New York State

In May, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced that a new bar admission hurdle would be foisted upon the state’s would-be lawyers in the form of a 50-hour pro bono requirement. Last month, we found out that the new rule was “much better than it could have been,” since it allowed for the mandatory pro bono hours to be completed anywhere and at any time, including during bar admittees’ law school years.

That really doesn’t sound as bad as everyone thought it was going to be. The “justice gap” will be closed, the importance of public interest work will be stressed to new lawyers (even though existing lawyers will continue to maintain only an aspirational call to perform pro bono work), and everyone will hold hands, sing “Kumbaya,” and call it a day. At least that’s how Lippman envisioned it.

But now that everyone’s gotten used to the fact that New York’s pro bono rule is here to stay, some additional analysis has been performed by law schools statewide. Oh, you thought that the state’s “justice gap” was going to just disappear? Yeeeaaahhh, about that….

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Back in May, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced that a new bar admission hurdle would be foisted upon would-be lawyers in the state, in the form of a 50-hour pro bono requirement.

It was at that point that people started losing their minds. Some likened the decree to indentured servitude, while others called it “utterly wrongheaded.” Even law schools were pissed off about the requirement, citing worries that the requirement constituted a “significant barrier to entry” to those who attended law school outside of New York State.

Now, just four months later, Judge Lippman has unveiled the details of his pro bono plan — and, to tell you the truth, they’re really not that bad. What’s in store for future New York bar examinees?

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Today, we’ve got a tale for our readers about a lawyer from upstate New York who seems to be the epitome of a DUI defense lawyer’s worst nightmare. As the old saying goes, “the third time’s the charm,” but apparently when it comes to this guy and allegations of drinking and driving, the third time’s when you get caught with an alleged prostitute in your car.

Did we mention that the accused prostitute once starred in a reality television show, Wife Swap? That’s certainly not going to help this fellow keep the allegations under wraps….

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... a damn about law students.

Back in May, we noted that New York would be implementing a new prerequisite for admission to the state’s bar: all would-be attorneys must complete 50 hours of pro bono work before being allowed to practice in the Empire State.

This initiative was Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s latest attempt to mete out justice for all, but it was not well received by all sides. Some have likened the pro bono requirement to indentured servitude; others have thrown up their hands in frustration and called the move “utterly wrongheaded.”

At first, it seemed like only in-state bar examinees and law schools had reason to worry. Now, out-of-state law schools are stepping up to the plate to complain about Lippman’s requirement. Details for the rule’s implementation still haven’t been drafted — in fact, out-of-state schools weren’t even invited when the Chief Judge’s advisory committee last met in July. Law schools and law graduates alike have been kept in an uneasy waiting period while all of the minutiae get worked out.

But for out-of-state law schools, the worst part of this waiting period is the uncertainty about whether this pro bono requirement will come at a cost to students….

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I can now perform 'mawwages.'

On Friday, I took a little trip to the New York County Clerk’s office to become registered as a marriage officiant in the state of New York.

Let me say that again: I can now legally marry people. Like a mayor. Or a ship’s captain.

Going through the process of becoming a marriage officiant has given me a wonderful look at the state of our marriage laws, and my hours at the clerk’s office were the perfect icing. Let me say just say that the closer you get to the legal process of marriage, the more ridiculous gay marriage opponents appear.

I mean, come on, if I can legally marry people, how “sacred” or “traditional” is the institution of marriage really? Besides, have you looked at some of the man/woman combinations that are getting married these days? I just think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fists at Him and say, “Instead of helping the poor or sick or infirm, we’re all going to eat chicken sandwiches to show that we’ll defend as sacred something that can be done in two hours at the freaking clerk’s office.”

Let’s just say that the number of gay people getting marriage licenses was dwarfed by the number of men standing their with pregnant girlfriends looking like their balls were being held in a vise grip….

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Is the bar exam like a rat race? Well, when there are actual rats in the building....

