Latest Stories

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton* Joe Barton apologizes for apologizing to BP. It’s just another day in the GO(B)P. [Washington Post]

* Faisal Shahzad, indicted on 10 terror-related charges. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* William Mitchell College of Law professor, Peter Erlinder, has been released from a Rwandan prison on bail. He should be back in the U.S.A. today. Welcome home. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

* A defense motion to acquit in the Robert Wone trial was only moderately successful. [Who Murdered Robert Wone]

* Blaming the parents for their drunken kids. [New York Times]

* It’s the end of the Swiss bank account as we know it. [Wall Street Journal]

Most New York lawyer types have given up on the idea of cooking for themselves; they’re far more likely to get their dinner from Seamless Web than from their own fridge and stovetop. But not Serena Palumbo. She’s now in-house counsel for an Italian bank, and has persevered in making nightly home-made dinners, despite prior stints at Schulte Roth and Shearman & Sterling.

And her perseverance has led to a possible career opportunity: TV celebrity chef. She’s one of the competitors in The Next Food Network Star, a Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis-hosted reality competition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Palumbo looks great in photos, but a former colleague who caught the premiere told us she struggled a bit in the first episode:

Wolfgang Puck told Giada that the Food Network might have to make room for a new Italian princess.

She did a good job with the food but struggled in front of the camera; she came across a bit forced so she’s not a front-runner but can probably turn things around.

Curses. Corporate lawyers don’t get to spend time in a courtroom, practicing their TV face in front of a jury.

We caught up with Serena by phone this week and asked her how she got onto the show, and more importantly, how she finds time to cook dinner every night at home in Manhattan…

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* If you think capitalism has been portrayed negatively in Hollywood films before, just wait ’till the BP movies hit the theaters. I mean, can you imagine what Quantum of Solace would have been about post-BP? [Truth on the Market]

* I love my dog. I like most dogs more than I like most people. Especially the people who bequeath millions to their dogs. I hate those people. [Wall Street Journal]

* Despite the unanimous decision in the Stop the Beach case, there is still a little daylight between the Nine. [Property Prof Blog]

* Look, the World Cup is going on during the middle of the business day. So it’s not surprising that the legal blogosphere has been a little bit disjointed and distracted. [Infamy or Praise]

* And soccer is important. It is perhaps the one thing on the planet that is immune to America’s cultural imperialism. The sooner Americans like Richard Epstein appreciate that immunity, the sooner we’ll be able to appreciate the beautiful game. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Today’s Jones Day news really highlights the danger of ever being positive about anything. [Jane Genova]

Here in New York, we’re in the midst of the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, a race sponsored by JPMorgan that raises money for the Central Park Conservancy. An ATL reader at a major New York law firm described the race (which is really two races; it’s now run over two consecutive evenings, due to the large number of participants):

[The Challenge] is a 3.5 mile race in Central Park that took place yesterday and will finish tonight. See here. Last year, there were over 6,500 finishers — a number of whom ran on “teams” for BigLaw.

While this particular race is NYC-centric, I think a story about how difficult it is to stay even semi-fit as a BigLaw attorney would strike a chord with your readers.

Indeed. Although many lawyers are avid runners, including marathoners, balancing training with billing hours isn’t easy. But some manage to find the time, as our source points out….

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Last week, we set up an open thread for people to discuss the next round of tuition hikes at their law schools. Sadly, it appears that many schools are indeed raising tuition despite the soft economy for legal jobs. Once again, the cost of legal education is proving to be recession proof.

But another, even more disturbing trend could be on the way. At a few schools, the new plan seems to be raise tuition on entering students by a higher percentage than the tuition on returning students. To keep the money rolling in, it looks like this next crop of 1Ls will be subsidizing their jobless, 3L brethren.

The situation at the University of Houston Law Center could be a harbinger of an even darker future for the class of 2013…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Tuition Trend: Will 1Ls be Willing to Subsidize 3Ls?”

A quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

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I have come to the conclusion that most Americans really enjoy three things:

  1. Freedom
  2. Earning money, and
  3. Buying food out of a truck.

Think about it. Remember as a kid when you would hear the music from your local ice cream truck making its way down your street? Remember running towards it as if your life hung in the balance, all the while thinking, MUST-GET-ICE CREAM-NOW!? And it didn’t matter whether you had 14 gallons of every conceivable flavor of ice cream at home; you just had to have your King Cone or Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich. Those were good times.

Well, roughly a year ago, George Washington University Law alum Sam Whitfield was reviewing documents for discovery as contract lawyer in Washington, DC, when he and his colleagues began craving cupcakes. The problem was no one wanted to venture across town to a local hot spot, Georgetown Cupcake,to pick them up. That’s when Sam had his first rendezvous with cupcake destiny.

