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side taker adr.jpgSideTaker.com might be the best example of schadenfreude ever created.
It is ostensibly a form of alternative dispute resolution for divorcing or generally unhappy couples. The concept is pretty simple. A disgruntled lover pays a $12 fee and posts his or her grievance on the website. Then he/she invites their partner to do the same. Once the two sides are online, random strangers weigh in on the dispute and vote over a 60 day period for who should prevail.
Obviously the results are not legally binding in any way (not unlike the modern day marriage certificate).
Legal Blog Watch reports that the site’s creators think they are doing some sort of service for the benefit of these couples:

Some are just, but far too many divorces, break ups, and separations happen over non-critical disputes. Over 50% of American marriages end in divorce. In a fight, each person has their side and are usually backed by their friends (on either side). When you can create a jury of anonymous peers to decide who is right or wrong in an argument, then the bias is gone and the person at fault will just have to suck it up.

I can’t imagine hating a woman enough to subject our relationship to the scathing critique of anonymous commenters. I think it’d be more humane just to throw some arsenic in the morning coffee and be done with it.
Wisdom from Side Taker’s “jury” after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Alternative Dispute Resolution By Frat Stud?”

yale poaching profs 600K.jpgI guess the market for law school professors is recession-proof. Stephen Bainbridge has it that Yale offfered a $600,000 poaching fee to secure a Harvard Law School corporate professor. Didn’t Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh read our coverage of Bill Henderson’s empirical evidence proving that Yale will be safe at the top for the rest of the Holocene epoch? Did they really need to spend $600K to prove a point?
And why are law school professors pulling down more than half a million anyway? Sure, communicating high concepts of legal import is a neat party trick, but can they redline a contract against a standard template at 2 a.m. with all the verb tenses in perfect agreement? I don’t think so.
Who do you think is the most overvalued generously compensated law professor in the U.S.? And what does (s)he teach? Guesses are welcome in the comments.
Keep in mind, we are talking about full-time positions. As Paul Caron points out, via David Rifkin, adjunct faculty can easily make more than $600K simply by ordering around an army of associates.
If you want to get in on this gravy train, check out PrawfsBlawg’s hiring thread.
Law Professor Salaries [Business Associations Blog]
$600k for a Tax Prof? [TaxProf Blog]
A law school hiring thread: 2008-09 [PrawfsBlawg]

funny-pictures-weekends-at-bernies.jpgIn last Wednesday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you whether you billed over Labor Day Weekend this year.

We received 1,046 responses, and, not counting summer associates, 55% of you reported that your weekend was actually fun. Associates in New York and Denver were most likely to celebrate the holiday, with roughly two thirds of respondents in New York and all of the respondents in Denver taking the full three-day weekend.

Associates in Chicago and on the West Coast, however, were most likely to work over Labor Day weekend, with roughly 55% of respondents in Los Angeles, 53% of respondents in Chicago and San Diego, and 51% of respondents in the Bay Area logging some billable hours. (Respondents in the Bay Area were also most likely to work over Christmas and New Year’s, on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and over Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July.)

Of those who spent the day at the office, about 48% reported that they weren’t actually asked to work the holiday, but had things they needed to get done, which is a bit lower than what we found for Martin Luther King’s birthday and Memorial Day Weekend.

But about 27% said that partners told them to work on the holiday, which is considerably more than we saw for the Fourth of July. And 15% said they needed the hours, which is up slightly from the Fourth of July weekend, which in turn was slightly up from Memorial Day Weekend.

On the other hand, only about one percent of respondents who worked over the holiday weekend said that they “wanted to impress people,” which is a drop from prior holidays. Perhaps some of the associates who billed patriot hours on the Fourth didn’t feel appreciated enough?

One associate wrote in that his efforts were for a good cause:

An *sshole partner was f*cking over a fellow associate with 19 hour work days, so I helped the fellow associate.

Another, not so much:

I’m a f*cking slave.

Overall, about 59% of respondents who labored last weekend believed that the work was worth it.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.


  • 08 Sep 2008 at 11:45 AM

Clerkshipship Advice Roundup

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOver the weekend, many readers and clerkship applicants opined that the federal hiring plan is, once again, FUBAR.

However, helpful advice for applicants also came in over the comments board and email. In anticipation of the today’s noontime green flag, we bring you the best advice from your fellow ATL readers on how to handle the clerkship process.

Don’t answer the phone, ever. A tipster wrote:

What you want to do is let the calls go to voicemail and then set up your interviews in order of your preference. That way, if you get an exploding offer in the room at the end of the first interview, it will be with the judge that you really want.

