July 2014

She's not the only one we'll have betrayed.

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 (affiliate link).

I raced downstairs to break the news: I’m leaving. I got a new, non-legal job at a major online book-seller.

The reception at the firm gym wasn’t what I expected. My favorite trainer looked pensive, mumbled “good for you, man,” then gave me a half-hearted fist bump. The other two trainers, both women, exchanged looks. One grimaced, and quipped to the other, “see, I told you – the nice ones always leave.” She caught my glance, and turned serious. “Hey, it’s good news. We’ll miss you, that’s all.”

The nice ones always leave.

My client ran into this phenomenon recently. She’s a first year, assigned to a major case with two senior associates. The partner’s missing in action, so she and the two seniors are running the show…

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I hope you are happy, Birthers.

In an amazing concession to the lunatic fringe in America, President Barack Obama has released his “long form” birth certificate from Hawaii.

Actually, check that, using the word “released” adopts the narrative of the crazies. It’s more accurate to say that the President of the United States successfully begged Hawaii for a document it doesn’t normally issue in an effort to appease the dumbest of his political rivals.

Check it out. And then let’s move on…

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* Where’s the beef now, bitch? If Beasley Allen doesn’t apologize to Taco Bell, the company is going to fight fire with fire sauce. [New York Post]

* When your online boyfriend sounds like he should be a member of the X-Men, it may be time to reconsider the state of your love life — or sue about it. [Chicago Tribune]

* Who would’ve thought that you could launder drug money by depositing it into a law firm checking account? That’s actually pretty creative. [The Crime Scene / Washington Post]

* For Clarence Thomas, speaking in a cornfield is a bigger priority than speaking on the bench. He’ll be giving the “cocement” address at Nebraska Law next week. [Journal Star]

* Puncture, starring Mark Lanier as Mark Lanier. Yes, that Mark Lanier. Hopefully his acting chops measure up to his lawyering skills. [WSJ Law Blog]

* David Patton is now the head of New York’s federal public defender’s office. He looks like a hotter version of Mr. Clean. [City Room / New York Times]

* Things I like: pedicures at the spa. Things I don’t like: fish munching on my feet during pedicures at the spa. In Arizona, this freaky foot fetish may be constitutionally protected. [ABA Journal]

We are almost three months into my one-woman quest to convince the world (or at least ATL readers) that bigger is not always better. Isn’t that why Jamie Oliver is moonlighting as a lunch lady? Unfortunately, some people still are not convinced. So I called in an expert, Steven Harper (previously featured here).

Harper, a Kirkland & Ellis partner turned novelist, has been studying and writing about attorney unhappiness and Biglaw for some time. He also teaches a class to undergraduates at Northwestern University entitled “American Lawyers – Demystifying the Profession.” The class, which is now in its fourth year, offers undergrads “ten weeks of reality therapy” about what it means to be a lawyer. Although most of the students end up going on to law school, at least they are better informed.

What wisdom does Harper impart to his young charges?

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Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker has issued what appears to be his final decision about the Rob Portman fiasco. The Dean has listened to all the relevant constituencies and decided that pulling Rob Portman might cause more long term harm. And so Portman is going to be allowed to speak. Dean Caminker announced this in a letter to concerned Michigan Law alumni.

Maybe Dean Caminker is right. I mean, look at what’s happening with King & Spalding. And, to my mind, a big Senior Day protest involving LGBT and straight students at Michigan Law will really show the community just how many people support the cause of equal human rights. So some good may still come out of all of this.

But perhaps the most important thing that has happened here is that Michigan Law and Dean Caminker have learned a lesson about just how far outside the mainstream the anti-marriage-equality people have strayed. This issue seems to have moved beyond our normal partisan debates about debt ceilings and which sovereign nation we should be meddling in this week. This issue is starting to transcend, and I bet Michigan will remember that next year….

