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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.

I uttered those words for the first time back in 2001, over lunch.

I wasn’t putting myself down; I was setting myself free. This was transgression – admitting the whole legal “thing” wasn’t for me. It’s what you’re never supposed to say, because it opens you up for slaughter. It’s throwing down your weapon, taking off the armor and walking away from the fight. (Go ahead – tear into me. I double-dare you.)

It was a weird lunch. I was sitting with another former associate from Sullivan & Cromwell. We weren’t friends. I actually sort of hated him. For two years he did his best to bad-mouth me and let everyone know he was a better lawyer.

Now he wanted to do lunch. That’s because he’d been laid off (you know, the “bad review” routine.) I’d left S&C six months before and done the impossible — gotten a real job outside law, as a marketing exec.

He said he wanted to discuss “careers outside the law.” Yeah. As soon as we sat down he started shooting the shit about our law firm days. No way.

I felt sorry for him. He had a fiance and was clearly a mess. But I wasn’t about to play along with that bullshit. I knew what would get his attention. When he paused from the stream of false bonhomie to catch his breath, I seized the opportunity.

“I suck at law.”

This produced a deer in the headlights face…

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Partnership: the proverbial brass ring.

‘Tis the season — for new partner elections at large law firms. Although there are some exceptions, most firms pick and announce their new partner classes around November and December, with partnership effective on January 1 of the following year.

These partnership announcements sometimes contain interesting information, if you read between the lines. As we’ve previously observed, “Partnership decisions often shed light on the current state of a firm, its prospects for the future, and its priorities. How many new partners did a firm make? How does the number of new partners this year compare to past years? In which practice areas did it make new partners? How many of the new partners are women or minorities?”

After the jump, we look at new partner news from ten top firms — perhaps you know some of these law firm superstars (and soon-to-be millionaires)? — and we invite you to discuss the new partners at your firm….

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* With the way that David J. Stern is screwing Florida, it looks like he forgot to buy some integrity with his robo-bucks. [Daily Business Review]

* If Phil Spector wins this lawsuit against Robert Shapiro, he could probably afford to get a new hairstyle. [Beverly Hills Courier]

* Is Verrill Dana a haven for shady shysters? Watching porn and stealing funds is fun until you get caught. [Portland Press Herald]

* Only in New Jersey can a disbarred lawyer steal from a nun. Talk about an ethics violation. [Daily Record]

* A judge spared actor Rip Torn from a jail sentence, and his sphincter from sharing the same namesake. [New York Post]

* This Bud’s not for you. The King of Piss Water’s Beer’s sponsorship is on the line for MLB in this lawsuit. [Wall Street Journal]

So lawyers, if you’ve recently been laid off or have been out of school for over a year without a job, it’s probably time to look at your résumé and take out any reference to the fact that you’re, you know, “dynamic.”

Sure, you might be. But so is everyone else. And, more importantly, nobody cares anyway.

LinkedIn’s analytics team reviewed 85 million LinkedIn profiles and came out with a list of the most “clichéd and overused” phrases found on people’s resumes.

As they succinctly say, “You know what they are — those ambiguous ones that really don’t tell you anything.”

Here are the 2010 top 10 buzzwords used in the U.S., according to them….

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I bet kosher weed would be better than regular weed.

* Judge Henry Hudson, the judge who struck down healthcare, has ties to a Republican consulting firm that did some work for Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli. Of course he does. You don’t think this issue has an objective right or wrong legal answer, do you? [WSJ Law Blog]

* A Cardozo student thinks pot can be a useful study aid. [The Cardozo Jurist]

* Of course, it looks like Cardozo students already have ample access to weed. This pro-job video was but together by a ’10 Cardozo graduate. [Comedy Central]

* British judge calls verdict against her dog a “f***ing travesty.” [Guardian]

* Doesn’t looking at the Constitution on an iPad violate an originalist view of the document? [Young Lawyers Blog]

* People didn’t like lawyers even back in 1906. [Ross Fishman's Marketing Blog]

