Everyone likes to think that real lawyers are as glamorous, thin, and gorgeous as the ones they see on television, but that’s sadly not the case. Sure, some lawyers in the real world are beautiful, but the key word there is some. The truth is that most are just average in the looks department, and as we learned in Clueless, many, many more are like full-on Monets — from far away, they’re okay, but up close, they’re a big old mess. Oh, and most of them are overweight.
And just like that, “Fat Week” continues on Above the Law…
I think all fat people have dealt with the stigma that their outward corpulence signifies an inner laziness. Who would willingly be fat and unhealthy when they could be thin and beautiful? Many people believe, even subconsciously, that the obese must be lacking in some other important quality. Thin people think fat people lack a true work ethic, or self-restraint, or willpower, or something. And like all “quitters,” fat people who become thin people are kind of the worst examples of this prejudice, buoyed by their myopic belief that with a little determination, nobody need be a disgusting fattie.
Fat people themselves sometimes buy into this logic. They sign up with psychotic personal trainers who seem to exist only to bully people on hilarious reality shows. Or they go with the science angle: “I’m fat because I’ve got [diseases, genetics, big bones], not like that ho over there who just likes bacon.”
Now, as a fat person, I’d like to think that the stigma is just that, a stigma, and that people with a modicum of intelligence don’t really believe that a person’s weight is an indication of anything more than their weight, but I know way too many thin people who are dumber than me. Turns out, a professor at NYU thinks that your weight is an indication of how successful you’ll be in your education…
Back in October, I waded into the rough waters of discussing women’s weight issues, and the discrimination that naturally follows. Again, I know that’s not much of a news flash; in a society that’s obsessed with beauty, of course overweight people, women especially (trust me, I’ve been there many a time), are going to be scrutinized and looked down upon with disgust. From what they wear to what they eat, everything they do is viewed with an eye toward absolute repulsion — because honestly, how dare they believe they’re normal. If you’re an overweight woman, your every waking move is going to be stigmatized.
In fact, rather damning character traits are regularly ascribed to overweight people, without any care as to whether those individuals are actually lazy, greedy, or devoid of self control. Ah, stereotypes. Even when they’re completely untrue, they’re so damn hard to shake.
Is it any surprise that these platitudes follow overweight women into the courtroom?
* I didn’t make this list of the 25 most influential people in legal education. That pisses me off. I’m going to start writing about how people shouldn’t trust legal educators because law schools are only interested in profits and not the employment outcomes of their students. That’ll show ‘em! [Tax Prof Blog]
* … Of course, you know what else doesn’t make any list of influencing legal education? The truth. [Constitutional Daily]
* Time Warner Cable is well within its rights to act like feckless cowards. [Huffington Post]
* I like watching the Feds try to roll rich people. I’ve got no horse in the race, I’m just there for the competition. [Dealbreaker]
* U.K. considers forcing fat people to lose weight in order to keep their benefits. I was going to make a “Britain, outsource, BBW” joke, which somehow led me to the Wikipedia page for BBW, a page that has really not at all what you’d expect the graphic on BBW to be. [Legal Blog Watch]
Plastic! Safe! A perfect training ground for future lawyers.
Mmm… Tort Law. All you need is a J.D. and a dream to get in on the action.
But have we gone too far? No, I’m not talking about the general accusations that tort lawyers make things more expensive for consumers (and the mega-companies they buy things from). I’m asking if our tort regime is crippling our future by hobbling our children. New studies suggest that our children’s playgrounds may be too safe.
Hehe. That’s right, parents who sue schoolyard bullies for saying on Facebook that your kids are stinky heads. It turns out that your totally sanitized, tetanus-free, no-skinned-knees zone might be making your kids the very kind of chubby, neurotic weaklings who will need to keep their lawyers and shrinks on speed dial for the rest of their lives…
Over the past few days, everyone has been talking about Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin morning news anchor who responded on the air to a male viewer’s email about her weight. In his letter, the male viewer told Livingston that she wasn’t a “suitable example” for young people because of her physical appearance. Her courageous counterpoint went viral, and ever since, she’s been making her rounds on the TV talk show circuit to address what she thinks is the root of the problem, and why people think letters like this are acceptable: bullying.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I chose to write about this today. To be honest, when I first watched Livingston’s video on Tuesday night, I really had no intention to do so. I thought that she was a very strong woman who chose to stand up for herself, and really, for all overweight people, but that her four-minute segment didn’t need to be addressed here at Above the Law. (Not even after being asked in the comments yesterday whether I thought I was a “good role model,” an obvious jab about my own weight.)
