January 2012

Complete honesty is such a dangerous thing.

I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m posing three questions to myself today. First, why might a lawyer at a law firm choose to write articles? Second, what topics should lawyers write about, and where should they publish the articles? Finally, why might an in-house lawyer choose to write?

The honest truth is that outside lawyers choose to write for many, varied reasons. In-house lawyers might also choose to write for many reasons, but those reasons are different and fewer. Across the board, authors’ motivations for writing will be mixed.

Do I have a right to speak on the subject of publications? My credentials, in a nutshell, are these: Three books; twelve law review articles; two book chapters; about 70 other, shorter articles (in places ranging from The Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune to Pharmaceutical Executive and Litigation); and maybe 600 blog posts (roughly 500 at Drug and Device Law and north of 100 here). Call me nuts (and I may well be), but I’ve spent a professional lifetime doing a ton of “recreational” legal writing.

Why did I do it? Should you?

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* Representative Gabrielle Giffords will be resigning from Congress this week to focus on her recovery. Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting her, is still way too loony to stand trial. [CNN]

* Because of this huge law firm, Dotcom’s bubble has officially burst. Hogan Lovells partner Robert S. Bennett has withdrawn from the Megaupload.com case, citing a conflict of interest with another client. [Reuters]

* In Egypt, even if your client is considered a modern-day pharoah, when you finish your closing arguments, you get a round of applause. And tons of jeers from other lawyers. [Boston Globe]

* Ben Roethlisberger settled his civil rape lawsuit. Neither side will comment as to whether money was a part of the settlement. (Hint: that means a lot of money was involved.) [Reno Gazette-Journal]

* Penn State’s former football coach, Joe Paterno, passed away this weekend. His grand jury testimony can’t be used in court, but the Sandusky litigation will continue. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Seeing red: lawyers for Louboutin and YSL will face off in an appellate, trademark “shoedown” this week. What does Harvard Law’s fashionista, Jeannie Suk, have to say? [New York Times]

* Remember Doug Arntsen? He’s the ex-Crowell & Moring attorney who fled the country after allegedly embezzling millions. But he’s no flight risk — that’s “absurd.” [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

Do NOT go in there.

Well, you don’t see this every day. “This” meaning a substantive legal debate over the privacy implications of watching porn inside an adult video store.

The stimulating (hem hem) opinion comes (why does everything suddenly sound so dirty?) to us courtesy of the New York County Supreme Court. A man arrested in Times Square for selling narcotics appealed his arrest, saying police who burst in on him (for crying out loud, I can’t stop the puns) conducted an illegal search and seizure.

I should not write this story, because I know it will only encourage more BikeDude commenter jokes, but here goes….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Just in Case You Were Wondering, Porn Store Video Booths Do Carry the Expectation of Privacy”

* If you don’t allow strip clubs in New Jersey would that leave the state with, you know, any businesses? [WSJ Law Blog]

* If Obamacare does nothing else, it just made birth control covered the same as Viagra. If that’s not enough to give Obama a three to one advantage among women, I don’t even know what’s happening in this country. [Think Progress]

* A picture is worth a 1,000 words, but Judge Posner only needs to remember two: fair use. [Legal Blog Watch]

* I know it’s hard to believe, but at one time we actually had to fight to keep Alabama from leaving. I’d be willing to let them leave now, but we still might need them in case we have to play college football against space aliens. [Going Concern]

* Honestly, why do so many people in this society think that taking a principled stand is something that can only be done if it’s easy and costs nothing? Taking a stand when it costs you personally is half of the damn point. [Simple Justice]

* Test your legal knowledge and win an iPad2. I killed it. [Practical Law Company]

Last week, we looked at why lawyers need soft skills and noted that there’s a general lack of this kind of training for them. Today, we’ll consider some strategies for learning to play nice in the legal sandbox.

As mentioned last week, there are so many different types of soft skills — communication, leadership, management, presentation skills, etc. What does a socially-awkward lawyer work on first? Well, it depends. (Fyi, “it depends” is a great lawyerly response for virtually every situation where you don’t know the answer.)

As with hard skills, the soft skills you should focus on depends on your pre-existing responsibilities and the skills you already have. For the purposes of this post, let’s assume you have none.

