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avatar Alex ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by ALEX, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Alex's avatar (at right).]
We received nearly 200 comments on the OCI Open Thread, and to my surprise, most of them were not directed solely at how badly I suck. Small victory.
Many of the comments offered helpful advice from self-professed recruiting attorneys. Others offered glimmers of hope for the anxious and the under-performing. And some left no doubt that, no matter how badly you think you’re going to do in interviews, others have done and will do worse.
hot seat hotseat.jpgFirst, though, take a deep breathe. A large number of 2ls from top-fifteen law schools get biglaw jobs. And many top-performing law students from other schools get biglaw jobs, too.
But even if you don’t, it’s no big deal. Seriously. OCI creates the false impression that the only sensible thing that you can do with a law degree is work at an AmLaw 100 firm. Don’t be fooled.
Being a junior associate at a large law firm is not very fulfilling. You’re not even really a lawyer; you’re a low-level corporate employee with legal knowledge. Go try a case or counsel somebody with a problem. You’ll undoubtedly wonder why you ever cared about this week.
With a little perspective, you’ll do much better in your interviews. As commenters have repeatedly pointed out to me over the last two weeks, nobody likes someone who appears to be trying too hard. If you don’t care so much, you’ll be yourself. See Exley’s excellent farewell post.
Okay, helpful advice and uncomfortable stories after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OCI Open Thread Follow-Up”

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Last year, ATL brought you the story of Ernie Chambers, the Nebraska state legislator who sued God for terrorizing millions of Earth’s inhabitants with earthquakes and floods.
Ernie Chambers 1.jpgThis week, Sen. Chambers appeared before Judge Marlon Polk to argue that the suit should move forward despite his failure to serve notice on God:

“Despite my most sincere, zealous efforts, I could not find a location to serve the defendant,” Chambers said. But Chambers asked Polk to take official notice of God, and the Almighty’s omniscience and omnipresence.

Despite Sen. Chambers’s argument that the defendant had constructive notice of the suit, God failed to make a special appearance. Under Nebraska law, if God did not make himself available, one of His many registered agents could have accepted service of process.
minimum contacts.jpgIn his original complaint, Sen. Chambers did not address the manageability problems inherent in a class action suit with approximately 6.7 billion potential plaintiffs.

A spiritual presence was palpable in the courtroom, as Judge Polk displayed the patience of a saint in dealing with the matter.
God declined to comment for this story, citing an ongoing investigation into the fate of Sen. Chambers’s soul.

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
Does this sound like your supervising partner?

[He] aggressively and rapidly advanced…with clenched fists, piercing eyes, beet-red face, popping veins, and screaming and swearing. Raess v. Doescher, 883 N.E.2d 790, 794 (Ind. 2008).

bully cubicle.jpgA recent ABA article, “Beyond Traditional Tort Law, ‘Desk Rage’ is Now a Potential Claim,” suggests that in a few “avant-garde” jurisdictions you can sue your boss for being a world-class a**hole. Er, the ABA might want to sign itself up for one of its CLE refresher courses, because the jurisdictions that recognize the new tort are so avant-garde that they do not yet exist.

The article cites Raess as evidence of a “desk rage” cause of action. But in Raess, the court granted judgment for the plaintiff on a traditional assault claim, and merely noted that a jury instruction about workplace bullying was appropriate. Deduct 3 skills credits.

Of course, you can still sue office tyrants under existing legal theories like Title VII (for racist and sexist jerks), intentional infliction of emotional distress (vindictive jerks) and assault (scary jerks). Unfortunately, there’s no tort for run-of-the-mill partner jerks who ignore emails or scream at associates.

On that note, stop reading this post and get back to work, you worthless sacks of sh*t.

avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
On Tuesday, American Lawyer published a follow-up report to their overall associate satisfaction survey, released last Friday. This report ranks midlevel associates’ satisfaction with their pay packages. Not surprisingly, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz midlevels were most satisfied with their overall compensation, thanks in part to bonuses which ranged from $175,000 to $215,000.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, associates still lucky enough to have jobs were less than thrilled with their pay. Overall, midlevel salary satisfaction has only risen 1% annually since 2006.
The new numbers are surprising to some because top firms in other major markets are now matching the base compensation awarded in New York, while New York associates still receive higher bonuses to keep their landlords at bay.
According to American Lawyer, midlevel associates understand that extra compensation results in longer hours, less partner contact, and decreased job security. As one Jenner & Block associate put it, “They’re not raising because they value us. We’re just the collective beneficiary because the firm needs to keep up in the market. It’s a back-handed compliment.”
Perhaps it is time to use the lysine contingency to control the law student population in order to make firms care about associate retention.

cold offer copy.jpgAugust marks the end of extravagant lunches and open bars, and the return to the starving-student lifestyle for this year’s batch of summer associates. This time of year also presents summers with a big, anxiety-inducing question:

Am I getting The Offer — i.e., an offer to return to The Firm on a more permanent / full-time basis, after graduation?

