New York

It’s mid-April, and you all know what that means: some people are already starting to freak out about the July 2013 bar exam — but not about whether they’ll pass or fail. This time, people are losing their minds over their hotel accommodations, or the lack thereof.

Yes, you read that correctly. Bar examinees in New York are going to be forced to find alternate lodging during this most crucial of times, because most major hotels do not have a single reservation available between July 28 and July 31.

But what on earth could be more important than the bar exam? And which test sites will be affected by this disruption in service?

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* The justices of the Supreme Court gave a thumbs down to hearing a challenge to New York’s “de facto ban” on carrying guns in public, prompting members of the National Rifle Association to poop their pants. [New York Times]

* Now that Mary Jo White is the chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Debevoise has picked her successor to act as co-chair of the litigation department. Congratulations go out to Mary Beth Hogan. [DealBook / New York Times]

* In its latest court filings, Ropes & Gray explains why failing to give its “token black associate” a recommendation letter wasn’t an act of retaliation. That’ll surely be an interesting read. [Am Law Daily]

* A former client sues a major law firm, raising fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims. [Bailey & Glasser (press release and complaint)]

* Boston Biglaw firms — like Dechert, Edwards Wildman, and Foley & Lardner — were “really shaken” by yesterday’s blasts, but report that all employees are safe and accounted for. [National Law Journal]

* Six out of 10 of the 4,967 class of 2012 graduates from New York’s law schools were able to find full-time, long-term positions as lawyers nine months after graduation. Yay? [New York Law Journal]

* Secrets, secrets are no fun; secrets, secrets hurt… someone’s wallet. Sorry, Jamie McCourt, but all of the secret MLB documents concerning the Dodgers’ $2 billion sale will remain secret. [Bloomberg]

With spring semester drawing to a close, graduating law students must be getting really antsy. After all, the July 2013 bar exam is just around the corner, and in this kind of a competitive job market — you know, the kind of job market where only 56 percent of graduates secured long-term, full-time jobs that required bar passage in 2012 — passing the test is more important than ever.

That being said, wouldn’t it be convenient if you knew how hard you needed to study for your own state’s exam (not that you shouldn’t be studying hard in the first place), as compared to other states’ exams? Luckily, there’s a brand new ranking for that.

You’ve all got some preconceived notions about which states have the toughest bar exams, so the top 10 on this list might just blow your mind. Let’s take a look….

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* Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer is checking out the big stained dress in the sky. William Ginsburg, RIP. [CNN]

* Hoo boy, North Carolina is trying to opt out of the Constitution. As the article notes, they tried this in the 1860s and it didn’t work out so well. [Lowering the Bar]

* New York state government gets another black eye with a couple of arrests for bribery. [Gothamist]

* Judge Richard Cebull is retiring to spend more time on his racist rants. [Billings Gazette]

* Obama is forfeiting $20,000 in solidarity with sequester victims. An excellent opportunity for right-wing hacks to complain about his vacations, as though Secret Service protection is supposed to be free. [Washington Examiner]

* Ken Cuccinelli is running for governor in a state that voted for Obama twice. So, obviously, he’s making a public show of his fight to reinstate a law used to harass gay people. [Washington Blade]

* Conrad Black, the media mogul who served three years in the federal pen, sits for an interview with California Lawyer magazine. Check it out (and earn California CLE credit). [California Lawyer]

Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.)

It’s hard out here for authors of judicial memoirs who are not named Sonia Sotomayor. Just ask Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.), a federal trial judge in Brooklyn since 1994 and the author of an appealing new book, Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge (affiliate link). In Disrobed, Judge Block describes his surprising rise from small-town Long Island lawyer to Article III aristocracy, where he has presided over cases involving the Crown Heights riots, Kitty Genovese, mob boss Peter Gotti, and other headline-making subjects.

The book has received several favorable notices. Writing in the New York Times, Sam Roberts described Disrobed as an “engaging” book that provides “a rare look behind decision-making on the federal bench.” Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield called the memoir a “well-written,” “easy and quick read,” by a “quite well-regarded” judge. I’ve read the book myself, and I concur with Roberts and Greenfield.

But even though the book has sold well, exceeding the expectations of its publisher, Thomson Reuters, Disrobed hasn’t attained the bestselling status of Justice Sotomayor’s My Beloved World (affiliate link). And this makes Judge Block a little sad, as he confessed to me when I recently visited him in chambers.

Especially because Judge Block came painfully close to what would have been a big, big break….

