New York

Unlike when the New York bar exam results were released in early November, we’re not experiencing a hurricane-induced blackout. But today, some people might wish that they were experiencing a different kind of hurricane-induced blackout (one that involves alcohol, not nature), because we’ve finally got a list of the passage rates for the July 2012 administration of the New York bar exam by law school.

Last year, more than half of the state’s law schools were able to improve their pass rates over the prior year’s results. This year, more than half of the state’s law schools saw a decline in their pass rates, and in some cases, epically so. The state’s pass rate for first-time takers dropped a whole percentage point, due in part to the law schools’ reversal in fortune.

So which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

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You know what they say, you never see it coming.

There is a bizarre story developing on the streets of New York. A law student walked out of a hotel in broad daylight in midtown Manhattan and was murdered by a silent assassin who then, coldly, got into a getaway car that politely stopped at a red light overlooking the body.

I’m going to go on and assume that this homicide didn’t happen because of outstanding law school debts. Or maybe that’s just what I want to believe….

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* “The people who are paying us say this is what we want.” When it comes to cross-border mergers, law firms aren’t becoming behemoths for the hell of it. The end goal is to be able to edge out the rest of the competition. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, and “[e]verybody wants to go back downtown,” but some Biglaw firms in New York City — firms like Harris Beach and Cahill Gordon — are still stuck in their temporary offices. [New York Law Journal]

* Following Jeh Johnson’s adieu to the DoD, drone-loving Harold Koh will be packing up his office at the State Department and returning to Yale Law to resume his professorship next month. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector is employing 5,800 more people than it was at this time last year. We’d be in good shape if 40,000 people hadn’t graduated law school in May. [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another wrist slap: Villanova Law has been placed on probation for by the Association of American Law Schools over its grade-inflation scandal. Does that even mean anything? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* The Lanier Law Firm, known for its spectacular Christmas parties, hosted some country superstars at this year’s event. Guess we know where Faith Hill and Tim McGraw go for legal assistance. [Houston Chronicle]

* A slim majority of American adults think that federal government employees should just sit back, relax, and smoke a bowl instead of enforcing federal laws against marijuana use. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]

* “I’m sorry they are confused in the White House.” Puerto Rico’s statehood referendum received a majority of votes, but lawmakers say the results of the two-part plebiscite are too confusing to add a 51st state. [CNN]


Parking is sooooo hard.

* “Biglaw Bonuses for Dummies: A Reference for the Rest of Us!” By Elie Mystal. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* Just how quickly will state-by-state legal education be able to respond to changing market conditions? Thus far, both New York and California have proven themselves to be pretty damn nimble. [Legal Ethics Forum]

* Here’s a cute docket sheet entry from Judge Marcia Cooke in the Southern District of Florida. Thanks for not being a grinch this holiday season, Your Honor! [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* A town in Germany has started using “female friendly” parking spaces, because parking a car is just so hard for we womenfolk to do when we’re supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. :( [Telegraph]

* Hiram Chodosh, once named as a law dean hottie, has been named the fifth president of Claremont McKenna College. Of course, the former title is cooler than the latter, don’t you think? [Sacramento Bee]

* On the even of the Supreme Court’s conference that will determine whether a gay marriage case will be on the docket in 2013, a federal judge ruled that Nevada can ban the practice in the state. Not fab. :( [BuzzFeed]

* A bankruptcy judge gave Dewey & LeBoeuf’s unsecured creditors the go-ahead to sue the pants off Joel Sanders and the Steves (a moniker for what likely would’ve been an extremely orange band). [Am Law Daily]

* Hostess Brands received final approval to wind down its business and begin selling off its Twinkies to satisfy its creditors, but not before $1.8M in bonuses payouts were authorized. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Foul balls: as if his public tiff with Lance Armstrong and indecent exposure sentence weren’t enough, Clark Calvin Griffith is facing bar discipline over his pervy predilections. [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

* UCLA School of Law recently announced its plans to offer an LL.M. in Law and Sexuality. Now, recall that just one month ago, Justice Scalia advised students not to take “law and _____” courses. [National Law Journal]

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn agreed to settle a suit brought against him by a hotel maid who accused him of rape. We still don’t know the dollar amount, but we bet he kept his aggravated pimp hand strong. [Bloomberg]

* A day in the life of Lindsay Lohan includes an arrest for assault in New York, followed by charges related to a car crash in California. Her legal drama is almost as bad as Liz & Dick. [Daily Dish / San Francisco Chronicle]

* Jerry Finkelstein, former publisher of the New York Law Journal, RIP. [New York Law Journal]

* George C. Kern Jr., Sullivan & Cromwell’s M&A maven, RIP. [New York Times]

Tensions between cyclists and pedestrians are always high in big cities, especially a city like New York. When walking on extremely crowded sidewalks, it’s never a pleasant experience to be nearly blindsided as some dude on a bike whizzes by at high speed without a care in the world. We pedestrians are arguably more balanced than those riding bicycles — if one of us got knocked down, we might complain about a scraped knee for a week or two before getting over it. It wouldn’t really be that big of a deal.

