Screw-Ups

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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The only people who hate final exams as much as students are the professors who must eventually grade them. Some professors look at finals with open disdain. It takes them away from scholarship and they don’t even get the thrill of hearing themselves talk in a packed lecture hall.

Maybe it’s because so many professors hate giving exams that there seem to be so many screw-ups. Mistakes will happen, but often it doesn’t seem like schools have a clear plan of fixing mistakes in a way that is fair to all students.

NYU Law School has had its fair share of exam mishaps. It’s a long and embarrassing list.

But maybe NYU Law is finally starting to learn from past mishaps. Oh, the faculty still make mistakes when it comes time to administer exams, but this time the solution is that the professor is going to do extra work.

Then again, maybe it’s working extra hard after you’ve made an error that separates this famous NYU professor from the rabble….

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Earlier this week, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our caption contest…

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There’s always something interesting going on over at Greenberg Traurig. Over the summer, we covered their capital call. Earlier in the year, we wrote extensively about the drama in Coquina Investments v. TD Bank, a case in which the firm got sanctioned. Last month, we mentioned in passing the firm’s quiet settling of claims brought by current and former NFL players alleging that the firm failed to warn them adequately about investing in an ill-fated Alabama casino project.

Today brings word of another client-related controversy over at Greenberg Traurig….

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and then vote on the finalists….

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Rick Scott wishes that were a gun.

Last December, we brought you a story about some rather embarrassing news for Joe Amendola, Jerry Sandusky’s attorney (no, not this attorney). Apparently Amendola suggested that anyone who believed Mike McQueary witnessed a rape, reported it, and nothing was done about it, should dial 1-800-REALITY. As it turns out, 1-800-REALITY is a gay sex hotline, whose opening message begins like so: “Hey guys, welcome to the hottest place for triple-X action.” Amendola’s faux pas was shockingly inappropriate given the nature of Sandusky’s crimes.

Today, we’ve got yet another story about a law school graduate who inadvertently gave out the number for a phone sex line, but this time he’s not a defense attorney — he’s the Governor of Florida….

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Lawyers aren’t exactly a loosey-goosey bunch when it comes to making mistakes. Sometimes they even intentionally blow small mistakes out of proportion in order to prevent goofs down the line. So what do you do when someone makes a pretty egregious mistake on the cover of a state legal guidebook? Well, as a tipster suggests, maybe “klil” yourself.

Barring such drastic measures, we recommend making jokes instead. Click thru to see the photo for our latest caption contest….

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Tom Wallerstein

A friend of mine — now a successful partner — told me a story about when he was a junior associate at a well-known Biglaw firm. Phil used to work for a superstar partner who was incredibly well respected by his colleagues and clients, but somewhat feared by junior associates. Phil told me about the time when he had to confess to the partner that he had inadvertently produced to their adversary a small number of documents that had been tagged as “non-responsive”; i.e., documents that did not need to be produced because the adversary had not requested them.

Phil expected yelling and screaming, profanity, maybe a fist pounding on the table. But instead, the partner was silent. His face showed disappointment, not anger. He slowly shook his head side to side several times, muttering to himself, seemingly unable to comprehend why fate should be so cruel as to condemn him to work with such incompetents. He rubbed at his face and eyes, first with one hand, and then the other, as if he hoped to awaken himself from a stubborn bad dream.

After several moments, he sighed loudly, and looked at Phil with seeming pity. He sighed again, to make sure my friend fully comprehended the weight of despair that he was bearing, and then once more, for good measure. Finally, the partner said simply, “We’ll have to call the carrier.”

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Along with all the wonders and ease of technology — the world wide web at your fingertips, the ability to send photos of your family vacations from the top of a mountain — there are also some serious accompanying risks. Like the possibility of forgetting to delete a stray picture of your privates and accidentally showing it to a colleague in the middle of a cellphone slideshow of otherwise innocent family and church photos.

Oops.

But that’s what former Philadelphia traffic court judge Willie Singletary did. He resigned several months ago over the blunder, and now he’s been officially called out by the state’s Judicial Discipline Committee…..

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Another (dis)satisfied customer.

* Do we really need another “50 Best Law Schools” ranking list? Debatable. But we know you want to find out if your school made the cut. [Business Insider]

* What’s the hardest part of being a public defender? Is it (a) the low pay, (b) the long hours, or (c) getting punched in the face by an unhappy client? [Huffington Post]

* This lawyer is involved in a mess of defamation accusations because he made the mistake of paying attention to anonymous comments. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Only amateur fibbers simply pretend they have cancer. If you want to be the real deal, you gotta tell all your friends you also don’t have health insurance and get them to raise three grand to pay for your imaginary chemo. [Legal Juice]

* So, I would never fake an injury to get to use a wheelchair, because of the serious karma issues it would probably create in my life (e.g., above blurb). But I will say I went to Disneyland once with a physically disabled friend, and it was freaking amazing. I’ve never waited in so few lines in my life. [Consumerist]

* I think the lesson here is that it’s generally poor parenting to name your child after the sound a bomb makes. [CBS Cleveland via Legal Blog Watch]

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