2014

The horrors of student loans are much discussed here at Above the Law, if only because law school tuition is so damn high, and housing expenses are so damn costly, that financing a legal education usually requires taking out about six figures of non-dischargeable debt. That’s quite a heavy load to carry. If only there were some way to pay the bills without going to the poorhouse in the process.

Apparently there’s a new way to deal with the rising costs associated with higher education in this country, and you don’t even have to lose your dignity to participate. You see, Seeking Arrangement, the leading “sugar dating” website, recently released statistics showing that more and more college co-eds are turning to “sugar daddy” and “sugar mama” arrangements to pay for their school-related expenses.

And hey, if all the college kids are doing it, why can’t law students fall in line with the latest trend?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Take Out Student Loans When You Can Finance Law School as a ‘Sugar Baby’?”

It’s completely natural for adults to reach a breaking point. Sometimes, enough is enough. This is true for almost all aspects of adult life that people wish could be changed, including those dealing with addiction, infidelity, and, of course, the headaches that accompany being employed. When and where this point is crossed obviously depends on the individual, but many times, it’ll result in breaking away from what became comfortable and a willingness to do anything for a change.

I personally experienced this myself just before Christmas — that’s when I quit my awful retail job….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gradenfreude: Escaping the Seventh Circle of Retail Hell”

The Colonel says ‘leave me out of this.’

We now have judicial notice that making jokes about the president and fried chicken is probably racist.

Granted, “all these years, I thought I liked chicken because it was delicious.” But living up north, it’s pretty well-established that suggesting black people have a predisposition for eating chicken is prima facie racist and likely to start a fight. That’s not because I’m “sensitive” or “playing the race card.” It’s because generalizing about the foods black people eat has been used as a tool for racial stigmatization for a long time in this country.

That history somehow escaped Judge Lynn Hughes.

We’ve written about Hughes before. He’s a guy who can throw a benchslap. He’s also a guy who has been described as “[u]nquestionably the single worst judge in the Southern District of Texas” on The Robing Room (where lawyers can post anonymously about judges).

But one of his flippant remarks to an African-American plaintiff drew the ire of the Fifth Circuit, even as they were affirming his ultimate result.

You know that you have strayed a little too far from the flock when the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) is schooling you on racial sensitivity….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Professional Benchslapper Gets Admonished By Fifth Circuit Over His Own Racial Insensitivity”

Last week I spoke with an In-House Insider, a Biglaw refugee turned in-house counsel. You can see what our Insider has to say about the state of Biglaw and client relations here and below.

As with the initial installment, the only changes I made to the Insider’s words were those done to protect their identity, and the Insider was given the opportunity to revise their points once I added the questions and commentary.

Again, I thank the Insider for the candid observations and thoughtful opinions on these core issues. Now, on to the discussion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Buying In: An Interview with an In-House Insider (Part 2)”

* When it comes to medical marijuana prosecutions, the government is supposed to have “bigger fish to fry,” but it looks like even the Department of Justice couldn’t resist reeling in one last big catch. [New York Times]

* According to the results of this study, if you want to do well in law school, you should probably stop being so damn awkward, scale back your antisocial habits, and consider joining a study group. [National Law Journal]

* “[U]nder American law, anyone interesting is a felon.” This Columbia Law professor argues that the legal system failed Aaron Swartz because he was treated like a criminal instead of a deviant genius. [New Yorker]

* Porn stars in Los Angeles are challenging the constitutionality of being forced to wear condoms during filming — because the transfer of STDs is “constitutionally protected expression.” [Courthouse News Service]

* So, it looks like Lindsay Lohan fired her best gal pal in the world: her lawyer. But sometimes you have to fire people when you allegedly owe them oodles of money to the tune of $300K and you don’t have any. [Daily Mail]

The grass isn’t quite this green in the ‘new normal.’

In a piece from last month, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wondered: Is Growth Over? One could very easily take this question, posed with respect to the broader economy, and apply it to the world of large law firms.

