Career Alternatives

David Kelly: Katten associate and acclaimed hip-hop artist.

* Looking for a last-minute gift idea for the civil-liberties-loving lawyer in your life? Kash recommends this underwear. [Forbes]

* Actress Zooey Deschanel is suing footwear maker Steve Madden. Does her lawsuit have legs? [Fashionista]

* Law professors might not excel at practicing law, but “they often are pretty good at the enterprise of being a law professor.” [Underbelly]

* What’s law firm diversity like over in London? Lawyers who are “BME” — “black and ethnic minority” — are growing in number at City law firms. [The Guardian (U.K.)]

* Career alternatives: hip-hop artist? By day, he’s David J. Kelly of Katten Muchin Rosenman; by night, he’s “Cap D.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Plaintiffs’ firms make new partners too. [Motley Rice (press release)]

* Don’t forget: get your holiday card contest entries in by 11:59 PM today! [Above the Law]

On the Quote of the Day posted over the weekend, a commenter wrote: “In my head I’ve changed the name of this blog from ‘Above the Law’ to ‘The law is f**king stupid and dumb and anyone who goes into it is an idiot forever and did I mention it’s dumb.’ There are still reasons to pursue law.”

This is a fair point. Here at ATL, we do want to encourage debate about the value of a legal education, and we do want people who are thinking of going to law school — many of whom read this site — to go to law school for good reasons, after engaging in sufficient reflection and research. But we don’t want readers to mistake this site for one of the “law school scam” blogs, or to think that we’re opposed to law school for all people under all circumstances. (Of course we aren’t, if for no reason other than self-interest: the more law students and lawyers out there, the more potential readers for Above the Law.)

We’ve previously written in defense of going to law school. See, e.g., my post with that very title.

And last month we solicited from you, our readers, some pro-law-school thoughts. Let’s explore some of them, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense of Going to Law School: A Prudential Perspective (Part 2)”

A prudential perspective, because it appeared in Slate’s advice column, Dear Prudence (alongside an inquiry from a woman dating a wonderful man who unfortunately has a “micropenis”):

Dear Prudence,

I am just a little over a year away from becoming a lawyer, and I’m miserable because I hate it. I wasn’t forced into the profession. I just mistakenly believed that since I loved to read and debate, law was the natural progression. But I don’t like law, and I’m not applying myself to it wholeheartedly. I can’t imagine being in this field for the rest of my life or even a few years. My parents have sacrificed and spent so much on my education, and I have no idea how to tell them that I made a mistake. Worse, my mom thinks this is my dream, and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it isn’t. The only thing that really brings me joy is escaping into books that have nothing to do with law. Please help me.

—Inadmissible

So what did Prudence say to “Inadmissible”?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense of Going to Law School: A Prudential Perspective”

I don’t want to step on Oprah’s toes, but I have a book recommendation for you: Law of Attraction. No, it has nothing to do with this law of attraction. Yes, you will enjoy it.

This Law of Attraction is a novel by Allison Leotta, a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. It’s a fun, fast-paced read; I could hardly put it down, finishing it in two sittings. I concur with the blurb by Harvard law professor and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz: “I loved this novel. Law of Attraction is realistic, gritty, and filled with twists and turns. Allison Leotta’s female lawyer character is compelling and engaging. This is a great read for anyone who loves legal thrillers, cares about domestic violence, or wonders how lawyers can live with themselves.”

(Disclosure: I also enjoyed Law of Attraction because it contains an Above the Law cameo. After the protagonist, assistant U.S. attorney Anna Curtis, gets in trouble, her misadventures wind up on ATL (pp. 217-18). The novel even contains fictionalized comments from the peanut gallery of Above the Law commenters — which are hilarious.)

I spoke with Leotta recently, while she was in New York to meet with her agent and do a book reading. We discussed such subjects as why, and how, she wrote her novel; the Department of Justice review process for the book; how she juggles her day job as a prosecutor, her writing career, and being the mother to two kids; and her advice to lawyers who want to become writers.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law of Attraction: Meet Allison Leotta, Novelist and Federal Prosecutor”

Or maybe news you could have used. Apologies for not reminding you, as we’ve done in past years, about the application deadline for the Department of Justice’s Honors Program. The application deadline for the 2010-2011 program fell on September 7, 2010. [FN1]

(If you’re not already familiar with how the Honors Program works, read our prior post or visit the official DOJ website. The short description: “The highly competitive Honors Program is the only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys.” Most applicants to the program are 3Ls and judicial law clerks.)

Yesterday, if you checked the DOJ website, you could find out whether you were selected for an interview (although you couldn’t tell which DOJ component had selected you). This morning, official interview notifications went out to selected candidates. To those of you selected for interviews, congratulations! Feel free to crow about your success or trade tips with other interviewees in the comments to this open thread.

