pls hndle thx

* Saudi Arabia may soon end beheadings because they’re running out of swordsmen. Poor Ned Stark… if he’d just held out a little longer. [Lowering the Bar]

* Professor Richard Epstein held an AMA (“Ask Me Anything” if you’re behind on the modern lingo of the Interwebs) on Reddit this morning. Mercifully, “Boxers of Briefs?” wasn’t asked. [Reddit]

* It may have taken awhile for Steubenville, Ohio to get its priorities straight, but Attorney General Mike DeWine is finally saying the right things, “Let me be clear. Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you.” [Jezebel]

* Is the legal industry ready to seize the future? [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* If you have any questions you’d like to see addressed by our crack advice team at Pls Hndle Thx, send them to [Above the Law]

* David Bernstein posted this clever video about Passover to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody over at Volokh Conspiracy. You can watch it after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 03.20.13″

Hello guys. Here at Above the Law, we value your commentary and interaction. Well, not yours (you know who you are), but most of you guys.

We’re bringing back an old feature and starting some new features that will highlight your content and commentary.

Let’s start with the old stuff: we’re rebooting Pls Hndle Thx, our ATL advice column written by Marin. We’d like you to send your questions to If your question is picked, you’ll get a t-shirt, mild ridicule, and the sometimes quite helpful advice of the ATL community of readers. All questioners will be kept completely anonymous, of course.

The new thing we’re doing is a series of Google hangouts with prominent law students, professors, and law firm recruiting personnel. We want your stories of success and preparation for our panelists to grade. How did you get into law school? How did you get your job? What steps did you take to prepare for law school before your 1L year? Again, there’s swag for people whose submissions we use. And there’s the fun of having, say, your method of bar preparation graded by the president of BARBRI.

Above the Law has more readers than ever before, and user-generated content has always been a big part of the offerings here, so email, text, comment, tweet, or leave a status update about what you think we should be talking about.

Ed. note: Have a question for the next edition? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I’m a 2L at a second-tier midwestern school. Fall OCI didn’t go so great for me and, after resigning myself to failure, I accepted an unpaid internship with the government in my home metropolitan area. If I keep the job, chances are good that I’ll end up taking out loans for externship credit and will also be forced to obtain some sort of weekend employment to pay the bills.

Surprisingly, I just got an offer to be a summer bitch at a decent-paying firm within my home town. I talked to Career Services about this problem, and they made it clear that I needed to reject the firm offer. But that option would obviously strain me, both career-wise and financially. So my ultimate question is, can I tell the government that I’m sorry, but will no longer be able to take the position? From a purely financial point of view, I can either borrow ~6k this summer for tuition and living expenses, or make ~20k.

-Money on the Table

Dear Money on the Table,

As if law students didn’t have enough strikes against them — sh*tty economy, no jobs, worthless degree — a new and insidious threat also conspires to keep them broke and unemployed: Career Services. Everyone tolerated their quaint but useless “resume writing workshops” and rhetorical great-unpaid-opportunity-in-Kansas emails when the economy was great, but now that sh*t has tanked and they are unable to fulfill their express job duties — namely, creating careers — they’ve turned underminer. If they can’t create careers, no one should have them….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Career Disservices”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

One of the partners in my practice group is very involved with a charity. About once a month or so, we get hit up with various updates on the cause, requests to donate, attend charity events, subscribe to newsletters, etc. He’s even made a few presentations about the charity during practice group meetings. This charity has absolutely nothing to do with legal work and frankly it’s getting really annoying.

As an associate, is it OK to unsubscribe from his charity’s email (not sure how I was signed up in the first place)?  Will he know?  Will it affect my partnership chances?  Am I obligated to donate?  Will he know?  Will the other partners know?

-Hit ‘Em Up Style

Dear Hit ‘Em Up Style –

Part of the reason they pay you associates so much is that your exorbitant salaries already factor in the bullsh*t expenses that come with the job: student loan payments, business wardrobe, personal training, late night online electronics purchases, therapy, top shelf alcohol so as not to be totally incapacitated when you get a work email the next day… and partner pet projects. And yes, they’re watching….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: The Panhandling Partner”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I just received my A.A. in Paralegal Studies. Will this be useful at all? How do attorneys view paralegals? I don’t need an attorney to like me. I just need one to pay me.

