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Well, this is pretty much my worst nightmare. Legal Profession Blog reports on the horrible story of Olufemi Nicol:

The Illinois Administrator has filed a complaint alleging that an attorney failed in bad faith to repay his student loans for a graduate business degree obtained after he graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1994. From 2006-2006, the attorney held several positions in business including a stint as president of Gear 7 in Los Angeles. The complaint alleges that the attorney received over $78,000 in loans in 2006 and signed two promissory notes. He allegedly has not made any payments on either note.

Okay, phew. I never took out additional loans for further education while I still owed money on my J.D. And I restarted payments — minimum payments — after I got a new job outside of Biglaw. I’m golden. AVOIDING DEBTOR’S PRISON SECURE!

But this Nicol guy? Yeah, sounds like he’s screwed. Law Shucks picks up the story….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former DLA Piper Attorney Faces Lawsuit for Failure to Pay His Debts”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

ATL,

Can you please offer your insight into proper etiquette for ring tones in the workplace?  I understand someone may have an affinity for The Jitterbug in their personal life, but when did it become acceptable to leave your cell phone on full volume while in the office knowing that it will go off at least three times each day? I work next to a law clerk whose phone sounds like it’s Mario eating a magic mushroom whenever he receives a message. I’ve asked him to put his phone on vibrate or silent when he comes to work, but it hasn’t sunk in — do I need to pull a Bluto from Animal House and smash his phone to stop the madness?

Gallagher

Dear Gallagher, this question is disturbing on many levels….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: No Service in the Club”

Barry Levenson

Are you a foodie? Are you committed enough to the gustatory world to leave the awful taste of the law behind and start a museum about your favorite food? Wisconsin lawyer Barry Levenson was that devoted. Sadly, his favorite food is mustard.

Levenson got a shout-out on NPR this morning for his National Mustard Museum. Levenson is a Wisconsin law grad who had quite a distinguished legal career. According to On Wisconsin, he practiced for 15 years and headed the Criminal Appeals Unit of the Wisconsin DOJ, arguing lots of cases before the state Supreme Court. In 1986, after a disappointing World Series — another sad note: Levenson is a Boston Red Sox fan — he consoled himself by buying lots of his favorite food: mustard. While healthier than ice cream, it turned into an obsession.

He began manically collecting jars of mustard. In 1987, one of his cases made it to One First Street; before oral argument in Griffin v. Wisconsin, he spotted a jar he didn’t have yet on a room service tray at his hotel and stuck it in his suit pocket, where it remained while he addressed the Nine. It was good luck perhaps. He won the Fourth Amendment case, 5-4. Levenson tells us he got some inspiration thinking back on “Justice Felix FRANKFURTER and Chief Justice Warren BURGER.”

Eventually, Levenson decided he wanted to flavor his whole life with mustard. He gave up his law job in 1992 and opened his museum. It gets 30,000 visitors per year. How do you make mustard that sexy?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Alternatives for Lawyers: Open a Museum”


Ah, the end of summer. For many law students, this time of year ushers in the arrival of the fall on-campus recruiting season (or what’s left of it), the dreaded wait for a permanent offer of employment following graduation, as well as a new diet regime for those summer associates who took their firm’s “unlimited lunches” policy a little too literally.

While your summer associate experience is still fresh in your mind, please take our short survey. Responses will be kept entirely confidential, of course.  So give us your raw insights into the stuff that no one told you about summer programs, such as how many hours you really work a day, whether the assignments you receive are “real” or just busy work, and which social events are worth attending.

This is last call on the survey for this summer as it will be closed on Friday, so please share your insights before then. Thanks!

Back in November, Baker Botts told us that they would be moving away from a lockstep associate compensation system and instituting a new merit-based system. Yesterday the firm released the base salary levels for its new four-tiered system. Here’s the statement from the firm regarding the basic changes:

The next phase of a talent management program — moving from a lockstep to levels format to track associate progress at the firm — was announced today by Baker Botts Managing Partner Walt Smith. This new format is the latest enhancement of a multi-year plan to better manage associate development at all experience levels.

“Implementing this program will allow us to remain competitive in our efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest lawyers,” Smith said. “Importantly, it will help us foster an environment that emphasizes the attributes we believe are essential to our firm’s culture.”…

The compensation aspects of the program will be effective August 1, 2010. Base annual salary for entry-level lawyers will remain at $160,000.

The firm wouldn’t officially release the salary levels for more senior associates, but tipsters gave us the inside scoop…

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7th Circuit tells Judge James Holderman to "Hold it, man."

