April 2014

I am a lawyer by creation, but not by practice. I’m a lawyer technically, but I wouldn’t hire me to write your will.

– Columbia law professor Tim Wu, in an interview with the New York Times about his new book, The Master Switch.

Once again, fear, overreaction, and the Nanny State have crushed liberty and common sense. Four Loko, a caffeinated, alcoholic beverage, will no longer be distributed in New York State. This follows previous Four Loko bannings in Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma.

Good job parents, you’ve succeeded in making a foul tasting alcoholic beverage the most sought after item at college parties. Because telling kids that they can’t have something always works so much better than educating them about proper use and moderation, right? “Just say no to drinking Four Loko!” (Instead, funnel it on an empty stomach if you really want to get wasted.) Oh wait, was that supposed to be a secret? Well you know parents, if your kids don’t learn how to drink from you, I guess they’ll have to learn it from me.

How obvious is it that all of this government attention is helping Four Loko sales? So obvious that the makers of Four Loko agreed to the ban voluntarily. It’s like that scene in Jedi only if Four Loko was the Emperor sitting there saying “Take your Government weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.”

I am taking crazy pills, or is the government playing right into the hands of Four Loko makers?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nannies Win: Four Loko Stops Shipments to New York State”

Welcome to the second installment of Under the Shingle, an occasional round-up of news and musings from the world of small firms and solo practitioners. In other words, you get a break from me — mostly.

I’ve added a bit of play-by-play to explain and connect these links, which cover such topics as the intersection of solo firms and SCOTUS, solos going big, and the big bad ABA trying to put their laws on your solo body.

Solo to SCOTUS:
A 33-year-old solo on why he left his Biglaw office in favor of working out of a spare bedroom and having his mother as his paralegal: “I wanted to create my own reality.” Well, now his reality includes SCOTUS experience after being granted cert at the last second. Before any of you aspiring solos out there get too excited, know this: his reality also includes borrowing cash from his little brother and eating a lot of PB&Js.

More links, after the jump.

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He probably would have made a great modern law professor, but Aristotle would be a crappy practicing attorney.

Here’s an argument you don’t hear everyday: law firms who hire the smartest people are hurting their business.

That’s the gist of the argument by Bill Henderson, a professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law who studies the legal profession (and whom we’ve quoted often in these pages). At least if we define “smart” as people who did very well on the LSAT and go to the “best” (as in highest-ranked) law schools. Henderson says that there are a lot of different skills that go into being a profitable lawyer, and being a slightly better standardized test taker than somebody else is not the most important of those skills.

Hey, you know what Aristotle says: “I know enough to know that being able to quote myself makes me an over-educated douche who can barely balance my abacus.”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Hiring Smart People Hurt Law Firms?”

* College presidents have no problem putting food on their families. [Bloomberg]

* Legal aid in Florida in need of financial aid. This blurb has aids. [Palm Beach Post]

* Lawsuits are the new synthetic collateralized debt obligations. Amirite? [New York Times]

* A dead son, an unusual sentence, and the most riveting thing you’ll read today. [St. Petersburg Times via WSJ Law Blog]

* We’re now going to play a game called “Equity Partners Win.” It’s real simple. No matter what you do…equity partners win. [Am Law Daily]

* The dulcet tones of Charlie Rangel will reverberate throughout the capitol today as he defends himself in his ethics trial. [Washington Post]

* Will the last lawyer working on Joe Miller’s campaign turn out the lights? [Huffington Post]

You have to wonder what amount of research the student in question pursued before deciding that law school was a good idea, which then leads you to ask whether you’d want him as your lawyer. Sounds like he would be a good candidate for a sub prime interest-only mortgage, until he wanted a bailout on that, too.

– “Steve” of Geneva, NY, whose comment on the New York Times’s Bucks Blog was highlighted in Saturday’s print edition of the Times (page B5).

Warning: golf carts can kill.

* Today the Supreme Court denied the Log Cabin Republicans’ request to dissolve the Ninth Circuit’s stay pending appeal in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” case. Here’s Chris Geidner’s very interesting take on what happened and why it matters. [Metro Weekly]

* In other SCOTUS news, via Tony Mauro, the Court will hand down its first signed opinion of the Term on Monday. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

Random aside: Please email us with news of any Supreme Court clerk hires since our last update. We have almost enough news to do a fresh post.

* Not only this is tragic, but it’s also going to be very, very expensive for someone (and/or their insurer). [TribLocal via Chicago Breaking News]

* Good news for Quinn Emanuel this week in its quest to get paid by the Winklevi (or should that be “Winklevii”?). [Buleyean String / Forbes]

* Maybe Mel Gibson should go to law school. His legal analysis skills need work, and he can certainly afford it. [Radar Online]

This year The Apprentice, a television show in which contestants compete for the privilege of working for Donald Trump, features 16 who are down on their luck, having lost previous jobs or otherwise having to start anew. No fewer than five of them are lawyers.

– from Trouble with the Law, an article about American law school graduates “finding that their chosen career is less lucrative than they had hoped,” in The Economist.

‘Tis the season for… salary surveys. Earlier this week, we discussed the results of Washingtonian magazine’s D.C. lawyer salary survey. The upshot: lawyers in the nation’s capital are doing quite well for themselves.

Today we bring you the results of, and commentary on, a recent in-house counsel salary survey. It was conducted by the Hildebrandt Baker Robbins consulting firm and covered in Corporate Counsel magazine, among other outlets.

Just like some of the government lawyers and judges discussed in the D.C. salary survey, it seems that corporate counsel have pretty sweet gigs. They earn well into the six figures, without the soul-crushing requirement of billing 2000 or 3000 hours at a sweatshop law firm.

So let’s get to it. What’s the 2010 average base salary for in-house lawyers?

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So you want to go to law school....

Remember the hilarious So You Want To Go To Law School video? The genius behind it, Virginia lawyer David Kazzie, recently sat down with The Careerist to share the backstory behind the video (which was one of the 25 most-viewed videos last month in YouTube’s film/animation section).

So who is David Kazzie? And has he done other law-related videos?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “So You Want to Go to Law School: The Backstory, and a Sequel”

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