October 2014

Call of Duty modern warfare 2 judge.JPGHow many people out there are mainlining Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2? I’m not. Apparently, I need to practice for my upcoming Soul Calibur demolition of ATL commenters. But I’ll probably pick COD2 for the holiday season.

A British judge didn’t have my sense of patience:

Now, as the story has it, a county judge in Britain with 15 years of service (who will remain anonymous) went out and waited an hour in-line for the midnight launch of Modern Warfare 2. The 48-year-old said he was “like Charlie waiting outside the chocolate factory”. That’s a pretty intense statement from a district county judge with a wife and two kids at home.

When he finally got his copy, he did what any other 14-year-old person would do, he played it. All night long.

Obviously, that made showing up for work the next day a little bit difficult.

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Inappropriate Venue Wash.JPGEd. Note: Former ATL intern Karen Sosa is back with this new weekly feature: Inappropriate Venue. She’ll be looking at how her three years of law school keeps popping up where it doesn’t belong.
Things being what they are in the world, I, like many of you, have lots of spare time to ponder what law school has done for me. I think we can all agree law school hasn’t made us better people. It hasn’t made us fabulously wealthy, and the lucky ones have only the promise of a comfortable paycheck one day; the classes of 2010 and 2011 don’t even have that. Law school doesn’t even prepare us to qualify to practice – for that we need BarBri. So what exactly does three years of legal education do for us?
Well, according to our orientation lectures and our legal skills professors, law school teaches us to think like lawyers.
“That is such bullshit,” you think to yourself. “Nobody goes to law school to learn to think like a lawyer. What does that even mean? We come to law school to become better people, to become fabulously wealthy, and to qualify to practice law, and none of that happened! God, where is my implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose?”
But you catch yourself there, thinking like a lawyer. And whether you like it or not, you’ll be thinking like that for the rest of your life, even in the most inappropriate of venues.
After the jump, a revenge fantasy goes awry.

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Soul for Sale law student.JPGWe’ve done a couple reports on the crazy, inane job offers being floated to laid-off associates. The economy is so bad that some people think they can get ex-Biglaw associates to babysit their kids or work for free.
But this job listing is a different kind of crazy. It’s a legal job, albeit part-time. And anybody who has the qualifications the job poster is looking for has a pretty impressive résumé. (We’re not telling you who the employer is, because frankly they’re not one of our advertisers. If you are interested in advertising a job with Above the Law, please email advertising@breakingmedia.com.)
From the listing:

This opportunity is asking a commitment to work at least 6 months to 1 year. Attorney applicants must have at least 4 years practicing in the areas of corporate law, specifically seeking understanding judicial, legislative, and regulatory materials of significance to corporate practitioners and have significant corporate transactional and/or business litigation experience. Additionally, our client is expecting to see candidates with excellent editing, legal research, analysis and writing skills and the ability to complete assigned research and writing projects by prescribed deadlines. Prior law review or federal clerkship experience is also a plus. Our client is only willing to consider attorneys with at least 4 years of recent practice experience with strong law firm and academic credentials.

If you’ve got four years of experience and a federal clerkship, you expect to be able to get a job. Yet, at this company, here’s what that résumé will get you:

* 15 hours a week from home on a temporary basis.
* The position will pay $40p/h, non-negotiable.

You know what is crazy? I know unemployed people with this kind of experience who will club a baby seal for 15 hours a week, if it pays $40 an hour. I bet you do too.
Even the job poster expects an overwhelming response. Details after the jump.

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Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpg
Welcome to the latest article in the Ask The Experts series, brought to you by the ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link. This week’s experts include Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella, Mike Woronoff of Proskauer Rose, and Vivian Yang, General Counsel at Citysearch, who served as panelists on the Career Center’s Professional Development panel for mid-level associates on long-term career planning, partnership prospects and in-house careers. The panelists shared a lot of valuable information, so we’re making this a two-part article.
This week we highlight the panelists’ advice to mid-level associates on general career development, such as how to find mentors and use the people you already know to build a network. Next week, we’ll be back with Part Two of the article, with advice on the specific steps that associates who want to make partner or move in-house need to take.
Part One, after the jump.

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billboard advertisement truth in advertising commercials.jpgThe performance of litigation as a Biglaw business line during the Great Recession has been widely viewed as disappointing. But at least one type of litigation seems to be picking up. From the New York Times:

A diamond is forever? Prove it.

Companies that were once content to fight in grocery-store aisles and on television commercials are now choosing a different route — filing lawsuits and other formal grievances challenging their competitors’ claims…. The goal is usually not money but market share. Companies file complaints to get competitors’ ads withdrawn or amended.

The cases themselves might seem a little absurd — an argument over hyped-up advertising copy that not many consumers even take at face value. Pantene has attacked Dove’s claim that its conditioner “repairs” hair better, and Iams has been challenged on one of its lines, “No other dog food stacks up like Iams.”

