Happy Endings

Now we’ll unmask this superhero.

Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall the tale of Aquagirl. She’s the former Cleary Gottlieb summer associate who, while in a state of inebriation, stripped down to her underwear at a Chelsea Piers charity benefit and jumped into the Hudson River. This might have been an effort to demonstrate her swimming prowess (she was on the swim team in college), but ultimately she had to be rescued in a boat by either the Coast Guard or the NYPD. Her exploits are now the stuff of legend, the bar by which summer associate misadventures are measured.

In these pages, we’ve referred to Aquagirl simply by her nickname, in keeping with our general policy of anonymizing summer associate stories. But that policy admits of exceptions. We will now unmask Aquagirl because she’s back in the headlines for newsworthy conduct — this time heroic rather than scandalous….

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Back in July, we told you about Howard Levitt, a Canadian lawyer who was so eager to zealously advocate for his client that he abandoned his Ferrari in quickly rising floodwaters to get to a hearing on time. Levitt ultimately won the motion hearing, but wondered if he would lose his car. According to Levitt, prior to being filled to the brim with raw sewage in the flood, the car was valued somewhere “north of $200,000.”

In the end, Levitt’s luxury Italian sports car was deemed a total loss, but his insurance company was kind enough to cover the whole thing. But what of the poor lawyer who gave up a dream car to assist a client in need? Sure, he got some additional clients and new-found fame out of his press coverage — but would he be able to buy a new Ferrari, or would be be relegated to driving his “back up car,” a Dodge Viper?

Our readers will be able to take some joy in today’s news update, because the good people at Ferrari were able to turn this crappy situation into a car enthusiast’s wet dream…

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As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the American Lawyer recently released its highly influential, closely watched Am Law 100 law firm rankings. They say that “slow and steady wins the race,” and with regard to economic recovery, Biglaw firms seem to have taken that up as their new motto.

Yes, partners are still living as large as they ever were, but their success now comes in the form of single-digit returns with regard to key financial metrics. The divide between the “haves and the have-nots” in the world of major law firms has grown to epic proportions, and some Am Law 100 staples have fallen out of the top hundred firms altogether. Welcome to the new normal.

Are you ready to get excited about “modest” and “spotty” gains across the board? Let’s dig in….

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Lawyers aren’t known for their attractiveness, nor are they supposed to have sex lives. Because really, how are they supposed to fit in time for getting it in when they’re supposed to be working 100 hours a week?

Law students, however, are a completely different story. Law students have plenty of time to get down and dirty, and when they do, you can be sure that their sexual partners are at least moderately good-looking in the real world. Let’s face it: as a law student, it’s almost like you’re wearing beer goggles to gauge the overall attractiveness of your classmates. A law school “10″ is most assuredly a real world “7″ or “8″ — still hot, but not quite as appealing outside of hallowed halls of your law school.

But you know what will bump up the attractiveness quotient of any law student? Putting your sex life online, in graphic detail, where everyone can read about all of the hot lesbian action that you’ve been getting as a summer associate at a law firm.

This isn’t the first Sapphic summer story to grace our pages, and hopefully it won’t be the last. Avert your eyes if need be; reader discretion is advised….

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As we mentioned last week, the American Lawyer recently released its highly influential, closely watched Am Law 100 law firm rankings. And despite all the doom and gloom permeating the legal profession, as well as the stagnant bonuses for associates lucky enough to make it into Biglaw, partners at large law firms are living just as large as ever.

In a way, the recovery in Biglaw is not unlike the recovery in America in general. If you were already well-off, you’re doing great now. It’s just not trickling down to anybody else. See, e.g., anemic spring bonuses.

Interestingly enough, the division of the world into “haves and have-nots” continues even into the world of major law firms. Partners at super-top-tier firms are putting even more distance between themselves and partners at less high-powered or less profitable firms.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

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Here at Above the Law, we frequently sound gloomy notes about going to law school. In the past week or so, for example, we’ve written about one recent law school grad on food stamps and another one with almost no employed classmates. We’ve discussed the bleak market for legal jobs and the crushing burden of student loan debt.

As I’ve said before, our criticism of law school does not spring from malice. Rather, we want people to make an informed decision about whether to invest three (or more) years of time, and $100,000 (or more) in money, in pursuit of a law degree.

In today’s post, we’d like to talk about the other side of the coin: law school success stories. Let’s hear from people who went to law school and have no regrets — or even view going to law school as the best decision they ever made. Perhaps you might be one of them?

We’ll prime the pump with a few law school success stories, to get the conversation going….

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Vigilante justice in the Sunshine State isn’t getting a great rap right now. The tragic killing of Trayon Martin by a community watch participant, George Zimmerman, has raised serious questions about Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law (and also caused headaches for Hollywood).

But sometimes — perhaps most of the time? — alert and engaged citizens are a good thing. Today we bring you the happy and heartwarming story of two Florida law students who helped apprehend a fugitive from justice.

How did they do it? Through keen observation and quick thinking….

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Martin Luther dropped out of law school and he did just fine for himself.

Not all of our coverage of law schools is depressing; we bring you happy stories as well. In recent weeks, we’ve written about one law school dean’s creative (and healthy) student outreach program, a law student demonstrating kindness to animals, and someone having fun — perhaps too much fun? — in the library.

Let’s continue the good cheer. Back in the spring, we wrote about a law student who was thinking of dropping out of school. He sought our advice — and, surprisingly enough, my colleague Elie Mystal advised this fellow to stay in school (even though Elie is generally not a fan of legal education).

Some commenters disagreed with Elie (shocker), and urged the kid to drop out. But now we bring you an update suggesting that perhaps Elie’s advice was sound….

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We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

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Back in June, we notified our readers about a fabulous job opportunity for attorneys in Philadelphia. There was one catch: the applicant had to be a “sharp dresser.” In fact, “no casuals” need apply for this lucrative position.

Apparently, the maverick behind the original Craigslist ad is still searching for a partner in crime law practice, because the job listing has reappeared.

And this time, if you’re thinking of applying, you had better get your headshots ready….

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