April 2014

It seems as if everyone is breaking up these days. Indeed, I was shocked yesterday to learn that Heidi Klum and Seal have separated. I felt blindsided when I heard that Johnny Depp and girlfriend Venessa Paradis were calling it quits after 14 years together. And don’t get me started on Aretha.

In my practice, I have represented many small law firms going through the same fate as my girl Heidi. At some point, loving partners decide they hate each other. One splits off into his own firm and the group goes through a messy “custody” battle for clients, partners, associates, and staff. Are small-firms and Hollywood it-couples all destined for messy break-ups? Is there something that can be done during the formation of the partnership, or at some point during its healthy existence, to prevent such endings?

To find out, I asked two experts on relationships: (i) my grandma, who has been happily married for more than 60 years, and (ii) my divorce lawyer friend, who, through observing the most horrific divorces, has identified key preventative measures. Here are the top five tips for maintaing a healthy partnership — in law and in life — or at least ending one gracefully….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: How to Maintain A Loving Small-Firm Partnership”

As mentioned previously, the next few State of the Market posts by Lateral Link, as compiled by Director Gary Cohen, will focus on one of the country’s largest states — Texas.

The strongest market in Texas is Houston, with some of the strongest candidates being those with corporate, capital markets, or finance experience. A close second is Dallas, which is also the focus of this post….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: State of the Market – Texas (Part 2)”

Wait, you expected a real burning man? Well, that's just silly.

As you know, some people have taken to suing law schools because despite the education and expense, they find themselves unemployed.

Suing people is such an American way of handling a problem. “Wahhh, your system took advantage of me and thousands like me. I’m angry. I’m gonna sue you, and even if I lose, it’ll make you all sadfaced.”

In other parts of the world, they know how to freaking protest a scam:

A 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment died from his burns Tuesday in a Casablanca hospital, his wife said.

Boom goes the dynamite! (Too soon?)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If Lawsuits Fail, Unemployed Law Students Still Have the Self-Immolation Option”

[T]his might be a helpful alert to lawyers who are hiring someone to try to promote their sites: It’s possible that the promotion might consist of behavior that is par for the course for purported penis enlargement products, but not really in keeping with the sort of reputation that lawyers generally seek to cultivate.

– Professor Eugene Volokh, issuing a warning to lawyers that hire outside companies to promote their law firm websites using spam blog comments.

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I have to arrest you.

It has already been a big week for legal technology. Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Jones. The case dealt with emerging fourth amendment and privacy issues now that law enforcement have increasingly advanced technological abilities.

Well, law enforcement in the city of East Orange, New Jersey have also embraced technology in the fight against crime. Unlike law enforcement in Washington D.C., however, East Orange’s brilliant new plan involves shining a remotely controlled red light at would-be criminals.

Below the jump we have video footage of Hal this cool, new, swiveling stoplight….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Jersey Police Decide to Turn on the Freaky Red Light”

C'mon, Your Honors, look lively!

Tonight, as everyone knows, President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address. The speech starts at 9 p.m. (Eastern time). For real-time reactions over Twitter, follow @ATLblog, @DavidLat, @ElieNYC, and @StaciZaretsky. For a post-speech wrap-up, check Above the Law, either late tonight or tomorrow morning.

For Supreme Court nerds, here’s the perennial question: How many members of SCOTUS will show up at the SOTU? Feel free to make your guesses, in the comments.

Here’s some historical perspective to inform your speculation….

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Perhaps this is something that you’ve noticed: women who are newly engaged tend to brag about the way their fiancé proposed to them. And whether the proposal was bland or spectacular, it’s all these women seem to want to talk about.

So, what happens when you’ve got two criminal cases pending against you, and your boyfriend is just dying to pop the question? What happens when that same boyfriend has an order of protection against you due to allegations of domestic violence? Is that the kind of backstory you’d want to tell all your friends before spilling the beans on how your fiancé asked for your hand in marriage?

Apparently, the answer to the last question is “yes,” because this unlucky couple’s engagement tale was published in the local paper for all the world to see….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Black Eyes and Bliss: A Courtroom Marriage Proposal, Domestic Violence Style”

Romney shows what he thinks the ideal effective tax rate should be for people who have good hair.

If you are a wealthy American who pays the top regular income tax rate of 35%, you have terrible, awful lawyers.

Mitt Romney does not have terrible lawyers.

The news of the day is that GOP frontrunner Romney released the previous two years of his tax returns. Romney’s 2010 adjusted gross income was $21,661,344. His estimated AGI for 2011 is $20,901,075. If all of that income was taxed at the highest tax rate, Romney would be paying around $7 million in federal taxes. But only true idiots and Republicans trying to scare people in election years actually believe that wealthy people pay anything approaching a 35% income tax in this country. Instead, Romney’s effective tax rate was about 14% in 2010 and is estimated to be around 15% in 2011. My effective tax rate was higher than Mitt Romney’s in 2010, and I don’t even get to like firing people.

But Romney is trying to spin his tax returns as an example of how “complicated” that tax code is. And the mainstream media is overwhelmed and helping to push that line. But these taxes are not complicated for a tax lawyer — and when you make $20 million a year, you can afford some good ones, so doing your taxes is about as complicated as writing a check for legal fees…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mitt Romney’s Taxes Aren’t ‘Complicated’ to His Tax Lawyers”

“Oh, What a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive,” said Judge Guy Anthony, quoting Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion, as he sentenced British Biglaw attorney Francis Bridgeman to 12 months in prison on Friday. The former Allen & Overy (A&O) and Macfarlanes partner, who had already had his membership of the latter firm’s limited liability partnership terminated, then collapsed in the dock.

Until recently, Bridgeman, 43, was just another hotshot Biglaw equity partner enjoying a millionaire’s life-style. Educated at Oxford University, he joined Magic Circle firm A&O in the early 1990s and rose through the ranks so quickly that he made partner in 2000, aged just 32. Having got married, he bought a big house in the countryside outside London and became a governor at a local school. Three years ago, he capitalised on his success by moving to boutique financial law firm Macfarlanes, where profit per equity partner is still high for U.K. standards (last year it came in at £752,000) but the hours and stress are generally considered less than at the likes of A&O.

Then, on April 6 2010, everything changed for Bridgeman, in the most unexpected and surreal way….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Prison for Biglaw Partner With Fabricated Kidnapping Story”

* First the Jones verdict, then the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Jose Padilla’s torture lawsuit. It’s enough to make ACLUers develop bipolar disorder. [Washington Post]

* Release the Kagan! The Supreme Court rejected Freedom Watch’s motion for time to argue that Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the Obamacare case. [CNN]

* Biglaw problems: here’s a great round-up of 2012′s law firm lawsuits, starring Akin Gump, Crowell & Moring, Dechert, and Greenberg Traurig, to name a few. [Am Law Daily]

* After dropping a lawsuit challenging their forcible eviction from Zuccotti Park, supporters of Occupy Wall Street will go back to occupying the couches in their parents’ basements. [Bloomberg]

* Not interested in being a lawyer? Check out these suggestions for “unique” career paths (i.e., ones that you could have pursued after college, with half the debt load). [U.S. News]

* Not such a great alternative fee arrangement. A prosecutor turned solo practitioner is going to jail after accepting oxycodone pills as payment from a police informant. [Tampa Bay Times]

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