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Lisa Blatt and Tom Goldstein

In Washington, D.C., on Monday, October 27, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hosting an awesome Above the Law event: a look at the upcoming Term of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court’s docket grew by 11 cases today (but no action yet on same-sex marriage).

I’ll moderate a discussion featuring two of the nation’s foremost Supreme Court advocates: Lisa Blatt, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter, and Tom Goldstein, partner at Goldstein & Russell and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Blatt and Goldstein have collectively argued more than 60 times before the Court.

There are many SCOTUS previews taking place around town over the next few weeks, but we promise you that the ATL event will be especially fun and lively. We will offer food, drink, and excellent company.

And the event is free of charge. If you’d like to attend, please request an invite below. Thanks!

At press time, the child whose future decisions will touch the lives of every American citizen for generations went inside to find a lighter.

– The Onion, describing how an 8-year-old future Supreme Court justice spent his day brutally dismembering a grasshopper. The Onion envisions the Court dominated by a psychopath “who will go on to be the court’s crucial swing vote under five consecutive administrations,” and who “laughed out loud and implored the helpless creature to jump.” That sounds about right.

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Larry Latourette is Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

As a partner, you may ask, “Why should I work with a recruiter and why should it be you?”

The quick answer is because I can provide material value to you that you can’t obtain any other way. Let me explain, using the experiences of three candidates with whom I recently worked. Each were lawyers in their mid-to-upper thirties, had a book of business in the high six-figure range, and had concluded they wanted to explore other options…

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Keith Lee

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

— Aristotle

The trick is not holding other people accountable, but holding yourself accountable. It’s the central starting point of developing an appropriate professional mindset — recognizing that you are personally responsible for your actions and results (or lack thereof) delivered to clients.

You must strive to do the best you can in all situations. While it will make a difference in the quality of the work you produce, more importantly it makes a difference in you. Pushing yourself to deliver better work, better services, and better solutions will allow you to self-create new challenges and excitement in your job. It will help keep monotony and routine at bay.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Where Do You Fit On The Ladder?”

Bruce Stachenfeld

This is a continuation of the past two articles that I published in ATL over the past month. My first article gave my view that the profitability metric of Profits Per Partner is a good servant but a bad master and, as a master, it is a root cause of serious problems for Biglaw. In my second article, I put forth a Profits Per Partner Emancipation Plan as a different way of doing business that I hope will eventually be adopted. Now, here I am giving my theory on what I think is a higher level of law firm profitability analysis, which is to “Embrace Volatility.”

Let me start by asking you: what is it that we all crave in our hearts? I mean, we all want money and power and fame and to be cool and good-looking and talented at sports or music or acting — but in addition to that — I think it is one of the basest human emotions to crave:

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What the hell is going on here?

Canadians are generally a friendly lot. At least, when they aren’t building anti-gay law schools or talking about their Stanley Cup drought (21 years and counting). So it was more than a little bit startling to see the latest cover from Canadian Lawyer magazine going all Birth of a Nation on us.

The prominent legal publication featured a cover story about the lack of diversity on the Canadian bench. Unfortunately, the cover image they used did a much better job demonstrating why there might be race problems in Canada. Great White North indeed.

And bizarrely, the magazine hasn’t apologized for its cover despite the controversy it’s sparked….

(Please note the UPDATE added below.)

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In past columns I wrote about how a lawyer and a judge use iPads as part of their daily routine. And there’s a good reason that iPads were the first tablets discussed; it’s because the vast majority of lawyers who use tablets in their practices choose the iPad. In fact, according to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Survey, 84% of lawyers surveyed who used tablets preferred the iPad and only 10% used Android devices, with the remaining 6% using other types of tablets.

