Bad Ideas

Happy Family Photo.jpgYesterday we told you about the firm Trial Lawyers For Justice asking job applicants to send in some non-standard information. Among other things, the firm asked potential employees to send in a family photograph.
We asked Nick Rowley — who wrote the ad asking for applicants to send in their personal story and political beliefs along with their picture — to explain how these factors affect his decision making process for new hires.
He furnished Above the Law with a full response. We’re publishing it full after the jump. Let Mr. Rowley know if you agree with his reasons in the comments.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Trial Lawyers For Justice Defends Family Photo Request”

Happy Family Photo.jpgWe all know that it is difficult to get a job in this legal market. But an advertisement posted on the Minnesota state bar website makes it look like we are just one step away from genetic testing for junior associates. At least in Iowa.
The request for new talent starts off very earnestly:

DECORAH, IA plaintiff firm is seeking a brilliant hardworking lawyer who would rather do research and writing than be in court. Firm practices catastrophic injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death and is seeking a lawyer licensed or in the process of becoming licensed in Iowa and/or Minnesota willing to get licensed in both with a possibility of Wisconsin and California, who is willing to relocate to Decorah, IA. Position will be handling of the firm’s law and motion, discovery, legal research, and appeals (to work 50 hours per week, full time inside the office to prepare the firm’s trial lawyers who travel and spend most of their time in court). One month paid vacation per year, salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience and qualifications, the firm may be willing to provide housing in Decorah, IA. Writing samples, resume, and examples of briefs and projects worked on is required.

But then this plaintiff’s firm ad becomes … kind of creepy:

Much thought is going to be put into who will fill this very important position with the firm. Persons who are interested are requested to email a personal story of who the applicant is, what his or her political beliefs are, and what they believe about justice and personal injury litigation along with a recent personal and/or family photograph.

Political beliefs? A family photo? You know, this is one time where a little “X law firm is an equal opportunity employer …” tagline would be comforting.
What law firm put this advertisement together? Details after the jump.

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icky love triangle in vinton above the law.jpgStalking, cat fights, cheating, assault, and a secret marriage. This is the scandalous news out of Vinton, Virginia (pop: 7,782) this week, thanks to a lawyer-lawyer-paralegal love triangle.
If you surf over to WDBJ to check out the tale, we advise watching the video and skipping the transcribed broadcast. It hurt our head to translate it. And it hurt our eyes to Photoshop the image at right — click to enlarge (if you dare).
Two bankruptcy law attorneys, Jeffrey Kessler and Ann Marie Miller (an Appalachian School of Law ’06 grad), had been partnering on cases and in the bedroom. Ick. Apparently, Kessler then started secretly dating a younger woman, paralegal Jennifer Kelley.
That’s when things got messy — and, allegedly, violent.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Love Triangle We Wish We Hadn’t Heard About”

Pop quiz: You are a local prosecutor, and you’ve obtained pictures of an alleged rape. The pictures show the alleged violation taking place — the victim and the alleged assailant — as well as other teenagers drinking and partying. You should:

(a) Use the pictures as evidence when you prosecute the rapist.

(b) Put the pictures in a file and never look at them again (if you determine that the pictures show consensual sex).

(c) Do not charge the alleged rapist, but show the pictures to parents in your community.

If you answered (c), then you must be from Kansas. Click on the link below so Kash can tell you how they help parents in the heartland.
The bad idea file: Using sexual assault photos as an educational tool [True/Slant]

quinn redskins.jpgHere’s a post devoted to the perils of “Reply All” and idealism among first-year associates. Brought to you by the attorneys of Quinn Emanuel.
The firm just celebrated a victory in its Washington Redskins case, reports the Washington Post:

A federal appeals court yesterday handed the Washington Redskins another victory in their long-running legal dispute with Native American activists over the team’s name.
The appeals court did not address whether the name was offensive but upheld a federal judge’s ruling last year that a Native American man had waited too long to challenge six Redskins trademarks.

AmLaw Daily reports that Quinn attorney Robert Raskopf, who has been working on the case for as long it has been since the Redskins have seen a Superbowl stadium, was pretty psyched about the victory:

Raskopf was in a good mood when we spoke with him about the appellate win. He’s been on the case since it started 17 years ago. “It’s a great win for the team,” said Raskopf, who had help from Quinn partner Sanford Weisburst on the brief. “I’m so happy for the Redskins and their fans.”

