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* An ex-partner of Lindquist & Vennum, Michael Margulies, allegedly embezzled some $2 million from the firm and its clients between 1994 and 2010. [Star Tribune via ABA Journal]

* More fodder for the BP lawsuits. [New York Times]

* Robert Morgenthau is back. [New York Daily News]

* Massachusetts AG’s office wants to do away with the Defense of Marriage act. [Boston Globe]

* St. Paul lawyer Jeff Anderson is going on a crusade against child porn lovers. [Pioneer Press]

* Google privacy irony. [New York Times]

We’ve done a couple of reports on how difficult it is for law schools to raise money through class gifts. Jobs are hard to come by and graduating 3Ls aren’t really in a giving mood.

It’s no surprise that class of 2010 at Harvard Law School reacted negatively when this year’s class gift request came off about as sympathetically as a Toyota fueled by BP. But some schools are trying to do something a little bit different with the class gift this year. South Carolina is asking students to donate time instead of money. And at the kids at Northern Kentucky — Salmon P. Chase College of Law have a particularly interesting idea for 3Ls who want to give back.

Granted, so far almost nobody is participating, but it’s still a really good idea…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “State of Law School Giving: Class Gift Directed Towards Next Year’s 2Ls at Chase Law”

Do her mind tricks only work on the weak-minded?

* Here’s an excellent profile of Elizabeth Loftus — a woman who shows juries just how unreliable “memory” can be. [Slate]

* Why pot legalization won’t pass in California. [Legal Blog Watch]

* The proposed DADT repeal still seems open to Presidential discretion. [Metro Weekly]

* If a court can force Lindsay Lohan to wear an alcohol detection bracelet like she’s in a damn Orwell novel, I’m not surprised that they can force a father to remove all the guns in his house while his son is home and on probation. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* I haven’t taken any cheap shots at the NFL over American Needle. Yesterday, the NFL gave New York the 2014 Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think not. But here’s a collection of American Needle news (and other sundries) from around the web. [Infamy or Praise]

* I had no idea that the New England Journal of Medicine had any public policy angle other than “please stop suing doctors.” [Drug and Device Law]

* Personally, I think “reverse termination” should replace “self defense” in our legal lexicon — but unfortunately the term already has a legal meaning. [M&A Law Prof Blog]

Whenever somebody advises you to not do something they themselves are currently doing, you have to take the advice with a bit of skepticism. The cynics among you will not be surprised that a solo practitioner advises against young attorneys starting their own solo practice. Who needs the competition?

We’ve detailed how difficult it is to start a solo practice before. But given how many people breezily suggest that displaced attorneys can just “hang out a shingle” and make money, Scott Field’s advice written on the Texas Lawyer (gavel bang: ABA Journal) seems timely and appropriate:

[M]y first suggestion for recent law school graduates considering going solo is: don’t. A recent graduate should find a job somewhere where he can gain experience and receive on-the-job training. By doing so, he will learn how to practice law — something law school does not teach. Experience matters. Recent graduates should try to get some before going solo.

People thinking they are going to go to law school and have a solo practice as their safety net should listen to that advice too…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hang Out a Shingle? Don’t Bother, Says Solo.”

Tuesday, the InsideCounsel SuperConference kicked off with a presentation by Eric O’Neill, the former FBI agent whose spy-catching was immortalized in the Hollywood film, Breach (he’s Ryan Phillippe). O’Neill told spy stories that, while exciting, had questionable relevance for the gathered in-house crowd, beyond some advice for preventing corporate espionage. Watch what kind of information you give out at trade shows, for one.

The next panel was more directly applicable for those in attendance: a panel on corporate governance moderated by former Ambassador and current Nelson Mullins partner Philip Lader. With tan skin and a generous mane of white hair, he had the air of a cruise ship director and so it was not surprising that he did an excellent job steering his panel.

His panel — comprised of Marriott International’s EVP and General Counsel Edward Ryan; Delaware Supreme Court chief justice Myron Steele; Chicago business school dean Edward Snyder; and Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins — gave practical advice for in-house counsel on managing risk and dealing with outside counsel.

What’s one thing all corporate lawyers should be thinking about? Well, besides the implosion of the legal job market. Dean Snyder says left-tail risk should be on everyone’s minds…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “InsideCounsel’s SuperConference: Risky Business”

Last week, inspired by the pending Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, we embarked upon a fun little imaginative exercise:

What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

President Elie Mystal kicked things off by nominating his four liberal justices. And they did make me uncomfortable — half of them failed the bar exam.

I was in charge of picking the five conservative justices. So, who are my nominees?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Unconfirmable Supreme Court (Part 2): The Conservatives”

This past Monday, middle-aged housewives, quadriplegics who were not able to turn the channel, and yours truly tuned into the 763rd 20th season of The Bachelor franchise.

