August 2014

The best time for law school emails is right before spring semester finals. People have been stressed for an entire year and things are just about to get worse, so you see law students just breaking down. The Crimson DNA affair came to light last April; hopefully we’ll get something good this year too.

The second best time to gawk at law students is right now — after Christmas break, but before spring break. Students come back to school and momentarily feel like they matter, like they’re important, like they should speak up when things happen to them.

Like a bear, I feast on the salmon run that comes at the end of the semester, but I’m more than happy to sample the berries and other fruits that become available at this particular time of year. Just this week, we’ve seen a Georgetown kid tell his classmates he is no cheater. We’ve got the BU kid who posted his grades on Facebook.

Today we’ve got pure gold from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Law students can bring the crazy on their own, but they’re so much more interesting when you can put two of them in a room together. Then you can just watch the sparks fly.

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When asked for some 2011 predictions by the folks over at Hellerman Baretz, I had this to say (among other commentary): “Although business is generally picking up, some firms still haven’t managed to shake off the effects of the recession — and they are now seeing significant defections, as their partners leave for firms that have weathered the storm better. So, in the next year, look for at least one large — i.e., Am Law 200 — law firm to either dissolve or be swallowed up by another firm as an alternative to dissolution.”

One firm that has been experiencing some major partner departures and general upheaval is Howrey. This post is the first of what we expect to be a series of stories about the firm. If you have information about Howrey that you can share, please email us or text us.

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the partner defections at Howrey. But let’s give it a shot, as well as talk about various Howrey offices that might not be long for this world….

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It makes sense for anyone contemplating law school to make sure he or she has a passion for the profession. Your friend would have to consciously be avoiding stories about unemployed law school graduates if she knows nothing about this. But perhaps, since you say she is a worrier, she doesn’t want to dwell on what the world will look like three or more years from now when she graduates. She wants to be a lawyer, so there’s no reason for you to fill her with your doubts.

— Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, answering a Slate reader’s question about whether she should warn her friend and roommate about the perils of going to law school.

It’s the new year – time to dust off that résumé.  Even if you are happy with your 2010 bonus and not ready to jump ship just yet, you never know when you might get a call about a job opportunity that you simply can’t pass up.  Or maybe you have been searching for a new job for a while now, with no luck.

With recruiting departments receiving hundreds or even thousands of résumés for a single job opening, your résumé only has a 30- to 60-second window to be reviewed before it gets forwarded to the hiring attorney or ends up in the trash.  Is your résumé ready to land you an interview?

This week’s Expert Insights article, brought to you by Lateral Link, gives you advice to help you re-evaluate your résumé to make it an effective marketing tool in your job search….

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Everybody loves law school rankings, but these are special. These rankings are not based on a formula developed in secret by statisticians or prestige gurus. These rankings are put together by you. By us. By the mass of humanity that makes up the general mob. These rankings are crowdsourced.

The Conglomerate is putting together rankings based on what we think. But they’re not going with a straight popular vote. Instead, they’ve got a brilliant set up where they ask you to make a series of comparisons. Which law school do you think is better: SMU or Maryland? The rankings are based on answers to almost 200 questions like that.

I only answered 20 questions, but I’ll do the rest as soon as I get a free moment. It’s fun. Widener or Arkansas? Connecticut or Hastings? Screw what U.S. News thinks, what do you think?

And the results so far are pretty cool too…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

“No surprises.”

When you interview for an in-house job as head of litigation, that’s what everyone — CEO, CFO, General Counsel — is likely to say: “All we want is to know in advance what’s happening. Don’t hit us with last minute litigation surprises.”

That characterization is only half true. Half the job is what you would actually expect, and why someone would actually pay money for a person to do this gig: Half the job is to minimize liability. That task, at least, requires a law degree and a little bit of skill.

But, remarkably, the other half of the job — avoiding surprises — is the aspect that seemingly draws the ire of the folks who run the joint. And that task is one that the kid down the block ought to be able to do with about fifteen minutes of training: How hard can it be to avoid surprises?

Piece of cake, right? Just track developments in all of the pending cases, estimate settlement values or likely verdicts, and flood the C-suites with information. Put together a calendar of every major event in every major case over the coming six months. Winning cases can occasionally be hard, but just tracking them? Nothing to it.

Remarkably, that isn’t true. There are five main reasons why it’s hard merely to track cases (and their values) and thus to avoid surprises, and outside counsel are responsible for three of the five….

