Philadelphia

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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Two prestigious names in Philadelphia law announced they are joining forces today. Pepper Hamilton, the storied 120-year-old firm, will be absorbing various outfits spearheaded by Louis Freeh, most recently known for his harsh report following the Penn State scandal.

Let’s check out the details on these two firms, who were already quite close, and are finally tying the knot….

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The federal judiciary recently lost two of its most distinguished members. One was a trial judge on the East Coast, and one was an appellate judge on the West Coast (as well as the nation’s longest-serving federal appellate judge).

Both were leading lights of the Article III judiciary. They will be deeply missed by their courts; their clerks, current and former; and their colleagues….

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On the Philadelphia Craigslist, there is a job listing for people who enjoy pissing all over the 99% — a part-time job for a most likely unemployed person who nonetheless loves the people in power and hates everybody else. Oh, and applicants better have not protested against the Iraq war, because apparently this employer loves people who never question authority.

See, this is why we still have to pay attention to Super Tuesday despite the fact that the Republicans are down to a robot and a guy who hates women. Republicans always have a puncher’s chance because there are so many people in this country right now who are unemployed and willing to take part-time crap work, who still believe that someday — magically — they will end up on top.

It’s much easier to sing to these American idiots about the dream of prosperity than to tell people the truth: statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning that to go from the mailroom to the boardroom.

But, since I suspect at least 50% of the unemployed people out there don’t understand how the system works, let me post the job. Have fun with your self-loathing….

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Remember David T. Shulick, the Philadelphia lawyer who filed a colorful case that we recently named a Lawsuit of the Day? After his luxury vacation was ruined, Shulick sued two airlines, alleging (among other things) that a sassy baggage agent referred to his wife as a “honkey.”

Well, David Shulick — “a nationally and locally recognized attorney,” according to his website, which also shows photos of him with famous people (like Barack Obama) — is back in the news….

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Thanks to everyone who responded to our recent request for information about 2011 bonuses at Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Here’s our report on bonuses at MLB.

As you may recall, Morgan Lewis pays individualized bonuses, so there’s no tidy table as there is for lockstep firms. Feel free to use this post as an open thread for MLB bonuses — you can compare amounts anonymously, in the comments.

How are Morgan Lewis associates feeling about their bonuses? We’ll get the ball rolling with some tips that we’ve received….

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