Entitlement

This kid should buy the Jaguar from Mad Men and call it a day.

You know, at some point you’ve got to stop trying to help people save themselves and instead just sit back and watch the tremendous destruction.

The Washington Post runs an advice column for people trying to save money. This weekend a distressed wife of a soon-to-be 3L had her question answered. It appears that her husband is determined to pursue a destructive and financially ruinous path, and there’s nothing she can do to make him think reasonably.

Well step aside, 3L wife; like the pull yourself together scene in Airplane, I think we can organize a line of people on the internet willing to slap some sense into this joker…

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I didn't do well in the classroom, so I'm going to the courtroom.

At least once a month, something happens that makes millennials seem insufferable. It’s like we’ve bred an entire generation of people who can’t take criticism. It’s an entire generation that hasn’t watched the Godfather and doesn’t understand the phrase “it’s business, not personal.” When they fail, they don’t redouble their efforts; instead, they get their feelings hurt, make excuses, and whine and complain to anyone who will listen.

So it is with some pathetic millennials from the Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Two students at the school received crappy grades. This is going to come as a huge shock to some of you out there, but it turns out that going to a lower ranked law school with the expectation that you’ll get a job if you finish in the top ten percent of the class doesn’t work out for 90% of the students.

Other people get bad grades and re-dedicate themselves to study, or (gasp) figure out something to do that they are actually good at. These kids, well, you can’t say that millennials are ashamed of being whiny bitches….

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William Robinson III (a.k.a. the guy who needs to explain how he afforded his Corvair in the first place).

So earlier this week, the president of the American Bar Association, William Robinson, gave a ridiculous interview to Thomson Reuters News & Insight. You might have heard about it.

Robinson had the grace and the courage to tell law students it was their own fault for the rampant price gouging that happens as a result of the ABA’s ineffective oversight of law schools. It took real strength of character for Robinson to share this anecdote: “When I was going to law school . . . I sold my Corvair to make first-semester tuition and books for $330.” I mean, how many people in Robinson’s position would be so out of touch that they think prospective law students are driving automobiles that can cover a whole semester of tuition at an American law school!

That’s right, future 1Ls, don’t get too used to your Jaguar XKR. Don’t become too attached to your Lexus hybrid. You’ll need to sell your luxury automobile to pay for law school. D’uh!

Sorry, I’m still flabbergasted that the president of the American Bar Association openly admitted to being a complete joke.

When the story broke the other day, I had the good fortune of being in Washington, D.C., at the annual conference of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The law school at the University of California – Irvine invited me to speak to law school professionals and deans about how law schools could better use (or avoid) social media.

And let me tell you, law school professionals — the people who have to deal with the perception of general ABA incompetence on a day-to-day basis — were not at all happy with William Robinson’s comments….

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It's like Bizzaro Pursuit of Happyness.

If you were close to a computer yesterday, you probably noticed the article on Gawker about the Yeshiva University student who was “homeless by choice” while going to school. The student, who goes by the name of “David,” gave an interview to the Yeshiva Observer.

If you read the article quickly, you might have missed the part where we found out this David fellow is a 2L at Cardozo Law School. You might have missed the part where this 2L at Cardozo decided to go through a semester of law school while living on the streets.

The Yeshiva Observer interview which Gawker linked to focused on the crazy aspect of a privileged person depriving himself of shelter. But David reached out to Above the Law and gave us short interview, including insight into how his self-challenge affected his legal career….

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Is $160,000 a 'garbage' salary?

There’s an interesting post up on Constitutional Daily by The Philadelphia Lawyer. It’s a repack from a 2007 article arguing that salaries for first-year associates should go up to $190,000 a year.

And he’s right.

I know, I know — most Americans are still feeling the effects of a terrible economy. Occupy Wall Street is about to take pitchforks to those who are well-off in this country. Yada, yada, we’ll get back to the very sad story of America momentarily.

