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‘Hmm, do I really need a JD/MBA?’

* “I’m 98, and I don’t want to depart this world with this thing hanging over me.” Miriam Moskowitz was convicted more than 60 years ago, and now Baker Botts is trying to help clear her name before she dies. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “Get a lawyer, you know how this works.” Boston Scientific’s chief counsel was killed earlier this week, and police think that they may have identified a suspect — her his former flame — in the brutal murder. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

* According to a recent study, California’s affirmative action ban has done some damage to minority admissions rates at both Berkeley Law and UCLA Law, and now things like this happen to their minority students. It’s quite sad. [Daily Californian]

* The ABA has delayed taking action on Concordia Law’s bid for accreditation, and instead appointed a fact-finder. We’ll help you with this fact of the day: we don’t need more law schools. [National Law Journal]

* If you’re thinking about signing up for a JD/MBA, then congratulations, at least one of those degrees may prove to be useful to you in some way, someday. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

Now for the last 4 contenders in our lawyer letter bracket. Be sure to check out the previous three installments where polls are still active for another week. Here’s Day 1Day 2, and Day 3. As of right now, there are a pair of upsets in the offing.

Let’s see how the final tally turns out next week when we begin the Elite Eight….

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O. Henry considers the ramifications of rain on his wedding day.

* Intellectual property lawyer chastised for plagiarism. Repeatedly. As they say, it’s like O. Henry and Alanis Morissette had a baby and named it this exact scenario. [Retraction Watch]

* Legislator blocks an award to a wrongfully convicted man who served 11 years in prison because he thinks the guy should just feel lucky that he got released. His reasoning will surprise you… mostly because he doesn’t really offer any. [The Arkansas Project]

* Mike Spivey of Spivey Consulting is racing a 5K on Vail Mountain (at an elevation of 10,000 feet) as a fundraiser for Law School Transparency. Give your donations here. [Fundrazr]

* The family of the woman who posed for the iconic advertising character Aunt Jemima have sued alleging that the pancake peddlers screwed the model out of her duly earned money. [TMZ]

* A mystery woman has been sitting in an Ohio jail cell for weeks after trying to use false documents to get a driver’s license. Now it turns out that she’s a disgraced lawyer that we’ve heard of before…. [WINK News]

* The seeds of Halbig were sown a really long time ago. It’s a wonderful window into how a cynical gang of people make their plans. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Our friends from Aukland Law School that have given us parody videos of Royals and Blurred Lines have tackled House of Cards and adapted it to making your way into Biglaw. If you were wondering what a New Zealand accent impersonating Kevin Spacey impersonating a Southern accent would sound like, the video is after the jump…. [YouTube]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 08.12.14″

I’m not talking about gunners. I’m talking about the self-consciously really smart ones.  Maybe not Einstein (more like an S than a Z), but the ones that truly believe they occupy a different intellectual plane.

Just some words of advice to those of you in that category: if you value your delusions, suck up the lower pay, forget about actually practicing, and get thee to the ivory tower before it’s too late.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Qui Tam: Smart Guys”

I spent ten hours in a deposition on yesterday in the office of a large law firm in Los Angeles. Just looking around the room, I noticed two things: 1) they were better dressed than we were, and 2) our computers were so much better than theirs. I stepped out into the hallway and noticed that a lot of their hardware was stuff that a public school would auction off. It reminded me of the first few years of my legal career when I worked in a large law firm. We had all the amenities you could want. All of our legal pads were branded with our firm’s logo, and we wrote on them with pens that had our firm’s logo branded on them. I ate lunch every day in our break room that looked over the ocean. But, when lunch was over, I would go back to my desk and work on Office ’97 on my bulky CRT monitor. This is because large law firms are very big, slow-moving beasts, especially when it comes to technology.

My fellow columnist Nicole Black wrote an article last week about how a small firm is using technology to keep up with Biglaw firms. This is not a fantasy. When I was working at the aforementioned large law firm, my boss told me a story about a solo practitioner. By way of background, we represented a Fortune 500 company, had an army of Ivy League attorneys, and almost unlimited resources. Despite all that, this solo practitioner was able to run circles around us. He was better organized and was able to do things more efficiently. The case we had against him was before my time, so I had no idea if it was true, but the important thing was that, having seen how the sausage was made there, I knew it was absolutely possible.

