Debts

* Unhappy with eleventy billion dollars in damages due to Apple, Samsung will begin its appeals, perhaps even to the Supreme Court (because you know that SCOTUS wants a bite at the proverbial literal patent apple). [Wall Street Journal]

* And speaking of that jury award, jury foreman Velvin Hogan had this to say about it: “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.” Yeah, because a billion dollars in damages isn’t unreasonable at all. [Reuters]

* Do judges with lawyerly license plates avoid traffic infractions instead of getting tickets? The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct is investigating this issue of epic importance. [New York Law Journal]

* If bill collectors are threatening to sue you over your credit-card debts, you better pray that your case lands on Judge Noach Dear’s docket, because in his courtroom, “it’s dismiss, dismiss, dismiss.” [New York Post]

* Hippies can file lawsuits, too: Burning Man starts today, but the event’s organizers claim that its Nevada venue is pursuing a new theme in view of a “drastic increase in fees” — burning money. [All Things Digital]

* Protestors should be allowed to act however they want when carrying prohibited machetes in Republican National Convention event zones. This was the first, and definitely the coolest, RNC arrest made. [ABC News]

This may sound like advice coming from a broken record, but in case you are somehow still unaware of this very important fact, you generally cannot discharge your law school loan debt in bankruptcy. Sure, there’s an “undue hardship” exception to this steadfast rule, but it’s a difficult standard to meet.

The government will go to the ends of the earth to prove that you are capable of paying back what you owe and just unwilling to do so. To be frank, you’d probably be better off becoming totally and permanently disabled or dying, because then you or your estate would only have the ensuing tax nightmare to deal with.

Judges know that the burden of “undue hardship” is a difficult one to prove, and most of them probably think that it’s a load of crap. Unfortunately, most of them are unwilling to say so. But not this Oregon judge — she launched into a pointed, four-page critique of legal education, while ruling on a law school debtor’s attempt to discharge his student loans in bankruptcy.

No, she won’t grant you a discharge, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. You know it’s going to be good when a judge cites to Above the Law while discussing student loans….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bankruptcy Still Can’t Save You From Law School Debt, But That Doesn’t Mean Judges Have to Like It”

* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Putting politics aside, this is a great pick, if only because Ryan is so handsome. Seriously, he’s a total stud. [Wall Street Journal]

* “How can I be the one guy with a good degree who is going to be chronically unemployed?” Sadly, many lawyers are still looking for jobs after (multiple) layoffs, but thanks to a lack of positions, employment is just “not in the cards” for them. [New York Times]

* Deadliest clerkship? The Washington, D.C. judge who presided over one of the most violent mass shooting cases in the nation’s capital was reportedly held up at gunpoint last week, with her law clerk in tow. [Fox DC]

* Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Texas. Judge Sam Sparks “know[s] the smell of bad fish,” and now wants to know why the USADA waited so long to bring charges against Lance Armstrong. [Bloomberg]

* After reversing a bankruptcy court’s decision that loan repayment would be an “undue hardship” for a law school debtor, a judge took the time to rip law schools a new one over escalating tuition. [Oregonian]

* Match.com class-action plaintiffs found no love in court after a federal judge ruled that the dating website hadn’t breached its user agreement. Much like their love lives, their claims aren’t getting any action. [Reuters]

* A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client: 23% of all cases filed in the federal court for the S.D.N.Y. are brought by pro se litigants, and the vast majority of them seem to have lost their minds. [New York Post]


Law school graduates both young and old are living under the heavy weight of student loan debt, but we don’t need to tell our readers that law school costs a pretty penny — they already know. The people who do need to know are those who are thinking of applying to law school. Those people need all of the information that they can get their hands on so that they’re able to make an intelligent decision when choosing a law school.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to discern the actual debt loads that recent law school graduates are carrying, if only because law schools have been misreporting the average indebtedness of graduating students to both the American Bar Association and U.S. News and World Report.

Which law schools are guilty of this committing practice? The ABA claims that administrators from “a number” of schools have contacted the organization in order to correct their information about loan debt….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Schools Misreport Debt Figures to the ABA; To No One’s Shock, the ABA Does Nothing”

The old ball and chain.

