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Yes, there are going to be a lot of Simpson’s references this week.

Moving on, it’s back to school time which means campus brick-and-mortar bookstores all across the country are actually seeing some business. Forcing students to buy physical books is a good business to be in. The utility of running a textbook scam can be explained in one helpful chart:

You can blame your professors for this. Every student can get every case they need with a complimentary legal search password (thanks to our advertisers), yet professors still assign reading from casebooks. Even more incredibly, professors still write casebooks! And then those casebook publishers go out of their way to rip off students with multiple editions. There was even a cockamamie plan to prevent casebook resale that had to be beaten back by public outrage.

But, professors can also help students avoid unnecessary and costly book fees. The faculty at one school fought back against their administration on behalf of their students…

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For months, we talked to counsel about our prospects in the case. He was sanguine:

“There’s nothing to worry about here. The plaintiff put a huge number in its prayer for relief, but you can’t possibly lose that much. Plaintiff’s liability case is thin, and the damages are inflated. You’ll probably win. If you lose, you’d lose no more than $1 million on an average day. On the worst day known to man, you can’t even theoretically lose more than $5 million. I wouldn’t offer more than a couple hundred grand to settle.”

A few months before trial, we ask counsel to put some skin in the game: “It’ll be expensive to try this case, and you feel good about our prospects. We’d like you to propose an alternative fee agreement that aligns your interests with ours. We’d like to pay you less than your ordinary hourly rates in the months leading up to trial, but we’ll give you a success fee if we win. Please think about it, and let us know if you have any ideas.”

A couple of weeks pass, as counsel discusses the case with his firm’s “senior management.” When the alternative fee proposal arrives, the goalposts have miraculously moved! In the course of just two uneventful weeks, our prospects for success have changed entirely!

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You can invest in China on your own by forming a Wholly Foreign Owned Entity (WFOE) or by partnering with an existing Chinese business through some form of joint venture. China is fairly open to foreign investment and in the past several years WFOEs have become the most common vehicle for foreign investment, partly due to investor skittishness as stories about past problems with Chinese equity joint venture partners have made the rounds.

Yet many foreign investors still choose to enter the Chinese market through an equity joint venture, and the particular risks involved with this type of arrangement require careful planning.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “China Joint Ventures: You Are Not in Kansas Anymore”

* New Yorkers, having been put to shame by the people in Ferguson, Missouri, marched in protest of the police killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island. [Wall Street Journal]

* Suge Knight was shot the morning before the MTV Video Music Awards. Okay, here’s a version of that sentence that will blow your mind: Suge Knight was shot the morning before the VMA’s, again. [New York Times]

* Don’t worry, outside counsel for American banks. Even after the Bank of America settlement, there will still be plenty of work defending these clients against world governments. [Am Law Daily]

* Burger King + Tim Hortons = Donut Whopper + Low Taxes. [CNN Money]

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants his indictment tossed because he claims the Massachusetts jury selection process was flawed. Let’s file away the public reaction to this so we can compare later. [National Law Journal]

* More like Iceland’s Super LOLcano. Zing! Can I go back to bed now? [Associated Press]

Statistically speaking, people who are currently in law school scored more poorly on the LSAT than the classes that came before. That doesn’t mean they are dumber — and I doubt any law school professor has the stones to do a study on whether or not the students are dumber now than they were before the recession. But it might mean that the current crop of law students were less prepared to enter law school than earlier classes.

We’ve documented the “brain drain” from the law school applicant pool. In 2012, by which point the idiocy of going to law school was plain to see by any who were watching, the number of students applying to law school with an LSAT score over 170 was down over 20%. Meanwhile, the number of applicants with LSAT scores in the 140- 144 range was only down 6.2%. High scorers were taking a pass while low scorers were saying “wow, I wonder who left this fruit here hanging so low to the ground.”

But now, it appears that trend is reversing. That’s probably bad news for the worst law schools…

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* A Maryland judge ordered a court officer to deliver an electrical shock to a defendant. What the hell? [Baltimore Post-Examiner]

* Be less of a lawyer. [Medium]

* New York agrees to pay out $10 million to wrongfully convicted man. He may be gone, but former D.A. Charles Hynes is still costing the city money. [New York Times]

* Sentence requiring former Supreme Court justice to write apology letters to every judge in the state on a picture of her in handcuffs struck down as “unorthodox gimmick.” Now she has to write the letters on regular paper because apparently the apology letter part was an “orthodox gimmick.” [Penn Live]

* The public domain is awesome. [Clickhole]

* Lawyer accused of asking office manager if she wanted a “Dirty Sanchez.” Does anybody ever answer yes to that question? [Barstool Sports]

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.

