December 2011

* Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist, RIP. For without him, Kash wouldn’t have an asslobster. [Vanity Fair]

* An interesting and idiotic twist in the UVA burglar case. [Daily Progress]

* I cannot visualize 10 kilos of cocaine, but it sounds like a hell of a party. [CNN]

* IRS tips for your desperate tax deductions — I mean, holiday charity. [Instapundit]

* I thought getting lawyers to really commit to client service was like herding cats. [What About Clients?]

* Girl-on-girl victim blaming. I said “girl-on-girl” so you kind of have to click. [Feministe]

* When your wife is a biter, it’s best to keep her drunk. [Legal Juice]

Tom Wallerstein

I was talking to a friend who is a junior partner in a large firm, and who is thinking of starting her own firm. She knew what practice area she would focus on, and she had at least one client who she felt sure would go with her. But she still had two critical questions to resolve. First, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to open a solo practice, or if she would try to recruit someone to form a partnership. Second, she wasn’t sure if she would form a “virtual” office, or try to start a traditional “brick and mortar” shop.

With regard to her “solo versus group” decision, we talked about the differences in tax treatment, liability exposure, etc. But I offered her my opinion that another important consideration is the practical, day-to-day differences between running your own shop and being in a partnership….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Biglaw to Boutique: Come On Along, or Go Alone”

Jesus would go apes*** in a law school library.

It’s exam time. Kids are living in the library and generally oblivious. This is high season for thieves!

But we’ve got an email from a law student who is determined to take action. He had his textbooks stolen (add sabotage to the list of things wrong with law school), and he’s mad as hell. He wants to do away with his law school’s honor code and go with more medieval punishments should they apprehend the thief.

And since it’s the middle of finals, the whole letter has the scent of desperation clinging to it like the smell of dog poop lingers on a shoe long after it’s been cleansed.

It’s quite entertaining….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School: A Den of Thieves”

Mike McQueary

I don’t know. I don’t look and stare down there.

Mike McQueary, an assistant football coach at Penn State, responding to a question about Jerry Sandusky’s erection (or lack thereof) during his alleged sexual assault of a child in 2002.

(McQueary testified today in a preliminary hearing on charges against Penn State’s former athletic director, Tim Curley, and finance official Gary Schultz).

Full disclosure: I have a disproportionate amount of lawyer friends who work at Sidley Austin. Their bonuses have caused all sorts of fun to happen in my inbox. Without even seeing the actual bonus memo, I could tell what was happening based on Gchats and text messages. Friends said things like:

“Yawn.”

“This joke stopped being funny days ago.”

“Is ATL hiring?”

“Sidley proves you right every single day.”

I like it when friends making three times as much money as I make feel comfortable complaining to me.

And, you know, I am right….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley’s Bonus Match Draws Yawns From Associates”

Welcome to the latest edition of Above the Law’s Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of legal writing and English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we found out that 75% of our readers thought using the word “like” to introduce a quotation would like, make the speaker sound like a Valley girl, despite its apparent linguistic usefulness.

This week, thanks to popular demand from our readers, we’ll be turning to a contested issue among lawyers. What is the preferred past tense form for the verb pleadpleaded or pled?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: Pleaded v. Pled”

Ed. note: Have a question for the next edition? Send it in to [email protected].

Dear ATL,

I’m a 2L at a second-tier midwestern school. Fall OCI didn’t go so great for me and, after resigning myself to failure, I accepted an unpaid internship with the government in my home metropolitan area. If I keep the job, chances are good that I’ll end up taking out loans for externship credit and will also be forced to obtain some sort of weekend employment to pay the bills.

Surprisingly, I just got an offer to be a summer bitch at a decent-paying firm within my home town. I talked to Career Services about this problem, and they made it clear that I needed to reject the firm offer. But that option would obviously strain me, both career-wise and financially. So my ultimate question is, can I tell the government that I’m sorry, but will no longer be able to take the position? From a purely financial point of view, I can either borrow ~6k this summer for tuition and living expenses, or make ~20k.

-Money on the Table

Dear Money on the Table,

As if law students didn’t have enough strikes against them — sh*tty economy, no jobs, worthless degree — a new and insidious threat also conspires to keep them broke and unemployed: Career Services. Everyone tolerated their quaint but useless “resume writing workshops” and rhetorical great-unpaid-opportunity-in-Kansas emails when the economy was great, but now that sh*t has tanked and they are unable to fulfill their express job duties — namely, creating careers — they’ve turned underminer. If they can’t create careers, no one should have them….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Career Disservices”

Well, last Friday was interesting. When I decided to close the comments for last week’s installment of Moonlighting, Lat responded, “I’m glad at least someone is willing to try deactivation.” As expected, undeterred from the fact that they couldn’t comment directly on my post, the usual group of ATL commenters uniformly hijacked Kashmir Hill’s “revenge porn” post which followed mine on ATL to provide me with their usual thoughtful and highly encouraging feedback.

Later, an anonymous 2L tweeted as follows: And @susanmoon has the dubious distinction of being the first @atlblog writer to close off comments. When I joked to the 2L that my feelings get hurt every week, the 2L (taking me seriously, I presume) told me that instead of hiding, I should “rise above it” because even a SCOTUS justice would get flamed on ATL. This invited Brian Tannebaum (an ATL small-firm columnist) and some others to rush to my defense. What ensued was a flurry of debate on Twitter — infused with an abundance of insults — mainly between Brian and the 2L. I’m actually not quite sure why Brian got so involved, as I’m not even sure he likes me (that’s the real reason I cry every week). I think he just likes to pick on poor souls every once in a while (read: several times a day) for his own sadistic pleasure.

In any case, in addition to the entertainment value that the Brian v. 2L debates offered on Twitterverse Legal last weekend, there were definitely some interesting points made on both sides about the value of anonymous feedback….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Moonlighting: No Comment”

It seems there is an interesting emerging trend in litigation these days: When a ruling doesn’t go your way, just make an appeal alleging judicial conflict of interest.

Same-sex marriage opponents wanted California judge Vaughn Walker to recuse himself from Prop. 8 hearings because he is gay. If and when the Supreme Court decides to rule on Obama’s healthcare law, some people have called for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself because of his wife’s outspoken work to repeal the act.

And yesterday, an Illinois woman convicted of child battery lost her appeal for a new trial. She appealed on the basis that the judge in her case’s adult children are Facebook friends with her alleged victim’s family….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If You Are a Judge, Do Your Facebook Friends Matter?”

* A man on trial for sex crimes at a Minnesota courthouse allegedly shot three people yesterday, including prosecutor Timothy Scannell. Guess it’s time to get a metal detector. [Duluth News Tribune]

* Instead of trying to force Citigroup’s hand on a tougher settlement, the SEC is appealing Judge Rakoff’s rejection of the original. Don’t want to make the SEC do more work now, judge. [Bloomberg]

* You’d think that by now, law schools facing scrutiny over employment data would be willing to turn over some information to Law School Transparency, but you’d be wrong. [National Law Journal]

* China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques are combining to form a happy family this March. If this were in Japan, they’d be the Godzilla of law firms. [Wall Street Journal]

* Obvious news alert: Foxy Knoxy was acquitted of murder because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove she was guilty of murder. Thanks for this brilliant observation, Judge Hellman. [CNN]

* The Toy & Action Figure Museum will be opening a lawyerly superhero exhibit. This generation of lawyers has no superheroes, because unemployment isn’t a super power. [ABA Journal]

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