October 2014

bar exam success good luck.jpg
Today is the first day of the February bar exam. If you’re sitting for the test today, good luck.
Celebrity authoress Elizabeth Wurtzel, a repeat taker, is freaking out. As Wurtzel said last night on Twitter, “I guess I’m taking the bar exam on Tuesday & Wednesday. Anyone with magical, mystical powers who wants to use them on my behalf, please do.”
If it makes you feel better, Lizzie, you’re not alone in your anxiety. Many other aspiring lawyers are losing it on Twitter.
To ATL readers who have passed the bar: Do you have any last-minute tips for today’s victims? Feel free to offer them in the comments.

I have a number of large projects with different people. I would have said no, but it didn’t seem like that was an option here.

Jennifer Hardy (née Koester), now a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis, complaining to a friend via email that she was working 12 hour days without breaks at the Department of Justice (where she reportedly worked on the so-called “torture memos”).

Frankenstein monster.JPG* When Supreme Court justices decide not to help you, they do it in a very classy way. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
* The business types are calling the class of 2009 “The Class of the Damned.” I suppose that is a little more accurate than our term “The Lost Generation.” Unemployed 2009 grads aren’t so much “lost,” they’re screwed. [Wall Street Journal]
* Here’s the thing: if you are a lawyer and you can’t talk yourself out of or around difficult questions, then you are truly in the wrong business. [Law.com]
* Would you trust a lawyer who learned bankruptcy law on the internet? What if he could save your family from foreclosure? [McSweeny's Internet Tendency]
* Okay, if you put together the U.S. News law school rankings, the Super Lawyers rankings, and the National Law Journal list, you come up with 11 schools that are more desirable than Yale Law School. Since pigs aren’t flying up my butt right now, I’ve got to think that there’s a methodological flaw somewhere in there. [Business Insider]
* Some people want to believe that Biglaw is the monster and lawyers are Dr. Frankenstein. But really, Biglaw is the doctor and we are the … is that fire? Fire BAD.
[Law Firm Web Strategy Blog via Blawg Review]

Christopher Austin.jpgChristopher Austin spent sixteen years at Ropes & Gray, the crème de la crème of Boston law firms. He was the co-head of the Technology Company and Venture Capital Practice group. So it was with some fanfare that Cooley Godward announced earlier this month that the Yale Law grad was leaving Ropes to join Cooley’s burgeoning Boston office.
The firm issued a press release, and the news made it into the “Human Capital: People on the Move” column of the Boston Business Journal, on February 3:

Cooley Godward Kronish LLP added Christopher Austin, previously the co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, as partner. Austin will be a resident in Cooley’s Boston office.

So it was with some surprise that one of our readers saw his name mentioned again in the same paper and the same column, but with a different firm destination, on February 19:

Goodwin Procter LLP added a new corporate partner in the firm’s Boston office. Christopher Austin’s practice focuses on the representation of public and private technology and life sciences companies, venture capital funds and investment banks. Austin was previously co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, where he practiced for 16 years.

La partner è mobile. Two weeks may be the record for shortest partnership ever. This truly does sound like musical chairs.
So what happened? Cooley issued a surprisingly spicy statement…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Christopher Austin, The Two-Week Partner”

University of Maryland School of Law at Baltimore.jpgWhat is Baltimore known for? We think of The Wire, John Waters movies, a world-class aquarium, and crabs (the seafood, not the parasites).
The city is also known for high crime. And some folks think Maryland taxpayers got robbed, by the former law school dean at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. From the Baltimore Sun:

Karen H. Rothenberg, former dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, was the administrator who received $410,000 in what a state legislative audit called “questionable compensation payments,” according to university payroll records.

The routine audit of the University of Maryland, Baltimore says that in fiscal 2007, a high-ranking administrator received four payments totaling $350,000 for sabbatical time that was apparently never taken. The payments, approved by UMB President David Ramsay, came on top of a $360,000 salary.

But wait, there’s more….
UPDATE: A reader poll has been added, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is a Maryland Law School Dean Worth $800,000?”

ronnie ortiz-magro jersey shore.jpgWe reported this morning that a victim of a Jersey Shore beatdown was trying to prevent the Tuesday DVD release of the popular MTV reality series. Stephen Izzo, Jr., 26, was attacked by Ronnie “Don’t fall in love at Jersey Shore” Ortiz-Magro during the show’s first season.
In the episode, Ronnie bragged that he knocked Izzo down with “one shot.” But then Ronnie got knocked down — with a charge for aggravated assault.
Izzo’s lawyer asked a judge to block the Jersey Shore season one DVD release tomorrow because “the law prohibits people from profiting from a criminal case.”
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Joseph L. Foster did not fist pump to that claim….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Jersey Shore Fans, Rejoice! Judge Will Not Block DVD Release.”

world college rankings.JPGWhat should you do if you want to get a Biglaw job? Have sex with a partner? I wish it was that inexpensive.