Below is a very basic outline of some required soft skills for particular levels of attorney seniority. I’ve listed a few skills listed for each level and a further description of one skill per level, to prevent this post from becoming a mind-numbing two-hour read (as opposed to a mind-numbing five-minute read). It’s a bit of a laundry list, but the idea is to provide a big-picture overview….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Moonlighting: Soft Skill Strategies That Aren’t Too Hard”

Somebody got a hold of a password-protected report from LSAC that discusses the state of law school applications.

Do you want to hear the good news?

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Kim Kardashian

What reputation? She doesn’t have one.

– Legal analyst Joey Jackson, commenting on allegations made in Kim Kardashian’s lawsuit against The Gap. The reality television star claims that an Old Navy commercial featuring a look-alike actress damaged her reputation to the tune of $15-20 million.

(A clip of the commercial in question, after the jump.)

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This Bachelor wasn't impressed with the credentials of one Illini 2L.

Still reeling from the producers’ decision to include one Latino contestant four seasons ago, The Bachelor franchise is back in Narnia this season with another all-white cast vying for the heart of Ben Flajnik, Sonoma’s most eligible winemaker and Geico Caveman lookalike. During the opening montage on the first episode, we see Ben drive a tractor, examine dirt, and wear a dusty leather vest — all key indicators that Ben is serious about his business.

Will such a serious career man be able to find love among this season’s pack of Dental Consultants, Trading Clerks, VIP Cocktail Waitresses, and other C-level executives? Luckily, he doesn’t have to. Also available for fake engagement this season is a sexy, seasoned Biglaw attorney.

Just kidding! Erika Uhlig, 23, is a completely average-looking 2L at the University of Illinois College of Law. Before that, she was a poli sci major at the University of Pittsburgh, and before that, she was Miss Chesterfield, Virginia 2006. Here she is singing the national anthem off-pitch in a dress from Dynasty.

To precisely no one’s shock, one of Erika’s law school classmates contacted ATL and opined that “she’s a b**ch”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Illinois 2L Is Kicked Off the Bachelor, Pranked By Classmates”

What’s the most sure-fire way to make money in a bad economy? Capitalize on the misery of others. As the Kobra Kai taught us, strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir!

Today’s Legal Sweep the Leg Award goes to Kick’em Out Quick, a “One Stop Shop” for tenant evictions and collections based in Ogden, Utah. Kick’em Out Quick is an online marketing company that strives to drum up eviction numbers for member attorneys who pay for the privilege of bearing the Kick’em Out Quick name.

Kick’em Out Quick extends a helping hand to landlords, offering sympathy and understanding of the stresses that these everyday heroes must endure at the hands of nasty tenants. Even better, they help motivated lawyers make money in the process.

When there is blood in the water, the sharks will start circling. Kicking ’em out quick is only the beginning…

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When you are a transfer student, you are constantly fighting for respect. If you don’t think your non-transfer classmates look down on how you gunned your way into their school despite whatever faults kept you out the first time, you really aren’t paying attention to your surroundings.

But most transfer students do feel the sting, and they try like hell to prove that they belong.

Which is just weak. Come on, there’s nothing worse than trying to interact with somebody who has a huge chip on his shoulder. Actually, the annoyingness of transfers is directly related to the rank of the school: the better the ranking, the more annoying the kids who transfer in.

Call it “elite law school problems.” One of the pleasures of going to an elite school is that you get to spend time around people who aren’t frustrated that they couldn’t get into a better school with better prospects. There’s a calmness on campus; everybody’s doing their thing, everybody feels like things are going to work out. Then the transfers get there and they’re gunning, and annoying, and have ridiculous bro stories about bombing the LSAT, “But it’s ALL GOOD, ’cause I’m HERE NOW buddy, YEAH. I’m taking a class with PROFESSOR FAMOUS PANTS which will really help in my CALLBACK at [mid-tier firm that is actually a fallback option for people at elite schools] DAY.

Sigh. At least that’s how transfer students talk to non-transfers. We don’t often get to see how transfer students talk among themselves.

But today, we’ve got a whole transfer student email thread from Stanford Law School — and boy, like Fredo in the Godfather, they want respect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Can Transfer the Student into Stanford, But You Can’t Transfer the Stanford into the Student”

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