Holy Crap

– A screenshot of the answers to the New York Times crossword puzzle from earlier this week. Justice Elena Kagan is featured prominently in the puzzle’s 69 Across position. Per Professor Josh Blackman, Justice Kagan should consider this to be “one of the biggest nerd honors.”

I just visited my wife and she said I like, blew up all over Facebook.

Jeremy Meeks, the 30-year-old California man whose mugshot went viral this week. Meeks previously served nine years in prison, and was recently arrested on gun charges in a multi-agency raid. He’s being held on $900,000 bond.

He hit random keys or wrote, ‘I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job,’ over and over.

– An anonymous source describing stenographer Daniel Kochanski’s “bizarre antics” during numerous trials, which have caused judges to hold reconstruction hearings to repair the record in many cases.

(There’s much more to this story, so keep reading to see what happened.)

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Lat here. Going into the 2013 Biglaw bonus season, indicators were looking mixed.

Cravath, the supremely prestigious and profitable law firm that’s the traditional market leader on bonuses — as in the firm most widely followed by other firms, not necessarily the firm that pays the biggest bonuses — announced another large partner class. Last year, that boded well for bonuses.

On the other hand, Biglaw’s overall performance has been somewhat anemic this year. The stock market might be hitting new highs, but many law firms are running in place.

People have been waiting forever for Cravath to make its big announcement. Now the wait is over: at 4:45 p.m. today, Cravath announced its 2013 year-end bonuses.

How are they looking? What’s getting stuffed inside associate stockings this holiday season?

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Who is this woman? Over at our sister site Dealbreaker, they’ve been talking about her for months and months on end.

She emerged on the banking protest scene back in April, when she dressed as a dominatrix (and later as a police officer) and promised to offer Citi execs a spanking as the “Bank Reform Bitch.” In early May, she reemerged as the “Ethical Fiscal Fairy” to fight the good fight against Bank of America. At the end of the month, “Bank Reform Bitch” came back to stick her stiletto straight up Jamie Dimon’s ass. On the last day of May, she became “Darla, the Desperate for Justice Housewife,” hoping to bring attention to the laundering of HSBC’s money. In July, she emerged from her cocoon and transformed into the “Better Banking Butterfly” to weigh in on derivative reform. Tomorrow, she’ll be at a press conference with the HSBC whistleblower to bitch about the bank’s blood money, all while waving a money fan.

Again, we’ve got to ask: who is this woman? Well, for starters, she’s a lawyer….

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Victoria Zdrok

Law school tuition has skyrocketed in recent years, and most people wind up financing their legal education by taking out up to six figures in loans to cover the cost of attendance. But because cuddling up at night next to mountains of debt isn’t a pleasant way to live, some people have found more creative ways to pay their way.

Whether it’s by having very rich and generous parents, keeping a day job and going to law school at night, becoming a sugar baby, or working a part-time job between classes, there are many ways to survive without having to fully rely upon student loans.

If those solutions don’t float your boat, you can just take off your clothes and become a Playboy pin-up….

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Lat here. Earlier this month, I wondered: could the bumper crop of new partners at Cravath bode well for bonuses? Although firms like Cravath generally make partnership decisions with a focus on the longer term, as opposed to based on short-term financial performance, a class of five partners is one of the largest Cravath has had in years. It certainly seems to reflect a good degree of confidence about the firm’s future.

Now we have our answer as to the size of Cravath bonuses. The firm just announced its year-end bonuses for 2012, and they’re not simply a cut-and-paste of last year’s numbers. This year’s bonuses are more generous than last year’s, which is great news (at least for associates trying to pay off their law school loans; partners might be less enthused).

Sit up and take notes, since the Cravath bonus scale sets the bar for most other major law firms….

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It’s a tale as old as time, and perhaps — if you were desperate enough — you’ve even experienced it yourself.

A young man wanders the streets of New York City, with dreams of some day becoming a star. He waits tables and does various odd jobs to pay the bills, all the while yearning for his chance in the limelight. He lands a few soap opera and commercial roles, but in the grand scheme of things, he isn’t very successful in his theatrical endeavors. He can’t land any good parts, and in the end, he’s forced to make a decision: will he put his manhood to the test and turn to acting in adult films, or will he go to law school?

Yup. Porn or law school. Thankfully, the legal profession is such that you can do both. Or, at least it was in the 1970s. The wannabe film star that we’re referencing decided to do both, but at least he had the good sense to tend to his porn career first, and then head off to law school. And in the end, he had a very successful practice — both in terms of showing his “O” face to the world, and climbing the ladder of legal stardom to the ranks of county district attorney in upstate New York.

But until recently, his adoring public was unaware that DA also stood for Dick Adjudicator….

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Back in March, we reported that Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s motion to dismiss Anna Alaburda’s class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly misleading employment statistics was “not well-taken,” and the case moved on to the discovery phase. We had previously wondered if Thomas Jefferson could actually lose the case, but given the wave of dismissals in the other law school lawsuits, that glimmer of hope soon faded. But then again, none of those cases ever made it to discovery.

Today, we’ve got news that will make all other schools pray that existing and potential cases against them never make it as far as that of Alaburda v. TJSL, the very first law school lawsuit filed. Everything — and we do mean everything — changes when you get to discovery.

For example, you may find out that your law school was allegedly engaged in a deliberate scheme to inflate its own employment statistics….

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Two short weeks ago, we brought you news about the lone lawyer who represented the entire profession in Cosmopolitan’s 2012 Bachelor of the Year contest. Ryan Chenevert, also known as Mr. Louisiana, graduated from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center this past spring, and found out that he passed his state’s bar exam last week. October was already shaping up to be a good month for him.

When we last spoke to Ryan, he told us that he didn’t think he stood a chance against the competition — after all, there were professional soccer players and Olympic gold medalists in the running, and he was “just a regular guy with a law degree.” But as it turns out, regular guys with fine physiques and matching legal credentials can win big, too.

We knew that Above the Law had some major pull in the legal community, but never before did we think that we had the power to crowdsource a win in a national competition….

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