blecher & Collins, McKool Smith’s attorneys at Munger, Tolles & Olson, and Manatt’s attorneys at Arnold & Porter filed a joint motion saying that all the parties had reached a settlement and asked the appeals court to send the case back to district court for approval. No details of the settlement provisions were provided. “All the parties are satisfied with the agreement that has been reached,” says Blecher & Collins associate Alyson Decker, who signed the motion. Attorneys at Munger Tolles and Arnold & Porter did not respond to requests for comment.

— Amy Miller
The Recorder