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Jordan Belfort

Last night, I attended a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y featuring some very interesting individuals — including two lawyers. Thane Rosenbaum, the law professor and novelist, moderated a panel featuring former federal prosecutor Daniel Alonso, CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, and the “star” of the evening, Jordan Belfort — the disgraced stockbroker turned convicted felon turned bestselling author who served as the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street.

So what was the evening like? One attendee described it as “cringeworthy” — and I have to agree….

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* Our columnist Steve Dykstra opines that Roger Goodell is not going to get fired over the Ray Rice investigation/non-investigation. But what we really want to know from Dykstra is his opinion on how badly the West is going to beat the East in this year’s Grey Cup. [Steven Dykstra]

* Apparently, we’ve been banned by Reddit. I think as editors we’ve posted on Reddit maybe 3 times in the last year, so it certainly isn’t our fault. Reddit notes “above the law will no longer be receiving traffic or page views from here,” which I guess is supposed to be a threat. Hey, don’t fault us just because our content is so good. *cue unimaginative trolling* [Reddit]

* A discussion of gutless women. [The Careerist / The American Lawyer]

* MGM might lose the rights to a pair of Clint Eastwood classics. Specifically, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, and Last Tango in Paris. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]

* The winner of the Hofstra Law School Mystery Short Story Contest is “A Prisoner of Time” by Lucian E. Dervan. That sounds like a 1980s Doctor Who episode. [Mulholland Books]

* Beau Brindley pleads not guilty to telling a witness to lie. So, that case is moving right along. [My Fox Chicago]

* Vermont Law School cites children’s story books. [Law School Lemmings]

* D.C. lawyer Jacob McDermott is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for LiveStrong. Check out his donation site. [LiveStrong]

Kristina Marlow

Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Kristina Marlow is a Director with Lateral Link’s D.C. office who brings almost 20 years of experience in the Washington legal market to her work with associate and partner candidates. Prior to joining Lateral Link, Kristina spent a decade at Gibson Dunn, first as a litigation associate and then as the D.C. office’s recruiting manager. A Michigan native, Kristina earned her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center’s evening program and a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University, where she was named “Outstanding Senior.”

Dear Associate at a Biglaw Firm: I am the legal recruiter to whom you were introduced in a recent post on Above the Law. I am hoping we can connect regarding our shared interest in maximizing your use of LinkedIn…

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Note that Mr. & Mrs. Met have an old-fashioned, traditional marriage just like the front office wants.

Mets. Incompetent? Sexist? Both?

These are the questions asked in a new lawsuit filed yesterday in the Eastern District of New York. In fairness, the first question shouldn’t really be a question assuming a passing understanding of baseball since, say, 1986. I guess there was the year that the NL sent them up to get hammered into submission by the Yankees (who let them win a game!), but no one writes epic songs about cannon fodder. If you haven’t been following the ongoing train wreck of the damned that is the New York Mets, don’t fret, this new complaint can bring you up to speed.

Because the best part of the complaint is its blistering account of just how bad the Mets are at the whole “baseball” thing.

A former Mets executive, Leigh Castergine, is suing the Mets and Jeff Wilpon, the Chief Operating Officer for discrimination, retaliation, and a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Castergine was charged with boosting ticket sales, so a substantial question surrounding her dismissal will be whether she was a failure at her job or whether she was set up to fail.

It’s not shocking to believe that any obstacles she encountered stemmed from incompetence in the front office and on the field.

What is shocking are the allegations detailing the verbal and emotional abuse Castergine took from Wilpon and those acting under his management….

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Size matters, and to be successful today you really have to be in that Am Law 50.

Alan Levin, managing partner of Edwards Wildman, commenting on the importance of being viewed as a “tier 1″ law firm in the overall Biglaw hierarchy. Levin identified possible merger partners by commissioning a study to separate firms into “tier 1″ and “tier 2″ groupings. Locke Lord was considered a “tier 1″ firm, and Levin will become vice chair of Locke Lord Edwards if the merger goes through.

Judge Richard Posner isn’t amused — but we are!

Judge Richard Posner isn’t trying to entertain us. He just does.

When he benchslaps prominent Biglaw partners or government lawyers fighting marriage equality, he’s not trying to be funny. He’s just trying to understand the facts of a case or get to the bottom of the legal arguments — and he’s, well, maybe not as diplomatic as some other judges in going about his business.

Let’s check out the latest argument where Judge Posner snarked on hapless counsel….

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She bet her future on this law school… and lost.

Law schools across the country are falling from grace now that the new normal has taken hold. Students are increasingly less and less interested in going to law school. From joblessness to insurmountable debt, there are just too many risks now associated with the J.D. degree to make it worth their while.

Many law schools are doing everything they can to entice new students to attend, and some of their disaster-avoidance plans — like initiating freezes and cuts to their egregiously high tuition rates — have been quite popular. Other law schools are trying to control costs by offering faculty and staff buyouts or conducting layoffs. Some law schools, however, are trying to pass the buck to their students.

