October 2014

Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, is available on Amazon.

My client was sitting at her desk, drafting a complicated, rushed memo. The topic was an obscure derivative. She’d worked all weekend, then come in again early. Her head hurt. It was due at 5 p.m. She could barely focus and was feeling panicked. It was 4 p.m.

The phone rang. Not thinking, she picked up and barked her last name, sharply, like the partner she worked for did.


It was her ninety-two-year-old grandmother.

“How are you, Sweetheart?”

My client couldn’t stop crying.

“All she did was ask how I was,” she told me. “That’s all it took. I fell apart.”

When you enter the world of Biglaw, you pass through a ritual of initiation – LSAT, law school, bar exam, interviews.

Then you enter the bubble…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Don’t Forget”

* If I had a nickel for every federal judge who dismissed a challenge to Obamacare, I’d have fifteen cents. Come to think of it, phrasing it that way doesn’t illustrate a whole lot. Oh well. [New York Times]

* Tennessee seeks to outdumb every other state with a proposal that would make it a felony for any person to follow sharia law. Your move, Mississippi. [The Tennessean]

* Albany Law School of Union University is downsizing, but will likely still keep all three T’s. [National Law Journal]

* The Supreme Court ruled that a 1986 law precluded plaintiffs from suing vaccine-makers in state courts. In your face, Jenny McCarthy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “Top SEC lawyer and his bros inherited $1.5M in Madoff profits.” [New York Post]

* The FBI is being sued for sending an informant to infiltrate a California mosque. Instead of War on Poverty, they got a War on Terrorism so the police can bother me. [Washington Post]

* New York City parks are the newest places to go smoke-free. If we smoke, do we not bleed? [CNN]

Last week, we briefly mentioned the situation of Lawrence Connell. Connell is the Widener Law School professor who wrote a hypothetical involving him killing the dean of Widener Law.

Was the hypo in poor taste? Probably. At the very least it was somewhat disrespectful to his boss. But people are making a huge deal about this. I mean, it wasn’t like Connell wrote a fantasy, or a theory. He wasn’t plotting to kill the dean. He wrote an exam question, a law school hypothetical. I had a professor “hypothetically” fail me during an exam question (I got a B-something in the class I think). These hypos really aren’t that big of a deal.

I don’t expect laypeople to understand this, but I’d expect law students and professors to get it.

But not the educational professionals at Widener. In fact, the school is still kind of fanning the flames of this issue…

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

* Umm… did Wisconsin get transferred to North Africa or something? I think we need a speech from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker where he says he’s in Madison but we all know he’s in Toronto. [The Awl]

* Screw this. I’m going to write a “Tiger Mother” book. Battle Hymn of the Angry Black Man. [The Conglomerate]

* This is probably racist for me to say, but for some reason this post made me think of the old Living Color sketch on the invention of “Git It Yo Self Service.” [Securing Innovation]

* Here’s some more analysis of the NFL labor situation. It’s pretty interesting, but if you thought I was going to get through the whole day without saying Carmellllloooooooo ANTHONY, you just haven’t been listening to me. [Huffington Post]

* Five very obvious reasons you should think carefully before going to law school. [Everything to Win]

* When I see the “peace” symbol, I don’t think of peace. I think of LSD. Am I alone on that? And why does my spine hurt? [Work Product via Blawg Review]

If you’re a law student and think you’ll make $140,000 right out of law school, you’re an idiot.

Gary Roberts, dean of the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, in an interview with the Indiana Lawyer (subscription).

How long do we have to live under the world view of this prude?

Well now this would be interesting. Can you imagine living in a world where the United Kingdom wasn’t the worldwide meeting place for pissed off celebrities with no grounds for defamation/libel lawsuits?

It could happen. According to reports, Deputy British Prime Minister Nick Clegg is sick of England being a “laughing stock” when it comes to its plaintiff-friendly libel laws.

That would be awesome. I’m sick of living in fear that Harvard will sue me in the U.K. for defaming their existence by possessing their degrees…

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For all you know, everybody in this picture hates each other and are about to engage in gladiatorial combat.

We all know how important the U.S. News Law School Rankings are to our system of legal education. The jobs of law school deans depend on the rankings, and they therefore significantly impact what law schools are willing or able to do. It’s crazy that a for profit magazine has so much power over the future of legal education, but that power is well established and undeniable.

Given the importance of U.S. News, I understand why diversity proponents want the publication to start counting “diversity” as a data point when compiling the annual rankings. If you want law school deans to pay attention to something, you have to use small words and speak in the language of U.S. News. If the magazine started caring about law school diversity today, law schools would really start caring tomorrow.

But that doesn’t mean including a “diversity” component in the rankings would be a good idea. That’s just a half measure (and a confusing one to boot) that doesn’t get the heart of any kind of real problem…

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Last month, we reported that 66% of survey respondents had to work on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with 32% of respondents’ firms not even recognizing it as an official firm holiday.  In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, we want to find out whether you were on or off the clock on Presidents Day.

Check back later this week for the survey results.

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor

Oh, condominiums. To own your own box of air in the sky, subject to the terms and conditions of your neighbors and building managers. Lex Luthor always had this right: either you own land or ponces wearing underwear on the outside can swoop in and ruin your good time.

We’ve got a couple of lawyer/condo issues floating around, so let’s tackle them together. We’ve got a Miami judge who allegedly likes to kick in doors to her own unit. And we’ve a New York lawyer who wants satisfaction over 109 missing square feet…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between you and Above the Law. It may also constitute attorney advertising, depending on the state you’re in (such as boredom or apathy). Please consult the laws of your jurisdiction. If you have received this post in error, please print it and mail it to Elie. Then delete it (the post, not Elie) from your computer.

That’s right kids: I’m writing about email footers. Squee! I noticed that when Mark Herrmann wrote about email subject lines, he whipped the Commenting Class into a frenzy. Well, get out the chum buckets, Captain Quint.

Nothing says “lawyers” like a good generic email footer. They first appeared around the turn of the century, soon after law firms begrudgingly accepted that “The Email” was here to stay. (Though I’ve heard that some firms still use fax machines. Perhaps only because their telex machines are busted.)

Like most things lawyers create, standard email footers were born out of fear. Such as fear that a single email exchange would lead some moron to think that he’d entered into an attorney-client relationship. Or fear that the authorities would consider an email about lunch plans to be improper attorney advertising. Or fear that an email containing a drunk-kitty YouTube video would somehow destroy someone’s attorney-client privilege.

As if.…

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