Pro Bono

Adriana Ferreyr

* Starting next year, if you want to be a lawyer in New York, you’re going to have to work for free. Because nothing says “we care” like indentured servitude. Thank God for law school clinic hours… maybe. [New York Times]

* Mo’ law schools, mo’ problems? That’s what Dean Wu thinks. Here’s a new trend to watch: UC Hastings, like other law schools, will be reducing its incoming class sizes. [USA Today]

* MOAR TRANSPARENCY! Support has been shown for the ABA’s proposed changes to law school disclosure requirements. All the better for those “sophisticated consumers,” eh, Judge Schweitzer? [ABA Journal]

* “Dogs are always happy to see you, no matter how you do on your Evidence exam.” Only real bitches would throw shade. Emory has joined the therapy dog pack for finals. [11 Alive News]

* In trying to dismiss a $50M suit against billionaire George Soros, his lawyer claimed that his ex would have had to suffer an “unconscionable injury.” Dude, she did. She banged an octogenarian. [New York Daily News]

* Ann Richardson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UDC School of Law, RIP. [Washington Post]

Depending on which state you’re licensed in, you may have to do a certain number of pro bono service hours in order to keep up with your ethical obligations. In general, doing pro bono work is a great way to get that happy feeling deep down inside.

But one lawyer in Georgia may have a different idea about how to achieve that sense of inner nirvana. He’s allegedly more interested in getting serviced pro boner than offering pro bono services.

That being said, let’s meet our Lawyer of the Day, a man who stands accused of trading contraband for peep shows from prisoners at the local jail….

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In late February, bonuses were announced at Jenner & Block. The firm has an individualized bonus system, so there’s no table to pass along.

And it’s harder to assess associate reactions to bonuses in a non-lockstep system. But we’ll give it a shot, and we’ll also share with you some information provided by the firm itself….

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People have really given Mitt Romney hell for saying he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” But really, it’s not just wealthy Republican Mormons who lack compassion for the very poor in this country. Ronald Reagan’s greatest legacy to the Republican Party was that he made it okay for them to categorically disregard the plight of the structurally poor and blame them for their own suffering. And for the most part Democrats have decided that in order to win they must show a similar callousness towards the poor. The poor don’t vote, and so both parties conspire to ignore the impoverished — or worse, talk down to those who were stupid enough to be born to the wrong parents.

At an individual level, nearly all of us are complicit as well. Well, I’ll just speak for me: I do my part to not care about the permanent underclass that lives in the richest society on Earth. I won’t even give money to homeless people on the street unless they sing or dance or perform some sort of talent. One time I gave “James,” a blind man who panhandles on the 4/5/6, line at the same times I head into the office, $20 — not because I wanted to be kind but because I got so sick of his spiel (“I’m legally blind, I get a little bit of disability but that only leaves me $18 a month for food.”). I thought he might leave me alone for the rest of the month.

I don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes wants poor people to just go away….

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David Otunga

If you’re a longtime reader of Above the Law, then you’ll remember Harvard Law School graduate and former Sidley associate, David Otunga. We’ve previously written about Otunga’s adventures in reality television on VH1′s I Love New York, his engagement to singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, and his foray into the wonderful world of “professional” wrestling with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Otunga’s been flexing his muscles in the ring since 2008, but our tipsters were unimpressed, noting, “From Harvard Law School to I Love New York to the WWE. Unfortunately the next stop is probably porn.” Well, sorry to disappoint you, but Otunga hasn’t signed up for his porn industry debut just yet. Instead, he took a momentary break from wrestling to make his return to the courtroom.

Was he able to lay down either of his finishing moves (the Verdict and the Case Closed) to pull out a win?

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Tomorrow, associates at Goodwin Procter will receive individualized news of their bonuses. You may recall that last month, when ATL’s new director of research, Brian Dalton, compiled a list of Biglaw’s ten most generous firms — i.e., the ten firms that pay the best bonuses, when measured against their profits per partner — Goodwin did good, winning fourth place. (The firm fares well in rankings; last month, it made Crain’s list of best places to work in New York.)

Will this year’s bonuses preserve Goodwin’s good standing? Let’s find out. Although the individual amounts are being communicated tomorrow, the firm has outlined its overall approach in a memo….

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SCOTUS has spoken on S&C's screw-up.

We’ve previously written about the mailroom of death at Sullivan & Cromwell. To make a long story short (read our prior posts for the full background), a mailroom mix-up at 125 Broad Street caused an Alabama death-row inmate to miss a deadline for filing an appeal. The Eleventh Circuit rejected the condemned man’s attempt to reopen his case.

Presumably feeling bad for what had happened, S&C appealed to the Supreme Court. The firm hired a leading SCOTUS advocate — former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, now a partner at Latham & Watkins — to argue that prisoner Cory Maples shouldn’t forfeit his life because of S&C’s screw-up.

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Maples v. Thomas. What did the high court have to say?

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It’s that time of the year again. No, we’re not talking about the Above the Law holiday party, which happened already. Or the ATL holiday card contest, which is now underway.

It’s time for celebration of a different sort — time to celebrate, and congratulate, the latest class of Skadden Fellows. The winners of these prestigious public interest fellowships were just announced, as they are every December.

As explained in the Skadden Fellowship Foundation’s press release, the 28 new fellows are graduating law students or judicial law clerks who are devoting their careers to public interest work. They’ll be working for organizations located in nine states and the District of Columbia, “focusing on issues ranging from the health and safety of low-wage immigrant workers in California to representing Russian-speaking victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking in New York.”

(Baby Jesus would be proud of what they do. Unless they work for the ACLU and try to ruin his birthday.)

Who are the Skadden fellows for 2012? Which law schools produced the most fellows? And what’s different about this year’s program compared to past years?

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For most of us, the holidays are synonymous with family, fun, and fruitcake. Work, at least for a few days, drops off our radar. However, the down time received during the holidays is the perfect time to break out the old résumé and, in fact, improve it. Whether or not you are looking for a new job, keeping your résumé current will help you avoid headaches in the coming months should you decide to make a move.

Here are three ways the holidays can help update your résumé, provided by the recruiters at Lateral Link….

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Cristina Fierro: not of age.

* Here’s something that’s actually worth crying over instead of your “meh” bonuses. Much like this year’s Cravath scale, Biglaw pro bono hours will likely be stagnant or cut altogether. [Fortune]

* What’s the point of fleeing if you’re just going to let yourself get extradited? Ex-Crowell & Moring counsel, Douglas Arntsen, will return to New York to face grand larceny charges. [New York Law Journal]

* Knock it off: the feds took down 150 sites selling counterfeit goods yesterday, alleging willful copyright infringement. So much for all of those too-good-to-be-true Cyber Monday deals. [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s pretty much impossible for Gloria Allred to take a client who doesn’t have a vagina. Her latest litigant, 16-year-old Cristina Fierro, is suing Lawrence Taylor for sex trafficking. [New York Post]

* Finally, some Spider-Man drama that we can get behind, unlike that Turn Off the Dark crap. Tobey Maguire has settled his illegal poker lawsuit, and he didn’t even have to go all in. [CNN]

* Sorry, Chick-Fil-A, but no one is going to be confusing your “chikin” trademark with kale. Maybe like 3% of your customers even know what kale is. And that’s being generous. [Huffington Post]

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