October 2014

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.

Katarina grabbed her oversized purse and tossed a long red scarf around her neck. Tyler noticed a copy of Atlas Shrugged peeking out of it. Alignment: Libertarian. And geeky. Only true bookworms manage to slog through all 1000+-pages of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus.
“So what kind of law do you want to practice?” Tyler asked as they walked. He groaned inwardly for asking such a stock question.
“Litigation, probably appellate,” she replied. “I’m especially interested in constitutional questions.”
Tyler sensed a liberal arts background and good grades in law school. “And what was your college major?”
“Archaeology. I have my master’s degree in Near Eastern Art and Archaeology from the University of Chicago.”
Precisely, thought Tyler.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Sushi and Succubi”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

pls hndle copy 2.jpgATL,
“I’m a law student with a record. Larceny by trick, we’ll call it. It happened a while ago. I have reasonable assurances from bar members in my state and my law school that if I disclose and explain (and obviously, don’t mess up again) that I will pass the character & fitness exam.
But does it matter? When I got to law school, I thought I’d be able to get a job. Almost three years later, there are no jobs. Is there any point for a guy in my position to even apply to Biglaw firms? My grades are good enough to get Biglaw, but will they just ignore me because of my past?”
Been Caught Stealing

Dear Been Caught Stealing,
I always wondered what became of the cool rich kids from my high school who smashed in people’s mailboxes and raced away in their Jettas to funnel beer in their parents’ basements. If Facebook is to be believed, they’ve traded in terrorizing friendless ninth grade transfer students with clear braces and an unfortunate Sun-In situation for wildly successful careers and loving relationships. And evidently, some of them become lawyers.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the market for lawyers is a piece of garbage. But as long as you pass character and fitness, you’re in the same position as hordes of other unemployed recent grads. People usually don’t list “criminal” under their resume work experience; they wait until they’re filling out forms at the interview or they’re accepting the job to reveal their checkered past. It’s called “bait and switch,” which you’re probably familiar with. Because you’re a criminal. And that’s how you roll.
I think the world of Biglaw is closed to you for the moment. There is no reason that a swank firm would take someone with a record when they can easily get 300 other people without one to fill the spot. You’ll have better luck in smaller firms where the people are kinder and went to worse schools. Or try PI, where you’ll work amongst your brethren.
I hope this helps.
Your friend,

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: To Catch a Thief”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGThe bonus news is coming fast and furious today. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is trying to nail down the market at the Cravath level. Multiple tipsters sent in the STB bonus announcement and the firm is following Cravath at all class levels.
Regular Above the Law readers will note that there is absolutely no surprise about Simpson’s bonus. Last year at around this time — when there was still a clear separation between Skadden’s bonus and Cravath’s bonus — Simpson rushed in to follow Cravath.
Given that history, we don’t know a lot of people that expected Simpson to do anything other than follow Cravath. Long gone are the days when Simpson led the charge to $160K.
But don’t forget about Sullivan & Cromwell. The firm’s had a good year, and with all of its competitors falling in line behind Cravath, they could get some real market separation here with a bonus that is still smaller than what they paid out last year.
What a fun Friday. I wonder if anybody else will rush out a bonus announcement before five o’clock? I’m going to need another Red Bull.
Read the STB bonus memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Falls in Line”

Seyfarth Shaw logo.jpgSeyfarth Shaw is set to become the latest firm to flip its incoming associates the Bird. A very angry tipster reports:

[Seyfarth] just deferred all incoming associates to October 2010 with only $2000/month as a stipend beginning on our former start date of January 19, 2010! It’s a joke … we know for a fact that they were busy and could have afforded us. It is a firm managed by horrible, greedy, selfish individuals … This is amusing, in light of the fact that the firm turned a profit last year …
We would like to warn anyone considering accepting an offer from the firm to STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is particularly disconcerting for those of us who turned down offers from Biglaw in favor of a firm that apparently “cared soooo much” about us. Go Vault or go home.

Whoa, tell us what you really think. You have to wonder if these deferred incoming associates will come up with any fun banners about their would-be employer.
As angry as the deferred incoming associates appear to be, it is not at all clear that Seyfarth could have afforded to bring on a new class of people at this time. In addition to telling the incoming associates to wait for almost another year, today the firm announced that it was cutting first year associate salaries.
Details and a statement from Seyfarth, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Seyfarth Shaw: Salary Cuts and Deferral Extensions, Oh My”

the outlook for holiday parties.jpgEarlier this month, we asked you if holiday parties were still on this year. Many people said that they were, albeit more subdued than the halcyon days of yore.
But one deferred associate had this question:

Aside from the question of which firms may be abandoning their holiday parties this year, it would be interesting to see which firms are inviting their deferred associates. As of now I don’t think the firm that deferred me is …

