October 2014

This has all happened before, and this will all happen again. So say we all. At the beginning of the recession, just weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, we brought you a New York Times article from 1990 that illustrated the similarities between the tough legal job markets created by Bush 41 and Bush 43.

Today, we run the DeLorean even further back in time, and to an entirely different country. A loyal reader was cleaning out his office and came across an article from The Law College Magazine of Bombay, India, from 1930. The piece is entitled: “Is It Worthwhile? A Frank Talk With Budding Lawyers.” And it’s all about whether a person should pursue a two-year law degree in India in the 1930s.

Folks, let me tell you: some people worry that India will become the new market for American legal jobs, but that’s not the real fear. The real fear is that American law students will become like Indian law students in 1930.

And maybe that process is already well underway….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Back to the Future: What the J.D. Class of 2011 Can Learn From Indian Law Students in 1930″

* I’ve already shared my thoughts on the passing of Greg Giraldo. Here’s a wonderful piece about other members from Giraldo’s HLS class of 1990 (gavel bang: commenters). [Esquire]

* Joe Miller, the YLS grad who is running for U.S. Senate in Alaska, has more skeletons in his closet. Have Alaskan political journalists ever heard of vetting somebody before the primary? [Think Progress]

* In other would-be Republican Senator news, it appears that hands-free High Priestess Christine O’Donnell has a non-profit that never filed any tax returns. I’d make more fun of her, but given how the Democrats roll, Obama might now be interested in bringing O’Donnell into his administration. [Going Concern]

* Robert Bork on Canada’s legalization of prostitution. I’ve always found it too cold in Canada to find a good street walker, so this might not be all bad. [Newsmax]

* Finding a Rabbi is much more complicated than I thought. To find a good priest, all I have to do is walk down to my local Boys and Girls Club and… whoa, that lightning bolt almost got me this time. [Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog]

* The ACLU is supporting Judge Isaac Stoltzfus, the guy accused of passing out condoms hidden in acorns. [Elie slowly shifts ACLU card back behind his GameStop card to the "time out" corner of his wallet.] [ABA Journal]

* A former lawyer leaves her job and travels around the world, and when she comes back, all of her stuff is stolen. Can you help her out? [Legal Nomads]

* 8 prosecutors you don’t want to face in court. This list names names, not stereotypes. Too bad, because the “distractingly smelly” prosecutor has to be the worst. [Court Reporter School]

Glenn C. Lewis: he's a billable-hour machine.

A few days ago, the Washington Post reported on the legal misadventures of prominent D.C. attorney Glenn Lewis (no relation to the Canadian R&B singer, as far as we know). According to the Post, “Glenn C. Lewis is an acknowledged titan of the D.C. area divorce bar, a former president of the Virginia Bar Association who boasts that he is the most expensive lawyer in the region: $850 an hour. He has an impressive office in the District and an array of high-profile clients.”

One would expect a lawyer of Lewis’s stature and success to have impeccable judgment. But it appears that recently he made a serious misjudgment. He decided to sue a former client for an extra $500,000 in fees and interest, after having already received some $378,000 from that client.

Unfortunately for Glenn Lewis, that client was a lawyer — and decided to strike back. By the end of the whole episode, Lewis ending up owing his former client money — an amount in the six figures….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Suing a Client for Nonpayment of Fees — and Ending Up Owing the Client Money”

A law school faculty member who is engaged in training as a counselor/therapist is seeking volunteers for listening sessions. The purpose of the sessions is for the faculty member to practice basic listening skills while reflecting back to the volunteer what the volunteer has said. The sessions are not themselves therapy or counseling. Nonetheless, everything that the volunteer says will be kept confidential.

– a strange email sent by an administrator to the entire student body of Stanford Law School

Or maybe news you could have used. Apologies for not reminding you, as we’ve done in past years, about the application deadline for the Department of Justice’s Honors Program. The application deadline for the 2010-2011 program fell on September 7, 2010. [FN1]

(If you’re not already familiar with how the Honors Program works, read our prior post or visit the official DOJ website. The short description: “The highly competitive Honors Program is the only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys.” Most applicants to the program are 3Ls and judicial law clerks.)

Yesterday, if you checked the DOJ website, you could find out whether you were selected for an interview (although you couldn’t tell which DOJ component had selected you). This morning, official interview notifications went out to selected candidates. To those of you selected for interviews, congratulations! Feel free to crow about your success or trade tips with other interviewees in the comments to this open thread.

Getting picked for an Honors Program interview is quite an accomplishment, especially given the still-tough legal job market and the many 3Ls and law clerks searching for jobs. Word on the street is that the DOJ received 3,000 applications for an estimated 160 vacancies in the Honors Program. Says a source: “[T]hat’s nearly 20 applicants per position. Which is actually pretty low by comparison with clerkship apps, I bet, but still daunting.”

If you didn’t get selected for an interview, or if you missed the application deadline altogether, don’t despair. Here’s another opportunity for graduating law students who are interested in working for the federal government. And the deadline has not yet passed — but it’s fast approaching….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “News You Can Use: Federal Government Job Opportunities
And Open Thread: DOJ Honors Interview Decisions

'So, do you have any questions for ME?'

