I walked out of the exam with little confidence. Maybe you can provide an open forum for people to express their thoughts on the test, or for past takers to provide insight on scoring / how many people they know that failed.
Well that’s cheery, isn’t it? Here is the requested open thread. Please do not reprint entire questions from the test in the comments.
Another MPRE taker’s tale — from the great state of Iowa, where people actually seem optimistic about the state of the legal job market — after the jump.
[Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks. Law Shucks has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.]
Come on, now! Last week, we made it all the way until Thursday afternoon before word came out that Alabama’s Bradley Arant was keeping the "weeks with a layoff" streak alive.
This week, it’s even more poignant because the end of the run was so close. This time it was yet another southeast regional firm raining on everyone’s parade. Florida’s Akerman Senterfitt has just confirmed that it laid off five of its 150 associates. At 2:30 on a Friday afternoon. Surely it can’t get any closer than that.
We soldier on.
Broader economic data are particularly interesting this week, as there are completely mixed messages coming out. There will be reports that unemployment has declined, and President Obama is excited, saying that the "worst may be behind us."
To the surprise of many, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4% when most were expecting a small increase. Basically, there was still a net loss of jobs in July, albeit smaller than predicted and smaller than June, so how did the unemployment rate drop?
We address that burning question, plus the week’s events in law-firm layoffs and other activities, after the jump.
* Trial lawyers take their mischief abroad, as plainttifs “seek jackpot justice in the global litigation lottery.” [Latin Business Chronicle]
* Next time opposing counsel asks for your consent to an extension, just say no. [What About Clients?]
* Which one of your favorite professional athletes will be thrown behind bars this year? Check out the odds. [Miss Trials]
* “Amazon’s recent deletion of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from its customers’ Kindle e-book readers has sparked a class action lawsuit by Kindle users.” [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
* Does Florida’s attempt to outlaw the display of gang symbols on the internet violate the First Amendment? [Underdog]
* Not everyone can be Goldman Sachs. Bonuses at the Big Four accounting firms could end up down 90 percent this year. [Going Concern]
* Google Voice is your friend. [Young Lawyers Blog]
California attorney Patrick Manshardt has the worst luck — or the worst enemies — ever. He has been representing a number of Chinese dissidents in a suit against Yahoo! for disclosing their information to the Chinese government.
The Whittier Law School grad has been involved in constitutional and civil rights litigation for the past 14 years. In February, he was given a 60-day suspension by the California Supreme Court for making an emergency appearance in the Yahoo! case while being on inactive status.
Why was he on inactive status? Because he hadn’t fulfilled his CLE credits. Why hadn’t he fulfilled his CLE credits? Well, that’s where this story becomes really f*ed up:
The reason why I did not complete my MCLE requirement was because on the day I was scheduled to take the classes in January 2007, I had been the victim of a home invasion robbery in Arcadia the night before. During the robbery I was stabbed in
the face, beaten repeatedly in the face and knee caps, and was left naked and unconscious in a ditch in pre-dawn hours. I awoke as I was being placed in an ambulance.
An ATL reader sent along Manshardt’s “Declaration in Response to Yahoo! Inc.’s Case Management Statement,” filed in the Northern District of California last month, noting:
“This guy has prooooooblems, probably the least of which is CLE credit. But it’s always the CLE which gets you in the end.”
How young is too young to get married? Or more to the point, how young is too young to appear in the NYT weddings pages and not look foolhardy or vaguely scandalous? We ask because these newlyweds, ages 22 and 24, strike us as shockingly young. (And it’s definitely not a shotgun wedding — click on the link and you’ll see why.)
At any rate, this week’s featured newlyweds are all older than 22, so it’s a moot point. (If you want to ponder the trends in MAFM [median age at first marriage], here’s more.) Our finalists:
Some of you have been asking for layoff news. Be careful for what you wish for; you might just get it.
There’s not a lot going on these days in terms of lawyer layoffs. The rate of job loss in the broader economy is slowing, and perhaps the legal economy is getting better too.
But we do have a small amount of layoff news to report. In response to ATL inquiries, a spokesperson for the Florida-based firm of Akerman Senterfitt stated that it laid off five associates (out of more than 150 associates at the firm). We heard that first-year associates were affected; the firm confirmed that two out of the five were first-years.
If there’s layoff news at your firm that we’ve missed, please email us. Thanks.
How would you like to be the unofficial mascot for that dubious practice known as “sexting”? From ATL associate editor Kashmir Hill, writing over at True/Slant:
Earlier this year, the media went crazy over “sexting.” It has all the elements of a great, salacious, audience-attracting story: flirtation, cell phones, nude photos, and oftentimes, teens….
One of the stations which ran a series of these stories is WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio. The station repeatedly used a photo of a cell phone with a text to Joanna Argus saying “Hey baby, I got what you want.”
Joanna Argus, an Ohio woman in her late twenties who works as a fundraising consultant, found out about this for the first time when one of her clients called to ask about it. She was shocked, confused, and worried about who else would see it. She complained to the station, and the station’s manager promised it would not happen again. But it did happen again: at least six times over nine months, and was also used as the image for a presentation to a group of high schoolers on the dangers of sexting.
