October 2014

When I was litigating, I was assigned an arbitration. At the behest of a partner, I was asked to represent a “friend of the firm.” Those of you who understand why those words are in quotes already know where this is going.

The “arbitration,” which was supposed to allow relaxed rules of evidence, and take place in an informal setting, was held instead in a beautifully wood-paneled courtroom, with a gallery full of spectators. The very cranky arbitrator, who turned out to be a bitter ex-judge, ruled against me on each and every evidentiary objection the other side raised. In other words, I was prepared to arbitrate a relatively minor dispute, but I found myself knee deep in a full-blown trial, and there was nothing I could do about it. I took it on the chin, and got my clock cleaned. The result for the client wasn’t terrible, but neither did it support my fee.

I still get the shivers when I recall how terrible that experience felt. I could go on about how the assigned judge in the case pressured me to accept arbitration, assuring me that the arbitrator was a fair-minded individual who’d likely cut the mustard in the case. Or about my adversary, who was chummy with the arbitrator (I found out later). Or, about the client himself, who refused to settle, no matter what strategy I tried.

But, ultimately, I blame myself. The fault for any shortcomings in the presentation were my own. I made almost every rookie mistake in the book. Reading that transcript makes me turn red with shame. But, I took it on the chin. And so it should be with your in-house practice…

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It seems to me that the Student Bar Association president at NYU Law School is drunk with power. And considering we’re talking about the “power” of a freaking law school SBA, that’s pretty funny, like watching the tallest midget insult all the other midgets by calling them “shorty.”

We’ve written about this guy, who we’ve dubbed “Party Law,” before. In September, he was busy removing the SBA treasurer because of alleged financial shenanigans. The treasurer denied wrongdoing and hilarity ensued.

But that was back in September, during those halcyon days at the beginning of his term, when all was sunshine and hope. Now we’re coming towards the end of Party Law’s reign (I assume we’re nearing the end; not that I want that, I wish Party Law could be elected President of the NYU SBA for life). Perhaps he’s trying to exercise a little dead-hand control over the SBA?

Let’s see who Party Law is trying to squash now…

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Do you really want this guy as your boss?

If there is one golden rule in the technological age, it would likely be that you don’t share your electronic passwords with anyone. Tech companies routinely tell their customers that they will never ask for their users’ security information. Common knowledge says you shouldn’t share passwords with friends, lovers, or even family members. Because when you share that information, you might end up getting arrested for selling contraband to Iran, and your iPhone might wind up at the bottom of a canyon.

So what do you do when a prospective employer wants to login to Facebook — as you — during a job interview? Weep and gnash your teeth? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

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In August, New York Law School (NYLS) was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October, NYLS filed a motion to dismiss that claim. On March 12, the lawyers ventured down to the New York Supreme Court to argue the merits of the case, and a little more than one week later, we’ve got news on whether the class action suit survived that motion.

What result? The class action lawsuit filed by Team Strauss/Anziska against NYLS over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics has been dismissed….

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The latest U.S. News law school rankings are out, and you know what that means. It’s time to allow students and alumni to weigh in on their law school and their brand new rank.

As is customary here at Above the Law, we will be posting a series of open threads, running through at least the top 100 law schools. These open threads offer you a chance to compare and contrast different schools, praise (or condemn) your alma mater, and talk trash about rival law schools.

With the rankings shake-up among the nation’s top law schools, there’s a lot to talk about this year….

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The people building 1 World Trade Center still seem to be having trouble attracting big-time tenants. Especially law firms. Previous reports have indicated that Mayer Brown and Morgan Lewis have backed out of deals to take up residency in the new tower.

The latest law firm deal to fall through appears to be that of Chadbourne & Parke. In January, the New York Times reported with much fanfare that Chadbourne & Parke would be a “prime tenant” a 1 WTC. But this week, the New York Post is reporting that the deal has fallen through.

Chadbourne, currently housed at 30 Rock, doesn’t have to go downtown, but it can’t stay where it is. So where will Chadbourne be going?

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* Here’s a reason why Proskauer Rose and Chadbourne & Parke might skip out on spring bonuses this year: millions of dollars worth of blowback from Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* And speaking of spring bonuses, a lot of people noticed that Sullivan & Cromwell seems to have misled associates. “Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.” Yeah, right. [Am Law Daily]

* Next up in the war on women: a senator from Idaho thinks that women are such strumpets that they might be lying their way into abortions by claiming rape. Because that’s not incredibly insensitive. [Washington Post]

* Apparently George Zimmerman, the man accused of fatally shooting a boy armed with a pack of Skittles, wanted to become a police officer. Looks like it’s time to kiss that dream goodbye. [Los Angeles Times]

* Give me your lunch money, kid! Teachers aren’t supposed to be bullying students, but that’s what one Baltimore mother is alleging in a $200K lawsuit against the city’s school board. [New York Daily News]

When I visited New York back in January, I stayed with some friends. When I woke up Saturday morning on the couch, my buddy and his roommate had already taken out their laptops and were typing away. I asked, “What are you guys doing today?” They both responded, “Working.”

I could not believe it. It was a surprisingly warm winter day. And my friends decided to remain cooped up in their literally windowless Manhattan apartment. Why wouldn’t they go outside? Go to park, or a bar for some day drinking.

But that’s America. We are always connected, always on call, and ignoring your BlackBerry for more than 90 minutes may be a fireable offense.

It wasn’t always this way. And there are some heretics among us who make a compelling case for a return to the 40-hour work week. Before you shoot the scruffy Californian, hear me out….

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* Really, it’s never a good idea to talk to a police officer unless you are accompanied by an attorney. [Legal Blog Watch]

* The more you dive into Florida’s “stand your ground” law, the more ridiculous it gets. [Recess Appointment]

* I’m not sure it matters if the ABA asks law schools to report salary information or not. Law schools will still collect it, and it will still be just as inflated as ever. Self-reporting only works if there are harsh penalties for lying, penalties the ABA has never had the stomach to issue. [National Law Journal]

* Guys, it’s not that mixed-race people have an “obligation” to identify as a minority. It’s that when the cops come ’round, saying “I’m Irish-Anglo-African” is not going to make them stop treating you as the guy who “fits the description.” [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Freaky lego thing where the lawyer is the cocoon and the artist is the butterfly if the whole thing were in the movie Alien. [Lowering the Bar]

* The last thing you want is Jerry Sandusky in your head. [The Legal Intelligencer] (subscription)

* Watch the employers squirm when they have to explain their gender pay gap. [LexisNexis]

Today is the first day of spring. The morning news shows were focused on all the many ways we should shed our winter selves and prepare for spring. The most common story was, of course, spring cleaning. And, as ForbesWoman reminded us, this applies equally to your résumé as it does your closet. As Krista Canfield, a senior manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn, explained, “[w]hether you’re on the job-hunt or not, Spring is an excellent time to evaluate your long- and short-term goals and make sure they’re reflected in your career profiles.”

The comparison between “spring cleaning” your home and your résumé is even more apt for one reason: both activities suck. Indeed, when I ask my unhappy lawyer friends why they do not look for new jobs, they all complain that updating their résumés is too painful and difficult a task. Yet, thanks to five easy tips I picked up from headhunters, career coaches, and law school career advisers (um, yeah, I have been on the job search before), the process need not be so unpleasant….

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