But then I found out a little more about the man who emailed Livingston to criticize her weight. As it turns out, he’s a lawyer….
Back in September 2011, we mentioned to our readers via Morning Docket that Ronald Kratz II, a 680-pound man, had allegedly been fired because he was too fat. At that point, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had stepped in to sue on this gentleman’s behalf, because apparently his employer perceived his size as a disability.
Now, almost one year later, we’ve got an update on the status of Kratz’s lawsuit. His settlement check is almost as large as he was at the time he was terminated….
Ed. note: This is the latest column by our newest writer, Anonymous Partner. In case you missed his prior posts, they are collected here.
We all know how difficult to stay at a healthy weight while living the Biglaw lifestyle. Too many hours sitting down, with desk drawers nicely stocked for a quick bite in between phone calls. Sitting inside office buildings all day, with easy access to vending machines stocked with soda and junk food. Carb-heavy breakfasts for client meetings and lateral interview sessions. Food orgies masquerading as CLE sessions and firm meetings. Business development lunches and dinners at fancy restaurants with comprehensive wine and scotch lists. Seamless Web. Two cities, three depositions, one week — equaling plane snacks, room service, and more restaurants. Year in, year out, for a decade or two or three. No wonder your typical Biglaw partner has seen better days waistline-wise.
I know firsthand that it is not easy to drop those Biglaw pounds. But the effort is worth it. In my case, it took some real discipline to arrest what threatened to be a constant addition of one or two pounds a year. I was getting chunky, and as I noted in my first column, I only saw extremes in my older colleagues. I am not a runner, and while working out at home added on some muscle, there was no way I was going to see real results without changing my eating (and drinking) habits.
Everyone has their favorite weight loss tips. Here’s what has worked for me, in terms of keeping the extra pounds away….
This scale might not be just, but it's usually truthful.
Recently, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. Not a lot of weight — that would require an entire lifestyle change and result in me eating a lawn or a salad or something. I just wanted to take off the weight I gained from quitting smoking. I asked erstwhile advice columnist Marin what to do, and she simply suggested that I stop drinking soft drinks. I probably go through five Cokes a workday, and that doesn’t include however much I pour into my rum at night. And I don’t drink Diet Coke because it doesn’t taste like Coke so much as it tastes like carbonated liquid s**t.
I ignored Marin and went online. There I found a true cacophony of the dumbest advice ever collected. Searching for porn on the internet results in a more grounded reality than searching for weight loss advice. From magic pills to magic frozen foods and magic workout tapes that can allegedly turn you into an elite kickboxer on steroids in 20 minutes a day, the internet is replete with products that do not work and faulty advice. If I had some venture capital, I’d design an app that comes out of the computer screen and smacks the food out of your mouth every time you search for “weight loss” on Google. It would work.
Not surprisingly, weight loss advice tailored for “professionals” or “lawyers” is equally dumb and unhelpful. Lawyers, especially Biglaw lawyers, have some unique challenges when battling to stay physically respectable. One of those challenges is being too smart for stupid weight loss tips….
* Still speaking about DOMA, check out these interesting similarities between Judge Michael Boudin, who wrote the court’s DOMA opinion, and 50 Cent. (Spoiler: they’ve both been shot a gazillion times, duuuh.) [Think Progress]
* How do you turn your summer associateship into a full-time offer? I might suggest presents, nepotism, or, ahem, “favors.” Or for more traditional folks, I suppose you could take this “practical” advice. [The Careerist]
* What can business executives learn from Wal-Mart? That having holiday sales so huge people are willing to die to be there might not be such a terrible idea? [Harvard Business Review]
* What happens when the pool of college graduates dries up in a metropolitan area? Kitten starvation, ice storms, and zombies. [New York Times]
* On a policy level, this maybe isn’t a great idea. And I realize I might sound like a hypocrite. But, honestly, if sodas were banned, I would be really upset for like 20 minutes, and then I would just go on a crazy 20-year coconut water binge. [New York Times]
After the jump, check out Bloomberg Law’s interview with the judge from Raj Rajaratnam’s insider trading case…
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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