Some summers find out about their future employment prospects while still at their law firms. This might happen during an exit interview, or it might happen in more public fashion:

The DC office of Latham & Watkins just called all summer associates into a conference room and announced that they were extending offers to 100% of the DC summer associate class.

We haven’t confirmed this with the firm, but if true — congratulations, Lathamites of Washington!
(We also hear, through the grapevine, that Shearman & Sterling gave offers to all 135 of its SAs. If you know of other 100-percent-offer shops, feel free to note them in the comments. Please note, however, that what appears in the comments is unverified. So caveat lector.)
Update: Shearman gave offers to 139 out of 140 summers who were considered for offers. See here.
Other summer associates don’t learn their fates until after the end of their programs. Word might come a week or two after the program ends — or even later. Our estimable (but outgoing) editor-in-chief recalls that Wachtell Lipton didn’t notify its summer class about offers until September. (That was several years ago; WLRK’s current practice may differ.)
Read more about cold offers — including a more detailed explanation of what exactly is a cold offer, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the institution — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Cold Offers”

AutoAdmit xoxohth Anthony Ciolli Above the Law blog.JPGSee the links below for more details. Also note this, from Marc Randazza of the Legal Satyricon:

For anyone who is curious, I have personally spoken to the University of Texas adjunct who happens to bear the [same name as the formerly anonymous defendant known as :D ].

He IS NOT the person in question. I would appreciate it if any readers would keep that in mind, and educate anyone who might hold this mistaken belief. I can confirm with 100% certainty that the [individual identified as :D ] in the complaint is not an attorney and is not a law professor.

It has been a while since our last posting about the AutoAdmit lawsuit, so feel free to discuss the latest developments in the comments. If you’re not familiar with the case, peruse the postings collected here.
Another Amended Complaint in the Auto Admit Case [Legal Satyricon]
Yale Students’ Lawsuit Unmasks Anonymous Trolls, Opens Pandora’s Box [Wired]
Yale Students Name Austinite Who Allegedly Defamed Them [keyetv.com]
Lawyers for 2 Female Students at Yale Law School Learn Identities of Anonymous Online Attackers [Chronicle of Higher Education]

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHere’s the second half of the “head-to-head” round of ATL Idol. If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on, background information is available in this prior post (or just scroll down the front page to the post immediately below this one).
You can check out the second half of the head-to-head round, featuring the blogging of SOPHIST and FROLIC AND DETOUR, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: Week 2, Head-to-Head Round (Part 2)”

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft new logo CWT AboveTheLaw blog.jpgIn case you missed the big news, last week Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft laid off 96 lawyers. This is, as far as we know, the largest lawyer layoff of the current economic cycle.

When combined with the January layoffs, which hit around 35 lawyers, CWT has axed upwards of 130 attorneys. This makes it “America’s firingest law firm.” (We can’t claim credit for that turn of phrase, which was coined by a tipster, but we will try to popularize it through frequent usage.)

As we reported earlier this week, résumés from Cadwalader refugees are flooding the market. But will they find a welcome reception?

Maybe not. Here’s an email that a boutique law firm in New York sent to a legal recruiter who tried to submit CWT résumés for an opening:

CORRECTION: Actually, the email was sent to the recruiter UNSOLICITED, not in response to anything. It was apparently sent, out of the blue, to a group of legal recruiters.

Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008
To: [Legal Recruiter]
Subject: FW: Resumes

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for staying in touch with our firm. Please note that we are not going to be accepting resumes for Cadwalader candidates.

Thank you,
[Recruiting Contact]
Duval & Stachenfeld | 300 East 42nd Street New York NY 10017

Ouch. Are Cadwalader lawyers now the Untouchables of the law-firm caste system?

Note that this slap in the face comes from Duval & Stachenfeld LLP, which is far from snobby in its hiring practices. It draws heavily from non-top-tier law schools and pays $60,000 starting salaries to its associates.

(It should be noted, however, that the Duval firm is more elitist when it comes to its lateral hiring. As discussed here, for entry-level hiring, the firm looks well beyond the top-tier law schools. But for midlevel and senior associates, it tends to poach from the Skaddens and Lathams of the world — and pay accordingly.)

P.S. For a more upbeat take on Cadwalader, see Ashby Jones’s Legal Beat column in the Wall Street Journal (via the WSJ Law Blog).

UPDATE / CLARIFICATION: We have received a letter from Bruce Stachenfeld, founding partner of Duval & Stachenfeld, clarifying the situation. An excerpt:

When I (the managing partner of D&S) heard about the CWT layoff news my immediate reaction was that I felt very bad for my friends at CWT. It is a great firm suffering from some market turmoil and all of us running law firms know that adverse market forces can happen to any of us.

My other reaction was that since we are hiring junior lawyers a possible win/win/win would be for us to talk to CWT directly about whether we could hire some of their adversely affected people. This would permit us to find some super-star-high-quality associates – would permit CWT to help its people locate new jobs – and would permit some of the adversely affected associates to get new jobs promptly.

