Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about New York judges and their robes. It begins:
In Britain, judges are wedded to a tradition of elegant attire: scarlet and ermine robes, tippets over the shoulders, black girdles and, of course, the crimped, gray horsehair wig.
Minor correction: British judges have dispensed with wigs, except in criminal proceedings.
The article then discusses the robe-wearing styles of various judges. Judge ShawnDya Simpson, for example, “rarely fastens all the buttons and often accents [her robe] with a scarf or necklace,” or sometimes dispenses with a robe in favor of a lime-green suit.
Read more, after the jump.
As we’ve previously observed, “we’re not really sure how much there is to say about the MPRE. It’s not a super-difficult test, and it hasn’t exactly achieved the mythical status of the bar exam as a rite of passage for aspiring lawyers.”
But it seems, judging from all the emails we’ve received, that some of you are dying to discuss the just-released results for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. A few representative messages:
“The MPRE results for August are now online!”
“I didn’t study at all and got an 80. Looks like I’ll be re-upping in November.”
[Ed. note: As noted here, "[p]assing scores, which are established by each jurisdiction, currently vary between 75 and 86.”]
“I just got an e-mail with a link to my score for the August MPRE. Pretty quick turnaround time, actually — exactly a month since the test day. Thought you might want the news.”
This does seem a little earlier than usual, as we were just discussing here in the office. From an IM that Elie sent (yes, we IM each other, even though we’re about 15 feet away): “What is the usual turnaround time for MPRE scores? I don’t remember mine, other than briefly wondering if taking it hung over was really a wise decision (turned out fine).”
Here’s an open thread for discussing the MPRE. If you passed the test, congratulations. If you failed — well, prepare to be mocked, in the comments. Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) [National Conference of Bar Examiners]
* The new Dean of Texas Tech school of law will be …? Well it should be Bobby Knight shouldn’t it? [Res Ipsa Blog]
* Yale Law Women announced their top ten family friendly firms. [Yale Law School]
* Mike Cernovich tries the end this meme that associates should pay their law firms. He uses math. [Crime & Federalism]
* … Of course, if firms wanted to drop the billable hour altogether we could talk. [Law.com]
* Is it possible that lawyers in Great Britain are even more out of touch with reality than their American counterparts? [Legal Blog Watch]
* J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Want a legal angle? Tom Brady had his knee non-sequitured. [ESPN]
* It’s international literacy day! Thanks to the editor of Blawg Review and all the loyal ATL readers for chipping in to get me my very own Hooked-on-Phonics master reader set. You guys are too kind. [Legal Literacy.com via Blawg Review]
Earlier today we reported that Squire, Sanders & Dempsey extended offers to 76% of their summer class, but that an untold number of those summers received staff attorney offers.
Well, after an initial “no comment” on the staff attorney question, Squire Sanders decided to clarify their statement:
The firm made one staff attorney offer. The offer was extended to accommodate a law student’s interest in a practice area that was only hiring staff attorneys for 2009. We did not include the staff attorney offer when we reported to you that 76% of the summer associates received associate offers. We intend to report associate offer numbers to NALP excluding the staff attorney offer as well.
There you go. At least the 24% of the class that was no-offered do not have to feel as bad about themselves as some commenters suggested.
I guess I can stop screaming at NALP about the purity of their report. Earlier: Nationwide No Offer Watch: Squire Sanders
Lawyer layoffs: they’re not just an American phenomenon. Last month, for example, DLA Piper laid off lawyers in London. Here’s more layoff news from that fair city, from TheLawyer.com:
More than half of the UK lawyers at US investment bank Bear Stearns have been axed since the collapsed bank was taken over by JPMorgan.
Out of 23 lawyers in London’s legal department, only 10 were offered new positions by JPMorgan, with nine accepting.
Fortunately, Bear Stearns refugees are landing new jobs without too much apparent difficulty. The Lawyer reports that ex-Bear Stearns attorneys have landed at Bingham McCutchen and Brown Rudnick, in New York and London, respectively. JPMorgan cuts Bear’s headcount [The Lawyer]
Open container laws are both massively annoying and haphazardly enforced. The mere concept of it offends the notion of freedom and remains the single best reason to move to New Orleans.
The law prevents anyone from drinking in public, which unfortunately requires lawyers to haggle over the definition of “public space” instead of going home and enjoying a frosty beverage.