Dueling over dog food quality? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

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douche.jpg* You, sir, are a douche. But that’s just an opinion, and not a statement of provable fact. [New York Law Journal]
* Baker & Hostetler may make more than $37 million for the Madoff unwinding. [New York Post]
*Gitmo detainees with ties to 9/11 will plead not guilty in a justification defense, arguing that the attacks were a response to American foreign policy. [CNN]
* Fort Hood shooter will claim mental illness defense. [USA Today]
* A 14-year-old Alabama girl may be charged for helping to arrange the gang rape of a classmate. [Associated Press]
* Michigan spam king to head to prison for four years for pumping up the prices of penny stocks. [Detroit News]
* A Seattle lawyer makes very good money off of very bad food. [Seattle Times]

Gerard Lynch Judge Gerard E Lynch Gerard Edmund Lynch Second Circuit SDNY.jpgOn Monday, November 16, we attended an interesting talk by Judge Gerard Lynch, formerly of the Southern District of New York and now on the Second Circuit. He spoke before the Regis Bar Association, a group of lawyers and law students who are graduates of our shared alma matter — Regis High School, an all-boys Catholic school run by the Jesuits, located here in New York.

As one would expect from a federal judge, especially one in a high-powered city like NYC, Judge Lynch has an amazing résumé. He graduated first in his class from Regis, first in his class from Columbia College (1972), and first in his class from Columbia Law School (1975). He clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the Second Circuit, followed by Justice William Brennan on the Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment to the district court in 2000, Judge Lynch was a law professor at Columbia, worked in private practice (at a firm that would later become part of Covington & Burling), and served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the legendary U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District.

In September, Judge Lynch was confirmed to the Second Circuit by a vote of 94-3. He was the first Obama appointee to be confirmed to a circuit court.

Judge Lynch began his remarks to the RBA by discussing his background. He explained that he came from working-class roots and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He also noted that government lawyers and judges don’t make very much money: “As a public servant, first-year associates at large law firms have generally made more than I have,” he observed, before adding: “Thanks to the recession, that’s changed.”

(A federal district judge, which Judge Lynch was until his recent elevation, earns $169,300 a year — a bit above the New York starting salary of $160,000. As a circuit judge, he now earns $179,500. If Judge Lynch were to become Justice Lynch — he is sometimes mentioned on Supreme Court shortlists, although being a 58-year-old white male doesn’t help — he would earn $208,100, as an associate justice. Despite many years earning a government salary, Judge Lynch has done well for himself; his financial disclosures reveal a net worth of $1.6 million, with zero debt.)

Judge Lynch described being a trial judge as “the greatest job you can have.” Find out why, after the jump.

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(And a defense of elitism in law clerk hiring.)

ATL Harvard Yale Game.JPGATL readers were out in force after this weekend’s Harvard-Yale Game. Go Crimson! (Click on the image to enlarge; you can see “Non-Sequiturs” in the lower right-hand corner of the sign.)
* The Ninth Circuit hates turkeys. [Siouxsie Law]
* Xbox modders feel unfairly maligned, and they are uniting. It could be epic. I hope Kratos gets involved. [Daily Tech]
* Wesley Snipes is appealing his tax conviction. He apologized and feels the length of his jail time is unreasonable. I made a similar argument to the cable company after I watched Blade Trinity. But they wouldn’t give me that time back. [Going Concern]
* Are baby boomers Luddites? [What About Clients?]
* This is funny because it is true. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* The Deliberations blog might be going away, but the Wisconsin Humane Society is gaining a great leader. [Deliberations]
* Ireland’s not getting a World Cup berth. But they are getting a Blawg Review, so all is not lost. [Human Rights in Ireland via Blawg Review]
* If you will be in D.C. on December 2, feel free to request an invitation to the Above the Law holiday happy hour, sponsored by Applied Discovery. To submit an invite request — space at the event is limited — please click on the link. Thanks! [Above the Law]

Andrew_Blumberg_on_Food_Network.jpgEarlier this month, we wrote about Duke 2L Andrew Blumberg. He scored an appearance on the Food Network Challenge because he is a “Simpsons superfan.”
He was teamed up with a professional cake designer to advise her on making a Bart Simpson cake that was faithful to the original character. Blumberg was an excellent cake consigliere; his partner won the challenge. (We now have photos of their winning creation, after the jump.)
According to Duke Law News, Blumberg’s superfandom is rooted in more than just watching tons of Simpsons episodes. He also worked on a project incorporating Simpsons clips into a lesson on contracts law.
We’ve found out that Blumberg’s Simpsons obsession goes even further. Guess which firm he’s summering with? Punchline, after the jump.

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My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction. “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique, will appear one chapter at a time, M-W-F, over the next few weeks. Prior installments appear here; please read them first.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

Back at the office, Tyler said goodnight to Katarina and returned to his desk. He checked his e-mail while he ate his sashimi. CLE presentation on electronic discovery. Maintenance on the air conditioners tonight. Recruiting event next week at Carol’s house. He marked his quest calendar accordingly. Post-lunch summer associate evaluation form from Mark. Tyler completed it perfunctorily.
Firmwide announcement regarding the death of Ken Thrax. Standard Corporatica chronicling his achievements, condolences to the family. Information on funeral services to be announced as it became available. No mention of cause of death
Tyler looked at the clock. 8:30 p.m. He sighed, pulled out his pile of cases on parol evidence, opened his document, and got to work.

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