October 2014

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

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Johnson, asked all of her students to write an essay on who we admired most. My best friend Marni wrote about President George Bush, Sr. She loved America. I wrote about my dad. I loved my family. A classmate named Jay wrote about Ted Turner. He loved money.

Apparently, Jay is not the only person to love money. In fact, I am told that some lawyers chose the profession because they too love money.

Those lawyers work at Am Law 100 firms, right? Not all of them. Not the country’s richest practicing attorney….

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During the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, pushing back start dates was all the rage. Biglaw firms got really creative about when they’d allow people to show up for work.

Now you’re not going to believe this, but it turns out that refusing to let people show up for work created other problems. The deferrals created a backlog of associates that Biglaw has been trying to absorb ever since. At some firms, there are still people who were supposed to be part of the class of 2010 who are waiting to start. At DLA Piper, for instance, some associates in the class of 2010 won’t be able to start until January 2012.

So where does that leave the class of 2011? If you are lucky enough to have a Biglaw job lined up for after graduation, will you be able to start on time? With a few notable exceptions, last year took us back closer to start date normalcy.

Early indications suggest that 2011 will continue that trend….

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Willie Nelson

* In Louisiana, girls must wear traditional dresses to the prom. Another tradition for girls in Louisiana is to marry your brother. Maybe traditions aren’t that great. [Daily Comet]

* Double bagging it: not just for skanky girls and groceries. A lawyer divulges the details of his love affair with plastic bags. [Wall Street Journal]

* Willie Nelson, it’s time to lip sync… for your life! The famous pot connoisseur will sing between tokes to avoid a jail sentence. [Daily Mail]

* If Eminem had one wish, he’d ask for a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss. Time to pucker up, record labels. [New York Times]

* Facebook Places is finally useful for something. Mark Zuckerberg: Told ya, Ceglia. – at Palo Alto, California with Domicile. [Reuters]

* Sean Penn finds himself wondering if time spent with Lindsay Lohan will count toward his community service requirement. [New York Post]

* Harvard lawyers, you so TTT. You can’t include your dog’s vet bill as an exhibit in a foreclosure case just because you’re covered in ivy. [Blog of Legal Times]


In 1995, Betty Dukes took a job at a Wal-Mart near San Francisco, working as a cashier and greeter for $5 an hour. A “greeter” represents the face of the company as consumers walk through the door. Little did Dukes and Wal-Mart know that Dukes would ultimately become a face of Wal-Mart nationally, under much different circumstances. 

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Dukes is now the lead plantiff in a gender bias suit that may become the largest class action in American history, with attorneys for Dukes seeking to represent a class of possibly 1.6 million women. SCOTUS will be determining if the plaintiff cases against Wal-Mart are sufficiently related for them to be certified as a class. 

So what does this have to do with legal technology, which is what I cover for ATL? Everything. And no matter what the court decides, the legal and technological ramifications of this case do not bode well for the retail giant… 

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It’s frigid in the Northeast, but the cold temperatures can’t obscure all the signs that spring is upon us. America is engaged in an unnecessary military action in the Middle East, purported Wake Forest Law students are freaking out, and I’m talking myself into a Mets ticket package. Yeah baby, spring is in the air.

And so it’s time for another rite of spring: Above the Law’s annual Law Revue video contest. For the third year in a row, we will be accepting submissions for the funniest law-student-generated video clip of the year. The Annual Law Revue (or whatever the parody show is called at your law school) allows students to poke fun at law and life. And now, thanks to the wonder of file-sharing sites, the musical creations last beyond the run of the show, and can be enjoyed (or hated) over and over again on YouTube. We’ll watch all the videos, and you guys will vote for the best.

Last year, Northwestern took home the honors with a brilliant parody of an Annie Lennox song. Check it out to see a winning effort.

As in any contest, THERE ARE RULES. The rules are listed below. Since many of you aspire to be lawyers, we trust that you are CAPABLE OF FOLLOWING RULES. Those who do not follow rules will be punished, in this life and the next….

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Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo

* Over the weekend, while I was at the gym, I listened to this engaging and entertaining podcast, with Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo. They discuss Libya, Obamacare, and — perhaps most interesting for ATL readers — the U.S. News law school rankings (around the 13-minute mark). [Ricochet (subscription); accessible for free for ATL readers over here (mp3)]

* Speaking of law professors and Libya, my friend and former co-clerk, Professor William Birdthistle, is writing an interesting series of posts about his childhood in that now war-torn land. The first appears here. [The Conglomerate]

* Joining the ranks of law professors: former Supreme Court shortlister Larry Thompson, who’s retiring as general counsel of PepsiCo and entering legal academia. [Corporate Counsel]

* Hey Raj Rajaratnam, look on the bright side: at least you’re not Barry Bonds. [Dealbreaker]

* A close and critical look at the PayScale salary data used by Forbes in its recent analysis of law school graduate salaries (as well as its ranking of “best law schools for getting rich”). [Constitutional Daily]

Ken Kratz wins 'The Prize' of no criminal charges.

* A post-mortem for Yoss LLP (formerly known as Adorno & Yoss), the once high-flying Florida law firm. [Daily Business Review (registration) via WSJ Law Blog]

* Former Wisconsin D.A. Ken Kratz, of “I am the prize” fame, won’t face criminal charges. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

* Good news for same-sex, bi-national married couples confronting immigration issues. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Adrian Dayton asks: Are referrals still more important than law blogs for developing business? [Marketing Strategy and the Law]

* Blawg Review #304 has a timely theme — “Spooked by Nukes” — as well as some cool photography. [Declarations and Exclusions via Blawg Review]

Madam Justice Lori Douglas, clothed.

It’s been a while since we last checked in on Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas, the Canadian jurist featured in pornographic photos that found their way to the internet. Today we have an update.

The update relates to Justice Douglas’s husband, Jack King — the Canada lawyer responsible for posting the pictures of his wife engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and administering fellatio, among other activities….

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Have you no sense of decency, sir? Have you left no sense of decency, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern?

The law firm that “specializes” in World Trade Center aftermath issues has already drawn the ire of the judicial system. The firm represents workers injured in the WTC cleanup, and a federal judge previously benchslapped them for seeking excessive legal fees.

You’d think Worby Groner would try to keep a low profile after that. But the firm’s latest advertising campaign is just tasteless….

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

I was always offended by cronyism.

The new managing partner, or CEO, or whoever, comes on board, and he throws out the old guard and brings in his new guys — blatant cronyism. This always bothered me.

I was wrong. I’ve recently become a big believer in cronyism.

But perhaps that’s because I’ve recently changed my perspective.

I’ve now lived a fairly long legal life, and I’ve seen an awful lot of lawyers in action. Let’s say that, over the course of a few decades, I’ve worked sufficiently closely with 1,000 lawyers to be able to assess intelligently which of the thousand are good and which ones aren’t.

Of the thousand lawyers, 200 suck. They’re just abysmal, and you wouldn’t use them for anything….

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On Friday, Ropes & Gray and Latham announced spring bonuses. This morning we heard from Kirkland & Ellis. Firms are finally getting the message: spring bonuses are what big firms are doing this year.

So let’s keep the good times rolling. Earlier today, Proskauer Rose announced that it would be joining the spring bonus mania. And like many of the recent spring bonus firms, Proskauer is spreading the love beyond New York: L.A., D.C., and Chicago are all getting in on the spring bonuses.

(You hear that, Gibson Dunn?)

Let’s learn more about the Proskauer spring bounty, and see the memo….

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