* The Seventh Circuit benchslaps Judge James Holderman mid-trial. [Chicago Tribune]

* Last night, we asked if there was a loophole in the Financial Reform Bill for the SEC with respect to public disclosure requests. The answer: no. [Washington Post]

* Have you wondered what the man who claims he owns a big chunk of Facebook has been smoking? [Forbes]

* Scores of FBI agents cheated on their privacy exams. That explains so much. [Washington Post]

* The House cracks down on drug sentencing disparities. [New York Times]

* A perk of going to law school in Ohio: Bar exam tailgating. [Columbus Dispatch via ABA Journal]

* Phoenix immigration lawyer gives advice on what to do if you are detained. [New America Media]

* Suing for equality in paradise. [Associated Press]

For those of you who are done with the July 2010 bar exam, congratulations! For those of you who still have another day left, our condolences — and good luck.

No administration of the bar is complete without some sort of mishap. The latest tale of woe comes from California. The state that some have called “ungovernable” also seems to have difficulty administering the bar exam.

Find out about goings-on in the Not-So-Golden State, and compare notes on the bar exam experience in different states around the country, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bar Exam Open Thread: So, How Was It — Or How’s It Going?”

* Saggy pants never hurt nobody. [New York Law Journal]

* Is there a loophole in the Financial Reform Bill for the SEC with respect to public disclosure requests? [Fox Business]

* Puff, puff, pass. That’s some great medicine. [Underdog]

* Dancing lawyers. Look, it’s funny in Canada. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Accountants have to take exams too. Does that make you feel better, bar takers? [Going Concern]

* Thank God the DMCA isn’t a section on the bar exam. (It’s not a section on the bar exam, right?) [Infamy or Praise]

The 2011 Vault prestige rankings are out, giving meaning and purpose to those whose firms ranked in the top 20, and giving those further down the list inferiority complexes. (We’re talking to you, #21-formerly-#18.)

This thread covers the firms ranked #11 through #20. This is your chance to discuss these firms — their upsides and downsides and whether Vault got their rankings right. The Vault site has entries for each firm, similar to the Firm Snapshots in our own Career Center.

The “downers” category for most firms tends to be rather general: they treat me like a number, “long hours,” “unfun,” etc. But someone at #20-ranked White & Case had a very specific complaint about the firm’s lack of tech savvy: “The technology is very outdated. We still run Outlook 2003 and are not allowed to use iPhones. The blackberries we are given are over 2 years old and do not work well at times. The firm is not receptive to these issues.”

Little known White & Case perk: every new associate gets their own Commodore 64 for home use.

What are the reviews for the other firms in this bracket?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 11 – 20 (2011)”

It’s an entry-level luxury vehicle. It’s the sort of car you might see a first-year lawyer driving.

– Jalopnik editor Ray Wert, discussing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Acura TSX. Since Zuckerberg has professed not to believe in privacy and has helped to eradicate it with Facebook, Gawker gave him the paparazzi treatment, and discovered that he (and his car) are not actually very interesting.

This is going to come as a major surprise to many of you, but the Obama administration just won a victory in Federal Court.

I know, it’s crazy, but a federal judge actually sided with the Obama administration’s request for a preliminary injunction that will stay the effects of some provisions in Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. The Wall Street Journal reports:

A federal judge blocked key sections of Arizona’s tough new immigration law on Wednesday, granting the Obama administration’s request for an injunction based on the belief that immigration matters are the purview of the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed to enjoin several provisions, including one that required police officers to check the immigration status of a person stopped for an alleged other violation, such as speeding, if reasonable suspicion existed that the individual was illegally in the U.S.

It’s a preliminary victory of U.S. citizens who happen to look like illegal immigrants in the eyes of Arizona police officers…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Judge Tells Arizona to Hang On A Second”

University of Chicago Law Professor and Lake Michigan rescuer, Randall Schmidt

University of Chicago law professor Randall Schmidt and his wife, Kristen Berg, can rightly be called heroes. That’s what you call people who rescue others from plane crashes on Lake Michigan.

Their incredible story was picked up in yesterday’s Chicago Daily Herald:

The Park Ridge couple, who rescued the only known survivor of a plane that crashed into Lake Michigan off the state’s western coast Friday, were on the second to last day of their annual boating trip, finishing breakfast on their 42-foot cabin cruiser, the “Kristin Says,” docked in Frankfort, Mich…

Around 10:15 a.m., after they’d been cruising for about an hour, Schmidt heard a fisherman call the U.S. Coast Guard on the radio about a plane in the water, a few miles off the coast of Ludington, Mich.

At that point the couple took immediate action to help the survivors…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Hero Professor Saves Plane Crash Survivor”

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