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Grover Cleveland is the author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as a New Lawyer, an advice book for attorneys published earlier this year. As a partner at Foster Pepper PLC, one of the Northwest’s largest law firms, he helped many new attorneys learn how to practice law. While at Foster Pepper, he was named a Rising Star for three years in a row by Washington Law and Politics magazine.

Grover now holds an environmental policy position in Seattle. In this role, he has seen the world from the client’s perspective. This broad range of experience both as a supervising attorney and as a client gives him a unique perspective on the skills new lawyers need to succeed. (Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks also incorporates the wisdom of dozens of other lawyers that he interviewed in the course of his research.)

Earlier this week, we chatted with Grover about his book, advice he offers to young lawyers, and the state of the law firm economy, among other topics.

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Nixon Peabody is one of the firms that has moved towards a merit-based pay structure. The firm also cut starting salaries down to $145K a year ago. So you’d think that any information on a Nixon Peabody salary raise would be greeted favorably.

Not so much. A tipster tells us:

I can confirm that I received a raise. I can confirm that it sucks. Anything else?

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. Is anybody feeling like a winner at Nixon Peabody?

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* Did the stock market really plunge yesterday because of a typo? Don’t look at me, I was nowhere near the stock market yesterday! [Newser]

* Getting oil out of water is expensive, but somebody’s got to do it. [New York Times]

* Clifford Chance partner decides to “defect to the dark side.” [Am Law Daily]

* The ABA’s Equal Justice conference is going to be held in Arizona next week. Awkward! The ABA will refund money to those who choose to boycott the conference. [ABA Journal]

* Transparency keeps law firms healthy. [National Law Review]

* At his sentencing hearing, former New York State Senate leader Joe Bruno blames “the lawyers” for his troubles. [Daily News]

* A hung Parliament was the result of the U.K. elections last night. Welcome to the joys of coalition governing. [BBC News]

Morrison Foerster logo.jpgUnlike some firms, MoFo has not given up on the class of 2010. The firm is actively looking forward to welcoming its incoming group of associates, and has started informing them about their start dates.

The firm extended offers to “approximately 65 law students” from its 2009 summer associate class. Their start dates are staggered. Some will get to wear a Halloween costume to the firm. Some will get to be part of the Christmas gift exchange, and some will be starting soon after getting over New Year’s Eve hangovers. MoFo chair Keith Wetmore sent out an email memo this afternoon letting current associates know how many people will be starting when:

Today, we will notify approximately 35 members of the class of 2010 of a November 1, 2010 start date. Approximately 20 members of the class (including a number of those arriving from their clerkships) have been given an accelerated start date of October 4, 2010 due to client demands. The final approximately 25 additional associates will join the class of 2010 on January 4, 2011 based either on their prior election to defer to 2011 or, in a few instances, deferral to align associate staffing with anticipated client demand.

(35 + 20 + 25 = 80. So there are 15 folks mixed in there who are not wearing a cap and gown this May. Some of those starting in January are 2009 grads who took the firm’s deferral package last year. And some of the 20 starting in October will be fresh off the clerkship boat. Yay! Clerks can go home again.)

It sounds like some of these wanna-be MoFoers, who hadn’t previously chosen to defer to 2011, got news of being deferred to January today. But they also got news of a stipend. MoFo is not following the Skadden salary advance lead

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* When it comes to Constitutional interpretation, everybody is partisan. [Bell & Bar]

* A rebuttal to David Lat’s stance on hot tea. I have no opinion on this, my morning beer is never too hot to cause injury. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

*Whenever I think of Charlie Sheen, I think of how sad President Bartlett must be. [Gawker]

* At this point, I think people need to start punishing hotels that do not provide decent Wifi. [Tax Prof Blog]

* No, something offered by Donald Trump is a piece of crap? The Donald? No way, I don’t believe it. [Daily News]

* Accounting fraud doesn’t make for an entertaining Broadway experience. [Going Concern]

* A typo even I wouldn’t make. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* In case you haven’t seen The Onion’s brilliant report on the latest Supreme Court defense of the First Amendment, take a look. [The Onion]

Yesterday I predicted that President Obama will nominate Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir.) to the Supreme Court. My colleague Elie is on record as predicting that Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

Both of these predictions still seem viable, in light of how Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reacted after meeting with Obama yesterday to talk about SCOTUS nominees. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

President Barack Obama invited Sen. Orrin Hatch into the Oval Office for a private discussion Wednesday about his impending Supreme Court pick — and then Hatch immediately drove downtown to the Cato Institute where he ripped the president’s approach to nominating judges….

At a Cato event billed as a speech on health care, Hatch said Obama has clearly looked for qualifications that go beyond a strict adherence to the Constitution.