If you just completed the 2012 bar exam, congratulations. For many of you, the bar exam will be the last test you ever take in your life. How good does that feel?

Special congratulations to those of you who just emerged from three days of bar exam misery, either because you took the bar in a state with a three-day test or because you took the bar in two different states. I took the New York and New Jersey bar exams back to back — and I had to take New York up in Albany, which meant hours of driving with a fried mind — so I feel your pain.

Pain and the bar exam go hand in hand. Earlier this week, we shared with you bar exam horror stories from Virginia and North Carolina.

Today we have many more bar exam dispatches. Read on for stories of horror and heroism, reports of rodents and other creepy critters, and claims of shady behavior….

UPDATE (7/27/2012, 11 AM): Please note the UPDATE appended below regarding the Virginia bar exam.

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(And more horror stories from across the land.)

Mindy Meyer

This is a perversion of Elle Woods’s legacy. Of Kim Kardashian’s, not so much.

Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic Wire, commenting on Mindy Meyer’s “divalicious” campaign for a New York State Senate seat.

The Touro Law student recently announced that she was trying to obtain Kim Kardashian’s endorsement because “you know, she, whatever, my website is literally like her.”

Have you ever visited a political campaign website that greets you with the dulcet tones of “I’m sexy and I know it?”

Well, now you have. You can die in peace.

Candidate Mindy Meyer — slogan “I’m Senator and I Know It,” in diamond bedazzling — is running for New York State Senate, on both the Republican and Conservative Party lines. Meyer is a former judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Rivera in the Kings County Supreme Court and currently attends the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, New York. If elected, she pledges to transfer to Albany to continue her studies. Fair enough. It’s not like the New York legislature does enough work to interfere with a full-time law school credit load….

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Summer loving for one lesbian law student.

* Dewey know how much Stephen Horvath has made since D&L went belly up at the end of May? Thus far, he’s raked in $190K, and that just covers his pay through the end of June. That’s only $1.97M a year, no big deal. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* You might not be able to get a full-time job in this economy, but if you’re a contract attorney with foreign-language skills, you’ll probably be able to land some pretty sweet Biglaw firm gigs, even if you’re just doing doc review. [Wall Street Journal]

* Did the NCAA overstep its legal boundaries when sanctioning Penn State? At least one sports law professor thinks so, and he actually wishes that the school had challenged the scope of the sports organization’s authority. [CNN]

* Wait, female Senate aides in Minnesota can have affairs with their superiors and get away with it, while male aides get fired for doing the same exact thing? That’s blatant sexism, and you should totally sue. [ABC News]

* Rather than be “super boring,” this would-be Senator has dubbed herself “the diva of the district.” We know all about the Touro Law student who’s running for New York Senate. We’ll have more on this later. [POLITICO]

* Law school debtor Jason Bohn was arraigned on first-degree murder charges, and entered a not-guilty plea. According to his attorney, Bohn apparently suffers from “extreme emotional disturbance.” [New York Post]

* Know your rights? If you’re accused of hit-and-run and vehicular assault charges, it’s always a great idea to cry, repeatedly ask if you’re under arrest, and tell everyone that you’re a law student. [Spokesman-Review]

* Well, this is graphic: the trials and tribulations of a law student interning at a law firm and blogging about all of the hot lesbian action she’s getting, including encounters with a co-worker. [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

A large portion of the strenuous life of bloggers consists of cruising various news sites, looking for some tidbit ridiculous interesting enough to merit a couple hundred words. You do this long enough, and you wind up getting picky pretty quickly. So, last night, when I clicked over to Wired, it was surprising in and of itself that when I saw the following story I literally stared at the screen, slack jawed, for close to a minute.

That’s how ridiculous this proposed legislation coming out of New York is. The only thing I can say is that if this bill somehow managed to become law, the Above the Law commentariat would not be happy at all…

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