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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).

Two guys from my high school. One year apart.

Hipster… and Lawyer.

Hipster plays in jazz band with Lawyer. They have the same academic advisor, and fall into a casual friendship.

Hipster has trouble in school. He plays drums and guitar, but struggles to maintain the grades. It’s nothing to do with behavior – everyone likes him. The academic advisor does his best, but after failing a few courses, Hipster’s expelled. He ends up bouncing from school to school, and manages to graduate, then heads to a halfway-decent state university known for partying. He spends most of his year there jamming with his buddies and soon drops out. They start a rock band, smoke dope, wear tie-dye, collect Grateful Dead tapes and call each other “dude.”

Lawyer thinks it’s a shame Hipster got kicked out of school. His own grades are A’s. He wins academic prizes, a scholarship to study in England, and advanced placement at Harvard, where he graduates magna cum laude. He heads to a first-tier law school, and places near the top of his class. An offer arrives from a white-shoe law firm.

Stop the tape…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hipster. And Lawyer.”

Justice Barbara Lenk

* On the same day that Lady Kaga wrote her first dissent, Governor Deval Patrick nominated Barbara Lenk, an openly gay woman, to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Big week for… uhh, female judges. [New York Times]

* The prosecution in the Barry Bonds case rested their case yesterday, and the judge is considering throwing out previous testimony about Bonds’s shrunken testicles. National League something something small ball. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* This mob lawyer was allegedly just a mob mobster. [New York Law Journal]

* Fordham Law School hosted a conference on Bob Dylan and the law, featuring “law professors, a Dylan historian, a disc jockey and a guitar player.” Then she opened a book of poems and handed it to me. Written by an Italian jurist from the 20th century. And every one of Scalia’s words rang true and glowed like burning coal. [City Room / New York Times]

* White O’Connor, the Hollywood entertainment-law firm, is merging with “NYC white-shoe powerhouse” Kelley Drye. [Deadline.com]

* A mother has sued the Chicago public school system and her daughter’s teacher after the teacher posted the daughter’s picture on Facebook and mocked her hairstyle. The hairstyle featured an assortment of Jolly Ranchers. Sweet. [ABA Journal]

* The people of Wisconsin have spoken! And as of this morning, it’s still not entirely clear what they’re saying. The race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat is too close to call. [Politico]

On Friday we noted that Gibson Dunn associates can read. Today it looks like management at Gibson Dunn finally acknowledged the writing on the wall. After a year of record-setting profits, Gibson Dunn finally decided to match the spring bonus market. The firm will be paying Cravath-level spring bonuses to eligible associates, on April 29.

Welcome to the club, Gibson Dunn. Just think, Sidley Austin, this is going to be you in a couple of weeks, when you finally realize that the cost of being viewed as a cheap firm that doesn’t pay market compensation to its associates far outweighs whatever profits you’re hoarding by hanging on to the extra money it would cost to award spring bonuses.

Obviously, our Gibson tipsters feel vindicated, now that GDC finally matched the market…

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The only book in the world I'd actually consider burning in public.

* Harvard Law School exams used to be easier. Think about that the next time you hear about grade inflation. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of things getting harder, this seems like proof that the Bluebook exists to propagate sales of the Bluebook. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* And yet the Bluebook hasn’t been updated to include a special citation form for Wikipedia. Weird. [An Associate's Mind]

* Howrey going to WARN them that there are more of these lawsuits coming? [Am Law Daily]

* A professor at John Marshall Law School (Atlanta), Lucille Jewel, has written a law review article about the ability of scam blogs to impact legal education. I’m just going to sit very still until Leonardo DiCaprio confirms that I’m already dreaming. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* “People’s preferences can sometimes override their principles.” No, that’s not the subtitle of my upcoming book, “Bush v. Intellectual Consistency: The Antonin Scalia Story.” [Blackbook Legal]

* Yuck Fale. [CBS New York]

A memo to judges: we do not want to see you naked (with the possible exception of the Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary). Please keep your clothes on, Your Honors.

We’re not talking just about Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian jurist whose nude photos surfaced on the internet. This message goes out to male judges too.

Like Pennsylvania judge Douglas Gummo, 42, who was arrested after he was apparently discovered naked, wrapped in nothing but a bed sheet, trying to access the hotel room (and maybe more?) of a female colleague….

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The law firm of Wachtell Lipton is not the nation’s coolest firm, having been knocked out by Davis Polk in Above the Law March Madness. But the bonuses paid out by WLRK in 2010 were still plenty hot — about as sizzling as some DPW associates, one might say.

Should they have been even better, though? Not everyone at 51 West 52nd Street was thrilled about the 2010 payouts (even though Wachtell associate bonuses still exceed those at almost every other firm).

Let’s take a look at what WLRK doled out last year….