Which Am Law 50 firm has the highest percentage of women partners?

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Keith Lee

Because I’m a glutton for punishment (I’m writing for ATL aren’t I?), every now and then I will trawl through SSRN to see if there is anything worthwhile to read. Usually there isn’t. Mostly it’s stuff like Harry Potter and the Law or whatever. It can be hard finding substantive, interesting material to read among the cruft. The other problem is that the authors are publishing articles in law reviews — which no one reads. It’s far better to submit an article to a blog (or set up your own), if you really want to reach people. I gather the point is not to be read, but instead to have an extra line on your résumé. But I digress.

I stumbled across an older (2003) article on the perceptions of various members of the profession on the writing skills of new lawyers entitled How Judges, Practitioners  and Legal Writing Teachers Assess the Writing Skills of New Law Graduates: A Comparative Study, by Susan Hanley Kosse and David T. Ritchie.

It is a rather broad study covering a number of issues that arise from the quality of legal writing among new lawyers. In particular how established members of the profession view the writing skills of new lawyers. So how did they fare?

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Someone on Craigslist isn’t happy with the job market in Charleston, South Carolina. Apparently law firms down there make hefty and cynical demands of their potential associates.

We understand that the market for attorney employment isn’t great right now, and we’re looking to capitalize on that so that we can maximize our earnings and minimize our costs. While this does mean a few more Ramen noodle meals for you, just think of how pleased you’ll be when you see us (the partners) cruising the waterways on our new boats or when we’re able to buy a second Lexus SUV for our wives. We understand that you’re seeking to build a career and pay off high-interest student loans, but second homes don’t come cheap and neither does the maintenance for my Mercedes to get there. And don’t worry, I don’t have any problems sleeping at night.

Thus, this parody classified. It’s already been taken down, but we grabbed a screen cap…

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The statistics don’t lie. There is approximately a 50/50 split between men and women who graduate from law school and obtain entry-level associate positions at firms. However, many more women end up leaving after a few years and either never return to the firm environment or return to practicing law at all. We can point to a myriad of reasons, both personal to each woman and systemic of the general firm structure, but the bottom line is that women lawyers are a group that could use assistance in getting back into law.

Enter the OnRamp Fellowship. Founded by Caren Ulrich Stacey, the Fellowship is a re-entry platform that allows experienced, talented lawyers to return to the work force through a one-year, paid training contract. This platform allows lawyers to renew and increase their legal skills, while getting a resume boost that will help transition them to the next position at the same or different law firm. The Fellowship also provides lawyers with the opportunity to make valuable networking contacts and obtain professional references.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Are you sure that you know the difference between a prostitute and a stripper? Trust me, I thought I did too. A prostitute leaves after you have sex. A stripper makes you leave before you have sex. The distinction is entirely fourth dimensional.

But the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of a prostitute is incredibly… loose. They define it as “A woman who indiscriminately consorts with men for hire. Carpenter v. People, 8 Barb. (N. Y.) 611; State v. Stoyell, 54 Me. 24, 89 Am. Dec. 716.”

First of all, that’s sexist. Men can be prostitutes too… what, you think there is something Nic Cage would not do for money? More importantly, people indiscriminately consorting for hire describes pretty much every lawyer in America.

Upon reflection, maybe Black’s Law is spot on there. But the confusion actually makes me a little more sympathetic to this area man who called 9-1-1 on a stripper who didn’t have sex with him…

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you just needed the skills to pass the bar, two years would be enough. But if you think of law as a learned profession, then a third year is an opportunity for, on the one hand, public service and practice experience, but on the other, also to take courses that round out the law that you didn’t have time to do.

Two years—it does reduce the respect, the notion that law is a learned profession. You should know a little about legal history, you should know about jurisprudence. [Two years] makes it more of a craft like the training you need to be a good plumber.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explaining why she thinks law school should remain three years in length, in an interview with the National Law Journal.

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