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  • 23 Sep 2008 at 12:08 PM
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GULC Me Mick. GULC Me.

Grade inflation happens at lot of schools. Maybe even most of them. But when a prominent professor and alumna calls your grading system “such a fraud,” well that is a school we should all be lucky enough to attend.

Some highlights for people that cannot watch YouTube at work:

Van Susteren: Have you ever graded? It really is disturbing that it affects people’s lives the way it does when it is so … subjective.”

It is “disturbing” that you know how important it is, yet throw up your hands and just “give everybody A’s”

More highlights after the jump.

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wachtell logo.jpgNot that anybody asked them, but Wachtell has decided to weigh in on the financial crisis. According to Am Law Daily, Wachtell wants short-selling to stop:

So say several memorandums penned during the past week by executive committee cochair and banking transactions rainmaker Edward Herlihy, 14-year SEC veteran and firm of counsel Theodore Levine, and associate Carmen Woo.

“In today’s markets, short sales continue to be at record levels, there are false rumors in the marketplace about the demise of financial firms, bear raids and abusive short selling are taking place, and there is significant disruption in the fair and orderly functioning of the securities markets,” said Herlihy and Levine in their first memo on September 16. “The markets are in crisis.”

Generally, we like our political power brokers to be elected or at least appointed by somebody who was elected. However, with everybody else in government waiting for Mr. Paulson to come and save America, maybe it is not a bad thing to have professional lawyers suggesting a strong course of action.

We don’t know if the SEC was listening. But we do know that Wachtell told them to ban short-selling on September 16th, and the SEC banned short-selling on September 19th. Post hoc ergo propter hoc …

Wachtell’s next gambit after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Wachtell Now A Branch Of Government?
Should They Be? “

randy yellow hat.jpgFirst of all, never ever shoot your cerebellum up with botulism two days before a deadline. God. My head hurts. Yet, I rise …

Here we go.

“Listen, go work somewhere where people like you… I mean, really like you. Then, you can screw up, and it doesn’t even matter. Hope, just go somewhere where people like you, and you’ll be in. Nothing else matters.”

Sage advice given to me from a senior associate at the Pants Down law firm. I mean, he was forced to eat white buns at his desk, the only staple stashed in desk drawer, because he never, ever left his office — not even to get lunch. But he was brilliant, the golden child of Litigation. And he knew this firm was pure evil. He wanted me to escape while I was still young enough.

So, after putting in a few years at Pants Down, I decided to leave. In addition to fending off the advances of creepy middle-aged male partners, I had become increasingly fed up with the partners there, in general.

Plus, at the end of every single day, I was so completely drained. Had I been a mother required to feed a child, my breast would have just dried up. I just had nothing left to give. Anyone.

I was ready to jump.

So, I decided to go to a firm that was less prestigious and international, but that was fine by me. I liked it better anyway when the world was round, not flat. And I was really sick of reading The Economist. There are just way too many countries. More importantly, I was excited to go to a place where the partners actually cared about me and what I wanted to do with my life. And my friend Molly, who had recently left the firm, was really happy now.

She e-mailed me from her new firm: “Listen, Hope. I came to Pants Down because I thought the people were kind of eccentric, interesting — not the super stuffy lawyers you usually find. Now, actually, after seeing all their erratic crazy behavior, I want boring, dull, bland. That’s fine by me.”

I e-mailed her back: “I know. These people are nuts. I mean, who goes to a ‘pool party’ and jumps in the pool in a bikini in front of their colleagues – especially with unshaved armpits? So gross.”

Query: What woman doesn’t shave her armpits? And, if you opt not to shave your pits because you fancy yourself some Nicaraguan rebel leader, then please, keep your arms down. The summer associate pool party was my breaking point — I had to get the hell out of here. These people were just too weird. And the partner for whom I worked was mean as hell and had an old school mustache. That also was weird.

Well, the new firm proved to be everything I expected. They cared about me. Too much.

Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Curious Case Of Randy (Part 1)”

kozinski cow girl.jpg* Charges against porn producer stand despite the Alex Kozinski controversy. [San Jose Mercury News]

* You get ripped off by some guy. You sue the guy. You’re awarded damages. The guy starts paying you back. The guy declares bankruptcy. You have to pay the guy back. Huh? [Associated Press]

* Wisconsin inmate is awarded $295,000 in suit against prison guard who made him sleep on a moldy bed. It’s going to be a while until he can spend it though. He’s serving a 23-year term. [The Smoking Gun]

* University of Tennessee sophomore who hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail account is under FBI investigation and has hired a lawyer. Was it really worth it? The hacker wrote upon posting the e-mails, “there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped.” [WBIR]

* Wachtell calls for action against short sellers. [American Lawyer]

gay marriage skadden.jpgProminent litigator Raoul Kennedy, a partner in the San Francisco office of Skadden, stuck his head in the lion’s mouth — and lived to talk about it. Legal Pad reports that Kennedy went to a Federalist Society meeting in San Francisco to defend gay marriage, where he didn’t pull any punches:

“How are any of us adversely impacted,” Kennedy asked, “when same-sex couples get married?”