And what would the answer be? According to a client advisory just issued by Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting, “Probably.”

Their analysis is gloomy, although guardedly so; we’re not talking about “the sky is falling” pronouncements. Let’s take a look at the specifics….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw: Welcome to the New Normal”

Pillsbury’s so lonely these days.

* “Without the formation of character, the rest is futile.” An Article III judge’s take on the law school crisis. [Simple Justice]

* Because nobody likes sloppy seconds, the merger talks between Pillsbury Winthrop and Dickstein Shapiro are now off the table. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* David Tresch, an ex-Biglaw CIO, was indicted last week on wire fraud charges. “Bitch better give me back my money,” said Mayer Brown. [ABA Journal]

* Does Jeffrey Toobin understand the Voting Rights Act? This law professor seems skeptical. [PrawfsBlog]

* Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, because this Saturday is Gun Appreciation Day. Go celebrate your Second Amendment rights — but do it responsibly, please! [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Remember Ryan Chenevert, the young lawyer who took home the title of Cosmo’s Bachelor of the Year for 2012? Check out the very tongue-in-cheek interview this hottie did with 225 Magazine, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 01.14.13″

Dude, why don’t you just stay your ass home then?

We live in a culture that praises people for “playing hurt.” In sports, we like it when stars act like tough guys and put themselves at long term risk when they play with injuries (until they re-injure themselves, as fans of Robert Griffin III or Rob Gronkowski have learned in the past two weeks). In normal life, we value people who show up to do their job no matter what, and we are suspicious of people who take a lot of “sick days.”

Unless there is a FLU EPIDEMIC OMFG IT’S LIKE THAT MOVIE CONTAGION. Then, and only then, we start telling people to “stay home” instead of infecting the entire workplace.

This flu season has gotten so out of hand that some are starting to wonder if forcing people to have flu shots is something that employers can legally do. That’s right folks, in a country that cannot guarantee health care for all of its citizens, we can probably force at-will employees to get flu shots….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Forced Flu Shots? Can’t Sick People Just Stay Home?”

We keep telling our readers to sign up for our New Year’s party, but since we know that some of you are professional slackers and procrastinators, we’re giving you one more chance to do so. Come hang out with all of your favorite Above the Law editors, say hello to some of our columnists, and most importantly, enjoy our open bar!

The Above the Law New Year’s party will be held on Wednesday, January 16, at a secret location in NYC to be disclosed later. This exclusive shindig is generously sponsored by Lateral Link, the fastest growing legal search firm with twelve offices in the United States and Asia. Only with us will you get the true VIP experience lawyers deserve.

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There’s no lack of advice these days about what lawyers should be doing to get clients or run their practices. And you take it. You take the advice of the former lawyers with no clients or practices, or the perennial failures who understand that lawyers are gullible when it comes to advice about making money. But still, you take it, or God forbid, pay for it.

So you create a Facebook Fan Page for your law firm and ask everyone to “like” your page. You go on LinkedIn and join groups. You go on Avvo.com and ask lawyers to endorse you. Your website is “awesome” and you’ve got an e-mail newsletter campaign going. Offline, you do the Bar association networking circuit. You’ve met some people for lunch, and you even had an article published. By the way, you’re also a good lawyer and have some happy clients.

But the phone isn’t ringing, or isn’t ringing enough. You get to the point of frustration, and start thinking of discontinuing part of your marketing, or worse, closing your practice.

Let’s be honest, some of you won’t make it. You’re decent lawyers but have no business sense. Some lawyers need to work for someone else. That’s why we have Biglaw, so really smart people with no ability to make a buck on their own can pretend they are superior.

Let’s say though that quitting is not an option, but neither is continuing on this path. You’re just trying to figure out which of the half-dozen things you’re doing is worth continuing, and what else you need to do.

So I’ll take a stab at it. My apologies for being a lawyer with clients and a practice, as I know I’m not the typical guru selling you on the dream….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: When Nothing’s Working”

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