ATL Idol

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Many thanks to those who wrote in about their creepy, sadistic, and otherwise entertaining legal bosses.
Skadden employee Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom.jpgOur first nominee, Judge Suzanne B. Conlon, earned her place in bossal history by firing a clerk for complying with an evacuation order on Sep. 11, 2001.
Read about her competition, courtesy of some long-suffering ATL readers, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “America’s Worst Legal Boss Strikes Back”

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
Looks like I seeded Jack McCoy all wrong. Maybe McCoy is a realistic approximation of what you get if you combine Stalin, bushy eyebrows, and a totally incompetent criminal defense system.
5. Vincent Gambini (My Cousin Vinny) v. 8. Bobby Donnell (The Practice)
Legal movies portray “the law” as something grounded in common sense. But you cannot learn the law “from the streets.” Martial arts, yes; the 23 exceptions to the hearsay rule, not so much. Vinny failed the bar six times, yet won his first murder trial. That is impossible. I think The Practice did a good job showing the real life difficulties associated with going out there and “hanging a shingle.” Unfortunately, “Plan B” is also known as blaming a third party that had absolutely nothing to do with the instant crime. It’s a sophisticated defense strategy employed by eight-year-olds all across America.
2. Jake Brigance (Time to Kill) v. 3. Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)
The thought of random attorney nakedness should make you shudder. Instead, this unrealistic match-up is titillating. Did anybody go to law school with a girl that looked like Reese Witherspoon? Does anybody know a litigator preparing for a murder trial who maintains a full-body tan? I refuse to believe that I am the only JD out there that has to keep his shirt on for fear of scaring small children.
Maybe if Matthew McConaughey had followed that same code of conduct, I would have gotten his character’s name right the first time.
After the jump, readers weigh in with their choices.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lionel Hutz Invitational: Round 2″

avatar Alex ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by ALEX, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Alex's avatar (at right).]
We received nearly 200 comments on the OCI Open Thread, and to my surprise, most of them were not directed solely at how badly I suck. Small victory.
Many of the comments offered helpful advice from self-professed recruiting attorneys. Others offered glimmers of hope for the anxious and the under-performing. And some left no doubt that, no matter how badly you think you’re going to do in interviews, others have done and will do worse.
hot seat hotseat.jpgFirst, though, take a deep breathe. A large number of 2ls from top-fifteen law schools get biglaw jobs. And many top-performing law students from other schools get biglaw jobs, too.
But even if you don’t, it’s no big deal. Seriously. OCI creates the false impression that the only sensible thing that you can do with a law degree is work at an AmLaw 100 firm. Don’t be fooled.
Being a junior associate at a large law firm is not very fulfilling. You’re not even really a lawyer; you’re a low-level corporate employee with legal knowledge. Go try a case or counsel somebody with a problem. You’ll undoubtedly wonder why you ever cared about this week.
With a little perspective, you’ll do much better in your interviews. As commenters have repeatedly pointed out to me over the last two weeks, nobody likes someone who appears to be trying too hard. If you don’t care so much, you’ll be yourself. See Exley’s excellent farewell post.
Okay, helpful advice and uncomfortable stories after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OCI Open Thread Follow-Up”

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Last year, ATL brought you the story of Ernie Chambers, the Nebraska state legislator who sued God for terrorizing millions of Earth’s inhabitants with earthquakes and floods.
Ernie Chambers 1.jpgThis week, Sen. Chambers appeared before Judge Marlon Polk to argue that the suit should move forward despite his failure to serve notice on God:

“Despite my most sincere, zealous efforts, I could not find a location to serve the defendant,” Chambers said. But Chambers asked Polk to take official notice of God, and the Almighty’s omniscience and omnipresence.

Despite Sen. Chambers’s argument that the defendant had constructive notice of the suit, God failed to make a special appearance. Under Nebraska law, if God did not make himself available, one of His many registered agents could have accepted service of process.
minimum contacts.jpgIn his original complaint, Sen. Chambers did not address the manageability problems inherent in a class action suit with approximately 6.7 billion potential plaintiffs.

A spiritual presence was palpable in the courtroom, as Judge Polk displayed the patience of a saint in dealing with the matter.
God declined to comment for this story, citing an ongoing investigation into the fate of Sen. Chambers’s soul.

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
Does this sound like your supervising partner?

[He] aggressively and rapidly advanced…with clenched fists, piercing eyes, beet-red face, popping veins, and screaming and swearing. Raess v. Doescher, 883 N.E.2d 790, 794 (Ind. 2008).

bully cubicle.jpgA recent ABA article, “Beyond Traditional Tort Law, ‘Desk Rage’ is Now a Potential Claim,” suggests that in a few “avant-garde” jurisdictions you can sue your boss for being a world-class a**hole. Er, the ABA might want to sign itself up for one of its CLE refresher courses, because the jurisdictions that recognize the new tort are so avant-garde that they do not yet exist.