Raskopf was so happy on Friday that he sent out a firm-wide victory e-mail. But not everybody was thrilled. After bouncing around the firm and racking up some responses, the victory chain made its way to our inbox via a tipster:

This is too good not to share. This was sent to all Quinn attorneys.

The First Year Associate Who Shat All Over Raskopf’s Victory Email OR The First Year Associate Who Repurposed the Redskins

After the jump, see the chain that culminates in a (soon-to-be-fired?) first-year associate’s plea for idealistic litigation at Quinn.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn Emanuel Associate Has Reservations About ‘Redskin’ Victory”

North Texas law school.jpgEvery time you open a law school, somewhere a kitten dies.
The University of North Texas is pushing to open a new, mean green law school:

Dallas will be home to the state’s next public law school under a bill that won tentative House approval today.

Budget woes mean funding for the law school remains uncertain, at least for the next two years. At that point, officials could come back to the Legislature again for funding, or seek tuition revenue bonds instead. But for now, the budget the Legislature is poised to approve does not include the $40 million needed to establish the school.

Still, North Texas lawmakers said simply getting approval for the University of North Texas Law School — which already passed the Senate — is a great achievement. This is the third legislative session in which they’ve pushed for it.

This seems like a good time to mention that there are 200 accredited law schools already pumping out J.D.s like rabbits on fertility drugs. Compare that — as some commenters did last night — with the 130 or so accredited medical schools. In terms of exclusivity, the legal profession is on the beach at Bethpage Black, while everybody else is enjoying an excellent tee time at Winged Foot.
It’s not even like North Texas needed a law school. More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Law Schools + More Lawyers + Recession = FUBAR”

michigan law school strikes back.jpgI know a lot of readers think we have an ax to grind with the University of Michigan Law School (even though we take pot shots at Head Coach Sweater Vest at every opportunity). We like Michigan. Maybe if more U-M Law students trusted that, a certain student would have come to ATL instead of the police. At least then she wouldn’t have been (immediately) charged with a crime for her involvement in a prostitution scandal that also implicated a U-M Near Eastern Studies professor:

The case came to light in April when the student went to an Ann Arbor police station to report she was assaulted by [Professor Yaron] Eliav after they met at a hotel on the city’s north side.

The student told police she was advertising sex acts online via Craigslist to help pay tuition costs. For an in-state student, U-M Law School tuition is $41,500 a year; out-of-state students pay $44,500.

The student told police she reluctantly agreed to allow Eliav to strike her buttocks with a belt, but got upset when he slapped her in the face twice, reports said. She said she suffered vision problems afterward, but did not have any lasting injuries.

Even the Ann Arbor police couldn’t keep from cracking wise about the law student’s “term-time job”:

The rarity of how the case began – with a law student showing up at the police department’s front desk to report she was assaulted while committing a crime herself – was not lost on investigators.

“Perhaps she should have cracked a legal textbook before coming in to the police station to talk about this,” Ann Arbor Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

More fun details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “University of Michigan Law Student Should Have Come to ATL First”

Jack without medication.jpgLook, I’m the last person on Earth to criticize somebody for getting out of the law firm life and following a dream. But I’m a little worried that “Jack,” who writes the blog Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity, might have lost a little bit of his grip on reality. I spent most of the morning reading Jack’s missives. It’s a bit like reading a Walt Whitman poem that’s been printed with letters cut out from various magazines.

But, despite his apparent madness, Jack is still gainfully employed as an attorney (he doesn’t say where). Law firm employment is of course something that Jack intends to discontinue. He’s got a whole plan he wants to execute so that he can leave his job by the end of 2009:

There is nothing inherently wrong with my job as a lawyer. In fact, for several years, I really felt that it was interesting and intellectually challenging. On the other hand, coming into work was a wonderful way to play adult and pretend that I knew all the answers that really mattered. Putting on expensive suits, traveling all over the world, representing important clients, knowing the location of expensive restaurants, etc…were all just a way for me to tie additional knots in an ever-expanding invisible chain of hopeless materialism. …

And then I started getting…well…bored. The mind-numbing effects of sitting in front of a computer for 12, 13, 14 hours a day 6, sometimes 7 days a week making very rich people even more rich definitely caught up with me. …

So here I am. Making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in a job that infuriates me and gets me no closer to fulfilling my potential.

Okay Jack. I’m with you buddy.

But the plan gets weird after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer Starts Blog To Showcase His Slow Descent into Madness”

Nude farm labor.jpgThe 10th Circuit had an ugly case on its hands last week. While all psychotherapy seems mildly sadistic, this case is especially bad.