So I did the logical thing and contacted one of my friends at CWT to discuss this. After my discussion I sent a letter to be sent to some of the associates who had the requisite background to fit into our real estate group. It remains to be seen if we will end up hiring CWT associates. My hope is yes.

Since resumes had started to come in (through legal recruiters) I instructed our recruitment coordinator to inform legal recruiters that I would not be accepting resumes through legal recruiters due to our close relationship with CWT. I thought it appropriate to let the legal recruiters know this promptly to avoid misunderstandings with them about recruitment fees.

You can read the full letter after the jump.

Prez candidates.jpg[Ed. note: Apologies for this late posting. We've been experiencing some technical difficulties this morning.]
* Texas executed a Mexican citizen yesterday after SCOTUS denied a last minute request for a reprieve. Neither the International Court of Justice nor the Bush administration is pleased. [New York Times]
* Ninth Circuit to review an e-mail hacking case that could redefine online privacy. [Washington Post]
* Reputed mobster John Gotti indicted … again. This time in Tampa. Maybe Florida prosecutors will fare better than New York ones have. [New York Times]
* Justice Department prepares to declare anthrax case closed. [New York Times]
* Biggest identity theft ring ever exposed. Federal prosecutors charge 11 people from five different countries with stealing 41 million credit card numbers. [International Herald Tribune]
* California man convicted of murdering his lawyer when case went badly. [San Jose Mercury News]
* Not really law-related, but definitely amusing. Paris Hilton responds to McCain’s ad: Paris for President? [Funny or Die]

DLA Piper logo Above the Law blog.jpgAnd now, some layoff news from the other side of the pond, courtesy of TheLawyer.com:

DLA Piper is conducting a firmwide review of staffing levels, resulting in five redundancies in the firm’s technology, media and ­communications (TMC) group.

The layoffs, which were all in London, include three assistants, a legal director and an associate.

The cuts, which were all voluntary, coincided with the loss of IP partner Richard Penfold, who left for US firm Heller Ehrman. A DLA spokesperson wished Penfold good luck. He joins Heller’s year-old City office as its eleventh partner.

Those Brits can be so confusing sometimes. The headline refers to five lawyers being made “redundant,” but some of those job titles — “assistant,” “legal director” — sound like positions that would be held by non-lawyers in the United States.
And the “cuts” are described as “voluntary.” What does it mean for layoffs to be voluntary? Isn’t their involuntary nature the whole point of layoffs?
DLA review sees five TMC lawyers redundant [The Lawyer]

Russian nesting dolls Matryoshka doll.jpg* Why does Wall Street get all the juicy scandals? We’re jealous of our DealBreaker colleagues. [Dealbreaker]
* Larry Ribstein’s take: “it’s hard not to think that it’s really all about dispute a few weeks ago between [the NYT's Andrew Ross] Sorkin and Dealbreaker’s John Carney.” [Ideoblog]
* Are you in the top one percent of U.S. taxpayers ranked by adjusted gross income? And which states are home to the richest of rich taxpayers? [TaxProf Blog]
* “Would you trust a law professor to be President?” [Althouse]
* Speaking of law profs, they may boycott the annual AALS meeting, due to the hotel owner’s opposition to same-sex marriage. [National Law Journal via TaxProf Blog]
* An interesting interview of Fried Frank partner Jonathan Mechanic, a superstar of the real estate bar. [New York Observer]
* Russian judge: “If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children.” [Telegraph (U.K.)]

avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
Demanding bosses come with the territory in our line of work. Several less-than-loving legal employers have been profiled here on ATL, and you’ve shared some fine examples of bossal abuse. But until today, we’ve never undertaken a search for the worst boss in the legal profession.
Skadden employee Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom.jpgThis week, we want to find the ultimate briefcase-hurling, insult-spewing master of the legal boss’s art. ATL will get the ball rolling by offering the first nominee:
Senior Judge Suzanne B. Conlon, a living legend of the Northern District of Illinois, is a true judicial diva. She even fired a staff member who refused to carry the judge’s lunch up 17 flights of stairs on a day when the elevators weren’t working. But those in the know tell us that Judge Conlon didn’t reach the pinnacle of her achievements in bossery until September 11, 2001.
Judge Conlon is famous for her punctuality and for her ruthless enforcement of deadlines. So when federal marshals evacuated the Dirksen courthouse that sunny morning, she stayed put in her chambers. One clerk began to make made preparations to leave, per the instructions of the guys with guns. Judge Conlon decreed [paraphrasing]: “It is a TUESDAY, you are here till SIX, and if you leave, don’t come back.”
So he left and didn’t come back.
Can you top this, readers? We bet you can. Tell us why your boss (or former boss) deserves the Worst Legal Boss honor at frolicndetour.atl.idol@gmail.com or in the comments. We’ll select the most outstanding candidates and post the full list of nominees on Thursday.

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