But don’t be an idiot and change your cell phone. One tipster that thankfully overcame a massive brain freeze reports:

Calls were supposed to go out on the 11th, and on the 10th, I finally decided that my old cell phone was a POS and was going to use my summer associate $$$ for an iPhone. As the Fall progressed, I kept having trouble calling certain folks with my new phone. I could call them, they couldn’t call me. Finally, I figure out that when I switched phones, there was a glitch that prevented a certain percentage of my calls from actually reaching me. D’oh.

Remember: the people you’re replacing don’t know their don’t know their Lexis from their Nexis. As one commenter points out:

Don’t get discouraged. If the phone doesn’t ring on the first day, that’s not always a bad thing…. Us clerks just got on the job and we don’t want to start looking for our replacements just yet. I’m still trying to figure out the phones.

More tips from the readers after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkshipship Advice Roundup”

tills.jpgNew York judge Ronald Tills is the guy you want in charge of your bachelor party. You might think he’s out of touch at 73 years old, but he still knows where to find the ladies. Unfortunately, they’re the kind you have to pay for.

Tills pleaded guilty last week to violating the Mann Act by bringing a prostitute across a state line. Among his other prostitute-related offenses, as reported by the Buffalo News:

  • He was responsible for recruiting out-of-state prostitutes to work a Jesters meeting in Dunkirk “in or about September 2001,” while serving as director of the Buffalo chapter of the Jesters.

  • He recruited an illegal alien prostitute from a North Tonawanda massage parlor to service men at a Jesters event in Kentucky in October 2005.
  • He arranged for transporting prostitutes from Buffalo Niagara International Airport to a national Jesters meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., in the spring of 2006.
  • A retired acting New York Supreme Court justice and Court of Claims judge, Tills must have been known as the “Grand Poobah of Prostitute Procurement” to the Royal Order of Jesters.

    According to the Jesters website, it’s a Masonic organization descended from the Shriners, but it’s not into charity like most Masonic groups. It has “a fun ‘degree’, with absolutely no serious intent.” Just the serious intent to get busy with prostitutes.

    Former judge Tills faces likely prison term after admitting he recruited prostitutes [Buffalo News]

    Former Judge Pleads Guilty to Transporting Prostitute Across State Lines [New York Law Journal]

    Surely You Jest: Former New York Judge Admits to Violating Mann Act [WSJ Law Blog]

    squire snaders staff attorney offers.gifThe no-offer reports keep rolling in from our readers, but one tip about Squire, Sanders & Dempsey stopped us in our tracks:

    [A summer associate] at Squire Sanders got offered a staff attorney position. Apparently one-third of the class got real offers, some got staff attorney offers, and the rest?

    Staff attorney — i.e., a job with a significantly lower salary than an associate position, featuring endless document review and discovery work, and without any prospect of promotion to partnership. Is that a cold offer, or a coldcock?

    Or is it “creative accounting” for purposes of reporting to NALP, which collects and publishes data about summer associate programs? Presumably Squire Sanders will count the staff attorney “offers” in the number of full-time employment offers made to summer associates that it reports to NALP. But bringing the summers on as staff attorneys rather than associates will save the firm a lot of money. This is one of the most creative ways of dealing with the downturn that we’ve come across.

    Squire Sanders spokesperson Drez Jennings provided us with a prompt and direct response:

    [W]e made offers to 76 percent of the summers, and no offers to 24 percent.

    Ouch. No-offering a quarter of your class is already pretty harsh.

    Jennings declined to comment on the staff attorney question (even though it was explicitly presented), leaving ATL readers to speculate on how many, if any, of Squire Sanders summer offers were for staff attorney positions.

    More on Squire Sanders and staff attorneys, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide No Offer Watch: Squire Sanders
    (SSD to SAs: Wannabe a staff attorney?)”

    freddie mac shakedown.jpg* Big government to the rescue. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be taken over and bailed out, with taxpayer-funded infusions of up to $200 billion. [Washington Post]

    * How do you get the youth vote out legally? Virginia says college students shouldn’t register to vote from their college address. If parents claim them as legal dependents, their parents’ addresses should be used. [New York Times]

    * The case of the of U.S. attorneys firing continues to drag out. The D.C. Circuit grants the White House a delay in turning over documents, which means Harriet Miers can keep avoiding testifying before Congress. [Washington Post]

    * Judge Elizabeth Halverson underwent surgery this weekend for her husband-and-frying-pan-inflicted skull fractures. [San Jose Mercury News]

    * A British Muslim lawyer plus an Osama bin Laden joke equals a $1 million dollar payout. [United Press International]

    law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLet us turn our attention to judges and the law students who do all their work. Monday marks the first day where judges can schedule interviews with clerkship applicants. ATL will be right there with the applicants, poring over the Clerkship Notification Blog.