You know, it never occurred to me that firms would invite deferred associates the holiday party. At first blush, the idea sounds ludicrous. Why would they invite people who are not employees to the employee party?
I’m willing to bet that it never occurred to most firms either. But remember, deferring incoming associates is a completely new thing. There are no rules for this stuff; the legal industry is making it up as it goes along.
So, as long as we are setting new standards here, why shouldn’t a firm invite deferred associates to the party?
A discussion and a reader poll after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Holiday Party Invites: Are Deferred Associates on the List?”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGBonus season is now in full swing. Sources report that Willkie Farr has announced bonuses that match the Cravath scale.
Here’s the breakdown:

From: The Executive Committee
Sent: Fri Nov 20 11:11:01 2009
Subject: 2009 Associate Bonuses

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following year-end bonuses for associates:

Class of 2008: $7,500
Class of 2007: $10,000
Class of 2006: $15,000
Class of 2005: $20,000
Class of 2004: $25,000
Class of 2003: $30,000
Class of 2002 and senior: $30,000

Bonuses will be paid on December 18, 2009, consistent with our customary practices. The Firm greatly appreciates the efforts of our associates over the course of the year.

Don’t feel bad, guys; there are a lot of great things you can do with $7,500.
More on Willkie’s bonuses after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie Matches Cravath and Full-Cravath”

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with FantasySCOTUS, the premier Supreme Court fantasy league. (For more background, check out this WSJ Law Blog post.) On Fridays, the 10th Justice will analyze league voting to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. This is the 10th Justice’s first post on ATL.
Welcome to the first installment of Predictions of the 10th Justice, brought to you by FantasySCOTUS.net. The league has over 1,300 members, who have made predictions on all cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. In this feature, we analyze these predictions, and try to explain how the Supreme Court will resolve top cases.
The first case we’ll look at is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, commonly known as the Hillary Movie case. This case is a showdown between free speech and campaign finance laws.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fantasy SCOTUS: Predictions for Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Nic Cage not super.jpg* Reaction to Full-Cravath’s (f.k.a. Skadden) bonus continues to ripple through the blogosphere. [ABA Journal]
* Details continue to leak out about a merger between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells. Apparently, Ho-Love will retain separate profit pools for the two sets of partners. [The BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]
* Junior Gotti is so close to a mistrial he can feel it. [Daily News]
* Nic Cage got ruined during the financial crisis, according to his estranged business manager. [Courthouse News Service]
* Oprah Winfrey will end her popular talk show in 2011. Notice how I wrote that blurb without using the words “queen,” or “throne.” You’re welcome. [ABC]
* In honor of Full-Cravath’s bonus:

UCLA School of Law logo.JPGEarlier today, we reported that protests over the proposed tuition hike at UCLA got a bit testy. But we also noted that the protests didn’t seem to include a lot of law students, even though their tuition is going through the roof as well. One friend had this apathetic response when asked about the protests:

Dude, I have finals. And my 2L grades matter because I’ll be doing 3L recruiting. Unless we’re protesting canceled summer programs, count me out.

We wanted to know how the law school generally was reacting to today’s festivities, so we reached out to the UCLA Student Bar Association President, Lenny Sandoval. We asked him why law student participation seemed lacking:

Being a third year with one foot out the door, it’s tough for me to give a totally representative view, but while I agree that the involvement of law students as a whole is a bit subdued, I think the reaction from the identity organizations and their leadership (Raza, BLSA, etc.) has been very supportive and vocal of the undergraduate led movements. Based on FB status updates and gChat blurbs I saw at least 6 or 7 people either returning from the protests or planning on going to the protests, so that’s something at least.

Sandoval also noted that law students need to be a little bit more careful when it comes to potentially getting arrested than college kids.
That’s certainly true, especially in this economy. There’s no sense having your tuition jacked up and hurting your chances at snagging a legal job.
But something other than fear and general apathy might be driving down law student participation in civil disobedience. We also spoke with UCLA Law professor Stephen Bainbridge and he notes that people at the law school might just be paying a little bit more attention to the general state of affairs with the U.C. system than your average college student.
Thoughts from Professor Bainbridge after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “UCLA Protest Follow Up: On The Ground at UCLA Law”

Superdome Katrina engineers.JPG* The Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t care about black people. [WSJ Blog]
* Thank God for Brian Leiter. Here’s what the Super Lawyers rankings look like, adjusted for class size, not adjusted for U.S. News Top-14 status. Now I can comfortably say, HLS to #1! [Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]
* Sometimes I park, in handicapped spaces, while handicapped people, make handicapped … Oww. I think the PC police just tasered my fingers. [Wild Wild Law]
* Your lawyering skills aren’t going to matter much if you can’t sell it. [Bar & Bench]
* David Hamilton will ascend to the 7th Circuit. Finally. [BLT]
* The IRS does not apologize. [Going Concern]
* Where is the physical evidence in the Robert Wone case? [Who Murdered Robert Wone]

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