April 2010

We’re on to day 3 of the NALP conference. With all the racial tensions going on back home, day 3 has been a pleasant reminder that once properly tanned, everybody basically looks the same. Of course, there is a downside: I can no longer figure out which panelists may be genetically predisposed to say something intelligent.

Absent these helpful signals, I could only guess at which Friday morning panel to go to. I decided to hit Navigating Online Rumor Mills and Maintaining a Positive Image for Law Firms/Schools. Being a walking rumor mill myself, I figured it was worthwhile to learn how I should be handled.

For our partner readers, the panel produced some good advice. For our commenters, all I can say is that firms and law schools fear you guys. It’s not us, it’s you…

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* Did the Sarah Palin email hacker get convicted? You betcha! [Gawker]

* Solicitor General Elena Kagan spills the beans about Justice Kennedy — her future colleague? — and his “bad habit.” [The BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

* Professor Gaia Bernstein wonders: How useful is Facebook users’ information? [Concurring Opinions]

* The iPhone finder has his regrets — e.g., believing Gizmodo when they told him “there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press.” [Threat Level / Wired]

* Planning out your career is like planning for retirement: you need to think about the long term. [Lawyerist]

If you’re tired of reading about the Harvard Law School email controversy — judging from our traffic and comment levels, most of you aren’t, but maybe some of you are — we have some good news. Our coverage is winding down. (We do have a few loose ends to tie up, though, which may take us into the weekend or early next week.)

Before we conclude, we’d like to hear from you, our readers. We’ve heard from the commenters, of course — but many readers never comment, so the commenters aren’t representative of everyone.

Reader polls, which draw much larger participation than the comments, offer a better gauge of audience sentiment. We’d like to poll you on two questions:

(1) Was Crimson DNA’s email racist?

(2) Was Crimson DNA’s email offensive?

Please vote in our two reader polls, after the jump.

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Take Our Reader Polls”

Over 16,000 votes were cast in our second annual Law Revue video contest. We now bestow the 2010 Law Revue Video Contest crown upon….

Wait, hold on a sec. Unfortunately, there were allegations of voting irregularities.

And according to our friends at Vizu, which hosted our poll, it appears that the allegations may have merit….

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Is the clothing mega-retailer following the Supreme Court nomination process?

Check out this photo of a store window here in New York….

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Yesterday, I asked why the Harvard Black Law Students Association had been silent on the controversial email from a third-year Harvard Law School student raising the “possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.” Today, the organization released a statement on its website:

Harvard BLSA denounces racially inflammatory language – The Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) strongly condemns the racially inflammatory email that was circulated among the entire Harvard Law School community. Like many individuals who read its content, we find the message to be deplorable and offensive. We are open to thoughtful discourse on even the most controversial of views, and yet we categorically reject the archaic notion that African-Americans are genetically inferior to white people. We recognize, however, that this issue is much larger than any single email or any particular student.

Was that so hard? The foregoing paragraph is a pitch-perfect assessment of the situation and an effective response.

The BLSA letter goes on to say that HBLSA should not (and apparently does not) want to be the focus of attention here…

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Plus a statement from the HLS dean of students.

The American Bar Association is currently holding its Women in Law Leadership Academy in Philadelphia; prior to the conference, they surveyed female partners in regional and international firms. Harder for women than figuring out what they’re allowed to wear is becoming a partner. (Though there are signs that’s changing.)

Apparently, female lawyers must go elsewhere to be appreciated. Forbes summarizes:

According to the study, the majority of women who had made partner had to attain the position by making a lateral jump to another firm–few were promoted from within.

Once you make partner, it’s hard to stay one. Almost eight percent of the 700 female partners surveyed reported being de-equitized. How come?

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Who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens? While pundits, savants, and oracles across the SCOTUSphere pontificate and read Article III tea leaves, FantasySCOTUS.net conducted extensive and detailed polling to predict the next Justice. We have invited our nearly 5,000 members – who represent some of the closest and most ardent Court watchers – to weigh in on the vacancy, rank the candidates on the short list, and give their views on the potential nominees. We are still collecting data.

This is the third in a series of posts breaking down this data, as we attempt to add some certainty to the vast amounts of uncertainty emanating from the penumbras of the upcoming vacancy.

This week, we pit Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, and Merrick Garland in a head-to-head-to-head confirmation death match…

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solo practitioner solo practice hang shingle.jpgRichard Zachary is a solo practitioner in Chicago who has mixed it up with Biglaw many times in his career… and has come away unimpressed.

In a recent filing in Cook County Court, he vented about the shortcomings of the big firm lawyers he’s come up against. He’s currently representing an individual suing a corporation represented by Schiff Hardin. He describes an attorney there as follows:

Some paper-shuffling third-rater trying to camouflage his own culpability with defamatory rhetoric [who made me] realize that there are depths of chicanery to which some legal professionals will not hesitate to descend.

Richard Zachary is both irate and poetic, a wonderful combination.

The motion captures the frustration that solos experience in their clashes with Biglaw. More incensed turns of phrase, after the jump.

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Day 2 of the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference had a remarkably different feel from day 1. Apparently, it took everybody a day to realize that they were in Puerto freaking Rico. After really sticking to business casual on the first day, day 2 saw the introduction of something I’d call “business beachware.” Men were wearing t-shirts with their slacks. Women were wearing bathing suit tops instead of bras under their attire. Sandals abound. Everybody’s hair is messed up. Panelists stuck in suits look like they’re ready to kill themselves, or melt.

Anyway, you don’t come to me for fashion advice. You come to me to throw stones and rotten fruit for job advice. And today I’ve got that in spades. I attended a panel called Reading Between the Lines: A Candid Conversation about Resumes in Today’s Market. Good news: it doesn’t appear that anybody has an idea of how harshly to judge applicants with résumé gaps. So try not to worry…

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