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Like one of probably hundreds of associates of a certain vintage, I spent a fair number of billable hours sifting through thousands of documents (often copies of copies of copies of the same document) relating to the Enron fraud.  LJM1 and LJM2, Raptor I, II, III, and IV, etc. 

I don’t recall discovering anything that many others hadn’t already noticed, but as I found to be true in other document reviews, there were plenty of personal emails sprinkled amongst the “wheat” that offered some respite from the boredom of the review task.  That, plus the fact that essentially limitless low-stress billable hours are great for hitting bonus targets, were for me pretty much the only redeeming features of the document review exercise….

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Stephen DiCarmine as the Annoying Orange

[T]he insatiable greed of some of those [equity] partners and the decision of some partners to jump ship when the going got rough were major causes of D&L’s collapse, not Steve DiCarmine’s actions.

– Attorney Austin V. Campriello of Bryan Cave, arguing on behalf of Stephen DiCarmine, Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former executive director, in a memorandum in support of his client’s motion to dismiss the indictment.

(Keep reading to see DiCarmine’s entertaining memorandum in full.)

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Insider trading is one of those activities that you should avoid. If you’re a lawyer, it’s an activity you should definitely avoid. It’s not really all that hard to steer clear of insider trading either. Obviously there are some murky cases, but it’s wise to err on the side of caution.

On the other hand, there are also cases where the SEC says a close friend of a company’s executive is emailing you and telling you which days to buy because “[e]arnings are being released on the 30th along with some good news,” and “[l]ooking forward to getting paid back. Good luck…. SHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Those are the cases where you probably should walk away.

Put aside the insider trading: what lawyer is using email to have these conversations?

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This isn’t just another departure memo. This is a guide, an illustrated guide to exactly how a person can go from “I make $160,000 or more a year doing something I spent three years training to do” to “screw it, I’m outta here.”

This lawyer/artist went to a top-six law school, she worked at a top Biglaw firm, and now she’s leaving to pursue her considerable artistic talent. You can check out her departure memo below. Everybody who has thought about quitting or actually quit Biglaw will have a panel that speaks to them. My favorite is when her parents tell her, “You could do Art Law!” Because when you are quitting, calls with mommy and daddy are awesome.

Congratulations to this woman. It gets better, folks.

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Job stress is a big deal. It’s not just that it makes you feel constantly anxious and irritable and more likely to get involved in shouting matches — and that’s just with your alarm clock. Occupational stress impacts our overall well-being. For example, it increases marital strife and has also been more strongly associated with health issues than financial or family problems.

One way to avoid job stress is to avoid having a job. I know this may sound like a tempting alternative, but I’ve tried this at one point and found that it wasn’t an ideal option. Because when not working means that your hubby nags you every other minute to get your butt off the couch and clean off the month-old Cheetos stuck between your teeth, it’s still pretty stressful.

So assuming we’re forced to follow the conventional, non-lazy route, which is the better option from a stress perspective — working in-house or at a law firm? Well, it depends. Sorry, I know that it’s one of those typical, boring, hedgy responses that lawyers like to give every time they’re confronted with a question, but there really isn’t a more appropriate response….

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Germany has won the World Cup. The final game was a low-scoring 1-0, but nonetheless a thrilling hair-puller of missed opportunities on both sides. The single goal, in minute 113, was an elegant, technically perfect two-touch volley — all the more impressive because it was delivered by a 22-year-old substitute who did not join the game until the second half.

The game was also a contrast of different playing styles. Argentina built its offence around a star striker, Lionel Messi, who was expected to execute a well-timed stroke of veritable futbol magic that would hopefully usher his country to its third World Cup victory. Backing him was a deep-sitting defense that repeatedly stifled German goal-scoring attempts, but was nevertheless not expected to score absent some Messi magic. By contrast, Germany lacked a superstar of the world-renown of Messi. Instead, its playing style prioritized short, deft, technical passing among the team as a whole. The victorious Germans carefully worked the ball through various mid-field channels until, eventually, it reached the back of the opponent’s net.