Most people will come to the conclusion that going to law school is a more reliable long-term career strategy than latching onto a partner stuck in a loveless marriage. But which law school should you go to? According to the National Law Journal, students looking to land in Biglaw faced a lot of challenges in 2009, but some schools were better than others at placing graduates in top jobs:

The National Law Journal’s annual Go-To Law School List paints a pretty sorry picture of first-year associate employment at the nation’s 250 largest law firms last year. The No. 1 law school sent just 55.9% of its 2009 graduates to NLJ 250 law firms. In 2008, the highest percentage of graduates heading to NLJ 250 firms was 70.5%. Importantly, the 2009 percentages include deferred associates, so an even smaller group actually went to work last year. Remember, the list consists of the very top performing schools, where job prospects in years past have proven recession-proof. Not so in 2009.

On the bright side … well … hey, a lot of the people who did land Biglaw jobs will burn out after a few miserable years. So maybe getting shut out of the few jobs that can support an enormous law school debt load is actually a blessing, merely disguised as rejection and poverty.

So which schools did the best at placing people in Biglaw?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Law Schools for Getting a Biglaw Job (2010)”

Winston Strawn LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgFriday brought good news and bad news for Winston & Strawn associates.

The good news is that the double salary freeze, which has apparently resulted in first- through third-year associates at Winston all earning $160,000, may be thawing. Managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald sent a memo — this time to its intended recipients — indicating that raises are on the way.

The bad news is that Winston associates don’t know how much of a raise they’ll be getting — and the most they can hope for is a salary that matches the market. The memorandum contains the standard $160K salary scale — 160-170-185-210-230-250-265-280 — but states that “[s]alary levels in each associate class will range up to the maximum base compensation levels set forth” in the memo (emphases added).

The Winston associates we’ve heard from are upset. They’re unhappy not just about the move away from lockstep, but over the firm’s failure to set forth in detail how salaries will be determined. Most of the other firms that have abandoned lockstep have set forth elaborate systems for evaluating associates to determine their compensation and advancement. The Winston memo simply states: “Individual associate salaries will be determined on a case by case basis based on seniority, performance and productivity factors and will be communicated separately to each associate.”

This is a “black box” approach to compensation. It’s used by other big firms — e.g., Jones Day — but it’s a significant departure from Winston’s historical practice. It’s not what Winston associates signed up for when they joined the firm.

But then again, thanks to the Great Recession, lots of Biglaw associates aren’t getting what they expected when they joined their firms. And if associates aren’t happy, with compensation or any other aspect of their employment, their firms will tell them: you’re free to leave. In the words of an unemployed woman quoted in this weekend’s New York Times, “There are no bad jobs now. Any job is a good job.”

There’s a little more bad news about Winston associate salaries. Find out what it is, and read the full Winston & Strawn memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Winston & Strawn Kills Lockstep and Adopts a ‘Black Box’ Compensation System”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch B of A.jpgFinally. The brilliant but prickly Judge Rakoff has (reluctantly) signed off on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s $150 million settlement with Bank of America. The saga, which has consumed Wall Street (and stressed out many Wall Street lawyers) for over half a year now, has come to an end.
For more detailed coverage, see the links collected after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Judge Rakoff Approves SEC Settlement with Bank of America”

Lile Moot Court UVA law competition.jpgIt’s difficult trying to figure out what to write about when you’ve been away for a week and return to hundreds of unread emails. But, luckily for me, UVA’s Lile Moot Court Board has a way of making itself really, really obvious.
I trust you all remember the Lile Moot Court Board. Back in September, the board threatened to call prospective employers of students who withdrew from Moot Court competition. Because, you know, threatening scared 2Ls is one way to feel powerful and accomplished.
Over the weekend, news broke of more shenanigans from the Lile Moot Court Board. But at least this weekend’s obnoxiousness was limited to actual Moot Court issues — as opposed to employment matters that are none of the board’s business. Thank God for small favors.
The Lile Moot Court Board versus two 3Ls, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lile Moot Court Board Embarrasses UVA Law, Again”

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