Old People

Thing that can kill you.

Dear Lord, Florida seems like a dangerous place. The only people who are unarmed there are the criminals. Certainly, the lawyers in Florida have guns, and they apparently know how to use them.

A lot of people will see this as a cool story: cat burglars broke into a law office, and an old lawyer who was asleep at his desk defended himself. We like cool stories about lawyers defending themselves, and this one certainly fits the bill.

But what I see is a person who almost died because of Florida’s ridiculous gun laws. I see a person who was not threatened with deadly force use deadly force anyway. And I see no reason to keep praising this vigilante justice where people can take the law into their own hands, even if they are lawyers….

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* Since you’re so funny, crack some jokes about this one, Obama. Senate Republicans will be filing an amicus brief in support of a challenge to the constitutionality of the President’s recess appointments. [New York Times]

* Thanks to this Third Circuit ruling, you can rest easy knowing that you can rely on the First Amendment to protect your homemade sex tapes from all of those strict porn record-keeping and labeling requirements… for now. [Reuters]

* Due to Kelley Drye’s EEOC settlement, the New York State Bar Association is asking firms to end mandatory retirement policies. Because old folks need to make bank till they croak. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 has decided to ditch its proposal to allow limited nonlawyer ownership of law firms. Cue tears and temper tantrums from the likes of Jacoby & Meyers. [Am Law Daily]

* “If I believe that Chris Armstrong is a radical homosexual activist, I have a constitutional right to express that opinion.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell that to the judge who dismissed your suit, Shirvell. [Detroit Free Press]

* Presenting “her royal hotness”: apparently Pippa Middleton has been seen cavorting around France with gun-toting lawyer Romain Rabillard, of Shearman & Sterling. [Daily Mail]

It's a terrible thing when you have to wait too long for your chance to rule.

The entitlement reign of the really old will not end soon. With advances in modern medicine, advances that the Supreme Court will tell us how we’re allowed to pay for, today’s old people will live and work longer than any previous generation on Earth.

Or at least take up space.

While a family might be able to shove Grandpa into a nursing home, modern businesses are having a really tough time getting septuagenarian or even octogenarian partners to go away, and leave their clients behind. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that Kelley Drye owes one of its partners over half a million dollars for trying to push him into retirement, and it opens a wide door for old people to hang onto to their offices and their clients well after they can no longer chew the leather.

Maybe it’s the right thing to do, but it’s got to be annoying for the Prince Charles-esque 60-year-old “up and comer”….

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There’s a great story in the Washington Post this morning about how senior citizens are still struggling to pay off their educational debt. Senior. Citizens. The story says that collectively Americans over 60 owe $36 billion in student debt. That figure includes seniors who have co-signed on loans for their children or grand-children.

And yes, I love the holier-than-thou people who lecture me or other debt-defaulters on our financial responsibilities who went to school by putting their parents or grandparents at financial risk.

But seniors are also in trouble because they took out loans to finance continuing education later in life. I’m sure if you look around your law school, you’ll think of a couple of people who are really too old to be there but were led to believe that one more credential would solve all of their life’s problems.

The senior struggle is just one more indication that our system for financing higher education is about to implode…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Student Debt: It’s Not Just For Young People Anymore”

* Thinking of going to law school and leading a stereotypical Biglaw life of luxury? Perhaps you should consider taking ex-K&E partner Steven Harper’s class at Northwestern. You might just change your mind. [Chicago Tribune]

* The HuffPo’s unpaid bloggers are going to stay that way for now, because Jonathan Tasini’s $105M class action suit has been dismissed. Perhaps he’ll get another SCOTUS case under his belt. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Parts of Junie Hoang’s lawsuit against IMDb have survived dismissal, but she can kiss her $1M damages claim goodbye. Too bad, because at her age, she could really use the retirement money. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Hofstra’s going to Havana, but it’s not to get career advice from Fidel. Instead, students will learn about U.S. export law. Sigh. You don’t need to go to Cuba to find out you can’t bring back cigars. [National Law Journal]

* Who’s the latest lady love in Lindsay Lohan’s life? Shawn Holley. LiLo reportedly whispered sweet nothings into her lawyer’s ear after she was freed from the bonds of supervised probation. [Los Angeles Times]

When I visited New York back in January, I stayed with some friends. When I woke up Saturday morning on the couch, my buddy and his roommate had already taken out their laptops and were typing away. I asked, “What are you guys doing today?” They both responded, “Working.”