This season stars Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, an unemployed 25-year-old who quit her job at Facebook and moved back in with her parents to be on the show. Fans of the series will recall that Ali was a castoff from last season’s Bachelor, where she endeared herself to fans by wearing low-cut dresses, crying frequently, and vaguely resembling a poor man’s Reese Witherspoon as seen in dim light through cataracts. Anyhow, she’s back this season and more determined than ever to find love with one of 25 white bachelors, not including the one Hispanic dude, Roberto.

Figuring that regular guys might be intimidated by Ali’s professional ambition and success, the Bachelorette producers assembled a squad of gentleman callers that simply cannot fail to impress. There is the “outdoorsman,” the “dental sales associate,” the “medical sales associate,” the landscaper, the “internet account executive,” and even the weatherman. Also vying for Ali’s heart are two of our very own kind: LAWYERS.

So, who are these guys?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Meet This Season’s Lawyers from The Bachelorette”

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!

Sonnenschein isn’t going to let the recession slow down its expansion. Back during the heart of the recession, Sonnenschein saved around 100 lawyers from the sinking Thacher Proffitt.

Today brings news that Sonnenschein has expanded its reach across the Atlantic Ocean. The firm has proposed a merger with U.K.-based Denton Wilde, to form SNR Denton. From the new firm’s press release:

SNR Denton would be a top 25 law firm worldwide by size, with approximately 1,400 lawyers and fee earners on four continents, a presence in 18 countries, and its two largest offices in London and New York…

SNR Chairman Elliott Portnoy, who will become co-CEO of SNR Denton, said: “This combination is the next step in our vision to create an elite, client-focused international firm that is about one thing – quality. Both firms have long enjoyed reputations as being world class, and now together we’ll have the assets and professional resources to carry that forward to new sectors, new practices, and new markets. As one firm, we will be able to serve our clients better.”

‘Tis the season for transatlantic mergers? The Sonnenschein news comes on the heels of Ho-Love (a.k.a. Hogan Lovells) beginning operations…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: Sonnenschein to Merge with Denton Wilde”

I received this timely and topical letter a few weeks ago:


Now is the time of year when all the 3L’s at every law school are enjoying the time between graduation and starting their bar review (at least for me). Do you have any advice for us on how to keep our sanity during this 10 week adventure and not go crazy or over-stress when the big day finally comes?



It got me thinking about my own bar exam experience – and brought back a memory from my law school days.

Close to graduation time, I was having a final meeting with a professor with whom I’d written a journal article. It was a pleasant meeting – the article was in print and he was pleased with it. He even said he was going to use it as part of his syllabus for a seminar. I was feeling as close to a super-star as I ever got in law school.

At some point I confided my concerns about the approaching bar exam. I told him it gave me butterflies in my stomach.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” he assured me. “Only the real knuckle-draggers fail the bar exam.”

We shared a laugh, I shook his hand and left his office, but I knew – more than anything in the world – that I needed to pass that exam. I didn’t want to be a “knuckle-dragger.” I’m guessing you don’t want to be one, either.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In-House Counseling: Not a Knuckle-Dragger”

Yesterday, we told you about a law firm that left a war veteran without an offer. Today, we are able to confirm that the firm in question was Foley & Lardner. But we also have a correction and some additional details about the situation.

Let’s get to the correction first. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported:

Matt Nelson graduated last week from the University of Minnesota with a law degree and an MBA. Nelson, 36, was on track to earn $145,000 his first year at a Milwaukee firm. But duty called, and while he was serving as an Army paralegal in Iraq, Milwaukee withdrew its offer.

The Minneapolis paper got it wrong here. Matt Nelson was a summer associate at Foley & Lardner in 2008 and 2009. Foley no offered him at the end of his 2009 summer at the firm, which was after he had returned from Iraq. The firm did not pull his offer while he was serving overseas.

That’s lucky for Foley. As many commenters pointed out, yanking an offer while Nelson was in Iraq (as the Star-Tribune reported) might have gotten Foley into legal trouble. As it stands, Foley’s actions are just a depressing statement about insufficient respect for our war veterans.

Above the Law reached out to Matt Nelson, and he made it clear that he doesn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him just because of one no offer….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Foley & Lardner: The Firm That No Offered a Summer Associate War Veteran”

* Senators urge the Justice Department to go after BP, Transocean, and any other companies that might be responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Ana Marie Cox interviews Chris Geidner about repealing 10 U.S.C. § 654 — the first step in dismantling the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. [GQ]

* Google — which faces a wide range of legal issues, especially in the areas of antitrust and privacy — takes a cerebral approach to Washington lobbying. [Washington Post]

* Is Supreme Court justice a consolation prize for Elena Kagan? She really wanted to be the president of Harvard. [New York Times]

* Law professor Felice Batlan conducted a survey of legal secretaries that yielded some provocative findings. E.g., legal secretaries prefer to work for male lawyers. [ABA Journal]

* Several D.C. law firms are moving offices, and they’re generally going for spaces that are smaller and greener. [Washington Post]

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