Michael Clayton

Here at Above the Law, we like to keep you informed of new and exciting opportunities for lawyers to get work. According to law deans, all you need is some practical training and a little gumption to take advantage of your super-valuable law degree, and we like to point you in the right direction.

Like Craigslist. Because nothing says three years of post-graduate education like fishing through Craigslist ads searching for employment.

Today, we’ve got a really good job for a part-time criminal and civil litigator. All you need is 30 years of legal experience under your belt…

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In 1943, an aging attorney released his autobiography, complete with tales from his childhood, legal education, descriptions of cases he’d litigated, and even pictures of the key figures in his life.

The book became a bestseller. In fairness, the lawyer was not unknown to the American public. Many had read accounts of his courtroom adventures, where the intrepid counselor took on the cases of the downtrodden that no one else would touch, since 1919.

The autobiography was hailed by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The only problem was the star attorney never really existed….

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Morton Pierce

This just in: superstar M&A lawyer Morton A. Pierce is leaving Dewey & LeBoeuf, the beleaguered Biglaw behemoth. This news should not shock anyone; rumors of Pierce’s possible departure have been making the rounds for weeks now.

So where is Morton Pierce going?

As we’ve been doing when covering this breaking story, we’ve added multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

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George Clooney 2 Michael Clayton senior associate special counsel Above the Law blog.jpgIn our column for this week’s New York Observer, we take Michael Clayton, the new legal thriller starring George Clooney, and use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the senior associate. Here’s an excerpt:

“Who is this guy?”

That’s what an icy general counsel (Tilda Swinton) wants to know about George Clooney—of all people—in the new legal thriller Michael Clayton. At the prestigious New York law firm of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, Mr. Clooney’s title character has the nifty-sounding job of “Special Counsel,” as well as a snazzy corner office overlooking Sixth Avenue. But while he’s been at the firm for 17 years, he’s never made partner. As a salaried employee, with no management role or equity stake in the firm (as he bitterly notes more than once), Michael Clayton is what we politely call a senior associate.

So, who are these guys? Senior associates are typically associates who didn’t make partner. They’re generally viewed by their colleagues as perfectly competent worker bees, but not superstar material. They’re no longer in junior-associate hell, and they’re very well paid, but their predicament within the legal profession’s prestige-obsessed precincts is difficult: They’re indefinitely trapped in the purgatory of nonpartnership, with its attendant lack of dignity.

But is the “plight” of senior associates overstated? Read the rest of the piece by clicking here.

Hollywood Hugs Beta Males of Law [New York Observer]