Biglaw

Nicollette Sheridan

* It’s time for the Supreme Court to sound off on the battle over women’s wombs, and you know it’s bad when even a sitting justice calls it “a mess.” Can a child conceived after a parent’s death receive survivor benefits? [CNN]

* Disgusting health warning pictures on cigarette packaging and advertising: now constitutional according to the Sixth Circuit. Maybe this will inspire people to quit a habit that’s almost equally as disgusting. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* When Biglaw is involved, so is big money. Say “aloha” to the largest personal injury settlement in Hawaii’s history. The state will pay $15.4M over the hiking death of Gibson Dunn partner Elizabeth Brem. [Am Law Daily]

* A lawsuit filed against fashionista Alexander Wang over his alleged “sweatshop” has been discontinued, and not because there isn’t a case, but because the lawyers on either side have major beef. [New York Magazine]

* The Better Business Bureau has moved to dismiss a Florida law firm’s suit over its “F” grade. Because sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn’t mean you can sue over it if you don’t like it. [Orlando Sentinel]

* The biggest bimbo from Wisteria Lane gets screwed again, but this time in court. A mistrial has been declared in Nicollette Sheridan’s lawsuit against the producers of “Desperate Housewives.” [Reuters]

One lawyer offers to represent you for $1000 an hour. Another lawyer offers to represent you for $400 an hour. Who’s more expensive?

The correct answer is: You don’t know.

You don’t know for three reasons. First, some $1000-an-hour guys are remarkably specialized.

The efficiencies triggered by specialization are obvious: If I need a lawyer to call the local real estate office and cause my form to be moved from the bottom of the pile to the top, there may be only one person in town who can make that call. He charges $1000 an hour; I buy a half hour of his time; I get off cheap. The $400-an-hour guy can assign a troop of $150-an-hour associates to research local real estate procedures until the cows come home, but that firm is not going to be cheap.

Specialization can yield efficiencies for other reasons, too. If I have a question about a particularly obscure subsection of some obscure law, there may be two ways to get an answer: (1) Call the $1000-an-hour lawyer whose entire practice is devoted to subsection VI(B)(2)(a)(iii) of the Obscurity Code, and have him respond in two hours with an answer, or (2) Have the $400-an-hour lawyer try to figure out the answer from scratch. Who do you suppose is cheaper?

But specialization is the easy case. $1000-an-hour guys can be inexpensive for other reasons, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: When Is ‘Expensive’ Cheap?”

Sad little law school grad.

* With 269 partners to go, Dewey need to start panicking yet? Twelve additional partners, including practice group leaders, have jumped ship, bringing the grand total of partner-level defectors to 31 since January. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Late-breaking news: law schools’ numbers still don’t add up. The New York Times has already said its piece on the problem with law schools, so the Wall Street Journal decided that it was time to chime in again. [Wall Street Journal]

* Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the man accused of going on an Afghan killing spree, will be represented by Ted Bundy’s lawyer. In the court of public opinion, that’s equivalent to pleading guilty. [Bloomberg]

* “I have had it with these motherf**king snakes breastfeeding women on this motherf**king plane!” A mother has settled a lawsuit with her airline over being kicked off a plane for nursing her child. [Businessweek]

* Here’s a fashion tip for law firm staff: you wear orange shirts in prison, not at the office. Think twice next time before you wear that color to work, because you might get fired like these folks in Florida. [Sun-Sentinel]

* Let’s face it, there is no escape from the law, not even in your free time (if that even exists). That being said, here’s a lawyerly crossword puzzle, inspired by Nina Totenberg’s reporting on legal affairs. Have fun! [NPR]

For years you had the haves and have-nots. What’s happening now, is the haves are not getting paid.

– a former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on the basis of anonymity, commenting on the firm’s alleged habit of issuing IOUs to partner-level attorneys due to lack of cash flow.

There is no better way to head into the weekend feeling good about yourself than with a little bit of schadenfreude.

To that end, we have a nice, swift benchslap to the pants from a federal court in California. Even more fun, the receiving attorneys work for a Biglaw firm.

Let’s check out one judge’s reaction to the latest in discovery shenanigans…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Why, I Oughta!”

It’s time to crown February’s Lawyer of the Month. Yes, we realize that it’s a little late to be conducting a poll for February, but we’d still like to give our candidates a chance to extend their 15 minutes of fame (or infamy).

Last month, we saw some wacky antics from judges and former Biglaw associates, and some lawyering that has the potential to rock the world of legal education for the rest of time.

That being said, let’s check out our nominees for the month of February….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Month: February Reader Poll”

We begin this Biglaw blind item with a fairly familiar setup: a partner sleeping with an associate.

Shocking, right? Well, let’s add a few elements to the mix….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Blind Item: Making (It With A) Partner”

When you work as a litigator at a law firm, you know your cases. You know who said what to whom when. You know the recipients and dates of the critical emails. You know the precise terms of the contracts. You know what the opposing expert said at his deposition and how you’re going to attack him at trial.

In short, you know stuff.

When you move in-house — or, at a minimum, to certain in-house positions — those days may vanish. You may never know — really know — anything again.

The little cases may become barely a rumor: The employee was entitled to five weeks severance; he hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit; we want authority to settle for ten weeks severance. You may kick the tires on the case for a few minutes, but that’s it. If you crave to know who said what to whom when, then you’re in the wrong job.

I feel a bit irresponsible having written those words, because they imply — indeed, they say — that folks in positions such as mine are doing their jobs without full knowledge. To many lawyers, that’s the ultimate sin. Yet in-house lawyers consistently say that a big piece of the transition from a firm to a corporation is learning to make decisions and take actions based on incomplete facts. (One of my colleagues recently said that he suffers from “in-house ADD.”)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Ignorance”

I was in Atlantic City this weekend (shout-out to my Rutgers Law homies), so I missed the fascinating story in the New York Times about the “The Go-Nowhere Generation,” until the ABA Journal brought it up yesterday. In a nutshell, the piece suggests that the terrible economy has broken the already questionable will of the Millennial generation and turned them into risk-averse homebodies. Statistically, this generation of young people is less likely to leave home, leave jobs, or take professional risks.

Does that mean these Millennials are more likely to end up being lawyers? Maybe even more likely to end up as Biglaw lawyers? Because nothing says “risk-averse person willing to hang on to a crappy job for a long time because he can’t think of anything better to do” than “of-counsel” at a major law firm.

In fact, if these statistics are true, we might see a deluge of would-be lawyers continue once the children raised during this economy come of age….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Millennials Give Up, Do They End Up in Law School?”

Kim Kardashian

* Building bridges instead of burning them: a new Republican strategy that just might work. Thanks to this Senate deal, 14 federal judicial nominees will get confirmation votes before summer. [Legal Times]

* According to this survey, Biglaw firm leaders are wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to the economy and current business conditions. That said, where are the spring bonuses? [Am Law Daily]

* A jury found Virginia Tech negligent in its handling of the school’s 2007 massacre. The administration will probably appeal, but it’d be nicer if they just appeased the victims’ families. [Wall Street Journal]

* Want a tenure-track teaching position? Just sue. Nicholas Spaeth’s age discrimination suit against Georgetown Law will proceed, much to the school’s chagrin. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kim Kardashian + boobs + lawsuit = water cooler fodder for lawyers. [New York Post]

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