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

When you write for as large an audience as reads “Above the Law,” you get a huge variety of responses to your posts. But two recent posts illustrated that point in a remarkable way.

Last month, I published one post about the care with which I edited bills (that is, daily time entries) that I sent to clients when I was in private practice. And I later published a post about how lawyers could improve communications by taking a moment to reflect on the “subject” lines of e-mails before hitting the “send” icon.

The response to those posts was fierce and immediate. Folks who published “comments” to those posts overwhelmingly reacted negatively: “What kind of idiot spends several hours a month editing time entries to ease a client’s life? This guy was a typical big firm drudge!” (I’m paraphrasing here, because some of our readers may be minors.) And, “He’s writing about the ‘subject’ lines of e-mails? What comes next — a post about the quality of the office staplers or the tissue in the restrooms?”

Simultaneously, I was receiving a host of e-mails — not anonymous comments, but signed e-mails — from folks saying that they were sharing the posts with other lawyers in their offices or asking permission to reprint the posts in internal newsletters.

This caused me to wonder: Why the divide?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: The Illusion of Perfection”

This is rich. The owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, has sued the Washington City Paper for a column he claims defamed him and used anti-Semitic imagery. That’s right, the man who has famously defended his right to name an entire football team after an ethnic slur is playing the ethnic card because a columnist made fun of him.

The kicker is that on top of this amazing execution of rank hypocrisy, Snyder manages to insult all Jews who have actually dealt with anti-Semitism by coming up with an ethnic offense where none existed. The columnist wasn’t making Jewish jokes or playing off of Jewish stereotypes. He was calling Dan Snyder a terrible owner and a shady dude. Saying he was a victim of anti-Semitism degrades the term and make this entire lawsuit look like the petulant reaction of a narcissistic millionaire.

As Dennis Green might say: Daniel Snyder is who we thought he was….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dan Snyder, Owner of a Team Named After an Ethnic Slur, Sues Over Perceived Anti-Semitism”

U.S. News & World Report issues rankings of law schools. The most prestigious law firms recruit from only the top-ranked schools. I am not endorsing this; it is just a fact of life. If you are good enough to get admitted to one of the schools ranked in the Top 50, and you are in the top 15-25 percent of your class, you stand a chance of getting one of those $160,000-a-year jobs with a big law firm. If you don’t fall into these categories, the chances are that you won’t get one of these jobs.

Bill Hebert, president of the State Bar of California, in an essay entitled “What is the value of a law degree?”

Whether or not you think that the LSAT should be important, we all know that it is important. Scoring well on the LSAT is absolutely crucial to getting into a good law school.

But usually the power of the LSAT fades after you matriculate to a law school. Usually people who are concerned about your LSAT score are the people who consider their own LSAT score their greatest achievement in life. Pathetic, I know, but I’ve met these people in real life. They really think that scoring well on a standardized test means something more than being able to score well on a standardized test.

We accept that law schools need to be focused on the LSAT — they need some way to compare people from different schools and programs. But should employers still care about your LSAT score? Should legal employers really be concerned about a test that you took years ago, before you had any legal training?

At K&L Gates, the answer appears to be yes…

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* When it comes to Obamacare, Senate Democrats have broken it down MC Hammer style for Republicans: you can’t repeal this. [Bloomberg]

* How dare this woman sue Nutella! What kind of an evil human being would do that? That stuff is like spreadable crack! Who cares if it’s actually healthy? [Top Class Actions]

* Guys in my high school forgot to mention in their law school applications that they sold LSD to undercover cops all the time. It was no big deal. [New York Post]

* Leniency for sex? Sounds like my student loan repayment plan. But, in Tennessee, it’s probably for some redneck crime, like stealing clothes from the laundromat. [Kingsport Times-News]

* Can you constitutionally force someone to eat their vegetables? No, but a Harvard Law professor thinks you can be forced to buy your vegetables and then eat them. Ah, semantics. [The Apothecary / Forbes]

* Arm & Hammer, you may have dropped your kitty litter lawsuit, but you got your facts wrong. As a crazy cat lady in training, I know that cats do talk. [Reuters]

* Jimmy Carter is getting sued for $5M because people don’t like what he wrote about Israel in his $27 book. Did they pick $5M in damages out of a hat? [Political Bookworm / Washington Post]

As many of you know, one of our running features here at Above the Law is Lawyer of the Day. We don’t literally name one every day, but we like to keep you informed of the famous and infamous lawyers of the world. At the end of the year, we give you guys an opportunity to vote for a Lawyer of the Year.

