New York Times

Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality. Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier. Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, authors of The Progress Principle (affiliate link), in a New York Times op-ed piece, Do Happier People Work Harder?

[A] rush to open the practice of law to unschooled, unregulated nonlawyers is not the solution [to the justice gap]. This would cause grave harm to clients. Even matters that appear simple, such as uncontested divorces, involve myriad legal rights and responsibilities. If the case is not handled by a professional with appropriate legal training, a person can suffer serious long-term consequences affecting loved ones or financial security.

William T. “Bill” Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Robinson’s letter responds to an NYT staff editorial arguing that “allow[ing] nonlawyers into the mix” could help address the justice gap, i.e., low-income Americans’ need for legal services.

It’s hard to say which of these (non-lawyer) wedding write-ups is more cliché-ridden: the one about the two lesbian PE teachers, or the one about the peace activists who keep their income below a taxable level so they don’t give money to the Pentagon. The latter pair are way too busy rummaging through dumpsters to read the Internet, so we feel zero guilt about exposing them to ridicule in the comments. There’s certainly a lot of ridiculous material there.

But on to the lawyer weddings: still ridiculous, but in a different way. Your finalist couples:

Kathleen Cassidy and Ian Shapiro

Nina Yadava and Travis Davis

Emily Feinstein and Eric Olney

Aliya McLendon and Aaron Horne Jr.

Rebecca Krauss and Benjamin Taibleson

This is a summer mega-LEWW, with five finalists and a loooooong list of also-rans at the end. Read on for a virtual nuptial feast….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Hero and Heroin”


Cyrus Vance Jr.

Mr. Vance performed well. The collateral damage to the career of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in disgrace from the I.M.F., was clearly unfair, but that was caused largely by his sensational arrest, which Mr. Vance had no choice about effecting….

Given the attention paid to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, Mr. Vance deserves enormous credit for pulling the plug on a highly publicized prosecution, especially since he could foresee the political damage to himself.

Scott Turow — current SNR Denton partner, former federal prosecutor, and acclaimed author — assessing Cyrus Vance’s handling of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, in a New York Times op-ed.

State bar associations could help address [low-income Americans' need for legal services] by requiring lawyers to report their pro bono service — such disclosure would likely increase many lawyers’ service to the recommended 3 percent to 5 percent of their paid work. Another step is to allow nonlawyers into the mix. The American Bar Association has insisted that only lawyers can provide legal services, but there are many things nonlawyers should be able to handle, like processing uncontested divorces.

– a New York Times staff editorial entitled Addressing the Justice Gap, which offers several proposals for reform of the legal profession. You can read the full piece here.

Shon Hopwood

* Interesting historical perspective from Professor Dave Hoffman on the current debate over legal education. One critic wrote that “there are too many lawyers in this country,” “many of them are not busy,” and “many of them are on the margin of starvation” — back in 1932. [Concurring Opinions]

* And some thoughts on the subject from someone who, despite all the warnings, has decided to go to law school — Shon Hopwood, our former Jailhouse Lawyer of the Day. [The Cockle Bur]

* Professor Paul Horwitz has a response to Governor Rick Perry’s “Response” — and Horwitz seems somewhat sympathetic. [New York Times]

* No, University of Chicago law review editors, Professor Stephen Bainbridge is not going to give up his valuable time to help you do your jobs. [Professor Bainbridge]

* The 7 Habits of Highly Useless Outside Corporate Lawyers. [What About Clients?]

* The latest salvo in the ongoing battle between Professor Lawrence Connell and Widener Law School: Widener demands that Professor Connell undergo a psychiatric evaluation. [Instapundit]

* On Friday, I spoke with John Patti of WBAL about the idea floated in my recent New York Times op-ed (co-authored with Zach Shemtob). [WBAL Radio]

* And here are some NYT letters to the editor in response to our piece. [New York Times]

* While the ABA hosts its big annual meeting up in Toronto, the ABA Journal hosts Blawg Review #314. [ABA Journal via Blawg Review]

* There’s still time to sign up for our chess set giveaway — but act soon, because time is running out. You can also join our Facebook group. [Above the Law; Facebook]

THINGS I KNOW: Your name is Katherine
(or Catherine). You are a lawyer. You live in my building,
on either the 9th or 11th floor. We have talked only once,
but have been in the elevator
together 2 times

THINGS I DO NOT KNOW: How I
can get to know you
better

— from a Craigslist Missed Connections poem.

I am not proud to admit this, but it is possible that my three-year-old niece knows more about branding than I do. I learned this the other day when I was reading my niece one of her favorite books, Fancy Nancy.

For those of you who not know Nancy, she is a little girl who loves to dress fancy, act fancy and talk fancy. For example, this little girl does not say that her favorite color is purple. She prefers fuchsia, a word that is “fancy” for purple. Similarly, Nancy does not want a new hairdo. No, Nancy uses the fancy word “coiffure” instead. For some reason, my niece loves Nancy, but I think she is a showoff. When asked why she loves the know-it-all Nancy, my niece explained that she made things sound better.

Maybe my niece had a point. If you want your small firm to sound better, then use fancy words. As Nancy would explain, do not call yourself a “trial lawyer.” Everyone knows that “litigator” is fancy for trial lawyer. Or is it?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Fancy Nancy Has A Message For You”

Yale Law School

Here at Above the Law, we’ve been discussing problems with the current law school model for quite some time now. My colleague Elie Mystal, for example, has railed against the high cost of law school, the crippling debt taken on by many law students, and the scarcity of jobs waiting for them on the other side.

By now we’re all aware of the problems. What about possible solutions?

In the wake of David Segal’s most recent New York Times exposé on law school shenanigans, the Times’s Room for Debate section solicited perspectives from a number of experts — including yours truly — on whether and how to reform legal education.

The responses are quite interesting. Let’s check them out, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Broken Law School Model: What Is To Be Done?”

And now comes the part in our story where law school administrations, stung by the criticism they just received in the New York Times, start spinning. Yes, yesterday the Times exposed the law school business model to a horrified public of non-lawyers. Today, law schools are obligated to say, “No, no, no, that’s not our business model.”

It’s a perfect response. Law students already believe that they are special and will somehow overcome various odds stacked against them, and so they are particularly susceptible to the argument that while other law schools might have problems, the school they picked is the honorable school standing apart from the disreputable actions of others.

It’s like when women say “I have the best husband in the world.” Sure, 90% of husbands hate chick flicks, wish there was a way to get a hot meal without listening to your BS, and would bone Angelina Jolie 30 times in a row before they even remembered your name, but you found the best husband evah! Because you are so damn smart and discerning.

A bunch of law schools have tried to distinguish themselves from New York Law School since this weekend’s article, but the most outstanding example of this kind of distancing comes from: New York Law School….

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