Getting picked for an Honors Program interview is quite an accomplishment, especially given the still-tough legal job market and the many 3Ls and law clerks searching for jobs. Word on the street is that the DOJ received 3,000 applications for an estimated 160 vacancies in the Honors Program. Says a source: “[T]hat’s nearly 20 applicants per position. Which is actually pretty low by comparison with clerkship apps, I bet, but still daunting.”

If you didn’t get selected for an interview, or if you missed the application deadline altogether, don’t despair. Here’s another opportunity for graduating law students who are interested in working for the federal government. And the deadline has not yet passed — but it’s fast approaching….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “News You Can Use: Federal Government Job Opportunities
And Open Thread: DOJ Honors Interview Decisions

The news has been all over the place over the past 20 hours, but it seems like a lot of people want to talk about the passing of Greg Giraldo. The comedian died yesterday. TMZ reported that he died of an apparent drug overdose.

What many people didn’t know was that before his comedy career, Giraldo graduated from Harvard Law School and was a lawyer at Skadden.

UPDATE: Lat here. Giraldo also graduated from my alma mater, Regis High School. I’ve heard from a number of fellow Regians who knew him at Regis and/or Columbia; they describe him as a great guy. (Speaking of Regis, I hope to see some of you at the Regis Bar Association reception next month, on October 19.)

Apparently this biographical information has surprised many people, to the point that we’ve received a number of emails asking us if it’s true. Is it that hard to believe that an HLS grad and Skadden associate decided to do something radically different with his life?

I knew about Giraldo’s past, even though he never really talked about it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greg Giraldo, Comedian and Former Lawyer, Dead at 44″

A few weeks ago we wrote about Kate Carrara, who left the law to launch Buttercream, a “mobile cupcake shop” — i.e., a cupcake truck — in Philadelphia. As we mentioned in our post, a surprising number of attorneys have launched cake-baking businesses. One of the most famous and successful, whom we forgot to mention in our earlier post, is Warren Brown of CakeLove in D.C.

Speaking of D.C. and lawyers turned cupcake makers, Carrara was recently interviewed by the Washington Post about her business. The snobs among you might scoff at the idea of leaving the law to drive around dispensing baked goods. But would your scoffing stop if you were to learn, as Carrara reveals in the Post interview, that this is a six-figure business?

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A Dealbreaker reader was out and about on the Upper West Side, and something caught his eye. He moved in for a closer look, snapped a photo, and sent it to Dealbreaker. Our colleague Bess Levin has been having a grand old time ever since.

Me? I just want people to see it before they go to law school. I want people to see it before they write television shows about the lavish lifestyle of lawyers, or complain that young lawyers feel a sense of entitlement.

But mostly, I want somebody out there to get me a wide angle shot of the photo — I’m in the market for these services…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Laid-Off Lawyer to… Cleaning Lady!”

Meet Kate Carrara. Like a surprising number of other attorneys — e.g., Lev Ekster and Mia Bauer, of New York Law School, and Sam Whitfield, of GW Law — Carrara left the law to start a cupcake business.

Alas, it appears that Carrara, a 35-year-old graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, has run into some trouble with the law. From the Philadelphia Inquirer (via the ABA Journal):

The popular vending truck run by Kate Carrara, known as the “cupcake lady,” needed to be confiscated because she had been warned where not to park and continued to break the rules, a top city official said Wednesday….

Carrara’s truck was taken Tuesday afternoon by officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which said it was parked in University City without a vending permit for that area, said L&I Commissioner Fran Burns.

The truck was parked on Market Street at 33d Street. “She thought that spot was legal,” said Andy Carrara.

But as any law school graduate should know, ignorance of the law is no defense….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Lawyer of the Day: Cupcake Queen Is Not Above the Law”

Eugene Ahn, aka Adam WarRock. (Photo credit: Victoria Ruan)

Eugene Ahn developed an alter ego to explore his creative side while working for a small litigation and employment law firm in Washington, D.C. The Emory Law grad goes by Adam WarRock in his creative projects, which include musical pursuits and a side gig as a contributor to the FakeAPStylebook Twitter account.

This summer, he let the alter ego take over. After three years with his firm, he quit his job in June to pursue his music full-time.

He caught our ear with this Girl Talk-like mash-up, “Starving Artist”:

He caught the attention of Public Radio International, though, last year with a single entitled Ira Glass, about the host of This American Life. PRI’s CEO liked it so much that she blogged about it. On Friday, Ahn and his Ohio-based DJ released a commercial version of the Public-Radio-praising song.

Ahn’s now giving himself a year to make it in the artistic world. What’s his plan?

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Emory Law Grad Eugene Ahn Gives Up Labor Law for Rap

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