Apparently you guys like to vote on lawyers, so why limit the experience to once a year? Above the Law has decided to let you crown a lawyer every month. We’ll pick the nominees (going forward, feel free to submit nominees to us at tips@abovethelaw.com, and you’ll vote for the most deserving. There are no specific criteria — just vote for the lawyer or lawyers you think most deserve the title.

Let’s get to this month’s nominees…

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* I’m doing Non-Sequiturs today, since Elie is too busy marching on City Hall. [Reuters]

* A round-up of lawyer moves inside the Beltway — including another defection from Howrey (patent litigatrix Jennifer Dzwonczyk, to Venable). [Capital Comment / Washingtonian]

* Speaking of Howrey, Professor Larry Ribstein, a partnership law guru, has some questions about the handling of Howrey liabilities. [Truth on the Market]

* Apparently Cardozo Law ladies need sex as well as walking instructions. [Cardozo Jurist]

* RICO suave: Chevron turns the tables on those Ecuadorian environmental plaintiffs. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congratulations to Orrick’s eight new partners. [Orrick]

* Larry Bodine offers some marketing advice to United Airlines — after a rather unpleasant interaction at LaGuardia Airport. [Larry Bodine's Law Marketing Blog]

* This week in A Round Tuit: the latest Obamacare ruling, the Egyptian uprising, and the shortcomings of the British legal media. [Infamy or Praise]

Here are some instructions.

Valentine’s Day is coming up. Married men are looking forward to their annual opportunity to have oral sex (don’t act like I’m the only one). Single guys are wondering what kind of depressed and ovulating women will show up at their local bar, alone. And ladies are just hoping for something that will turn all of their girlfriends into jealous bitches. As always, the day promises to be a massacre.

But regardless of your Valentine’s Day motives, please note that there are some intimate gifts that are inappropriate in all situations: gifts like vibrators. Not as a Valentine’s Day present, not as a Christmas present, not as a birthday present. Women can’t show it off to their friends, and it works against you as a sexually suggestive gift. Vibrators should only be given to women you’ve already had sex with, preferably right before the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament so they have something to do with themselves.

Sadly, a New York man was not familiar with this rule, and he bought one of his co-workers a vibrator for her birthday. He was her boss. Now, he’s getting sued — because that’s what happens when you are the idiot who buys a vibrator for a woman you work with…

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A quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on 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!

Health care is a hot topic these days, especially in the wake of yet another federal judge striking down Obamacare.

So let’s talk about health care, shall we?

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Malawi, where the sphincters aren't free.

I don’t know much about Malawi. I know they had a fuel shortage recently. So when I heard they were banning gas, I thought, “Well, that’s an elegant solution.”

But Malawi isn’t banning gas, it’s going to criminalize passing gas. Yeah, because of all the things going on in Malawi, I’m sure farting is a primary concern. I’m sure the Malawian ambassador to the U.N. is going to love hearing fart jokes in 50 different languages. (And yes, the French guy is going to be obligated under international law to say: “I fart in your general direction.”)

In any event, let’s all point and laugh at another example of terrible sub-Saharan leadership…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s More Embarrassing Than Farting? Being the Country That Criminalizes Farting.”

The troubled law firm of Howrey has previously been compared to a ship. If the comparison is accurate, then one has to wonder whether the ship be sinking.

Look at how many sailors — officers, even — are abandoning ship. The latest news: eleven Howrey lawyers have left for Morgan Lewis & Bockius, in Chicago and California.

A look at the departing attorneys — plus reports about recent and upcoming Howrey conference calls, and questions about the fate of those holding offers from the firm — after the jump….

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