October 2014

Thinking of going to law school? Don't say she didn't warn you.

Here at Above the Law, we like to give our readers after-hours video content. Watching videos can be difficult if you’re at work or in class. But in the evening, when the office is more quiet or when you’re at home, you can enjoy videos without worrying about a colleague or classmate giving you a hard time.

Last night we put up a video about law student debt, in which Professor William Birdthistle crunched some numbers regarding whether it’s financially wise to go to law school. If you haven’t already done so, check it out here.

This evening we have another video about legal education. This one relies primarily upon cultural rather than economic factors in arguing why you shouldn’t go to law school….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Dear 16-Year-Old Me, Don’t Go To Law School’”

Everybody on the whole cell block…

* Now prison inmates will literally be able to listen to the jailhouse rock. Dancing to it is a different issue. [USA Today]

* Why do students surf the web in class instead of taking notes? Probably because their professors are boring. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* The current Supreme Court justices have less time practicing law or working in politics than any other previous Supreme Court roster. But they have way more pillow fights. [Social Science Research Network via Instapundit]

* The chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana emailed some friends a fairly offensive, racially charged joke about President Obama from his courthouse chambers. He will probably have to apologize. [Great Falls Tribune]

* “It’s like having a pace runner in a marathon: I don’t have to burn out running the 26.2 miles as fast as I can.” The only difference is that this new tool measures billable hours instead of miles. [ABA Journal]

Ex-judge of the day, David E. Barrett.


I don’t even know where to begin with this, so let’s just play it straight:

Last week, a now ex-judge in Georgia pulled out a handgun during a bond hearing, pretended to hand it to an alleged rape victim who was testifying, and said she was “killing her case” and “might as well shoot” her lawyer.

What?

I wish this was a joke or a hoax story. But no, it actually happened.

Keep reading to find out who this former judge is (spoiler: it’s not Rooster Cogburn) and why he pulled his piece in court…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Judge of the Day: Yes, Flashing Your Piece in Court Is a ‘Poor Rhetorical Point’”


Zombie Mohammed

What can we say? Around these parts, we enjoy talking about zombies. Zombies that usher in the apocalypse. Zombies that can do document review. Even zombie law firms.

So let’s discuss what everyone else is discussing: the “Zombie Mohammed” case. Earlier this month, Judge Mark W. Martin dismissed a harassment charge against Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim man who allegedly attacked Ernie Perce, an atheist who was dressed up as “Zombie Muhammad.” The incident took place during last year’s Halloween parade in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Since news of the ruling became public, things have gone crazy. Let’s discuss, and take an opinion poll….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ‘Zombie Mohammed’ Judge: Let’s Discuss”

We’d like to take a moment to thank our wonderful advertisers here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits, or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

This is the second part of a series on getting yourself in the door to an in-house position. If it’s not up your alley, read no further. Based on the feedback I received from last week’s entry, this is helpful to some folks out there. Don’t worry, my tell-all book is in the works, and when I’m ready to retire, I’ll regale you with stories of love triangles and hexagons that will make your head spin. Until then, let’s work on getting you that gig in-house.

It is presumed that you worked hard on your resumes and cover letters in law school, vetted them through the career office, and had at least two or more folks review them before sending them out for OCI and beyond. If you’ve been practicing for a while, and are now looking to jump in-house, you’ve likely dusted off your resume and edited it to include the substantive work you’ve done, your many court appearances, and your list of mega deals that you’ve brought to completion. Or not. The reality may be that you don’t have all that much “sexy” work to list on your updated resume.

This may not be a problem…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: Use Your Resume and Cover Letter to Get Inside”

... to take a survey.

Yesterday, David Lat took a detailed look at the National Law Journal’s newly released list of “go-to” law schools — the ones placing the highest percentage of their 2011 graduates in Biglaw. Of course congratulations are due to Penn and Northwestern and the other schools whose graduates are still landing associate positions. But the real news is how seriously discouraging the NLJ data is. We all know the legal job market is tough, yet Bruce MacEwen’s observation that 85% of law schools give students a worse than 10% chance of getting a job in Biglaw still manages to startle.

Our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey (take it here!), asks current law students, among other things, “What do you expect to do after you graduate?” A whopping 71% tell us that they expect to work for a firm. (This percentage was consistent across class years.) That this proportion is so high, and so at odds with the NLJ findings, can mean some combination of two things:

  • The ATL student readership skews heavily toward that minority of students who will actually snag Biglaw gigs.
  • Many (if not most) expectations of law firm employment will be dashed against the reality of a contracting job market. In other words, a majority of students think they are in the fortunate minority

After the jump, we’ll look at how wide the gap between student expectation and market reality is, even at the “go-to” schools:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Survey Update: Great Unmet Expectations”

Why don't jurors listen to directions?

As we heard from Elie last week, a jury is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. The already unpredictable American jury system has gotten even more chaotic over the last several years as the internet has become ubiquitous, at home and in court.

Juror misconduct by internet can lead to mistrials, and it’s becoming increasingly (and unfortunately) more common. Last month the Vermont Supreme Court overturned an unsettling child sexual assault conviction because a juror conducted his own research about the Somali Bantu culture central to the parties in the case.

What a mess…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Child Sexual Assault Conviction Tossed Because of Juror’s ‘Online Cultural Research’”

Star Jones thinks some of you are whiners.

When William Robinson, president of the American Bar Association, gave an interview in which he suggested that unemployed or underemployed law school graduates “should have known what they were getting into,” he was widely criticized. His emphasis on “personal responsibility” didn’t go over too well in some quarters of the legal profession and blogosphere.

But in defense of Bill Robinson, other people share his views. And some of these people are prominent personages.

Take prosecutor turned television personality Star Jones, who seems to have little sympathy for jobless law grads….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Disgruntled Law School Graduates a Bunch of ‘Whiners’?”

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, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).

A law student client — already an MBA — said she needed convincing to drop out of her third-tier school.

I told her to calculate the return on investment for the final three semesters.

She crunched the numbers.

“Debit-wise, I’ve burned $80k in savings and I’m looking at another $100k of borrowed money. On the credit side, I might find a low-salary doc review gig.” She pretended to scratch notes. “So… big loans, interest payments, inadequate cash flow…opportunity cost of 18 more wasted months learning legal mumbo-jumbo followed by the bar exam…”

“In other words…” I egged her on.

“I’d be totally screwed.” She affixed the cap on her pen. “Thanks. I’m convinced.”

I posed the question we were dancing around: “Why are we having this conversation?”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall into the Gap”

Page 1 of 215612345...2156