August 2014

* I’m flying this weekend for the first time in over a year (it couldn’t be avoided). I’ll need to brush up on what rights I still retain during air travel. As long as I acknowledge TSA’s droit du seigneur to my wife, I’m allowed to carry an unopened water bottle on board, right? [Legal Blog Watch]

* There’s a statement from the University of Baltimore on the Phillip Closius situation. They say their “forward momentum” will continue. Does that mean they expect future Baltimore Law students to be unable to run a Google search? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Lat imagined a future legal career for Casey Anthony that starts with a Anthony getting a GED (before clerking on the Supreme Court and becoming a law partner of Jose Baez). But doesn’t Hustler seem like something more in her wheelhouse? [Gawker]

* Have we done irreparable damage to our credit rating, unless we can prove we have a legal “fail-safe” in case a vocal Tea Party minority hijacks the entire freaking nation again? [Blackbook Legal]

* Taco Bell employee fired for refusing to get his hair cut. I guess they were worried about 100% real hair mixing with their isolated oat product — er, seasoned beef. [Associated Press]

* Howrey going to massively reduce our assets for bankruptcy reporting purposes? [Chapter11Cases]

It’s time to announce the winner of our most recent caption contest, involving a photograph taken at New York Law School….

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'These MBE questions are way easier than the practice ones!'

We thought we had a winner for most gutsy bar exam performance of July 2011. On Thursday, a woman taking the New Jersey bar exam passed out during the test — then picked herself up off the floor, and went right back to typing.

That’s impressive — but we may have spoken too soon. Here’s a labor-intensive story that tops it.

“A friend of mine went into labor while taking the Illinois bar exam,” a tipster told us. “She calmly finished, went to the hospital, and had her baby an hour or two later. Girl’s a real trooper.”

“A certain Northwestern Law alumna went into labor during the second day of the Illinois bar,” said a second source. “She finished the exam and had her baby, her first, at 5:58 p.m. I think that is worth noting.”

You better believe it’s worth noting. If ever there was a baby immaculately conceived by a lawgiver, this might be the one.

We have all the details — including a picture of the Bar Exam Baby, whom we’ll nickname “Baby Bar”….

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Are law students being financially victimized by their universities?

It’s the not-so-veiled secret of the law school tuition game: law schools are the cash cows of the university system. University presidents, often feeling a budget crunch from a decrease in state educational funding or weak, recession-era fundraising initiatives, know they can get cash out of law schools. For some reason, law students always seem willing to pay more for the same education.

When the New York Times wrote its big exposé on law school funding, I highlighted this exact issue. The most interesting part of that Times article was the research David Segal did into how much money universities take from law school coffers. After the article went up, I wrote: “[N]obody in their right mind would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get additional education in some of this crap, because they know they’ll never make enough to justify the cost. The university needs to subsidize that education in some way — and so they turn to law schools.”

Apparently, we didn’t know the half of it. One brave law school dean has been asked to tender his resignation by his university president. On his way out of the door, the dean decided to shine a light on the whole ugly mess of law school economics…

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Today we bring you a new installment in our popular series on celebrity summer associates. The stories in this series have been positive and uplifting — but we should note that we welcome tales of summer associate scandal as well.

With the summer winding down, it’s safe to share salacious tales of SA misbehavior. Please submit them by email, to tips@abovethelaw.com (subject line: “Summer Associate Story”), or by text message. As you know, we keep our tipsters anonymous.

Now, on to today’s celebrity summer associate.

Last week, in a piece for the New York Times’s Room for Debate project, I argued for reforming legal education by bringing back apprentices in law. But I was not optimistic about that change happening anytime soon.

Well, it seems that my call for apprentices has been heard. A former star of Donald Trump’s popular reality television show, The Apprentice, is now “apprenticing” at a major law firm, as a summer associate.

Who is this ex-Apprentice, and where is this person working?

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The bar exam is over. Congratulations, test takers. Many of you will never have to worry about this again. You’ll wake up one day in the fall, you’ll open up the internet, and you’ll enjoy the relief of having passed.

And if you didn’t pass, well, you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it. Just so you know, there is life beyond bar failure: check out this list of bar exam famous failures, who went on to have amazing careers in law or politics.

