October 2012

Ed. note: Lat here. This post is by lawyer turned novelist Allison Leotta, whom I previously profiled. I recently read Leotta’s newest book, Discretion, which I highly recommend. Not only is it a gripping thriller, but it’s legally realistic too, reflecting Leotta’s experience as a federal prosecutor and her research into the escort business.

As a former sex-crimes prosecutor who just wrote a novel about the escort business, I keep getting the same question from my Biglaw buddies: “I already feel like a high-end prostitute. Shouldn’t I get paid like one?”

It’s an old saw that lawyers are already prostitutes. Face it, we care deeply for our clients because we’re paid to care about them. If we’re good, we start by convincing ourselves that the side of the legal dispute we more or less randomly ended up on happens to be the right side. You think a hooker’s job is that different? Forget it. The infamous D.C. Madam — an inspiration for my latest book, Discretion (affiliate link) — was a woman who dropped out of law school and opened an escort agency.

You’re good-looking, you like people, you know how to bill by the hour — you could totally do this. But is being a high-class escort really a better job than the one you’ve got now? The answer will be familiar to every memo-writing associate: It depends. Before you go trading in those Christian Louboutins for five-inch-stilettos, check out these side-to-side comparisons of the trades….

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* The Fifth Circuit upheld a federal law banning gun sales to people under 21 years old. Oh! The humanity! What will the nation’s teenagers do without booze or their own guns? [WSJ Law Blog]

* A New York cop is charged with planning to kidnap, cook, and eat 100 women. Gross. I wonder if this will tarnish the NYPD’s sterling reputation. [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

* Scratching your nuts in public is gross, but it’s not the same as, uh, some other grosser, more illegal activities. It would behoove this woman to learn to recognize the difference. [Legal Juice]

* Should wearing “personality” glasses count against a criminal defendant? I dunno, but as a guy who has to wear glasses I find it bizarre that people choose to wear them as fashion accessories. Might as well wear a useless prosthetic arm too; I hear they’re the next hip trend. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Another intra-family lawsuit: Geoffrey Richards, who teaches at Northwestern Law School, has been sued by his 95-year-old grandfather over a family financial dispute. The grandfather is also calling Richards a “scoundrel” and the “greatest disappointment” in his life. Ouch. [DealBreaker]

* President Obama has endorsed several same-sex marriage ballot proposals. Nice work, Barry. [BuzzFeed]

* Insights and advice for people interested in fashion law (from Ron Coleman and others). [Likelihood of Confusion]

Pass the bar exam
Setting out to change the world
Debt crushes the dream

– One of the 10 law-inspired haikus chosen as a winner by the ABA Journal’s Ross Essay Contest selection committee. Each winner will receive $500.

(For your reading pleasure, we’ve selected some additional haikus that we thought our readers would really appreciate, after the jump.)

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He’s on a motherf**king boat.

It’s beginning to feel like a large chunk of the lawyer world, in an alternate universe, would be professional musicians. In addition to our annual Law Revue contest, we’re hearing day after day about lawyers with secret musical talent (or, uh, passion).

Today, we heard about a young Canadian lawyer who’s been hustlin’ for some time now. He landed a sweet gig at a Bay Street firm. To celebrate, he released a swanky new hip hop video featuring Lamborghinis, luxury boats, beautiful women, and some dope lawyerly rhymes.

Not too bad. Not too bad at all….

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Tom Wallerstein

My friend Pablo told me that when Monica, a partner, called his home at 9:00 p.m., he knew it couldn’t be good. Why not email? For an instant, he considered letting the call go to voicemail. Taking a deep breath, he answered.

Monica wanted to know “where he was” with the brief Pablo had been working on. She had not given him any particular deadline, so he explained that he expected to circulate the draft for review the following evening. The brief was a motion to dismiss, and he knew the deadline to file was still two weeks away. He was allowing the partner one week to review before she had to send to the client, who in turn would have another week to review.

The partner, however, had a different idea. “I want it on my desk tomorrow by 8 a.m.,” she told Pablo.” “Not a moment later.”

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How are you supposed to get students to turn out if you can’t book Katy Perry?

It’s well known that one way of getting students to come out is free food. I mean, Katy Perry works too, but she’s not always available. If you’ve got an “important dialogue” on an “issue facing young people” and you want students to show up instead of trying to get laid somewhere, you have to bribe them with food.

Except, students aren’t stupid. They know it’s a trap. Students aren’t like Midwestern field mice who think, “Look at this chunk of cheese, it must be my lucky day!” They’re like Manhattan city vermin who show up to a $50 mousetrap with a screwdriver and an EMP.

If there’s any way of pulling it off, students will show up to the event, grab the food, and duck out long before the featured speaker starts droning on about things that people wouldn’t listen to in a podcast while they exercised.

Well, one law school has had enough of students showing up to take the food and not staying to take their medicine. A school-wide email demands proper event etiquette….

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Times are tough these days for law school graduates, so to be quite frank, we don’t blame you if you’re considering dropping out. Because when some of your post-graduation career options involve document review hell, stocking the shelves at a local retail shop, or performing what’s essentially slave labor to the tune of $10,000, dropping out may be your best bet. But not to worry, because if you were to drop out, you’d be in some pretty good company.

For example, would Gene Kelly have been singing in the rain if had he continued on with his legal studies at Pittsburgh School of Law? Yes, this choreographer extraordinaire and musical jack-of-all-trades attended law school for only two months before he dropped out, and his life was all the better for it.

Who else can be counted among our nation’s most famous law school dropouts?

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It’s rare for a lawyer to face criminal charges (even if you might get a different impression based on the content of our pages). It’s rare for a criminal case to go to trial (as opposed to being resolved through a plea agreement). It’s rare for a defendant to take the witness stand at his own trial. And it’s rare for such a defendant to win an acquittal.

But this is exactly what happened in the case of Bryan Brooks, which we covered last month. Brooks went into the courtroom and emerged victorious, but it was not an easy experience. When you’re the defendant as opposed to defense counsel, your life and liberty are on the line. Higher stakes would be hard to imagine.

I recently sat down with Bryan to hear the story of his harrowing journey through the criminal justice system….

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Okay, there’s a natural ceiling to how good a legal-themed Tumblr account is going to be. It’s not Binders Full of Women.

I don’t think any legal Tumblr can get to the Trap Her, Keep Her level. But come on, “Lawyer Men Explain Things To Me” should be good for a few laughs once it gets going, and “Life In Biglaw” is already out there making it happen….

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Is it more dangerous to jump in front of this, or to go to law school?

Would you jump onto train tracks in front of an oncoming train if you were a Seton Hall Law student?

Oh, I mean to save another person. Would you jump in front of an oncoming train to save somebody else?

Well, if you didn’t jump, you might be liable under my groundbreaking theory of Good Samaritan liability (mwahaha, making criminals of people who don’t help, or help stupidly). But if you would jump onto train tracks to save an elderly woman, you’d be as good of a person as James Baber, Seton Hall Law student and PATH train hero….

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