The weather is seasonal in New York City today, but for most of this week we’ve experienced a little heat wave. Near record high temperatures were recorded throughout the tri-state area.
Apparently, Cardozo Law School was completely unprepared for this spate of summer weather, and it nearly ruined the school’s “OCI Preview” event for 1Ls desperate to snag jobs next recruiting season. Multiple tipsters reported variations on the same theme. I’ll use a version that doesn’t involve cursing: “I pay over $40,000 in tuition yet my law school can’t even turn the A/C on when I’m trying to network for a job.”
It was so bad that Cardozo had to send around an apology to the students for making them network in a sauna. And according to the email, Cardozo truly couldn’t figure out how to simply turn the A/C “on”…
Last week, the New York Post published a list of the New York men it considers to be the city’s twelve most eligible bachelors. As always, the Post keeps it classy with its criteria: “young. hot. rich.”
The list includes Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, comedian Andy Samberg, and Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari. It also includes a Cardozo 2L.
How did a second year student at Cardozo Law School make the list? It helps that he’s a bajillionaire…
If you attend or graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, you most likely knew this post was coming. For the rest of you, let me bring you up to speed.
Cardozo Law is trying to connect students who want extra tutoring with students who are willing to help. Cardozo’s office of student services asked willing tutors to submit the following information.
1) Your name and class year
2) What course(s) you are interested in tutoring
3) What semester you took the course(s) in
4) What professor you had for the course(s)
5) What grade you received for the course(s)
6) How you wish to be contacted by other students
Hey, from the administration’s perspective, they’re all in the “employed upon graduation” hunt together. If some of the high-achieving students are willing to help some of the stragglers avoid a life of poverty and sadness, why not?
The information requested is appropriate for the position sought. You can’t offer yourself up as a tutor with crappy grades. In fact, the only way there would really be a “story” here is if some amazingly careless gunner submitted his qualifications and accidentally hit “reply all” to the school-wide email.
And really, who’d be stupid enough to do that?
Yesterday, we reported on a meeting at Cardozo Law School between the law school administration, student leaders, and MTV producers regarding the possible filming of a reality TV show at the school. It would focus on the “true life” of New York law school students.
We polled our readers. Almost 60% of the 2,000 who voted said a reality TV show at Cardozo would be a bad idea.
The folks at Cardozo agree. Tipsters report that word spread on campus and that most students were strongly opposed. Today, the dean of the law school sent out an email telling students not to worry.
The drama of law is captured daily here at Above The Law, and has been serialized in various television shows (See ‘Law and Order,’ ‘Ally McBeal,’ and ‘The Practice’). Now a reality TV producer wants to get in on the magic. From the Hollywood Reporter:
Scott Sternberg Prods. is partnering with Weinberger Media to produce “Legal Ease,” featuring the New York law firm of Tacopina Seigel & Turano.
The daily reality show will revolve around lawyers giving advice to everyday people. Stories will be shot on location, and advice will be dished out in-studio by Joseph Tacopina, head of the firm, and a panel of legal eagles.
“Legal Ease” could attract a serious audience — it would have free legal advice after all. We imagine it as the legal version of the show, The Doctors, where four real-life doctors get together and talk medicine. That “medical dream team” is anchored by Dr. Hottie, Travis Stork, former star of The Bachelor.
Unfortunately, Joseph Tacopina is not as hot as Stork. To develop a loyal audience, we think the “Legal Ease” creators should consider recruiting a hot Biglaw reality TV star. They might benefit from a look at our archives. Might we suggest Bachelorette star Jeremy Anderson, Survivor star Charlie Herschel, or Amazing Race siblings Victor and Tammy Jih?
Meanwhile, a law school in New York is mulling a star turn on an MTV reality TV show. See which law school is under consideration after the jump, and find out why its law students are opposed to the idea.
Warning: The penis-to-vagina ratio in this week’s column is quite high. If you’re already on the mailing list for Rick Santorum 2012, you may want to avert your eyes — or go make fun of sissy-boy John Kerry for helping plan his daughter’s wedding.
Our fabulous finalist couples:
This summer, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 3L Dave Johnston won $50,000 on the online game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He had a little help from the TruTV (formerly Court TV) anchor, Ashleigh Banfield. When we interviewed him back in July, we asked what his plans were for his 50Gs.
He said he wanted to use them for a “good cause”: fighting back against Cardozo’s kosher policy. Since Cardozo Law is part of Torah-embracing Yeshiva University, the stated policy is that no school money can be spent on unkosher food, according to Johnston. In his words:
That meant student groups could only purchase their food from certain ultra-Orthodox kosher restaurants that had agreements with the administration. In the interest of cost, most orgs would opt for kosher pizza, made without the meat enzyme found in regular cheese but with the rich flavor of oily cardboard. It’s also more expensive than most pies. Meanwhile, one block west of Cardozo is Famous Original Ray’s (the real one) and one block east is Patsy’s Pizzeria. Where I grew up in California, my pizza options were usually Domino’s and Papa John’s. Maybe that’s why this policy boggles my mind. Here you have the world’s finest pizza in pizza-crazy New York so close, and the majority of Cardozo students do not keep kosher, so it just seems criminal to force us to pay more for less.
