Bankruptcy

Does this sign also mean no blacks or women allowed?

It’s the ruling that is splitting the Sixth Circuit apart. A federal bankruptcy judge, George Paine II, belongs to an all-white country club in Nashville. But there is a pesky judicial code of conduct that says that judges “should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin,” according to the New York Times (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

That seems cut and dry to me. An all-white, all-male country club sounds a hell of a lot like an organization practicing “invidious discrimination.” But I’m not on the Sixth Circuit.

And the Sixth Circuit essentially told Judge Paine: guys in my high school used to belong to discriminatory clubs all the time, it was no big deal.

In a 10-8 decision, the circuit decided to allow Paine to continue his membership in the club and on the bankruptcy court.

So that code of judicial conduct means what exactly?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Allowed To Belong To All-White Club (Because He’s Trying Really Hard To Make It Better)”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Last month I received an email from Cameron McCord. McCord is a fifth-year associate at a boutique bankruptcy firm in Atlanta, where she’s been having “a great experience.”

“I am in court all the time and have started handling my own trials,” McCord wrote. “I have worked here since my second summer and am able to have a good work/life balance. I have an 11-month-old and a four-year-old, and my husband is a full-time student. I think it is important for people to realize that you can be successful without working at [Biglaw].”

Upon reading her email, I knew I had to feature her and her firm. I mean, she reads my column! And, I suppose, a firm that affords its attorneys the opportunity to maintain a life outside of work is, well, awesome.

Here is what goes down at Jones & Walden LLP….

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When in need of a pic of a T.V. cheerleader, am I right to go with Minka Kelly over Hayden Panettiere? Can we get some kind of ruling on this?

* Is it possible that in South Dakota you have to go through a shorter waiting period to buy a gun and shoot someone who is already alive than you have to go through in order to have an abortion? Could somebody check on that? [MSNBC]

* Did you see this chart showing that law professors make more than all other professors at the college level? I think I forgot to mention it because when my brain sees such horrible atrocities it enacts self-defense protocols and deletes the knowledge from my… Did you see this chart showing that law professors… [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Same-sex couple gets deportation put on hold to pursue marriage-based immigration case. I think we’re all safer when Homeland Security isn’t run by Leviticus. [Stop the Deportations]

* If cheerleading were a real sport, this lawsuit might be really interesting. [Jezebel]

* If you think our coolest law firm bracket is dorky (don’t forget, voting ends tonight at midnight), you should check out what the bankruptcy people at Weil are up to. [Bankruptcy Blog]

* Once you get off the legal treadmill, do you ever have the urge to go back? “… That’s pride f**king with you. F**k pride.” [Law and More]

* If you think about it, pay raises should really come in the spring, when everything is new and happy, instead of the middle of winter, when everything is cold and dead. [What About Clients?]

* An obituary for Warren Christopher, former O’Melveny partner (and secretary of state, too). [Huffington Post]

The economy seems to be on the mend. Corporate profits are strong, and the Dow is north of 12,000. In the legal world, layoffs are down, bonuses are up, and hiring is way up.

But governments — federal, state, and local — are staggering under mountains of debt. State and local governments have borrowed $2.4 trillion as of mid-2010, and they’ve promised another $3 trillion in retirement benefits.

There is tons of talk out there about a possible wave of municipal bankruptcies. And even if the talk might be overblown, the possibility of default by multiple local governments or even state governments — which might someday get the ability to declare bankruptcy — can’t be ruled out.

If municipal bankruptcies start popping up all over the place, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be ready. The firm just picked up a leading expert in the area….

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Accept your offers. It’s wise advice for 2Ls going through fall recruiting, and it’s wise advice for partners of the rapidly unraveling Howrey law firm, most of whom have offers to join Winston & Strawn. Last weekend, Winston made offers to a little over 75 percent of Howrey partners, with responses requested in 21 days.