Here’s why:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Biglaw Firms Choke on Their Own Resources”

Does being a Biglaw partner mean never having to say you’re sorry… for annoying, rude, or stupid firm-wide emails? When associates hit “reply all” to firm-wide emails, they sometimes wind up in hot water. But when partners send their random musings far and wide, their colleagues often praise them.

Sure, occasionally “reply all” emails from partners don’t go over well. Sometimes the messages come across as lecherous: “I admire your gumption, especially when you’re in a tight dress.” Sometimes they sound disloyal: “Why are we both still at this firm?”

Today’s Biglaw partner “reply all” doesn’t rise to those heights of cringe-worthiness. But it’s still bad enough to be worth sharing with you….

(Please note the UPDATE added below, which puts the partner’s email in proper context.)

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I can’t figure out those tones for the life of me. Maybe those women are trying to make some kind of sexual statement—something kinky.

– A senior counsel at a Fortune 100 company, commenting on the nail polish colors — like greens, blues, and purples — that women lawyers have been wearing to work lately.

Another law school year is almost upon us. Whether strolling into law school for the first time still filled with wide-eyed optimism or returning from a summer job to kill more time and rack up more debt, every student must resupply for the impending school year. Sure, for returning students, you’ve made it through at least one year of school so some of this is old hat. That said, you undoubtedly did something wrong and you’re now flush with cash from your summer job so it’s time to go shopping.

Meanwhile, for 1Ls, obviously if you’ve made it this far in life you have at least some clue. Or think you do. There are essentials from high school and college that will serve a law student just as well. But law school is riddled with its own unique quirks that require a different set of tools.

What’s the appropriate gear for law school? Well, you’re lucky Skippy because ATL has you covered. Here’s a rundown of exactly what you need to buy for law school….

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Judge Mark Fuller

It’s mid-August, and from what we’ve heard thus far, at least one federal judge with a lifetime appointment had an action-packed weekend.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Judge Mark Fuller of the Middle District of Alabama spent a night in jail after he allegedly had a violent altercation with his wife, Kelli Fuller. The Fullers were staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Georgia, when all hell broke loose — as tends to happen when accusations of marital infidelities are mixed with alcohol.

Judge Fuller was released from jail Monday morning after paying $5,000 bond, but what caused these events to occur, and with whom did his wife accuse him of having an affair?

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As I promised in my last post, we’ll take a look at the “mindfulness” trend and see how it can help us to become better-looking lawyers. I mean, better lawyers. What is mindfulness? According to Jeena Cho, over at The Anxious Lawyer, mindfulness is “paying attention to each moment without preference or judgment.”

Jeena points out that the law practice involves constant stress, distractions, mental juggling, and multi-tasking. Our minds are integral to our careers, yet “we rarely think about maintaining a healthy, happy mind. Mindfulness meditation trains the mind just like exercise trains the body.”

That’s what Jeena said. But what I actually heard was: “You too can become a Jedi Master, young Padawan….”

What’s so great about mindfulness? According to Jeena, mindfulness can have lots of physical and mental benefits. For example, it can increase your ability to cope with stressful or painful situations, decrease negative physical and psychological symptoms, improve self-esteem, increase energy, and improve pain levels. And more.

Well, that’s a pretty cool list. I asked her whether it could also make me fabulously wealthy, or let me retire early, or at least help me to figure out how to deal with that pesky Naboo royal cruiser that’s been flying around my yard lately…?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Moonlighting: Mindfulness For Lawyers And The Jedi Master”

There are certain legal skills of critical importance that receive the same level of attention as a mid-summer pilot for a sitcom not expected to make it to the fall slate. In fact, there is usually a disconnect, particularly in Biglaw, between what is “taught” and what lawyers really need to learn as they develop. A recent anniversary of sorts reminded me of an example. Let’s discuss the notably unglamorous, but often critically important, role of “second chair” at a hearing or trial.

For the uninitiated, the typical hierarchy on a litigation matter for lawyers is support (faceless associate research drones), team member (associate or higher who is “on the case” but may not even get to sit at counsel table), second chair (trusty lieutenant, perhaps content in the role, or perhaps gunning for more), and first chair (field marshal winning the war and the peace on behalf of a grateful if lighter-pocketed client.)

August is the anniversary of my first patent trial, well over a decade ago….

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