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* If you’re looking for an easy résumé line, then consider joining the Supreme Court bar, an elite organization that doesn’t check to see if its members are still alive. All you need is three years of practice, two signatures, and $200. [Associated Press]

* Stanley Chesley, the master of disaster himself, was disbarred for his “shocking and reprehensible” conduct in a fen-phen case. His wife, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott of the Southern District of Ohio, must be oh so pleased. [Courier-Journal]

* Howrey like dem apples now? Some of Howrey’s former partners, including ex-chairman Robert Ryuak, all lined up to make deals to delay lawsuits from the firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* This Biglaw firm’s future was just a little bit dimmer in 2012, with a 4.9 percent dip in profits per equity partner. This is unexpected from Milbank, a number 3 seed in our March Madness competition. [Am Law Daily]

* The NRA’s New York affiliate filed suit challenging the state’s new gun laws, claiming that a ban on assault weapons violates the Second Amendment — because this is clearly what the founders intended. [Reuters]

* Raj Rajaratnam’s younger brother, Rengan Rajaratnam, was indicted yesterday in a federal insider-trading scheme tied to the Galleon case. You can’t fault the guy, he was just trying to keep it in the family. [Bloomberg]

* Sorry, Dean Boland, but you’re not going anywhere. A judge denied the attorney’s request to withdraw from Paul Ceglia’s Facebook case. He must be wishing there were a dislike button now. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]

* Celebrated litigator David Boies thinks the Supreme Court is going to rule in favor of gay marriage in a united front — which is helpful, since in March he’s arguing in favor of gay marriage in the Prop 8 case. [USA Today]

* “What we had to do was do more with less.” Archer & Greiner had to lay off 14 attorneys and 27 staffers thanks to the firm’s rapid overexpansion via mergers. This is why we can’t have nice things. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* In New York / Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do / Now you’re in New York / Law deans will try to inspire you / But rankings will ruin you / Hear it for New York! [New York Law Journal]

* If you’d like to save the world by working a public-interest job, you’d better consider Penn Law. Its LRAP now covers all IBR loan payments over 10 years for a total savings of up to $140,000. [National Law Journal]

* But then again, if you’re not interested in public-interest work, you can always get a temp job, where you’ll allegedly make as much as “a mid-level associate at a small or medium firm.” [U.S. News & World Report]

* Because Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer was called out by a judge for a performance that was almost as piss poor in his client’s in Liz & Dick, he contacted a local firm to step in and assist him. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

Behind the blue door lies a world of great beauty.

You’d expect a top mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer to have excellent business sense. So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that an M&A partner at a leading law firm bought a Manhattan townhouse for $837,000 that is now probably worth more than $7 million.

It’s a gorgeous home, very tastefully decorated (which can’t be said of all our Lawyerly Lairs). Let’s see some pictures and learn more about it, including the identities of the owners….

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Ramiro Ocasio

I don’t even know why I did it, it’s just not me man. I’ve never done anything like this in my life. This is not Ramiro. I’m not a macho guy. I don’t even know how to swim.

Ramiro Ocasio, a records assistant at Kirkland & Ellis, commenting on his subway heroism. Last week, Ocasio selflessly jumped off the subway platform to come to the aid of an elderly man who had fallen onto the tracks. The Q train arrived less than ten seconds after they were out of harm’s way.

* “Given health care, I don’t care if he speaks in tongues.” Chief Justice John Roberts botched Barack Obama’s presidential oath at his first inauguration, but this time he managed to get it right. [New York Times]

* What was more important to Justice Sonia Sotomayor than swearing in Joe Biden as VP at noon on Sunday? Signing books at Barnes & Noble in New York City. Not-so wise Latina. [Los Angeles Times]

* D.C. Biglaw firms — like Holland & Knight, Covington, K&L Gates, and Jones Day — allowed others to bask in their prestige at their swanky inauguration parties. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* It’s been 40 years since SCOTUS made its ruling in Roe v. Wade, and this is what we’ve got to show for it: a deep moral divide over women being able to do what they want with their own bodies. [Huffington Post]

* The latest weapon in the fight against terrorism is the legal system. The Second Circuit recently issued a major blow to those seeking to finance militant attacks in secret. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* “Firms don’t just hire a body anymore.” The 2012 BLS jobs data is in, and if you thought employment in the legal sector was going to magically bounce back to pre-recession levels, you were delusional. [Am Law Daily]

* Three months have come and gone since Hurricane Sandy rocked law firm life as we know it in Manhattan, but firms like Fragomen and Gordon & Rees are still stuck in temporary offices. [New York Law Journal]

* This seems like it may be too good to be true, but it looks like New York’s chief judge may be on board to grant law students bar eligibility after the completion of only two years of law school. [National Law Journal]

* Law professors may soon be in for a nasty surprise when it comes to their salaries if their schools follow Vermont Law’s lead and remove them as salaried employees, paying only on a part-time basis. [Valley News]

* Resorting to a life of crime to pay off your law school debt is never a good thing — unless you’re doing it while wearing a Bucky Badger hat. We’ll have more on these allegations later. [Wisconsin State Journal]

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