Per Wikipedia, psychotherapy is supposed to “increase an individual’s sense of well-being and reduce subjective discomforting experience.” A Kansas couple running a home for the mentally ill had a slightly different approach. It involved a stun gun and mutual shaving of private parts.

From Suits and Sentences:

[T]he Kaufmans forced residents to “perform sexually explicit acts and farm labor in the nude while maintaining that these acts constituted legitimate psychotherapy for the residents’ mental illnesses. Moreover, the Kaufmans billed Medicare and the residents’ families for the therapy.”

Investigators seized videotapes showing the schizophrenic residents masturbating and posing nude at Kaufman’s direction. “Eventually,” the 10th Circuit noted,”the Kaufman House developed rules that required some of the residents to be nude when engaging in certain activities–for example participating in group therapy sessions, eating dinner, and watching television.”

It’s like a twisted version of Green Acres. Psychotherapists Arlan and Linda Kaufman were convicted in November 2006 for “forced labor and holding clients in involuntary servitude.”

They appealed because the judge in the trial ordered them to avoid eye contact with the former clients who testified against them. The Kaufmans claimed this violated their constitutional right to confront their accusers.

The 10th Circuit “acknowledged the Kaufmans had ‘considerable support’ for their argument, but ultimately concluded their substantial rights were not violated.” They’ll be heading to prison for 30 years. On the upside, maybe they’ll discover some new psychotherapy techniques to add to their repertoire.

Don’t look now: Judge orders accused to avert gaze [Suits and Sentences/McClatchy]

Abuse convictions upheld;resentencing ordered [Examiner]

rock band 2 weekend.JPGIt’s not too late to get a date for the weekend instead of sitting at home and playing Rock Band 2. Not too late at all, if you don’t mind putting up with a lawyer. From Craigslist:

Older Attorney Seeks Younger Girlfriend – 39

Call it a mid-life crisis, but I want a younger girlfriend. I’m 6’0″, 195lb., and of German-Italian heritage, divorced with no kids. I’m a former pentathlete, so I’m in pretty good shape. And, I know this is important for finding a younger girlfriend on Craigslist: My apartment looks out over Central Park, I drive a Mercedes-Benz S600, and I wear a $44,000 Breguet watch.

I’m not looking for a “sugar daddy/sugar baby” relationship. I’m not giving anyone an allowance, or paying for someone else’s apartment or car. But, I have a taste for the good life, so there will be a lot of nights out at fine restaurants and vacations to warm places in the winter.

E-mail me with a picture with a line or two about yourself. I’m looking for someone in her early 20s (at least 21), slim, white, and knows how to dress well.

You got that? He is not looking for a sugar baby, just a college student that’s easily impressed.

But maybe some of you are looking for younger partners too:

Perfect on Paper – 24

Here’s the thing, it’s easy for people to lie about themselves, or even tell the truth but spin it. Given that, I can make myself look pretty damn good without saying anything untrue. I’m 24, single, extremely intelligent with a degree from a top ten school, attending a top 5 law school. I play guitar and sing very well, I’ve been in bands and I write lovely little pop songs. I’m cute, in a geeky, part-Jewish kind of way. I write well, I read tons, and I can talk about anything (except for most sports, though sometimes I can fake it.) I can hold my liquor but avoid drinking to extremes. I am funny as hell, with a quick, sarcastic wit. I cook– once I’ve made you breakfast, you’re mine. I am sweet, caring, and sensitive.

Thing is, the way people write about themselves around here, none of that sounds very special, does it? But there is more. Perfect on paper is boring in person, but I’m a lot more complicated than that. I’m insecure, moody, and fairly damaged– I like to think of that as the bitter kick that makes the sweetness all the better. I’m also a little bit more sex-driven than the typical “perfect guy.” That’s probably a good thing too.

I’m not posting a photo cause my friends will mock me endlessly if they see this ad. Of course, I will trade. If you want to get to know me and find out all my dark secrets, just send me an email. Stand forewarned that I like long, thoughtful messages, both sending and receiving them.

Buddy, if you haven’t sealed the deal during the overnight hours, there isn’t much that your breakfast sausage is bringing to the table.

Do you ever notice how well credentialed people who are single refer to their credentials more than well credential people who are in relationships?

Having cast my aspersions on the loveless lawyers, I’m off … to play Rock Band 2. Have a great weekend.

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