August 2014

Captain Canuck.JPG* Just for Captain Canuck, we acknowledge that the differences between Canadian law and American law are about more than what you can legally do with a moose. [Legal Lad]
* The movement to ban anonymous commenters failed to gain another follower, but anonymous insults are still pretty wussy. [Simple Justice]
* The fair use doctrine is dissected in this podcast. [Intellectual Property Colloquium]
* Some dude hung out a shingle — on Craigslist — and now he’s making all the unemployed attorneys who are sitting around drinking until the economy turns around look bad. In middle school, this kid would have a hard time finding someone to sit with at lunchtime. [ABA Journal]
* Harry Markopolos — the Madoff Ponzi scheme investigator — fulfilled a mother’s worst nightmare about clean underwear. [Going Concern]
* A Blawg Review from a land down-under. You better run, you better take cover.
[Duncan Bucknell Company via Blawg Review]

DLA Piper logo.jpgDLA Piper, one of the biggest law firms in the country (and the world), has added its voice to the changing nature of Biglaw summer programs.
In a letter sent to law school deans and career service officers (and obtained by Above the Law), DLA Piper announced it was deferring its current summers and delaying recruiting for new summers.
For current summers, the program is similar to the one Weil Gotshal announced earlier this month. The earliest 2009 summer associates will be able to start is January 2011, and they will be encouraged to take a deferral and not start until January 2012. Here’s how the DLA memo puts it:

One result of these deferrals is that our current summer associates would start at the firm at approximately the same time as the Fellowship participants from our class of 2009, creating another potential class that may exceed demand. While we proactively reduced the size of our summer class for 2009 to half the size of the Summer 2008 class, the start date changes require that we adjust the start dates for this class as well. We have therefore made the decision to make offers to this Summer’s class in generally the same manner as the last class. We will make offers to our summer associates of 2009 soon after the program ends, and the offers will be for a January 2011 start date. We expect that some portion of the class will be encouraged to participate in a Fellowship program during 2011, further deferring the expected start date to January 2012 for some. We plan to keep these offers open until the NALP deadline of November 15.

That is bad news for summers that are currently at DLA, but it also means that summers who want to go to DLA will have to wait their turn.
More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “DLA Piper: Pushes Back Current Summers Like Weil, Delays 2010 Summer Recruiting Like Orrick”

Pot and Polos

polo ralph lauren pot bust.jpgHere’s a story that might interest the “legalize cannabis” crowd. From our friends at Fashionista:

This is turning into the summer of the fashion crowd running into trouble with the law.

Last week, a major drug bust went down in Ralph Lauren’s tony New Canaan, CT store. The stock manager, 34-year-old Ricky Sullins, was arrested for accepting a FedEx package loaded with 14 pounds of marijuana. FedEx contacted the police before delivering the package since they could smell the drugs through the box and an undercover cop posed as the delivery man.

Fourteen pounds is enough to get an entire polo team high — including the horses. Since it involved a large quantity of pot moving through the state of Connecticut, we wonder if U. Conn. law student John Belanger was involved.
If Sullins is looking for representation, might we suggest Allison Margolin, aka L.A.’s Dopest Attorney? She’s a California attorney, but perhaps she can get admitted pro hac.
To read more and comment, click on the link below.
Pot and Polos [Fashionista]

wurtzel book cover.gifTo those of you getting ready to take the bar exam this week, here’s some reassurance for you: even if you fail, life goes on. Consider this list of famous failures, people who didn’t pass the bar exam but went on to tremendous success anyway.
And here’s another boldface name who failed the bar: Elizabeth Wurtzel, the bestselling and critically acclaimed author, who graduated from Yale Law School last year and sat for the New York bar in July 2008 (and maybe in February 2009 too). In an interview with the New York Observer, Wurtzel shrugged off her bar failure.
In a more recent interview with Bitter Lawyer, Wurtzel once again breezed past that fact. From Gawker:

Wurtzel granted an interview recently to Bitter Lawyer, talking about how much she loves the law and how awesome it is being a lawyer and working at David Boies’s law firm. Except she’s not a lawyer! At least not in New York, where it seems to be unlawful to claim to be a lawyer if you haven’t passed the bar exam. Which she hasn’t.

In the Gawker post, John Cook parses Wurtzel’s Bitter Lawyer interview against the backdrop of New York rules and statutes regulating the legal profession. Cook suggests that Wurtzel describing herself as a lawyer violates New York Judiciary Law § 478, “Practicing or appearing as attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered.”
We forwarded the Gawker link to a pair of legal ethics experts, Professor Steven Lubet of Northwestern and Professor Stephen Gillers of NYU, and asked them to assess the situation.
Read what they had to say, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elizabeth Wurtzel: Can She Call Herself a ‘Lawyer’ Without Having Passed the Bar?”

Skip Gates.jpgThe Cabbed Caller, who reported Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. to the police, now disputes the police report about what she told them in her 9-1-1 call. Instead, the caller — who has now been repeatedly identified as Lucia Whalen — contends that she did not know the race of the two people attempting to enter the house. According to the Boston Globe:

Lucia Whalen, saw the backs of both men and did not know their race when she called 911, said Wendy J. Murphy, a Boston lawyer from New England School of Law. Whalen phoned police, Murphy said, because she was aware of recent break-ins in the area.

