October 2014

Ed. note: This post is written by Will Meyerhofer, a Biglaw attorney turned psychotherapist, whom we profiled. A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate, he holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work. He blogs at The People’s Therapist.

Office romances are endemic in the legal profession. I see them constantly with my patients.

Why is there so much fooling around at law firms?


A partner in a couple “triangulates” – looking to a third party to replace what’s missing in his relationship.

For lawyers, that boils down to time spent together.

One married lawyer told me she flirts with a junior associate at her office. She loves her husband, but never sees him. Flirting with the junior satisfies her craving for sexual attention. Lately, though, they’ve been going out for drinks, and she’s afraid something will happen she’ll regret.

Single lawyers experience the same romantic isolation. One said she hadn’t been to a bar or club – let alone a party – for over a year. She keeps canceling dates because of work, and her friends no longer ask her out because she always says no. This month she’s been working late nights with another associate at her firm and they’ve started hooking up.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In-House Counseling: Where You Eat”

thank you post it note.JPGA quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

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Alex Kozinski David Lat.jpg

Thumbs up to cameras in the courtroom from Judge Alex Kozinski and our own David Lat

The Ninth Circuit sent waves through the legal community earlier this year when Judge Vaughn Walker proposed broadcasting the Prop 8 trial. In January, the Supreme Court swept in and shot down that idea.

We were not pleased with the SCOTUS decision; we said at the time:

The right to an open and public trial is guaranteed by the Constitution, and understanding what’s going on in our courts is a crucial part of democratic self-governance. The standard for closing a courtroom to the public is very high, and justifiably so. We the People should be allowed to know — and to hear, and to see — what is transpiring within our courts. After all, these are our laws being interpreted, our rights being adjudicated, and our taxpayer dollars at work.

And in this age of videoconferencing, YouTube, blogging, and Twitter, the distinction between physical and virtual attendance of court proceedings is becoming increasingly artificial.

We weren’t the only ones miffed. Beyond court-watchers who couldn’t fit in the courtroom, ATL readers disapproved of the decision. More importantly, so did Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

Kozinski is a fierce advocate of cameras in the courtroom. On Monday, he stopped by Fordham Law School to talk about why courts need to admit cameras (before Congress forces cameras on them). Beyond the public’s “right to know,” he focused on the fact that cameras are impartial observers that are becoming increasingly necessary as the media devolves into a bunch of highly-subjective blogger-types…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A New Argument In Favor of Cameras in the Courtroom: Bloggers Suck”

Every time you put something into an email, please remember that someone you send it to may hit Forward. If your email makes the case for a biological reason for racial disparities in intelligence, someone might hit Forward and send it to Black Law Student Associations across the nation.

That’s what happened to a Harvard 3L yesterday. We’ll call this 3L CRIMSON DNA. According to our sources, DNA made some controversial comments about race at a dinner held by the school’s Federalist Society.

CORRECTION: This dinner was not a Fed Soc dinner. [FN1]

After the dinner, DNA felt the need to send an email to a few friends clarifying those views. Here’s an excerpt:

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair.

One of the 3Ls to receive that email, available in full after the jump, was very upset by it. We’ll call this student CRIMSON OUTRAGE. OUTRAGE arranged for the email to be sent out to the Harvard Black Law Student Association list-serv, including DNA’s name and the fact that after graduation, the author will be doing a federal clerkship.

CORRECTION: It now appears that OUTRAGE disseminated the email, several months after the email was originally sent, because she got into a fight with DNA — not because she (OUTRAGE) was offended by the email.

After that, the email went viral, apparently circulating to BLSAs across the country. There are now plans to try to go after DNA’s clerkship….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Harvard Law School 3L’s Racist Email Goes National”

* Happy 50th Birthday, Elena Kagan! The Solicitor General and Supreme Court short-lister enters the same decade as Judges Garland and Wood. [Wikipedia; Twitter]

* The porn-loving SEC employees are, in fact, getting off — no one has been fired. [Washington Post]

* Prosecutors charge Debra Villegas, the Maserati-driving former COO of Scott Rothstein’s law firm, with money-laundering conspiracy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Three partners leave Nixon Peabody for DLA Piper. Does this mean they are no longer winners? [National Law Journal]

* Should the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse be temporarily suspended? [New York Times]

* An ex-client is suing Greenberg Traurig for malpractice. [Am Law Daily]

Given the legal economy, prospective students should clearly be shooting for law schools in the top-15. But, not everybody can rock the all powerful LSAT. Going to a law school in this group can still result in Biglaw jobs for graduates who want them — especially if the school is located in the market where you ultimately want to practice.

