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There are a lot of angry job hunters in the legal marketplace right now, thanks to lots of debt and little in the way of prospects. They’re desperate, frustrated, and may be dangerous. The Great Recession has turned some of these poor legal puppies into Cujos.

In May, we wrote about a heated exchange between a Massachusetts law student and a potential lawyerly employer. The lawyer, Rose Clayton, had hesitations about hiring the law student as a paralegal and offered to hire him on a trial basis. When he objected, demanding a full-time offer instead, she laid out exactly what he had done wrong. That set him off and the conversation deteriorated into an exchange of unconstructive criticism. The law student, Jesse Clark, ended with this:

It’s amazing that the Ma Bar lets women practice law. Shouldn’t you be home cleaning and raising children? As for your practice, its just Bankruptcy. It’s not difficult, and many Petitioners file pro bono and get discharges.

Clayton posted the exchange online, redacting the student’s name, and Massachusetts Law Weekly picked up on it. And then we picked up on it. Jesse Clark responded on his blog and thus shed the cloak of anonymity.

Noah Schaffer at the Massachusetts Law Weekly’s Docket identified Clark in a second story, which led Clark to create a nude modeling profile for Schaffer.

After corresponding with Clark, my photo and phone number found their way into a Craigslist casual encounters ad. I deflated quite a few, um, hearts when I let the many callers know that it was a prank.

Then all was quiet on the digital terrorism front for over a month. Until this week. Rose Clayton became the victim of a nasty new prank…

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* Appeals Court shuts down Obama, kind of like how LeBron just shut down Cleveland. [New York Times]

* The great spy swap is happening. Too bad we can’t send LeBron to Soviet Russia. [CNN]

* LiLo’s new lawyer is very inexperienced. But at least she passed the bar. “King” James has never won a freaking thing. [THR, Esq.]

* Pro se litigant beats Toyota at the Ninth Circuit. It’s kind of like what’s going to happen when Cleveland beats Miami in the playoffs. [Law.com]

* Shooting unarmed men in the back is still cool. Just ask LeBron. [Daily News]

* New Florida bar rules manage to anger the ACLU and the FTC. Kind of like how the new Florida basketball team will unite the country in anger. [ABA Journal]

* Also, screw you LeBron James. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

This summer is not as thrilling for law students as summers past. Firms have tightened their belts, and the law students lucky enough to snag one of the few summer associate positions out there are not getting the royal treatment. Or they are, but now the royal treatment is defined as allowing summers to order anything they want off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu (“All the McChickens and baked apple pies you can eat, 3Ls! But get it to go. There’s work to be done.”).

The Philadelphia Inquirer laments the decline of the summer associate experience:

The programs themselves, with trips abroad and lavish entertaining, could seem more like summer enrichment for precocious college students than real employment. But as a general rule, that sort of treatment is a thing of the past.

More typical is the summer program at the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom L.L.P., where Temple second-year Nick Mozal is spending his summer in corporate law. Mozal said there has been some entertaining, but the big event so far has been a night at a Phillies game.

Well, it is Wilmington. Are there better options than that?

But even in much more glamorous Philadelphia, the summer experience is lackluster:

James Lawlor, a Reed Smith partner who recruits and hires summer associates, said the firm has been doing less entertaining of summer associates, and when it does, it is more likely to schedule events at the firm’s Center City offices rather than at costly restaurants.

“We took away some of the bells and whistles,” Lawlor said.

Not all firms have silenced their bells and thrown out their whistles, though. After the jump, check out this year’s contenders for best summer associate event. And vote for the firm that should take home the shorter and smaller prize…

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A federal judge in Boston — Judge Joseph L. Tauro (D. Mass.), appointed to the bench by President Nixon back in 1972 — just struck down down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As you may recall, DOMA is the 1996 law that effectively bans recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law.

The last substantive paragraph of Judge Tauro’s opinion summarizes the reasoning nicely….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Held Unconstitutional”

* There’s nothing quite as sad as a failed presidential candidate. John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale — you all need to get a room; a room that doesn’t have a microphone in it. [WSJ Law Blog]

* When I saw the headline for this story I was really hoping, nay praying, that assailant involved wasn’t black. Alas, I was disappointed. Whatever, I guess we’ll have to fight against historical stereotypes about the endowments of black men another day. [Nothing To Do With Arbroath]

* Constitutional Law might not be required for Harvard Law students, but maybe it should be required for county sheriffs. [Bad Lawyer]

* Civil unions get vetoed in Hawaii. Maybe this is a ploy to convince Tea Partiers that Hawaii really is a part of the Union and Obama is a citizen? [Huffington Post]

* The Dos and Don’ts of sending an email at Citibank. Apparently, sarcasm and exaggeration are no longer acceptable. [Dealbreaker]

* Legal scholar to become next Governor General of Canada. Yes, I know what you are wondering: what the hell is a “Canada” and why should we care who is governing it, generally? [Vancouver Sun]

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A paralegal tries to cool himself off.

