Atlanta

Fictional depictions of high-powered executives and lawyers feature personal assistants with job portfolios more akin to “slave child” than “professional.” Sometimes these assistants are associates, but usually they’re in some other job — like legal secretaries, or whatever Waylon Smithers does. These jobs don’t usually exist in real life. Sure, a partner might ask a paralegal or secretary for a cup of coffee, but they aren’t really so full of themselves as to expect some low-wage employee to peel grapes and fan palm leaves.

Unless you’re this guy, of course. This guy is a partner who wants an employee to “reduce my stress level” by handling every task that he feels is beneath his lofty stature. Behold someone so out of touch with basic decency….

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Not since its pursuit was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence has “happiness” had a bigger cultural moment than now, and not just because of that “room without a roof” earworm. There is a new and rapidly growing science of happiness, a mash-up of economics and psychology sometimes called “hedonics,” which tells us that money can buy happiness, but only to a point. Meanwhile, in corporate America, we witness the emergence of a new C-suite character, the Chief Happiness Officer, who is responsible for employee contentment. Sort of like an HR director, but smiling and magical.

Recently, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research released a paper, “Unhappy Cities,” reporting the findings of a major survey asking respondents about their satisfaction with life. The authors, academics from Harvard and the University of British Columbia, found that there are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. cities and, unsurprisingly, residents of declining cities are less happy than other Americans. (Interestingly, the authors suggest that these unhappy, declining cities were also unhappy during their more prosperous pasts.)

So there are unhappy cities; there are also unhappy (and relatively happier) law schools. When ATL’s own Staci Zaretsky learned that Springfield, Massachusetts — home of her alma mater, the Western New England University School of Law — made the list of unhappiest cities, it came as no surprise: “It’s hard to tell where the local misery ends and that of the law school begins.” Prompted by Staci’s observation, we wondered whether unhappy cities make for unhappy local law students. Or is the law school experience so intense and self-contained that one’s surroundings have little impact? What are law students in the happiest (and unhappiest) cities in the country telling us about their own personal satisfaction?

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The Big Peach turns sour for one leading law firm.

It seems that “Hotlanta” was less than sizzling for one major law firm. A Biglaw shop has decided to beat a retreat from Atlanta, shuttering its money-losing operation down in the ATL.

What prompted this firm to hop on the midnight train from Georgia? And how many people will be affected by the office closing?

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* The new meme sweeping the Intertubes is “Old Economy Steve.” While not strictly law-related, it is a fitting meme for trolling recent law school grads entering the market. [The Atlantic]

* After talking about the Atlanta battle of the (legal) bands, we learned that San Francisco is also getting into the act. [Law Rocks]

* Speculating on George Washington’s approach to drone strikes. [Washington Times]

* A look at how regulatory and tax policy changes affect the value of energy companies. [Breaking Energy]

* E. Gordon Gee, Columbia Law ’71 and President of THE Ohio State University got in a little trouble for saying, “You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing.” So another guy gets in trouble for being honest. Gee also said that you can’t trust Catholic priests, which segues nicely into the next item. [Yahoo! Sports]

* The Catholic Church’s top exorcist claims to have performed 160,000 exorcisms. After the jump, Professor Mark Kightlinger from the University of Kentucky College of Law eviscerates this claim with “math.”

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* America, you won’t have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore! The political equivalent of comic relief announced that she will not seek another term. [CNN]

* Eric Holder testified that he would support reform of the ECPA. Apparently this newfound love of electronic privacy doesn’t extend to the Associated Press. [IT-Lex]

* Atlanta is soon to host its Battle of the (Lawyer) Bands. LawJam 2013 is set to rock Atlanta like a litigious hurricane on June 8. Last year featured bands like Mikey Mel & the JDs, so you have a sense of what you’re getting here. [Atlanta Bar Association]

* The CFTC had no idea how to do its job? Say it ain’t so! [Breaking Energy]

* So the sequester has an advantage! Cocaine is going to get cheaper! [Breaking Defense]

* Paul Caron has acquired a 100 percent ownership share of the Law Professor Blogs Network. Congrats! [TaxProf Blog]

* Woman acquitted of manslaughter responds in the best way ever. Video after the jump…

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I gotta go to torts! *Drops mic*

The editor of Atlanta Progressive News, Matthew Cardinale, is a fixture at Atlanta City Council hearings, where he’s known to bust into self-composed raps to express his policy preferences. It’s about time someone made public access coverage of city council meetings watchable, without being the dumbest person in the world. Thankfully this is preserved for posterity on YouTube.

According to Cardinale, he “received a hand-written note from someone in [a law school] admissions [department] saying they enjoyed my City Council rap… they said the whole committee watched it.” I like to think admissions also sent him a note asking, “If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?” But I’m sure they didn’t.

Video of the rap in question and more details about the law school that handed out a scholarship for rap….

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We’ve learned this before: sometimes lawyers and alcohol are like peas in a pod. But other times, lawyers and alcohol are like a box of dynamite and a book of matches. Get too close and everyone comes out looking a lot worse for the wear.

That’s the long and short of an incident that allegedly happened over the weekend in Atlanta, involving a Fulton County assistant district attorney.

The young litigatrix was arrested after allegedly fighting with cops outside a bar. Police had arrived to deal with her male friend, who had been asked to leave and reported for allegedly playing some unwanted grab-ass.

What a hot mess in Hotlanta. Time for ATL to pay a visit to ATL…

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Hemy Neuman is standing trial for murder. His defense is unusual.

Right now in Atlanta, a former operations manager at General Electric is standing trial for allegedly murdering the husband of his female coworker and alleged lover.

It’s a twisty tale of romance, deception, and violence, something you might find in an airport bookstore.

The strangest part of what has been dubbed the Dunwoody Day Care Killing, though, is the bizarre defense put forth by accused murderer Hemy Neuman. He says an angel and a demon, in the form of two celebrities, made him shoot his alleged lover’s husband.

Yes, you heard that right.…

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This week, Lateral Link Director Scott Hodes gives us some insight into the increase in lateral hirings in the Empire State of the South.

Atlanta has emerged as one of the best lateral associate markets in the country. While 2009 was slow as in most markets, 2010 signaled a comeback, and 2011 confirmed the upward trend.

Corporate and litigation positions represented the largest amount of lateral openings, which is fairly typical in large markets. Corporate positions seemed to peak in the second and third quarters, while litigation was fairly steady throughout the year. There was also a huge boom in intellectual property positions, especially in the last three quarters, followed not too far behind by labor and employment, which remained steady throughout 2011….

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Anyone who has spent a swampy June/July/August in D.C. knows that it’s not the ideal setting for a sizzling summer romance. So it is time to shift locations for the Courtship Connection, Above the Law’s dating service for legal eagles. 

Given my miserable less-than-perfect matchmaking track record, I was surprised by the number of emails from single lawyers and law students begging for Courtship to come to their city. I guess desperate times call for really desperate measures?

Since the only pleasure Courtship Connection tends to bring is to the readers, we shall let you choose the next city. Which metropolis of lawyers offers the greatest potential for throw-downs, of both the clashing and clicking variety? After the jump, you can vote for one of the nominees — Atlanta, Montreal, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, or Orange County, CA — and hear about the latest D.C. “cage match” of a date….

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