While bonuses are burning up the comments here at Above the Law, there’s another discussion raging over at the ABA’s SoloSez Listserv — where solo and small firm lawyers from around the country share resources, practice tips and the occasional anecdote.
Claiming the debt load for the average ASU grad has increased by $40,000 since she applied, the 3L is “reaching out to the online community to help [her] pay for it.” Good choice, since everyone knows that bloggers are just rolling in cash.
Given its entrepreneurial nature, this seems right up the small firm alley. But the plan has been received quite poorly by a majority of practitioners.
More about the sponsorship, what she’s willing to do for it, and the identity of the student, after the break…
About once every two months, someone sends us an email asking, “Whatever happened to Kumari Fulbright?” Well, now we have an update.
In case you don’t recall, Kumari Fulbright was a Texas high school cheerleader, Arizona beauty queen, and second-year law student at the University of Arizona — until she was accused of participating in a plot to kidnap an ex-boyfriend, which put a crimp in her legal studies.
Last week, Fulbright took the stand — not in a moot court or mock trial competition, but in the criminal trial of her co-conspirator, Robert Ergonis. And it seems that Fulbright’s testimony, despite its occasional evasiveness, was effective. On Tuesday, the jury convicted Ergonis of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (a gun), assault, and armed robbery.
Fulbright’s testimony against Ergonis was made pursuant to a plea agreement, which provides for her to receive a two-year prison sentence. She will be officially sentenced in early 2011 — and is stuck in jail until then.
Kumari cut a colorful figure on the witness stand….
It’s not yet November, so California and New York test takers still have some time left to wait. But if you took the Massachusetts bar exam, release of the results is imminent, according to Stuff To Do During BarBri.
(Random aside: BAR/BRI isn’t the only provider of bar exam preparation services. For a comparison of BAR/BRI, Kaplan PMBR, and BarMax, see here — including the comments.)
Stuff To Do During BarBri attributes the Massachusetts mailing, said to be taking place tomorrow, to “the grape vine allegedly originating in the Massachusetts Superior Court.” So at this point it’s still rumor.
But we do have confirmed news of bar exam outcomes from other states….
I wanted to wait until I calmed down before I posted on it, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. So I broke into the Bronx Zoo this morning and stole some elephant tranquilizers. I’m going to shoot up and finish this post, now.
Arizona attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran came onto our radar back in 2009, when he filed one of the craziest motions we’ve ever seen. Solo practitioner Oladiran, a former associate at Greenberg Traurig, filed a racketeering lawsuit against “Suntrust Bank and its pimps” for allegedly suckering him into predatory housing loans.
The motion that caught our eye — “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” – was filed to vent Oladiran’s frustration with the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton, whom Taj called “a brainless coward.” That would be the same Susan Bolton who, in a not-so-cowardly move, blocked part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Taj ended the motion:
Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania, is a lovely little town (or so Lat tells me — his aunt used to live there). But it’s not bigger than the federal government or the Constitution of the United States of America.
That’s the lesson the Third Circuit handed down today with its decision in the Lozano v. Hazleton case. At issue: Hazleton city ordinances making it illegal for undocumented immigrants to work or even rent a house in Hazleton.
Apparently, the Third Circuit still believes in federal supremacy. From the opinion:
Although our reasoning differs from that of the district court, we agree that the provisions of the ordinances which we have jurisdiction to review are pre-empted by federal immigration law and unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause.
Did you hear that, Arizona? Your quixotic quest to deal with illegal immigrants without consulting the Constitution is almost over…
Please note: people get Academy Awards for acting like they can talk to dead people.
Full disclosure: I belong to the South Park school of thought, which says that claiming you can speak to dead people makes you a candidate for Biggest Douche in the Universe. Even my priest, who believes that the will of an omniscient and all-powerful being can be easily flummoxed by a thin film of latex, doesn’t believe that he has a direct line of communication with the dead.
One would think that telling a client you are “channeling” his dead wife would violate multiple rules of legal ethics. But not so in Arizona. Nope, in Arizona you can get away with this, reports the ABA Journal:
[Lawyer Charna Johnson] began representing the client during his divorce proceedings in 1999. The client’s wife committed suicide the following year, and Johnson later co-represented him in probate proceedings.
Johnson and the client both testified that they genuinely believed the client’s wife was within Johnson. Two witnesses agreed. The client felt his wife had come back to heal some of the damage from her prescription drug use.
Yeah, that’s perfectly cool in ‘Zona. Remember, this is the state where Bryan Cave lawyers conducted an exorcism. Obviously they’re down with the supernatural in Arizona, so long as the spirits are American-born.
But still, having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a client is a no-no. Luckily for Charna Johnson, the client’s dead wife apparently no longer wanted to have sex with the client. Whew. Johnson really dodged a bullet there…
This is going to come as a major surprise to many of you, but the Obama administration just won a victory in Federal Court.
I know, it’s crazy, but a federal judge actually sided with the Obama administration’s request for a preliminary injunction that will stay the effects of some provisions in Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. The Wall Street Journal reports:
A federal judge blocked key sections of Arizona’s tough new immigration law on Wednesday, granting the Obama administration’s request for an injunction based on the belief that immigration matters are the purview of the federal government.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed to enjoin several provisions, including one that required police officers to check the immigration status of a person stopped for an alleged other violation, such as speeding, if reasonable suspicion existed that the individual was illegally in the U.S.
It’s a preliminary victory of U.S. citizens who happen to look like illegal immigrants in the eyes of Arizona police officers…
As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the lawsuits are coming for Arizona’s new immigration law. First up, the ACLU. Bloomberg reports:
The American Civil Liberties Union is leading a court challenge to Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration, claiming the measure would allow unconstitutional racial profiling by police.
A group of civil rights organizations led by the ACLU also alleges that the law interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to a complaint filed today in federal court in Phoenix. The group claims in addition that the statute infringes the free-speech rights of day laborers in the state.
It’s not surprising that the ACLU is taking the first shot at this. The Department of Justice might not be far behind….
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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