— Wrong Kind of Associate

Dear Wrong Kind of Associate,

I’m going to be honest here and say that I had to Google “A.A. degree.” I thought it might be it something called an “Associates Degree,” which I’ve seen advertised on the subway, but I wasn’t sure because I’ve never seen that abbreviation in real life and wanted to be absolutely certain about it before I tore you a new one….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: A Degree More Useless Than a J.D.?”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I’m an in-house attorney at a large company. I used to be an associate at a big law firm, but was a stealth layoff victim and had little contact with the firm after that (and I’ll admit, I’m still somewhat bitter about the layoff). My current employer still works with my former firm sometimes, though the firm didn’t do anything to help me get my current position.

Recently, the firm realized that (1) I once worked there, and (2) I now work at a client. However, they failed to remember why or how I left, and thus have been contacting me as a firm “alumnus” to invite me to client and industry-type things, as well as firm events.

How should I respond to this attention, especially since I’m in a relatively small legal community, and my bosses do have some relationship with the firm?

— Memento

Dear Memento,

People seem to have online amnesia these days. You can be sworn enemies with someone in real life, but somehow it’s perfectly natural to want to add them on Facebook. Just had a soul-crushing breakup with an asshat? Start monitoring your inbox for his LinkedIn request. It’s really unbelievable. Some people just don’t understand that grudges are for life, and they’re held offline and online…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: So That’s What Happened to the Stealth-Layoff Lawyers”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I am an aspiring law student getting ready to send off my law school application.  However, I have a problem: I can’t go to the only law school that makes sense for me; not because I did not score well enough, but because of an American Bar Association rule whose blanket coverage does not really apply in its intended sense to my situation.  The rule deals with not allowing anyone to attend a full time law program while working more than 20 hours per week.

Currently, I have my full time dream job as New York City fireman and, honestly, I could not imagine quitting it for anything.  However, it does not mean that obtaining my J.D. and having the opportunity to give back more to the community and stimulate my mind on my days not at the firehouse is not also an aspiration of mine.  Unfortunately, it seems that both of my dreams cannot be achieved in an economically feasible manner.  Only one of the schools in the area is a state school and affordable (see: rational) for me to attend, but they only offer a full time program….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Should New York’s Bravest Brave Law School?”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

One of the things I don’t like about your blog is that you never have anything for Biglaw Bros who are just looking to use their jobs and money to score chicks. It’s fine to talk about women’s issues, debt issues, layoff issues and all that stuff. But aside from casual references to “models and bottles” you don’t seem interested in actually helping dudes who want to find pretty, young, not-too-intelligent slam pieces “on the reg.”

— What About Us?

Marin, the usual author of this column, is on vacation this week — which is probably why I get to address this question that was hurled at me while I was trying to watch the AFC Championship game. I’ll do my best Marin impersonation (if you promise not to tell her), and see if we can’t get the “bros” in our audience pointed in the right direction…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: BroTips”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I’m in my last year of law school and will be taking the bar this summer. I was wondering if you had some advice on the necessity of a bar review course. The opinions I’ve received from friends who have passed the bar has been split. They all say that it helped keep them “on pace” or “forced them to study” which I’m frankly not worried about. Is there going to be enough new law in one year to sink your bar exam if you’re studying from the previous year’s materials?

— Pay to Play

Dear Pay to Play,

Upon realizing that Suze Orman’s Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke was not itself filled with money, I recently sat down with a “financial advisor”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Do You Need to Take a Bar Review Course?”

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to

Dear ATL,

I’m an associate at a mid-sized law firm, and I recently received an offer from a much larger and more prestigious firm. I’ve decided to accept. My question is: should I ask for a signing bonus, and if so, how large? The salary bump from what I’m earning right now is already huge, so I feel greedy asking for more, especially in this economy. But if I can get it, why not, right?

— Money Never Sleeps

Dear Money Never Sleeps,

Here’s a sample of some of the items that landed in my inbox this week: One reader wanted to know whether to ask the firm where she was contracting at to upgrade her to associate. Somebody else requested an opinion on whether law school was still a bad idea given that he currently makes $16,000 a year and manages a coffee shop. And, my passive-aggressive personal finance site, emailed me to “let me know” that I was over budget for “Alcohol & Entertainment” expenditures in January. And then I received your question. Yeah….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Should You Ask for Lateral Signing Bonuses?”

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