The article cites Raess as evidence of a “desk rage” cause of action. But in Raess, the court granted judgment for the plaintiff on a traditional assault claim, and merely noted that a jury instruction about workplace bullying was appropriate. Deduct 3 skills credits.

Of course, you can still sue office tyrants under existing legal theories like Title VII (for racist and sexist jerks), intentional infliction of emotional distress (vindictive jerks) and assault (scary jerks). Unfortunately, there’s no tort for run-of-the-mill partner jerks who ignore emails or scream at associates.

On that note, stop reading this post and get back to work, you worthless sacks of sh*t.

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
On Tuesday, American Lawyer published a follow-up report to their overall associate satisfaction survey, released last Friday. This report ranks midlevel associates’ satisfaction with their pay packages. Not surprisingly, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz midlevels were most satisfied with their overall compensation, thanks in part to bonuses which ranged from $175,000 to $215,000.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, associates still lucky enough to have jobs were less than thrilled with their pay. Overall, midlevel salary satisfaction has only risen 1% annually since 2006.
The new numbers are surprising to some because top firms in other major markets are now matching the base compensation awarded in New York, while New York associates still receive higher bonuses to keep their landlords at bay.
According to American Lawyer, midlevel associates understand that extra compensation results in longer hours, less partner contact, and decreased job security. As one Jenner & Block associate put it, “They’re not raising because they value us. We’re just the collective beneficiary because the firm needs to keep up in the market. It’s a back-handed compliment.”
Perhaps it is time to use the lysine contingency to control the law student population in order to make firms care about associate retention.

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHere’s the second half of the “head-to-head” round of ATL Idol. If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on, background information is available in this prior post (or just scroll down the front page to the post immediately below this one).
You can check out the second half of the head-to-head round, featuring the blogging of SOPHIST and FROLIC AND DETOUR, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: Week 2, Head-to-Head Round (Part 2)”

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Demanding bosses come with the territory in our line of work. Several less-than-loving legal employers have been profiled here on ATL, and you’ve shared some fine examples of bossal abuse. But until today, we’ve never undertaken a search for the worst boss in the legal profession.
Skadden employee Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom.jpgThis week, we want to find the ultimate briefcase-hurling, insult-spewing master of the legal boss’s art. ATL will get the ball rolling by offering the first nominee:
Senior Judge Suzanne B. Conlon, a living legend of the Northern District of Illinois, is a true judicial diva. She even fired a staff member who refused to carry the judge’s lunch up 17 flights of stairs on a day when the elevators weren’t working. But those in the know tell us that Judge Conlon didn’t reach the pinnacle of her achievements in bossery until September 11, 2001.
Judge Conlon is famous for her punctuality and for her ruthless enforcement of deadlines. So when federal marshals evacuated the Dirksen courthouse that sunny morning, she stayed put in her chambers. One clerk began to make made preparations to leave, per the instructions of the guys with guns. Judge Conlon decreed [paraphrasing]: “It is a TUESDAY, you are here till SIX, and if you leave, don’t come back.”
So he left and didn’t come back.
Can you top this, readers? We bet you can. Tell us why your boss (or former boss) deserves the Worst Legal Boss honor at [email protected] or in the comments. We’ll select the most outstanding candidates and post the full list of nominees on Thursday.

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
Why does my television constantly tell me that being an attorney is: glamorous, “fun,” and yet so easy that any idiot can do it? I caught a preview for TNT’s new lawyer show, Raising the Bar, and, after my seizure, I realized that dramatic license has gone too far.

So, with a nod to the Coolest Law Firm bracket, I bring you the “Lionel Hutz Invitational.” Which of the following characters has done the most to mislead our friends and family about the true nature of our profession? Let’s keep it to characters created after 1990, so the kids can play along.Today, I’ll start with the quarterfinals, I’ll update the progress on Thursday, and on Friday we’ll vote on the finalists. But I sense how much ATL readers love to write in candidates, so please comment on the fictional donkeys that didn’t make my cut (I cannot watch Eli Stone or Shark). Perhaps I will run my own “shadow poll” based on the most popular write-in choices.

See the field after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Which Legal Fiction Makes Your Life Worse?”

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
From ergonomic wrist supports to dual computer monitors, law firms wring every ounce of productivity from the attorneys they haven’t axed (yet). But while firms close branch offices and fire scores of lawyers, we submit that the answer to the current economic slump isn’t merging firms – it’s merging people. Everybody knows that two lawyers are better than one. It’s time for firms to get both and pay half; time for attorney mating.
No more legions of staff attorneys or filibuster roll-calls. Say goodbye to team meetings that resemble the Last Supper. Through attorney mating, firms can combine, say, the skills of master litigators with those of corporate powerhouses in order to produce uberlawyers with the efficiency of ten Aeron chairs. Using genetic samples from parent attorneys and the latest in Photoshop technology, we’ll give you a sneak peak at the offspring of some of the most sought-after combinations.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What if They Mated: Legal All-Stars Edition”

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