October 2014

Okay, so you already knew that. Last year, in a widely read, front-page story for the Wall Street Journal, Amir Efrati reported on the non-Biglaw blues: the challenging job market and not-so-hot financial prospects faced by many law school graduates (many of whom are saddled with heavy debt).
A month later, the Des Moines Register basically rewrote Efrati’s story. But Efrati couldn’t have been that offended, since his article was thematically similar to this piece by Leigh Jones, which appeared in the National Law Journal a few months earlier.
Preemption is a bitch. In this media-saturated age, it’s difficult to be truly original.
Nevertheless, even if these articles all sort of sound alike, they generate buzz and traffic — which may explain why they keep getting written, over and over again. The latest is a rather lengthy cover story from the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday magazine, by Greg Burns.
From one of the many tipsters who emailed us about it: “Nothing earth shattering revealed, but this article discusses the ‘haves and have nots’ of the legal profession.” Another reader noted:

I assume you’ve seen the Chicago Trib article on low lawyer salaries, for those not in BigLaw. Not that this discrepancy is a shocker to you, but your fans seem to enjoy lording their big, uh, paychecks over their less fortunate brethren, while taking perverse pleasure in working 20-hour days for the free dinner and ride home. As such, this seems like a perfect comment clusterf**k topic.

A third quipped: “Not sure if news, but enjoy!” We concur. Even if the piece’s thesis is nothing new, at least it’s well-reported, chock full of interesting anecdotes and data.
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “News Flash: Not Every Lawyer Is on the $160K Pay Scale”

Latham Coolest.jpgOver 2000 votes are in. It’s you, Latham & Watkins! Latham’s the “coolest,” baby! By a .6% margin.
One of our readers from Cleary an unnamed firm expressed disappointment in the poll’s closing at midnight PST instead of EST. ATL believes in time zone equity and refused to exercise a New York East Coast bias.
The caveat on this ATL tournament is that Latham is the “coolest” law firm in the Vault’s top sixteen, due to our arbitrary tournament selection for the Sweet Sixteen. There was some complaining about the tournament in the comments section, but we think you guiltily and secretly loved it. At least, 2000 of you did. Should the ATL tournament start with 64 firms next time?
Maybe Latham will use the 2008 ATL title of “coolest” firm in their recruiting next year. We sure hope so.
The voting map surprised us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March April Madness: And the winner is…”

Most of the time, our ATL / Lateral Link surveys have been about market conditions like clerkship bonuses and maternity leave policies.
But today, let’s just talk about you. How’s your morale?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

D_Vitter.jpgFormer Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:

A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.

It seems like an exaggeration to describe hitting a No Parking sign as a “hit and run.” Thank goodness for broadcast news, which captured the accident on video. It’s a surprisingly violent collision. Vitter gets points though for driving what looks to be a fairly eco-friendly car!
‘Shock and Awe’ in D.C. Madam Case [Legal Times]
Vitter driver wrecks into sign after Gonzales forum [Gonzales Weekly Citizen via Politico]
Vitter’s driver knocks down stop sign following press conference [4WWL]

Fred_Biery.jpgThose Texans love the word of God. In 2005, they went to SCOTUS to defend a monument to the 10 Commandments that stands on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Hailing from San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery is invoking the higher power in his judgment against a religious school’s right to join a Texan school membership league.

In a ruling Tuesday denying Cornerstone Christian Schools’ attempt to join the state’s premier extracurricular organization, a federal judge chided the school’s founder and famed preacher John Hagee for contradicting at times his own Christian tenets, using numerous references to the Bible, Koran and even a famous fairy tale.

Who needs precedent and constitutional law when there’s so much wisdom to be found in Grimm tales and Disney movies? Let’s look at the opinion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Fred Biery”

* I hear wedding bells… no wait, that’s the buzzer for yard time. [CBS Local]
* Rob Lowe and wife sue former nanny for defamation. [CNN]
* Kids: Obama now cool. [New York Times]
* Meet the superelite. [Newsweek]

stop sign Above the Law blog.jpgU can’t touch this. Website. At least for a little while.
We have a little surprise in store for you, loyal readers of Above the Law. We hope you like it.
But the surprise will require us to turn off comments on ATL for a bit, probably a few hours. So if you want to comment on something and are prevented from doing so, now you know why.
Anyway, surely you have better things to do with your evening than to sit in front of your computer, kvetching about the MPRE or speculating about SCOTUS nominees. We hope.
So go out and enjoy yourselves. We’ll see you tomorrow.
U Can’t Touch This [Wikipedia]

MPRE Model Professional Responsibility Exam Above the Law blog.jpgOpen threads about the MPRE are a fine tradition here at ATL. See here and here.
Even if the test isn’t particularly difficult or interesting, people love to talk about it. We’ve already received a slew of “MPRE results are out!” emails, and the news has also surfaced in the comments to other posts.
So to everyone who passed the MPRE, congratulations. To everyone who didn’t pass the MPRE, you can bemoan your fate, in the comments.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) [National Conference of Bar Examiners]

Supreme Court 2 SCOTUS Above the Law Blog.jpgThe subject of likely future nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court has been written about extensively before. Last year, over at SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein came up with short lists of Democratic nominees and Republican nominees.
Now that we’re a little closer to the election, with a presumptive Republican nominee and two possible Democratic nominees, additional speculation is in order. It’s what Kim Eisler provides in the latest issue of Washingtonian. He writes:

The most intriguing McCain preference, given his Vietnam War background, would be Viet Dinh, a Harvard Law–educated former Justice Department official who was a key figure behind the USA Patriot Act. Dinh fled Vietnam for the United States in 1978, and his story of escape and survival—12 days in a boat with no food or water—almost rivals McCain’s in drama and courage. Sources say McCain is drawn to the escape narrative as much as to Dinh’s conservative ideology. Solicitor General Paul Clement would also be at the top of any short list.

And what about for the Democrats?

For a new Democratic president, former solicitor general Seth Waxman is considered the next justice in waiting. He is a busy partner at Washington’s WilmerHale. But a President Barack Obama might appoint Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to the high court.

To replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the almost-certain top choice for a Democrat would be 47-year-old Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, a former lawyer at Williams & Connolly, who once clerked for Obama legal hero Thurgood Marshall.

These are just excerpts; read the complete piece over here. Feel free to provide your own predictions and preferences, in the comments.
Election May Cause Big Shift in Court Decisions [Washingtonian]

cleary.jpg VERSUS Latham & Watkins.jpg
We had over 4900 votes in the “ATL Law Firm Final Four” this weekend. Latham & Watkins and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton emerged as the winners and will now go head to head to determine which is the “coolest” law firm. During commercial breaks in the NCAA basketball final tonight between the University of Memphis and the University of Kansas, come to ATL and vote. Or just vote throughout the day and bill it to “firm development.”
We’ve given Latham a Memphis player’s image. If Memphis wins tonight, it will be the first national champion from outside a major conference since 1990. Since Latham was the only non-New York law firm to make the final four, we think they would sympathize. Cleary got a Kansas player’s image… because they both start with a hard “c” sound. Sports analysis is not our forte at ATL.
The polls close at midnight. Cast your vote here:

Die-hard fans can learn more about the Final Four results, and see the updated brackets, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March April Madness for Law Firms, Final Round: Cleary vs. Latham”

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