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LaurenceLeavy* As the World Series draws to a close, be sure to salute Miami-based lawyer Laurence Leavy, who will be sitting front and center behind home plate tonight wearing a garish Miami Marlins jersey. Troll so hard, buddy! [CBS Sports]

* Speaking of the World Series: Do you think you know the law? How about baseball? Here’s a Law and Baseball trivia competition in the form of a crossword. Act fast because the first one with a completed entry is declared the winner. [Dewey B Strategic]

* Thomas Jefferson School of Law restructures its debt and manages to stay alive! Oh happy day! [TaxProfBlog]

* Selling yourself is important, but NOT selling yourself may be more powerful. [Law and More]

* I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising, but there’s a hefty hiring and pay gap between the sexes in the expert witness industry. [The Expert Institute]

* Donald Trump’s “Trump University” can add “RICO defendant” to its list of accomplishments after a federal judge grants class certifications to students suing the school. [Law 360]

* A discussion of the lack of diversity on the Court cites our list of Supreme Court clerks and notes that Justice Clarence Thomas practices what he preaches about expanding opportunity beyond Harvard and Yale. [Los Angeles Times]

* Elie joined Daniel Gershburg on his podcast to discuss legal education, Vegas, and the phenomenon of Walmart Law, Inc. Podcast embedded below…. [I Am The Law Podcast]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.29.14″

thank you spring flowersThanks to our advertisers here at Above the Law:

If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, please download our media kits or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

This is going to sound like a simple mistake. This is going to sound like a legal “technicality” that has resulted in a sex offender going free. But when a judge upends a central pillar of American law, even accidentally, there’s no other outcome.

Here’s the story, from ABA JournalGuilty not guilty:

The Los Angeles judge erred during the December 2006 voir dire in the sex-crime trial of Bryant Keith Williams, according to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge said Williams had pleaded guilty to the charges, though he intended to say Williams had pleaded not guilty.

The judge’s error came to light when jurors who had been deliberating for less than an hour sent the judge a note. “As a group,” the note read, “we the jury feel we heard the judge state the defendant pleaded guilty before the trial. Is this true?”

The judge tried to correct his mistake. He said that the defendant pleaded “not” guilty, and asked the jurors if they could still look back on the trial with that in mind. One juror was dismissed. The rest said that they could, and returned a guilty verdict.

Continue reading on Above the Law Redline…


merger law firm mergerThese are challenging times for the nation’s 200k+ law firms. Just look at the pace of mergers. Combination announcements appear almost weekly.

In fact, 2013 was a record year for law firm mergers. And, based on the first nine months of this year, 2014 will end with a similar number of transactions. Although the mega-mergers grab the headlines, a big number of transactions are between smaller firms or smaller firms being scooped up by larger concerns seeking to gain a foothold in new markets.

Last month, The American Lawyer reported on this record merger pace citing deals closed in the hot southwest legal market. Two notables:

  • LeClairRyan’s merger with Houston’s Hays, McConn
  • Fox Rothschild’s combination with David & Goodman in Dallas

In both mergers, Roger Hayse and Andy Jillson of Hayse LLC advised Hays McConn and David & Goodman in their respective transactions and helped shepherd those two firms through to successful deals. Why are Roger and Andy front and center in this robust merger market? For one, they have walked in your shoes. Here are two guys who led and helped build a strong regional firm that included the strategy of merger. So, how should small to medium-sized firms approach a merger strategy? What are the “rules of the road” for achieving a successful merger? What are the best ways to manage the inherent risks?

Let’s hear from Roger and Andy:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Strategy Of Merger: 4 Steps To Success For Law Firm Leaders”

Canada View From Up North As most of the world knows, last week a gunman shot and killed a Canadian soldier as he stood at his post near the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was standing on guard in honour of his fallen brothers-in-arms when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot him with a 30-30 rifle at close range.

Hunters use 30-30s to kill moose.

As ordinary citizens tried heroically to save our soldier’s life, Zehaf-Bibeau rushed over to Parliament Hill, only a few blocks away, bent on destroying more lives. He died in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, thankfully before he could do further serious harm.

What a horrible day for Canada and an infinitely more horrible day for Corporal Cirillo’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his loved ones.

I apologize, because when a young soldier loses his life, politics should be the last thing on anybody’s mind. But, Corporal Cirillo’s death immediately turned political….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: Terror In Ottawa”

Philadelphia_skyline_from_south_street_bridgeNext week, ATL will be in the City of Brotherly Love. So, if you’re a law student, come meet up with us for drinks after class — I mean, we’ll buy you one. Courtesy of our friends at Kaplan Bar Review.

Many of you have told us you’re coming. But for those of you who haven’t, here’s your invitation.

Details and a form to officially RSVP are below.

