Latest Stories

* The excellent hiring partner stories continue. This time from Paul Hastings we learn whether or not the firm has a “drive meter,” and how grade inflation is just pissing everybody off. [The Careerist]

* Cravath is getting serious about its image. First it overhauled its website. Now it’s overhauling its marketing department. If only they could do something about the arrogance and self-absorption. [Am Law Daily]

* The timeliness of George Steinbrenner’s death seems to have pissed off a couple of senators. [Going Concern]

* Yay, Bar Exam horror stories! It’s like telling ghost stories to children, only better — because instead of crying, terrified people studying for the bar get drunk, despondent, and send out crazy emails. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Should law schools care if you are miserable? [What About Clients?]

* Don’t you hate it when birthing conflicts with your court docket? [Legal Blog Watch]

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It started with DLA Piper. After offering recession salaries to associates for a while under the guise of merit-based compensation, DLA relented earlier this month and restored the $160K base salary scale to its associates. Yesterday, WilmerHale announced that while it too is going forward with a merit-based compensation plan, it will be offering base salaries along the established $160K scale.

It seems that this little experiment of using merit-based compensation to undercut the market for base associate salaries is dying a quiet death. Today we have news that Akin Gump’s 2011 compensation model will once again include base salaries that match the market and are not tied to performance.

And even better, a tipster reports that all Akin Gump offices will be put on the New York market, $160K scale — which should represent a significant bump in salary for some associates…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Akin Gump Back to $160K: Another Merit-Based Plan Offers Market-Level Base Salaries”

The first time I looked at the grand total of what it would cost to get a law degree, I cried. And then I realized that this is what I want to do. I’ll have debt for the rest of my life, and that’s that.

Allissa Klatt, an incoming law student at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa.

In today’s Washington Post (gavel bang: WSJ Law Blog), writer Stuart Taylor Jr. notices that the Supreme Court is a totally partisan institution:

Why does the supposedly nonpartisan Supreme Court split so often along ideological lines, with the four conservatives locked in combat against the four liberals and the eclectic Justice Anthony Kennedy determining which faction wins?

And why do all of the justices so often find in the Constitution a mirror image of their own political and policy views on issues as diverse as abortion, race, religion, gay rights, campaign finance, the death penalty and national security?

If I hear one more person refer to Justice Kennedy as some kind of swinging independent, I’m going to scream. But that’s besides the point. The point is that there are still a lot of people out there who fool themselves into thinking that the political preferences of the judges don’t, or shouldn’t, matter…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Justices Are People Too”

Image from The Ladders' Summer Fashion article

This month’s heat wave forced professional types to start desperately thinking about whether spaghetti straps and speedos are appropriate attire for the office. (Hint: they’re not.)

Many offices do go casual over the summer, though. At Weil Gotshal, for example, you can buy your way into a pair of jeans on Friday. Says a tipster (with some high-rise excitement):

did you hear that weil is starting jeans fridays for july and august as a test run and potentially forever! in order to participate, we must pay $5 to go to a designated charity each month. we have had these $5 jeans fridays in the past maybe every other month… but now it’s every friday!

The downside: Those who don’t turn up in jeans on Fridays are revealed as either ridiculously stuffy or too cheap to give to charity.

Need help with clothing choices this summer? A recent career newsletter from The Ladders had a useful feature on summer fashion, including dos and don’ts. The photo at right is among those featured. Is it a fashion do or a don’t?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Fashion Tips”

A tale of three Yalies: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo.

… or talk about the bar. Welcome to one of those “only on the internet” moments, a spirited debate between three people I adore: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo. The subject: the bar exam (but also law schools and the legal profession more generally).

Here’s one thing the three share in common: they’re all graduates of Yale Law School. The similarities pretty much end there. Elizabeth Wurtzel is a litigatrix at the high-powered Boies Schiller firm, but her real claim to fame is her work as a bestselling and critically acclaimed writer. Richard Epstein is one of the nation’s leading law professors — U. Chicago and NYU folks, you can argue over which school he belongs to — and an outspoken libertarian. John Yoo, a prominent (and conservative) law professor at UC Berkeley, is most well-known for his work in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, where he authored the so-called “torture memos.”

Wurtzel is super-liberal — her reaction to 9/11 was controversial, to say the least — while Professors Epstein and Yoo both hail from the right side of the aisle (to put it mildly). Back in May, I identified both Epstein and Yoo as possible nominees for the conservative wing of an “unconfirmable” Supreme Court.

