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.
We’ve been bringing you a number of stories about law students melting down as the recession, finals, swine flu, and a spate of year-end elections takes its toll on America’s next generation of lawyers.
The latest missive comes from a female Cardozo student who accuses the Cardozo law review board of gender bias. It turns out that this student lost an election to be Editor-in-Chief of the Cardozo law review.
But it also turns out that the executive board of the Cardozo law review has no female members.
The situation is so surprising that school officials have organized a meeting of all the law review 2Ls to discuss this matter. Unfortunately, the student who lost the Editor-in-Chief election will not be able to attend. Fortunately (for Above the Law readers), she decided to commit her thoughts to email:
I believe the journal does have a problem with gender bias in elections that we should address. It was striking that, for the second year in a row, the executive board does not have a single female member. It also stands out that, of all the editorial board positions with input into the article selection process for both the Law Review and de novo, not a single position is held by a woman.
The all-male composition of the most influential positions on the editorial board is at odds with the composition of the journal. It is also at odds with the objective performance of the female members of the staff. Of the thirty-seven Vol. 30 staffers, sixteen (43%) are women and twenty-one (57%) are men. The results of the blind Note-selection process mirror these statistics: of the sixteen Notes selected for publication in Vol. 31, seven (44%) were authored by female staffers and nine (56%) were authored by male staffers. Statistics are not available by which I could objectively assess the quality of staffers’ C&Sing work. However, the Note publication rates suggest that, when blind judging is applied, female staffers perform as well as male staffers. This objective fact regarding the quality of female staffers’ Notes is not reflected by the results of the past election. I believe there were well-qualified female candidates for the executive board and other editorial board positions who were overlooked.
Are law reviews still just an elaborate old boy network? You’d think not, you’d hope not, but this student provides other compelling stats after the jump.
It’s NCAA Tournament time, which means that if you get married this weekend or the next two, your guests will be cursing you as they surreptitiously refresh their BlackBerries. We therefore applaud this week’s brides, who planned their weddings for this past weekend, before the madness struck. They are — if we may say so — our Cinderellas.
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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