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Our first two lawyer of the month polls in 2011 were dominated by death and despair. Several high-profile, wonderful attorneys died in the month of March — e.g., Warren Christopher, Bill Stuntz — but we’re not including them in this month’s contest. This month, the lawyer of the month reader poll is 100% alive.

And we’ve got some very strong nominees this month. We’ve got standard bearers for salaciousness, uplifting entrants, and deranged douchebags.

Should be fun. Let’s check out the nominees for March…

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The current installment of the Career Center “Tip of the Day” series focuses on helping associates evaluate the counteroffer. Since most law firms have trimmed the “fat” and reduced the number of attorneys on their payrolls, associates have been working harder and billing record hours. It is not surprising that many associates will be searching for jobs at new firms — and some will be fortunate enough to secure new positions. For the first time since the recession began, firms may actually be disappointed when one of their associates gets hired at another law firm, and are more likely to present these associates with tempting counteroffers.

We all know the studies and employment reports: it costs a firm more to hire new employees than to retain current employees. This fact is especially true for firms operating with fewer associates and an increased amount of work projected in 2011. It is important to be prepared and know how to react when presented with a counteroffer.

These tips will assist you in case you are ever put in the unenviable (or maybe enviable?) position of dealing with a counteroffer from your current firm. Now, on to the first tip….

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What’s more hopeless than sending two lawyers out on a blind date and hoping they hit it off? Answer: Sending thirty-something lawyers out on a blind date and hoping they hit off.

It’s safe to assume that a person (and especially a woman) still single in their 30s is a picky type. As Elie recently lectured a trio of spinsters +30 single ladies, “You could have gotten married at some point in your 20s and you chose not to. There’s not something wrong with the guys you date; there’s something wrong with you.” It’s possible that Elie learned all that he knows about women from Lori Gottlieb.

Despite odds being stacked against me, I decided to match up two D.C. lawyers in their mid 30s. They have different political stripes, but both named Atticus Finch as their favorite legal character, and would gladly give up gavels for spatulas. Asked for three words about themselves, he said he was a “funny nerdy cultured chef” and she said she was a “city-dwelling chef/policy-wonk.” They sounded like they should be able to come up with a recipe for romance…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

I am getting tired of hearing about all these large law firms and their unnecessary spring bonuses. This weekend I went on a trip with friends who all work in Biglaw, and the topic came up (and, in turn, everyone shared how he or she was going to spend that extra money).

One of my friends is planning on going on vacation to South America (sometime in 2019, when he has the time). Another told us that she is going to get “the Bentley of couches,” for the guest room in her giant condo. I did not have a similar Biglaw big-money story to share, so I instead shared my ideas for the top ten free activities I had planned for the spring. (In case you’re wondering, they are: 1. Breathe Air. 2. Walk. 3. Eat Free Samples At Whole Foods.)

I had to admit that I was a little jealous of my friends and their surprise bonuses. But then I heard a story that touched me right where it counts — in the wallet. I have learned that some small firms give their employees big perks….

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GULC students go way over the line.

You might think that watching law students play sports would be like watching U. Conn. and Butler play basketball. You know, undersized, intense people playing in an ugly and painful style. You’d think that watching law students play a pick-up game of 21 would be indistinguishable from watching Butler unsuccessfully try to throw a ball in the ocean.

But you’d be wrong. Because at some point in the athletic competition, law students would undoubtedly halt competition and begin arguing over rules and regulations. Granted, halfway through the second half of the National Championship game, I wanted somebody to file an injunction on behalf of the rims in Houston that were being murdered. But in general I like my athletic competitions to be devoid of brief writing.

Which means it’s a good thing I didn’t go to Georgetown University Law Center….

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Kaga, L., dissenting

* Did Malcolm Gladwell’s endorsement lead to an increase in Colorado Law applicants? Malcolm Gladwell, a man whose book Blink was described by Richard Posner as “written like a book intended for people who do not read books.” [Law Week Colorado]

* A litany of legal challenges faces the Obama administration now that they’ve backtracked on Khalid Sheikh and the boys. [msnbc.com]

* The Supremes ruled against Arizona taxpayers who claimed a tax credit for religious school donations was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan popped her dissent cherry on this one. [NPR]

* Connecticut looks to “add teeth” to a law that attempts to determine whether racial profiling exists in the state. Sorry, I don’t find anything funny about racism. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the basketball scene in Soul Man. [Hartford Courant]

* Google has bid $900 million on a whole bunch of patents. Meanwhile, the patent to Google Wave is being peddled for two dollars and a box of envelopes. [Financial Times]

* “Police have nabbed the second prepubescent punk wanted for trying to rip off the religious headdress of a Muslim schoolgirl on Staten Island.” [New York Post]

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