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medical marijuana protected class.jpgEverybody wants to be a part of a protected class. Trust me, it’s great fun (right up until the moment I try to get a cab home in the rain tonight). But unless you are a racial minority, a woman, or have suffered some sort of horrible disability, the joys of having to go through years of costly litigation to secure a job you never should have been fired from in the first place are unknown to you.
Unless you live in California. The state legislature passed a bill that would require employers to hire medical marijuana users.
Now this is a protected class that all races can get behind. It has been well established that white people like marijuana. According to leading experts:

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should [you] ever imply that people just smoke weed to get high, they do it for medical/spiritual/social reasons, etc, or that there are any negative consequences. This will likely alienate you from white people.

I’m somewhat surprised that all Californians are not united in song over this gross extension of governmental authority. Alas, Hans Bader at writes:

The idea that the government should just stay out of the matter and leave both private employers and medical marijuana users alone is apparently beyond the comprehension of most California legislators, who think that everything permitted must be made mandatory.

Way to use logic to ruin it for everybody, Mr. Bader
Banned or Required, With Nothing In Between [ via Overlawyered]

Tyler Cooper Alcorn New Haven Connecticut law firm.jpgAs we previously reported, the fate of Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, one of Connecticut’s most venerable law firms, was up in the air for a while. There were rumors of dissolution, but managing partner William Fish told ATL that the firm was merely in merger talks.
It seems that those talks have borne fruit. Over the past week, we started receiving many emails from Connecticut tipsters about Tyler Cooper. (We had no idea we had such a fan base in Connecticut.)
Here’s one of them:

Tyler Cooper’s collapse (reported last month here) is now official. A number of partners and associates are leaving Tyler Cooper to join LeClairRyan, a growing national law firm. The change will come later this month. The partners just started notifying friends and clients….

They will take over the space of Tyler Cooper in New Haven. No word on whether Tyler Cooper will even still exist, but the fact that LeClair Ryan will have the same mailing address as the former Tyler Cooper can’t be a good sign.

We reached out to both firms yesterday. Tyler Cooper did not get back to us. LeClair Ryan partner David I. Greenberg responded: “It is our Firm’s policy not to confirm or deny rumors related to lateral hires.”
But another firm that’s scooping up Tyler Cooper attorneys was willing to comment. Read more after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: The Fate of Tyler Cooper”

impatient interviewee.jpgWe’ve done a few posts on screw-ups and rudeness on the part of lawyers conducting on-campus interviews (see here and here). But what about the interviewees? They’re not perfect either — even if some of them think they are.
What are some ways that law students have torpedoed their chances of getting callbacks or summer associate offers? In this grim job market, there’s little room for error (especially if you are a 3L).
Let’s collect some examples of what NOT to do in an interview situation, so ATL readers can learn from the mistakes of others. Here’s a tale from a top ten school:

A 2L knocks on the door of an interview room when it’s his turn. Instead of waiting, he walks right in.

The interviewer and the student being interviewed both look up, shocked. The student says to them, “MY turn,” and just stands there.

The interviewer, after getting past the initial shock, asks to have a couple of minutes to finish up the first interview. The student looks at his watch, pauses, and says, “Well… I suppose….”

That’s pretty bad. Can you top it? Feel free to share (true) stories of fall recruiting bloopers and screw-ups, in the comments.
Update: Check out some of our favorite tales, and vote for the one you like best, over here.

Foley Lardner LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, we reported that Foley & Lardner no offered 43% of their 2008 summer class from their Chicago office.
The firm has still not contacted us directly, but multiple tipsters passed along a clarification email sent to all Foley associates late last night.
Straight from the horse’s mouth (CEO Ralf Boer):

Many of you may have heard about blog comments critical of Foley’s hiring decisions from this year’s summer program which just concluded. Some of those comments indicate that we have extended offers to fewer than 50% of this summer’s 2L participants. The purpose of this e-mail is to set the record straight so that all of you have the facts, rather than the rumors which started as we made our first offers and before we completed our offer process.We literally have only completed our offer process at the office level today, and additional offers may yet be made.

As we pointed out in our initial story, some tipsters mentioned that Foley could still have been reviewing summer candidates as of last week. We couldn’t confirm those reports with the firm, but they appear to have been correct.
So what are the final numbers shaping up like?

If we look at the number of offers made to date, the offer percentage is 84% (89 offers to the 106 2Ls in the summer program). That number may go up as we complete our offer process. Thus, the percentages reported in the blogs were calculated as we were in the middle of our offer process and, accordingly, were inaccurate. Some of the blog reports related to our Chicago offer rate. We have, in fact, to date made 17 offers to a 2L class of 21, for an offer rate of 81% in Chicago, not the 50% reported on the blogs. Again, that percentage may also go up.

84% overall, 81% out of Chicago. That is a bit lower than the 90% many firms are reporting, but far better than the bloodbath it looked like last week.
More on Foley after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Foley & Lardner Sets the Record Straight.
And They’re Still Looking For 3Ls”

Kramers ipod drawings 1979.jpgSteve Jobs did not invent the iPod. Neither did Bibble.
No, the inventor of the iPod is Kane Kramer, a British guy who stored three and a half minutes of music on a microchip in 1979.
In fairness to Apple, they did not “steal” Kramer’s idea. According to the Daily Mail, Kramer set up a company to develop the iPod idea:

But in 1988, after a boardroom split, he was unable to raise the £60,000 needed to renew patents across 120 countries and the technology became public property.

Patent law: how good ideas are redistributed from kooky inventors to effective businessmen.
And with that Kramer might well have been discard into the Farnsworth bin of history.
But thanks to a dispute between Apple and, Apple needed Kramer. Apple flew Kramer to California to give crucial testimony about the prior art behind the iPod. The dispute between Apple and was settled out of court, but Apple is stuck with the price of admitting that the iPod was invented across the pond.
Why Biglaw associates should support Apple giving money to Kane Kramer, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “iPod Inventor Receives Credit, No Cash”

google.jpg* The DOJ is prepping for its antitrust showdown with Google. It has hired Hogan and Hartson partner (and former legal Mouseketeer) Sandy Litvack for the case. [Information Week]
* Berkeley tree-sitters refuse to comply with court ruling and come down for the sake of a new athletic center. Even after getting immunity for throwing their poo-poo at the po-po. [New York Times]
*The media continue to vet Sarah Palin. She let Alaska taxpayers foot bills for family travel and meals at home. For once, Joe Biden may be happy to be ignored. [Washington Post]
* In her time of woe, Nevada judge Elizabeth Halverson has a friend speak out on her behalf. We want to stop following this story, but we just can’t seem to look away. [Action News]
* J.K. Rowling’s biggest fan has suffered a legal defeat. The man who spent seven years on a Harry Potter lexicon will not be able to publish it, says judge. [New York Times]

ShawnDya L Simpson Judge ShawnDya Simpson.jpgOver 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do Robes Make the Judge?”

MPRE Model Professional Responsibility Exam Above the Law blog.jpgAs 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]

brady byebye.jpg* 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. []

* 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 via Blawg Review]

squire snaders staff attorney offers.gifEarlier 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

Bear Stearns BSC Above the Law blog.jpgLawyer 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

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]

beer nyc outside cops.jpgOpen 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]

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