Blind Item

With the news of 100 percent offer rates trickling in slowly but surely from many Biglaw firms, we thought that students from top-tier law schools were looking good in terms of their job prospects. Sure, summer classes were smaller this year — but offer rates at or near 100 percent are still nothing to scoff at.

Recall the dark days of summer 2009, when no-offers and cold offers were doled out in abundance. When it comes to the legal job market, maybe it does get better (as long as we don’t sink into a double-dip recession).

Could the legal economy be returning to normal? Could the dark days of indentured servitude for recent law school graduates be coming to an end?

Not so fast….

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Do you know why people go to law school? For most people, it’s not because they “love the law” or because they want to be part of the system of justice. It’s because they want to make money. Lots and lots of dirty, sexy money.

Granted, there are easier ways to make money in this world. You could work on your jumpshot. You could do… whatever it is they do in business school, between pub crawls masquerading as “networking events.” You could choose your parents wisely.

But still, if everything works out — and I mean everything — you might make an obscene amount of money in Biglaw. So much money that you can send around messages like this to your fellow attorneys….

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We’ve already shown you what it looks like when an associate gets laid off from a law firm. It’s not pretty.

What does it look like when a law firm fires — or tries to fire — a partner?

Well, that is even uglier….

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A prominent partner left his white-shoe law firm some time ago, purportedly for falsifying expenses. A juicy detail that is less widely known: some of the fake expenses were for what might be described as improper forms of entertainment.

(This blind item — relating to someone who left his firm prior to 2010 — has nothing to do with Ted Freedman, the former Kirkland & Ellis senior partner whose recent departure we covered last month. Please note the update we’ve appended near the end of our earlier post, quoting a source stating that Freedman simply retired.)

Actually, we’re not sure that it’s herpes; that’s just a guess, based on context clues. But apparently some prominent, white-shoe law firm has been hit by an outbreak of a sexually-transmitted disease.

Check out this Biglaw blind item….

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blind item AboveTheLaw legal blog.jpgNo matter when it’s done, job hunting usually sucks balls. When done in the middle of the Great Recession, it feels like the balls are covered in tangled hair and pointy skin-piercing spikes. It’s painful and you have to be careful.

One disgruntled attorney recently emailed us about a company that he suspects is trying to take advantage of desperate job hunters. He calls it “a new type of scam preying on unemployed lawyers.”

He responded via an ad on Craigslist to an “assets management company” seeking IP attorneys for full-time or part-time contract work. We’ll call the company Pay To Work, LLC. In the ad, PTW says it’s looking for “entrepreneurial” attorneys to do intellectual property work. It says its clients include scientists, inventors, writers, artists, celebrities, universities, and multi-national corporations. That sounds pretty sweet!

But there are some big catches. First off, “partners” are supposed to pay $295/month for “administrative fees.” Second off, the company has no clients at the moment. It’s a start-up in the “set-up phase.” So if you sign up and start paying $300 a month, what exactly are you getting for your money?

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I have been a lifelong cannabis user, on an almost daily basis since I was in high school. I am now the managing partner of a very successful law firm in the Washington, D.C. area.

I have been in a professional law practice for almost 27 years. I work 60+ hours a week, and all of that hard work has translated into high levels of annual income.

I still get high after work, almost every day….

– A marijuana-using managing partner (and parent of pot-smoking daughters), in an email to Andrew Sullivan.

Over the weekend, the New York Times took employers to task for taking advantage of university kids eager to get work experience. Unpaid internships abound, and the recession has made it easier for corporate employers to cry poor, and bring on free labor.

However, there are strict federal guidelines [PDF] around unpaid internships, and many are breaking the law by giving their eager little beavers noneducational menial work. The folks at the Labor Department are on to this devious scheme:

Convinced that many unpaid internships violate minimum wage laws, officials in Oregon, California and other states have begun investigations and fined employers. Last year, M. Patricia Smith, then New York’s labor commissioner, ordered investigations into several firms’ internships. Now, as the federal Labor Department’s top law enforcement official, she and the wage and hour division are stepping up enforcement nationwide.

While most of the abusive internships are in the exciting worlds of fashion, film, media, and music, there was at least one poor NYU student suckered into cleaning out bathrooms for free at a law firm…

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