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Hop in the DeLorean and travel back in time with us.

We’ve been enjoying the occasional trip back in time to look at Biglaw in ages past. In prior Flashback Friday posts, we’ve covered such topics as the most prestigious law firms in 1998 and billable hours in the 1990s.

And, of course, we have covered compensation. We’ve done two posts so far looking at associate comp in the 1990s, in New York and in other cities — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles.

Today we’ll close out the series with an overview of associate pay in the remaining markets of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Palo Alto, and Washington, D.C….

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* The Oakland Raiders have settled their cheerleader lawsuit for $1.25 million. Here’s to a season of crippling losses! [SF Gate]

* The death of law schools requires observing the 5 stages of grief. It’s DABDA right? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Debt, AGAIN! [TaxProf Blog]

* You don’t need permission to change careers… though many law firm hiring departments are giving their implicit permission to a bunch of applicants. [Forbes]

* Justice Kagan stopped in on her old stomping grounds at Harvard Law. [Harvard Gazette]

* LexisNexis went Hollywood with a shout out in the preview for the Veronica Mars movie. Hopefully they’ll remember the little people when they make it big. [Business of Law Blog / LexisNexis]

* So, law professors, how did you spend your summer vacation? Because this Stanford Law instructor spent it finding security flaws in an online educational platform. [Slate]

* A juror who wanted none of the jury process is ordered to serve a timeout. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly]

* It’s not as exciting as his Dating Game appearance, but here is a video of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski riding a carabao. Beyond the jump… [YouTube]

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Ed note: Stat of the Week is a new feature that pulls custom data points from ATL Research as well as noteworthy sources across the web.

Last month at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) held its annual conference. As would be expected, the event generated a tremendous volume of Twitter chatter, much of it focused on statistics. The LexisNexis Business of Law blog has compiled a collection of the most compelling, quirky, or frankly speculative #ILTA14 numbers (e.g., “Prediction: 10 years 40% of the Fortune 500 won’t exist.” – Shirley Crow). Read on for more highlights.

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Won’t somebody please think of the children?

That quote comes from the contemptible Helen Lovejoy and probably a bunch of other sanctimonious folks trying to dupe the public into backing some BS agenda armed with the logical fallacy of an emotional appeal. The devil of it is these empty emotional pleas are so convincing to a lot of people. Sadly, lawyers aren’t above pulling this card to snowjob judges and the media.[1]

After the Vergara v. California decision there was a brief volley of commentary before everyone moved on to the next big event. The decision struck California’s teacher tenure law as unconstitutional because granting tenure to experienced teachers could possibly, maybe mean that a “bad” teacher couldn’t be fired fast enough. The decision earned the praise of a bi-partisan peanut gallery from the dwindling posse of Republicans in California to Secretary of Education and NBA Celebrity All-Star MVP Arne Duncan.

Everyone seems to want in on the “education would be peachy if it weren’t for the teachers” movement — including a metric s**t ton of Biglaw bigwigs. Gibson Dunn’s Ted Boutrous and Randy Mastro spearheaded the Vergara case. Ted Olson advised. David Boies is the chair of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group fronted by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown bringing a similar lawsuit in New York fronted by Kirkland’s Jay Lefkowitzpro bono, of course. Now even Professor Larry Tribe is in the mix.

Stop the sanctimonious love-in. They aren’t championing children, they’re either starstruck or shilling or both. I mean, the Republicans have always wanted to kill unions because it’s easier to gut public schools for fun and profit. Democrats have jumped on board more recently because they want to suck up to tech billionaires like Bill Gates who preach that fixing the public education system that they never really participated in themselves is as simple as building an internet browser (which it is, if you want Internet Explorer).[2]

And all these legal luminaries throwing their reputations behind this effort just highlights how flimsy it is, as a matter of law and policy….

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[T]he solution to the knot [of complex legal problems] has been to add more string. Simply adding more lawyers and compliance professionals will only create far worse, more complicated and more costly problems.

Geoffrey A. Moore, author of the bestselling Crossing the Chasm (affiliate link) and other books, and Mark Harris, CEO of Axiom, in an interesting DealBook piece about the need to rethink the current model for delivery of legal services.

A mother and daughter are giving interviews to anybody who will listen about behavior that actually should be very embarrassing to them if they had any sense of shame. Here are the facts that the family really wants you to know.

* 15-year-old Miranda Larkin was the new girl in school who didn’t know the dress code, which specified that skirts be no more than three inches above the knee.
* Mother Dianna Larkin allowed her daughter to go to school in a skirt “closer to four inches” above the knee.
* Busted for a dress code violation, Miranda Larkin was made to wear a “shame suit” of sweat pants and a large T-Shirt that read “Dress Code Violation.”
* Crying ensued.
* The Larkins are now threatening to sue the school, alleging FERPA violations, and saying ridiculous things like “[T]his is not about punishing kids. This is about humiliation.”

Dude, your daughter is in high school. The only punishment she understands is humiliation…

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The business of law continues to evolve post-Great Recession. Law firms are dealing with clients who are trimming legal budgets, shunning expensive hourly billing rates and subsidized training of associates, and opting for smaller and more cost-sensitive legal options.