It’s getting hot in herre
So turn off all your lights.
I am… getting so hot…
I wanna turn my lights off! [FN1]

Here on the East Coast, things are heating up. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the legal job market.

We’re speaking much more literally. For the past few days, New York, Washington, and places in between have been in the grips of a brutal heat wave. On Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures in NYC broke record highs, entering triple-digit territory.

Today, mercifully, has been a bit better. In D.C., temps will top out in the mid-to-upper 90s this afternoon. As a Washington Post reader quipped, “Only in the mid 90’s today… better grab a jacket before leaving the house!”

They say lawyers are cold-blooded creatures — but we get hot too. How are law firms and law schools coping with the heat?

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I kind of blew my Star Wars referential load when we found out that the Star Wars Kid was going to law school. But that was weeks ago. Who could have known that in the past month Lucasfilms would become embroiled in some actual legal battles? Earlier this week, we found out that pregnant women have a bad feeling about working for the company. And on Tuesday, CNN reported that Lucasfilms sent a cease-and-desist letter to a laser pointer company because their product looks too much like the iconic lightsaber:

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas wants to force a laser company to stop making a new, high-powered product he says looks too much like the famous lightsaber from his classic sci-fi series.

Lucasfilm Ltd. has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers, threatening legal action if it doesn’t change its Pro Arctic Laser series or stop selling it altogether.

I actually own a full sized lightsaber replica (of course I do — do I look like I got laid ever in high school). It lights up (red, d’uh, have you met me?), and it makes all the sounds when you swing it around. And let me tell you, this laser product looks nothing like a real lightsaber…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cease-and-Desist Letter of the Day: Is That a Lightsaber in Your Pocket?”

Quality of writing counts…. Excessive use of abbreviations, such as symbols, acronyms and text-talk, may result in score reduction.

– An announcement to July 2010 Illinois bar exam candidates, posted on IBABY.org (“Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar … and You”).

“Hey Mike, we’re having issues with your key fob. We need to reconfigure it.”

That may seem like a pretty random quote with which to begin a blog post, but trust me, it will soon make sense.

There has been a lot of chatter recently about contract attorneys and Biglaw. Some are finding themselves getting blacklisted left and right, which is not exactly breaking news in their corner of the e-discovery industry. Other contract lawyers are more resourceful, ahem, finding other gigs to support themselves. Earlier this week, there was another article about how contract attorneys are on the rise and how the pool of contract attorneys has never looked better.

Recently, however, between celebrating July 4th and our nation’s independence, knocking back a few Cuba Libres, and watching my beloved Argentine National Soccer Team completely self-destruct against the Germans, I was reminded of another aspect of being a contract attorney. (BTW, I say my Argentine National Soccer Team because my father is from Argentina. My mother was an American of Irish descent. Somehow, that makes me a Costa Rican.  I know. I don’t get it either, but I digress.)

As a contract attorney, there are only two things the agency or firm you work with will definitively tell you: the day you start (and that’s not always so definitive) and the day you’re finished.

With that in mind, I decided to open a window into the world of contract attorneys and how they meet their fates in three separate instances. One I corroborated with several of my colleagues. Another I witnessed myself. Oh, and a third I am extremely familiar with, considering the attorney in question was me. Your feel-good post of the week awaits you, after the jump.

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Erin Elmore, The Apprentice

Erin Elmore, ex-reality TV star.

In our last few reality TV stories, we have highlighted the perils of putting your life on camera — publicly flunking out of law school, having the world know you’ve failed the bar exam twice, and exposing an ego surgically enhanced to the size of Texas.

One former reality TV star emailed us to protest. Erin Elmore wrote:

I also was on a realty show….. Apprentice 3 with Donald Trump. It actually opened career doors and I never regretted doing the show!!!

Elmore was on the 2005 Magna vs. Net Worth edition of the show, pitting those with book smarts against those with street smarts. Since she has a law degree from Villanova, she was obviously teamed up with the book smarties.

She sent along a series of YouTube clips with the email, showcasing all the TV gigs she’s gotten since doing The Apprentice. Here’s a montage. The girl knows how to work a Philadelphia red carpet.

Elmore worked for Marshall Dennehey and then JP Morgan Chase before going on The Apprentice. Trump fired her, and she returned to the world of law. To what great heights has reality television propelled her?

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At 9 P.M. tonight, Lebron James is making his big announcement about where he will play next season.

Cleveland?  Chicago? Miami?  New York?  New Jersey?

What about Europe? (Lebron once told ESPN he might play overseas for $50 Million per year).

NBA players should hope that Lebron chooses Europe.  And this is for reasons more important than just their chances of winning an MVP Award…

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