When I was in school, Ritalin was the performance-enhancing drug of choice. You could smash it up and snort it and do amazing feats like read an entire Emanuel’s Outline on mergers and acquisitions in a single sitting. Or you could write a whole law review note without getting bored. Or you could repaint your room, or reupholster your desk chair, or… oh s**t the paper is due in an hour and I have NOTHING.
Adderall, as I understand it, is the same, but better. It’s easy to get your hands on — all you have to do is fake the ADHD exam and you have your very own prescription for an amphetamine for law school and beyond. Or you can bum one off of a friend as finals stress approaches.
Sleeping Beauty: Not on the fast track to partnership.
I’m a big believer in forcing society to make reasonable accommodations for disabled people. It’s not too much to ask that disabled people be provided with handicapped accessible taxi cabs and buildings. And a special parking spot. Or whatever. If there’s a reasonable thing that society can do to make it a little bit easier to function with a disability, we should do it.
As long as we’re dealing with a real disability.
We used to live in a world where it was pretty easy to identify a disabled person. “Hello. Hello? Oh, you must be deaf.” “Hey, why are a you miserable cuss who keeps screaming ‘hoo ha’ at me? Oh, you must be blind.” “Why did you take out a hundred thousand dollar loan to go to a school that doesn’t help people get high-paying jobs? Oh, you must be retarded.” Man, those were the days.
Sadly, we now live in a world where it’s harder and harder to separate out the really disabled people from those who just can’t get their stuff together. To cope, I’ve developed my own little test: if I wouldn’t want the disability, it’s a real disability. If I’d gladly take the “disability” in exchange for a cash payout, it’s probably fake.
So let me ask you this: would you take a cash payout from your Biglaw firm if I afflict you with the dreaded “I’m really sleepy” disability? Yeah, this woman would too….
Ah, the LSAT. For those of you who are still considering the practice of law, this test should be the first indication of the epic toolishness you will encounter when you enter the hallowed halls of a law school. This is usually where the bragging begins, folks. Your “friends” not only studied harder than you did (they didn’t), but they also got better scores than you did (they didn’t).
But worse than all of the bragging is the fact that some — but not all — people will get special accommodations for the LSAT (and law school exams, and the bar exam, and every other exam, ad infinitum). These special little snowflakes will get extra time and other perks to take the same exam that you’re taking.
The question is, who really deserves these special testing accommodations? Boobs or brains?
I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all.
* If the Americans with Disabilities Act must protect the obese, could we at least have different levels of protection depending on whether or not your “disability” is self-inflicted? Like, if you get your legs shot off in war, that’s one thing, but if your legs crumble underneath your girth on your way to eat more food, that’s a different thing. Hooha. [Ohio Employer's Law Blog]
* Here’s a great question, from Professor Kenneth Anderson: Was a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster ever legal? Like constitutionally? I’m not sure, but I’m probably going to go home and play Red Dead Redemption tonight, for old times’ sake. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* Winston Moseley, the killer of Kitty Genovese, is up for parole. I wasn’t going to say anything and let, you know, other people handle bringing you the news — but something about this story made me think I should speak up. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Getting an attorney job is as hard as it has ever been for law students. Here are some thoughts on how to focus your job-hunting energies. [Tips for Young Lawyers]
* In today’s edition of “Elie Derides Occupy Wall Street,” Elie meets a refrigerator that is quietly having more of an impact on one corporation than any of the protesters. Never underestimate the power of having a demand. [Twitter / @SHGrefrigerator]
* Musical Chairs: Elite boutique Zuckerman Spaeder expands in New York, by bringing in Paul Shechtman, counsel to celebs like Lil’ Kim. [Dealbook / New York Times]
* This is fun. I made the Root 100 again, which means I’m on a list with Jay-Z and John Legend, and I ranked higher than Will Smith. This is kind of like the Cooley Law rankings of black people. [The Root]
There are a couple of interesting employment discrimination suits floating around the blogosphere today. One is continuing on behalf of a dead, obese woman. The other involves leaky breasts. Sound like fun?