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* Modesty reared its ugly head after Jersey Shore’s JWoWW discovered that she might not be able to cash in on her naked photos. [New York Law Journal]

* Which is Mayor Bloomberg more pissed about — that some more ice melt could’ve saved a life, or that it could’ve saved $20 million? [Wall Street Journal]

* No more time outs for federal prosecutors behaving badly. Thanks to Eric Holder, they’ll be subject to a much swifter spanking. [USA Today]

* You really can get anything on Groupon, even legal services. What you can’t get is your dignity back after peddling coupons for cash. [ABA Journal]

* A lawsuit that’s sure to balloon into notoriety. If copying Jeff Koons is wrong, then I don’t want to be copyright. [New York Times]

* Failing the bar exam is one thing, but failing to sell your law degree on eBay is quite another. Resume Goddess did both. [Out of the Storm News]

* R. Sargent Shriver, former Fried Frank name partner, R.I.P. [Associated Press]

Two people from my high school got into the same college I did. We were all in the top 10 of our class, but none of us were in the top 5. One was a white guy who was a brilliant piano player. The other was a white girl who excelled at sports. Then there was me. I had the “does lots of activities” application. You know the type of d-bag kid I’m talking about: debate this, mock trial that, sports, school plays, bands.

Also, I’m black. Do you think that might have had something to do with it? I hope it did, since it seems to me that my race is at least as much of a factor in what I may add to an incoming college class as whether I could play the piano or dominate in field hockey.

Of course, saying race can be a factor in college admissions is controversial. A certain segment of the population gets all bent out of sorts when a “deserving” white student potentially gets “passed over” because a college official gave a person of color “extra points” when making up the entering class of students.

I find these arguments totally irrational. If the top five students from my high school were passed over — three Jews and two Asians (you know, the real victims of affirmative action, if there are any) — then who exactly “took” their spots? Me, or the sports chick? And if an Asian guy “takes” my spot, but I bump down the piano player who didn’t score as well as I did, and the piano player takes the spot of some poor Hispanic kid who has never seen a piano in real life, would everybody say that we all got what we deserved?

Coming up with an effective way to balance all of the relevant factors in college admissions is hard. But when race is involved, people don’t want to deal with “hard,” and they don’t want to hear “complicated.” They want simple rules and a few platitudes they can recite on television. After yesterday’s Fifth Circuit decision upholding affirmative action at the University of Texas, the only question is whether the Supreme Court has the will and intellectual rigor to think through something hard, or whether the majority will want to fall back on truisms and clichés…

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* What is the difference between abortion and infanticide? [WSJ Law Blog]

* The House votes to repeal Obamacare. [Politico]

* Today’s decision by the Supreme Court in NASA v. Nelson dodges a big constitutional question — much to the chagrin of Justices Scalia and Thomas. [SCOTUSblog]

* Just like Monica Goodling, Danielle Chiesi admits to “crossing the line.” This afternoon Chiesi pleaded guilty to charges arising out of the Galleon Group insider trading ring. [Dealbreaker]

* Speaking of Wall Street-watching, check out this neat new website, ProxyMonitor.org. As James Copland of the Manhattan Group explains, the site’s comprehensive database of shareholder proposals sheds light on trends in corporate governance. [Point of Law; Proxy Monitor]

* Professor Glenn Reynolds wonders if his fellow Yale Law School graduate, Rep. David Wu (D-OR), has “undergone some sort of personality change.” [Instapundit]

* Congratulations to Amy Chua: she can haz her own internet meme. [BuzzFeed]

* Texas attorneys, you should pay attention to this proposed rule change. [Infamy or Praise]

In 2010, music superstar Lady Gaga earned an estimated $64 million. Meanwhile, legal superstar Lady Kaga — aka Justice Elena Kagan, of the United States Supreme Court — earned considerably less.

For the part of 2010, the Divine Miss K served as Solicitor General, earning an annual salary of $165,300. After her confirmation as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, she got a raise, to $213,900 a year — a healthy income, but less than the base salary of a fifth-year associate in a law firm (or the total compensation in 2010, bonus included, of a fourth-year associate). Her income as a justice is also much less than her salary of $437,299 as Harvard Law School dean.

Still, even though Justice Kagan might not be filthy rich, she has done well for herself. At the time of her nomination to SCOTUS, she reported a net worth of around $1.8 million. Given this rosy financial picture, as well as her six-figure income and great job security — it’s rare for a federal judge to be impeached, Judge Porteous notwithstanding — it’s not surprising that Her Honor was recently spotted checking out some pretty pricey D.C. digs.

Where was she looking? And what seems to be her homebuying budget?

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