The issue of gay marriage, he added, “is to the 21st century what slavery was to the 19th century.” Years from now, Kennedy insisted, the average person will look back and say, “How could people be so backward-oriented?”

He told the crowd there are so many problems in the world that gay marriage — in which two people only want to commit to a life together — shouldn’t be a problem. “You’ve got to have something better to do with your lives,” he said.

It’s easy to praise Kennedy for defending gay rights in front of a hostile audience, but how about the Federalist Society even existing in San Francisco? That’s like starting a Bill Maher fan club at Sunday school.

Kennedy presumably had the support of some of the Society’s more libertarian members. His debate opponent, Glen Lavy of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, was the flag bearer for the social conservatives:

Lavy also said that only those “who oppose democracy” would try to challenge Proposition 8, the Nov. 4 ballot measure that would limit marriage to heterosexual couples, if it passes. He also argued that a defeat of Prop 8 would lead to legal attacks — on the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages and on pastors who preach that same-sex relationships are immoral based on biblical teachings.

It would be interesting to hear what Kennedy’s fellow partners thought about their colleague pissing off the Federalist Society.

Californians: Care to predict the fate of Prop 8?

Attorney Defends Gay Marriage to Tough Crowd [LegalPad]

the happy kangaroo.jpg* McKinsey & Co. doesn’t care about your law firm’s operations, but these 100 people do. [Lawdragon]

* Bruce MacEwen explains exactly why the era of Wall Street is over. New York City is going to have to find a new tax base. [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* Taking a picture of Jamie Lynn Spears breast feeding shows incredibly poor taste. But is it also child pornography? [TMZ]

* Should shareholders really be that important? [Prawfs Blawg]

* Blawg Review comes from a land down under. You better run, you better take cover. [Freedom To Differ via Blawg Review]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGOne of the “perks” of working in Biglaw is the ridiculous amount of money that gets direct deposited into your account every two weeks. Even if you work for a firm that pays below market rate, your earnings still beat the bag out of what they pay at the local 7-11.

Can you imagine having to take a second job to make ends meet?

Welcome to the world of an assistant prosecutor or public defender. The National Law Journal has some disturbing stories of attorneys putting in double duty to pay off their loans:

“I have lawyers delivering pizzas, I have another lawyer umpiring and another bartending,” said Frank de la Torre, chief assistant at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office. “Many of us could be making more money in private practice, but obviously those of us who make a career in the field of indigent defense do it because we love it and we believe in the Constitution.”

The sad thing isn’t just that they have to take these jobs, it’s that they make more money — bartending or whatever– than they do in the legal profession.

We’ve covered the craptistic pay for government lawyers in the past. Many public attorneys used to be able to pick up some real estate or T&E work on the side. Today? Not so much.

Keep on grifting ’till you drop, or it’s back to the crumbs from the table after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do You Want Fries With That Insanity Defense?”

law firm merger.jpgThis is just a rumor, so take it with a grain — nay, a shaker — of salt. But we hear that Thacher Proffitt & Wood — which has been badly bloodied by the mortgage meltdown and Wall Street crisis, and has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs — is in “serious” merger discussions with King & Spalding.
The idea that TPW might be seeking a white knight shouldn’t be that surprising. Back in July, Thacher’s managing partner, Paul Tvetenstrand, had to deny rumors that the firm was headed for dissolution.
In his email, Tvetenstrand acknowledged that “[l]ike many firms in this unusual market we have had to take steps to adjust to the credit crisis.” One such step, of course, is to take refuge in the arms of someone who’s weathering the storm better. See, e.g., Merrill Lynch / Bank of America.
We reached out to both firms for comment. TPW didn’t get back to us. Kimberly Brooks, public relations manager of King & Spalding, had this comment:

It is our responsibility as a law firm to offer clients the highest level of service possible. As such, King & Spalding regularly explores opportunities that might provide for additional expertise and accessibility.

As a matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors in the market.

So they won’t comment on “rumors in the market” — but maybe some of you would like to? If you have additional insight into this rumor — it’s true, it’s false, it’s somewhere in between — feel free to email us. Thanks.

john_mccain.jpgA few weeks ago we pointed out that 95% of law professors that have made a campaign contributions donated their money to Barack Obama. Those professors teach at some of the top law schools in the country.

