Latest Stories

* As football prepares to kick off, there’s a new filing opposing the renewal of the broadcast license for Dan Snyder’s Washington-area radio station because it has a tendency to broadcast a particular racial slur over and over throughout the NFL season. [Corporate Counsel]

* If you’re a young law grad ready to give up on being a lawyer, it’s harder to move into another industry than you’d think. [Law and More]

* Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sought an emergency stay to allow Texas to start shutting down abortion clinics despite a ruling that the law was unconstitutional. So he filed his motion at midnight on the Sunday before Labor Day. The Fifth Circuit does not brook this tripe. [Houston Chronicle]

* New research confirms deportations don’t lower crime rates. They do, however, help drive up the BS in political ads, so that’s nice. [New York Times]

* The confusing reports that Goldman Sachs was driving aluminum around Detroit to drive up the price of aluminum spawned a lawsuit. And that led to a dismissal. [Bloomberg View]

* This is why you don’t eat underwear… [Daily Mail]

* The legal battle surrounding Adam Carolla’s podcast is breaking up friendships now. [CNN]

As summer draws to a close, we’d like to thank our sponsors here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

Photo by: Bernal Saborio

Photo by: Bernal Saborio

In Mindset Matters: Lawyers That Lead Well Are Receptive to Change, I brought forward the view that business executives might be better equipped to lead law firms through the turbulent change facing the legal industry.

The Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) recent recommendation that non-lawyers be able to own law firms underscores this view.

This CBA recommendation is refreshing when juxtaposed against the Texas State Bar ethics ruling stating that a Texas law firm may not use “officer or principal” in job titles for non-lawyer employees or pay profit-based performance bonuses. As Fred Headon, Assistant General Counsel at Air Canada and CBA President, urges:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Canadian Bar Association: Let Non-Lawyers Own Law Firms”

I enjoy reading Alex Rich‘s informative, comical, and sometimes depressing posts about life as a contract attorney, particularly in the world of document review. While I have no desire to do full-time doc review, I can see how the “bill and chill” nature of the job could appeal to some people. But in my world, there is more to being a “contract attorney” than being a coder.

Contract work is basically working for an attorney for a limited purpose. It ends once a task is accomplished or after a fixed period of time. Common contract-work projects are court appearances, document review, legal research, drafting or editing motions, and even trial. If you know the right people and have a certain skill set, contract work is not a bad way to make a lawyerly living. But for most new solo practitioners, contract work serves as a supplemental source of income (along with other interesting and strange side gigs) while they try to get their practice up and running.

Today, I want to talk about a rare contract attorney position: a temp-to-hire arrangement where your employer/client hires you on a contract basis and may offer an associate position in the future. I will talk about how to spot such a position and make the most of it. Finally, I will discuss whether it is better to accept the associate position or remain a contract attorney.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Transitioning From Contract Attorney to Associate”

The results are in. It turns out that a snazzy, mass-transit ad campaign mocking elites is not enough to turn around an entire law school. Law school applications are down because law school isn’t a good value, not because law school hasn’t been correctly marketed to prospective students.

It looks like Suffolk Law is going to have to face the music. The university has already replaced its president. Now the law school is offering buyouts to tenured faculty and professors with renewable contracts…

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Sleep with the case files, Your Honor, and not with the interns.

For some judges, especially judges coming out of private practice, taking the bench means a better lifestyle and shorter hours. But other judges work hard — very hard.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit is famous for his work ethic — and for how hard he works his clerks. Judge Mark Bennett of Iowa warns clerkship applicants, “I am looking for a clerk that is willing to work harder than they have ever worked in their life…. If they are one of those life must be balanced folks please don’t waste my time and don’t bother applying.”

Some chambers are well-equipped for long hours. They come with kitchenettes for cooking, showers for bathing (generally reserved for the judges), and couches for napping. And maybe more than napping….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judges Of The Day: 2 Jurists Spanked For Having Sex In Chambers”

It looks even better next to some of the other cases currently before us which Justice Blackmun did not select as the vehicle for his announcement that the death penalty is always unconstitutional — for example, the case of the 11-year old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!

