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* Law school exam hypothetical: Should a church lose its tax-exempt status if it uses its Twitter account to support a political candidate? [Going Concern]

* What is it about New York Law School grads and cupcake-making? Well before Lev Ekster, there was Mia Bauer, founder of the celebrated Crumbs bake shop. [Forbes]

* Is the Obama Administration trying to curry favor with Justice Kennedy? Guess who’s coming (or came to) the state dinner. [Gawker]

* Next Management and Ford Models duke it out — not on the runway, but in court. [Fashionista]

* Who says law reviews are good for nothing? For one former employee of American University, they were good for $400,000. [WTOP]

* Chief Judge Michael Mills, of the Northern District of Mississippi, knows how to administer stinging benchslaps. [NMissCommentor]

* Can Subway trademark the term “footlong”? In the sandwich context, maybe; in the sexual context, not so much. [Blogonaut]

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgWith Kagan’s nomination set, and all oral arguments for the October 2009 Term completed, we are still waiting for some major decisions — specifically, McDonald v. Chicago, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, Free Enterprise v. PCAOB, Bilski v. Kappos, and Doe v. Reed. In this post, we will offer predictions for these huge cases. Additionally, our statistics might also give us an insight into what is causing the delay within the SCOTUS on handing down these opinions.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “FantasySCOTUS: What’s Taking Them So Long? Predictions for McDonald, CLS, PCAOB, Doe, and Bilksi”

Every now and then, we like to offer our readers some career alternatives — things you can do with your law degree and legal training that don’t involve, say, working in a large law firm or as a contract lawyer. We’ve profiled a wide range of individuals, from lawyers who have left the law for everything from football coaching to CEO-ing to therapy (giving, not receiving).

A number of past profiles have involved attorneys turned entrepreneurs. We’ve looked at lawyers who have started restaurants and gone into college admissions consulting. We’ve profiled a lawyer who makes hot tamales, and a lawyer who is a hot tamale.

Today we continue down the path of attorneys who have gone from representing companies to launching them. Our latest interviewee has started a company, Urban Interns, that might be of interest to any ATL readers who are looking to hire interns — or any ATL readers who are looking for internships, which can provide valuable experience and/or a paycheck (of great value during these times of still-high unemployment).

Meet Cari Sommer, a Biglaw alum who last year launched Urban Interns….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Alternatives: Internship Market Maker”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Hey Above the Law,

I am a litigation associate at a well-respected established Denver firm. My computer is 6 years old. Yes, six, as in SIX M*****F*****G YEARS OLD.

It is safe to guess that I spend at least 10% of my time waiting for the computer to do something stupid, like print or open a word document. All of this time, of course, is billed to the client. A win-win for the firm, no? Not only do we not buy a computer, but we get higher bills because it takes longer to do a mundane task! Yippee!

My question, for you to handle of course: is it ethical to bill a client for time spent waiting for a six (yes six) year old computer to do some stupid little task? Should I be instructing partners to cut my time by at least (an additional) 10-20% based on the computer?

– Reboot

Dear Reboot,

As I type this on my five-year-old piece of garbage IBM Thinkpad that whirs as if it’s about to take flight at any moment, I feel your pain. It took me literally three hours to upload pictures to Facebook the other day, and the entire time my computer panted like a fat person on an elliptical. Will I get a new computer any time soon? You bet your sweet bippy I won’t…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Ok Computer”

Google has stepped in the privacy sh*t again. The Google cars collecting data for Google Maps’s nifty Street View service have also been inadvertently collecting information off of people’s unsecured wireless networks. If someone’s Wi-Fi account lacked a password and encryption, the cars had the ability to snatch some data.

Google claims the Wi-Fi sniffing was inadvertent, that this was a programming error, and that it didn’t realize it was stockpiling the personal info. It was discovered by German investigators and now has EU regulators up in arms, says Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog. It’s unclear how much data exactly was sniffed during brief drive-bys of houses. It’s also unclear why anyone would set up a Wi-Fi account without password protection these days. But there’s no law banning stupid/lazy people from filing invasion of privacy lawsuits.

Two West Coast plaintiffs filed a class action suit in Oregon on Monday, asking Google to “pay up to $10,000 for each time it snatched data from unprotected hotspots.” It includes a TRO preventing Google from deleting the data, which the company otherwise had planned to do. (Irony alert.)

The news led ABC 7 in Washington, D.C. to go around and ask people on the street how they felt about Google snooping on their Wi-Fi accounts. One person they asked was a federal judge; if Google comes around his house, it better be packing…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Google’s Privacy-Invading Street View Cars Should Avoid Judge Larry Burns’s House”

I don’t even know what it is, to tell you the truth. I’ve heard it talked about. My wife calls me Mr. Clueless.

Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking about Twitter, in response to a question about whether he’s ever considering “tweeting or twitting.”

If your firm offered you a “voluntary” deferral option last year, they sure made a lot of promises. Chiefest among them was the understanding that the people who left voluntarily for a year would be able to come back to the firm and resume their Biglaw careers after the deferral.