* German doctors claim they’ve used stem cells to cure H.I.V. This isn’t exactly a legal issue, but I really hope Congress won’t let religion stand in the way of the science I’ll need for new lungs and a new liver circa 2040. [Popular Science]

* Don’t forget to RSVP for our holiday party — tomorrow night at 6:00 at Bar 29. Our sponsors, Practical Law Company and ELR Search, promise us it will be off the hook. And I’ve promised to stay sober for at least one full hour before I start berating the people around me. [Above the Law]

* Speaking of our sponsors, check out our promo for the Livescribe Echo Smartpen if you are doing some Christmas shopping for a lawyer in your life. Also, I AM NOT KENAN THOMPSON. What’s up with that? Yes, we are both fat black guys, but I’m actually funny, not some random dude who can only do impressions of black people who haven’t been relevant in 20 years.

And we might have had a perfect score if it not for that pesky God character floating around.

In the past few weeks, we’ve brought you two stories about would-be lawyers trying to make critical life decisions. There was the first-year law student who was considering dropping out of law school after just one semester. And there was the prospective law student who wanted to take the LSAT instead of attending his grandmother’s funeral.

In the former case, the Above the Law readership overwhelmingly voted for the 1L to drop out of law school. In the later case, I strenuously argued that the person should go to the funeral and take the LSAT later.

We have updates on both people. It appears that Above the Law readers are more persuasive than I am…

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Yesterday we posted a racy email recounting a male associate’s supposed one-night stand with a female partner. The general consensus was that the story was fiction.

Here’s more support for that view, from our Comment of the Day….

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Last week, the people at the Law School Transparency project scored a major victory. They got U.S. News to agree to disclose all of the employment information the magazine collects about law schools, with the release of next year’s influential rankings.

According to stories around the blogosphere, U.S. News rankings guru Robert Morse is even giving the LST people credit for pushing the magazine in this direction. U.S. News, mind you, has more power over law schools than the freaking American Bar Association — but it was influenced by two young guys from Vanderbilt. Check out coverage from the ABA Journal, the WSJ Law Blog, and the National Law Journal (subscription). Major kudos to Team LST!

The changes are good, but they’re not the Holy Grail of law school transparency. U.S. News won’t be collecting any additional information. Schools will still be able to materially misrepresent some of their crucial employment statistics, and U.S. News is not increasing the weight given to outcome-oriented metrics in its rankings methodology.

It’s definitely progress, but as long as the ABA refuses to wield its regulatory power, there’s only so much a magazine can do…

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Deborah Cussen, of Gibson Dunn, and Carla Feldman, of Morgan Lewis.

Welcome to the third installment of our Top Partners to Work For series, as selected by our readers (see last week’s posts here and here). In the first two weeks, we covered New York and D.C.; this week, we head west, and cruise on over to sunny California.

The ten partners we highlight today work at some of the country’s leading law firms: Kirkland & Ellis, Morrison & Foerster, Gibson Dunn, Latham & Watkins, Munger Tolles, Wilson Sonsini, Morgan Lewis, Baker & McKenzie, Bryan Cave, and Jones Day.

So, which West Coast partners do associates enjoy working for?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – California (Part 1)”

The bonus news is coming fast and furious now. I guess a lot of Biglaw firms want people to think of Cahill as a “boutique” type of firm like Susman Godfrey instead of a Biglaw competitor who simply saw Cravath’s bonus payout and smashed it.

The latest news is from international powerhouse Clifford Chance. Its New York bonus memo just went out, and it is a straight match of the Cravath scale…

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Just like last year, we’re late in covering the bonus announcement of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which apparently happened a few days after the Cravath announcement. But just like last year, the Cadwalader bonus news is nothing to write home about.

We haven’t seen the memo — please feel free to send it our way — but multiple sources advise us that Cadwalader basically matched Cravath. We say “basically” because there was an hours requirement, which we understand was essentially the same as last year’s (i.e., around 2000 hours, 1900 of them billable).

If you have additional information or background about bonuses at CWT this year, we’re all ears.

Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2009: Cadwalader (Plus news of some partner moves.)

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