I could not believe it. It was a surprisingly warm winter day. And my friends decided to remain cooped up in their literally windowless Manhattan apartment. Why wouldn’t they go outside? Go to park, or a bar for some day drinking.

But that’s America. We are always connected, always on call, and ignoring your BlackBerry for more than 90 minutes may be a fireable offense.

It wasn’t always this way. And there are some heretics among us who make a compelling case for a return to the 40-hour work week. Before you shoot the scruffy Californian, hear me out….

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Kim Kardashian

* Building bridges instead of burning them: a new Republican strategy that just might work. Thanks to this Senate deal, 14 federal judicial nominees will get confirmation votes before summer. [Legal Times]

* According to this survey, Biglaw firm leaders are wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to the economy and current business conditions. That said, where are the spring bonuses? [Am Law Daily]

* A jury found Virginia Tech negligent in its handling of the school’s 2007 massacre. The administration will probably appeal, but it’d be nicer if they just appeased the victims’ families. [Wall Street Journal]

* Want a tenure-track teaching position? Just sue. Nicholas Spaeth’s age discrimination suit against Georgetown Law will proceed, much to the school’s chagrin. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kim Kardashian + boobs + lawsuit = water cooler fodder for lawyers. [New York Post]

Where's our spring bonus?

* Lawyers at this Biglaw firm may learn a thing or two about respecting their elders later this week. Kelley Drye is close to settling an age discrimination suit filed by Eugene D’Ablemont, one of its many de-equitized partners. [Wall Street Journal]

* Well, this could definitely be one of the reasons why Cravath hasn’t given out any spring bonuses to associates yet this year. They probably had to spend all of their money to clean up their allegedly fly-infested cafeteria. [Am Law Daily]

* Women in Virginia will now be able to politely decline their pre-abortion transvaginal ultrasounds in favor of abdominal ones. Oh, how nice! Look at that, girls, we totally won the war on women. [CBS News]

* Things Dharun Ravi texted to Tyler Clementi on the night the latter committed suicide? “I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it.” Of course you knew, you watched his sexual encounters via webcam. [CNN]

* According to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, this equation makes sense: donor sperm + donor eggs + an estranged wife + consent to post-separation IVF = a child support obligation. [Boston Globe]

As much as some people glorify being a “Jack of all trades,” the truth is that in order to succeed, most professionals have to specialize. After all, the full idiom is actually “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

At a certain point in a person’s career, if he really wants to go somewhere, he must become an expert at something specific and be able to do that one thing better than anyone else. No one wants to get complacent, but at some point work hopefully becomes comfortable.

And that’s what makes Judge Ann Pfau’s story so intriguing and unique. The 64-year-old was, until recently, the chief administrative judge for the State of New York. But late last year, after massive budget cuts, the lifelong administrator ended up as a trial judge, “in the gray courthouse that hulks next to Brooklyn Borough Hall like some weird tribute to bleak Soviet architecture.”

Talk about an unexpected career move…

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When I was a kid, I thought only white people had to worry about being thirty-something.

I’m back. I got sick, again, with pretty much the same kind of acute sinus infection as I had the last time. It’s the second time in six months some stupid illness has completely floored me by making it hard to see and think — I definitely need at least one of those faculties to do my job.

Last time, when I got back, I was just happy to be alive and looking for somebody to blame. This time, I’m depressed. It’s probably because I was sitting the doctor’s office, and I was whining and in incredible pain and petulantly demanding answers as to why I’m having all these health problems and the guy says to me: “Well, you are getting old.”

Sigh.

I’m not the only one. And it occurs to me that, once again, I’m in much better shape for this new phase of consequences than I would be if I was still at a Biglaw firm. Because while I need to refine and hone my skills in my mid and late thirties, associates at top law firms need to gun it. They need to take their suddenly aging bodies and turn every morsel of ATP into billable hours if they want to make partner. And they need to do it now….

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