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On September 4, Bill Simmons wrote a column for Grantland regarding the National Football League, titled “The League That Never Sleeps.” Since then, the NFL has remained in the headlines on a daily basis, scarred by a near-constant stream of negative news concerning off-field incidents involving current players. Apart from the escalation of unseemly episodes we have seen recently, the NFL is also struggling with potentially existence-threatening legal issues relating to the harm suffered by players due to the inherent violence of the sport. At the same time, the NFL remains the biggest show (especially from a TV ratings standpoint) in town, and the league has never been more profitable.

Do I need to spell out the parallels with Biglaw? Record profitability, coupled with record instability. It is a wonder that we don’t see Biglaw behemoths sponsoring the halftime clash between two local Pee-Wee teams at NFL stadiums….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: What Lawyers Can Learn From The Blur Offense”

* The lawyers fighting against marriage equality say “[w]hether [they] win or lose in lower courts doesn’t matter that much,” because everything will be up to the Supreme Court at the end of the day — but so far, they mostly lose. [National Law Journal]

* On the other side of the coin, the lawyers fighting in favor of marriage equality are sounding more and more like used car salesmen, always bragging about the quality of their “vehicles” just to get their cases in front of the justices. [New York Times]

* In the meantime, Justice Kagan officiated her first same-sex wedding this weekend for one of her former clerks. Only the women of SCOTUS, sans Sotomayor, have performed such ceremonies. [Huffington Post]

* In a landmark decision, Arab Bank PLC was found liable for supporting Hamas in a civil terrorism-finance case. There will be a second trial to determine damages, but the bank plans to appeal. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Here’s advice for those of you considering reapplying to law school during a time of educational crisis: rewrite your app in crayon, you’ll probably get in. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

Many people who go to Harvard Law School are going to end up in a Biglaw job at some point. The debt is too high, the money is too good, and the path into Biglaw is too easy for most HLS grads to resist, at least for a time.

Everybody has their price, and everybody deals with the reality of selling out for their price in their own way. Most people promise themselves that it’s “only temporary,” as if there is going to be some magical point in their future where making as much money as possible will not be that important. Others drown the better angels of their nature in substances or consumerism. Some people actually love their Biglaw jobs, God bless ‘em. They work hard and are fairly compensated for their efforts.

But then there are the people who rationalize their choices as somehow contributing to the the greater social good. These are the people who tout their pro bono work, as if spending five hours looking at contracts for Habitat for Humanity negates the 70 hours they spent helping real estate moguls build luxury condos. These people aren’t concerned with “doing good” as much as they’re concerned with being judged by do-gooders. You’d think that they could use some of that money and stick it in their ears and say, “La la la, I can’t hear you over the drone of my eight-cylinder HEMI iSprocketdoodle, which you can’t even afford to Google.”

When backed into a moral corner, some people admit defeat and buy an expensive wine, other people fight back with ridiculously self-serving logic. And Harvard Law School excels at self-serving logic…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Harvard Law Students Tell Themselves When The Demons Come”

* New York court authorizes service over Facebook. Finally, a reason to use Google Plus. [Slate]

* Texas struck down the statute banning upskirt photos. The decision is more interesting than the sound-bite press it’s getting. [Popehat]

* Some PR advice may be privileged. Which is good because the law needs to incentivize companies trying to cover up possible legal liabilities. It might be more nuanced than that, but still. [Corporate Counsel]

* In the wake of the passing of Tommy Boggs, a profile on his power within Patton Boggs, including details of the final year leading up to its merger. [National Law Journal]

* A roundup of early reviews for David Lat’s forthcoming novel, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). [Supreme Ambitions]

* On choosing a criminal defense lawyer and why you might not want some reformed prosecutor. [Katz Justice]

* The Senate confirmed Gordon Tanner as general counsel to the Air Force. This is noteworthy because it reflects just how quickly the country has progressed from affirmative witch hunts, to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to confirming a gay man as the top lawyer for a branch of the Armed Forces. [Washington Blade]

* A 49er fan is suing the NFL for $50 million for a policy that limited ticket sales to customers in Seahawks territory. Based on the season so far, he luckily won’t have to worry about the 49ers in the playoffs this year. [ESPN]

* Speaking of football, South Park ran an ad limited to D.C. during the Washington-Eagles game. See Eric Cartman school Dan Snyder on trademark law, after the jump…. [SB Nation]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 09.22.14″

We mentioned this morning a National Law Journal report that law schools have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new buildings even while the market for legal education collapses around them.

I don’t really have much to add to that report, but I just kind of want everybody to internalize that information. Their business model is ON FIRE, yet they’re building new s**t. Emperor Nero had a better grasp on long-term planning than law school deans…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Schools Invest In Very Sturdy Deck Chairs”

That’s not the way we do business. We’re not Republicans or Democrats.

– Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law. The Chief Justice has made dispelling the impression of partisanship the cornerstone of his public relations efforts, pointing to a steady stream of 9-0 decisions. It’s a talking point that Dahlia Lithwick has termed faux-nanimity. Still, the Chief Justice soldiers on, hoping that no one looks into what Virginia Thomas is up to or where Justice Scalia goes hunting.

Being a lawyer is time consuming. First, you’ll have to subject yourself to spending three years in law school cramming knowledge into your brain. After you graduate, you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pass the bar exam and find a job. (If you’re incredibly lucky, you’ll have a job waiting for you at a Biglaw firm.) Last, but not least, once you’re working as an attorney, you’ll get to spend the vast majority of your waking hours at your desk.

Most practicing lawyers are lucky if they see sunlight, let alone have any semblance of what could be called a social life. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all of the tasks that need to be done. That’s why being a lawyer landed on the latest ranking of careers that could have disastrous effects on your social life.

How high did lawyer rank on the “No Life Careers” list? Keep reading to find out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Being A Lawyer Will Probably Ruin Your Social Life”

I am often asked what foreign companies doing business in China need to know to stay out of legal trouble. I usually respond as follows:

  • Are You Operating Legally?  Generally speaking, if you are doing business in China for more than a few weeks, you need to form a legal entity there (i.e., a Wholly Foreign Owned Entity (WFOE), a joint venture, or a representative office. Assuming, of course, that your business scope is permissible; some businesses that are perfectly legal in the United States or in Europe are proscribed in China.

There are five more things you need to know in order to stay out of legal trouble in China…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A China Business Law Checklist”

Elizabeth Wurtzel

Last year, we raised the possibility of Elizabeth Wurtzel, the prominent New York lawyer and writer, getting married. This was based on a Reddit appearance in which she stated, “I actually think I may yet get married — statistically 90% of people get married at some point. But I would say that love and craziness [have] overwhelmed my life, and I am trying to write about it….”

Well, it looks like Liz Wurtzel has tamed the craziness — to the point where yes, she’s able to tie the knot. How do we know this?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sorry, Gents, Elizabeth Wurtzel Is Off The Market”

Early last week, we broke the news that the Thomas Jefferson School of Law had missed a payment on its revenue bonds, triggering a default event under its current Loan Agreement. Luckily for the school, it was able to strike a deal with its bondholders to delay the unseemly business of ceasing its operations, at least until October 17, 2014. In the interim, TJSL is discussing “various potential structures and restructuring alternatives” with its bondholders, and is “confident” that it will be able to reach an accord in the near future.

When we last checked in with this overly optimistic law school, TJSL was hoping that it would be able to “continue to prosper” after settling up with its creditors. But how is the law school supposed to reach this happy fate when its credit rating with Standard & Poor’s keeps getting downgraded lower and lower?

Perhaps it’s time for Thomas Jefferson Law to remove its rose-colored glasses and embrace the fact that it shares the same financial woes as its own namesake. Will the school die in debt like our former president?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Little Prospect For Recovery’ For Troubled Law School Whose Credit Rating Took A Major Nosedive”

Appellate practices are great.

For lawyers who enjoy thinking and writing, but don’t have much taste for the hand-to-hand combat of discovery, appellate practices are pure joy. Appellate advocates bask in the intelligence and majesty of the law, without having to do daily battle with psychopaths.

For big firms, appellate practices are the crown jewels of the litigation side of the shop: “We’ve argued cases in the Supreme Court!” “We participated (either on the merits or as amici) in ten percent of the Supreme Court’s docket last year!” Shout it to the heavens! What’s the implicit message?

“We’re doing these cases for free!”

Oh, Herrmann, you’re such a cynic. Surely the implicit message is: “We’re God’s gift to advocacy!”

It’s a marketer’s dream.

But one leading appellate lawyer recently told me that the Great Recession has hurt his practice in ways you wouldn’t expect. And I’m here to tell you that, although appellate practices done right can help a firm, appellate practices done wrong are dangerous things . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Appellate Practices: Big, Small, And Dangerous”

It’s like this except with no smiling and everyone secretly resenting each other.

We’re just deep enough into the school year for law students to feel out their fellows and pop the question about forming a study group. And most law students will join some study group reflexively because it’s “just what you do.” But study groups aren’t so much about responsible preparation as much as an excuse to summon a perverse Voltron of collective neuroses. You’re probably going to end up with the same grade you’d have gotten if you studied on your own, but now you have a handful of other, possibly otherwise reasonable wrecks bombarding you with all the fears and insecurities you weren’t even thinking about.

The Paper Chase provided the gold standard of awful study groups. Backstabbing, withholding study aids, and a weird fascination with the word “pimp.”

At least until now….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Worst Study Group Ever”

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