Brooklyn resident Kimber VanRy got nailed with one of these ludicrous $25 citations and he is fighting it. He’ll probably lose, he was drinking a beer on his stoop when he had the misfortune of a cop rolling by. But he wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t throwing a party or using the beer bottle for lewd and deviant acts, he was just minding his own business in the middle of New York City when the government had to get all up in his grill.
Stupid laws beget stupid legal arguments. Look at what Legal Aid is arguing to defend this guy. The New York Times reports the opinion of one such lawyer, Steve Wasserman:
“This is an open question,” he said of the law. “There’s also a larger constitutional question, if a piece of your private property were being treated as if it were a public place. You couldn’t get arrested for drinking that beer in your kitchen. Now you’re sitting on your stoop. The stoop may be more like your kitchen than your sidewalk.”
Really, we have to get into a Con Law exam to answer this question? What if your kitchen has concrete counter tops while your sidewalk is made of cobblestone?
The cop who gave VanRy the open container ticket told him (after inquiring as to what kind of beer he was drinking) that if VanRy’s stoop had a gate, he would not have received a ticket. So, only people with gated stairs can enjoy some fresh air while drinking a beer?
The summer is almost at an end. In its waning days, we should all be able to enjoy some fresh air and green space with as much alcoholic libation as we can handle. I got ya’ $25 right here, NYPD. Fighting for the Right to Drink Beer on His Stoop [New York Times]
When it comes to law firm swag — and compensation, and prestige — Sullivan & Cromwell has long been a market leader. Remember their famous bonsai trees?
Last year, S&C made an appearance at the Lavender Law conference, an annual gathering for LGBT lawyers and law students. To improve their standing in the gay community, which was damaged a bit by the Aaron Charney lawsuit, they came bearing gifts: Kiehl’s products.
We were impressed: “S&C is shrewd: they know the way to our hearts is through our pores.” But others were not. Sniffed one commenter:
I guess the memo didn’t make it to the S&C gays. We don’t use Kiehl’s any longer… We’ve moved on to Malin & Goetz.
So guess what Sullivan & Cromwell gave away at this year’s Lavendar Law conference? Yup, that’s right: Malin + Goetz, in copious quantities. Even though S&C generally doesn’t respond to our requests for comment on stories about them, it seems that they read ATL — including the comments.
S&C made upgrades in other departments as well. Last year, a Lavender Law attendee described the Sullivan reps as “pallid and haggard.” This year, the S&C conference crew was “hot hot hot.”
S&C to 190K? Maybe not in 2008. But if you’re looking for high-end cosmetics and gay male eye candy, they’ve got you covered. Earlier: Sullivan & Cromwell and the Gays: Kiehling Them With Kindness
SideTaker.com might be the best example of schadenfreude ever created.
It is ostensibly a form of alternative dispute resolution for divorcing or generally unhappy couples. The concept is pretty simple. A disgruntled lover pays a $12 fee and posts his or her grievance on the website. Then he/she invites their partner to do the same. Once the two sides are online, random strangers weigh in on the dispute and vote over a 60 day period for who should prevail.
Obviously the results are not legally binding in any way (not unlike the modern day marriage certificate).
Legal Blog Watch reports that the site’s creators think they are doing some sort of service for the benefit of these couples:
Some are just, but far too many divorces, break ups, and separations happen over non-critical disputes. Over 50% of American marriages end in divorce. In a fight, each person has their side and are usually backed by their friends (on either side). When you can create a jury of anonymous peers to decide who is right or wrong in an argument, then the bias is gone and the person at fault will just have to suck it up.
I can’t imagine hating a woman enough to subject our relationship to the scathing critique of anonymous commenters. I think it’d be more humane just to throw some arsenic in the morning coffee and be done with it.
Wisdom from Side Taker’s “jury” after the jump.
I guess the market for law school professors is recession-proof. Stephen Bainbridge has it that Yale offfered a $600,000 poaching fee to secure a Harvard Law School corporate professor. Didn’t Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh read our coverage of Bill Henderson’s empirical evidence proving that Yale will be safe at the top for the rest of the Holocene epoch? Did they really need to spend $600K to prove a point?
And why are law school professors pulling down more than half a million anyway? Sure, communicating high concepts of legal import is a neat party trick, but can they redline a contract against a standard template at 2 a.m. with all the verb tenses in perfect agreement? I don’t think so.
Who do you think is the most overvalued generously compensated law professor in the U.S.? And what does (s)he teach? Guesses are welcome in the comments.
