Elie Mystal joined ATL in 2009 by winning the ATL Idol Contest. Prior to joining ATL, Elie wrote about politics and popular culture at City Hall News and the New York Press. Elie received a degree in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was formerly a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton but quit the legal profession to pursue a career as an online provocateur. He's written editorials for the New York Daily News and the New York Times, and he has appeared on both MSNBC and Fox News without having to lie about his politics to either news organization.
I’m not usually the one to give sartorial advice around here. My blogging attire can be exclusively purchased from MLB Shop if I so desire. I need a suit or two for television and then, whatever, it doesn’t matter and I don’t care.
But back when I was in Biglaw and I had to be presentable, I appreciated some basic advice from the people who cared about how I looked way more than I did. Don’t confuse the issue with your WASP-y tales of Seersucker Saturdays. Just tell me the bare minimum I have to do to fit into your shallow little club, and I’ll do it. I really can’t stand people who are all like, “Well Jasper, did you see that chap wearing white after Labor Day? How gauche.” But if that’s going to be a rule that affects my professional advancement, just tell me and I’ll follow it. Biglaw pays enough for people to invest in their wardrobe in whatever arcane ways are required.
So, in a way, one can appreciate this list put together by an office managing partner of a national law firm about the business casual dress code for men. Sure, it comes from an annoying place of conformity that values style over substance. Sure, it’s a document dripping with low-grade sexism that contemplates a time when men were men and somebody else did their laundry.
But we’re talking about guys who work at law firms, we’re not talking about rebels; nobody should be trying to be a hero. Everybody should just wear what they’re told…
In many constitutional democracies, the role of the president and prime minister are split. The prime minister functions as a kind of “head of the legislature,” kind of like a more powerful version of our “Speaker of the House.” He or she sets the the legislative agenda. The president is endowed with certain executive functions, like telling the army where to go. It’s not perfect, and in many countries with this split one person is clearly in charge and the other person is clearly the butt-boy.
Sometimes I think law schools could benefit from splitting the traditional responsibilities of the law school dean. We need one person who is the Prime Minister of the Faculty — I’d call that person “the dean.” That person would manage the curriculum, and would be ultimately in charge of student and faculty concerns. Issues such as practice-ready preparation, faculty hiring, and tenure decisions would ultimately fall on the prime minister’s desk.
The other guy would be the President of the Law School (Cash Money Overlord?) — he can handle all the business. Fundraising, capital projects, setting the budget, and the like. Students wouldn’t need to know his or her name. When the University President wakes up and says, “Fee-fi-fo-fum, someone stick it to the law student scum,” it’s the president who gets the call.
That way, there’s at least some nominal separation between the people in charge of milking the law students for all they’re worth and the people allegedly responsible for preparing these kids for an unforgiving job market.
On paper, it’s not the worst idea in the world. In practice, it looks like a complete disaster. A local law school has been trying to do it that way, and it looks like the whole thing just went up in flames…
Won’t be long before law schools are getting this guy to sell you legal education.
It really bothers me when law schools resort to “used car salesmen” tactics to try to induce law students to sign up for school. Say what you will about the value of legal education, but it’s not like buying a Sham-Wow. Students can’t be influenced by “special, limited time” offers when trying to decide if and where to invest three years of their time. If nothing else, you’re entering into the lottery to win a legal career, not an iPad Mini.
Law schools that try to exploit “impulse buy” reactions to fill their seats should be ashamed of themselves. They are taking advantage of kids — twenty-somethings who don’t have lawyers or accountants or appraisers representing their interests. Law schools are at a huge informational advantage concerning the true value of their services, value that they try to hide at every turn from independent third parties. Law students are trying to cobble together what they can based on word of mouth, Google, and some published rankings. Turning the screws on these prospective students with offers that “expire in 24 hours” is a good business strategy if you are trying to sell them a toaster, but it’s a disgraceful thing to do for a place that claims to be an “institution of higher learning.”
I can only hope that anybody who received this “hard-sell” email from this law school did the smart thing and just walked away…
If you were homeless, I don’t know why you would put “homeless lawyer” in you Craigslist listing looking for a legal job. I don’t know why you would look for a legal job on Craigslist. I don’t even know how homeless people are able to turn change into food.
But any time a homeless lawyer puts a job ad on Craigslist, I know I’m going to post about it…
I should be clear, this isn’t a story about a replica law school building made out of Lego pieces. I’m pretty sure a lot of people have already done that — maybe Nathan Sawaya, lawyer turned Lego artist. And this isn’t a story about a life-sized law school building made out of Lego pieces; I’m pretty sure some online law school has “neato” plans already underway for such a brick-and-mortar plastic-and-Krazy-Glue supplement to their accreditation application to the ABA.