“Criminal” seems like a bit of a stretch. But Johnston says the kosher policy caught him by surprise when he first arrived at Cardozo:
This kosher situation caught me off guard when I came to Cardozo as a secular Jew. The kosher policy is not mentioned in Cardozo brochures. Cardozo had been described as a secular law school (see ["Cardozo Law School is secular, but as a result of its heritage many of its students are Jewish."]). I knew Cardozo was affiliated with Yeshiva University, but they seemed separate and distinct. For example, if you refresh the Yeshiva University homepage, you’ll see yarmulkes in most of the photos. I haven’t found a single one on the Cardozo website. To me, that was telling.
Judging potential law schools based on the photos on their websites is probably not the best way to go about the selection process. But at least it tells you more about the attractiveness of the student body than the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
After Johnston won his Millionaire jackpot, he met with Cardozo Special Events about holding an unkosher feast to celebrate his winnings and thank his fellow students for their support. “I wanted to do it by giving them the mouthwatering pizza that no one else would,” said Johnston.
Find out whether pig products found their way into Cardozo conference rooms, after the jump.
On the media website Mediaite, we are erroneously listed as having an affiliation with the Late Show with David Letterman. We wish! If that were the case, then maybe we’d have inside dirt on one of the juiciest media scandals to come along in a while.
And it’s a media scandal with a legal angle — several, in fact. Last Friday, we named the woman at the eye of the storm, Stephanie Birkitt, our Lawyer of the Day. Birkitt — the former Letterman paramour whose ex-boyfriend, Robert “Joe” Halderman, stands accused of trying to extort David Letterman — is a lawyer. The blonde hottie is a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and she passed the bar exam twice — in New York and Connecticut. Very impressive, Ms. Birkitt!
Alas, Stephanie Birkitt may be a two-timer in more than one sense of the word. We previously stated, relying on other sources, that Birkitt’s sexual relationship with her former boss ended in 2003. Now we’re hearing otherwise, from the New York Post:
Pretty former “Late Show” staffer Stephanie Birkitt revealed in her diary that she continued having sex with boss David Letterman even after moving in with her CBS-producer boyfriend, who later allegedly tried to extort him over the affair, sources told The Post yesterday.
Letterman and Birkitt enjoyed romantic hikes last fall at his sprawling ranch in eastern Montana — where he was married in March — while her boyfriend, “48 Hours Mystery” producer Robert “Joe” Halderman, stayed home in Connecticut, the sources said.
At the time, Birkitt, 34, insisted to Halderman that she and the 62-year-old Letterman had just “a platonic relationship,” a source said.
“I’m his best friend,” Birkitt told the worried 51-year-old Halderman, the source said.
A friend with benefits? Like free law school tuition? Speaking of which, according to our reader poll, almost two-thirds of ATL readers would sleep with David Letterman in exchange for free law school tuition. UPDATE: According to Maureen Dowd (gavel bang: commenter), Letterman’s company loaned Birkitt the money for law school, which she paid back. If true, this is disappointing. What’s the point of sleeping with the boss if you can’t get paid for it?
More law-related Letterman links, after the jump.
David Letterman was the victim of a $2 million extortion plot and we have now discovered that according to New York public records, Stephanie Birkitt, 34, a former intern on The Late Show, lived with the accused extortionist Robert Joe Halderman, a CBS 48 Hours producer, and may have unwittingly fed him the information through the pages of her diary, photos and personal correspondence….
According to TMZ, Birkitt is one of the women who engaged in an affair with her boss, but ended it in 2003, prior to the birth of Letterman’s son….
Birkitt began working as a page for CBS New, 48 Hours, and The Late Show while still in college [at Wake Forest] in 1996. She spent a short time as an associate producer on segments for correspondent Erin Moriarty but soon decided that she wasn’t a news hound. That was when Letterman hired her as a personal assistant. She was initially brought on to handle his charities and his Indy car racing team, but her duties expanded over time.
Apparently so. Anyway, here’s the legal connection:
Birkett went on to the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City beginning in 2005 and passed the Connecticut bar exam in February 2009.
UPDATE: As noted in the comments, Birkitt also passed the New York bar exam in February. Congrats on passing two state bars, Steph! FURTHER UPDATE: Actually, Birkitt’s relationship with Letterman may have lasted much longer. See here.
Now, before the elitists among you start ranking on Cardozo Law, there’s something you should know.
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 3L Dave Johnston recently made a good showing on the online game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”
He’s not a millionaire, but thanks to his performance, and a little help from TruTV (formerly Court TV) anchor, Ashleigh Banfield, he is $50,000 richer. She was the celeb expert the show offered him for his “ask the expert” lifeline. He used it when he didn’t know the answer to “‘One woman writes a novel, another reads it, and the third lives it’ is the premise of what movie?”
His answer options were “A: Cold Mountain, B: The Hours, C: Memoirs of a Geisha, D: Atonement.” From the New York Post:
Banfield correctly told Johnston it was “The Hours,” which won him $16,000. He went on to win $50,000 and promised to take Banfield to lunch. Banfield told us, “He took me to Gus’ Place in the Village today and brought along friends from the office where he’s a summer intern. But since he’s using his winnings to pay the nearly $40,000 tuition for next semester, I picked up the check.”
We’re not impressed by Johnston’s lack of familiarity with chick flicks, but we are impressed by his finagling a celebrity lunch out of the experience. The moment was captured by his BlackBerry in the photo at right.
Johnston notes that Banfield was slightly off. His 3L tuition will be $44,000, not “nearly $40,000.” So he appreciated the free lunch even more. He tells us about it, after the jump.
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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