“I thought, what if we could get cupcakes delivered to us?” he said. “I come up with three or four crazy ideas like this every day.”

Soon thereafter he found himself investing in a truck, a baker, and cake mix (lots of cake mix). In a very short time, Curbside Cupcakes was born, but would DC find his idea as delicious as he did?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Contract Attorney to Captain Cupcake”

Today the Supreme Court decided City of Ontario v. Quon, a very important privacy case regarding a California SWAT officer who argued that the text messages sent on his work pager were entitled to privacy. The case has gained fame for two reasons — because oral argument revealed that the Supreme Justices are not very tech savvy, and because journalists and Court watchers saw this case as a sign of whether we’re entitled to privacy in our communications and emails on work devices (relevant to everyone who uses a work-issued Blackberry for occasional personal email).

The SWAT officer, Sergeant Jeff Quon, is out of luck. The Court decided that the police department’s search of his steamy text messages was reasonable (and reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held otherwise). Today’s SCOTUS ruling led to headlines like this one from Joan Biskupic at ABC News: High court: Texts on government gear not private.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the Court’s opinion [PDF] in the case, hoped not to see headlines like that….

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Jones Day has weathered the recession quite well. And they know it. And they want everybody else to know it.

The traditionally secretive firm has not been shy about slamming the business models of their competitors. You’ll remember this memo, written by D.C. partner Joe Sims, where he taunts Jones Day’s rivals:

[M]any of our peer competitors will come out weaker, not stronger. They may well protect their short-term financial metrics (although it will be interesting to see how we fare vs. the firms that slashed and burned), but they will pay a long-term price. Some of it is obvious: Firing staff and associates, or freezing associate salaries, or doing away with summer programs entirely makes it very clear to those groups that either that firm was not efficiently organized and managed before this crisis, or its first interest is protecting the owners’ incomes, not the various constituents that depend on the firm. While that is hardly un-American, it does tend to focus people’s minds on the fact that their firm clearly does not have their interests at the top of its agenda.

So, if Jones Day were to fire staff, would that make it “very clear” that JD isn’t efficiently organized?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoff Watch: Jones Day Draws The Curtains on 30+ Staffers”

Maybe finding a job should be like online dating, with job seekers putting up advertisements describing their perfect match.

That’s the approach a law student in New York is taking. The 3L placed an ad on Craigslist this week, titled “3rd Year Law Student Seeking Competent, Sane, Paying Legal Employer.”

According to the student’s self-description, this 3L is the perfect legal employee, with “excellent, substantive experience in the legal field”; their “own Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis password and unlimited access to both databases” (courtesy of the student’s school?); “a lot of experience drafting contracts, including very complex and lengthy contracts”; “high work ethic”; and “good social skills.”

This stellar job seeker will not accept just any job. The 3L writes:

In order to be considered for this opening as my new boss, in addition to being willing to pay for my services, you must also meet all of the following criteria:

There are 21 requirements. Number 1: “You must not be a lunatic.”

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It’s been a couple of days since we’ve mentioned former Citibank banker Debrahlee Lorenzana. In fairness, I’ve been afraid to criticize her and risk alienating all of the women in the world.

Maybe her former lawyer is safer ground? A couple of days ago we mentioned that Lorenzana hired Gloria Allred. But yesterday news surfaced about the lawyer Lorenzana fired, Jack Tuckner. Dealbreaker claims that Debrahlee might have just fired the perfect man for her case:

Specifically, Lorenzana says that she was told not to wear pencil skirts or stilettos. And while Tuckner may be the creepiest lawyer of all time, it turns out he has deep knowledge of this sort of footwear (and the other accoutrement that might fill out the ensemble), and how its presence in the corporate world can only enhance business, such as when a stilleto is shoved up one’s ass.

Yeah, it turns out that Tuckner is no stranger to sexual harassment claims…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Debrahlee Lorenzana’s Former Lawyer a Creepy Dude?”

What part of "lifetime appointment" did you not understand?

* Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy is considering a proposal to recall retired Supreme Court Justices to sit on cases when a current Justice must recuse him or herself. [National Law Journal]

* Now comes the part where the lawyers try to convince 9/11 first responders to take the money. [Daily News]

* Richard Epstein on BP. [Wall Street Journal]

* If, as we mentioned yesterday, no-fault divorce does make it to New York State, it could mean an end to lying. [New York Times]

* Judge refuses to place a gag order on Rod Blagojevich. [ABA Journal]

* Obama’s Oval Office BP speech was aimed at a 10th grade level — and it was still too “professorial” for average Americans. That sound you hear is King George III laughing his ass off at Thomas Jefferson and his “educated” populace. [CNN]

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