Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Industry Practices

via Unsplash

I've had a lot going on at the office recently, making it a bit difficult to find time to blog! I've also been finding this summer rather languid and listless-feeling, I've been wanting to laze around every weekend instead of writing or going out and about. I haven't even really been reading that much either, just watching a lot of TV shows or Youtube clips. (For the latter category, I've recently been obsessed with the delightful "Gourmet Makes" series from Bon Appetit. Claire is the best!) Between all that and my recent bout of writer's block, I don't think I'll be posting here too often in the next few weeks, unfortunately. Hopefully I get inspired to write more soon! 

There's recently been a bit of industry gossip, thanks to yet another employment discrimination lawsuit against Jones Day, a biglaw firm well-known for a somewhat... atypical... approach to associate compensation, which had also been a central feature in another high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit. The full complaint for this newer case can be read here, brought pro se (without the formally assistance of another attorney) by two former Supreme Court clerks, who are also a married couple, and who both previously worked at Jones Day, with some overlap in their respective tenures at the firm. The firm has made a possibly unwise public statement in response to this newer lawsuit. 

This particular firm is perhaps becoming a bit well-known for arguably heavy-handed responses to employment  discrimination litigation brought against them. Their full answer to the complaint in the other, larger-scale case can be found here, and it's... a lot. The firm is representing itself in that case, rather than hiring outside counsel. I suspect that means they'll do the same in this newer case as well. 

One of the primarily allegations in this new case is that Jones Day's parental leave policy, which sets different caps on the maximum amount of paid leave available based on whether the associate is the mother or father to a newborn, discriminates on the basis of sex. Mothers allegedly get a maximum of 18 weeks, while fathers allegedly get a maximum of 10 weeks.

In practice, most biglaw parental leave policies for attorneys have the same practical implications as this alleged Jones Day policy, though they're often framed in more gender-neutral language. A longer period, often in the zone of 14 to 18 weeks, is available to new "primary caregiver" parents, while a shorter period, as little as four weeks - the number at my previous biglaw firm - is available to "non-primary caregiver" parents. As an aside, regardless of the amount of leave available, it's also not uncommon for both primary and non-primary caregiver parents to take less than the maximum time allotted, for fear that it'd harm their future prospects at the firm. During my time in biglaw, one of my "non-primary caregiver" colleagues ended up taking four days. There are a lot of distressing facts about how parental leave is treated at biglaw firms.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Reselling with TheRealReal

The four items I dropped off at TheRealReal, three of which they accepted. 

As I mentioned in early June, after letting certain more pricey unwanted items in my closet (which I knew that neither my sister nor any of my close friends would like) collect dust for years, I finally decided to try reselling them in the only sufficiently low-effort way that would suit me: I took them to one of TheRealReal's brick and mortar shops here in NYC and dropped them off for consignment in the last week of May. Now that all the items they accepted from me - three of the four things I brought in - have been sold, I am writing about my experience reselling with TheRealReal. 

Overall, I was very satisfied with my TheRealReal consignment experience. My only real goal was to resell these items after having spent as little of my time or effort as possible to accomplish that goal. I didn't have a specific price in mind for anything I sent in. The most important thing to me was that each of the items would find a buyer, and if I only got paid a nominal amount, that was fine by me. Hopefully, the buyers of each of my things will get far more use out of them than I did. Like I did with one of my items, these buyers may even someday send the items back to TheRealReal for another round of resale when they're done with them.

Some of my items were extremely old - I purchased two of them, the Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Bag and the Ferragamo Varas, nearly a decade ago - and I didn't think there was much of a market for anything I gave to TheRealReal. I had no interest in continually listing or re-listing the items myself on places like eBay or Poshmark until I found a buyer. (I was actually shocked that my items sold out so fast, within a month or two of being posted for sale!) Plus, I find the chore of shipping things out far more annoying and tedious than most people would, so that was something I preferred to avoid, which left me with basically no other practical option besides dropping off these items for consignment in person. 

In terms of whether my experience is a representative one, keep in mind that the items I sent in are probably some of the most modestly priced ones in TheRealReal's entire product catalog. Just from my limited experience, I could see that they take longer to scrutinize and process some categories of items than others. And as you'll see, the pricing of your items by TheRealReal will affect the commission rate. Among other bloggers I read, Elaine (part one, part two) and Kathy have also posted in some detail about their experiences selling with TheRealReal. Both of them seem to have more experience than I do with sending in items from a wider range of categories, so their posts might be more helpful than mine, if you're thinking of consigning something.

Please follow the link below to read a step-by-step account of my TheRealReal reselling experience! 

