* If you thought Squire Patton Boggs would be able to meet its projection of $1 billion in combined revenue after its merger, you’d be wrong. If you thought the firm would be able to meet its projection of having more than 1,500 lawyers after its merger, you’d also be wrong. [National Law Journal]
* Use this slideshow to compare how California law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Stanford was on top, and Golden Gate was dead last. Bonus: If you strip out school-funded jobs, the numbers look even worse. [Sacramento Business Journal]
* Uh… oops? Keila Ravelo, the ex-Willkie Farr partner who was accused of stealing millions of dollars from two of her former firms, is now at the center of questions over settlements in credit-card cases she worked on. [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]
* “Please help us heal.” David Messerschmitt’s widow is begging for information about the DLA Piper associate’s death. The case is being actively investigated, and police believe the person of interest who was seen on surveillance footage is a woman. [Legal Times]
* In case you missed it yesterday, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The first charge could result in up to five years in jail, while the second could result in a life sentence. Yikes! [WSJ Law Blog]
Depending on what you’re selling, driving traffic to your website might not be a very good goal, as Cara McDonald of LexBlog explains.
Besides their good looks and fame, they’re also increasing their focus on data security. In the wake of “Celebgate,” the Sony Pictures hack, and nearly daily data breaches targeting massive corporations to individuals, law firms are finally recognizing the importance of bringing their cybersecurity policies up to speed.
* Last week in court, a murder suspect in Louisiana apparently pooped his pants during a case status hearing, wiped said poop all over his face, and muttered to himself that “life is like a box of chocolates.” Sorry about that crappy candy, dude. [New Orleans Advocate]
* According to early Am Law 100 data, New York’s most elite and prestigious firms have once again broken away from the rest of the pack when it comes to both revenue and partner profits. Biglaw’s best may be back to models and bottles. [Am Law Daily]
* Michelle Lee, the first woman to ever serve as director of the USPTO, was sworn in on stage at SXSW Interactive. Michelle Lee, who worked with the Girl Scouts to issue a patent patch (instead of more makeup and sewing patches), is pretty damn awesome. [Mashable]
* The federal judiciary has plans to decrease the word limit of appellate briefs from 14,000 to 12,500, and lawyers are pissed. Lawyers from Brown Rudnick say it could result in more acronyms, confusing construction, and less “punctilious citation,” oh my! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Lee Smolen, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who faked $69,000 in travel expenses while at the firm (and possibly $379K more), has been suspended from practice for one year and will have to undergo psychiatric treatment. [Legal Profession Blog via ABA Journal]
* Taking New York’s lead, California is considering requiring all would-be attorneys in the state to complete 50 hours of pro bono work within one year of being admitted. Leave it to people who don’t know what they’re doing yet to close the justice gap. [Los Angeles Times]
* “Taking the bar is like riding a bike. A bike that’s on fire.” Never before has there been a better way to describe what it’s like to take the bar exam. Here’s how some recent examinees were able to survive. Miraculously, no one preemptively sent a letter like this. [California Lawyer]
* DLA Piper is entering into happily married bliss with Davis, a 260-lawyer firm from the Great White North. An April wedding is planned. The couple is registered with American Lawyer and Vault. Give them a few loads of loonies! [Am Law Daily]
* Attorney General Eric Holder took to the op-ed pages to announce the Department of Justice’s official take on the constitutionality of marriage equality in America: “Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.” [USA Today]
* Speaking of Eric Holder, the attorney general released another official announcement yesterday. Ben Mizer will take over as chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. (For what it’s worth, people are making a huge deal over the fact that he’s gay.) [Metro Weekly]
* If you’ve missed a law school application deadline, don’t worry, because there are ways you can boost your chances of getting in. Having a pulse is only 98 percent of the battle — you’ll also need a tuition check. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]
* On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to evaluate the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, and this is perhaps the definitive article on how the justices have been preparing the nation for marriage equality. Get ready for some big gay weddings this summer. [BuzzFeed]
* Smile for the camera! Kent and Jill Easter, the infamous helicopter-parenting lawyers who went to jail for attempting to frame a volunteer at their son’s school on drug charges, found themselves at the center of a 20/20 story. [ABC News]
* With it being highly likely that the Supreme Court will declare bans on same-sex marriage by the states unconstitutional, people are wondering which justice will be the one the vote hinges upon. Could it be Chief Justice Roberts? [New Republic]
* Come on now, the swing vote in the same-sex marriage cases will obviously be Justice Kennedy. The legal tea leaves have been read, and with his majority opinions in Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor, the future has been foretold. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Steven Metro, the former managing clerk of Simpson Thacher’s New York office, was finally indicted after being charged with insider trading almost one year ago. If you’re interested, flip to the next page to see the juicy indictment. [Am Law Daily]
* In a new report, the Texas attorney general’s office concluded the forgivable faculty loan program at UT Law not only violated school rules, but also “set into motion a lack of transparency that ultimately led to a lack of accountability.” [Texas Tribune]
What do these trends mean for lawyers in different specialties and at different seniority levels?
A goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to provide quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans. Now in its 5th year, how much progress has been made in Medicare and Medicaid? Download Wolter‘s Kluwer‘s Special Report Here.
