I talk a lot about what legal education doesn’t prepare you for. You know what it does prepare you for? Any future interaction with police officers. By the time I finished 1L year, I knew the golden rule for dealing with officers of the law: keep your mouth shut. Knowing the law and knowing your rights helps. But whenever you deal with a cop, you should say as little as possible.
Look, as a black man that lesson probably increases my life expectancy. But every person with legal training can benefit from simplicity of silence when cops are around. If I was the victim of a home break-in and called the cops myself, I wouldn’t say anything to them when they showed up. I’d just kind of point at things and shake my head.
You don’t even have to be a practicing lawyer to reap the benefit of these skills. On his blog, Concurrent Sentences (gavel bang: Volokh Conspiracy), a Michigan area law student explains how he masterfully handled a recent traffic stop. It’s a skill all lawyers should have…
Around this time last year, we ran a story about a person at Wake Forest going ballistic at the school’s Career Services Office.
There must be something about springtime weather that brings out the crazies at Wake. A tipster reports that this year a student once again has lost his mind because of the challenging job market:
[J]ust wanted to let you guys know that another lame student at Wake Forest Law has had a meltdown because he/she could not find a job. Earlier today, this student sent out a school-wide email that threatens career services and slams the dean, the library, those in charge of LLM program, etc. Unlike last year, this year’s message was sent under an anonymous gmail account instead of an actual student account…
This latest email is both funny and pathetic — the author threatens to release information about career services’ coffee breaks unless the career services department resigns. Apparently these breaks have been observed by a group of secret agent students over the course of the year. Why does this always happen at this school? This kid should seriously concentrate on studying for finals.
Honestly, how many times do we need to tell law students that threatening people will get you nowhere? Every lawyer knows that you can threaten laypeople with impunity. But lawyers and legal professionals don’t take well to bullying because they know the law.
In any event, let’s take a look at the student’s ravings and the fairly measured response from the Wake Forest Dean…
That’s the question posed by Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, in an extremely interesting post on the Opinionator blog. In attempting to address “why other countries [don't] suffer from the same toxic confirmation battles that we do,” she first notes that other nations don’t give their judges life tenure:
High-court judges [in other countries] typically serve for a single nonrenewable term of 9 to 12 years — a period during which Supreme Court justices in the United States are just getting warmed up. These shorter terms ensure frequent turnover and allay fears about a party in power being able to lock up the court for decades through the fortuity of a large number of vacancies; each vacancy naturally carries less weight.
But we’re guessing that Greenhouse, whose politics tend to fall on the left side of the aisle, actually likes having life-tenured judges who are completely unaccountable insulated from the political process. So she tosses out another idea….
Last June, we reported that Howrey decided to make a big change to the law firm business model. The firm cut first year starting salaries to $100,000. In exchange, the first year program would involve a heavy emphasis on training. Associate billables would be capped at 700 hours and Howrey reduced the rates charged to clients for first year work. The low-salary/training emphasis carried on into the second year.
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became the first NFL player never charged or convicted of any crime to be suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, the decision to suspend Roethlisberger was the result of “some bad decisions” that Roethlisberger made in recent weeks, which emerged during the Georgia police’s investigation of him for sexual assault.
Allegations of sexual assault are not to be taken lightly. However, not all such allegations are true. See, e.g., the Duke Lacrosse scandal. And whether Roger Goodell even has the power to suspend a player where no criminal wrongdoing is found is questionable. The issue depends entirely upon how one interprets a few important clauses in the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement…
* A Cal State Northridge professor has some helpful advice for scoring a hooker in Thailand. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]
* Apparently the person who made this “pitch perfect” film is a 1L at U.C. Irvine Law. I guess one has time for such pursuits when attending law school for free. [New York Times]
* Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minnow offers her take on the future of legal education. [Harvard Law School]
* You know how a gaggle of moderately attractive women will invariably have one hideous friend whose function is to make all the other girls feel better about themselves? I think that’s why the other Western states hang out with Utah. [WSJ Law Blog]
* File this under “More Totally Inappropriate Uses for Twitter.” [Bad Lawyer]
Ohio judge Shirley Strickland Saffold got Judge of the Day honors here last month for nasty comments made anonymously on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website by someone with the handle “Lawmiss.” After Lawmiss made a comment about the mental state of a relative of a reporter, the reporter decided to find out who the person behind the account was. The AOL email address associated with the account was Judge Saffold’s. The Dealer outed her, running a story about all the things Lawmiss had said about trials Saffold had overseen and about specific attorneys, defendants, and other judges.
Saffold denied making the comments. Instead, Judge’s Saffold’s 23-year-old daughter claimed she was the one snipping about the antics in her mom’s courtroom, saying that she shares the AOL email address with her mother. The Plain Dealer got a hold of the browser history from Saffold’s courtroom computer, though, and discovered that she had accessed certain articles at the same time that Lawmiss made comments on them, which made her denials seem a bit dubious.
One of the attorneys described by Lawmiss as a “buffoon” with an “Amos and Andy mouth” is currently appearing before Judge Saffold, defending Anthony Sowell, an alleged serial killer. He has filed multiple motions that Saffold recuse herself from the case. She both refused to step down and sued the Plain Dealer for $50 million for invasion of her, ahem, daughter’s privacy. Saffold wrote to the court yesterday arguing that she not be removed from the case.
Life outside of lockstep is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. A lockstep system for compensating and promoting associates has its drawbacks, to be sure. But at least it offers the virtues of transparency and predictability.
Earlier this week, we covered the arguably amorphous definition of “merit” at WilmerHale, one of several leading law firms to abandon lockstep. Today we turn our attention to Winston & Strawn, another prominent firm that has moved to a more “merit-based” system of compensation.
Back in February, we described Winston’s compensation scheme not as a box of chocolates — that would be sweet and delicious! — but as a black box. Among associates, nobody really knows what anyone else is making. As stated in the firm memo, “Individual associate salaries will be determined on a case by case basis based on seniority, performance and productivity factors and will be communicated separately to each associate.”
We now have a better sense of what’s going on at Winston, thanks to the recent release of individualized salary info (and some comparing of notes among Winston associates). And not everyone is happy….
While the economy was in freefall, an attorney at the SEC had a crisis of a different kind: his work computer had run out of room for his porn stash.
Thankfully, this was more easily solved than the mystery of Madoff’s returns. The SEC headquarters senior attorney, who spent up to eight hours a day surfing porn sites at work according to a recent SEC inspector general report, is a problem solver. He started downloading his porn directly to CDs and DVDs that he kept stored in boxes in his office. SEC attorneys know how to get the job done!
He was not the only SEC employee obsessing over porn while the economy was being raped. Bess Levin has a whole collection of anecdotes from the Office of the Inspector General report, over at sister site Dealbreaker.
Can you blame them for turning to sites like “www.ladyboyx.com, www.ladyboyjuice.com, www.trannytit.com, and www.anal-sins.com”? They weren’t having much luck nailing economic criminals after all…
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.