April 2014

Do you remember the first time you said “but you promised” to somebody who was probably older than you and in the process of not giving you what they said they’d give you? It’s a pathetic feeling: you’ve been counting on something, you see it being pulled away from you, and all you can do is throw yourself upon the mercy of another person’s sense of fair play.

That hopeless feeling is what Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers are feeling as a globally-warmed winter gives way to spring. S&C promised they’d be paying spring bonuses. But here we are, in the spring, and the firm is still silent.

Did they think everybody would forget? Or do they just think that breaking their word is no big deal?

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Networking in law school usually conjures up the image of students desperately trying to hand out their résumés to a room full of uninterested attorneys. But networking doesn’t have to be that awkward, and it isn’t only limited to finding a job.

Networking is simply about connecting with people, and if your goal is to have a flourishing career as a lawyer, start building your network and acquiring networking skills now. If you haven’t realized it yet, your law school offers numerous resources at your fingertips. Not sure where to start? Read on for Lateral Link’s top three tips on how to effectively build your network as a law student…

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The court does not expect the parties to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ around a campfire beside the Medina River. Nor does the court expect the respondents to engage in a public spectacle of self-flaggellation for communicating words better left unsaid. Moreover, the court does not expect plaintiffs to become Traditional Christians, though the court suggests plaintiffs might follow the moral and civility lessons of Matthew 5:39 (‘if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’)[.]

– Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s “non-Kumbaya” order in a contentious San Antonio-area school prayer case.

Which t-shirt will get you fired?

Yesterday in Morning Docket, we mentioned that more than a dozen law firm staffers in Florida had been fired because they wore orange shirts to work, but the tips kept rolling in. We’re going to give you what you want. Better late than never, right?

Given that orange is popping this spring in designers’ color palettes, people really want to know more about this apparent fashion “faux pas.” Because if looking like a walking traffic cone is wrong, then some people don’t want to be right.

But if it means that they’re going to get fired, then they might just reconsider staying on trend this season….

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Florida’s “stand your ground” law has received a lot of attention this week as people struggle to understand how a teenager named Trayvon Martin, armed with Skittles, was gunned down in the street. The FBI, the Justice Department, and a Florida grand jury are now all investigating the incident where Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, claims he was acting in self-defense.

I don’t want to get into the racial aspect of the instant situation — mainly because it’s too obvious. Don’t get me started on what the police would have done if a black man shot a white teenager to death and claimed he was standing his ground. It’s not even worth debating.

But even if race played a role here, it doesn’t mean a prosecutable crime took place. As many now know, that’s because Florida’s “stand your ground” law does not require people to retreat, even if they can do so safely.

Sure, “real men” don’t run. You can’t find a culture on Earth where running away is “honorable.” But in light of what’s happened with these laws on the books, do they really make sense? Is the enforcement of these laws racially prejudiced? Do “stand your ground” laws really just make it open season on black youths who might “scare” prejudiced people who incorrectly think they’re in danger of their lives?

I think so, but at least that’s a position where reasonable people will disagree….

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Over the past week, while the Bay Area has been rainy, windy, and generally ugly outside, folks in my old Chicago stomping grounds have been enjoying the upside of global warming.

I know the sun is a nice, unexpected reprieve from the nine-month Midwestern winter. Unfortunately, the mini-heatwave has not brought any relief from the hot air that notoriously blows from government buildings in Cook County.

Earlier this month, a local judge was unceremoniously removed from her courthouse and arrested for assault. My colleague Staci Zaretsky might have called her a judicial diva, but I think this jurist is more of a Mike Tyson type…

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Last week, we brought you the “weirdest job ad” of all time. Today, we’ve got a job ad that isn’t nearly as strange, but as our tipster put it, it’s “a bit off.” And our tipster is right. This might not be the weirdest job ad of all time, but it’s probably the most boastful.

With all of the hubbub about unpaid internships, you’d think that legal employers would start showing law students the money — but you’d be wrong. Because when you freely admit that you don’t have any cash, it’s hard to spread it around. Maybe that’s why this law firm is sacrificing applicants’ credentials for free labor.

Let’s check out a “unique posting” straight out of a law school in Flori-duh….

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Yesterday, news came out that the number of people taking the LSAT declined for the second year in a row. Sharply declined.

The LSAT Blog reports that administrations of the test are down 16% from last year. That’s the largest decrease ever. Moreover, in absolute numbers, administrations of the test are at their lowest numbers in a decade.

It took four years, but perhaps prospective law students are starting to get the message the law school is not a guarantee for a good job or financial security.

So what’s going to happen to the law schools that exist by the grace of the stupidity of prospective law students? Well, the New York Times is eager to start throwing dirt on the graves of the law schools at the bottom….

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Nicollette Sheridan

* It’s time for the Supreme Court to sound off on the battle over women’s wombs, and you know it’s bad when even a sitting justice calls it “a mess.” Can a child conceived after a parent’s death receive survivor benefits? [CNN]

* Disgusting health warning pictures on cigarette packaging and advertising: now constitutional according to the Sixth Circuit. Maybe this will inspire people to quit a habit that’s almost equally as disgusting. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* When Biglaw is involved, so is big money. Say “aloha” to the largest personal injury settlement in Hawaii’s history. The state will pay $15.4M over the hiking death of Gibson Dunn partner Elizabeth Brem. [Am Law Daily]

* A lawsuit filed against fashionista Alexander Wang over his alleged “sweatshop” has been discontinued, and not because there isn’t a case, but because the lawyers on either side have major beef. [New York Magazine]

* The Better Business Bureau has moved to dismiss a Florida law firm’s suit over its “F” grade. Because sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn’t mean you can sue over it if you don’t like it. [Orlando Sentinel]

* The biggest bimbo from Wisteria Lane gets screwed again, but this time in court. A mistrial has been declared in Nicollette Sheridan’s lawsuit against the producers of “Desperate Housewives.” [Reuters]

Yale Law v. Harvard Law: a first-world problem.

Lat here. It’s March, so you know what that means: prospective law students, those wise or foolish people who have decided to ignore the warnings of law school’s many critics, are deciding where to matriculate. And they want our — and your — advice.

Last year, my colleague Elie Mystal offered advice to 0Ls who were considering such schools as Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Michigan, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Minnesota. In case you missed the post, you can check it out here.

This year, Elie and I are going to offer conflicting advice — yes, it’s an ATL Debate — to a future law student with a real high-class problem. He’s choosing between Yale Law School and Harvard Law School.

Grab yourself a drink, make yourself some popcorn, and sit back, as Elie and I argue against our respective alma maters. And then, at the end, cast your vote in our reader poll….

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