Latest Stories

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!

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Heat Is On! How Are You Handling It?”

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 (“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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “First, They Came For The Key Fobs, And We Said Nothing: Three Stories From Ill-Fated Contract Attorneys”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reality Television Can Be Good For Your Career, Says Apprentice Loser”

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…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Lebron James to Europe?”

Welcome to the next in our series on the results of the 2010 ATL/Career Center Associate Satisfaction survey. We’ve used the survey results to revamp the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, with completely updated profiles. Each week, we are highlighting insider information that Members shared about their firms in the eight key areas of associate satisfaction covered by the Career Center.

Today, we look at how your firm and others measure up in one very important aspect: Billable Hours.

  • This Texas-based firm, with one of the world’s leading energy practices, does not have a billable hours requirement, although bonus amounts are contingent upon meeting certain hours thresholds.
  • While this "top-notch" New York-based firm has no official billable hours requirement, Lateral Link Members report that the unofficial expectation is between 2,100 and 2,400 hours. 
  • This California-based firm, which focuses on intellectual property, has an unusual billing system based on "billed, not billable, hours," and although the billable minimum is only 1,700 hours, hours "recorded but not billed out to the client are disregarded." 
  • First-year associates at this East Coast firm are required to bill 1,900 hours per year, while other associates are required to bill 1,950 hours, a requirement that Members concur is “attainable and reasonable.”

More highlights — check to see if your firm is featured — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Billable Hours – Firms Vary Wildly”

If you were friends with somebody who was laid off from Biglaw during the past 18 months, you probably tried to cheer your friend up with some sort of platitude. You probably told your friend, “It’s their loss,” or perhaps, “[The firm] will be sorry.”

You probably didn’t believe it when you said it, and neither did your friend. The sad reality is that for every associate fired, law schools produce ten more that are dying to replace them. It’s hard for individual associates to make their former employers “pay” for giving them the axe. The revenge quest becomes even harder when you take into account the fact that being laid off in this market was a career killer for most of those involuntarily kicked off the Biglaw bandwagon.

But at least one laid-off lawyer has been able to get a small measure of revenge against his former employer. The associate brings a message of hope to the fallen associates who walk the earth with cold dishes to serve their old employers…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Revenge of the Laid Off Associate”

* Don’t abuse the temp help. Contract lawyer Moshe Koplowitz is suing New York firm Labaton Sucharow for overtime pay. [New York Times]

* Lawyers say spy swap will happen soon. [Associated Press; New York Times]

* You can clear your court record but not your Google record. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* No foul play suspected in the Metro death of William & Mary 3L Joseph Doyle. [Washington Post]

* Lindsay Lohan’s fingernail message was not directed at the judge. [Los Angeles Times]

* Gun advocates fire off another 2nd Amendment lawsuit in Chicago. [Associated Press]

* Everybody wants Lebron James on their team right now, including an SEC lawyer who claims to be his father. [TMZ]

Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.

And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.

A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: All of October Term 2010
Plus several hires for October Term 2011.

* Don’t try to punk the University of Michigan Law School admissions office unless you’re rocking a restricted telephone number. [Legal Profession Blog]

* Disney better hope this jury verdict isn’t a final answer. [The Wrap]

* Legal bloggers will fight about how to interpret various aspects of the Bill of Rights, but we all love the Declaration of Independence. [Infamy or Praise]

* But if we had meaningful tax reform, there would be less work for tax lawyers. And we all know that tax lawyers are the smartest lawyers; they’re way too intelligent to allow tax reform to happen. [Going Concern]

* Former Drug and Device law blogger Mark Hermann wrote a book about what you don’t learn in law school. [Law School Podcaster]

* I wonder if this will make the heads of Grammar Nazis explode? [The Lawyerist]

Page 1012 of 17971...100810091010101110121013101410151016...1797