But you know who has done well over the last five years or so? Law firms. Especially Biglaw firms. Especially partners at Biglaw firms. Just look at the Am Law reports on profits per partner and revenue per lawyer. Firms are making money, more than they were in 2007.

Yet the associate salary scale hasn’t seen a raise for almost five years. And bonuses are down compared to 2007. Is it time for firms to start sharing the wealth?

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Yesterday we received an email with the following subject line: “the problem with tenure.” Now, I actually think that this tip illustrates the problem with law students and the classic awesomeness of tenure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What we can at least agree on is that we have a story about a law professor executing a stern, verbal smackdown of a law student who tried to go over the professor’s head to complain.

Let this just be a reminder to everybody that they need to respect the chain of command….

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The Am Law Midlevel associate survey came out yesterday. Satisfaction among 3rd, 4th, and 5th year Biglaw associates is down for the second year in a row.

That’s a trend people should get used to. The midlevel survey should be renamed the Survivor’s Remorse Report for the next few years. The thing will be a snapshot of the few who made it through the great winnowing of 2009, or the lucky who got into Biglaw as the industry massively scaled back new associate hiring. As demand for legal services picks up, all we’re going to be looking at here are people working extremely hard on inadequately staffed cases.

My favorite quote from the Am Law piece is from a DLA Piper associate (the associate will be played by Miranda from the Tempest in my mind) who said: “Firms got too lean [after the recession] and consequently realized that associates will work more and more if asked. Quality of life has therefore decreased.”

Oh, brave new world.

These midlevels who are whining right now are slightly missing the big picture. They might have to work long hours, but they are going to make serious bank for the rest of their legal lives….

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As we mentioned in Morning Docket, a San Francisco appeals court decided that law clerks still waiting to pass the bar are ineligible for overtime pay.

Yay, sanity.

Oh, I know struggling law grads out there are eager to wring every last penny they can out of their employers. But if you step back and think about it, paying law clerks overtime is just stupid. The nature of the work doesn’t lend itself to an overtime compensation structure — to say nothing of the fact that the client who paid time-and-a-half for “overtime” legal work would be the dumbest client ever.

Sorry, law clerks. Even though many of you don’t use it, you guys have way too much independent discretion to get overtime….

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Professor Sara Stadler

Yesterday I wrote about the Emory Law School commencement address delivered by Professor Sara Stadler. In it, she told graduating law student that their own “sense of entitlement” was standing in the way of their happiness.

I’ve got nothing against Professor Stadler or Emory Law, but I personally thought this was the wrong note to strike at a commencement address — and so did some Emory Law students, who contacted us about this in the first place.

But other Emory Law students disagreed. And after yesterday’s post went up, some students emailed Above the Law to express support for Professor Stadler and her message. They stated that she is an excellent teacher and was speaking at commencement by popular demand — Emory students voted on which faculty member they wanted to hear from.

Nobody raised a factual issue about what she said, and you can experience the full speech on YouTube. It’s just that some of the students really liked her address.

Fair enough. Professor Stadler’s critics have already had their say. Now let’s hear from some readers who appreciated and enjoyed her graduation remarks…

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Honestly, I think it’s time to feel sorry for the Emory Law class of 2011. Things are tough for a lot of graduating law students, but the way the Emory administration and faculty have treated the class of ’11 is simply shocking. If you ranked ABA-accredited law schools based on how the administration reacts to student concerns, Emory would have to rate near the bottom.

We can’t know how Emory has been treating the class of ’11 internally, but the ridiculous public behavior started when U.S. News released its most recent law school rankings. Emory plummeted eight spots, one of the biggest drops within the first tier. Since then, the Emory administration has gone to such lengths to cover its ass that there’s been a run on butt plugs in Georgia.

All of the self-serving rhetoric and “blame the students” mentality crested during commencement, where the class of 2011 couldn’t even receive their diplomas without being scolded and condescended to…

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