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* Steven Davis, D&L’s former chairman, really wants to make sure he’ll be able to use the firm’s insurance policy to defend himself, or else he’ll “suffer undue hardship.” Sorry, but after all the undue hardship you caused, nobody feels bad for you. [Am Law Daily]

* As it turns out, the Mitt “47 Percent” Romney recording may have been illegally taped, but Florida authorities aren’t investigating — a victim hasn’t come forward to complain. What, no “off the cuff” remarks this time, Mitt? [Washington Wire / Wall Street Journal]

* Even if you get disbarred, you can still go on to work for a Biglaw firm. In other news, apparently you can last about a month at Lewis Brisbois while using a stolen identity before you get fired. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* Arizona’s governor was really excited that the injunction against SB 1070′s “show me your papers” provision was lifted by Judge Susan Bolton. She won’t be as excited when all of the lawsuits start rolling in. [Bloomberg]

* It’s probably bad if your dean resigns before the school opens. J. Michael Johnson, the ex-dean of Louisiana College School of Law, left to take a “great job offer” (i.e., not a law school deanship). [Shreveport Times]

* Good news, ladies! A serial subway “grinder” in NYC avoided jail time after ejaculating on three women in separate incidents, and now city pols are trying to make it harder for perverts to get off. [New York Daily News]

With both law school and the law school application season about to resume, let’s return to our popular series of Law School Success Stories. While we believe it’s important to provide our readers with accurate information about the perils of law school, including data about high lawyer unemployment and crushing student debt, we like to balance out the doom and gloom with stories of successful lawyers who made winning bets on legal education.

Today’s success story comes to us via the august pages of the New York Times. Even though this young lawyer didn’t go to a top-tier law school, he’s enjoying a phenomenal legal career, marked by fame and fortune.

His story contains valuable lessons for people thinking about, or already enrolled in, law school. Let’s learn more about him, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Success Stories: He Loves the Nightlife”

The law firm cafeteria is something of an anachronism. Having a large company mess hall where associates can grab a bite to eat without taking too much time to get lunch isn’t really necessary anymore. Nobody takes a “lunch hour” anymore. Associates can use Seamless and eat at their desks.

And we know partners aren’t eating in the firm cafeteria unless they are 80 years old and too busy to head to Peter Luger’s. No law firm cafeteria is nice enough to bring a client to; that’s why God created expense accounts.

But the cafeteria is still useful for secretaries and paralegals. At my old firm, the cafeteria was a great place to grab breakfast. At Debevoise, the cafeteria enjoys the best views of the block. We used to bring lawyers from Schulte Roth, which is housed on the lower floors at 919 Third Avenue, to show them our view (and to console them while they cried).

The point is, even as the Biglaw cafeteria has diminished relevance given our modern conveniences, you don’t want your firm perk to be disgusting. Last March, we learned that a number of Biglaw firms had received poor grades from the New York City Department of Health about the quality of their in-house cafeterias.

But it appears that Cravath’s food fortunes have significantly improved…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Cravatheteria’ Rebounds — And Other Firm Cafeterias Clean Up Their Acts As Well”

* Dewey have some false expectations of success for this partner settlement agreement? Only one in four affected partners have signed on the dotted line, but advisers think the plan will win bankruptcy court approval. [Am Law Daily]

* “There comes a point where the prospects of substantially increasing your income just outweigh everything else.” Even on his $168K salary, this appellate judge wasn’t rich in New York City, so he quit his job. [New York Law Journal]

* The middle class needs lawyers, and unemployed law school graduates need jobs. The solution for both problems seems pretty obvious, but starting a firm still costs money, no matter how “prudent” you are. [National Law Journal]

* “This is a time when law schools are trying to look carefully at their expenses and not add to them.” New York’s new pro bono initiative may come at a cost for law schools, too. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Much to Great Britain’s dismay, Ecuador has announced that it will grant political asylum to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. Sucks for Ecuador, because Assange is known to not flush the toilet. [New York Times]

* A smooth criminal gets a break: Michael Jackson’s father dropped a wrongful death suit against Dr. Conrad Murray. It probably would’ve been helpful if his attorneys could actually practice in California. [Washington Post]

* Did Lindsay Lohan’s lawyers plagiarize documents from internet websites in their defamation filings against Pitbull? You can deny it all you want, but his lawyer is out for blood and sanctions. [New York Daily News]

I can now perform 'mawwages.'

