Solicitor General Elena Kagan is a woman to be respected. She’s a product of Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. She’s one of the Elect (OT 1987 / Marshall). She’s taught at two of the nation’s top law schools and served as dean of one of them. She’s America’s lawyer, and if confirmed this summer, she’ll become the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — and the fourth woman to hold that position.
She inspires in other ways too, though. Ever since photos of her started gracing websites and newspapers across the land, she has inspired comparisons to numerous other people and fictional characters when it comes to her looks, ranging from Kevin James of King of Queens to Kathy Bates.
The Washington Post has described ATL as a “must-read legal blog.” And it seemed that this was literally true for students in a course entitled “Law Firms and Legal Careers,” taught at the University of Michigan Law School by Karl Lutz, of counsel to Kirkland & Ellis.
Students are expected to become completely familiar with and prepared to discuss in class the blog “Above the Law.”
As it turns out, according to Lutz, this sentence is not supposed to be in the course description. We received a phone call this morning from Lutz, who said that this language was added to his course description without his knowledge or consent. It was not in the course description that Lutz submitted to the law school; it was subsequently added (how or by whom, Lutz doesn’t know). Lutz has contacted Michigan Law to notify them of the problem.
Lutz also shared with us his opinion of Above the Law….
SMU Dedman School of Law is now officially willing to pay law firms to hire its graduates. The school is calling its new program “Test Drive,” which adds a nice layer of hilarity: Toyota wouldn’t pay me to test drive a Camry.
Even the logo for this program screams sadness:
Let’s look at the blast email from SMU career services…
Now that the question of Elena Kagan’s sexuality has been settled (kind of), critical attention seems to be turning to her lack of judicial and litigation experience. Although ABA President Carolyn Lamm tells NBC that she doesn’t think “not being a judge is particularly persuasive one way or the other,” some Republican senators have expressed concern over the fact that she’s never warmed a bench.
It’s not as if Kagan doesn’t know what a courtroom looks like, though. She clerked on the powerful and prestigious D.C. Circuit, for the legendary liberal J. Abner Mikva, and then spent time at One First Street, clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall (OT 1987). As solicitor general, she’s argued before the High Court a half dozen times (although she wasn’t able to win over the Five of the Nine in Citizens United v. FEC).
But hey, at least she has a law degree. Not that she needs it to sit on the bench at One First Street…
Remember Kaavya Viswanathan? She’s the Harvard graduate who, while still in high school, landed a two-book deal worth a reported $500,000. The first book, a young adult / chick-lit novel entitled How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, was published in April 2006, during Viswanathan’s sophomore year at Harvard.
And then things fell apart. To quote the blog Sepia Mutiny, “Kaavya Viswanathan got rich, got caught, and got ruined.” Shortly after the publication of Opal Mehta, the Harvard Crimson reported that various passages in the book appeared “strikingly similar” to portions of two young adult novels by Megan McCafferty.
Viswanathan was widely accused of plagiarizing — not just from McCafferty, but from Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot and Salman Rushdie. Her subsequent fall from grace, including the cancellation of her book and movie deals, made national and even international headlines (due to coverage back in her native India). She claimed that the similarities between her book and prior published works were unintentional, but given the number and extent of the apparently borrowed passages, some were incredulous. (For samples, see Wikipedia.)
After graduating from Harvard College in 2008, she went on to Georgetown Law, where she’s a member of the GULC class of 2011. Her arrival at Georgetown made Newsweek in February 2009:
Viswanathan is a first-year law student at Georgetown University, where Stephen Glass earned a J.D. after being fired from The New Republic for fabricating a series of articles….
How’d she manage to get accepted? Applicants can submit supplemental essays to explain themselves to the admissions committee, says Dean of Admissions Andrew Cornblatt. “It’s impossible to get amnesia about what we may have heard,” he says. “But in all cases we treat them just like any other applicant.”
It seems Georgetown isn’t the only institution treating Viswanathan “just like any other applicant.” Despite the tough fall recruiting season and her controversial past, Viswanathan, who just finished her 2L year, has landed a coveted summer associate position at a top law firm — one of Biglaw’s biggest and best names, in fact….
* Starved of case opinions from Kagan, we’ve devolved into trying to make judgments based on her sarcastic notes in the margins of memos. I hope somebody finds her junior high school copy of Moby Dick where she wrote “I think white whales are impressive” and then we can have a real brouhaha. [Politico]
* Meanwhile, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree defends Kagan from people criticizing her record on civil rights. [The Root]
* Woman who worked at a mammography center claims she was fired for pumping breast milk. I’ve got no joke to add here. [Adjunct Law Professor]
How much would you pay to go see graduation at New York Law School? Nothing? Don’t be so sure. What if I asked: how much would you pay to go see a very slow moving trainwreck where you had no moral or ethical duty to save any of the passengers?
Ah ha, see, you’d pay something to see that. And one New York Law Student wants to know how much. From Craigslist:
COME SEE 300 OR SO UNEMPLOYED LAW GRADS SWEAT OUT PAYING BACK THEIR LAW SCHOOL LOANS!
Graduation is tomorrow and tickets are still available! Let’s check out all the details…
UPDATE / CORRECTION: According to Lutz, the course description on the Michigan Law website was doctored to include this sentence, which was not supposed to appear in the description. For more details, see here.
We’ve written before about how cheerleading for football teams is a possible career for J.D.s, but what about coaching football teams? A Detroit Lions assistant secondary coach, Daron Roberts, has done just that. The Harvard Law graduate and former Biglaw attorney is coaching in the NFL, notwithstanding the fact that he had no prior coaching experience before he left Biglaw behind. ESPN the Magazine reports:
Roberts got the bug when he tagged along with a friend who was working as a counselor at Steve Spurrier’s prep camp in South Carolina. He had long been a gridiron fanatic; in high school, he spent twice as many hours at football practice as he did studying. But working at Spurrier’s camp, he began to entertain thoughts of becoming the next Jon Gruden (whose book, Do You Love Football?!, was a big hit with Roberts). Something inside the law student changed during those three days. “The best part was sitting with the campers at night,” Roberts says. “Our talks would switch from zone technique to girlfriends. That’s when I realized football is the most powerful conduit for reaching young men in America, and that I had to be a coach.”
You’ll forgive me if I feel a little kindred connection with Roberts. Here’s a guy who had a law degree and a high-paying job and gave it up to pursue something he truly loved. His story is further proof that you can break out of the Biglaw box, if you want it badly enough…
Subject: [lawopen] Fed Soc Lunch/ e. coli “episode”
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 19:39:35 -0400
To: [Unofficial Law Listserv]
Hi Law Open,
The Federalist Society would like to extend an apology to anyone who had to experience the wrath of uncooked Pancheros over the last few days. I am among the many victims, spending three days in agony in the bathroom…. (TMI?)
Hope you all feel better!
WOLVERINE WITH DIARRHEA (OF THE MOUTH)
Federalist Society Vice President
“TMI?” Yes. Yes, it is.
Another scatological tale from UT Law, after the jump. Someone truly thinks the place is a third tier “toilet”…
While there are a few offbeat Biglaw firms out there (think Venable and rooftop bocce ball), the quirkiest firms tend to be the small ones. Childress Duffy Goldblatt is a litigation shop that does insurance recovery work. Its Chicago office just moved to a new location where it’s rolling out new perks.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.