– Justice Antonin Scalia in Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994). The quote looms large today as Justice Scalia’s smugly presented example of how the death penalty can’t possibly be unconstitutionally applied fell apart in epic fashion. DNA evidence exonerated the men convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Sabrina Buie. The prosecutor did not oppose release of the men because DNA evidence pointed to the real perpetrator, a criminal who was convicted of a similar crime soon after Sabrina’s murder. Of all the capital cases in America, many (though certainly nowhere near all) of which do involve criminals who actually committed the crime, Justice Scalia chose at random a case that ultimately confirmed Justice Blackmun’s argument. On the heels of his dissent in Windsor, it’s worth wondering if Justice Scalia is cursed to have his every sarcastic quip fly back in his face.

Hit it:

Why the Miami Vice theme song? First of all, that shouldn’t be a question because it’s always the right time for Miami Vice. Second, because this story implicates the coolest guy from the 1980s: Detective Sonny Crockett.[1] How cool was Sonny Crockett? People actually watched Nash Bridges desperately pretending it was the same show except Tubbs got replaced by Cheech Marin playing José Jiménez or some other broad stereotype.

Crockett’s influence upon the 80s Zeitgeist extended to men’s fashion. Not just white suits over T-shirts, but dress shoes with no socks.

An attorney recently tried out his Sonny Crockett look in the courtroom. The judge was not as much of a Vice fan….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge To Attorney: Put On Some Damn Socks!”

I have a great strategy for passing the bar: write it in Ontario. The Law Society of Upper Canada (our governing body) doesn’t publish official statistics, but it is anecdotally reported that 90% of takers pass in Ontario. Contrast that with New York, where approximately 30 to 40% of takers fail in any given year. That’s a bloodbath.

The system has changed a bit since I wrote, but let me take you back in time to 2002. I had just graduated from Queen’s law school in picturesque Kingston, Ontario. I then had to face something called Bar School. That’s four months of sitting in a stifling classroom during the beautiful and inviting months of May, June, July, and August. Don’t feel bad for me — you’ll see why in a second….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: The Ontario Bar Exam is Easy!”

Career services. They are the unsung heroes of the law school experience. Though they only ever appear in our pages when there is a massive screw up (or an ice bucket challenge), they assist countless law students get those coveted jobs — oh and tweak those valuable employment statistics.

With so much riding on the success of that department — for both the law school and the individual students — it is understandable when career services get a little… creative in their presentation. And as hard as your run-of-the-mill career services professional may work, the level of difficulty is jacked up to hero mode when you work at a TTT law school….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Putting Lipstick On A Pig, And Other Tricks From TTT Career Services”

* The rare interesting case about standing. Court says hotel has no standing to sue over hackable locks that haven’t been hacked yet. [Forbes]

* Speaking of hacks, Apple says it’s not at fault for hacked celebrity nudes. As a side note, I’m already beyond annoyed at people telling me what I should or should not Google. If Googling “Kate Upton nude” was okay last week, then it’s okay this week. [Business Insider]

* Credit Suisse porn. [Dealbreaker]

* Bieber behaving badly news. At what point do we need child labor laws to regulate precocious stardom? [CNN]

* Incredibly, Cliven Bundy remains un-prosecuted. [ABA Journal]

* Scaring law students doesn’t help them learn. It does help them feel terrified though, which can be its own reward. [WSJ Law Blog]

* I think that Eric Cantor guy is going to be just fine. [Washington Post]

* The internet is being allowed to be in Iran. [New York Times]

You have one more chance to make your voice heard in defining the greatest lawyer letter ever.

In a sense, all the letters in this competition were winners. But since we don’t give out participation trophies around here, we need to crown a champion.

We have two monumental lawyer letters remaining. Letters that loom above the field and shame the rest of the practice to up its game. Letters that provide the perfect, potent cocktail of playful condescension and brass-knuckled lawyering.

So let’s watch these two square off and figure out who wrote the greatest lawyer letter ever.

Until the next one….

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