Law Librarians

Throughout the past few weeks, several law schools have been hit hard by the realities of the market for legal education — there have been faculty layoffs and buyouts galore. We suppose this is what happens when people stop applying to law school in droves. Rather than offsetting the financial losses by charging higher tuition, most schools are “rightsizing” themselves by cutting faculty positions they deem unnecessary, a big blow to those ivory-tower elites who believed their jobs were secure.

But because nothing in the legal profession is very secure anymore, today we’ve got news of layoffs from a public law school facing major budgetary issues thanks to a gigantic funding gap across the entire university system.

Which law school could it be? Keep reading to find out…

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Alison Monahan shares some practical advice for new law students.

There’s a ton of (virtual) ink being spilled these days over what to do as a new law student. Everything from “buy all your books and read ahead” to “hire a tutor to explain the Rule Against Perpetuities.” (I only wish I was making that last one up. For the record, don’t do it.)

Since I don’t like to be boring, here are a few less obvious things you can do, to make your life easier and better later on. Trust me, I learned most of these the hard way!

1. Set up automated backups on your laptop. Seriously, if you only do one thing before law school starts, do this. Have you ever lost years of work in a hard drive crash? It’s a nightmare. Imagine you’re a week from exams, and your computer dies, taking EVERYTHING you worked on all semester with it. DO NOT let this happen to you. Go to Dropbox right now, and sign up for the free version. Make a folder called “Law School” and add it to your Dropbox. Save every file you create in law school there. Presto, problem solved. You can thank me later. (I don’t care if you use Dropbox, but it is really easy. Use whatever you like, but do something. I’m paranoid enough now that I back up to Dropbox and to an external hard drive, but that’s probably overkill.)

Read more at the ATL Career Center…

Ed. note: This is the second installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give a notable law firm partner an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Theodore Boutrous, Jr. is co-chair of Gibson Dunn‘s appellate and constitutional law groups. He is also a member of the firm’s executive and management committees.

1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next five years?

For law firms to maintain strong, lasting bonds with clients and distinctive brands and cultures rather than transforming into large, largely fungible, faceless, bottom-line business enterprises.

2. What has been the biggest positive change to the legal profession since the start of your career?

Technology has revolutionized the legal profession, enhancing productivity, and improving the quality of work, life and client-service capabilities.

3. What has been the biggest negative change to the legal profession since the start of your career?

The demise of law libraries as special sanctuaries for thinking and contemplating and generating ideas.

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Last week, in the wake of the Jennifer Livingston fat-shaming drama, my email inbox was inundated with diet tips and tricks from readers who were interested in helping me reach my weight loss goals. Much to my surprise, no one recommended that I partake in the “Starbucks diet” — but that’s probably because no one knew that it existed.

Well, that’s not true, because one person, a law librarian at a Top 50 law school, is certainly aware of its existence, and she claims that it helped her to lose nearly 80 pounds over a two-year period. To lose that much weight, you may be wondering how she was able to subsist on a diet of coffee grinds alone, but she actually eating quite healthfully from the Starbucks menu. (Apparently the establishment serves more than just delicious pastries and Frappuccinos. Who knew?)

Who is this woman, and how can you follow the Starbucks diet? Let’s find out….

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* A former Cravath law librarian is fighting his “effective termination” from Southern Illinois University School of Law over alleged threats to bash a colleague in the head with a crowbar. How déclassé! What, was a champagne flute not available? [National Law Journal]

* Is New York’s new mandatory pro bono requirement for admission to the bar too rigid a licensing rule? Compared to what it could have been, no, but obviously others disagree on this point. [Am Law Daily]

* New York Law School’s dean thinks that experience in City Hall gives him an edge. In other news, after being sued over its employment stats, NYLS had the most applicants ever since 2008. Sigh. [New York Law Journal]

* Jamie McCourt doesn’t think it’s very fair that she only got a $131M divorce payout when her ex-husband, Frank McCourt, ended up with $1.7B after he sold the Dodgers. #filthyrichpeopleproblems [Bloomberg]

* “I’m in shock and I’m angry and I’m hurt and I’m flabbergasted and I’m livid.” You’d feel the same if you saw that your engagement photo was being used in an anti-gay marriage mailer. [City Room / New York Times]

* Don’t mind me, I’m just watering my hippies: in a proposed settlement, the University of California is offering $30K to each of the students who were pepper-sprayed by a police officer at UC Davis last year. [CNN]

Have you ever wondered what law firm librarians really do? In an age where everything is online and your average 10-year-old is more comfortable with search logic than a person who has a degree in library science, some might say a law firm librarian is mainly there to make sure there’s a copy of the New Yorker on a coffee table in reception.

But looks can be deceiving. [Cue the John Noble voice]:

Are there questions that should not be asked? Experiments that should not be performed? Doors that should remain forever closed? Sometimes, law librarians go too far.

Join me for this real-life story about the dark side of your law firm…

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The deadline for entering the 2012 bar review diaries contest passed on Friday. We received close to 200 submissions and will announce the winners early next week. To hold you over until then, we checked in with last year’s student columnists. And we have some updates!

Where are Mariah, Mike, and Christopher now? Did they pass the bar? Let’s see…

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And no, we’re not talking about the guy who sits in the front row of Federal Jurisdiction and always has his hand in the air.

We’re speaking more literally — about a man with his hand not up in the air, but down in his pants….

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If you took the bar exam last month, you might be trying hard to forget the experience, or you might be flying far, far away on an exotic vacation. Maybe you are counting the days until results come out in November, or maybe you’re frantically searching for employment before those organ bill collectors start knocking.

This is the final installment of the Bar Review Diaries. We hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into the lives of three recent law school graduates as they prepared for the bar.

Let’s check in one last time with Mariah, Christopher and Mike, to see where they are headed next.

And if anyone has cool bar trips coming up or strange end-of-summer plans, please share them with us in the comments….

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Justice John Paul Stevens

* Opponents of “three strikes” hope that the SCOTUS decision requiring California to reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates will help them to repeal three strikes. Four balls, standing eight count, and wicked googly are among sports terms vying to take its place. [San Diego Union Tribune]

* A law firm librarian in New Jersey is suing her old firm and police for being falsely arrested and accused of pulling a fire alarm in the law firm’s building. This lawsuit is long overdue. Dewey even need to check out the complaint? Folio microfiche rare books. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* An in-depth look at the legal issues facing moral exemplar and top-shelf human being John Edwards. [Charlotte Observer]

* Utah became the first state to recognize gold as legal tender, momentarily sending the price per ounce skyrocketing to 5.7 wives. [International Business Times]

* Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, at 91, remains as spry as ever. At an age when most men are dribbling pudding onto their shirt, he is dribbling it onto his bow tie. [New York Times]

* “Again?! Egypt bizman busted at Pierre hotel.” [New York Post]

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