Keep in mind, we are talking about full-time positions. As Paul Caron points out, via David Rifkin, adjunct faculty can easily make more than $600K simply by ordering around an army of associates.
If you want to get in on this gravy train, check out PrawfsBlawg’s hiring thread. Law Professor Salaries [Business Associations Blog] $600k for a Tax Prof? [TaxProf Blog] A law school hiring thread: 2008-09 [PrawfsBlawg]
In last Wednesday’s ATL / Lateral Linksurvey, we asked you whether you billed over Labor Day Weekend this year.
We received 1,046 responses, and, not counting summer associates, 55% of you reported that your weekend was actually fun. Associates in New York and Denver were most likely to celebrate the holiday, with roughly two thirds of respondents in New York and all of the respondents in Denver taking the full three-day weekend.
Associates in Chicago and on the West Coast, however, were most likely to work over Labor Day weekend, with roughly 55% of respondents in Los Angeles, 53% of respondents in Chicago and San Diego, and 51% of respondents in the Bay Area logging some billable hours. (Respondents in the Bay Area were also most likely to work over Christmas and New Year’s, on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and over Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July.)
Of those who spent the day at the office, about 48% reported that they weren’t actually asked to work the holiday, but had things they needed to get done, which is a bit lower than what we found for Martin Luther King’s birthday and Memorial Day Weekend.
But about 27% said that partners told them to work on the holiday, which is considerably more than we saw for the Fourth of July. And 15% said they needed the hours, which is up slightly from the Fourth of July weekend, which in turn was slightly up from Memorial Day Weekend.
On the other hand, only about one percent of respondents who worked over the holiday weekend said that they “wanted to impress people,” which is a drop from prior holidays. Perhaps some of the associates who billed patriot hours on the Fourth didn’t feel appreciated enough?
One associate wrote in that his efforts were for a good cause:
An *sshole partner was f*cking over a fellow associate with 19 hour work days, so I helped the fellow associate.
Another, not so much:
I’m a f*cking slave.
Overall, about 59% of respondents who labored last weekend believed that the work was worth it.
Over the weekend, many readers and clerkship applicants opined that the federal hiring plan is, once again, FUBAR.
However, helpful advice for applicants also came in over the comments board and email. In anticipation of the today’s noontime green flag, we bring you the best advice from your fellow ATL readers on how to handle the clerkship process.
Don’t answer the phone, ever. A tipster wrote:
What you want to do is let the calls go to voicemail and then set up your interviews in order of your preference. That way, if you get an exploding offer in the room at the end of the first interview, it will be with the judge that you really want.
But don’t be an idiot and change your cell phone. One tipster that thankfully overcame a massive brain freeze reports:
Calls were supposed to go out on the 11th, and on the 10th, I finally decided that my old cell phone was a POS and was going to use my summer associate $$$ for an iPhone. As the Fall progressed, I kept having trouble calling certain folks with my new phone. I could call them, they couldn’t call me. Finally, I figure out that when I switched phones, there was a glitch that prevented a certain percentage of my calls from actually reaching me. D’oh.
Remember: the people you’re replacing don’t know their don’t know their Lexis from their Nexis. As one commenter points out:
Don’t get discouraged. If the phone doesn’t ring on the first day, that’s not always a bad thing…. Us clerks just got on the job and we don’t want to start looking for our replacements just yet. I’m still trying to figure out the phones.
New York judge Ronald Tills is the guy you want in charge of your bachelor party. You might think he’s out of touch at 73 years old, but he still knows where to find the ladies. Unfortunately, they’re the kind you have to pay for.
Tills pleaded guilty last week to violating the Mann Act by bringing a prostitute across a state line. Among his other prostitute-related offenses, as reported by the Buffalo News:
He was responsible for recruiting out-of-state prostitutes to work a Jesters meeting in Dunkirk “in or about September 2001,” while serving as director of the Buffalo chapter of the Jesters.
He recruited an illegal alien prostitute from a North Tonawanda massage parlor to service men at a Jesters event in Kentucky in October 2005.
He arranged for transporting prostitutes from Buffalo Niagara International Airport to a national Jesters meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., in the spring of 2006.
A retired acting New York Supreme Court justice and Court of Claims judge, Tills must have been known as the “Grand Poobah of Prostitute Procurement” to the Royal Order of Jesters.
According to the Jesters website, it’s a Masonic organization descended from the Shriners, but it’s not into charity like most Masonic groups. It has “a fun ‘degree’, with absolutely no serious intent.” Just the serious intent to get busy with prostitutes.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.