October 2014

It’s a dilemma that women have faced for a long time: some of them need to work and take care of their children at the same time. During the recession, the problems for working mothers have been exacerbated. There are fewer jobs, but day care is just as expensive as ever. What are you supposed to do when caught in that bind?

On Craigslist, there’s an attorney trying to find work — which is difficult enough in this economy. But she’s carrying extra baggage: she’s got a one-year-old baby that she says she needs to bring into the office with her every day. She claims she was able to bring the baby into work at her previous office, without a problem. And if there are firms that provide on-site day care, it obviously wouldn’t be a problem.

But if a firm doesn’t have those facilities (either because it is too small or because it decided not to care about such things), then would the firm even give this woman a shot? I mean, we’re talking about a one-year-old, germ-infested, bundle of bawling, in a legal office. Does anybody want a piece of that?

I sure hope this lady is one hell of an attorney…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would You Hire An Attorney Who Needed To Bring Her One-Year-Old To Work?”

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

Social media: They’re all the rage.

And they should be. At a firm, if you could convince half of your lawyers to write intelligent, substantive blog posts twice a week in their areas of expertise, you could stop paying the public relations folks. You’d dominate the web, and reporters from traditional media would beat a path to your url, seeking ideas for stories and comments on hot topics.

(The same holds for many corporations, although it would be the business folks (who are responsible for generating business) and not the in-house lawyers (who are not) who should be hitting the keyboards.)

But firms and corporations don’t do this, for many reasons. First, firms are skeptical; they’re not sure this would work. Second, this requires a large, non-billable commitment of time; many firms (or individual lawyers) aren’t willing to put in the effort. Third, firms are legitimately nervous. What happens when we urge our lawyers or employees to go forth unto the web, and those folks go forth and write embarrassing or crazy stuff, which they inevitably will?

In fact, even if you don’t encourage folks to participate in online discussions, they’ll do it anyway. So social media policies have necessarily become the next rage: How do law firms and corporations protect their institutional interests without unduly interfering with their employees’ right to express themselves online?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Social Media Policies”

We’ve done a lot of stories about alleged thievery at law schools and law firms, and we’ve posted many funny messages from the victims of these crimes looking to get their stuff back. But we haven’t seen anything this elegant before.

Law students tend to ask for their stuff back in an argumentative, logical way, as if they were asking for an order of replevin against the lost-and-found Gods. But at one top law school, a student made a prayer for relief that sounds a little bit more like a prayer, or at least a poem, than a legal argument.

Check it out — it’s really quite pretty…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ode to the Guy Stealing Power”

In an earlier round-up on spring bonus stragglers, we talked about Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis, and Quinn Emanuel. Latham and Kirkland made spring bonus announcements a short while after our post, and now Quinn Emanuel is following suit.

Actually, not “following” — depending on how hard they work, QE associates can beat the market quite handily (as defined by Cravath). Quinn’s bonus structure always has significant escalators for high billable hours, and it’s no different with spring midyear bonuses.

Associates at Quinn who hit 2000 hours will get Cravath-level midyear bonuses. Associates at Quinn who hit 2100 hours will make as much in total bonus money, regular plus midyear, as their counterparts at Cravath. Quinn associates who bill over this mark will take home even more than their Cravath counterparts.

And, ye gods, QE associates can hit some ridiculous billable hour targets if they want to make the most of their time at Quinn….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Quinn Emanuel Matches Spring Bonuses at 2000 Hours — Then Things Get Crazy Fun”

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

Ever since I stopped billing by the hour in 2006, lawyers are constantly asking me, “How do you set your prices?” It’s a topic I’ve lectured on and written about frequently, and my new consulting firm, Prefix, LLC, focuses on teaching lawyers how to do it for themselves. But today, I want to turn the question around:

How do you set your billing rates?

It’s an important question, and one you should know the answer to.

I know what the books on starting your own firm say (I’ve read them). Most of them come up with a formula along these lines: Decide how much profit you want to make in a year, add your estimated annual overhead, then divide the sum by the number of hours you think you can bill in a year. That’s your hourly rate.

