St. Louis

Michael Brown, age 18 and a high school graduate, was scheduled to begin college classes on Monday.

He won’t be. He was shot, unarmed with his hands in the air, by police near his apartment on Saturday afternoon. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class St. Louis suburb of 20,000, has ignited outrage and skepticism of the police’s explanation for the shooting.

As Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave this account to Giegerich:

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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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Oh my god, he’s got a gun!

* Interim SLU Law Dean Tom Keefe said he’s nobody’s “butt boy.” Will that change if Father Lawrence Biondi succeeds in eliminating tenure? Your move, Keefe. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* Defending one’s right to carry an AK-47 around a park is kind of like defending your right to drink milkshakes and eat waffle fries until your heart explodes. There’s no f**king point, other than really wanting to show you can. Except that milkshakes are delicious. Guns, not so much. [FindLaw]

* A penny saved is a penny earned grounds for a huge lawsuit. [Daily Business Review]

* Japan said Samsung didn’t infringe on Apple’s patents. Woooo. Three different Apple v. Samsung cases down, 10 million more countries to go. [Ars Technica]

* The TSA should seriously come out and say they just want to see us naked. Then at least we’d all be on the same page. [Threat Level / Wired]

* Ms. Spanjer, yeeeah, we’re sorry but you’re going to have to change your son’s name. As you’re probably aware, he’s deaf. I know, so sad. He’s a wonderful child, but when he signs his name, it looks like a gun. And, obviously, we have no tolerance for violence at this pre-school. [Jonathan Turley]

ATL’s competition to crown the best city to practice law continues.

In the regional finals in the east and south, D.C. is dominating New York, and Dallas is doing away with Atlanta. Now it’s time for us to turn our sights westward.

This round’s bouts will determine which city in flyover country is the best for lawyers and will finally resolve the NoCal vs SoCal debate. Let’s get to it…

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raven akram sandberg phoenix cheerleader.jpgWe occasionally write about career alternatives for attorneys here at Above The Law. But as far as we know, cheerleading does not constitute a full-time job. So we’re creating a new “extracurricular pursuits” category for it.

Many lawyers are cheerleaders in a way, seeking to boost their clients’ spirits and fortunes and tout their best qualities. Perhaps that’s why this is not the first time a legal cheerleader has found her way into our pages.

An ATL reader alerted us that Raven Akram, an attorney at Sandberg Phoenix, moonlights as an NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. Sandberg Phoenix is a 65-attorney trial firm with “seriously unbelievable client service.” Akram joined the firm’s St. Louis office in 2008.

Our tipster writes:

I found myself wondering how I would feel as a client if I were at a NFL game and my attorney was profiled on the big screen in a skimpy bikini. I also found myself wondering why an apparently successful attorney would spend her spare time cheerleading for what is objectively the worst team in the NFL.

We imagine clients would feel excited… about having such a hot attorney.

Her firm bio is pretty dry; she’s a Saint Louis University School of Law grad who specializes in business litigation. Let’s take a look at her cheerleading bio (and photo), after the jump.

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