So how would you react to learning of a three-way debate between Wurtzel, Epstein, and Yoo — in which the dynamic is not La Wurtzel v. Epstein & Yoo?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “John Yoo, Richard Epstein, and Liz Wurtzel Walk Into a Bar….”

Jimmy Doan, mini Esq.

There are many, many personal injury firms in the world, and they often have to come up with gimmicks to set themselves apart. Those gimmicks have landed a fair number of them in our Adventures in Lawyer Advertising series.

A tipster recently sent along the website for The Doan Law Firm: The Ultimate Fighting Law Firm. It’s based in Houston and run by a Texas Wesleyan Law ’00 grad, Jimmy Doan.

Why don’t you click here and meet him? Make sure your speakers are on.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: Pocket-Sized Legal Advice”

Here’s a fun little story about the immense, door-opening possibilities you can enjoy once you have a J.D. and/or legal experience. From the ABA Journal:

With 23 years of legal experience, Laurie-[E]llen Shumaker thought she would soon find another job when she was laid off in January 2009 from her position as a shopping center lawyer.

But today, after applying for over 1,000 jobs—including positions as a clerk and a day care worker—Shumaker, who is nearly 60 years old, has landed exactly zero interviews…

The Huffington Post has Shumaker’s full story. At this point, the 59-year-old grandmother just wants to know if she’s too old, or has one too many X chromosomes, to find work…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A J.D.? Whatever You Do, Don’t Get Old.”

* A possible upside to jury duty: getting to watch porn in court? [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Things just got hard in the Big Easy for six New Orleans police officers, who are now accused by the feds of shooting unarmed citizens and/or conspiring to cover it up. [New Orleans Times Picayune]

* O’Melveny & Myers, represented by Gibson Dunn, is suing MGA Entertainment for $10.2 million in unpaid legal fees. [Am Law Daily]

* The D.C. Circuit, reversing the district court, upholds the detention of a Yemeni man at Guantánamo Bay. [New York Times]

* Meanwhile, the Second Circuit says “no f**king way” to the FCC’s “fleeting expletives” policy (as noted in yesterday’s Quote of the Day). [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and Associate Justice David Stras, just sworn in as members of the Minnesota Supreme Court — at an investiture attended by Justice Clarence Thomas (for whom Stras clerked). [How Appealing]

When it comes to law school, “Hope springs eternal.” According to a National Law Journal article entitled Hope Drives Rise in Law School Applications, for this year’s incoming class, law school applications increased by 7% and the number of applicants by 3% — despite tough times in the legal profession and the heavy educational debt that law school often entails. Some law schools saw their applicant pools grow by 30 percent or more. See, e.g., the University of Alabama (70 percent), the University of Maine (65 percent), Cornell (50 percent), and the University of Illinois (37 percent).

Regular readers of Above the Law are no doubt familiar with the argument against going to law school. It’s fairly straightforward: given the weak legal job market and the high cost of law school, which often requires students to take on six figures’ worth of debt, getting a J.D. degree is simply a bad investment.

The argument against law school is typically made in these pages by one of my colleagues, Elie Mystal. But not all of your ATL editors are so anti-law-school. Speaking for myself, I think the case against law school is often exaggerated.

Here are five arguments in defense of going to law school — or, at the very least, five arguments against an extreme anti-law-school stance….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense of Going to Law School”

* George Steinbrenner (R.I.P.), always a shrewd businessman, passed away at just the right time to avoid the estate tax. [CBS]

* John Yoo’s defense of the defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). [Ricochet]

* Latino Major League Baseball players are threatening to boycott the 2011 All-Star game (which is currently set to be held in Phoenix). If they want to really do something, they’ll boycott spring training complexes throughout Arizona. Remember, when the NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl, Arizona managed to get its head out of its ass over Martin Luther King day. These kinds of protests can really have an effect. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Israeli victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks are bringing a lawsuit against Qatar-based Al-Jazeera over what they put on T.V. in Israel. Logically, this suit is being filed in the SDNY. [Legal Blog Watch]

* When is it appropriate to pull a summer associate aside and say “really, you’re wearing that to work”? [Corporette]

* When cops attack it really helps if they are not acting as cops. [Bad Lawyer]

* The alleged liberal bias among the mainstream media doesn’t seem to be doing Eliot Spitzer a whole lot of good. [Salon]

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