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After four days of deliberating over whether or not former baseball great Barry Bonds lied about his use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, the jury could not reach agreement on a number of charges the government made against Bonds.

But the feds nailed him on the obstruction of justice count. From ESPN:

The guilty verdict on obstruction of justice means the jury believed Bonds hindered a grand jury’s 2003 sports doping investigation by lying.

The judge, after speaking to the jury foreman, said she believes the mistrial is the proper decision given that the jury believes it has reached a crossroads.

Below are some instant reactions….

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We’ve seen it in California; we’ve seen it in New York. Now it looks like Puff the Magic Grade-Inflating Dragon is heading for Washington, D.C.

Yes sir, a school in the D.C. market has decided that the reason its students can’t get jobs has nothing to do with the quality of education or services the school provides, and everything to do with how the school itself calculates student GPAs. And so we have another institution of legal education that is poised to randomly make its curve a third of a grade easier. And the school will also introduce the dreaded A+ — which is worth 4.33 points and should be written on construction paper in glitter, to emphasize how absurdly weak it is for a person over the age of 14 to receive an A+ on anything.

CORRECTION: As pointed out in the comments, the new grade is an A+*; the A+ already exists. I’m sorry, but my little brain could not comprehend such a thing as an A+*; I thought it was a typo.

And the school’s students — who should be embarrassed by this blatant inflation of their grades, in the same way that governments cringe when they are forced to devalue their currencies — are so hopeful that this little gimmick will work that all they can do is ask if the inflation will be applied retroactively to their previous grades.

So really, the only question left is whether this trend will catch on with other D.C.-area schools, rendering the efforts of the first inflator functionally moot….

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Judge Eric Melgren (D. Kansas)

A trial was scheduled to start in Kansas federal court on June 14, 2011. Defendants moved for a short continuance because one of their lawyers is expecting his first child on July 3. (The lawyer in question, Bryan Erman, is quite cute — check out that chin dimple.)

Plaintiffs’ counsel objected to the continuance — strenuously. This took Judge Eric Melgren by surprise. And not in a good way.

Judge Melgren granted the continuance — and took the opportunity to benchslap the lawyers who refused to consent….

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Check out the latest offerings in Sponsored Content:

And now, thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law….

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You know associates are pissed when they end their emails to Above the Law with lines like this one, from a message we received last night:

NO ONE SHOULD COME HERE. EVERYONE HERE SHOULD LEAVE.

Jacob Riis photographs associates at one Biglaw firm

That’s what happens when you tell your associates that they’re going to get paid significantly below market and like it.

Several firms have not yet announced spring bonuses, and associates at these firms are annoyed. But there are only a handful of Biglaw firms that cut associate salaries back during the recession and have not yet brought their people back to market-level base compensation.

One of the firms that is lagging behind the rest of the market had an “all associates” conference call yesterday, during which management tried to explain why associates were being underpaid and undervalued by the firm.

Let’s just say that not everyone felt like a winner

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Law firms, and in-house law departments, should be outer-directed.

I realize that I just invented the word “outer-directed,” and sensible people might choose to call this concept being “client-focused.” But “outer-directedness” is broader than mere client focus — and I invented the word, so it’ll mean what I want it to mean.

At a firm, lawyers should naturally be client-focused, in the sense that client work comes first and most internal matters come second. “Outer-directedness” implies not just client focus, but a more general external focus — devoting efforts to impressing the world, rather than to impressing others within the firm.

We should naturally spend our professional time serving our clients. And, in a law firm setting, we should spend our semi-professional time gazing out through our office windows, not peering inwardly down our own corridors. If a case just settled and you have some free time, spend that time impressing the world, not your colleagues. Join a non-profit board, work for a bar or trade association, write an article, give a talk. Raise both your personal and your firm’s profile. That benefits the world and serves institutional purposes. Don’t spend your spare time impressing your colleagues.

We should of course be nice to each other, but that’s civility, not having an undue inner focus. I’m opposed only to the stuff that goes beyond civility, which I’ll delicately call “office politics”….

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The law firm of Cromwell & Goodwin might be fake, but the law firm of Goodwin Procter is very real. As is the news of spring bonuses at the firm.

Whoops, sorry — make that “special bonuses.” That’s the terminology used by Goodwin Procter to refer to the supplemental payments.