Well, I guess I was wrong. On Friday, I questioned whether or not the woman acted appropriately in sicking the Cambridge police on Professor Gates while he was attempting to enter his house. Previously, I questioned whether Gates’s blackness prevented this woman from assessing the situation rationally.
Assuming the woman is telling the truth, then you can’t really fault her. You can fault the Cambridge police, for injecting race into a call where race wasn’t even mentioned.
More from Whalen’s side of the story, plus the 9-1-1 tape, after the jump.

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Citigroup logo.jpgIf some law firms are not willing to invite members of the class of 2010 to work for them over the summer, why should banks?
We just received word that Citigroup has decided to cancel its 2010 Summer Program for 2L summer associates. A tipster sent us this email that students at Penn Law School received this morning:

Dear Students,
I regret to inform you that Citigroup is not having a summer class for the Summer of 2010 and has cancelled all of it on campus interviews. Your bid will not be lost as we will consolidate it before we process the interview schedules. I apologize for any inconvenience this cancellation may cause you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance.
All the best,

Did you know that Citigroup got legal talent fresh off of the law school tree? Well, they don’t anymore.
Let’s look at what the program used to be after the jump.

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ass lobster asslobster.jpgAs you may have noticed, we generally moderate comments relating to a certain rather vulgar meme (and sometimes we ban IP addresses too).
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, then skip this post — and consider yourself lucky. But if you miss being able to invoke the ass lobster meme, then you’re in luck.
We are offering “ass lobster amnesty” in the comments to this post. Get it all out of your system now, since we will continue to zap “ass lobster” comments on other posts.
To inspire you, we took some photos this weekend of associate editor Kashmir Hill, posing with a big-ass lobster (five pounds).
Slideshow after the jump.

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Salary Cuts.jpgMorris Manning has decided to cut salaries. Given the decisions of other prominent firms with large offices in Atlanta, this news alone is not that surprising. Morris Manning had been paying $145,000 in Atlanta.
But the pay cuts at Morris Manning are not based on hours or “performance.” Instead, the firm is cutting salaries based on practice groups. As we understand it, Morris Manning is giving a 15% salary cut to associates in the real estate, commercial lending, and general corporate practice groups. Everybody else will receive a 10% pay cut.
Tipsters report that initially, associates in real estate, lending, and corporate were looking at a 20% pay cut. But it looks like the firm reversed course on Friday after they decided to spread the pain around by taking the 10% bite out of the rest of the associates.
Update (6:50): Morris Manning spokespeople got back to us and clarified the situation. Apparently, associates in the the slowest practices already received a 20% pay cut earlier this year. When the firm decided to make a 10% across the board pay up, the firm changed the pay cut on the slow practice groups to 10% (making for the average of 15% percent that many of our sources reported). So now, all the associates in every group are looking at a 10% cut in base pay going forward.
Behind the veil of ignorance, this plan is probably more fair than making a deeper cut in practice groups that have been hardest hit by the recession. But — assuming that the three practice groups taking the larger pay cut are indeed slower than the rest — is it fair for busy associates in other practice areas to shoulder part of the burden?
The firm did not respond to our request for comment. But you can weigh in with your thoughts in our reader poll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Salary Cut Watch: Morris Manning Salary Cuts Based on Practice Group”

California State Bar.JPGOver the weekend, the California state bar website was down. It’s a pretty big system glitch to have on the weekend before the bar exam, as this tipster explains:

Considering past exams and answers, as well as testing center information is on there, I’m sure lots of people are freaking out. Clear sign of incompetence on the Bar’s part here in not addressing the problem at all.

The site was still inactive when we woke up this morning on the east coast. But now, as most of California is getting into gear, the site is back up.
Cram away, left coasters. The bar will be over soon, and you’ll be able to go back to surfing and eating seaweed or whatever.
The State Bar of California [California.gov]
Earlier: Last Weekend Before the Bar Exam: Open Thread

Women of color in law firms.jpgIf you’re a minority female, you’ll likely say ba-bye to your firm within five years, says a study from Catalyst, a non-profit focused on women and business issues.
The organization recently released a report titled, “Women of Color in U.S. Law Firms:”

According to Catalyst’s Women of Color in U.S. Law Firms, women of color face complex barriers compared to other groups that may significantly decrease job satisfaction and increase the intent to leave their current firm–factors that affect a firm’s bottom line. The study is the fourth and final in Catalyst’s Women of Color in Professional Services Series examining how the “intersectionality,” or combined identities of gender and race/ethnicity, puts women of color at a unique disadvantage in the workplace. Despite widespread existence of systems created to develop and advance women of color, research has shown that more than 75 percent of these women will leave their employer within five years, costing an amount potentially greater than each person’s total salary and benefits.

The organization surveyed 1,242 lawyers and conducted focus groups with women of color–including Asian women, black women, and Latinas– and then produced a 72-page report [pdf]. Here’s the short version from the Chicago Sun-Times:

75% bail within 5 years due to barriers.

Female lawyers of color being flaky is maybe not exactly the message that Catalyst wanted to send.
We skimmed the report, and must say it’s a bit dry. We’ve extracted the juicier bits — mainly the individual stories — after the jump.

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