A few months back, the Student Bar Association at Northwestern University School of Law got its panties in a bunch over inappropriate language and the “unthinking use of stereotypes.” Saying that you were “raped” by an exam, for example, was offensive to some on campus, said the SBA. (They preferred that Northwestern students engage only in consensual test-taking.)
At the time, we asked:
Is there an epidemic of vulgarity at Northwestern that the SBA is desperately trying to stop?
Apparently so. The school is gearing up for its Barristers’ Ball, and students are offended by language all over again.
The vulgar words this time?
Last night, Marin liveblogged ABC’s new legal series, The Deep End. Over 2,000 ATL readers joined her for the series premiere. From the sound of it, doing doc review would have been a more enjoyable way to spend a Thursday evening. Marin declared:
this is why I only watch reality tv…. too painful to see how our nation’s brightest script writers can’t approximate real dialogue and human experience
The show was created by Biglaw refugee David Hemingson, a ’90 Columbia law grad who summered at Milbank and worked for a few years at Loeb & Loeb in LA before turning to script-writing. Hemingson told the WSJ Law Blog:
How’d you go about making it real? Did you visit law firms?
I’d really stayed on the periphery of the legal world, and checked in with a lot of former colleagues and friends who are partners now. In addition I got in touch with a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. Everyone seemed to say the same thing about life as a young associate: you’re overworked and underfed in terms of guidance. You’re constantly overmatched and outgunned. You love the life and career, but constantly feel a bit in over your head.
Apparently, he stayed very far on the periphery. Says Marin:
Folks, I don’t even know what to say. This show is worse that I thought. It’s too ridiculous for words.
But lots of words have been written about it. Reviews from around the Web suggest that this group of fake lawyers can expect layoffs in the near future.
We thought about trying to curate a list of the most important legal stories of 2009. But then the National Law Journal upped the ante with the Biggest Stories of the Decade.
Rather than telling you what was most important, we’re enlisting Google Analytics to tell you what was most popular at Above The Law this year, based on pageviews and traffic. After AboveTheLaw.com itself, the most clicked ATL url was our Layoffs tag, reflecting one of the most important ongoing stories here this year.
Hopefully, that’s not the case in 2010.
So what were the most popular posts at ATL in 2009?
10. Now this is a cover letter: ‘Unemployed J.D. Candidate’ sent his resume and transcript to Bingham McCutchen, as well as a cover letter compiling the praise he has received from other top firms in their rejection letters. Points for creativity, but Bingham wasn’t impressed enough to hire him.
We’re not in the business of filing pleadings at Above the Law, but there were five motions in 2009 that were outrageous enough to justify posting here.
We’re not sure how the judges felt about these, but we were moved: 5. Motion to Compel State’s Attorney to Drop His Accent: Being a New Yorker in a Texas court is rough, but being a British prosecutor might be worse. This motion is at the bottom of our list because it was not actually filed. It just made the rounds via Internet thanks to this bloke.
The rest of the motions on our list were actually filed though. Unbelievably.
As some of you know, I like television shows about lawyers. Granted, I liked them a lot better before I knew they were full of crap, but I still like them.
But not like this. This, my friends, is going to suck.
On Friday, we told you that the Northwestern Law School Student Bar Association wanted people to watch their language come exam time. In a letter to all students, the SBA told the student body about the kind of language that would not be tolerated:
Therefore, to be clear, saying things like “that’s so gay”, “that exam raped me”, or any racial or sexual epithet, are inappropriate and unacceptable. Accordingly, we ask that every student be cognizant of the critical role you play in maintaining NUSL’s vibrant diverse, collegial and supportive student culture and refrain from using such language.
The response to the SBA’s email has been overwhelming. Over the weekend, Above the Law readers offered every version of “This [protected class] exam [violated me sexually] in my [orifice of choice]” known to man. If the SBA’s letter was meant to inspire civility and tolerance, it was an epic fail.
Which Northwestern SBA members have taken responsibility for the letter? Which students want to stand by the opinions the board disseminated school-wide?
So far, none of the Northwestern SBA members claim responsibility for the message. In fact, finding a Northwestern student representative is more difficult than finding a job in this depressed economy. Above the Law reached out to the SBA president, but he has not responded to our request for comment.
It’s a bit surprising that after so publicly asking the student body to keep it clean, the SBA is suddenly keeping very quiet. Shouldn’t they use this as an opportunity to disseminate their message to a larger audience?
Others at Northwestern are talking, however. And tipsters tell us that this isn’t the first time that the current SBA has sent around a plea for civility in speech. Details after the jump.
Faithful Coca-Cola drinkers can laugh about this one. PepsiCo is having a rough month, reports the National Law Journal. PepsiCo’s purified water brand, Aquafina, has cost it a pretty penny.
Charles Joyce and James Voigt of Wisconsin sued PepsiCo earlier this year for stealing their idea of bottling and selling purified water. They claim that they had confidential discussions with distributors about the idea in 1981 and that the distributors passed those trade secrets along to Pepsi. It sounds like a bit of a ridiculous lawsuit; PepsiCo calls their accusations “dubious.”
But the Wisconsin men won. They won big. They won $1.26 billion dollars.
How did they win? By default judgment. PepsiCo’s lawyers never responded to the complaint, and the judge awarded the Wisconsin plaintiffs a default judgment.
Why did the Pepsi people never respond? Meet PepsiCo legal secretary, Kathy Henry.
Tuition at Columbia Law School this year is $48,004 (which doesn’t include $1,638 for health insurance and a $95 “transcript fee”). The estimated living cost for an academic year is $21,263. Putting it all together, students are looking at more than $70,000 for a year of legal education, during the worst recession in the legal industry most people can remember.
You’d think all of that would at least buy you a plastic fork at lunchtime. But you’d be wrong. Tipsters report that Columbia is now charging $.15 for plasticware in the law school cafeteria.
I’ve been doing this job for over a year now, and in that time some pretty petty cutbacks have scrawled across my inbox. But this might be the most outrageous “reverse perk” of all.
Let’s take a stroll through some other recession cutbacks.
Is there something about living in Virginia that gives people an exaggerated sense of self-importance? First, the Lile Moot Court Board at UVA Law appointed itself the résumé police. Now we’re finding out that the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners is drunk with its own power in anticipation of Friday’s release of the July Bar Exam results. Check out this message on the VBBE website:
As a service to Virginia Bar applicants, the Board of Bar Examiners posts the results from the most recent Bar Examination.
This office is working hard on the July 2009 Bar Examination results. Provided no one calls to inquire about the results, we anticipate the results will be posted Friday, October 16, 2009.
A “service”? Isn’t it their job to post bar results? Since when did doing your job quickly and efficiently become a favor?
Meanwhile, why is VBBE threatening to delay the results for everybody if one person simply inquires about the exam? I imagine it’s annoying to have lots of people call in requesting their scores, but why the threats? Threats, especially really petty ones, are bad. Why is this so hard for people in Virginia to understand?
Here’s my advice to the VBBE: post the scores, don’t answer your phone, and then congratulate yourself with a nice bottle of champagne for successfully operating the scantron machine yet again. Earlier: UVA 3Ls Threaten to Eat Their Young
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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