New York

Last month, in the inaugural post in our series of Law School Success Stories, we focused on the theme of “the value of thrift.” We outlined a “low risk” approach to law school, profiling happy law school graduates who secured their law degrees without going into excessive debt — under $50K upon graduation, which is the recommendation of Professor Brian Tamanaha, author of a new book (affiliate link) about reforming legal education.

Today we’re going to cover the flip side: the “high risk, high reward” approach to legal education. In some ways this is a dangerous theme. The promise of Biglaw bucks is the siren song that leads many to crash on the rocks of joblessness and crippling debt (as Will Meyerhofer discussed earlier today).

Some law schools clearly exaggerate the ability of a legal education to increase a person’s career prospects and earning potential. But for some subset of law students, however small, law school does turn out to be a golden ticket. Their numbers might be inflated, but they do exist. Law school has allowed these individuals to increase their incomes dramatically. And — shocker! — many of these J.D. holders actually enjoy their lucrative new jobs.

Read about a young woman who went from being a secretary to having a secretary — along with a six-figure paycheck. Meet a young man with a rather unmarketable undergraduate degree who now, thanks to law school, makes bank in New York City.

Here’s another way of describing today’s success stories: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you….”

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New York City police officers already have quite the reputation for, to put it lightly, a certain level of insensitivity. We have recently covered the unpleasant consequences for well-meaning, educated citizens who try to prevent police brutality in the city.

In stories like the one above, it’s easy to see a possible racial motivation. But apparently some New York police officers are also colorblind in their aggression towards civilians.

Like when a cop allegedly decides to sock it to an elderly white man — who, oh yeah, just happens to be a state judge

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Memo to NYPD: Please Don’t Judo-Chop the Judge”

It must be tough to leave an apartment like this one, with great views of Central Park, to go work in a drab federal office building.

Being a federal prosecutor is an amazing legal job, but it doesn’t pay particularly well. When I worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I earned well under six figures. An assistant U.S. attorney can break the $100,000 mark after a sufficient number of years in practice, but AUSAs generally don’t earn Biglaw money.

(People who work as special AUSAs on secondment from better-paying parts of the federal government, such as Main Justice or the SEC, earn significantly more than regular AUSAs on the “AD” — Administratively Determined, aka Awfully Depressing — pay scale. But even these SAUSAs, not to be confused with the completely unpaid SAUSAs, make less than they would in comparable private practice positions.)

This brings us to the question du jour: how can a federal prosecutor afford to live in an apartment that is worth more than twice as much as the most expensive lawyer home in Washington, D.C.? We’re talking about a $25 million apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in one of Fifth Avenue’s finest prewar buildings, with amazing views of Central Park.

Come up with some guesses, then keep reading….

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Let’s preface this story with the following: if you accept friendship requests on Facebook from people you don’t know, you might be an idiot.

Okay, now let’s take it a step further. If you’re an alleged gang member who brags about alleged criminal activity on your Facebook page, and you still accept friendships from people you don’t know, you may have had a lobotomy.

That’s what reportedly happened last week in New York, when more than a dozen alleged Brooklyn gang members were arrested after one of them accepted a friend request from — wait for it — a New York police officer.

Oh, goodie, this will be fun…

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Based on the number of submissions we’ve received — please don’t be offended if yours doesn’t make the cut — it seems you’re enjoying our Law License Plates series. Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was a little over a week ago, but we’re always looking for more photos. You can send them via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Today, we’ll be writing about lawyers who spend so much time in the courtroom that they’ve decided to slap a verdict on their license plates — literally. And from the looks of it, these litigators’ verdicts have resulted in some pretty big monetary payouts. Unfortunately, it looks like only one of them could afford the “i”….

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Elie here. Did you know that New York-area law schools charge money for the use of their libraries during bar exam study time?

Did you know that people coming to New York to take the bar are willing to pay for the use of these libraries, thereby avoiding the homeless people masturbating at the New York Public Library?

Did you know that New York Law School, of all places, is probably offering the best library deal?

These are some of the things you’ll learn about in this week’s episode of Mr. Bar Exam….

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Ryan Karben

This restores credibility to the system, which should be used to help solve the real problems of real people.

– Attorney Ryan Karben, commenting on the recent dismissal of Richard Katz’s lawsuit against the Setai Wall Street Club and Spa and Karben’s client, Amanda Wells. Katz, a lawyer, had demanded a six-figure sum in damages due to the ritzy spa’s failure to provide a “full complimentary breakfast.”

* Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized before a Senate panel for his agency’s prostitution scandal. We bet that you’d be “deeply disappointed” too if your employees were caught stiffing a hooker on her bill. [Miami Herald]

* Day four of jury deliberations in the John Edwards campaign finance trial closed yesterday without a verdict. The former presidential candidate is probably just waiting to pack it in, get this jury declared hung, and call it a day. [CNN]

* “This case is maybe something like a near disaster for Oracle.” A jury ruled unanimously that Google didn’t infringe Oracle’s Java patents in developing its Android software. Maybe they weren’t evil after all. [Bloomberg]

* A record low of 41% of Americans call themselves “pro choice” when it comes to abortions, and only a little more than half think it should be legal under “certain circumstances.” What is this, Roe v. World? [Reuters]

* Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman put together a task force to make recommendations on how to implement New York’s new pro bono prerequisite. Please let them take law school clinic hours. [Corporate Counsel]

* Remember the lawyer who sued his posh fitness club over its failure to provide free breakfast? Not only is his suit now toast, but he also has to fork over some cash to the club’s lawyers. [New York Daily News]

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…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New York Lawmakers Want to Ban Anonymous Commenting. I Wish I Were Kidding.”

Justice Gustin Reichbach

This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue.

– Justice Gustin Reichbach of the New York Supreme Court, commenting in an op-ed piece on the need for the legalization of medical marijuana in New York. Reichbach has Stage 3 pancreatic cancer and has admitted to smoking marijuana, even though it’s against the law.

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