But if a cyclist gets knocked down, the consequences could be much worse, and one Sidley Austin lawyer is learning just what a big deal something like this can turn into once the courts are involved. Back in June, Marshall Feiring, tax counsel at Sidley Austin, was arrested and charged with third degree assault and second degree harassment after he allegedly stepped into the bike lane in Central Park and made contact with a female cyclist, causing her to crash.

As if the criminal charges weren’t enough, Feiring is now being sued over the incident….

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Feline Riot

Seven members of Pussy Riot.

This website has been sadly bereft of Pussy Riot coverage. Sadly, because typing the words “Pussy Riot” is fun. Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot. If you don’t know of what I speak, here’s a quick crash course on all things Pussy and Riot. They’re a female punk band in Russia and, this August, three of their members were convicted of something called hooliganism because of a performance that took place in an Orthodox Christian cathedral, where the band shouted anti-Putin slogans and railed against the Orthodox Church’s support of the Russian president. Comprende?

Well, like that Che Guevara shirt you thought was so transgressive at the time and now looks like nothing more than the celebration of conformity and a youthful attempt to graft meaning onto an otherwise whitebread, boring upbringing, the Pussy Riot gals have transcended politics to become something even greater. Namely, fashion. The lasses of Pussy Riot have inspired lame middle class American kids to start wearing balaclavas.

If you don’t know what a balaclava is, don’t despair. I had to look it up too. It’s just a ski mask.

But contra Freud, the state of New York believes that sometimes a ski mask is not just a ski mask. Sometimes, it’s a criminal act…

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Casey Anthony is not impressed.

* Will it be DOMA or Prop 8? The countdown until Friday starts now, because everyone’s waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will grant cert on one of the five same-sex marriage cases that has come before the high court. [UPI]

* Walk like an Egyptian — or, in this case, you can protest like one. Judges and lawyers are on strike and filing legal challenges to President Mohamed Morsi’s “unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” [New York Times]

* Dewey know when this failed firm’s bankruptcy plan will be approved? Team Togut is hoping for a February resolution, but the rascally retirees may throw a wrench in things with their committee’s continued existence. [Am Law Daily]

* Even though the Northern District of California has a historic all-women federal bench — a courthouse of their own, if you will — there’s probably no need to tell them that THERE’S NO CRYING IN LITIGATION. No crying! [The Recorder]

* New technology + old laws = a privacy clusterf**k. This week, a Senate committee will contemplate whether the Electronic Communications Privacy Act needs to be updated to get with the times. [New York Times]

* The New York State Bar Association may oppose it, but Jacoby & Meyers’s challenge to the state’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership shall live to see another day thanks to the Second Circuit. [New York Law Journal]

* An Alabama Slammer is both a dangerous cocktail and a term for what happens when your Southern law school refuses to cut its class size and you’re left woefully unemployed after graduation. [Birmingham News]

* Casey Anthony finds relevancy again! Girls in my high school used to search for “foolproof suffocation” on Google and later get acquitted of murdering their daughters all the time; it was no big deal. [USA Today]

* Dean Boland, aka Paul Ceglia’s gazillionth lawyer in the Facebook ownership case, will soon find out if can withdraw as counsel. He’s got other things to deal with, like a $300K child porn judgment. [Wall Street Journal]

It’s a tale as old as time, and perhaps — if you were desperate enough — you’ve even experienced it yourself.

A young man wanders the streets of New York City, with dreams of some day becoming a star. He waits tables and does various odd jobs to pay the bills, all the while yearning for his chance in the limelight. He lands a few soap opera and commercial roles, but in the grand scheme of things, he isn’t very successful in his theatrical endeavors. He can’t land any good parts, and in the end, he’s forced to make a decision: will he put his manhood to the test and turn to acting in adult films, or will he go to law school?

Yup. Porn or law school. Thankfully, the legal profession is such that you can do both. Or, at least it was in the 1970s. The wannabe film star that we’re referencing decided to do both, but at least he had the good sense to tend to his porn career first, and then head off to law school. And in the end, he had a very successful practice — both in terms of showing his “O” face to the world, and climbing the ladder of legal stardom to the ranks of county district attorney in upstate New York.

But until recently, his adoring public was unaware that DA also stood for Dick Adjudicator….

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Lower Manhattan took some hits from Superstorm Sandy.

President Barack Obama is coming to New York City today to check in on the city’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Maybe he should check out some of the law firms downtown. While most New York-area law firms focused on getting people back to work as quickly as possible after the storm, some shops continue to experience more structural issues.

Not that those firms are talking about it. I guess some firms don’t like to admit that anything can go wrong in the Financial District….

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