Yesterday we mentioned that a Howrey partnership conference call took place on Tuesday. During that meeting, firm chairman Robert Ruyak and Winston & Strawn managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald apparently urged Howrey partners with Winston offers to accept them as soon as possible, according to The Recorder.

Many Howrey partners have already left for other firms, as chronicled in these pages. A group of eleven attorneys recently departed for Morgan Lewis, for example.

Of the 200 to 230 Howrey partners who remain, how many are likely to go with Winston?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey Going to Survive the Storm? Board the Winston Lifeboats, Leaders Urge”

The economy is (hopefully) on the mend. The recession is officially over.

There are signs of recovery in the legal sector, too. For example, law firms are giving away iPads to young associates. Such generosity seems very 2007 (if iPads had existed back then).

Meanwhile, in the less glamorous world of Craigslist postings of legal jobs, things are also improving….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Sign of Improvement in the Chicago Legal Market?”

Ed. note: Welcome to ATL’s new column, Fame Brief. Since Kash has left the building, Marin, ATL’s other lady-in-waiting, will be picking up her celebrity beat and filling you in on the latest celebrity legal shenanigans. Before you fall over yourself to post an annoying comment about how this blog be sinking or how nobody cares about celebrities, consider that our celebrity posts are some of the most popular ones on here. So SOMEBODY out there cares about celebrities….

When I got my first credit card, my dad was afraid I’d go hog wild and buy a suit of armor, sconces, breast implants, decorative fireplace accessories, a foosball table, IVF treatments, a boat and a monstrous “Tuscan villa” McMansion in Towaco, NJ. But at least I’m making payments on these purchases, unlike Joe and Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who filed for Chapter 7 back in October 2009….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fame Brief: Is the Giudices’ $60K Post-Bankruptcy Spree Legal?”

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. A student is demanding that his law school admit to scamming him out of money in open court.

And why? The student isn’t trying to recover tuition dollars directly from the school. Instead, the student is involved in the arduous process of trying to get his debts discharged through bankruptcy. As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, you can’t discharge student loans through the bankruptcy process absent a showing of undue hardship.

The student is named Kenneth Desormes. The school is Charlotte School of Law. And he wants Charlotte to admit what they did to him…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Student v. School: Charlotte School of Law Sued by Student Seeking Admissions for Bankruptcy Proceeding”

Are you a bankruptcy attorney who needs to empathize more with your clients — e.g., by declaring bankruptcy yourself? Check out this job posting — which won’t be our Job of the Week anytime soon — courtesy of that gold mine of employment opportunities, Craigslist:

Bankruptcy Attorney Position (Dallas)

Small Consumer Bankruptcy firm in Dallas looking for new associate attorney. 50-60 Hours per week, with some travel to Fort Worth required. Salary: $40,000.

If “travel to Fort Worth” is required, you need to add another zero to that salary. This is not the kind of income that will help you pay off massive educational debt (non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, at least for now).

But wait, there’s more….

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Last month, New York Times columnist Ron Lieber wrote an interesting piece analyzing whom to blame when students wind up in over their heads in educational debt. This past weekend, he wrote a somewhat more optimistic article, raising the possibility that student loans might become more easy to discharge in bankruptcy.

The status quo in terms of educational debt and bankruptcy is all too familiar to many law students and lawyers:

If you run up big credit card bills buying a new home theater system and can’t pay it off after a few years, bankruptcy judges can get rid of the debt. They may even erase loans from a casino. But if you borrow money to get an education and can’t afford the loan payments after a few years of underemployment, that’s another matter entirely. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of the debt in bankruptcy court, even if it’s a private loan from for-profit lenders like Citibank or the student loan specialist Sallie Mae.

Gambling debts can be discharged in bankruptcy like any other debts, but educational debts are subject to a test that requires the borrower to establish “undue hardship” (very tough to do under existing law). And losing money in a casino is a heck of a lot more fun than three years of law school.

But could changes to this legal regime be on the way?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Could Law School Loans Become More Easily Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?”

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