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* A lawyer named Conn created a 3D commercial for potential clients. Too bad his target audience will be purchasing new hips before 3D televisions. [Florida Times-Union]

* Normally, you’d end up in the doghouse if you didn’t attend a loved one’s funeral, but Bernie Madoff’s throwing his family a bone on this one. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “And then I felt a sharp jabbing pain into my rectum.” That’s what she said. Actually, that’s what he said. What’s with the NYPD and sodomy? [Wall Street Journal]

* Another day, another “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” lawsuit. Yes, I just totally dropped a DADT bomb after a story about sodomy. I went there, that happened. [Washington Post]

* You’d think that the Calorie Commando would hire some healthier hobos to kill his wife, but these guys just wanted pizza, beer, and tequila. [CNN]

* You better not question Rahmbo’s amended 2009 tax return. He will f**king end you. You will never even see it coming, motherf**ker. [NBC Chicago]

Next month I’ll be appearing on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. The subject of the panel: how to get good press for your law school.

One obvious answer: do good things for your students. Just like the University of Maryland School of Law.

Our coverage of UMB hasn’t always been kind. See, e.g., discussion of former Dean Karen Rothenberg’s controversial pay packages (here and here).

This time, though, Maryland Law is doing the right thing. In a time of strained state budgets, it has succeeded in holding the line on tuition increases (which, as we’ve discussed, are running rampant throughout the law schools). UMB law students won’t see their tuition go up next year, academic year 2011-12, even though students in other schools at the university will.

How did Maryland manage this feat? Let’s take a look — which might prove instructive for other law schools….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kudos to Maryland Law for Protecting Its Students from Tuition Increases”

* Bad news for Howrey: Gary Bendinger, co-chair of litigation, is leaving for Sidley Austin, along with two other litigation partners, Gregory Ballard and Kevin Burke. [Am Law Daily]

* Richard Epstein and Megan McArdle on today’s judicial smackdown of Obamacare. [Instapundit]

* Quipped our tipster: “Three cheers to annoying psychology undergrads getting mugged in West Harlem. At least Dino BBQ is here to stay.” [Columbia Spectator]

* Just like last year, there’s some humorous motion practice going on as a result of Auburn college football scheduling. [Birmingham News]

* My pay during my AUSA days wasn’t great — but at least it was greater than zero. [S**t Law Jobs]

* It’s not too late to submit an entry for our law firm holiday card contest. [Above the Law]

* Or to RSVP for our holiday party (although we’re almost at capacity). [Above the Law]

Brandy Kuentzel, laid-off K&E lawyer turned reality TV star.

Apologies for this very belated coverage of the season finale of The Apprentice, which aired last week. Alas, no member of Team ATL — not even Marin, our resident reality TV addict — actually watched the show. The final episode was a bit like the proverbial tree falling in the forest without anyone around to hear it.

But it seems numerous ATL readers tuned in, even though ratings for the show are down 75 percent since the premiere season. So here’s a post, triggered by your many email pleas for coverage.

We extend warm congratulations to Brandy Kuentzel, the Chicago Law alumna and laid-off Kirkland & Ellis associate who emerged victorious in the reality TV competition. In the finale, Kuentzel defeated a fellow lawyer, Clint — a 40-year-old SMU Law grad described in his NBC bio as “living off of credit” — for the opportunity to work for Donald Trump.

One Brandy fan gave us some background on her: “She went to University of Chicago, started at Kirkland SF as transactional associate. After she got laid off, she started a mobile truck cupcake business.” (Digression: Why is driving a cupcake truck such a popular fallback option for lawyers? See also Kate Carrara, of Philadelphia, and Lev Ekster, of New York.)

Continued our tipster: “Brandy has an insane background story. She’s from Alaska, and moved out at an early age to self-finance her education, after graduating as valedictorian of her high school. Oh, and she is insanely hot. Google her.”

As you can see from her photo, Brandy is most definitely a hottie. But, interestingly enough, Brandy Kuentzel wasn’t quite as smoking hot back in her law firm days….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congrats to Brandy Kuentzel, Laid-Off Kirkland Lawyer Turned Apprentice Winner”

There are plenty of attorneys in the major city offices who are not putting in enough hours and would love to be doing doc review versus the threat of being asked to look for another job. Wake up to what is happening out there in the real world!

Ann Israel, in her advice column on NYLawyer.com (subscription), to a Yale Law School graduate and current federal law clerk seeking advice on how to get out of document review when she goes to a law firm after her clerkship (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

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

This post is a two-fer: It both suggests a way for outside lawyers to develop business more effectively and offers a tip to in-house counsel to protect their legal departments. (I bet you can hardly wait.)

First, the business development tip.

Outside lawyers often ask whether in-house lawyers are annoyed or impressed by the brochures that firms mail (or e-mail) to clients and prospective clients. I, at least, am not annoyed to receive those things. It’s awfully easy to delete things unread, so they don’t exactly impose a burden on me.

But am I impressed by the brochures? Obviously not; that’s why I now typically delete them unread.