But what about the 5% of professors that have contributed to John McCain? It has been previously reported that only Northwestern faculty favored McCain over Obama (regional rivalary between Northwestern and the University of Chicago?). Paul Caron over at TaxProf Blog tells us where to find law professors for McCain:

* Pepperdine: 100% ($3,250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* South Texas: 100% ($1,020) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Liberty: 100% ($555) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Faulkner: 100% ($350) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Marquette: 100% ($303) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Oklahoma City: 100% ($255) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Chapman: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* Ohio Northern: 100% ($250) to Republicans, 0 to Democrats

* George Mason: 81.7% ($4,450) to Republicans, 18.3% ($1,000) to Democrats

* Duquesne: 78.9% ($1,500) to Republicans, 21.1% ($400) to Democrats

* St. Louis: 77.3% ($850) to Republicans, 22.7% ($250) to Democrats

* Syracuse: 50.2% ($700) to Republicans, 49.8% ($695) to Democrats

* Alabama: 50.0% ($250) to Republicans, 50.0% ($250) to Democrats

A few tipsters offered an explanation for why the Northwestern faculty favored McCain:

The Northwestern numbers are so skewed to the GOP side because of two profs, Calabresi and McGinnis. The former was my 1L Con Law prof and, despite being incredibly wrong on many issues, is one of the nicest professors I’ve ever had. The latter is moonbat insane.

What about these other schools? Pepperdine professors have contributed more than the maximum individual contribution, so there are at least a couple of McCain supporters out in Malibu. Any idea why the 3-1-0 skews towards McCain?

McCain Law Schools [Tax Prof Blog]

Earlier: Birds That Look Like Law Professors Flock Together

lawyers turned ceos.jpgAssociates often complain that managing partners are elevated because they are excellent lawyers, whether or not they know anything about running a business.

But what happens when lawyers become CEOs of Fortune 500 businesses? According to Corporate Counsel, it’s more poop on a different stick:

Two lawyer-CEOs who were hired amid fanfare a few years ago saw their tenures end during the past year — each with a distinct thud. Last November, Charles Prince III, Citigroup Inc.’s chairman and CEO (and, earlier, its GC), resigned under pressure after four years at the helm. In January, Michael Cherkasky, the CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (and a former prosecutor), ended his three-year reign. Both were hired to tackle their companies’ ethical crises, and their legal expertise was cited as one of their virtues. They were praised for their handling of the legal quagmires, then hounded for months by investors demanding profits. So much for lawyers in red capes.

That sounds like classic American corporate culture. Making “money” for “shareholders” trumps playing it safe and covering your backside.

In fairness, it seems odd to take lawyers schooled in the ancient art of risk-aversion and then ask them to play corporate craps with the best CEOs.

Lawyers’ first, best use after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A Law Degree?
Be A Crappy CEO! “

dc superior court love.jpgSometimes it’s a lonely, lonely world, and you have to grasp at any little flicker of love. Thus exists Craigslist Missed Connections. A tipster noted this recent post from CLMC of the legal love variety. Location: DC Superior Court.

You: Plaintiff – m4m – 33 (DC Superior Court)

Reply to:

Date: 2008-09-20, 12:02AM EDT

You were one of like three guys in the room (fifth floor courtroom) who were under 50 this morning. Curious to know what your case was about. Coffee? (Name the judge to be sure we were in the same room.)

We wonder if the connection has been made and if M33 has explored all the details of the plaintiff’s “case.”

You: Plaintiff – m4m – 33 (DC Superior Court) [District of Columbia Craigslist]

Earlier: ATL Coverage of Craiglist Postings

funny-pictures-your-cat-will-sleep-for-food.jpgWe received 964 responses to our ATL / Lateral Link survey on whether you’re looking for work, and one thing is pretty clear: if you’re a 2L right now, there’s a pretty good chance that the associates you meet in your callbacks don’t actually want to be there.

A whopping 45% of respondents who had been practicing for at least a year said that they were either already looking for a new job or about to start their search.


  • 27% said they were looking for a new job right now,
  • 12% said they were getting their resumes ready, and
  • 6% plan to get their resumes ready just as soon as they receive their bonus checks.

But not everybody’s looking to leave right now. Another 14% of practitioners said that they weren’t planning on looking for a new job . . . because they had just started one.

Even among incoming associates, there was a surprisingly strong tendency toward jumping ship. 14% of respondents in the Class of 2008 are already looking for new jobs, and another 2% are getting their resumes ready.

And third-year law students are also looking around, as 28% of 3L’s said they were interviewing again this fall. Of these, 62% said they were no-offered, and another 5% said they received a cold offer from their summer employer.

Are You Looking For A New Job Right Now? Breakdown By Class



I’m getting my    
resume ready.    
I’ll get my resume    
ready once I    
get my bonus.    
No, I just accepted    
an offer or    
started a new job.    
Before 2000  

Additional discussion, including a breakdown by practice area, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Looking For A New Job?”

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