The claim that is being pursued by the estate of a dead woman is slightly more newsworthy because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking the position that a worker for a non-profit was fired because she had a disability. According to the EEOC — in my head, the EEOC sounds like Jame Gumb (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill) — Lisa Harrison was fired for being a great big fat girl.
Harrison died after filing the suit, but it is being carried on by her estate.
We’ve talked before about how fat people are on the fast track to protected class status. Protected class status is one thing, but are we sure we want to call fat people disabled?
Hippocrate “Cheecho” Mertsaris: Does he have a weakness for judicial buttocks?
In a few weeks, an interesting trial will be getting underway in Queens Criminal Court here in New York. The underlying incident should provide fodder for either a Lawyer of the Day or a Judge of the Day — but it’s not clear which.
The episode giving rise to the criminal charges was reported back in May by the New York Daily News:
A disabled lawyer accused of touching the rear end of a Taxi and Limousine Commission judge is blaming it on his cerebral palsy. Queens prosecutors have charged Hippocrate Mertsaris, 35, with sexual abuse and sexual harassment for allegedly grabbing the woman’s inner thigh and buttocks during a meeting in her Kew Gardens offices.
Mertsaris’ lawyer, Wyatt Gibbons, admits his client touched the woman but denies it was sexual. “He whacked her in the butt but it wasn’t sexual abuse,” Gibbons said. “He has spastic movements.”
Apologies for the tardiness — this news is from last month. But it’s about the bar exam, which is still fresh in the minds of many, so it’s fair game.
Some of you who took the New York bar exam last week complained of a loud, distracting, feedback-type noise in one of the rooms at the Javits Center. There were also reports of cell phones going off during the test.
Wouldn’t you have liked a room of your own, quiet and distraction-free? Or maybe an extra day to take the bar exam? From the West Virginia Record:
West Virginia’s Board of Law Examiners printed its examination in big type for Shannon Kelly last year, gave him a room to himself and allowed him an extra day to complete the test, and he blames them for his failure.
Kelly sued the examiners July 21 in U. S. District Court at Charleston, demanding four days to finish an exam that most law school graduates finish in two days.
“He has severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” wrote his attorney, Edward McDevitt of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love in Charleston….
Kelly received a score of 253 last year, 17 points fewer than he needed to pass the exam. He had asked for four days to take the exam, but the board had granted three.
We don’t mean to sound callous or, even worse, politically incorrect. But if one has “severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” one should perhaps explore professions other than law. Some people just aren’t cut out for it. E.g., Paulina Bandy (who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before passing on try #14).
Meanwhile, in other complaints about bar exam administration:
Thought you might be interested. Prefer to be anonymous lest it sound like I’m whining.
One of the rooms of CA Bar test takers received five additional minutes as a consequence of the earthquake. This was the room with the metal grate and bakery. [Ed. note: Bakery???] Older male Caucasian announcer.
Ballroom A/B/C, with an older, white-haired, female Caucasian announcer, got no extra time.
When traveling abroad for the first time, it seems every American is struck by the brilliance of creating paper money with a correlation between the size of a bill and its value. “That must be nice for blind people,” we think.
Well, the D.C. Circuit thinks the same way. In a 2-1 ruling (PDF) issued today, it affirmed a district court decision holding that the U.S. discriminates against blind people with its uniformly-sized bills.
The American Council for the Blind sued the Treasury Department six years ago. If the decision stands, vending machines everywhere will have to be redesigned!
That seems like a better defense than the one the Treasury Department used. From the Associated Press:
The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.
The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.
Apparently, that huge ugly number five on the new five-dollar bill was the Treasury Department’s first stab at meeting the needs of the blind. Unfortunately, it discriminates against good aesthetic taste.
What do you think of the decision?
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.