Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

We can help you waste thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to fight for what you sort of believe in.

– “William Hostetler,” the fictional voice of the very real law firm BakerHostetler. BakerHostetler, recently hired by congressional Republicans to spearhead their infamous lawsuit against President Obama, got a send-up on last night’s Tonight Show with a phony ad in the style of every ambulance-chasing firm ever committing to help you, the viewer, work out your frustrations with a frivolous lawsuit against President Obama.

(The whole bit is available after the jump….)

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* When people tell you that you can do anything with a law degree, they’re wrong. Sounds like… everything Elie writes. [Slate]

* Student debt is dragging down the economy. Is today “every news outlet catches up with Elie Day”? [New York Times]

* Everyone’s also talking about the law student turned prostitute. What about the law professor who was a gigolo? [The Nota Bene]

* Baker Hostetler lawyer leaving the law to start a gym. With any luck he’ll have a championship dodgeball team in no time. [Crain's Cleveland Business]

* Just a reminder, there isn’t a “telling a university everything you’ve done for an oral history” privilege. [BBC]

* An argument for Republicans to get serious about loosening the reins on technological innovation like the Republican Party of old. But that might require saying no to some billionaire donor, so that’s off the table. [The American Conservative]

* Professor Will Baude pointed us to a fun new law professor blog from Professor Richard Re, soon to be of UCLA Law, with an even more fun title. Here he compares Justice Sotomayor’s dissent in Schuette to Quidditch. [Re's Judicata]

* A new show about law school. It’s supposedly about criminal law, but the trailer looks more like a professional responsibility fact pattern. [YouTube]

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Time and again, we’ve seen outrageous behavior and absurd antics from both lawyers and litigants during depositions. Sometimes deponents tell attorneys to “suck [their] dicks,” and sometimes attorneys actually draw pictures of dicks.

Sometimes, Biglaw partners get so frustrated due to the sheer stupidity of the deponent’s testimony on the record that they come thisclose to losing their minds.

Luckily, in this case, we’ve got it on video…

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In an era when “disruption” is celebrated, the world of large law firms is one of the last redoubts of conventional wisdom. For a uniquely rule- and precedent-bound profession, this makes sense. Biglaw’s conventional wisdom has the added virtue of being reliable. For example, we can count on Cravath taking the lead — at least chronologically — on bonuses, and for DLA Piper to have the most random Third developing-world offices.

Another reflection of conventional wisdom is the way in which Biglaw lends itself to — and revels in — superlatives and rankings. There tends to be a generally acknowledged and perennially dominant player (or a few) in most practice areas: Wachtell Lipton for M&A, Weil Gotshal for Chapter 11 work, Patton Boggs for lobbying, and so forth. There’s no doubt that many worthy firms get overlooked.

Last year we took a look at which firms’ practice groups were considered “underrated” by peers in the field. Among the notable 2012 nominees: Cahill for corporate law, Arnold & Porter in litigation, and Proskauer for its bankruptcy and tax practices.

We wondered whether the same practice groups were still considered by practitioners to be unfairly underrated. Or are there other firms deserving more recognition?

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Cherished lunch box of Justice Holmes.

* Harvard Law’s Langdell Library hosts a bevy of legal treasures. Including the personal lunchbox of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. [The Harvard Crimson]

* Per a new survey, watching the Kardashians makes one twice as likely to want an aggressive lawyer. When I have to watch the Kardashians I become an aggressive lawyer. [Avvo]

* The Supreme Court spent Cyber Monday denying review to two cases challenging the imposition of sales taxes on Internet purchases. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cracked down on fake Yelp reviewers. Apparently, reviewers who gave a pet groomer 4 stars are a bigger priority than the reviewers who gave subprime-backed securities AAA ratings. [Corporate Counsel]

* Not exactly breaking news, but Philly has caught on that law firms are merging because the market is so terrible with a new piece on the merger craze. Specifically, they’re looking at the planned merger of BakerHostetler and Philly’s own Woodcock Washburn L.L.P. we mentioned last week. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Lakers guard Steve Nash’s ex-wife is battling him for child custody. She’s hired a Phoenix law firm whose most famous attorney is jacked up NFL ref Ed Hochuli. For now Hochuli isn’t working on the case directly. For now. [TMZ Sports]

* Congratulations to Kobre & Kim on being named Law Firm of the Year by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. [Newsday]

* Who says Civil Procedure isn’t sexy? Some UNLV Law students take to YouTube to bring (Civ Pro) SexyBack. [You Tube]

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* In November, Supreme Court justices engaged in the “totally unnecessary” practice of releasing 41 pages of nondecision opinions. In all fairness, we can’t really blame them for enjoying hearing themselves speak. [National Law Journal]