Not too long ago, when law firms used to supersize their summer associate classes and make offers to anyone who had a pulse, callback interviews were a mere formality.  Today’s post-recessionary firms are understandably more careful about hiring, and as a result,the callback interview has become a sine qua non for getting into Biglaw.  We talked with an attorney recruiter, as well as attorneys currently conducting callback interviews, to bring you the top ten tips for getting an edge over the competition.

The complete article is available on the Career Center, but we’ve highlighted the first three tips after the jump.

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Tyler Clementi

Over the past few days, we’ve learned a lot about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers college student and talented violinist who killed himself after his roommate streamed, live on the internet, a hidden webcam video of Tyler hooking up with another man. On September 22, a few days after the incident, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Former ATL editor Kashmir Hill has learned even more. She’s been tracking Clementi’s digital footprints, and found that he went to a message board for gay men seeking counsel after he learned of his roommate’s prank.

I used the word “prank” because that’s how I see the actions of Tyler Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi. Ravi is an 18-year-old kid in his first semester at college. Along with a friend, Molly Wei, Ravi pulled a prank on his new roommate — one that went horribly wrong.

Because Clementi killed himself, the media has worked itself into a rabid lather over Ravi’s and Wei’s actions. The story was all over the New York Times yesterday. Michael Daly criticized Ravi so harshly I thought I was reading about some kind of modern day Billy Zabka in the New York Daily News this morning. Some gay rights groups want Ravi to be charged with a hate crime.

Before we crucify this college freshman, I have a couple of questions…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Invasion of Privacy or College Prank Gone Wrong (or Both)? What to Do With Tyler Clementi’s Roommate”

Almost two years ago, I joined Twitter to help find a publisher for a book I was writing. A couple weeks later, a friend I followed on Twitter asked, “Does anybody know a contracts lawyer?” I responded and won a new client. A lawyer winning business on Twitter was somewhat unusual at that time, but it isn’t anymore. In the 2010 ABA Technology Survey Report, 10% of respondents “had a client retain their legal services as a result of use of online communities/social networking.” While 10% may seem small, it represents a dramatic shift in law firm attitudes towards social media.

So how are the successful attorneys doing it? By personally maintaining a presence online: 56% of attorneys reported having a presence in 2010, up from just 43% in 2009 and 15% in 2008. (In 2008, the social networks mentioned in the survey were Facebook, Second Life and LawLink — so times have changed a bit.) Bottom line is, there has been a clear shift over the last three years. Take a look at the classic innovation curve:

For those unfamiliar with the Rogers Innovation Curve, think of the first group of innovators as those who stood in line for the first iPhone, and the second group of early adopters as those who did their research and jumped on for the second version of the iPhone. The early majority represents widespread acceptance of the technology, and the late majority is when people like my father (who just recently stopped dictating emails to his secretary) buy iPhones. The laggards are those who have not yet figured out how to turn on their computers.

Participating in social networks is no longer a fringe activity enjoyed by the innovators and early adopters; it is now enjoyed by the early majority and a piece of the late majority. Social networks have hit the mainstream for lawyers, and since lawyers tend to lag behind the rest of the population in acceptance of new technology, I suspect there is even greater penetration among businesses and key decision makers.

How are different groups of lawyers responding to the social networking revolution?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ABA Survey: Lawyers Profiting From Web 2.0″

‘Tis the season to be frantic, especially if you’re an incoming associate at a small law firm. Last November, Elie posed this question to the Biglaw readership: “Bar results are out. Does everyone still have a job?”

I’m really curious to hear how smaller firms are handling this. Generally speaking, you’re closer to the action as a first-year associate at a small firm. Sometimes, you’re knee deep in the action. See, e.g., this email I received from a reader and first-year associate at a small firm:

I draft contracts and other documents largely on my own, they go from me to the principal, back to me for revision, and then to the client/court. I deal with clients all the time. I go to court, mediation, negotiations…

This describes my own experience as a new associate almost exactly. I was expected to be… well, to be an attorney — with most things I was called upon to do requiring a license….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Law Firm Bar Exam Thread: Is Your Job at Stake?”

The news has been all over the place over the past 20 hours, but it seems like a lot of people want to talk about the passing of Greg Giraldo. The comedian died yesterday. TMZ reported that he died of an apparent drug overdose.

What many people didn’t know was that before his comedy career, Giraldo graduated from Harvard Law School and was a lawyer at Skadden.

UPDATE: Lat here. Giraldo also graduated from my alma mater, Regis High School. I’ve heard from a number of fellow Regians who knew him at Regis and/or Columbia; they describe him as a great guy. (Speaking of Regis, I hope to see some of you at the Regis Bar Association reception next month, on October 19.)

Apparently this biographical information has surprised many people, to the point that we’ve received a number of emails asking us if it’s true. Is it that hard to believe that an HLS grad and Skadden associate decided to do something radically different with his life?

I knew about Giraldo’s past, even though he never really talked about it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greg Giraldo, Comedian and Former Lawyer, Dead at 44″

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