Well, that bond is about to mature. We’ve already reported on Skadden trying to reabsorb the people who were out on Sidebar Plus. Now we’re fielding reports about Dewey & LeBoeuf trying to find space for all the people who took the DL Pursuits deferral last May. A tipster reports:

The DL Pursuits program will ends on June 1. Just this week, some number of “Pursuers” are being offered another deferral year or four months’ severance. But they are not welcome back to the firm at this time.

Dewey confirmed to Above the Law that some practice groups are slower than others and not everybody has a job waiting for them at this time. But they’re not revoking any offers…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey & LeBoeuf Has a Backlog of Associates Returning from the Deferral Year”

In our little world, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a career-defining moment. A few points on the test can mean the difference between going to a law school that can get you a job, or going to a law school where you’ll be locked in gladiatorial combat with every other student in order to finish in the top 10%.

But does this test really tell us anything about a person’s logical reasoning ability? Does it tell us anything about one’s ability to be a lawyer? It’s been well-documented that the LSAT is a great indication of past performance, a solid indicator of law school performance, and a very poor judge of future legal success.

So what is the LSAT really testing anyway? We all know really smart people who didn’t do too well on the LSAT, and we all know incredibly dumb people who got a high score.

On the Huffington Post, Noah Baron argues that the LSAT is really testing one thing: whether or not you are wealthy enough to spend the time it takes to prepare for the exam…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “LSAT: Testing Wealth, Not Logic”

Gary Cruciani

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including awards for lawyers who sue firms for making misleading promises during the wooing period.

Gary Cruciani sued asbestos litigation firm Baron & Budd and its managing partner Russell Budd in 2008, for luring him away from McKool Smith with “negligent and fraudulent misrepresentations,” according to a lengthy Texas Lawyer article:

Cruciani alleges Budd “completely misrepresented the compensation system at Baron & Budd and the upside that allegedly existed there,” and Budd showed his “greed” when he paid himself a $50 million bonus in December 2005, which was 75 percent of the firm’s bonus pool that year.

Note to partners with a wandering eye: If a firm describes its compensation system as “Hully Gully,” be wary. In addition to misrepresenting the firm’s compensation system, Budd also neglected to tell Cruciani that there was bad blood between him and co-founding partner Fred Baron.

After hearing a host of counterclaims during a six-week trial, the jury sided with Cruciani, and decided the lost income and the impact on his future earnings warranted a $8.8 million award.

According to the Dallas Observer, the local legal community was shocked by the size of the award. Why was it so big?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Gary Cruciani Collects $8.8 Million Award from His Former Law Firm”

* Hell yeah! U.S. News will start penalizing schools who don’t report their employment statistics. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog deserves a mighty big shout out. [ABA Journal]

* Andrew Cuomo is trying to pick his replacement as New York Attorney General. [New York Times]

* I’m a PC and naming Microsoft the best in-house legal counsel of the year was not my idea. [Corporate Counsel]

* Obama nominates a Yale lawyer for a Second Circuit vacancy. [National Law Journal]

* Chevron will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on potentially exculpatory documentary footage. [New York Times]

* Financial reform passes the Senate. The Street is reacting like Obama ambushed them with friends and family for a surprise intervention. [Wall Street Journal]

Update: Check out Part 2: The Conservatives.

As we were planning Above the Law’s Elena Kagan confirmation coverage, we got to thinking (always a dangerous thing around these parts): What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

We decided to keep the five-four ideological balance of the current Court. Sure, we know that some people think that without the Senate, Presidents would nominate apolitical justices who have no discernible political slant. Sadly, apolitical justices = yawn.

In this post, Elie picks four pinko commie scumbags. In a future post, Lat will select five right-wing fascist nutjobs. Should be fun…

So, who are the SCOTUS nominees in the administration of President Elie Mystal?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Unconfirmable Supreme Court (Part 1): The Liberals”

* Arguably, things like giving a kid a swirly or locking him in the janitor’s closet (or doing other things that happened to me in school) are still okay in Louisiana. But sending a nasty email is now a crime? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Some advice on how to keep the pounds off while you are a summer associate. If you don’t have a summer associate gig, I’m assuming your problem is trying to figure out how to live off your law school fat reserves for three months. Hibernation is always an option. [Corporette]

* As a New Yorker, I am soooo over Faisal Shahzad’s failed attempt to murder me or some of my 8,000,000 friends. But let’s hope the lesson sinks in with the rest of the country when it comes time to debate who should get the lion’s share of homeland security funding. [What About Clients?]

* Come on, you know you want to hear what Kagan thinks about 2 Live Crew. [Copyrights & Campaigns]

* Is going to journalism school just as wasteful as going to law school? [Law and More]

* … And if it is, then what should you do if you’re considering a job in law or journalism? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Kash will be emceeing the Electronic Privacy Information Center “Champions of Freedom” Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. on June 2nd. It will be a very public celebration of privacy. []

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