New York State

... except when it's forced upon us.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced yesterday 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.

Apparently poor people in the Empire State have been having trouble securing legal services, so what better way to assist them than to force similarly situated people to come to their aid? Instead of relying upon existing attorneys to lend a helping hand to those in need, Judge Lippman has chosen to force the task upon those who have no choice but to obey.

Chief Judge Lippman had a good idea, but it’s a bit misplaced. Let’s discuss what the new pro bono requirement means for you, and delve into what others are saying about it….

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Penny Lane and Brian Frye, in the Catskills home they've placed on the market.

As we have mentioned, we’re trying to diversify the coverage here at Lawyerly Lairs. After all, the world does not consist entirely of Park Avenue apartments owned by mega-rich law firm partners (as seen here, here, and here). Toward that end, we recently wrote about the housing search of some NYU Law students.

But that was still in New York City. Let’s leave Manhattan behind and head to upstate New York, where we’ll visit the beautiful Catskills house of a law professor and his filmmaker wife….

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(Hey New Yorkers, Looking for a Country House?)”

Edward Hayes (on The Charlie Rose Show)

What draws people to the practice of law? Some do it for the paycheck, some do it for the prestige, and some do it for the excitement and fun of it all.

Veteran New York litigator Edward Hayes belongs firmly in the final camp. Although he has amassed fame and fortune over almost four decades of practicing law, his legal career reflects a quest for adventure.

And what adventures Hayes has had. After graduating from the University of Virginia and Columbia Law School, he joined the Bronx District Attorney’s office, where he prosecuted homicides (which there was no shortage of in the Bronx in the 1970s). He then launched his own practice, handling civil and criminal matters for such clients as the estate of Andy Warhol, notorious “Mafia cop” Stephen Caracappa, acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, actor Robert De Niro, celebrity editrices Anna Wintour and Tina Brown, billionaire publisher Si Newhouse, and then-paramours Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez (after they were arrested together back in 1999).

Eddie Hayes has even found his way into literature. He served as the basis for Tommy Killian, Sherman McCoy’s defense lawyer in Tom Wolfe’s great novel, Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe dedicated the book to Hayes, a close friend of his for many years.

This past summer, I enjoyed the privilege of spending a day with Ed Hayes. We met up at Penn Station and took the train out to his vacation home in Bellport, Long Island, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, dining outdoors and overlooking the water. (There are Lawyerly Lairs-style photos of his house, after the jump.)

During our time together, Hayes reminisced about his extraordinary life in the law, offered career advice for fellow lawyers, and showed me how to properly prepare a caprese salad….

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Remember how everyone used say, “Don’t post anything on Facebook you wouldn’t want your boss to see. But if you do, just make sure you set your privacy settings so that your boss can’t see.”

Well, things have changed. Now, when companies enter workman’s compensation or personal injury litigation, courts will sometimes order discovery on password-protected Facebook information.

On Thursday, a New York appeals court ruled that a company could not see the plaintiff’s protected data, but not simply because it was private. Let’s see what happened…

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A lovely editorial in the New York Post showed a total lack of understanding about the problems faced by lawyers and recent law grads. I want you guys to see it, because sometimes it’s easy for lawyers to forget just how much the outside world hates them.

And make no mistake, the outside world hates lawyers. But the New York Post is able to add an extra helping of disgust toward legal practitioners. The editorial mocks the idea of helping unemployed lawyers.

Maybe if more prospective law students knew how much everybody else dislikes them, there would actually be fewer unemployed lawyers walking around in need of help….

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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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Meet the Cavers: the cutest ginger attorney family ever.

In this rough economy, a job offer can be really exciting, even for the most seasoned attorney. A job offer is even more exciting when you find out that your future employer has also decided to make your husband an offer. And last week, that is exactly what happened to a husband-and-wife legal team from Rockford, Illinois.

Eileen and Brendan Caver, both graduates of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, quickly began to pack up to move half-way across the country for their new jobs in New York at the City of Syracuse corporation counsel’s office. With August start dates and two adorable children in tow, the Cavers quit their jobs in Illinois, put their house on the market, and canceled their daycare contract.

So, you’d think that even a city government would realize that offering attorneys jobs 780 miles away from home and then revoking those offers a week and a half later would be life-ruining. But apparently, that’s not how things work in upstate New York….

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Here’s an open thread for discussing the July 2011 bar exam. We hope you attack it with all the gusto of Los Angeles lawyers at a deposition.

If you’ve just finished the bar exam, congratulations. We hope you’re taking a well-deserved vacation, perhaps involving some exotic travel (e.g., the traditional bar trip).

If you’re still in the middle of the big test, good luck. At least you’re done with the MBE, which some believe to be the hardest part of the bar.

Some of you may need all the luck you can get. This morning we told you about bar exam mishaps from this week. Unfortunately, since then we’ve heard about even more bar-related problems.

Let’s hear about the latest difficulties from around the country — and give you a place to talk about the test….

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Well, it’s day three of Albany Law School Watch here at Above the Law. This school is definitely on the outskirts of our usual beat, but the craziness keeps rolling in, so we’re going with it.

If you haven’t been keeping up, it seems that Albany Law decided to replace almost all of its admissions office staff. Shortly after our initial story broke, the administration emailed students to inform them about the resignation of the law school’s assistant dean for admissions.

Our sources questioned whether that resignation was voluntary — and claimed that the admissions office staff members in question were escorted from the building by security, late last week.

It seems that alumni from the law school are upset, and some believe that our decision to run this story was premature because we didn’t have all of the facts. Interestingly enough, we’ve received information that provides another side to the story unfolding at Albany Law.

If you thought there was drama before, read on, because sh*t (on the rug) just got real….

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Yesterday we brought you a story about a law school from upstate New York. The pace is supposed to be a little slower and people’s lives are supposed to be a little less scandalous in that part of the state, at least compared to New York City. But all of that goes out the window when a law school apparently replaces almost all of its (well-respected) admissions staff, at a time when many members of the administration carry the word “interim” in their position titles.

Now some alumni are upset and threatening to withhold funds from the school (like they actually have any funds to withhold). You’re doing it wrong, Albany Law School.

When we reached out to David Singer, Albany Law’s Director of Communications & Marketing, he gave us a quick “no comment,” stating that the situation with the admissions office staff was “a personnel matter.” But our readers certainly weren’t short on comments, and we now believe we know more about what might have happened at the Albany Law School admissions office….

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