Yeah, right.

That’s not how anyone sets their billing rates, regardless of what the books say. Instead, their rates are based on three factors.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: How Do You Set Your Billing Rates?”

* Apple was hit with a lawsuit by parents angry that their credit cards were being used by their stupid kids to buy dumb swag in iPhone games. [Time]

* An Italian fortune, an American woman, and the suggestion that paternity sometimes cannot be forcefully established by the simple query “Who dat is?” [New York Times]

* When police use GPS to lojack hoes that drive Volvos and Rodeos, can they do it without a warrant? [WSJ Law Blog]

* An article about the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, or something like that. I’m not sure as I dozed off halfway through, like I regularly did during Ethics class in law school. [ABA Journal]

Eric Holder

* This post details various sports goings-on, like the possible move of the Sacramento Kings and former linebacker and all-around gentleman Bill Romanowski. Because Lat demands all the sports coverage we can find. [Am Law Daily]

* A possible explanation for Geoffrey Fieger’s outstanding website content. Smoking only the finest sticky icky. [Chicago Tribune]

* Eric Holder failed to pay taxes on his dead mother’s house. Until he did. Then the Post ran a story about when he didn’t. After he did. Super cool story, Post. [New York Post]

[T]he never-ending stream of futile petitions suggests that habeas corpus is a wasteful nuisance. By almost any measure, the use, and abuse, of habeas by convicted state prisoners is a failure, one that could corrode one of the most revered pillars of our legal system.

– Professors Joseph Hoffmann and Nancy King, in an interesting and persuasive New York Times op-ed piece, arguing that habeas review of state criminal cases should be limited to “capital cases and cases in which the prisoner can produce persuasive new evidence of his innocence.”

On Friday, the firm of Mayer Brown announced supplemental bonuses for its U.S.-based associates (a few hours before Quinn Emanuel, which we’ll write up on Monday; we try to limit weekend writing because so few of you are around to read it).

Mayer Brown is using the Cravath spring bonus scale (shocker). The bonuses will be paid on or about May 13, 2011.

One MB tipster was pleasantly surprised: “I can barely believe it.” A second source was quite happy: “General reaction seems to be very positive, at least in the Chicago office.”

There are some eligibility requirements. Let’s take a look….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Mayer Brown Announces Supplemental Bonuses”

Talk about the branches getting together! I’ll have to show up.

– Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), reacting to the prospect of Justice Sonia Sotomayor joining the congressional women’s softball team.

Yale Law School

* The delightful Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, daughter of Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, explains how she turned out so normal, despite having a Tiger Mother. [new tiger in town]

* Elsewhere in Yale Law School news, congrats to YLS student Vanessa Selbst, who successfully defended her title at the North American Poker Tour championship at Mohegan Sun. How much did she win this year? [Law Shucks]

* Selbst won her money in person — which is lucky, because the feds just brought the hammer down on online poker. [New York Times]

* Speaking of money, here are some ideas for how to spend your spring bonus money. [Vault]

* There are too many wives conflicting judicial authorities in this litigation involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. [Salt Lake Tribune]

* Some tips for young lawyers looking to get active online. [An Associate's Mind]

* Instead of adopting humane practices, Iowa farmers and ranchers would rather cover up the way they kill animals and slaughter the First Amendment while they’re at it. [Legal Planet]

* When extreme pro-life views turn monstrous, they reduce women to mere vessels, who exist only as incubators. Check out this Indiana woman who is being charged with murder for attempting to kill herself while pregnant. [Feministe]

* Okay, we’ve extracted our pound of flesh from Professor Stephen Bainbridge. Can we please move on now? [The Daily Bruin]

* Justice Kennedy on the “quiet revolution” wrought by information technology with respect to coverage of the Supreme Court. [Josh Blackman]

* Don’t forget: the deadline for the ATL Law Revue Contest is this SUNDAY, APRIL 17, at 11:59 PM (Eastern time). [Above the Law]

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