Nashville

Not since its pursuit was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence has “happiness” had a bigger cultural moment than now, and not just because of that “room without a roof” earworm. There is a new and rapidly growing science of happiness, a mash-up of economics and psychology sometimes called “hedonics,” which tells us that money can buy happiness, but only to a point. Meanwhile, in corporate America, we witness the emergence of a new C-suite character, the Chief Happiness Officer, who is responsible for employee contentment. Sort of like an HR director, but smiling and magical.

Recently, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research released a paper, “Unhappy Cities,” reporting the findings of a major survey asking respondents about their satisfaction with life. The authors, academics from Harvard and the University of British Columbia, found that there are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. cities and, unsurprisingly, residents of declining cities are less happy than other Americans. (Interestingly, the authors suggest that these unhappy, declining cities were also unhappy during their more prosperous pasts.)

So there are unhappy cities; there are also unhappy (and relatively happier) law schools. When ATL’s own Staci Zaretsky learned that Springfield, Massachusetts — home of her alma mater, the Western New England University School of Law — made the list of unhappiest cities, it came as no surprise: “It’s hard to tell where the local misery ends and that of the law school begins.” Prompted by Staci’s observation, we wondered whether unhappy cities make for unhappy local law students. Or is the law school experience so intense and self-contained that one’s surroundings have little impact? What are law students in the happiest (and unhappiest) cities in the country telling us about their own personal satisfaction?

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Earlier this week, I wrote about a lawyer in Florida suing Apple for millions because he couldn’t be bothered to figure out how iTunes works. Little did I know that this wasn’t the craziest law suit brought by a lawyer against Apple.

A tipster pointed us to a 50-page complaint filed in federal court last month seeking damages and injunctive relief against Apple for making devices that can display porn, or as the rest of us call it, the Internet. The complaint gracefully skips from pop psychology, to comparing porn to handguns, to appeals to the divine rule of the Almighty.

This wasn’t the best week for Apple in the courtroom, but at least the in-house lawyers have this suit to look forward to defending…

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Jason Hunt (left) and Samuel Cole Wakefield

This week brought unfortunate news for an unambiguously gay duo. A former employee of Vanderbilt Law and his boyfriend pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from the law school — as well as to charges of aggravated statutory rape. Both men then got hit with some pretty heavy sentences.

How much time are they getting? How did they perpetrate their fraudulent scheme? And what did they blow the money on?

Keep reading for more details of their crimes, some color commentary from local correspondents, and photographs of some beautiful youths who used to hang out with the defendants….

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An actual greyhound wouldn't have been so destructive.

Hey, don’t look at me, I spent my weekend planting Mountain Fire andromedas in my garden.

A man in Nashville allegedly went on an epic rampage, and he used somebody’s desk at a local law office as a restroom.

Like a boss….

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I’ve said from the beginning that while the goals of the Occupy Wall Street crowd were not wrong, their tactics have been lacking. The denizens of “Wall Street” (at least not in its geographic form) didn’t cause the collapse of the American economy; they’re just trying to figure out how to profit from it. There’s been an entire legal structure erected to protect the banking industry; wagging your fingers at them isn’t going to do a whole hell of a lot.

And it’s not like “the banks” or whoever can’t fight back. Occupiers might be angry at Wall Street or corporate America or whoever, but it’s “the law” that will be in charge of actually crushing their little movement. The people in Oakland already saw what the police can do. And the police are just the storm troopers of the military-industrial complex. City ordinances, curfews, and unsympathetic judges: these are the people and things that can turn Occupy Wall Street into Alderaan.

But maybe the protesters are starting to understand the true power of the dark side. And maybe they’ll have some new hope if they get some fully trained lawyers on their side (as opposed to non-lawyer volunteers)….

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I object to this 'outfit.'

Remember that time when the New York City Bar wanted to hold an event to instruct women on fashion sense for the workplace? How about that show sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association where lawyers dished on fashion dos and don’ts?

Apparently these kinds of events need to happen more often, no matter how controversial they might be, because we still have law students out there who could double as pole-dancers (or worse).

One of our tipsters alerted us to an episode of TLC’s What Not to Wear — the world’s greatest guilty pleasure television show — that we seem to have missed when it aired last year. The show featured a 2L from a southern law school, but this girl dressed more like a prostitute facing arraignment (sorry, Reema) than the lawyer representing her.

So who is she, was she hot, what law school did she attend, and were Stacy and Clinton able to change this girl from a hooker to a looker?

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Hot on the heels of support staff layoffs and on-shore outsourcing efforts at O’Melveny & Myers, we have news of another law firm doing the exact same thing. Except this law firm has figured out a way to do it with half the tears and way less relocation angst.

On-shore outsourcing might be better for the American economy than sending the jobs overseas, and Pillsbury Winthrop has figured out a way to do it that doesn’t involve shipping people to the third world country known as “West Virginia.”

Pillsbury is moving staff operations farther south, and the firm is bringing some of its executives with it, too….

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