Monday, July 29, 2019

July 2019 Shopping Reflections

This last part of the month has been, to say the least, an adventure. In multiple matters I'm working on, we've recently won some favorable rulings. Except that, with all the trouble caused by other implications of the court's other rulings this week, including on some smaller issues we lost on, it really doesn't feel like we're winning. This was not a phenomenon I would have understood at earlier stages of my career, but now I know. Let's just say that litigation is a field with lots of surprises, which generally come around with little warning. I work with great people, and we, as a team, manage the surprises fairly well, with as little fuss as possible, but it's still challenging. We certainly can't control the actions of the court or opposing counsel! 

All the work-related stress has the side effect of amplifying those desires to shop I mentioned last month. As you'll see, this hasn't resulted in many actual purchases in July. But I think August and/or September will end up being far more eventful on the shopping front. Fair warning, I've been feeling a particularly strong impulse to treat myself to something nice after the time I've been having with work recently, enough that I think it's safe to assume I'll be indulging that impulse sometime soon. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

As for what I expect to indulge in, that's still a bit of an open question. I have a fondness for the idea of printed silk scarves, as seen in a few images on my personal style inspiration Pinterest boards, so I've been thinking about getting a secondhand Hermes silk scarf, probably from TheRealReal. They generally have a fairly wide selection of the 90 cm x 90 cm silk scarves. I also keep looking at more Alighieri necklaces, although it takes me a long time to decide on which designs I think are prettiest or will suit me best. I keep changing my mind! At the moment, it's either something with a longer chain length, like the Initial Spark or the Odyssey (some retailers may have a version of it with a shorter chain), or maybe the Fractured Cloud because I find the shape of the pendant particularly intriguing. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $16.00)
  • Falke Invisible Liner Socks, black - $16.00 - I still don't have a go-to brand or design for liner socks designed to be worn with shoes like ballet flats. Previously, I've mostly been buying ones from Hue with silicone grips at the ankle, but they're only so-so at best. They slip off my ankle semi-frequently with many shoes, aren't "no-show" enough for some shoes, and also aren't very durable. I've been wanting to try different kinds to see if I can find something better, so I got a pair of these more expensive Falke ones to try, because I know from experience that Falke tights are pretty good. Sadly, these liner socks aren't great for me either. They're not no-show enough for the only pair of ballet flats I currently own, the Cole Haan Tali flats. The elasticized cuff with no silicone grip also did not stay on my ankle well at all when I tried them on for a day with my Sam Edelman loafers. Thus, they're less functional than the Hue ones for me. Alas, it's back to the drawing board for me when it comes to my search for a good pair of no-show liner socks. 

Does anyone have recommendations for a particularly good brand of no-show liner socks? Then again, maybe it's a category of item I don't actually need. With how my feet are now, I'm not likely to wear that many more ballet flats in the future, given that they all tend to be too uncomfortable for all-day wear for me these days. The shoes I am more likely to wear in the future, such as loafers or slip-on sneakers, are all much higher-coverage than ballet flats, so I could just stick to wearing more high-coverage socks. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Equifax Class Action Settlement

via Unsplash

Nearly two years ago, news broke about a massive data breach at Equifax, one of the major credit reporting bureaus here in the US. The scale of the breach was massive, affecting more than 140 million people. Given the number of people affected (I've occasionally seen reports that the figure represents 44% of the US population), the odds aren't great that one's information wasn't included in the breach. Equifax later reported to the SEC with firmer details about the total numbers of individuals that had certain categories of information stolen. Let's just say that one might not be left in good cheer after seeing the Social Security Number category!

Fast forward to a few days ago, and a settlement has now been preliminarily approved by the court in the class action arising from the Equifax data breach.

Before we go any further, an important disclaimer: Please note that nothing in this post constitutes legal advice and this post does not create an attorney-client relationship. While I am an attorney, I am not your attorney. This post is intended for general informational purposes and entertainment only. All opinions are my own and not those of my employer. 

Back then, I hemmed and hawed for quite some time about whether to freeze my credit or take any steps beyond the CreditKarma membership I already had (which, in my experience, gave me reliable notifications any time a new account popped up on my credit report). I ultimately decided against taking additional action. To be frank, I thought that freezing my credit sounded like too much of a hassle, given that I had some interest in future credit card signup bonus accumulating activities. I never even used that website Equifax made available for checking if one was affected by the data breach! (Back then, I remember some journalists were reporting that said website sometimes gave conflicting answers when they tested the same person's information multiple times.) Gradually, I forgot about the news story. 

The court has now given preliminary approval to a class action settlement arising from the Equifax data breach. A copy of the court's order can be reviewed here, along with certain other key documents from throughout the history of this case.

I imagine that people are leery about going to and trusting what could appear to be a random website when it comes to something like this, so I first looked to the Federal Trade Commission's ("FTC") announcement of the settlement to point me to the settlement administrator's website. On that website, there's a place to check whether one's personal information was affected by the breach, i.e. as the website calls it, to "check your eligibility" and whether "you are a settlement member". Using that feature requires typing in one's surname and the last six digits of one's Social Security Number (which might reasonably have caused me some suspicion if I had not first been directed there by the FTC's website).