Libraries / Librarians

Notes from the Breadline Roxana St Thomas.jpgEd. note: Welcome to the latest installment of “Notes from the Breadline,” a column by a laid-off lawyer in New York. Prior columns are collected here. You can reach Roxana St. Thomas by email (at [email protected]), follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
Ah, the library. When was the last time you thought about it? When I started law school, I had a somewhat mystical notion of what the library would be like. Rays of afternoon sunlight would filter through tall windows, illuminating dust motes and spilling onto the pages of my neatly IRAC-ed briefs. I would sit at a long table, chewing thoughtfully on my pen before delving into an incisive analysis of Carolene Products, fn 4. A delicate lamp with a green glass shade would cast warm light on the law review article I was writing in longhand, with a fountain pen. I would meet a handsome stranger in the stacks and we would fall in love, like the Clintons.
In reality, the law library was devoid of such scholarly romanticism. It was either oppressively hot, resulting in all-girl study groups whose attire was more suggestive of a “Law Students Gone Wild” video than a chat session about conveyances, or cold enough to require indoor scarf-wearing. I spent more time asleep, with my face planted awkwardly on an open book, than I did actually reading. One of the bitchier members of our section patrolled the library with fierce determination, shushing us when we giggled about bizarre tort cases and classroom gunners. When it came time to study for the bar exam, I spent so much time in the library that, toward the end, I would wake up — in my own bed — feeling disoriented by the unfamiliar surroundings, groping anxiously for my highlighters. For years, I couldn’t pass by the building without experiencing the panicky sense that I had forgotten something important about commercial paper.
These memories, which conjure a queasy blend of academic stress, physical discomfort, and the feeling of being incarcerated in a cell made of CFR parts, resulted in a certain degree of library amnesia. Indeed, it hadn’t occurred to me to set foot in a law library for … well, years. Then, a few weeks ago, I received an email that read….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Notes from the Breadline: In This Age of Fiberglass I’m Searching for a Gem”

fire.jpgLast night, NYU had two “firestorms”: the announcement that Dr. Thio would not be coming to campus, and a more literal fire at NYU’s Bobst library.
From a tipster around 5 p.m. yesterday:

Just got out of NYU’s Bobst library. There was a small fire and they evacuated everybody inside. I had to run down 6 flights of smoke filled stairs. Great way to prep for the bar exam…

Our correspondent from Greenwich had particularly bad luck:

I actually think if I went down the main stairs I would be fine. They herded us towards two separate fire exits (on the washington park side), and the one I went down was the one filled with smoke. It cleared up around the first floor, so maybe the fire was on the second floor? … The ironic thing is, the other set of stairs seemed fine, and I’m not even a student at NYU. I just came here for one day to see a friend and for the change of atmosphere.

We’d advise heading to the NYU Law Library to study instead, but we have heard that mysterious smells lurk there.
Soooooo, the bar exam is next week. How’s that studying going? Feel free to kvetch in the comments.
Earlier: Breaking: Dr. Thio Is Not Coming To NYU Law
Breaking: Mystery Smell Hits NYU Law Library!!!

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs promised, we bring you an update on yesterday’s coverage of staff layoffs at Fried Frank. Here are a few additional details, from the National Law Journal (subscription):

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is reducing administrative staff in New York and Washington. The reductions, which a firm spokeswoman said were less than 10% of the law firm’s 730 staffers firmwide, affect primarily floating secretaries, part-time assistants and paralegals and library personnel.

The layoffs, first reported on, resulted from the law firm’s review of its administrative resources and staffing requirements. The employees will receive severance packages based on years of service, the spokeswoman said.

Update / Correction: One source questions the claim that the layoffs affected “primarily” floaters and part-time assistants. According to this tipster, many of the laid off employees were full-time, senior secretaries — a number of them over 50, and some just a few months shy of getting their pensions. This source predicts that age discrimination lawsuits will be filed.
One tipster tells us the number of affected employees was in the range of 50 to 60, which would amount to under 10 percent of 730 staffers, and that severance amounted to one week of pay for every year of service. We also hear this:

Apparently, mail room, duplicating and facilities were told that their jobs were being outsourced by the end of the year. They could start looking for new jobs before getting laid off at the end of the year or apply with the outsourcing agencies (with no guarantees of a job or placement at Fried Frank).

New York staff were given “a few minutes to pack up and get out”; cars were provided to take people home (a nice touch — hopefully that will become “market”). One source claims that employees were laid off without regard to their seniority or their performance reviews, whether negative or positive.
What about attorneys? A spokesperson emphasized to us that Fried Frank “doesn’t do lawyer layoffs,” which was reiterated to associates by firm chair Valerie Ford Jacob at a meeting yesterday.
(Jacob also claimed that the firm has never laid off lawyers. But one source at FFHSJ begs to differ. This source claims that the firm laid off attorneys back in 1990, and then “suffered years of recruiting problems because of it,” which may explain its reluctance to go down that path today.)
More detail about the meeting, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Fried Frank Follow-Up”

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLast week we started hearing rumors of imminent staff layoffs at Fried Frank. The rumors have now come true, as we’ve been hearing from multiple sources. Today appears to be the big day.
We submitted an inquiry to the firm. A spokesperson issued the following statement:

Over two years ago Fried Frank began a review of its administrative resources and staffing requirements. As part of this review process some departments were expanded and others consolidated.

Today’s administrative staff reductions are part of that business review process. Those affected are in the Firm’s NY and Washington DC offices. Severance and career counseling were offered to all of those affected.