Oy. Argus is now suing the Hearst Corporation, the media conglomerate which owns the television station, for invasion of privacy, defamation, emotional distress, and negligence. (Recent bar exam candidates: feel free to break it down, in the comments.)
We’ll do our part to undo the reputational damage. If you happen to come across her name or photo, or if you meet her in person, please know that poor Joanna Argus has nothing to do with “sexting.” A reputation nightmare: Becoming the ‘sexting’ mascot [True/Slant]
Last month’s open thread on transfer students proved very popular. It generated surprisingly substantive commentary, full of helpful advice (and the usual law student status anxiety).
Since then, we’ve received several requests for more coverage of this constituency. So we thought we’d revisit the subject of transfer students and transfer applications.
With on-campus interviewing (OCI) fast approaching, it’s a timely topic. A transfer-student tipster tells us:
The beginning to middle of August would be a good time [to talk about transfer applications]. Transfer applicants are either going to find out soon or will just have, so stress will be high for them. OCI bids will either have just gone in or will be going in, so the “legitimate” students (my name for kids that do well on the LSAT) will chime in with frustration and hatred towards transfers.
C’mon, guys — don’t hate, appreciate!
Do the “legitimate” students hate transfers out of fear? Let’s explore this theory.
I’m a first year at a BigLaw firm. From the looks of things, I’m not going to make my minimum billable hours this year by a significant margin (>200 hours). It’s not for lack of trying; there’s just not enough work, and any work available is being hoarded.
My last performance review happened before the work drought, and it was excellent. My next performance review won’t happen for a few months. Assuming it is hopeless to bill more hours, (1) what will happen to me, (2) when will it happen, and (3) what should I do? Should I start looking for another job immediately? Should I bum around and wait until my performance review? Will I be fired or laid off with severance?
Dear Celestine Prophecy,
I don’t know what will happen to you, and your firm may not either, at this point. If your firm is a jerk hat, they’ll fire you for “performance,” following which you’ll tip off ATL, the firm will not respond to media inquiries, and we’ll write a story about stealth layoffs. If your firm is nice, they’ll either pardon your low hours or lay you off with some severance and send a duly mournful “personnel adjustment” announcement to ATL that reads like an obituary. Is your firm a good witch or a bad witch? You would know best.
Starting to look for jobs now definitely seems like a terrific and worthwhile endeavor. While you’re at it, keep your eyes peeled for Curly’s Gold and pieces of the True Cross.
To address your most fundamental “what should I do?” question, there’s not much you can do at this point to affect whatever fate has in store for you. Everyone deals with feelings of despair and helplessness differently, but I recommend Full Catastrophe Living, Peter Cetera, Nordic Naturals Fish Oil with Lemon and loitering at Bath & Body Works to smell the new soap flavors.
Keep a stiff upper lip, as my dad would say. Layoffs have been slowing down for a while now. I think you’ll be ok.
After the jump, something really strange happens. And not in a good way.
A U.S. House member wants Bank of America to turn over extensive documentation relating to its Merrill Lynch deal (with a focus on lossess and loss projections at Merrill). We wonder which law firm is representing B of A in this matter — there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned congressional investigation to get the billable-hour engines revving.
Read more and discuss over at Dealbreaker. In A Surprising Twist, Lawmakers Focus On The BAC/ML Merger [Dealbreaker]
Yesterday we wrote about Gina Rubel’s suggestion in the Legal Intelligencer that law firms namechecking multiple founding partners drop a few for shorter, easier, and more memorable names. ATL readers who voted in our poll were split down the middle on whether bigger is better. Over 800 votes were cast: 52% said they like a short firm… name and 48% said they prefer it long.
A Davis Polk & Wardwell spokesperson ATL commenter pointed out that the firm recently trimmed its name (in connection with its hottie-friendly website revamp):
DavisPolk has just changed its name for marketing purposes and has dropped Wardwell out – mention of DPW should have been made in this article. I am disappointed.
In yesterday’s post, we took the shortening advice a step further and suggested firms cut their names down to a couple of syllables, like Morrison & Foerster’s embracing the name MoFo. We recommended a few other (humorous) possibilities: ClearGo, SuCro, CoBu, WilCo, etc. As sometimes happens usual, ATL readers impressed us and made us chuckle with some of their responses. We’ve culled the over 100 comments for the best suggestions; here are our top ten favorites:
* Class action wants cancer warning on hot dogs. [Courthouse News Service]
* Sonia Sotomayor, confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate yesterday, will be sworn in on Saturday at SCOTUS rather than at the White House. [National Law Journal]
* “If even a famous lawyer gets arrested, what can we ordinary little people do?” [Los Angeles Times]
* Brown stains on your teeth may just mean that your mouthwash is working. A Michigan lawyer suing Procter & Gamble says he wanted fresh breath without the stains. [Associated Press]
* Traffic laws must be upheld, even if you’re breastfeeding. [City Room/New York Times]
* Another skirmish in the DOJ’s war on online gambling. A Canadian man is indicted for laundering as much as $565 million in gambling payments through phony companies. [Threat Level/Wired]
If you think most legal technology misses the mark, LexisNexis Firm Manager® wants to change your mind. Read more about it here.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!