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* Financial reform has made it out of conference. Nobody knows if it’s going to work, but it looks like it’s going to be law. [Washington Post]

* Rate the Kagan. Elena Kagan receives the ABA’s highest rating. [ABA]

* Rule 10-b of the Securities Exchange Act gets significantly scaled back. [SCOTUSblog]

* The eminent domain of Columbia University. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Judge Martin Feldman won’t stay the effects of his “drill, baby, drill” decision. [New York Times]

* Aptly named alleged drug lord, Christopher Coke, will be arraigned today. [The Gleaner]

In April and May of this year, the Altman Weil consulting firm surveyed the leaders of 787 law firms with 50 or more lawyers about the state of the legal industry. After receiving responses from 218 of them (a 28% response rate), Altman Weil crunched the data and compiled it in a big law firm survey, which it published earlier this week.

The survey came out a few days ago and has been covered extensively in various legal news outlets. But we weren’t in any great rush to write about it, since it doesn’t contain much to get excited about: many of the findings are (1) gloomy and (2) unsurprising.

To turn the Nixon Peabody theme song on its head, these days it seems that “everyone’s a loser” in the world of Biglaw….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Survey Confirms All the Depressing Stuff You Already Knew About the Business of Biglaw”

You know the drill when it comes to nonprofit fundraisers: hour-long open bar, followed by an excruciatingly long sit-down dinner. Like hamsters, you are rewarded for sitting through each speech with another course served. Once you’ve finished dessert, you hope for a video or slideshow, so the lights are dimmed and you can slip out unobserved.

Some fundraisers are more fun than others, of course — especially if there’s a photo booth with viking hats, or dueling lawyer rock bands (as there will be at the Black Cat in D.C. tonight). But generally these events are rather staid affairs.

LA-based legal services organization Bet Tzedek wanted to shake that formula up. Thirteen years ago, it launched The Justice Ball. Its founders were “sick of black tie and rubber chicken,” says the organization’s president/CEO Mitchell Kamin, and hoped to attract the young professional set instead of just geriatric philanthropists.

Over 2,500 people are expected to attend this year’s ball on Saturday night, featuring music by Dave Navarro and DJ Skribble, a Guitar Hero battle, legal tattoos, and a J-Date sponsored speed dating session. Since I’m in L.A. after attending Loyola’s Journalist Law School (and a historic taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live), I’ll be in attendance Saturday night too, thanks to comp tickets from Bet Tzedek. I look forward to spotting many summer associates there. Sidley, Skadden, Latham & Watkins, and O’Melveny & Myers are among the many firms that put the Justice Ball on their summer associate events calendars.

I interviewed Kamin about what to expect Saturday, whether tickets are still available (they are), and how he has transformed the LA County legal services firm into an award-winning national network.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Rocking Fundraiser in L.A.: The Justice Ball”

* Is “grade reform” leading to “excessive egalitarianism” at American law schools? [Minding the Campus]

* Biglaw website awards. [The Snark]

* It’s pretty awesome to get paid for nailing things. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Well, we could fix this with a large piece of federal legislation, or we could use something like a binder or a file cabinet. [BL1Y]

* Viacom can learn something now that Google has smacked them around. [Breaking Media]

* When more isn’t always better. [What About Clients?]

* If you’re looking for something fun to do in D.C. tonight, go to the Black Cat for Banding Together 2010: Battle of the Law Firm Bands. It’s a fun evening — and it’s for a good cause. [Gifts for the Homeless]

It’s like Titanic, but with fewer survivors.

– Tagline for Lathamed: The Movie

It’s pretty tough being a first-year associate these days. You’re working hard, you’re terrified of getting Lathamed, and you can’t even complain, because everybody thinks you should be grateful to have a job.

But at least you don’t have to deal with bright and unbroken summer associates, rolling through your office with smoke billowing up their asses at every point. The recession has taken its toll on summer associate programs too.

At Sheppard Mullin, however, summer associates are actually making more money (per paycheck) than first-year associates. In fact, the summers are even making more than some second-year associates.

How did this happen?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sheppard Mullin ‘Anomaly’ Leaves First-Years Making Less Than Summer Associates”

Upon graduation, some degrees grant graduates more than a few extra letters at the end of their name. Some degrees are transformative. An MD turns an anal, highlighter-happy med student into a “doctor.” A PhD does the same thing for disheveled grad students. A JD makes you an “esquire.” (Other degrees are not transformative: MBA and masters grads get nothing but debt.)

While the MDs and, to a lesser extent, PhDs get to be called Dr. on a regular basis, no one ever uses “Esquire” aloud. It’s a silent, written title, and that bothers some lawyers, who want an honorific that people actually use in conversation. Lawyers do have Juris Doctorates, after all.