Which top 100 law school is planning back-to-back tuition hikes and asking for state assistance to account for its enrollment woes?

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I suppose there are any number of moments that one can point to that perfectly encapsulate the complete insanity, inanity, and impotence of the NFL’s response to Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée. There is the Ravens tweet, of course. That perfectly horrible bit of victim-shaming, a 144 characters-or-less bite-sized lump of horrifying misogyny. There is John Harbaugh’s endorsement of Rice, a recommendation so heartily unnecessary, it sounded like a Hall of Fame introduction.

But in weirdness alone, the most perfect moment happened last night. That’s when the NFL chose the legal profession as its moral and ethical cover. In the punch bowl that is the NFL’s announcement of a laughably inept “independent” investigation, the league dropped this fantastic turd of a non-sequitur:

“Director Mueller’s investigation will be overseen by NFL owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the final report will be made public. Mara and Rooney are both attorneys.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA… what?

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Ed. note: Please welcome our newest columnist, Professor Joseph Marino of Marino Legal Academy, who will be writing a bimonthly column about law school and legal education.

Your first year classroom experience is not all that different from the classroom scenes in the well known 1973 movie, The Paper Chase.

“Look to the left, look to your right. Because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year.” It sounds like an urban legend, but it’s not that far off from reality. According to the ABA, roughly 5,000 1Ls across the country will not come back for their second year of law school.

By now you should be familiar with case briefing and the Socratic method, the decades-long dominant pedagogical approaches for teaching first-year students. It is dramatically different from the days of rolling out of bed after a night out partying and acing the exam that you were used to in college. Unlike college and high school classes where your professor taught you the subject area, in law school you have to take responsibility for your own education….

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One often hears lawyers, especially at large firms, say something like “if I were a client, I couldn’t afford to hire me.”

The reason is obvious; billable hour rates are high and quality legal work, especially in a tricky area, takes time. Legal fees for middle-class or even upper-middle-class people can easily outpace a client’s ability to pay.

This is a problem in a lot of areas of law, from divorce to employment to routine consumer litigation. In some cases, fee shifting or contingency fees can help make hiring a lawyer more affordable. Still, even for lawyers who aren’t in big firms, clients are often unable to afford the lawyer they need.

Federal employees caught up in Congressional or inspector general investigations are another sad example; they can be hit with massive fees for something they have no control over.

The political climate in Washington is hard on federal employees. Darryl Issa’s Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in the House has been bringing down a reign of terror on executive branch agencies — and the employees who work at them — for years now.

For example, think about Lois Lerner….

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Kent W. Easter

* The justices of Supreme Court of the United States will discuss gay marriage cases from five states during their “long conference” at the end of the month. Which ones will they decide to take? Help us, Justice AMK! [National Law Journal]

* This law school is having some troubles adjusting to the “new normal.” Not only is its administration planning back-to-back tuition hikes, but it’s asking the state for help with its deficits. Yikes, that’s not good. [The Republic]

* This Gonzaga Law professor thinks that playing poker is part of having a balanced life. He might not come home with much after his games, but “it’s better than a kick in the head.” [Spokesman-Review]

* Remember Kent W. Easter, the Biglaw partner who was accused of planting drugs in a school volunteer’s car? During his recent retrial, he was convicted of false imprisonment by fraud and deceit. [OC Weekly]

* Following a “marathon trial marked by screams, tears, vomit, anger,” Oscar Pistorius has been found negligent, but not guilty of premeditated murder. Expect a final verdict tomorrow, perhaps. [USA Today]

True story: I didn’t leave Schulte to start ReplyAll, I left Schulte to work in the Houston office of BakerHostetler. As the father of three (two and a half at the time) kids living in a cramped apartment, moving to Houston was a no-brainer. The salary was the same, but the cost of living was a fraction of what it was in New York. But, after accepting the offer and traveling to Houston to find a house, I got this sick feeling in my stomach. During nights and weekends of the summer before I left Biglaw, my friend Ari Gold and I had been working on this little idea for a new kind of online conversation. Moving to Houston and starting another legal job would mean giving up on this idea, and I didn’t want to be sitting in a law firm seven years later wondering “what if?”

Calling Sameer Mohan, the partner at Baker who had recruited me, and telling him that I would not be accepting the offer was unquestionably the most difficult decision of my life, and I would by lying if I said I haven’t had my fair share of second thoughts. It’s not just the cash (although you know, the cash wouldn’t hurt). Despite the long hours, Houston firms (particularly Baker) value family and work/life balance in a way that I never saw at firms in New York (not just Schulte), or what I heard from friends who were working in other big markets like San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And because David Lat will be speaking in Houston next week, and since we at ReplyAll love to kiss the ass of pander to support and promote our partners, I thought it would be fun to invite Sameer himself for a conversation about the pros and cons of working in the Houston market.

As always, the conversation develops live, so check back over the next few days as the conversation unfolds….

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