* These D.C. Circuit judges of differing political viewpoints “disagreed less than 3 percent of the time” over the course of two decades. Please, keep arguing about the court’s “ideological balance.” You’re accomplishing lots. [New York Times]

* With more tie-ups than ever before and another record broken, 2013 is officially the year of full-blown law firm merger mania. Query how many more we’ll be able to add to the already huge list of 78 by the end of December. [Am Law Daily]

* Speaking of which, Baker Hostetler is merging with Woodcock Washburn, an intellectual property firm with a name that sounds like the aftercare instructions for a painful sex toy injury. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Of course a fired ADA’s scandalous emails landed on BuzzFeed. This is one more embarrassing chapter in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. [New York Times]

* It’s amazing how things can change in a year. In 2012, New York bar pass rates for in-state schools fell. In 2013, they’re up — except for one school, which is way down. Which one? [New York Law Journal]

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is definitely one of our favorite judicial divas. When asked if she thought the Supreme Court’s work was art or theater, she mused, “It’s both, with a healthy dose of real life mixed in.” [New York Times]

* According to the Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group report on the first half of the year, the legal industry should count itself lucky if it manages to meet last year’s single-digit profit growth. This “new normal” thing sucks. [Am Law Daily]

* Howrey going to celebrate these “monumental” settlements with Baker & Hostetler and Citibank? The failed firm’s trustee might throw a party when he’s finally able to file a liquidation plan. [Am Law Daily]

* Uncommon law marriage? A man stuck in an inheritance battle who lived with his late partner since 1995 now asks the District of Columbia to declare him common-law husband. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar proposed a major overhaul to its accreditation standards. Action, of course, likely won’t be taken until next year. [National Law Journal]

* Despite the fact that these measures could help struggling graduates, law deans are at odds over the ABA’s proposed changes to tenure requirements for professors. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* “Sooner or later you’ve got to make a choice, because you need enough revenue to cover what your expenses are.” Cooley will weather the storm by introducing a massive tuition hike. [Lansing State Journal]

* “How would you feel if you spent well over $100,000 on law school, only to have to spend an extra couple of thousand dollars on a course to get you to pass the bar?” You’d probably feel like everyone else. [CNBC]

* Requiring porn stars to wear condoms might not be sexy, but a federal judge says it’s constitutional. Don’t worry, unlike its actresses, the adult film industry won’t go down without a fight. [Los Angeles Times]

Voted ‘Mr. Congeniality’ by a panel of Biglaw partners.

The best competitions reward the winner with something related to their skill. If you win American Idol, you get a recording contract. On Project Runway, you get a clothing line. In the Hunger Games, you get to be alive.

Tying the tested skills to the ultimate reward is a concept so strikingly obvious that even we at Above the Law grasped the concept. In 2008, we held a competition among writers, which we called ATL Idol, and we hired the guy who won.

At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, the Career Development Office has announced a “Job Idol” competition, to determine which lucky Case Western Spartan has the chops to earn a law firm job.

We had a similar competition when I went to school. It was called “Early Interview Week,” and the top 98 percent of competitors won a job.

So what do the winners get at Case Western? We have the official advertisement for the competition.

Spoiler alert: They don’t get jobs….

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Each year, Corporate Counsel compiles a list of the firms that the Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. These are the firms that corporate clients turn to when they’ve got bet-the-company litigation. From Exxon Mobil to Apple to Walmart, and everywhere in between, these are the clients with the deepest of pockets, and if you care at all about the business end of the law, then this is a list that you should care about.

But this time around, the list looks a little different. Due to the state of the economy, general counsel are now looking for more ways to reduce costs, and are constantly seeking out alternative fee structures. The firms on this year’s list may have been the ones that were most amenable to such changes.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at which firms topped this year’s list….

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* The Sixth Circuit delved into the question of law professors’ tenure in a recent decision, noting that it doesn’t guarantee a job for life. But seriously, why on earth would you want to have a lifetime career at Cooley Law anyway? [National Law Journal]

* Was the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting a hate crime? Well, the shooter was in a racist skinhead band and purchased supplies from a neo-Nazi group, if that gives you a clue. [Reuters]

* Bet nobody saw this kind of douchebaggery happening: Jackson Lewis has been tapped to represent a member of Penn State’s board of trustees to appeal the NCAA’s unappealable sanctions, and he’s recruiting fellow trustees to join him. [Am Law Daily]

* No more “no comment” for this former reporter: Bruce Brown, a partner at Baker Hostetler, was appointed as the new executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. [Blog of Legal Times]

* As expected, Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty in the Arizona shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others. He’ll likely receive several life sentences as opposed to the death penalty. [Wall Street Journal]

* “This sh*t ain’t no joke yo, I’m serious, people are gonna die like Aurora.” Twitter, please cooperate so the police don’t have to subpoena you when a user threatens to commit a massacre in NYC. [NBC New York]

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