Tell your friends and come on down…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “RSVP Now For A Free Drink With ATL In Philadelphia”

law_school1-e13663075495591-RFThe past few years have been challenging for U.S. legal education. Law school applications have fallen by 37 percent since their 2010 peak. As a result, law schools have had to accept weaker students, shrink their entering class sizes, or both. Smaller entering classes have meant reduced tuition revenue, which has resulted in layoffs of faculty and staff and even news of a campus closing.

But is legal education about to make a comeback? Survey says….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Admissions Officers Express Optimism (Although Why Is Unclear)”

resume girlFor the first few years of my solo practice, I was a pure solo (also known as a “true solo”). This means that I had no associates nor support staff. I had a small number of clients with relatively simple matters, so I had no need for such luxuries. But later, I got a part-time assistant who handled the mail, deposited checks, and called a client from time to time. She is still with me today helping me close up my existing cases.

Solo practitioners and small partnerships seeking a lucrative practice will eventually have to hire employees, or at the very least, part-time contract workers, in order to expand. At some point, the grunt work becomes too burdensome for the solo to handle alone. The legal assistant or paralegal will handle the usual office paperwork and logistical client calls while the associate is in charge of smaller cases.

Some pure solos want the lucrative practice without the hassle and potential liability of employees. Today, I want to share some of the true solo business plans being thrown around — and why it’s hard to make them work….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Back In The Race: The Pure Solo Business Plan”

Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

You are obliged to see the pictures to come to a conclusion. You cannot simply ignore what it is that these images depict.

Suzanne Cote, independent counsel to the Canadian Judicial Council commission investigating Justice Lori Douglas, urging the commission members to view the nude photos of Justice Douglas [link is safe for work; just detailed descriptions of the images, not actual pictures]. Douglas’s lawyer, Sheila Block, objects to further viewing of the photographs and wants them destroyed.

Sleeping with DocumentsThey say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, well, extrapolated to the legal profession: it ain’t over till all appeals have been exhausted. Such is the case of our good friend, contract attorney David Lola. You remember him, he filed suit against Skadden Arps and his staffing agency, Tower Legal, alleging his work as a contract attorney did not rise to the level of the practice of law and as such he was entitled to overtime wages. Last month, his Fair Labor Standards Act case was dismissed by Judge Richard Sullivan finding that the provision of legal services by a lawyer are exempt from federal overtime laws regardless of the nature of the task performed.

Last we heard from Mr. Lola, things were not going well. He’s been blackballed from the industry and living out of his car. Not exactly the result you’d hope for when filing a lawsuit. Well, at least he has his appeal to look forward to.

And what causes lawyers to strike out (via lawsuit) at the law firms that hire them?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Contract Attorney OT Suit Moves To Second Circuit”

Justice RBG as a sassy chihuahua.

Justice RBG as a sassy chihuahua.

* “I thought it was hilarious. And I imagine my colleagues who have seen it would share that view.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has seen John Oliver’s talking Supreme Court dogs, and she totally LOLed about it. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Hey guys, guess who’s excited about a yet-to-occur increase in law school applications? If you guessed law school admissions officers, then you’d be right. Come on, what else are they going to do now, cry? [National Law Journal]

* We suppose some congratulations are in order for Ave Maria Law, because now the school doesn’t have to provide insurance coverage for its employees’ contraceptives. Yay, thanks Hobby Lobby! [LifeNews]

* Manuel Noriega’s “Call of Duty” lawsuit was dismissed earlier this week, and Rudy Giuliani is just glad that “a notorious criminal didn’t win.” Let’s get real here: the dictator’s rep was already damaged. [CNN]

* “Can we talk?” Melissa Rivers called a plaintiffs firm to ask the question made famous by her late mother, Joan Rivers. Her malpractice and wrongful death suit will be coming soon. [Page Six / New York Post]

HiResThe New York Legal Marketing Association hosted its annual General Counsel Forum last week, featuring three prominent GCs from major New York industries: Jason Greenblatt of The Trump Organization, Ed Holmes of AIG Investments, and Scott Univer of the accounting firm WeiserMazars. Aric Press, editor in chief of American Lawyer Media, served as moderator.

Obviously, the industries and firms of all three GC panelists were rocked by the “dark, demanding and sleep-disturbing downturn in recent years,” and this forum — titled “What Keeps You Up At Night?” — was meant to provide them a chance to share their experiences and concerns with the packed house at the NYSSA. The conversation was a lively and wide-ranging one, covering such topics as reputation management, legal risk across multiple jurisdictions, the increasingly complex regulatory environment, and, most of all, how frustrating it is to deal with clueless law firms (and what the firms might do to alleviate this). Here are some highlights:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “13 Things That Keep GCs Up At Night”

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