October 2014

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good, hard laugh at the expense of Michigan law students. As the recession took hold, Michigan students stopped stealing sandwiches and cell phones.

So maybe the latest spate of on-campus douchebaggery at Michigan is a sign that economy is picking back up? Or maybe it’s simply another example of 1Ls who think law school is College 2.0? A tipster reports:

A secret society has been formed by the rich, straight, white men at Michigan Law, apparently because it’s so difficult to find people like that in the Law School. It appears to be a bastardized version of the old Barrister’s Society. Hostility has been high towards the group of ~20 1Ls, and will probably increase with the leaking of internal memos….

Also, Thursday night they put sheets on our residential building roofs. The biggest problem was that nobody could figure out that the weird scrawling was meant to be a stylized “B”. People were milling about and one could hear “I think that’s an M” “I think that one’s an “IS.” The Barristers don’t have great penmanship.

Yeah, we’ve got leaked memos, and art! And if you caught 30 Rock this week, you should know that these guys are not nearly as cool as Twig and Plums …

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In a cover story last year for Washingtonian magazine, on the subject of lawyer incomes, Kash and I posed a question: Are lawyers like white-collar auto workers?

Answer: no. Autoworkers are better paid. Check out this latest job listing, from craigslist for Orange County:

Full time associate attorney start at $12 an hour.

Welcome to the OC, bitch.

Salaries in the legal profession may be experiencing some deflation, but $12 an hour for the holder of a J.D. is… ridiculous. As one of the many readers who sent this to us observed, “I made this much in high school.” Said a second: “They’re looking for an associate who will work for $12 / hour. At that rate, one might as well go for an In-N-Out gig. You’ll probably get benefits there.”

But wait, it gets better….

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* Obama signs the student loan overhaul into law. [New York Times]

* It’s official: Andrew Giuliani’s lawsuit against Duke, for kicking him off the golf team, has been dismissed. (A magistrate judge previously recommended dismissal, in a humorous opinion.) [Durham Herald-Sun]

* Billionaire Mark Cuban, represented by Dewey & LeBoeuf, takes the offensive against the SEC. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A Tennessee businessman who put up some of the money for a recent Sarah Palin appearance has sued a leader of the Tea Party. [Associated Press]

* Bigger regional law firms are in expansion mode, snapping up smaller shops. [Am Law Daily]

* The Supreme Court opinion in Jones v. Harris Associates (previously mentioned here): a victory for opacity? [New York Times]

* Another SCOTUS decision from yesterday places restrictions on certain whistleblower lawsuits under the False Claims Act. [Associated Press via How Appealing]

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner told the New Yorker he is like his cat, Dinah: "playful, but with a streak of cruelty."

It’s hard to find someone to love who also loves you. It’s a lot easier to find an animal with which to establish a loving relationship. Just make sure it’s not too loving.

Many lawyers are proud pet owners, bringing cats, dogs, small wolves, iguanas, and/or flying squirrels into their apartments and homes. Your ATL editors hold mixed feelings about the four-legged set. Elie and Kash are all in favor of bringing furry things into your bed, though he likes dogs and she likes cats. Meanwhile, Lat dissents.

This brings us to the question for today’s Above the Law roundtable:

What’s the best pet for lawyers?

Your ATL editors debate, after the jump.

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* I don’t think they’ll make a Fugitive type movie about this Boston guy accused of stealing video game code. “A one-armed man — with really spindly and dexterous fingers — took the code.” [Kotaku]

* The distinctive plight of the overqualified unemployed. [The Atlantic Wire]

* SCOTUS unanimously smacks down Chief Judge Easterbrook. [Conglomerate]

* Great, now companies are outsourcing in-house legal work to India. [Legally India]

* A judge throws down with Eric Holder over state secrets. [Politico]

* Posting reams of text on the back of a bus has to be an attractive nuisance that leads to traffic accidents. [Copyranter]

* I guess you can look at the World Cup as one big tax bubble. That bites for the host country, but I suppose it’s nice for the fans. [Tax Prof Blog]

One of the Courtship Connection couples included a Ryan Gosling look-a-like

We’re a month into ATL Courtship Connection. So far, I’ve sent nine couples out on blind dates and learned that it’s better to match people according to their favorite law school class than by their ideal number of hours to bill per year.

