Philadelphia

Fire* Thanks to this Government Accountability Office ruling, the company that cleared NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis may lose a $210M contract. [Legal Times]

* After being acquitted on insider trading charges, Rengan Rajaratnam agreed to settle the civil suit filed against him for a cool $840K. At least he’s not in jail like his brother. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Those interested in going to law school may want to know that Philadelphia is purportedly home to some of the cheapest law schools in the country — not Penn Law, though, sorry ’bout that. [Main Street]

* Professors at WUSTL Law held a “teach-in” to discuss the Michael Brown police shooting case. According to them, the likelihood Darren Wilson will be federally charged is “slim to none.” [Student Life]

* Attack of the aggrieved ex: a man drove a burning pickup truck loaded with explosives into a law firm, destroying much of the building. He had apparently dated one of the firm’s former clients. [Virginian-Pilot]

Philadelphia_skyline_from_south_street_bridgeIt’s only a couple weeks away. ATL is heading to Philadelphia, and if you’re a law student, we want to get you a drink after class. We’ve visited a bunch of cities before but somehow we’ve always missed Philadelphia. No longer, thanks to our friends at Kaplan Bar Review.

Details and a form to officially RSVP are below.

Tell your friends and come on down…

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Jiminy jillickers! ATL editors are going all over the place over the next month or so. Or at least all over the Eastern Seaboard. If we aren’t heading to your neck of the woods on these trips, never fear, we may hit you up on the next time around. We’ve already hit up Houston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the past year.

So what all are we up to this time?

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Cue the fanfare.

ATL is heading to Philadelphia….

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It’s always sunny – or raining money? – in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia: it’s all about the Benjamin. The city abounds in tributes to its famous founding father, Benjamin Franklin. It even boasts a museum devoted to his life and times.

And maybe Philly will be all about the benjamins, plural — as in hundred-dollar bills. There’s speculation afoot that the new going rate for first-year associates in this city could rise to $160,000.

What’s the basis of the speculation? And could a Philadelphia pay raise have implications for other markets?

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Not since its pursuit was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence has “happiness” had a bigger cultural moment than now, and not just because of that “room without a roof” earworm. There is a new and rapidly growing science of happiness, a mash-up of economics and psychology sometimes called “hedonics,” which tells us that money can buy happiness, but only to a point. Meanwhile, in corporate America, we witness the emergence of a new C-suite character, the Chief Happiness Officer, who is responsible for employee contentment. Sort of like an HR director, but smiling and magical.

Recently, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research released a paper, “Unhappy Cities,” reporting the findings of a major survey asking respondents about their satisfaction with life. The authors, academics from Harvard and the University of British Columbia, found that there are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. cities and, unsurprisingly, residents of declining cities are less happy than other Americans. (Interestingly, the authors suggest that these unhappy, declining cities were also unhappy during their more prosperous pasts.)

So there are unhappy cities; there are also unhappy (and relatively happier) law schools. When ATL’s own Staci Zaretsky learned that Springfield, Massachusetts — home of her alma mater, the Western New England University School of Law — made the list of unhappiest cities, it came as no surprise: “It’s hard to tell where the local misery ends and that of the law school begins.” Prompted by Staci’s observation, we wondered whether unhappy cities make for unhappy local law students. Or is the law school experience so intense and self-contained that one’s surroundings have little impact? What are law students in the happiest (and unhappiest) cities in the country telling us about their own personal satisfaction?

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Julia Papazian Law

Last May, a 26-year-old paralegal by the name of Julia Papazian Law was found dead in the bathtub of her boss and boyfriend, prominent Philadelphia defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. The news set tongues wagging in Philly. It had all the elements of a tabloid tale: a beautiful young woman, a wealthy and successful lawyer, and possible organized-crime connections. (Peruto has represented such prominent alleged Mob figures as Joey Merlino and Nicodemo Scarfo.)

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams convened a grand jury to investigate Julia Law’s death. This decision did not sit well with Charles Peruto, who claimed that it placed him under a cloud of suspicion that harmed his reputation and his legal practice.

With the grand jury probe concluded, District Attorney Williams made an announcement about its findings. What did he have to say?

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* DC Comics didn’t take kindly to a garage selling replica Batmobiles without permission. A federal court agreed. But if we outlaw Batmobiles, only outlaws will have Batmobiles! [Comic Book Resources]

* Mistrial in Philadelphia after the witness lost (part of) his head on the witness stand. [Philly.com]

* Taser or Lightsaber? I never thought that would be a serious question. [Legal Juice]

* A quick refresher from that “Law and the Vatican” course you took as a 3L. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A compilation of some bad courtroom (and quasi-courtroom) behavior including our friend from last week, Penelope Soto. [LOL and Smile]

* The Bratz case is so totally over. The result? A whole lot of nothing — much like the Bratz movie. [The Recorder]

* Shorter version of this article: Morpheus explaining, “But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see?…The very minds of the [nice legal academics] we are trying to save. But until we do, these [law professors] are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.” [Inside the Law School Scam]

* New Mexico is considering a new law against bullying — but does it go too far? Does it? Answer me, you little wuss! [Volokh Conspiracy]

Supreme Court justices are inevitably controversial figures. As we all know, they rule on the most important issues of the day, which gives them power to affect all Americans’ lives in significant ways. It’s hard to think of those who sit on the highest court in the land as anything resembling you and me.

But there’s at least one great equalizer. A game of hoops? No. SCOTUS has that covered too. We’re talking about parking tickets…

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There are many worrisome aspects of online privacy — or the lack thereof. But on the upside, poor privacy protections do come with certain benefits. For example, stupid criminals more often expose themselves to prosecution — and public ridicule. Yesterday, we mentioned some teenagers who broke into a man’s house, threw a party, and then threw the photos on Facebook, where the man saw them and called police.

Today we have a more violent but similar story, this time from Philadelphia. Police posted security footage of several teenagers beating up a middle-aged man inside a supermarket, only to discover the assailants had also apparently posted footage of the crime on YouTube.

At least the alleged assaulters have a firm grasp on search engine optimization…

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