What’s unimpressive about the brochures? Let me count the things….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Business Development (Part 2)”

Just like Flannery O’Connor’s good man, ethics credits for Continuing Legal Education can be hard to find. Luckily, today’s highlighted CLE offering, handpicked by your ATL editors from the extensive CLE catalog of our friends at ALI-ABA, offers the opportunity to fulfill the requirement.

It’s a course called Lawyer Professionalism: Identifying the Fundamental Values of Law Practice, and it’s being offered as a video webcast tomorrow, December 14, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. (EST). It’s also one of ALI-ABA’s Daily Deals, so it has been marked down from $169.00 to $89.00 (until midnight tonight).

Speaking of discounts, we’ve arranged for a special discount on ALI-ABA offerings for Above the Law readers. Now through the end of the year, ATL readers will enjoy a 30% discount on (1) live webcasts and (2) telephone seminars. Just enter the coupon code MCLEATL in your shopping cart.

To check out the ethics course for tomorrow, please click here. To look through all of ALI-ABA’s offerings, including the live webcasts and telephone seminars that are subject to the 30 percent discount, please visit their website.

Happy Holidays!

Lawyer Professionalism: Identifying the Fundamental Values of Law Practice [ALI-ABA]

It seems that Cahill Gordon isn’t the only firm putting the 2010 Cravath bonuses to shame. The elite litigation boutique of Susman Godfrey — founded in Texas, but now with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, as well as Houston and Dallas — is paying out associate bonuses as big as the Texas sky.

And, like good Texans, the folks at Susman Godfrey aren’t afraid to brag about their success. Unlike many other law firms, which play a ridiculous cat-and-mouse game with their bonus news, SG issued a press release about their bonuses. Such candor is refreshing — and shows that the firm has nothing to hide.

So how much are Susman Godfrey associates taking home this year in bonuses?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Susman Godfrey Shatters the Cravath Bonus Scale”

Don’t say I never did anything for you — I’m creating jobs. Okay, I’m creating a job. Well, not a full-time job, just a freelance writing gig. (But at least it pays more than this legal job or this one.)

Yes, after some deliberation, I’ve decided to step away from writing the small law firm column I helped start back in September. What alternative endeavor, you ask, could possibly draw me away from the highly lucrative world of blogging?

Glad you asked. In lieu of my twice-a-week column here (and my day job), I’ve accepted an offer to join the Army’s JAG Corps as a full-time, active duty sold… lawy… soldier-lawyer. Yes, like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men (except less attractive and not the Navy).

Yes, this is something I want. No, I’m not crazy — just want to do something awesome. The government is going to pay me to undergo weapons training, learn land navigation, stay in shape, and — oh yeah — be a lawyer. It’s a four-year commitment, and if anyone is interested, I’m going to try and chronicle with my journey over at my personal blog: (A)musing Dick. (I’m not sure how that will go because, as Lat knows, blogging and government work don’t always mesh very well.)

The important thing here is that there’s a writing opportunity available. Read on if you’re interested….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Goodbye Josh Dickinson… and Hello Job Opening (Above the Law Seeks a Small Firm Columnist)”

Barack Obama: The doctor is... out?

Virginia 1, Obamacare 0. Ian Gershengorn must be pacing up a storm.

Judge Henry E. Hudson (E.D. Va.) just struck down a key provision of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law — namely, the requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance. Judge Hudson held that the insurance mandate exceeds Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause. Links to coverage are collected below; Judge Hudson’s 42-page opinion is available here (PDF, via Dahlia Lithwick).

Congratulations to Virginia and to its crusading attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Federalist Society festivities a few weeks ago).

Of course, we’re still near the beginning of a long road of litigation — which will likely end at One First Street, two (or more) years from now.

Health Care Law Ruled Unconstitutional [New York Times]
Judge Strikes Down Part of Health Care Law [ABA Journal]
Virginia Federal Judge Shoots Down Part of Health Care Law [WSJ Law Blog]

Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s survey, aimed at practicing lawyers, seeks information about your practice area.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, some of them business-related and some of them editorially oriented (e.g., figuring out which practice areas we should cover more).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

ATL Practice Area Survey [Survey Monkey]

Maybe Demi Moore - and Ashton Kutcher, not Michael Douglas - will play them in the movie.

Last week, we started hearing about an amazing email making the rounds. In this email message, a male associate at a large law firm allegedly described, in excruciating detail, a supposed sexual encounter with a married female partner at the firm.

Apparently the raunchy email was making like an STD and going viral within the firm. Concerned about this development, the firm tried to crack down on dissemination by distributing a hard-copy memorandum to lawyers and staff, warning them about recent “spam” containing inappropriate language that was being circulated between several firm email accounts. Memo recipients were directed not to forward the “spam” if they received it, and they were also told not to disseminate the paper memo warning of the “spam.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s information-technology team was frantically trying to put the horse back in the barn. Members of the firm’s IT department were working overtime to locate and delete all copies of the email that they could find.

Alas, they didn’t work fast enough. The sexually explicit message — WARNING: stop reading here if such talk might offend you — finally found its blessed way to the Above the Law inbox….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Racy (But Fake?) Email About An Associate’s One-Night Stand With A Married Female Partner”

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