“Last summer, President Obama talked often about how judges should be guided by their empathy. This year, the buzz phrase seems to be core constitutional values,” Hatch said. “This is the same old thing, just another cloaking device for judges who seek to control the Constitution.”

So what exactly went down at the Obama-Hatch tête-à-tête?

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Plus some thoughts on a second Justice Thomas.

For most of our readers, this is just a regular week. The only noteworthy event is Elie’s birthday on Monday on Sunday (Mother’s Day — we hope you’ve done your filial duty and sent a card or mailed her some home-made pancakes.) For our little law student readers, though, this is a week that may make them hate Mom… for encouraging them to seek success through a JD. A premise that now seems flawed and that requires at various points in the year, like now, the taking of exams.

Students have all kinds of methods for preparing for exams. We advise abstaining from the devil’s water in the weeks before tests. Our co-editor Elie tells us he had a more specific routine. Before every finals period, he watched Rocky 1 in full. Then, on every test day, he’d start the morning by rewatching the final fight on his “vcr/dvd.” (Aw. Elie went to law school before the existence of YouTube.) Then, halfway through the exam, he’d blast Cake’s “Going the distance.” Perhaps using his “walkman” or “discman.”

If Elie had had a laptop and access to YouTube, he could have subjected his classmates to this routine, watching the fight with the volume turned up and sharing with others what it is to be beaten but not bowed. According to a source at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, there is a 2L who has mastered the art of psyching himself up as public spectacle.

After reading the article on the douchy Dukies earlier today, I had to write you about an experience I had with a fellow law student. Words won’t do the story justice, but I’ll do my best to paint this masterful portrait of douchiness appropriately.

Oh yes, please do…

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A University of Oklahoma 2L Knows How To Motivate

Those inside the legal bubble know that it’s a terrible time to be graduating from law school, so as Ashby Jones notes, this Wall Street Journal article about the sucky job market for law grads holds few surprises. Well, really no surprises: it’s tough this year for law grads.

But it’s good that the Wall Street Journal is spreading the word outside of the legal bubble, letting non-lawyer readers of the WSJ know that the law school golden ticket is currently tattered and torn:

The situation is so bleak that some students and industry experts are rethinking the value of a law degree, long considered a ticket to financial security. If students performed well, particularly at top-tier law schools, they could count on jobs at corporate firms where annual pay starts as high as $160,000 and can top out well north of $1 million. While plenty of graduates are still set to embark on that career path, many others have had their dreams upended.

If you’re having a hard time explaining to non-lawyers just how shattered your dreams are, send this article along to them. It lays it out in a clear and concise matter, and includes simple, pretty charts explaining the supply-and-demand problem in the legal job market.

Now, what should you do if you’re in the enviable position of having post-graduation employment lined up?

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

Dear ATL,

What do you think about becoming a law professor? Is it a good gig? Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that I have an appropriate resume to get hired as a law professor (summa cum laude from a tier-1 school, federal clerkship, have several publications in law journals, etc.).

I’m currently a junior associate at a V50 BigLaw firm, but I’m sick of the crushing hours. However, I enjoy legal research, writing law review papers, and teaching. Also, I enjoy being condescending to nubile coeds.

But is the pay cut worth it all? I know Elie hates everything about law schools, so I’ll ignore his advice. Marin, what do you think?

Future Professor Emeritus

Dear Future Professor Emeritus,

Merely loving the sound of your own voice does not a law school professor make.  I’m sure your law review note was the single most influential piece of legal analysis since the Magna Carta, but I wouldn’t be so confident that you can just flash some publications or a federal clerkship at law schools and expect them to s**t themselves.  I mean, I graduated from a tier-1 school without honors (robbed, obv) and have been published on The Frisky, and you don’t see me applying for professorships.

And that’s assuming you actually want to be a professor…

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“I have the p*ssy, so I make the rules.”

A t-shirt that resulted in a contempt-of-court charge in Chicago.

thank you post it note.JPGA quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, download our media kits, or email Thanks!

Let’s hope law schools don’t figure out this trick pioneered by a New Jersey college. Bloomberg Businessweek reports:

Drake College of Business, a for- profit higher education company based in New Jersey, suspended its recruiting of students from homeless shelters while accreditors scrutinize the practice.

For those who keep telling me that discharging student loans through bankruptcy would make banks more cautious before giving out student loans, I say “good!” I’m worried about equal access to education. But I’m somewhat confident a bank can distinguish between a low income student that gets into a T-14 law school, and a homeless person that gets recruited to Drake College of Fleecing Business.

I’m mean, taking in student loan money is the school’s only business model for God’s sake…

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