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Did Lester Munson get his law degree by staying at a Holiday Inn Express?

Last night, Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice, while the jury hung on all other counts, resulting in a mistrial as to those counts. We posted about it.

Now, I don’t expect non-lawyers to really understand what “obstruction of justice” means. I certainly don’t expect them to understand what a “mistrial” is. But I do expect anybody who has been through 1L year at an American law school to understand these concepts. I certainly expect law professors to understand these terms. And I freaking demand that legal analysts charged with making sense of this issue for ESPN — the WORLDWIDE LEADER IN SPORTS — have a basic grasp on what the hell is going on.

ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson, you, sir, have failed. Failed at your job. Failed at being a thought leader. Failed at failing in a funny, non-offensive way.

Even 1Ls won’t believe the kind of tripe Muson has been spewing on ESPN…

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Whenever it feels like things are getting better in the legal economy, Craigslist shows up to remind everybody just how crappy things still are. If you want to know why there is a higher education bubble (and there is a higher education bubble), you need only look at the kind of pathetic salaries offered to people with years of higher education.

Now, if you were exploring the Above the Law jobs board, you wouldn’t be peppered with offers like the ones we’re seeing on Craigslist. But we can’t beat Craigslist for comedic value.

After the jump, check out two “jobs,” which you need years of expensive education and experience to even be in the running for…

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* Pay for play pay for an “A” attorney Damian Bonazzoli got suspended from practice for six months. At $300 a pop and without a job, it may be time to get back into pushing papers on Craigslist. [Worcester Telegram & Gazette]

* “I cannot explain why men do what they do.” Sorry, Lynette Taylor, but it looks like you also can’t explain why your husband pleaded guilty to having sex with an underage prosti-tot. [CNN Justice]

* An interesting piece about the drug trade behind prison walls — because even the Department of Corrections needs a drug mule sometimes. [New York Times]

* Howrey going to come up with $36,608.89? Bob Ruyak better buy some of those liquidation sale signs a la Circuit City. [San Jose Business Journal]

* Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it’ll cost taxpayers more than $14 million. Florida, you got some ‘splainin’ to do! [Miami Herald]

* Bolivia is trying to give Mother Earth human rights. I hope that means humans can file suit against “her.” I’d love to have someone to sue every time a flock of birds decides that my car is their toilet. [Huffington Post]


People think that I believe that nobody should go to law school ever, and that anybody who is currently in law school should drop out immediately. And, to be fair, I do think that many people in law school today have made terrible personal and financial decisions and have entered a world of pain that they will dwell in for much of the rest of their lives.

But I don’t think that every person in law school is there idiotically. I don’t think everybody who is there should drop out of school at the earliest available opportunity. I don’t even think you need a special “love of the law” to justify three years of legal education. The internet is not a great medium for nuance, but on a case-by-case basis there are a lot of situations where a person might be smart to go to law school and/or smart to stay in law school.

Take this one kid who emailed Above the Law asking for advice on whether or not he should drop out after his 1L year. I bet he’s going to be surprised that I’m of the opinion that he should stay in school…

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* It looks like Jonathan Lee Riches has some competition. Check out this crazy lawsuit filed against Apple (and many other defendants), by one David Louis Whitehead. Why do the wackos always have three names? [Apple Insider]

* Check out Professor Glenn Reynolds’s interesting argument against a federally-mandated drinking age of 21. “If you get shot at, you can have a shot.” [Wall Street Journal via Instapundit]

* The FTC is holding Google’s balls feet to the fire over its privacy practices. Want to turn up the heat a few degrees? [EPIC]

Do you heart boobies? I do -- for aesthetic reasons, and as symbols of female seductive power.

* Speaking of body parts, would this lawsuit have turned out differently if the bracelets, instead of promoting breast cancer awareness by declaring “I ♥ Boobies,” promoted testicular cancer awareness and read “I ♥ Balls”? [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* And speaking of free speech and schools, Congress should proceed with caution when passing anti-harassment legislation. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Biglaw partners team up with a former federal prosecutor to launch a new litigation boutique. Say hello to Levine Lee LLP. [Am Law Daily]

* But how does the bulldog feel about being used in an advertisement for a law firm? Cf. this controversy. [Ross Fishman's Law Marketing Blog]

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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