These trends have had a ripple effect. The job market for lawyers—while showing signs of improvement in small pockets—remains depressed, resulting in intense critiques of legal education, downward-trending law school applications, and law schools adapting or closing. Presumably, law students and new lawyers notice these trends and are strategizing accordingly, thinking commercially and entrepreneurially about their careers, and seeking the best legal experience and ROI in a rough macro legal market.

Entrepreneurs recognize these trends and a few startups—UpCounsel, Lawdingo, Priori Legal, and LawTrades—are riding a robust tech (and derivative branding) wave to disrupt the increasingly vulnerable legal industry. Each (i) strives to provide a frictionless and transparent platform for cost-conscious clients to quickly acquire legal services, and (ii) offers lawyers an alternative avenue to monetize their degrees free of typical infrastructural and administrative burdens of solo or small practice. This new crop of startups has earned the label “the Uber of law.” What is their value proposition for lawyers? Are they truly Uber-like providers of legal services, or is that just opportunistic branding? Should lawyers care?

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center….

We love fun photographs of federal judges here at Above the Law. It’s interesting to see what judges look like when they’re off the bench. What do Their Honors have going on underneath their robes? Inquiring minds want to know.

Today we have some random Friday fun for you. The latest picture for an ATL caption contest features a prominent federal judge in an unusual situation….

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Keith Lee

Last week I wrote about a complaint I heard from a client after they had been billed for two bottles of water served to them by their former lawyers at a meeting. I got numerous emails from people saying it was one of the most shocking behaviors that they had ever heard, the lowest of the low — a lawyer billing a client for a bottle of water that they had given to the client. When I wrote about it, it was the most egregious thing I had ever heard that a lawyer had billed to their client. But as a lawyer I know often says, “Take your expectations, then put even lower. Try the gutter.”

Less than a week later, there’s something worse in the news. A lawyer got sanctioned for his incompetent representation — then billed the sanctions to the client….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Worse Than Billing A Client For Bottled Water? Billing Them For Sanctions”

I asked my fiancée if she wanted to see naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence. “Sure.” So I showed her. “She looks good.” Then she scratched her nose and went back to planning our wedding. “What about Kate Upton?” “Sure.” So I showed her. “She’s got huge boobs.” Her nose still itched. The seating chart was still totally fudged up. Pretty uneventful Sunday night as those go.

Last weekend, the Internet exploded in a terrific tumescence over naked pictures of women. You probably heard. But now, after the hot action, and while the whole world smokes a post-coital cigarette, we are left to sort through the regret. Chief among this shame is news that one of the stars of the tawdry affair may have been underage when the pictures were taken. Mc-kay-la: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Mc. Kay. La.

ESPN, your trusted source for manufactured controversy, chose to report on this actual controversy in the most opaque manner possible.

Here’s how…

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That… doesn’t sound right.

We’ve already mentioned how a number of comments have been submitted concerning Australian Attorney General George Brandis’ Hollywood wishlist proposal for copyright reform in Australia. There are a number of interesting comments worth reading. I was pleasantly surprised to see the normally copyright-maximalist BSA come out against the proposal, saying that it will create a real risk of “over-enforcement, punishment of lawful conduct and blocking of lawful content including critically important free speech rights.” Dr. Rebecca Giblin, who has studied these issues and other attempts to put in place similar filters (and how they’ve failed), has also put forth a very interesting comment.

The most bizarre comment, however, has to come from Village Roadshow. Village Roadshow is the Australian movie studio that the US State Department admitted was used as the token “Australian” movie studio in the MPAA’s big lawsuit against iiNet. iiNet is the Australian ISP that the MPAA (with Village Roadshow appearing as “the local face”) sued for not waving a magic wand and stopping piracy. iiNet won its case at basically every stage of the game, and that big legal win is really at the heart of these new regulatory proposals. Apparently, Village Roadshow’s CEO still hasn’t gotten over the loss in the legal case.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Australian Movie Studio Says Piracy Is Equivalent Of Pedophilia & Terrorism”

Judge Richard Posner

* A unanimous Seventh Circuit panel, in an opinion by Judge Posner, just struck down Wisconsin and Indiana’s bans on same-sex marriage. The result isn’t surprising in light of the blistering benchslaps delivered by Judge Posner at oral argument, but the timing is faster than usual (for a federal appellate opinion in a high-profile case, not for the prolific Posner). [BuzzFeed]

* Bad news for Cahill Gordon: the Third Circuit just revived a fraud case against the high-powered firm and one of its clients, a unit of BASF. [WSJ Law Blog]

* And badder news for BP: a federal judge just concluded that the oil giant was grossly negligent in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [New York Times]

* Freshfields gets fresh talent, adding former Wachtell partner Mitchell Presser and former Skadden partner James Douglas to its ranks. [American Lawyer]

* The dean of Seton Hall Law, Patrick Hobbs, will step down from the deanship at the end of the current academic year. Congratulations to Dean Hobbs on a long and successful tenure. [South Orange Juice]

* And congratulations to John Grisham and Jason Bailey, winners of, respectively, the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and the 2014 ABA Journal/Ross Short Fiction Contest. [ABA Journal]

* Brittany McGrath, Brooklyn Law class of 2014, RIP. [TaxProf Blog]

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