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Joe Borstein

Since the launch of alt.legal, Ed and I have received a lot of very interesting emails and feedback. It is apparent that many of you read ATL literally all day love working in Biglaw, but most many have considered taking a walk onto the alternative side (sounds far more erotic than it is).

What we hope to prove to you through this ongoing column is that legal entrepreneurship is exciting, prestigious, lucrative, and, most importantly — to the many resilient lawyers out there who have remained idealistic in the face of back-to-back all-nighters — your best chance to change the legal system for the better. Moreover, despite what you think, innovation in the law is NOT just in e-discovery. Turns out, there are problems worth solving associated with almost every practice, and with each, there are entrepreneurs and innovators ready to change the game. (My co-author, Ed Sohn, is planning to write more on this underground world next time.)

Today, we profile one such entrepreneur, Adam Nguyen, who saw inefficiencies in the always-exciting process of contract review for due diligence (hey litigators, it turns out M&A lawyers have to do document review too), and leveraged $150,000 worth of Harvard Law-branded problem solving to create an innovative technology solution called eBrevia.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “alt.legal: Take A Walk On The Alt.Side (A Profile In M&A Innovation)”

Somebody is going to need to do a study on the lost productivity caused by the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon. It’s been pretty amazing. Not that I support what’s really going on here: we should be living in frictionless times, but the exclusivity deals like the one FXX has struck with the Simpsons can make it more difficult to access the content you want on the platform where you want it. At this point, we need an app to tell us what app we need to download the shows we want.

I know, I know, my fears are groundless and my complaints moronic. Whatever, I get FXX and I either work from home or in an office where I can watch TV and say things like “I’ll finish this post between the 29th and 32nd minutes of the hour, thanks.”

It occurs to me that if you are at work, like a real work job, you might be missing out and much of this zeitgeist. Come on, just because you are locked in an office and chained to a desk, doesn’t mean you can’t procrastinate with your fellow Americans.

Let us reminisce about the patron saint of lawyers, Lionel Hutz…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Memoriam: Miguel Sanchez, A.K.A Lionel Hutz”

As an openly gay attorney at Becker & Poliakoff for over nine years, I know that the email sent by this attorney does not reflect the core values of this firm. In fact, Becker & Poliakoff is committed to diversity as reflected by the firm’s hiring practices, outreach and diversity scholarships awarded annually.

Michael Gongora, a shareholder at Becker & Poliakoff, explaining how outreach and scholarships might help future Becker lawyers learn where AIDS comes from. The firm says it has taken “immediate and severe” action against Walter Kubitz in light of his homophobic firm-wide email, but still refuses to announce the nature of the action. Kubitz’s profile is still up on the firm website, so I’m wondering if Becker management understands what “immediate and severe” even means.

I discussed in a past column that one of Canada’s finest law schools, McGill, costs about $4,000 per year. Isn’t that crazy? I bet many Biglaw partners have spent more than $4k on a single client lunch (tip included).

McGill’s microscopic tuition highlights the two main differences between U.S. law schools and Canadian law schools: first, almost all Canadian schools are waaaaaayyyyyyyyy cheaper than their U.S. counterparts. Second, the top students from all our law schools can get Biglaw jobs in Canada. We have only about twenty law schools, but each of them regularly place students with big firms across the country.

There is an implication for Canadian schools as a result: our schools don’t really need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. They can get by with similar course offerings and limited specializations.

The U.S. law school universe is vastly different….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: Law Schools Acting Like Businesses”

It’s not all doom and gloom in the Back In The Race series. Despite getting ignored or getting countless rejection letters from law firms big and small, I like to have a little fun with my job search. So today, I will share my experience at an interview with a firm I had no interest in working for. Thanks to Above The Law’s generous contributor compensation plan, retirement benefits and student loan repayment assistance program, I can afford to be slightly more picky when it comes to choosing employers.

Over the weekend, a recruiter asked if I would be interested in meeting with a local solo practitioner who seeks to hire an associate. After learning a little bit about her and her area of practice, I knew it wasn’t going to work between us. But I decided to go to this interview anyway just so I could play the role of the demanding, entitled special snowflake and see her reaction.

So let’s find out who the lucky solo is and see how it all went…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Mock Interview”

Judge Richard Posner isn’t amused.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket and on Twitter, yesterday’s Seventh Circuit arguments weren’t fun for the defenders of Wisconsin and Indiana’s same-sex marriage bans. The three judges, especially Judge Richard Posner, were tough — very tough.

Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed, a leading chronicler of marriage-equality litigation, described the proceedings as “the most lopsided arguments over marriage bans at a federal appeals court this year.” Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress called it “a bloodbath.”

That’s no exaggeration. Let’s check out the specifics….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Posner’s Blistering Benchslaps At The Same-Sex Marriage Arguments”

Lawyers, by nature, are not very optimistic people. Maybe it’s a function of assessing risk constantly — with your ass on the line no less. Or just that lawyers tend to get called in after the s**t has hit the fan, so we aren’t generally exposed to the very best of humanity.

I can no longer remember if I was an optimistic, glass-half-full kinda person before law school, but surely there was some spark in me that saw the good in people and situations. I know because I just felt that small flame of hope flickering in my chest get extinguished. And it’s all because of a job posting

So what job is so bad it has me questioning my very faith in humanity?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why The New Normal For Document Review Spells Disaster”

Burger King bounty for Biglaw.

* Judge Posner dished out a whole lot of benchslaps at yesterday’s Seventh Circuit arguments over Indiana and Wisconsin’s bans on same-sex marriage. [BuzzFeed]

* Major U.S. and Canadian law firms chow down on Burger King’s whopper of a deal with Tim Hortons. [Am Law Daily]

* A recent Delaware court ruling on attorney-client privilege might allow in-house lawyers to speak more freely about wrongdoing at their companies, according to Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The corruption trial of former Virginia governor continues; yesterday Bob McDonnell’s sister took the stand. [Washington Post]

* A favorable evidentiary ruling for Aaron Hernandez. [Fox Sports]

* And good news for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, the two law professors running for governor and lieutenant governor of New York: the Times dissed their opponent, Andrew Cuomo, with a non-endorsement. [New York Times]

* I recently spoke with one of my cousins Joao Atienza of the Cebu Sun Star, about Above the Law and the world of legal blogging. [Cebu Sun Star]

And then there were four. According to Above the Law readers, these are the four best lawyer letters we’ve ever profiled. Four testaments to becoming a legal legend. Or at least a minor celebrity to the ATL faithful. In a couple of weeks it’ll all be over and we’ll have a reigning champion against whom we can judge all future letters.

So which will it be? There are few competitions that can say “throwing a porn star off the roof has a good shot to win.” At least very few competitions outside of Bangkok.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Greatest Lawyer Letter Ever? — Final Four”

* This probably goes without saying, but don’t smuggle drugs into prison. This grandpa apparently failed that lesson. [Legal Juice]

* Town gets fed up and just sues every single citizen. [Lowering the Bar]

* A city lawyer heads out to the country to woo a pretty maid. At least this song gets it right and the lawyer fails. [Legal Cheek]

* Some thoughts on trademark law and post-parody fashion, from Professor Charles Colman. [U. Penn Law Review]

* Attorneys took different approaches to litigating slavery. Nothing really funny here, it’s just interesting. [The Faculty Lounge]

* James Sherwin of SOR Solicitors made this infographic about patents in Europe (and where Ireland fits in). In case you ever wanted to know if Europe’s intellectual property set up is as crazy as America’s. [SOR-Solicitors]

Earlier this year at the (shameless plug alert) Attorney@Blog Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Guy Alvarez and Joe Lamport, founders of Good2bSocial, a digital agency that helps law firms utilize social media and content marketing to improve their business.

Look, I will be the first to tell you how powerful a good content strategy can be for a business. I even left my cushy Biglaw salary to start a company in the content space. But #Biglaw? Even I was skeptical.

So I was shocked to hear of all the law firms who were being recognized at the conference for their work in social media. How exactly would a firm use Twitter or Facebook to drive business? I decided to invite Guy and Joe to participate in a conversation about the emerging role of social media in law firms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “#Rainmakers: How Biglaw Uses Social Media For Business Development”

When it comes to the debate over the wisdom of going to law school, I fall somewhere in between. I’m not as optimistic as Jordan Weissmann of Slate, but I’m not as pessimistic as Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, two of my colleagues here at Above the Law.

Back in June, when I reviewed employment data for the law school class of 2013, I sounded some cautiously optimistic notes. I wondered whether a stable job market and shrinking law school classes could produce better employment outcomes for many law grads.

Could the jobs picture be even brighter than “stable”? Check out what looks like a big expansion of the U.S. Department of Justice’s prestigious Attorney General’s Honors Program, along with other opportunities to work as a lawyer for the federal government….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reminder: DOJ (And Other) Honors Program Applications Are Due Soon”

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