Joe Jamail

Since the Great Recession, it’s far too often that the public hears tales of horror about lawyers drowning in debt. We think it’s time for a change of pace. There are plenty of lawyers out there who have really made it financially — in case you’re mistaken, these people aren’t millionaires, they’re billionaires. These people would laugh at the thought of people suffering under the weight of six puny figures of law school loans.

As luck would have it, there’s a way to keep track of these luxurious creatures. Earlier this week, Forbes released its annual list of the richest people in America, the Forbes 400. Each year, we pore over the list to find the wealthiest lawyers, and in 2014, legal eagles continue to make a strong showing.

Which lawyers made the list this year? Keep reading to find out…

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How’d you like that, lawyer? –Darrell Royal

If you’re an attorney, have gone to law school, or are going to law school, you have seen the deposition in which Joe Jamail threatens to knock some geriatric chemist’s dick in the dirt. It’s stunning not because it’s surprising but, rather, because it is exactly what you expect a trial lawyer from Texas to do. When I first watched it, I thought someone had dug up my grandfather’s body and awarded him a posthumous Juris Doctor. The only thing more impressive than Jamail’s language in that deposition was just how nonchalant he was about unfurling his homespun insults. That ain’t your g**d*mned job, fatboy.

Jamail, of course, is famous not only for being a foulmouthed credit to the human race, but also for being paid exorbitant sums of money for his lawyering. This website has spilled a good deal of cyber ink in detailing Jamail’s piles of filthy luchre. And why not!? While the rest of you go about scratching out your bonus-sniffing beta lives, Joe Jamail soars above all that. Love him or hate him, the man crushes you and I in every imaginable category, save wallflowery.

This week, Joe Jamail pumped the brakes on Mack Brown’s exit from Texas. So we get to talk about him. And sports.

Let’s talk sports, fatboy…

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Scrooge McDuck: he is the 1 percent (but not a lawyer).

Becoming a millionaire a few months after graduating from law school is pretty amazing. But can you imagine being a billionaire?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a member of the Forbes 400, the richest people in the United States? Then you can party on a yacht with models and bottles donate $20 million to the law school that helped launch you along the path of professional success.

We’ve written before about the lawyers and law school graduates on the Forbes 400. Earlier this month, the magazine released the latest rankings, and lawyers made a strong showing.

But there aren’t as many lawyers on the list as there used to be. What happened?

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* “I think that you know what the president said … was appropriate.” While the DOJ scrambles to meet Judge Smith’s memo deadline, Attorney General Eric Holder is busy defending Obama’s con law faux pas. [CNN]

* Six more partners have fled from Dewey & LeBoeuf, bringing the grand total of partner defections to at least 46 since January. Good Lord, somebody needs to get this firm a freakin’ tourniquet. [Wall Street Journal]

* Facebook filed a motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s ownership claims, but he isn’t going anywhere soon. Ceglia’s got two months to submit expert reports as to the authenticity of his fake contract. [Associated Press]

* Joe Jamail, “America’s richest practicing lawyer,” donated his $3M law library to TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Now students can learn more so they don’t have to sue over being graded on a curve. [Fox]

* McDonald’s doesn’t have to worry about its G-rated Happy Meal toys in California anymore. It’s that XXX-rated lawsuit over a former employee’s “Filet-O-Fish” that the company’s really got to keep an eye on. [Reuters]

Some J.D. holders are swimming in money.

For some holders of the Juris Doctor degree, “J.D.” has depressing meanings: Just Debt, Job Disabled, Justifiably Depressed.

But for others, “J.D.” stands for something happier: Just Dollars. Lots and lots and lots of them.

Partners at large law firms do quite well for themselves. So do general counsel at major corporations.

But they are pikers compared to members of the Forbes 400, the annual list of the 400 richest Americans prepared by Forbes magazine. The 2011 list has been issued — and it contains a number of lawyers and law school graduates….

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I am not proud to admit this, but it is possible that my three-year-old niece knows more about branding than I do. I learned this the other day when I was reading my niece one of her favorite books, Fancy Nancy.

For those of you who not know Nancy, she is a little girl who loves to dress fancy, act fancy and talk fancy. For example, this little girl does not say that her favorite color is purple. She prefers fuchsia, a word that is “fancy” for purple. Similarly, Nancy does not want a new hairdo. No, Nancy uses the fancy word “coiffure” instead. For some reason, my niece loves Nancy, but I think she is a showoff. When asked why she loves the know-it-all Nancy, my niece explained that she made things sound better.

Maybe my niece had a point. If you want your small firm to sound better, then use fancy words. As Nancy would explain, do not call yourself a “trial lawyer.” Everyone knows that “litigator” is fancy for trial lawyer. Or is it?

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Johnson, asked all of her students to write an essay on who we admired most. My best friend Marni wrote about President George Bush, Sr. She loved America. I wrote about my dad. I loved my family. A classmate named Jay wrote about Ted Turner. He loved money.

Apparently, Jay is not the only person to love money. In fact, I am told that some lawyers chose the profession because they too love money.

Those lawyers work at Am Law 100 firms, right? Not all of them. Not the country’s richest practicing attorney….

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Trump World Tower

Why are so many lawyers interested in making the jump to business? One obvious reason: money.

Look at the list of lawyers who made this year’s Forbes 400. Of the almost 40 lawyers / holders of law degrees who made the cut, only one, Joe Jamail, is a practicing attorney. And he’s all the way down at #269, with a net worth of just $1.5 billion. Poor Joe!

If you’re a partner at a major law firm in a big city, you might someday own a $3 million apartment. But if you want a $30 million apartment, you need to move into business.

A $30 million-plus apartment, in the Trump World Tower. That’s what lawyer turned businessman Dominick D’Alleva, a 1977 graduate of Yale Law School and a former Simpson Thacher associate, has placed on the market.

It’s the weekend, when people like to attend open houses for fun real-estate voyeurism. So let’s take a take a look at D’Alleva’s digs….

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