* Fewer people are applying to law school. According to LSAC, the number of would-be lawyers who submitted applications is down by 8.5 percent compared to last year. Serious question: How low can we go before all schools are officially in crisis mode? [WSJ Law Blog]
* You’ll never believe how this guy paid off his law school debt. His parents got a home refi loan, and with the money ($210,000), their son got rid of his student loans. Now he’ll pay his parents’ loan for 30 years. Wow. [Business Insider]
* Justice Samuel Alito took a break from the SCOTUS docket to receive an award named for the late Judge Edward Becker of the Third Circuit, a man who he said “tried to get federal judges to act in a more sensible way. That’s a real task.” [Legal Times]
* “[T]hings are getting back to where they were before the recession,” so naturally, state judges — like those in California — are suing over the salary increases they were denied while the recession was in progress. Bless their hearts. [National Law Journal]
* Hey lawyers, want to seem like you’re smart? Stop sprinkling your briefs with SAT vocabulary words. Just put on a pair of glasses and start using your middle initial more often. For the record, speaking in a pleasant voice is also helpful. [ABA Journal]
* In May 2014, we told our readers about the sad state of financial affairs for assistant district attorneys in Massachusetts — they make less money than courthouse janitors. Now is the state finally being encouraged to do something about it. [Boston Globe]
* The University of Maine School of Law is one of 74 law schools to drop its application fee in the hope of enticing more students to apply. Do these schools legitimately believe it’s the fee that’s keeping students away? [Bangor Daily News]
* Partners at Bingham McCutchen, the latest Biglaw firm to flop, claim they knew that the end was near about one year ago, when their managing partner informed them that the firm would “active[ly] wait” for money to appear. Yeah… [American Lawyer]
* The fraud trial for former members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s top brass was pushed back to April because Joel Sanders hired a new defense attorney. Apparently he had some “irreconcilable differences” with his former counsel. [New York Law Journal]
* The California Commission on Access to Justice plans to launch a legal incubator program. This will help low-income individuals in need of legal services, and the low-income law grads struggling to put their degrees to work. [National Law Journal]
What do these trends mean for lawyers in different specialties and at different seniority levels?
* Per New York City’s gossip rag of record, an alleged “bed-pooping, cokehead” banker and his “alcoholic” wife were called out by the judge in their divorce case for involving their kids in a “horrible fiasco.” [New York Post]
* For time infinitum, the structure of Wachtell Lipton’s billing was “cloaked in mystery.” Thanks to an errant fee agreement, however, we have an idea of what the prestigious firm charges for its “distinctive service.” [Am Law Daily]
* Hey guys, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and there’s a newly single Bachelorette on the prowl. The lovely Andi Dorfman called off her reality TV stunt engagement. Perhaps the ADA will return to prosecuting cases? [E! Online via TODAY]
* “We are in the end game on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.” Later today, we may find out whether the Supreme Court intends to take up any of the same-sex marriage disputes that have been presented to it this Term. [Bloomberg]
* It looks like the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law is starting an LL.M. program in gambling law. Step right up, because we’re now taking bets to see whether this degree will be advantageous for its graduates in the job market. [National Law Journal]
* California’s foie gras ban was recently struck down by a judge as an illegal encroachment upon the federal government’s regulatory domain. Please remember that while it’s delicious… it’s supposedly only “for assholes.” [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Here’s some JOLTing news: Megon Walker, the Harvard Law graduate who claims her life was ruined because the school accused her of being a plagiarist, just lost her defamation suit against her alma mater. [National Law Journal]
* “You have a party like this and it’s as though you’re handing out hand grenades as party favors.” Jeff Lake, a California lawyer, was arrested and faces social host liability issues thanks to his kid’s Playboy party. [Denver Channel]
* Congress is back in session, and President Obama resubmitted his nomination of Loretta Lynch for U.S. attorney general, along with other judicial nods. She’ll be a “terrific attorney general,” so get this show on the road. [Legal Times]
* “How many clinics do you have to close before the court says, ‘Enough’?” Lawyers for abortion clinics and Texas state attorneys faced off before the Fifth Circuit over the
viabilityconstitutionality of the Lone Star State’s abortion laws. [New York Times]
* It’s a new year with new laws in effect, and it looks like 27 states, plus D.C., have made major moves with regard to weed, be it through the legalization medical marijuana or decriminalization of its possession. Do you know your rights? [CNN]
The school-by-school breakdown of the California bar exam results is out. Let’s take a look!
Certain celebrities are just too sexy for their civic duties.
* Law school enrollment continues its death spiral for the fourth year in a row, with enrollment down about 28 percent since 2010. Some schools — about 25 of them — have reported enrollment dips of more than 20 percent. Celebrate good times, come on! [National Law Journal]
* Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the queen and king of rap royalty, have been sued over a sample that was allegedly used in their hit song, “Drunk in Love.” When asked for comment on the suit, our bae Bey kept it short and sweet: “Bow down, bitches.” [A.V. Club]
* Yoohoo, SCOTUS, pay attention to this one: The first federal judge has weighed in on President Obama’s executive order on immigration, and in a four-page takedown, found it unconstitutional and “beyond prosecutorial discretion.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Katrina Dawson, an Australian lawyer who worked at Eight Selborne Chambers, was killed during the Sydney terrorist siege earlier this week. She reportedly died in an attempt to save a pregnant law firm colleague from a hail of gunfire. [Am Law Daily]
* Lawyers and law students dressed in suits hosted a “die-in” in the pouring rain outside of a courthouse in downtown L.A. yesterday. Professor Priscilla Ocen of Loyola Law made some great points on a bullhorn. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]
Fewer than 50 percent of test-takers in California passed the bar exam in July. One of the women who did is a former porn star and current stripper.