October 2014

* “As virtually any clown can attest, no one owns the idea of making a balloon dog.” Jeff Koons was on the wrong side of this awesome legal beatdown. [Freakonomics / New York Times]

* In honor of his memory, a new federal courthouse in Arizona will be named after Judge John M. Roll. [CNN]

* Sorry for the diabeetus. AstraZeneca apologized to its schizophrenic pill-poppers to the tune of $150M. At least that’s what the voice in their heads said. [Bloomberg]

* Didn’t this taco belle know that the value of her beauty queen contract would be diminished by the inflation of her ass? [San Antonio Express-News]

* Witch Law: brought to you by Malawi, the same place where it’s illegal to fart. The Harry Potter franchise must not be doing so well over there. [New York Times]

* In a $150M legal battle between a jailhouse lawyer and a Hofstra Law grad, who will win? Whose “degree” is more TTT? [New York Law Journal]

* A woman filed – and then dropped — a lawsuit for $5M over 80 cents. This must be a pitch for a new Bravo series: The Real Cheap Housewives of New Jersey. [New York Post]

* The Feds may have cash for clunkers, but Pennsylvania’s got cash for kids. The food in the jury room must be delicious if they’re taking this long to convict. [Wilkes-Barre Times Leader]

* Copywrong: exploiting copyright law to extort money over a photo of a little girl who died tragically is pretty disgusting. [KGUN9]

Hastings law professor Clark Freshman

* Do not handcuff law professors and search their homes for drugs unless you are absolutely sure you are right. [SF Weekly]

* Facebook adds relationship status options for “civil union” and “domestic partnership.” [Huffington Post]

* Quick, 1Ls: Do I need an easement or a covenant to erect a 24-foot cross that shines into my neighbor’s bedroom? [Pat's Papers]

* Hopefully the Alabama fan who took out his sporting frustrations on oaks in Auburn gets the stiffest possible penalty the locals can devise. [ESPN]

* Do you think we need copyright law to get “the next Shakespeare”? Do you really think that? Seriously guys: better a witty fool than a foolish wit. [Instapundit]

* South Dakota shelves a bill that might have made killing abortion doctors justifiable homicide. That’s good; it was going to cost a lot of money to place blindfolds on Mt. Rushmore so our forefathers couldn’t see our shame. [New York Times]

* Allen Stanford wants the SEC to pay him $7.2 billion for violating his constitutional rights. Who knew Stanford was being held in the same cell as Jonathan Lee Riches? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Hang on, back up a minute. Are we entirely sure we want people with brain injuries driving in the first place? [Law and Biosciences Digest]

* I don’t know what I think about girls entering wrestling tournaments with boys. Hockey is fine, but wrestling? I don’t know if it’s the violence, the intimate positions, or ingrained sexism that makes me uncomfortable. [Des Moines Register]

* If the District of Columbia were demographically similar to Madison, Wisconsin, instead of Atlanta, Georgia, they’d have voting representation in Congress with no problem. [DCist]

In Part 1 of the Career Center survey results on debt, we reported that 85% of the 3,700 survey respondents have outstanding student loan debt, with more than half of them owing $100,000 or more. We also found that 75% of respondents considered their debt at least as much as other factors when deciding on where to work.  Today, we’ll take a look at a further breakdown of these numbers by job sector and amount of debt.

But first, let’s examine the extremes: respondents with the most debt, and respondents with no debt….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: A Generation of Debtors (Part 2)”

Milbank Tweed? More like Milbank Cashmere. Associates at the firm can treat themselves to some luxury goods this weekend, in anticipation of the cash that’s coming their way in a few weeks.

Earlier today, the firm announced that it will be matching the Cravath spring bonuses. It’s a pleasant surprise to some….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Milbank Makes Bank, Matches Cravath Spring Bonuses”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

I moved from Biglaw to a small firm in 2008. I had heard the term “litigation boutique” used positively. Also, I had heard tales of Biglaw associates going on to small firms and doing great things (although I did not actually know any). But, other than that “information,” I had no idea how to go about researching and choosing a small firm. Other associates who have chosen to go small have told me similar stories. There’s very little information about the various small law firms. Indeed, there is no Vault Guide and, until recently, no big-mouthed small firm associates sharing their tales.