If you’re among those who feel entitled to a more regularly used title, there’s a Facebook group for you:

The movement only has 113 fans as of this writing, but there is a history to this movement. In 2006, the ABA Journal looked into the matter, and determined that the ethics rules around calling yourself “Dr. Ima Lawyer, Esquire” are unclear…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Juris ‘Doctors’ Facebook Movement”

Why are British lawyers always getting caught with their pants down? We all remember the classic scene in A Fish Called Wanda, in which an unsuspecting family walks in on a naked barrister, Archie Leach (John Cleese), as he’s getting ready for a roll in the hay with Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis).

But this kind of thing happens in real life, too. And sometimes the lawyers involved are partners at top firms — e.g., Lovells, which recently merged with Hogan & Hartson to form Hogan Lovells.

Check out this Daily Mail headline: “The top lawyer, his lover and a drug-fuelled sadomasochistic sex session that led to bloodshed at the Hilton.”

Wow. That’s almost as delicious a headline as this one.

And the headline, even though it’s a mouthful, doesn’t quite say it all. There’s more, much more — including leather thongs, nipple clamps, and a pile of blow….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: A Hogan Lovells Ex-Partner Who Likes It Rough”

Here at Above the Law, we’re getting very excited for the upcoming Kagan confirmation hearings. We’ll be liveblogging Lady Kaga’s big show next week.

In the lead-up to the confirmation hearings, C-SPAN conducted a poll on what the people think about the Supreme Court. There are a bunch of interesting findings. As usual, the Supreme Court enjoys the highest approval rating of any branch of government:

Isn’t it interesting that the unelected branch of government is consistently the one that voters like the best? Maybe if members of Congress were appointed by fiat, instead of selected through popular elections, people would cheer?

The above question generated a curious response, but not a dumb one. To find “the stupid,” you have to drill a little deeper into the poll.

And, ye Gods, are Americans critically uninformed when it comes to the high court….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Poll Reveals America’s Ongoing Stupidity About the Judicial Branch”

Have you been waiting for a megafirm to take a stand in the Arizona immigration law mess? Biglaw has already been all up in the BP oil spill disaster. Why not weigh in on behalf of Arizona, or take the side of racially-profiled, dark-skinned people?

One Biglaw firm is ready to get into this. Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed an amicus brief on behalf of….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Crosses Border Into Arizona Mess”

Last Friday, we named Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Ama Dwimoh our Lawyer of the Day. As a prosecutor, Dwimoh goes after child abusers. And yet, according to the New York Daily News — irony alert! — she herself abuses the kiddies, i.e., legal interns in her office.

One reader with firsthand knowledge protested this portrayal of the Brooklyn DA’s office and its treatment of interns:

I’m [a law student] intern at the KCDAO [Kings County District Attorney's Office], and from everything I’ve heard from all of my intern colleagues, the senior ADA’s have been nothing less than amazing — they find us work to do, always treat us with respect, always make us feel appreciated, and the office is gloriously drama-free.

This tipster has a theory about what’s going on here….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Is Brooklyn ADA Ama Dwimoh Getting a Bum Rap?”

It’s a Scarlet Letter tale for the digital age. A Georgetown law student’s life has completely unraveled. His way of dealing with losing his wife, his mistress, his supposed baby, his military assignment, and good standing at Georgetown Law School? A public confession on Facebook.

He posted the note with the details of his sad, sordid story on his Facebook wall this week. It begins:

For the world to know:

I was an awful husband. Instead of being honest with my wife about the real problems we faced, I chose to band-aide my pain by seeking comfort in the arms of another woman. The single worst moral failing of my entire life, that I will never atone for and never live down. There is no excuse for my behavior and I deserve every stone that any of you choose to throw.

Anyone who’s ever seen Fatal Attraction or any of the derivative films it has spawned knows that seeking comfort in the arms of another woman will only lead to very bad things. We’ve redacted the names of those involved; we’ll call this candid law student “BAD, BAD BULLDOG.” He decided to share in detail how his dalliance with BULLDOG TEMPTRESS sent his life into a tailspin.

One or more of his Facebook friends — so impressed by the public pillory — copied the note into an email and forwarded it on, thus inviting others to join in the stone-throwing. This has resulted in widespread distribution at the school, and the email’s landing in our inbox.

There are many lessons to be learned here. Two big ones: (1) Don’t cheat on your wife, and (2) If your mistress tells you she’s pregnant, make sure you see the test with the pink line with your own eyes…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Truth Will Set You Free?
A Broke, Adulterous, Disgraced Georgetown Law Marine Issues a Public Confession on Facebook

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