Ed. note: This column will be about entertainment, the law, and the intersection of those two things. If you know of a law-related personality you’d like to see interviewed here, please contact us.
Staci here. We know that lawyers tend to be easily distracted bunch, always seeking out ways to entertain themselves while at work. But why force yourself to do work that’s so boring when you can just flush your Ivy League degree down the toilet and become a comedian?
This week Sam interviewed Matt Ritter, a Penn Law graduate who quit his Biglaw job to become a successful solo comedian and a member of the comedy group Comedians at Law….
Ed. note: Lat here. This post is by lawyer turned novelist Allison Leotta, whom I previously profiled. I recently read Leotta’s newest book, Discretion, which I highly recommend. Not only is it a gripping thriller, but it’s legally realistic too, reflecting Leotta’s experience as a federal prosecutor and her research into the escort business.
As a former sex-crimes prosecutor who just wrote a novel about the escort business, I keep getting the same question from my Biglaw buddies: “I already feel like a high-end prostitute. Shouldn’t I get paid like one?”
It’s an old saw that lawyers are already prostitutes. Face it, we care deeply for our clients because we’re paid to care about them. If we’re good, we start by convincing ourselves that the side of the legal dispute we more or less randomly ended up on happens to be the right side. You think a hooker’s job is that different? Forget it. The infamous D.C. Madam — an inspiration for my latest book, Discretion (affiliate link) — was a woman who dropped out of law school and opened an escort agency.
You’re good-looking, you like people, you know how to bill by the hour — you could totally do this. But is being a high-class escort really a better job than the one you’ve got now? The answer will be familiar to every memo-writing associate: It depends. Before you go trading in those Christian Louboutins for five-inch-stilettos, check out these side-to-side comparisons of the trades….
Times are tough these days for law school graduates, so to be quite frank, we don’t blame you if you’re considering dropping out. Because when some of your post-graduation career options involve document review hell, stocking the shelves at a local retail shop, or performing what’s essentially slave labor to the tune of $10,000, dropping out may be your best bet. But not to worry, because if you were to drop out, you’d be in some pretty good company.
For example, would Gene Kelly have been singing in the rain if had he continued on with his legal studies at Pittsburgh School of Law? Yes, this choreographer extraordinaire and musical jack-of-all-trades attended law school for only two months before he dropped out, and his life was all the better for it.
Who else can be counted among our nation’s most famous law school dropouts?
F. Scott Fitzgerald once opined that there were “no second acts in American lives.” Similarly, Biz Markie once opined “’cause we all pick our boogers sometime every day.” If you’re already lost, allow me to explain. This is the story of a former Biglaw attorney and his second act. He and his friends started a website devoted to rap lyrics. The website annotates rap lyrics, and it’s this system of annotation that the founders of the website hope will take over the web (including legal research). The website was recently funded by venture capitalists, and the resulting hype has ping-ponged across the web at a pace so rapid that you’d be excused if you made like Steinski and wondered, “What does it all mean?” (affiliate link).
The interviews that have fed the myriad profiles of the site’s founders have been nothing short of entertaining. Just last week, Gawker was prompted to write a guide to the site, rapgenius.com, which managed to sound both condescending and wildly equivocating and which did nothing but illuminate the author’s squeamishness. This promises to not be like that. I don’t know if Rap Genius is going to be Wikipedia or Pets.com.
What I do know is that a Biglaw dropout just ganked $15 million from Marc Andreessen and wants to edge out Westlaw and Lexis (good luck with that).
Keep reading to find out where he went to law school and what firm he worked at. And if you want to see his shirtless YouTube diss track (no homo)….
Are you thinking about going to law school — and being encouraged to go, or even pressured to go, by your parents? Let’s start with the probably reasonable premise that your parents want the best for you. (Sure, your parents might be sociopaths who are trying to destroy your life, but why would you listen to them at all, if that’s the case?)
Not infrequently, the parental conception of “what’s best for you” involves a stint in law school. If you don’t want to go, how can you convince your parents that law school is a terrible, awful, very bad idea?
There’s a lot of talk around these parts about the versatility — or lack thereof — of a law degree. In this kind of a legal job market, career services officers (and let’s face it, your own family) will continue to shout from the rooftops that you can do just about anything with a law degree.
That being said, while a J.D. degree won’t be of much help to you in, say, landscape architecture, it will be of great service to you if you’re able to land a writing gig on one of the most-watched legal dramedies on cable television.
How does one go from Biglaw to the front page of Funny or Die? Furthermore, how does one get a writer’s credit on a new hit series like The Newsroom? Let’s find out….
Why don’t our Comment of the Week winners step forward to claim their prizes? It makes us really sad (especially since we have to wade through an entire week’s worth of posts to pick out the best comments). Come on, with starting salaries as low as $145K, you don’t exactly have to be a 47 Percenter to appreciate a free t-shirt.
All complaining aside, we hope that this week’s winner will email us to collect what he’s due, because his comparison between Biglaw and parenting was spot on….
* Martin Bienenstock, Dewey’s former bankruptcy head, offered some free legal advice to the firm’s bankruptcy advisers: “[P]lease get real about the unfinished business claims.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* In other interesting Dewey news, you’re never going to guess what Steve DiCarmine’s been doing since the firm went under. He of the orange skin tone is making it work at Parsons. [Am Law Daily]
* Remember Kenechukwu Okoli, the guy who slapped a Paul Hastings partner in the face during a depo and then sued him for assault? Yup, that suit got dismissed. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* NerdWallet has created an online law school comparison tool, but users will only get to choose from 50 schools, none of which are in the so-called U.S. News second tier. Guess they don’t think Cooley is the second-best school in the country. How rude. [Bucks / New York Times]
* Cecilia Gimenez, the woman from Spain who accidentally turned a fresco of Christ into a portrait of a monkey, is now seeking royalties from funds the church levied as entrance fees to see her “work of art.” [Telegraph]
* Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court, has a simple tip for putting together the best judicial campaign video ever: all you need to do is reunite the cast of The West Wing. Check it out….
It’s time to take another look at some of the worst jobs being offered to recent law graduates around the country. Most people think that getting a J.D. is a path to high-salaried positions where you work in an office that smells of rich mahogany.
Today, we’re not looking at full-time jobs, though. We’re taking a look at some positions available for people looking to supplement their income. These are part-time positions, but if you are a student or a recent graduate who needs some extra cash, you should check these out.
I’m telling you folks, the message is starting to filter through about law schools. The education costs so much and the job prospects are so uncertain for new lawyers that people are finally starting to understand that getting a J.D. is not the kind of bankable asset that it used to be.
It’s filtering through to students. But most importantly, it’s starting to filter through to parents. Raise your hand if you are in law school now because Mommy or Daddy thought it would be “good for you” to “get serious” about something. (Wait, don’t literally raise your hand, you might get called on… oh, sorry. Just say something about how the case holding “seems to contradict, at least in part” the holding from the last case you read. That’s always the right answer.)
As I was saying, it’s parents who think that law is the kind of professional enterprise that will guarantee their children good, stable incomes. Armed with this (incorrect) information, they often push their children into legal careers that their kids never wanted.
But that’s all starting to change, and today’s example of that change is Theresa Brenner. She’s decided to “postpone” making a decision about going to law school. Instead, she’s going to drive the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. And her parents are supporting her decision.
She’s having second thoughts, but I think we can all clearly see that driving around in a car shaped like a hot dog is a FAR SUPERIOR career choice than going to law school in this market at these prices….
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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