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* Everybody wants to take credit for pushing King & Spalding off of DOMA defense. But if I was playing Clue, I’d call “House, in the engagement letter, with the gag order.” [MetroWeekly]

* Texas legislature wants “traditional values” student centers alongside alternative sexuality student centers. You think I’m going to criticize this, but I’m not. You see, when I was in school I fought for on-campus strip clubs with all my heart, so I think this is a great idea. [Inside Higher Ed]

* Seems to me that only a dumbass phone wouldn’t know where it was at all times. (zing) [Not So Private Parts/Forbes]

* J-Crew wants to trademark its leopard print cardigan. When reached for comment, the leopard said “I’m f***ing freezing.” (rimshot) [Fashionista]

* I thought it took two to tango so I didn’t know solos could specialize in reproductive law. (Thank you, thank you, don’t forget to tip your waitresses.) [Solo Practice University]

* The AT&T and T-Mobile merger reminds me of two mid-level associates starved for attention who end up hooking up on the floor of one of their offices — only if after the sloppy and embarrassing make out session they decided to get married. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Wait, now the blind people are going to start applying to law school? [ABA Journal]

* I swear to God, if I see one more anglophile American gong weak in the knees over the royal wedding and I’m going to bring them up on charges of treason. These are MONARCHS we’re talking about, the natural ENEMIES of democracy and liberty. What the hell is wrong with you? [Slate]

Above the Law is partnering with the Electronic Discovery Institute to host a Legal Technology Leadership Summit from September 6 to September 8, 2011. We’ll be bringing together lawyers and technology professionals and offering a special track dealing with digital forensics, managed by the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery. And since this is ATL, we’re rolling to the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.

If your law firm or organization is interested in attending, we’d love to see you. Click here to sign up now.

Patrick Oot, General Counsel and Co-Founder of the Electronic Discovery Institute (“EDI”), described the summit as an opportunity “to provide a setting where thought leaders from large organizations and corporate legal departments can collaborate on the current state of the law pertaining to various uses of digital information.”

Speaking for Above the Law, David Lat noted that legal technology directly impacts the day-to-day life of many of Above the Law’s readers. The summit will bring together counsel from many major corporations and leaders in providing cost-effective technological solutions.

Clients expect their lawyers to be using technology to keep costs down, lawyers expect technology to be intuitive to a bunch of people with liberal arts degrees, and Above the Law expects that putting all these people together will be good for the whole industry. Tech gurus, thought leaders, clients, David Lat and Elie Mystal, and a Florida resort. What could possibly go wrong?

Click after the jump for the full press release from EDI…

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In the first part of our Career Center “Tip of the Day” series, focused on helping you to achieve a work-life balance in your daily schedule, we provided tips aimed at managing your work to help free up time for your personal life. Today, we feature tips aimed at helping you maintain your personal life. Striking the right balance between your personal life, professional life and social life is essential to leading a successful and comfortable life.

On to the tips for maintaining your personal life…

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Oh, I kid the grammar nazis because I’m really bad at it and making jokes is easier than contemplating my own shortcomings. But even I can acknowledge that some typos are distracting. Give me another sentence and I’ll show you — or maybe I have already (that’s an honest question: I’ve got no damn clue just at the moment).

Luckily, I write on the internet, and I have a legion of free copy editors who are happy to help me correct mistakes in real time. If I worked in a more permanent medium… well, let’s just say that I hope that never happens.

Let’s just pray that I’m never in charge of writing copy for people’s graduation ceremonies. Those memories are supposed to last a lifetime and you just wouldn’t want administrative carelessness to ruin anything. You simply don’t want mistakes like this invitation to a law school commencement…

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I graduated from Northwestern Law in 2009. It is now 2011, my loans are coming due (real due — not the fake, put ‘em in forebearance, due of yesteryear), and I am currently “employed” doing two things: reviewing documents at an embarrassing hourly wage on projects that start and stop without any sort of consistency, and writing “jokes” about the Microsoft Zune every weekday morning, every other week. To borrow from David Foster Wallace, this is water.

And so it is with a sick sort of pleasure that I read Professor Paul Campos’s very interesting piece on The New Republic website yesterday. Coupled with Elie’s post on the Biglaw bloodletting, the article tells me what I’ve wanted to know and, in fact, what I’ve been telling my mom for two years now. Namely, that MJ was right. I am not alone.

What is the true state of unemployment for law school graduates? Professor Campos has crunched some numbers….

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