I am not an avid soccer fan, but like many Americans, I tune into the World Cup every four years. Who was I rooting for?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Tiki-Taka Teamwork”

* Congrats to William Voge, who was elected as the new chairman of Latham & Watkins. He succeeds Robert Dell in this position, who is one of the Am Law 100′s longest-serving leaders. [Am Law Daily]

* Dewey’s former execs filed a motion to dismiss their criminal charges, lamenting the fact that the Manhattan DA made them “scapegoats” for the total failure of their firm. [DealBook / New York Times]

* A judge banned the Washington Redskins name from his court, proclaiming that the offensively monikered team shall be known only as “the Washington Team” in documents submitted. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks that if it were up to Judge Judy, House Speaker John Boehner’s “show trial” suit against President Obama would be thrown out in “half a second.” Well then. [ABC News]

* A Michigan attorney was arraigned yesterday on a felony charge of homicide-solicitation of murder. It seems that the hired hitman warned his target. He’s not getting a good Yelp review. [UpNorthLive.com]

* If you’re an international student with a foreign law degree trying to get a law degree in the U.S., why the hell would you waste your money on a J.D.? Just get an LL.M. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Oh baby8: Nadya Suleman (formally doing business as Octomom) pleaded no contest to welfare fraud charges after she failed to report income from all of her public appearances and porn videos. [Reuters]

Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

I’ve used this conversational pulpit to whine about first-world problems like law school exams, Biglaw summer programs, and the like. But if there was one part of my legal experience that I truly enjoyed, it was studying for the bar exam. And one of the main reasons that I loved studying for the bar — I will get into the others soon — was the man who bookends the BARBRI courses each year with his lectures on Torts and Family Law: Roger Schechter. In the conversation posted below, I’ll learn a little more about the man who’s had prospective bar exam takers cracking up in their seats for the last 24 years, and see if he has any other suggestions for making bar study more fun and rewarding — oh, and making sure you pass!

Professor Schechter and I will be creating this conversation using ReplyAll over the course of the week, so check back as the conversations develops. And now, without further ado, the conversation:

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* Man claims his former employer discriminated against him because he was an atheist. Yep, this Hobby Lobby thing isn’t going to have any repercussions at all. [Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal]

* Speaking of atheists and SCOTUS, the Court may have authorized the Town of Greece to get all religiousy at town board meetings, but an atheist is stepping up to the plate to deliver an invocation. Freedom of religion does mean he gets a turn. [Rochester Homepage]

* There’s an icky sexual harassment story coming out of an elite L.A. school. And they’ve hired an elite law firm to investigate. [Gawker]

* Cops do hear some pretty funny stories when they pull people over. [Legal Juice]

* If you’re out of work, here’s an idea: this solicitor-to-be posted a selfie with a pigeon on Facebook and got an offer — along with a lot of publicity. [Legal Cheek]

* Is the future of legal education online? Perhaps the better question is, “How will law schools overcharge when they no longer have brick-and-mortar facilities?” [Tipping the Scales]

* A judge explains that incest and pedophilia aren’t such big deals anymore because gay people are accepted. Wow. [Jezebel]

* Are you keeping up with Kirby v. Marvel? Because Jack Kirby’s estate is making a run at the Supreme Court in a case that affects billions. Embed below… [Bloomberg]

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For several years, I’ve enthusiastically supported co-working as an attractive office option for solos. Working alongside others not only mitigates the isolation of solo practice but offers demonstrated financial benefits: bar studies show that lawyers in shared space earn more than lawyers who work from home or in stand-alone offices. At the same time, co-working is more affordable than traditional full-time office space or many corporate virtual office arrangements and thus enables newer or cash-strapped solos to enjoy the benefits of shared space without substantial overhead.

But this recent post by Posse CEO Rebekah Campbell, for the New York Times You’re the Boss blog of the New York Times, has made me reconsider whether co-working space is right for everyone — particularly lawyers….

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There’s an outside chance that more people will read this post about the declining number of people taking the June LSAT than will actually sit for the June LSAT.

It’s trite and banal to say that “the media” or “the internet” is responsible for the declining number of people interested in law school. Law school deans want you to think that they are in some kind of losing battle with media sources. And sure, the fact that the “law school brochure” no longer stands unchallenged by “reputable media sources” has something to do with the fact that June LSAT takers are at a 14-year low. The truth is out there, and the ability of prospective law students — and their parents — to just Google “Suffolk Law School” lessens the effectiveness of your average subway advertisement.

But the internet isn’t responsible for people staying away from law schools. Law schools themselves are encouraging people to stay away in droves. They put up flashing “Don’t Come In Here” signs every time they unleash another disaffected class of graduates out onto the market…

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