Let’s look at the memo to see why….

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Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, is available on Amazon (affiliate link).

I was kidding around with some of the guys at my gym, tossing around the question – would you fight Mike Tyson for $3 million?

One of them joked – I think he heard this on Howard Stern – that he’d fellate Mike Tyson for $3 million. He could spend the first $1 million on mouthwash and retire on the rest.

Then another guy spoke up, a sometime professional heavyweight boxer. (I’m not making this up, he really has boxed, for big money, not too long ago – and has plans to do so again.)

“It’s not worth it. Mike would destroy you. There would be no retirement.”

He went on to explain what he meant. He knew from experience – this guy had been in the ring. You’d have more than bruises – you’d have concussions, brain injuries, damaged bones and joints. You’d never be the same – and it wouldn’t be worth it. You’re better off not having $3 million but appreciating the finer things, like being able to walk and talk and think.

I saw his point.

Biglaw is also not worth it, even for big money. That’s because it, too, destroys you – just like Iron Mike…

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Raj Rajaratnam

* Raj Rajaratnam’s got a cute insider trading friend named Octopussy. Maybe he’s been doing some other insider trading, if you know what I mean. [Bloomberg]

* Florida redefines “beating it.” It may be time to reconsider things if you’re paying $2.99 to watch a hate crime with your pants off. Come on, at least look into some free porn. [Washington Post]

* Speaking of beating it, here’s a memo to file for John Branca from Katherine Jackson: she doesn’t wanna see your face, you better disappear. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Listen, Frank, Bingham might be trying to “defend conduct that is indefensible,” but you were thinking about trading Chad Billingsley. Give me a break. [NBC Sports]

* Google v. Government. The DOJ isn’t buying what Google’s selling because Microsoft is a little bit less evil, and a little bit more FISMA compliant. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nothing says corporate equality for women lawyers like a picture of a woman in a fugly suit trapped inside of a dog cage. [The Careerist]

So this month, we went out of our way to nominate potential Lawyers of the Month who were still breathing. The desire of our readers to bestow this honor posthumously is laudable, but we don’t want to this feature to end up like the “dead people” reel at the Oscars, where folks bet on which deceased celebrity will get the most applause.

Being forced to choose only among living candidates, Above the Law readers perhaps started another trend we’re sure to see in future Lawyer of the Month contests: they voted for a guy who is no longer a practicing attorney…

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* The oldest continually operating law firm in Austin, Clark Thomas & Winters, has gone the way of Howrey. [Austin American Statesman]

* If you want to teach high schoolers about privacy, speak to them in a language they understand: embarrassment. [Kashmir Hill / Forbes]

* Can a U.S. state prohibit pre-viability abortions based on concerns about fetal pain? Professors Glenn Cohen and Sadath Sayeed, of Harvard Law and Harvard Medical Schools, respectively, tackle this question. [SSRN]

* Will Maryland be getting medical marijuana? [Underdog]

* Here’s an interesting essay by a former supporter of traditional marriage who now supports marriage equality. [Two Cents and a Couple of Copecks]

* Is Douglas Kmiec, the former Catholic University law school dean now serving as U.S. ambassador to Malta, spending too much time writing about religion and not enough time “ambassading”? [CNN]

* Speaking of religion, Professor Ann Althouse analyzes the new French law targeting the wearing of veils in public. [Althouse]

* If you’re interested in the legal academic job market, check out this table of entry-level faculty hiring for 2011. [Prawfsblawg via Faculty Lounge]

I was explaining to new Above the Law helper Natasha Lydon how things work in the ATL, and I said: “Basically, from now until finals, we’ll be able to run a ‘stupid law student story’ every day. The kids are stressed, and it’s starting to show.” On cue, I received an email from a law student tipster, with the following subject heading: “Bozo the Clown.” Hilarity ensued.

Above the Law has a long and proud history of documenting the thievery of law students. Who can forget the Tulane Law student who stole a piece of Americana, a shoe worn by Mr. Rogers, from the Louisiana Children’s Museum? Going even further back, there was the Michigan Law student who liked to go around stealing other people’s sandwiches.

Today we’re going to add to that tradition by telling you about the apparent theft — or liberation, depending on how you look at it — of Bozo the Law Library Clown…

UPDATE: Bozo has been found! Read more below…

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