The lawyer I’ll be featuring today, Scott Bassett, is one of the 6%. Scott is a solo practitioner who lives in Florida with a practice focused on Michigan appellate work, and his tablet of choice is the Sony Digital Paper model #DPT-S1. Even though his Sony tablet costs more, he prefers it over the iPad because it’s versatile and substantially lighter: “My tablet is so thin and light you barely know you’re carrying it. At $1,100 it costs nearly twice as much as the iPad, but weighs half as much as the iPad Air. Not only is it lighter, it has a full-size, 13.5-inch screen, so documents appear on my screen full size. It’s a better screen than the iPad Kindle app because of the backlit LCD screen. It’s much easier to read and offers better reading comfort when you’ve got hundreds of pages of trial transcripts to read through. And, the batteries last nearly an entire month.”

What are some of its other advantages?

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Recently, I wrote, with Chris Muha in my office, an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It raises an important issue about white-collar criminal cases.

The case, in a highly generalized nutshell, came down to this — WellCare, a company in Florida, that took Medicaid payments made a decision about how to set up a way to provide services under Medicaid that took advantage of an ambiguous statute. Counsel vetted it and signed off on the interpretation as reasonable.

Other companies took essentially the same approach to the ambiguous statute and set up essentially the same approach to providing these services.

The agency in Florida that administers its Medicaid program took a different view of what the statute meant.

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Justice Antonin Scalia

* Justice Scalia spoke at CU-Boulder last night. For his sake, we certainly hope he didn’t speak about any issues that might someday appear before SCOTUS, lest he be asked to recuse. [Boulder Daily Camera via How Appealing]

* Another one bites the dust over at Main Justice: David O’Neil, the head of the criminal division, is stepping down in the wake of the BNP Paribas case, and will likely have many white-shoe law firm suitors. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Fox Rothschild picked up a 18-lawyer boutique firm in Texas, which will serve as the home of its first outpost in the Lone Star State. Energy law, surprisingly, wasn’t the driving factor. [Legal Intelligencer]

* “I have a heart and I have two kids.” That’s a pretty damn good reason for Biglaw attorneys to take a break from their corporate billable hours to represent undocumented children pro bono. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Scott Greenfield reviews Lat’s forthcoming novel, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). Of course, in SHG style, it contains a spoiler. Try to skip that clearly marked paragraph. [Simple Justice]

This story starts as a sperm bank horror story. A lesbian couple wanted to have a baby, and decided artificial insemination was the way to go. They pored over donor profiles, discussed with family and friends, and finally picked one specimen of biological material that was right for their family.

But the sperm bank sent over the wrong specimen, and didn’t figure out the mistake until the woman, Jennifer Cramblett, was well into her pregnancy. Terrible, right? The sperm bank apologized and gave her a refund, which probably doesn’t even scratch their legal liability. But the woman carried the baby to term and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Now, two years later, Cramblett wants to sue. The sperm donor mixup really should be enough to support her claims for wrongful birth and breach of warranty. But Cramblett has added a surprising twist to her protestations of harm. It turns out that the incorrect donor was black. Cramblett now claims emotional distress because her family and town are too racially intolerant for her to raise a mixed-race daughter in their midst…

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* We welcome Howard Bashman to his new homepage! [How Appealing / Above the Law]

* An ode to Brian Leiter to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around.” [Philosophy Metablog]

* “Lawyers have a powerful voice in the American legal system, government, and news and entertainment businesses. But do they make their contributions to society while impaired?” You’re goddamned right we do! [SSRN]

* For example, a Louisville lawyer was arrested for allegedly surfing the web while driving drunk. Who says solo practitioners can’t multitask. [WDRB]

* Is litigation finance a loan or an investment? Perhaps tax law holds the answer. [LFC 360]

* Former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. had his law license suspended indefinitely. Apparently his trust account was bouncing checks. This suspension has ramifications for a much bigger case — Bosley had been representing Dorian Johnson, an eyewitness to the Michael Brown killing. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.); St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* Hasbro thinks that owning Scrabble means they own the English language. [Slate]

* Congratulations to legal communications specialists Infinite PR, who just merged with UK outfit Spada to expand their business across the pond. [PR Week]

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