On Friday, I took a little trip to the New York County Clerk’s office to become registered as a marriage officiant in the state of New York.

Let me say that again: I can now legally marry people. Like a mayor. Or a ship’s captain.

Going through the process of becoming a marriage officiant has given me a wonderful look at the state of our marriage laws, and my hours at the clerk’s office were the perfect icing. Let me say just say that the closer you get to the legal process of marriage, the more ridiculous gay marriage opponents appear.

I mean, come on, if I can legally marry people, how “sacred” or “traditional” is the institution of marriage really? Besides, have you looked at some of the man/woman combinations that are getting married these days? I just think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fists at Him and say, “Instead of helping the poor or sick or infirm, we’re all going to eat chicken sandwiches to show that we’ll defend as sacred something that can be done in two hours at the freaking clerk’s office.”

Let’s just say that the number of gay people getting marriage licenses was dwarfed by the number of men standing their with pregnant girlfriends looking like their balls were being held in a vise grip….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law Can Now Legally Perform Weddings: Now Tell Me How Marriage Is A Sacred Institution”

Contrary to popular belief, many lawyers who toil in Biglaw actually enjoy what they do. This is especially true of partners (as opposed to associates who just pass through on their way to in-house or government opportunities). Some partners enjoy their work so much that they’d do it for free — or at least for much less than the millions they typically receive.

Of course, even if you find fulfillment in the work you do as a law firm partner, you can’t deny that the other benefits are nice. Being a Biglaw partner certainly allows you to provide an upscale lifestyle for your family. And it might permit you to enjoy an early retirement for yourself.

When you earn millions of dollars a year in partner profits, with lucrative retirement benefits on top of that (assuming your firm doesn’t do a Dewey), you don’t need to work until you’re 65 or 70. Instead, you can get an early start on your golden years, pursuing all of the hobbies and interests that you never had the chance to explore while billing 2000-plus hours a year.

That’s exactly what a retired Skadden corporate partner, James Freund, has been doing. Freund, who is now 77, retired from SASMF back in 1996, around the age of 61 (a little early, but not hugely so).

A few years ago, Freund scaled back his lifestyle. He traded in his $5 million townhouse for an apartment — one that cost a mere $3 million. Being a retired Skadden M&A partner is a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Retired Skadden Partner ‘Downsizes’ to $3 Million Penthouse”

* Some law schools are thinking about reducing class sizes, but others are not. Said one dean, “People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” [The Faculty Lounge]

* The fun coming out of the Seventh Circuit just doesn’t stop. Do you know what an “interrobang” is? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of the “What What (In the Butt)” opinion, here’s some analysis from Professor Ann Althouse. [Althouse]

* Yeah, we know, we’re not supposed to give tax advice. So think of this as housing advice: if you earn $1 million or more, avoid living in a blue state. [TaxProf Blog]

* Free Winona Eggs Benedict! A New York City Council bill seeks to remove “unnecessary obstacles” to getting Sunday brunch. [City Room / New York Times]

* An Australian journalist’s thoughts on how to reform the Anglo-American legal system. [The Atlantic]

* Hmm…. should I look into buying the domain name www.david.lat? [Legal Blog Watch]

* How Dewey go through $43 million in six weeks? Is this like Brewster’s Millions or something? Discussion after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 06.14.12″

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….”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Success Stories: High Risk, High Reward”

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: A Federal Prosecutor’s $25 Million Apartment”

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