    The plan is simple, according to the 2008 Law Clerk Hiring Plan.

    But just like last year the best laid plans sometimes go awry. According to a tipster:

    The hiring plan seems to be falling apart. I knew it was already unraveling in ‘flyover country’ because judges there thought it worked to their disadvantage, but people here are talking about judges even in major markets (DC, NY, CA) who purport to follow the plan are at least calling early, if not offering early too.

    How are applicants coping with the last weekend before the official hiring season? And who is already sitting on secret offers? Discuss, vent, or gloat below.

    Earlier: Clerkship Hiring: Today’s the Day

    mechanical bull toys.jpg* No offer, no problem. Just hang a shingle. Or work for a small firm. Or … dear God could somebody please fix this economy? [Greatest American Lawyer]
    * Just once I’d like to see a judge run on a platform of “In my court, families are the real criminals.” You know, like they do in China. [f/k/a]
    * If you get drunk and ride a mechanical bull, people laugh with you. If you get drunk and fall off the mechanical bull and hurt yourself, people laugh at you. If you sue the mechanical bull operators for your public display of drunken buffoonery, lady justice weeps softly in the night. [Eater]
    * What kinds of deductions can pimps claim? [TaxProf Blog]
    * The LPGA backed off their proposal to suspend non-English speaking golfers. [Golf.com]

    One of the best things about getting a law degree is that you can really help people. People in need who are being railroaded by the system. People in power who are creating jobs for the economy. And occasionally, people suffering from perma-drunk on craigslist.

    WANTED FRESH BARRED VA ATTORNEY

    just graduated college and I was charged with a bull **** drunk in public and vandalism charge in the City of Fairfax.

    What I need is an attorney to come with me on my court date Aug 27 to try to talk to the prosecutor and have him drop the charge or lessen it, since this is the first time I have ever been charged with anything and I have paid back the person and there was no way to prove I was legally drunk since I was not tested.

    I am looking for fresh attorneys or recently barred attorneys.

    I’d make a joke but I am so terrified of getting “barred.”

    Ad reprinted in full after the jump

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Somebody’s Hiring”

    paper chase law school.jpgThe school year has begun for many a fresh-faced law student. Most 1Ls have likely performed the starting school rituals: they’ve bought their textbooks, chosen their classes, and watched “The Paper Chase.”

    Now that these lawyer wannabes have embarked on the three year quest for a J.D. (three years for now at least), it is time for sage ones to offer advice on making the most of the experience.

    Around the web, there are various lists. Here are some of our favorite tips:

    1. From the Listless Lawyer, “your only goal should be good grades.”

    2. From ClassBrain, “prepare to be mystified.”

    3. From the Legal Underground, “don’t be an a–hole.”

    Of course, we also advise that you read ATL regularly.

    All of you lawyers (who still remember your first year of law school), what’s your advice? We invite you to share your law school wisdom in the comments.

    Advice for 1Ls [The Listless Lawyer]

    Eight Tips for New Law Students: Things They Don’t Tell You At Orientation [Class Brain]

    Five Indispensable Tips for Law Students and New Lawyers [Legal Underground]

    ashwin madia nyu congress marine.jpgOnce you get into a top law school, staying on the Biglaw course requires determination, talent and a clear headed focus on your goals. Getting out of Biglaw requires all the same strengths, mixed with a little bit of crazy.
    J. Ashwin Madia has been a law firm associate and a Marine, and now he’s running for Congress. But like so many of us his journey started in the relative safety of a top law school. The friends of his from NYU Law might know him better as Jigar. Madia starting using his middle names when he joined the Marines.
    The few Marines I’ve met all talk about a desire to give back to the community and Madia is no different:

    My parents came to this country with $19 between them, and they bought an $11 bottle of champagne and they started with $8 in this country. So this was a small way to give something back.

    Where Madia is different is that his post-bar trip was disturbingly similar to boot camp, insofar as he had to go to boot camp.

    The marines are kind of unique in that if you fly a plane or drive a tank or are a lawyer, you all go through the same training. It was funny, after I took the bar exam I had 8 months of crawling around in the mud and shooting a machine gun and learning martial arts and learning how to be a rifle platoon commander.

    Madia helped the Iraqi government formulate their legal system, focusing on getting suspected terrorists competent defense lawyers, fair trials, and if guilty, speedy incarceration.
    He has also had more traditional legal jobs. After his tour with the in the Marine corps, Madia went back to Minnesota (where he is from) to work at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in their IP department.

    But, you know, sometimes I would look out of the window there and just think of other things I could be doing.

    More about Ashwin Madia and his G.I. Joe advice to Biglaw associates after the break.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Can You Do With A Law Degree?
    Join The Marines and Run For Congress “

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