Women, if you voted for D.C. instead of NYC in our March Madness “best city to be a lawyer” Competition, you made the right choice. I’ve observed that men are more likely to find love (or committed lust) in New York than are women. Men have been withdrawing from the Connection due to new relationships at about double the rate that women have.

This week, I paired a Biglawyer with sterling credentials with a law student from a top school, and set up two attorneys from top firms who crashed the AmLaw 20 without Vault 20 diplomas. Both dates featured interlopers…

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It’s a talk, it’s a party, it’s an opportunity for us to tell you how to increase your chances of landing an offer from your summer associateship. Save the date: April 13th, at Amity Hall. Your Above the Law editors will be heading to the Summer Associate Kick-Off Party, hosted by the Practical Law Company (read more about PLC here).

We’ll be holding a panel discussion about the Do’s & Don’ts Of Being A Summer Associate. Some of the don’ts are obvious: don’t hit a strip club with colleagues, or get into a drunken argument with a partner. Others aren’t so much. Do you know how to run a closing? Perform due diligence? Draft NDA’s? Yeah, didn’t think so. We’ll address how to build these skills before you show up to work, so you can actually add value instead of just adding stations to Pandora.

So come to Amity Hall on April 13th, where we can teach you how to stay on the straight-and-narrow and be more prepared for your summer position — or at least turn up so we can share some of the summer stories we couldn’t print. And yes, there will be an open bar (and food), in case anybody wants to put our lessons to immediate practical use.

The event gets started at 6:30. Space is limited and priority is given to incoming summer associates, so click here to rsvp. Hope to see you there.

P.S. As if you need another reason to go, attendees will get access to a Summer Associate Survival Guide, which teaches you the nuts and bolts of transactional assignments firms will expect you to complete this summer. Non-attendees can access the guide too, but they won’t get the free booze or food. Bummer.

If you can’t make the event but would like access to the guide, just send an email to studentaccess@practicallaw.com, with your name, law school email address, and year of graduation. Thanks!

Summer Associate Kick-Off Party [Practical Law Company]

We have good news for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius associates. Salary information is in and most people are getting raises. True-up raises at that. The class of 2008 pulled the short straw, but everybody else seems relatively happy. A tipster reports:

Please post that yesterday MLB essentially unfroze salaries (most ’08 grades only went up to 165 though) but otherwise made everyone whole, retroactive January 1, 2010.

The double-bump raise for veteran associates comes a couple of months after MLB announced big time raises for a select few associates — while most of the firm’s associates were left to wait and wonder. In January, we reported this message from Morgan Lewis Chairman, Francis M. Milone:

After considering all of these factors, we awarded base salary increases of up to $25,000 and incentive bonuses of up to $35,000 to our highest performing associates. As I advised in my November video presentation, we did not reduce associate base salaries.

According to the firm, the decision to give true-up raises to mostly everybody is in keeping with MLB’s new merit-based strategy …

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‘Think,’ one of the pieces on display at Agora Gallery.

This past weekend, two of your ATL editors paid a visit to Agora Gallery in Chelsea. We wanted to see for ourselves the LEGO brick sculptures of Nathan Sawaya, the lawyer turned LEGO artist.

As explained in our profile of Sawaya, the NYU Law grad left Winston & Strawn for a $30,000-a-year job as a builder at LEGOLAND. Several years later, Sawaya is now a world-renowned LEGO artist, whose works sell for thousands of dollars.

So, what did we get to set our eyes on? And how did we like it?

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When I first read this headline on the ABA Journal this morning, I became very excited:

Poll Finds 55% Would Support Openly Gay Justice

Gay Justice? How awesome! Justice is way too straight. Basic black letter laws and stuffy proceedings. It’d be far more exciting and visually interesting if Lady Justice was a little bit more… flamboyant. I’ve been to gay Halloween and it’s a lot more fun.

Sadly, my hopes for plastering pink triangles on courthouses were dashed when I actually clicked on the link. A Vanity Fair/CBS News poll found that 55% of Americans would support an openly gay Supreme Court justice, while 40% of those polled would oppose an openly gay SCOTUS nominee. That’s boring. All that shows is that 40% of poll respondents are raging homophobes. I’m pretty sure we didn’t need Vanity Fair to tell us that.

The only question is whether Obama will enrage the anti-gay people with his next SCOTUS nominee…

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