So, what did I do? I got a headhunter and took her sales pitch as truth.

Times are different now. Not only because you have me (i.e., your greatest resource for information on small law firms; except, of course, for Jay), but also because headhunters are not as prevalent as they used to be. This is because, obviously, there are fewer jobs and because a lot of small firms have stopped using headhunters (query whether using headhunters is ever a good idea when going small — discuss).

Why is there so little information out there about small law firms?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: How Small Is Too Big? A Vocabulary Lesson”

I should have written about this days ago, but the pain was still too near to me. The humans have lost to the machines. We might as well start digging towards the Earth’s core, where it’s still warm, and start building our own Zion.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the terrifying story of “Watson.” It’s a computer built by IBM that just kicked Ken Jennings’s ass on Jeopardy. If you are not particularly scientifically inclined, I can see how that might not sound like a big deal. You probably remember Deep Blue beating chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and think that this kind of thing has been happening for a while.

That’s just what the machines want you to think. Teaching a computer to understand the subtle nuances of trivia — the puns, the innuendos, the ordering of information — is frightening. It’s a lot different than writing an algorithm that allows a machine to work through all possible chess moves and pick the correct one.

It makes you wonder: “What else could a computer be taught to do?” Over at the WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones wonders if the answer might be, “Your job”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I, For One, DO NOT Welcome Our New Computer Overlords”

We all know that in this legal economy, 1L grades are critically important. There aren’t enough good jobs to go around, and coming out of your first semester with a strong transcript can really help. This is why some law students flip out over changes (real or perceived) to grading policies or curves.

But getting a bad grade is not the end of the world. Performing well on law school exams is a skill, one that doesn’t come naturally to everybody. And in light of the length of a person’s entire legal career, it’s kind of amazing that people stress out so much over 1L transcripts.

At Columbia Law School, the administration wants first-year students to keep a sense of perspective about their grades. In a very nice gesture, Dean of Students Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin sent the 1Ls a nice message that highlighted some of the poor grades achieved by some Columbia’s own faculty.

The message was clearly “Everything is going to be fine.” But not all Columbia students took it that way…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Columbia Reassures 1Ls By Sharing Professors’ Dirty Transcript Secrets”

We recently wondered, in the wake of Cadwalader announcing spring bonuses, whether Willkie Farr (and several other top New York firms) might follow suit.

Well, the wait is over. Willkie has announced spring bonuses, on the top-of-the-line Cravath scale….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie Matches the Cravath Spring Bonuses!”

The jury verdict in the attempted-murder trial of Temple Law student Gerald Ung came out on Tuesday, but people are still talking about the case.

Some readers have complained about our repeated use of Gerald Ung’s mugshot to illustrate our stories. In yesterday’s linkwrap, we mixed it up a bit, using a more formal photo of Ung.

The other day, a reader sent us a more colorful image of this new celebrity of the legal profession….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Portrait of the Temple Law Shooter as a Young(er) Man”

In a postcript to our detailed post speculating about the future direction of the spring bonus phenomenon, we noted “an isolated report of one firm on the S&C spring bonus scale going back and raising to the Cravath scale,” but said we required additional corroboration.

We now have the requisite confirmation. On Tuesday, Simpson Thacher — which was the first firm to match the Sullivan & Cromwell spring bonuses, and therefore crucial in helping the S&C bonuses spread to other firms — announced that it would adopt the Cravath spring bonus scale (which is even higher than S&C’s).

Let’s go back to our listing of which firms have announced spring bonuses at which levels. Now that STB has raised to Cravath levels, only Sullivan & Cromwell and Cleary Gottlieb remain on the lower scale.

What will happen next?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Simpson Raises to Cravath Spring Bonus Scale”

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