Of the many things we’ve spoken about when it comes to student loan debt, romance and dating generally hasn’t been one of them. You probably never thought that your student loans would be both financially and romantically ruinous, but as it turns out, young adults aren’t keen on getting into bed with six-figures of debt every night.

Sure, you may never be able to buy a house, but you already knew that — after all, you’ve already got a mortgage on your education. That being said, it might take a while to find that special someone to rent with for the foreseeable future. Or hell, let’s be a little more realistic: you might be living with your parents. Do you really feel comfortable bringing home dates to a room filled with stuffed animals or high school football trophies?

If you feel like your love life is becoming a parodic version of that Carly Rae Jepsen song (Hey, I just met you / And this is crazy / But you’ve got loan debt / Lose my number, maybe?), fear not, because you’re not alone….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Law School Loan Debt Ruining Your Love Life?”

* Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Supreme Court justice thinks that things will be back to normal at One First Street come the start of the next term, despite his colleagues’ loose lips. [National Law Journal]

* Hourly billing rates for associate are on the rise nationwide, while partner and counsel billing rates only saw modest bumps. Is Biglaw back in business, or is this just another “retention strategy”? [New York Law Journal]

* This is a really hard to believe newspaper headline: “Law firm recognizes employees have life outside of work.” Carlton Fields, what kind of gypsy voodoo magic spells are you casting? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

* Another day, another editorial about the “irretrievably broken” state of legal education in our country. But the ABA admins needn’t worry their oblivious little heads, because people will keep applying. [New York Times]

* And in today’s disturbing law school debtor news, Jason Bohn’s charge was upgraded to first-degree murder after a DA announced via indictment that Bohn allegedly intended to torture his victim. [New York Post]

* “Quite frankly, these are the actions of a dirty old man.” You can look, but never lick: it’s not really a good thing when a judge uses a sentence like this to describe an attorney’s alleged client relations skills. [CBS News]

* For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball fraud game. Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud among a potpourri of other felony counts, and he’ll now face up to 20 years in prison. [CNN]

I’ve watched Dewey’s collapse only from a distance, as have most lawyers. And I’m no student of law firm finances or management. But this struck me as I read the news:

Dewey: 2012.
Howrey: 2011.
Thelen: 2009.
Heller: 2008.
Coudert: 2006.
Brobeck: 2003.

And I’m probably overlooking other recent collapses of prominent firms, since I cobbled together that list from the names that came to mind unprompted.

This history suggests that another large, well-respected firm will collapse next year, and it’s a near certainty that a firm will collapse within the next two years. Who will it be?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Dewey Know Who’s Next?”

Brian Tamanaha

The average debt of law graduates tops $100,000, and most new lawyers do not earn salaries sufficient to make the monthly payments on this debt. More than one-third of law graduates in recent years have failed to obtain lawyer jobs. Thousands of new law graduates will enter a government-sponsored debt relief program, and many will never fully pay off their law school debt.

Washington University Law professor Brian Tamanaha, author of Failing Law Schools (affiliate link), painting a rosy picture of what life is like for recent law school graduates.

(What can be done to remedy this situation? Additional insights from Professor Tamanaha, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: The Broken Economics of Legal Education”

Photo (no, not a photoshop) by ATL reader 'Anna.'

As we reported over the weekend, it’s looking like Dewey & LeBoeuf will soon find itself in bankruptcy (perhaps voluntarily, perhaps not). The specter of bankruptcy raises a question for the many former partners of Dewey: dude, where’s my car capital contribution?

Let’s find out — and get the latest dispatches on the Dewey death spiral, including news of a new home for former vice chair Ralph Ferrara….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Partners Get Any Capital Back? Good Luck With That!
(Plus more partner moves, including Ralph Ferrara.)

The ailing law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf is not long for this world. The only real question that remains is how Dewey’s death will take place. Will Dewey be pushed off the cliff, or will it jump?

We mentioned on Thursday that Dewey might be forced into bankruptcy by creditors, perhaps former partners concerned about their pensions. But now it seems that Dewey might do the deed itself.

Let’s hear the most recent reports — and look at the latest indicators that Dewey is done, including new signage outside 1301 Avenue of the Americas….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have Plans To File for Bankruptcy? Sources Say Yes”

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