Staci Zaretsky

Staci Zaretsky became an editor for ATL in June 2011. Before becoming an editor, she helped write ATL’s Morning Docket under the pseudonym Morning Dockette. Her writing has been featured on other legal blogs, such as Lawyerist and Ms. JD. Staci graduated from Lehigh University, and Western New England University School of Law, where her writing was published in the Western New England Law Review. In her spare time, Staci enjoys watching reality television, shopping for clothes she doesn't need with money she doesn't have, and singing along to Lady Gaga's latest hits.

Posts by Staci Zaretsky

Rengan Rajaratnam and Dan Gitner

It’s bad luck to get a haircut during trial.

Daniel Gitner of Lankler Siffert & Wohl, commenting on one of the personal grooming superstitions he forces those staffing cases with him to adopt. Gitner recently broke U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s winning streak in the successful prosecution of insider trading cases when his client, Rengan Rajaratnam, was acquitted. Gitner cut his hair after the trial concluded.

We’ve written from time to time about senior judges, the most senior of whom was Wesley E. Brown of the District of Kansas, who remained on the bench until his death at age 104. We’ve even written about lateral moves made by nonagenarians to highly esteemed Biglaw firms, likely performed with the aid of a walker. We’ve never written about centenarian Biglaw attorneys, presumably because there are very few of them, but that’s about to change.

Fear not, clients, for that’s not a blood stain on your legal documents. It’s prune juice, because a 101-year-old lawyer was working on your deal, and he needs to stay regular to keep his billable hours up.

Which Biglaw firm is keeping this extremely senior counsel on its payroll?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A 101-Year-Old Attorney Is Still Working At This Biglaw Firm”

Philip Seymour Hoffman

* From Big Government to Biglaw: Our congratulations go out to Benjamin Horwich, most recently of the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, as he joins Munger Tolles & Olson as counsel. Nice work. [Munger Tolles & Olson]

* The number of law school applicants took a nose dive for the fourth year in a row, this time by 8 percent, summarily crushing the hopes and dreams of law deans praying for a change of their otherwise most dismal fortunes. [National Law Journal]

* Considering the latest slump in applicants, whether a law school evaluates your average LSAT score or highest LSAT score matters little. Admissions officers will jump for joy that you have a pulse. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* “You don’t have to convict on every count to have a win.” Azamat Tazhayakov, friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was convicted of obstruction and conspiracy to obstruct justice. [Bloomberg]

* Per documents filed by a lawyer appointed to represent Philip Seymour Hoffman’s children, the actor didn’t set aside money for them because he didn’t want them to become “trust fund kids.” [New York Post]

Many of you may remember Sex and the City, a sitcom that followed four women’s lives and relationships through good sex and bad. The show’s most ardent viewers found it easy to identify with one or more of its main characters. There was Carrie Bradshaw, the self-deprecating, too hopeful writer; Samantha Jones, the highly confident and highly oversexed vixen; Charlotte York Goldenblatt, the conservative prestige whore searching for true romance; and Miranda Hobbes, the often masculinized, debbie downer lawyer.

There have only been four women justices on the Supreme Court in the history of its existence — Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — so it’s fitting that we’d someday see an episode of SCOTUS and the City.

Which justice would you assign to each of these character roles? You’re about to find out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Watch The Women Of The Supreme Court Gab About Judicial Gossip, Sex And The City Style”

‘Your hair looks like [expletive]!’ – Bill Alverson

Being in front of a jury or a judge is the biggest pageant there is. Think of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘12 Angry Men.’ It’s about empowering the people who are going to make a decision to connect the dots. I set up the dots.

Bill Alverson of Alverson & Alverson, commenting on what it takes to win during his day job as a lawyer. Alverson has won cases before the Eleventh Circuit and Alabama’s Supreme Court, but he moonlights as one of America’s most-successful beauty pageant coaches. He’s paid $125 an hour for his unfiltered, tough-love advice, and he’s prepared many Miss USA and Miss America winners in the past.

Lawyers love detailed instructions and examples, even in their love lives. They want to know if they’ll be able to find a romance at their high-ranking law schools, and they’re obsessed with Legal Eagle Wedding Watches, if only as confirmation that some day they too will be happily married.

What these inquisitive lawyers all seem to forget, though, is that the prelude to the perfect marriage is the perfect engagement ring.

But how much should you be spending on one?

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The LSAT’s fate come August?

* NO, NO, NO, NOTORIOUS! Previously unpublished documents from the Clinton White House have been released, and it looks like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was criticized for her “laconic” nature. Not cool, Bill. [Legal Times]

* Document review jobs aren’t going anywhere, folks. Exhibit A: Winston & Strawn’s e-discovery practice is bringing in the big bucks, earning the firm more than $20 million in revenue last year. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* More lawyers are being treated for substance abuse for drugs and alcohol than ever before. In fact, a founding partner of Farella Braun + Martel, one of California’s largest firms, was once a “functioning alcoholic.” [Am Law Daily]

* A Florida jury apparently set on “sending a message” to tobacco companies awarded $23.6 billion in punitive damages to a chain smoker’s widow against RJ Reynolds. That was a costly message. [Reuters]

* June 2014 marked the fewest people who sat for the LSAT in 14 years, but it may get even lower if a new ABA proposal which would allow the test to be waived for 10% of students passes. [Central Florida Future]

* Dan Markel, FSU Law prof, criminal law theorist, and PrawfsBlawg founder, RIP. [Tallahassee Democrat]

Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

Do you even ethics bro?

– Language on a t-shirt depicting Judge Stephanie Domitrovich, worn by a man at the Erie County Courthouse yesterday. The man was asked to leave. Judge Domitrovich is currently facing ethics charges having to do with her alleged “unpatient, undignified and discourteous” treatment of parties.

During a time when demand for legal services is flat, average revenue per lawyer is down, and managing partners’ overall confidence in the market is slipping, the proper keeping of time for all of those billable hours generated by toiling associates has never been more important. For better or worse, law firms are desperately trying to incentivize associates to submit their hours on time.

As we mentioned way back in 2010, “Time keeping is more accurate when you do it every day (as opposed to trying to recreate your days at the end of the week or month). Firms are struggling to collect from their clients. And, for what it’s worth, billing hours is part of the job for attorneys.”

Another part of an attorney’s job is the ability to follow rules. One Biglaw firm just rolled out a new time entry policy, and if its associates don’t follow these rules, they can expect some pretty negative consequences when bonus season comes around…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Firm’s New Timekeeping Policy May Screw Associates Out Of Bonuses”

The old ball and chain, dischargeable in bankruptcy only in the most limited of cases. Go ahead, try and prove you’ve got a ‘substantial hardship’ preventing you from paying. We dare you.

* Now that a federal judge has classified California’s death penalty as unconstitutional, it’s only a matter of time before the issue reaches the Supreme Court. We have a feeling the justices will likely roll their eyes. [National Law Journal]

* Word on the street is that Bingham McCutchen has got the urge to merge, and has apparently spoken to a handful of potential partners over the course of the past three months. We’ll have more on these developments later. [Reuters]

* As it turns out, it was neither Wachtell Lipton nor Jenner & Block that managed to snag the coveted GM litigation oversight job. Nice work, Quinn Emanuel — you’re considered a “well-respected outside law firm.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congrats, Flori-duh, you did something right. A state court judge has ruled that Florida’s ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution in the latest post-Windsor victory for equality. Yay! [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to their hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt, many graduates are considering declaring bankruptcy. Too bad most won’t be able to get their loans discharged. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

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