No, this story is about a brand-new, modern, actually quite interesting-looking law school building, which just looks like it was made by a child Colossus playing with a box of interconnecting building blocks. The progressive urban planner in me says, “That’s actually pretty cool.” The righteous crusader in me asks, “Dear GOD, how much did that cost?”
And the legal blogger in me just really wants the name “Lego Law School” to stick around for a generation or two….
* Well, if you don’t like what the Supreme Court is doing, you can still sit outside First Street and protest. I doubt it’ll have any effect whatsoever, but knock yourselves out. [National Law Journal]
* Speaking of the Supreme Court, things are still harder for minority law students. Not that such pesky things like facts should stop Chief Justice Roberts from feeling confident about telling us how to end racial discrimination in our time. [National Law Journal]
A disturbing video is making its way around social media today. It’s a six-minute family court video from August 2011 of a woman who complains that a marshal sexually assaulted her in a back room. The woman becomes increasingly agitated as the marshal, who is in the courtroom, then arrests her for “making false allegations about a police officer,” all while the magistrate plays with the woman’s child, at least until the child begs the arresting officer to not take her momma away.
It’s really tough to watch. Even I became emotional while watching the clip. And the marshal has since been dismissed. Most of the internet outrage is focused on the cop. Me, I can honestly say that after watching this I wish nothing but the absolute worst for Clark County Hearings Master Patricia Doninger. I think I’d rather see Edith Jones on the Supreme freaking Court than have this person “preside” over a game of Family Feud, much less be within shouting distance of a family court…
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I did on social media this morning was follow @KUBoobs, which then led me to follow @UKboobs and @Mizzouboobs. And then I remembered that I’m a goddamn 35-year-old married man, these women are in college, and didn’t really need to follow these accounts to do “research” for this story. Then I followed @JonesDay, which is kind of like throwing a pack of gum on the checkout scanner after ringing up a tube of K-Y.
In any event, the point is that there is a Twitter account called @KUBoobs which involves girls provocatively wearing Kansas Basketball gear (I suppose they could wear KU Football gear but, c’mon) and sending the pictures to the account to be posted online. The best ideas are the most simple.
Now, you’re not going to believe this, but this account is not sanctioned by the university. Shocking, I know.
But what actually is surprising is that some people at the University’s office, probably some pervs who were “tempted” to spend their whole work day on the site, tried to get their lawyers to shut it down. Do old people really know nothing about the internet?
I don’t really feel the need to slap a “hero” or “villain” label onto Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who blew the lid off of the secret government email spying program now known as Prism. I mean, if I have to choose, I go “hero” because I basically don’t trust any program the government won’t even explain to its own people. And I certainly don’t trust anything that’s every come out of a FISA court, because how can I?
But I don’t know that this was the right or only way to bring this important information to light. I believe, I kind of need to believe, that the public’s ability to know and stop potentially massive government overreach rests on more than the good conscious of high school dropouts living in Hawaii. Perhaps so-called “small government” types will join together with progressives in saying that non-public courts issuing secret warrants is probably a bad thing.
With that in mind, I would love to see Snowden evade prosecution. It’s not his fault that he wasn’t able to forge alliance between Ron Paul supporters like himself and progressives who wish that politicians were as afraid of Fourth Amendment as the Second.
But how can he stay free? The Justice Department is loading up charges and Hong Kong just wants what’s good for business. Snowden is already on the move, where should he go? Come on people who went to law school for “international law” get your head out of complex cross border transactions and help this brother out…
If it seems like a silly debate, it’s only because you haven’t been buttonholed by a law school dean who has had just about enough of your oh-so-funny jokes about his school.
Law deans, especially law deans of schools with underwhelming employment numbers, are convinced, convinced, that the “employed nine months after graduation” statistic vastly under-represents the value of their law degrees. Recent graduates of their schools who have been sitting around without jobs for nine months think that their law deans can go jump in a lake. But a small percentage of these grads will get jobs — mainly crappy, barely-legal jobs, which don’t begin to justify the massive investment they’ve made in legal education — between months nine and ten. This could make it easier for law deans to inflate their job statistics with a ten-month rule.
The law deans are few but powerful. The people aligned against law deans (recent graduates, independent third parties, pretty much everybody else) are vastly more numerous but lack real power to influence the rules.
Caught in the middle is the American Bar Association. Normally, you might expect the ABA to do whatever the law deans want, but here there are just too many arguments in favor of the basic consumer utility of the “nine months.”
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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