We aren’t sure of the numbers (and the firm has not yet responded to our request for that data). One of the rumors from last week said the number could be as high as 10 percent of total staff headcount. We hear that in the D.C. office, at least eight or nine people have been laid off, as of the time of this posting. The numbers in New York are said to be significantly higher than in Washington.
The affected employees include secretaries, paralegals, and library personnel. Severance packages appear to vary, from as low as seven weeks to as high as three months.
People are being called in and given the bad news individually. But meetings are also being held at 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. in D.C. (It’s not clear what New York is doing.)
One staffer in New York was given 30 minutes to pack up all belongings and leave the premises. In Washington, however, that’s not happening; one source describes that office as “more humane.”
We will bring you more information as the story develops. If you have information to share, please email us.

library Above the Law blog.jpgAs we announced yesterday, we’re doing a series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys. If you have a law degree, but can’t get into / aren’t interested in Biglaw or contract attorney work, what are some other good options?

We kicked off the series with a post about job opportunities with accounting firms. If you have a suggested career path, please email us (subject line: “Career Alternatives”), and include some basic info about the field that you’re nominating (e.g., how to get into it, pluses and minuses, salary data, etc.).

Back to law librarians. Longtime ATL readers know that they’re hot, as reflected in our law librarian hotties contest (male nominees here, female nominees here, and winners here). And it sounds like their profession is, too. From an enthusiastic law librarian, who works for a university:

Don’t forget law librarianship. Great hours, low stress, academic lifestyle, and the chance to abuse law students at will. Nothing could be finer.

Seriously, this a great profession. The work is interesting, law students and professors are intelligent and fun to work with, the stress level is low, the pace is comfortable, and I feel like I’m doing positive things for people. I have fun at work every day, and get many of the benefits of the law school academic lifestyle in spite of only having been in the middle of my class at [a top 30 law school]. There are plenty of jobs, many in very nice places to live. I highly recommend it.

Sounds promising — especially the part about abusing law students. Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Alternatives for Attorneys: Law Librarian”

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGOkay, CLSers, so NYU Law School has surpassed you in the U.S. News rankings. But here’s some consolation: at least your law library is a zone of normalcy (as law libraries go, that is).
Late last year, NYU’s law library was taken over by a mystery smell. And now it has a new problem.
Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Some Gloating Material for Columbia Law Folks”

library Above the Law blog.jpgIn case you haven’t noticed, we have thing for law librarians around here. We’ve given them their own category tag, and we previously held a law librarian hotties contest (male nominees here, female nominees here, and winners here).
In our recent New York Observer column about Cadwalader, we also tried to include a shout-out to their super-cool library staff, based on this New York Times article. It ended up getting cut in the editing process, but we thought we’d mention it here. From a tipster:

The “librarian at a law firm” who was profiled [in the Times] works at Cadwalader. I’d be curious to hear from the ATL posters which other Vault firms feature these alleged “hipster librarians.”

So, any takers? Having a team of crack librarians, ready to go to the ends of the earth to find some obscure treatise or track down elusive legislative history, is one of the nice perks of Biglaw life — as well as life as a law professor or government lawyer, too.
And you might end up getting more than just USCCAN volumes — you could end up finding love. Justice Samuel A. Alito, you may recall, ended up marrying his office’s law librarian. How neat is that?
If you’d like to praise (or complain about) the library staff where you work, please feel free to do so in the comments. Thanks.
A Hipper Crowd of Shushers [New York Times]
Jeffrey Howard Buckley []

This farewell email was sent out last month by a librarian who left Patton Boggs, the prominent D.C. law firm.
It pretty much speaks for itself. We would just note that Patton Boggs, as one of the biggest lobbying shops in Washington, is chock-full of both lawyers and ex-politicians.

smiley face with bomb Above the Law blog.gifFrom: [redacted]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 5:35 PM
To: *Everyone (DC); *Everyone 2445 M Street
Subject: Good-Bye Patton Boggs

After 8.5 years, today was my last day at Patton Boggs LLP.

Everyone knows what I think about the Law(yers) and politic(ian)s, so I won’t dwell onit [sic].

Farewell to everyone as I doubt we’ll meet again in this life or the next.

Good-bye Patton Boggs.

Our tipster reported her fear that the embittered ex-exployee might go postal: “I came to work the following day using the side entrance because, well, I didn’t want to take any chances….”

Joy Hanson Joy M Hanson Joy Hansen Larry Reeves Lawrence Reeves Laurence Reeves law librarians Above the Law blog.JPGThey can Shepardize like nobody’s business. They know the proper Bluebook form for CCH looseleafs, by heart. And they look really good in swimwear.

After announcing our Law Librarian Hotties contest, we received lengthy string cites of bookish beauties. From these nominees, we came up with slates of thirteen lovely ladies and six gorgeous guys.

After a first round of voting, we held runoff elections. And now, we proudly announce the winners.

Congratulations to the two hottest law librarians in America:




The runoff votes weren’t exactly suspenseful. Both Reeves and Hanson won by sizable margins:

Law Librarian Hotties Hottest Legal Librarian contest results Above the Law blog.JPG

No photo finish here; but the results strike us as eminently fair. Congratulations to our two deserving victors!

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of law librarian hotties (scroll down)

law library librarians hot hottest hotties Above the Law legal blog.JPGIt’s time for a quick housekeeping announcement about our Law Librarian Hotties contest. We’re currently in the middle of runoff votes between the two women and the two men who received the most votes in the first round. If you haven’t voted in the runoffs yet (or if you’d like to change your vote), you can do so by clicking here.
If you’d like to vote, though, don’t delay. We will close the polls tomorrow, Thursday, March 15, at 3 PM (Eastern time).
Right now, neither race is close. But it ain’t over until the results are certified by Katherine Harris. To the four remaining contenders, GOOD LUCK!!!
Earlier: Law Librarian Hotties: It’s Time for a Runoff!

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