Whether or not you passed or failed, whether or not you experienced any of the bar exam horror stories we’ve shared with you over the past couple of days, you will not have a story as cool as this New Jersey test taker.

At the Meadowlands test center, an exam tester pulled off what I guess you’d figuratively call a bar exam boot-and-rally….

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* Prosecutors plan to use the DNA of a child born to a 14-year-old girl to prove their case against polygamist Warren Jeffs. I’m fresh out of jokes about sex with children. [Reuters]

* Madoff trustee Irving Picard doesn’t have standing to pursue some claims against HSBC Bank. Sometimes, he would get bored while censoring letters and sign his name Picard Irving. [Bloomberg]

* A federal judge found that comic-book artist Jack Kirby’s heirs do not own the right to multiple characters Kirby created for Marvel Comics. Characters like the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Marmaduke, and Mallard Fillmore. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Would Kat Von D have a more difficult time working at a law firm than Deshawn Stevenson? Vivia Chen is here to answer all your Deshawn Stevenson and Kat Von D related law firm questions! [The Careerist]

* The New York Times says Nafissatou Diallo’s public appearance yesterday summoned “echoes of racially charged cases in recent city history.” History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. For instance, Diallo rhymes with Diallo. History is a s**t rapper. [New York Times]

I love to talk about truck nuts, probably for the same reason that racists love to talk about crime rates in the ghetto. Regardless of why, I just can’t get enough of the phenomenon of people affixing plastic testicles to their motor vehicles.

Obviously, I think people should be free to do pretty much whatever they want when it comes to decorating their vehicles. So I find the truck nuts story circulating around the blogosphere very disturbing. Apparently, a South Carolina woman was given a $445 ticket for her truck’s nuts. Her story is making news, because she’s secured a jury trial to protest the ticket.

So, for those playing along at home, South Carolina will defend to the death your right to display the Confederate Flag, the symbol of a regime committed to slavery and racial oppression, but plastic testicles is a bridge too far.

Yes, like most obscenity cases, this one is turgid with hypocrisy….

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Sheryl Crow

* I’m standing in the middle of a desert, waiting for my ship to come in. But now no joker, no J.D. degree, can take your losing hand, and make it win; you should be leaving Las Vegas. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If Miami Law could somehow figure out a way to actually do this, they would usher in a new era where law schools might still be expensive, but not useless. At some point, the way we educate future lawyers has to change, doesn’t it? [Roy Black]

* The law and law enforcement will always be behind the curve when trying to police cutting-edge techniques employed to unwittingly photograph naked women. Still not sure if you want to click on the link? How about: “This is why Kash is afraid to pee.” [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* I don’t understand and/or don’t care why so many lawyers have a problem with the “and/or” construction. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Listening to Lat and Bess Levin discuss the various things can happen to meth users was the highlight of my day at the office, but seriously kids, don’t do drugs. [Dealbreaker]

* What do you get for the billionaire who has everything? His own prison. [Sentencing Law & Policy]

Chris Christie

* Wait, John Grisham stories are fictional? Man, I always thought that nobody offered to pay off my debts and buy me a house and a car in Memphis because of my race. [ABA Journal]

* New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is going to be okay. [Slate]

* Scott Drake asked me to do a podcast just after I read Rick Matasar’s response to the New York Times. This recording was made after I calmed down. [Legal Broadcast Network]

A busy Biglaw bee.

If you’re bummed about having to shelve your plans for a nice tropical vacation this summer, you’re not alone. According to 43% of survey respondents, this summer is turning out to be busier than the rest of the year.

The top reasons cited for the increased billables are that partners are bringing in more business (63%) and the economy is improving (42%). Some of the other reasons, however, are not as upbeat: respondents report having to pick up the slack for other associates who left their firm voluntarily or involuntarily (28%), or who went on vacation (15%).

Another 30% of survey respondents say that this summer has been slower than other months (while the remaining 27% of respondents report that their workload is about the same as the rest of the year).

Why the work slowdown? Which firms and practice areas are turning up the heat this summer? An which ones are cooling things down?

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