To refresh your memory, here are the law schools ranked #17 to #28 according to the latest U.S. News law school rankings:

17. Vanderbilt
18. USC (Gould)
19. Washington University in St. Louis
20. George Washington
21. Illinois
22. Boston University
22. Emory
22. University of Minnesota
22. Notre Dame
26. Iowa
27. Indiana University
28. Boston College
28. William and Mary
28. U.C. – Davis
28. Georgia
28. UNC
28. Wisconsin

Thoughts on these schools? I’ve got some thoughts on this particular group of rankings as a whole…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (17 – 28)”

* If you were dean of your law school for a day, what would you do? I’d publicly release every shred of graduate employment information. In one day I could make law school a more transparent proposition for all who follow in my wake. [Notre Dame Law School]

* This Gizmodo/iPhone/illegal search controversy is everywhere. The lesson: spend more time with women, less time with gadgets. [Bloggasm]

* In other news from the land of search and seizure, the Virginia A.G. supports a government raid on a college newspaper. Could somebody snowmobile up to the Fortress of Solitude and check to see if the 4th Amendment is still alive? [The Breeze via Poynter]

* I’d rather heckle Michael Richards than read anything else about the Seinfeld cookbook case. [NY Post]

* Some things I didn’t know: A) They have kosher butchers in Iowa. B) The have kosher butchers in Iowa convicted of fraud. C) Former Attorneys General care about whether a kosher butcher convicted of fraud in Iowa gets a life sentence. [BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

* Yesterday was World Intellectual Property Day. I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to send my donation to the Save the IP Boutique Fund, so I just bought a pirated copy of Iron Man 2. (j/k … hey, stop, you can’t just barge in here and take my hard drive! Damn it, I hate snowmobiles. ) [@Ipkat via Blawg Review]

Last week, we took a peek inside the black box of compensation at Winston & Strawn. We also discussed stealth layoffs at the firm.

We felt our report was fairly hard-hitting. But one Winston source thinks we didn’t go far enough:

In my humble opinion, you weren’t sufficiently critical of Winston. The real message here is that many associates, including those who make their hours, are getting little to no raise because the firm is re-drawing the rules after-the-fact to ensure that it only has to pay out what it wants, and making partner is basically impossible here from now on.

Morale is shockingly low. The firm’s closest competitors like Sidley and Mayer Brown do not appear to be acting nearly as devious (though I am sure they have their bad behaviors too).

Meanwhile, some incoming associates at Winston seem anxious about their fates — and how they’re going to make ends meet while waiting to start at the firm….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up with Winston? An Update”

If you missed the Goldman Sachs Congressional hearing today, you missed the height of unintentional comedy. There are too many highlights to mention. Senator Carl Levin using a dirty word, the ongoing train wreck that is Senator Tom Coburn, it was the kind of hearing that makes you laugh out loud at Congress (and secretly weep for our country). I’ll let Bess Levin of our sister site, Dealbreaker, describe a particularly lively twenty minute exchange:

* 10:09: Carl [Levin]: “Goldman Sachs treats clients like objects (of profit).” Jackie Treehorn, a former prop trader, was the first to pioneer this model at the firm.

* 10:16: Goldman made money off its shorts. Dun Dun Dun.

* 10:26: Apparently Goldman didn’t just hurt its clients, it hurt everyone in the world. Take a moment right now to show us on the doll where Goldman touched you.

If you missed the hearings, you should check out Dealbreaker’s live blog. Just wait until Coburn starts talking.

Live-Blogging The Goldman Flogging: There’s Gonna Be A Showdown [Dealbreaker]

A few weeks back, a lawyer friend invited us to attend the Air Guitar New York Championships in Brooklyn. It was described to us as “pretty rad.” We declined to attend, but in doing so, missed out on taking part in an activity that seems to be taking the legal community by storm. ESPN recently described competitive air guitar thus:

Writhing and finger-plucking. Wagging tongues and balcony dives. Oh, and male shirtlessness. Lots of male shirtlessness. All of it taking place before hundreds of screaming, chanting spectators… [It] isn’t about music. It’s about world peace (really). And going to Finland (really). And headbands. (So many headbands). Mostly, it’s about rock. Head-banging, face-melting, soul-devouring rock. The mysterious, ineffable feeling therein. What air guitar devotees creatively call … “the airness.”

So which legal eagles have been overcome by this “mysterious, ineffable feeling”? A Georgetown Law student, a University of Colorado Law professor, and New York Times legal correspondent, Adam Liptak.

Liptak has actually been in the judge’s seat for a couple Air Guitar competitions in D.C. How did he gain his expertise in the air guitar? We caught up with him for a brief interview. When it comes to air guitar jurisprudence, Liptak has something in common with Justices Scalia and Thomas…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All Rise for Air Guitar Judge Adam Liptak
And some other legal eagles who air rock

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