Tennessee

Hot on the heels of support staff layoffs and on-shore outsourcing efforts at O’Melveny & Myers, we have news of another law firm doing the exact same thing. Except this law firm has figured out a way to do it with half the tears and way less relocation angst.

On-shore outsourcing might be better for the American economy than sending the jobs overseas, and Pillsbury Winthrop has figured out a way to do it that doesn’t involve shipping people to the third world country known as “West Virginia.”

Pillsbury is moving staff operations farther south, and the firm is bringing some of its executives with it, too….

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What does a peacock have in common with a gun owner?

Maybe we should look at this as a grand test of the “theory” of evolution via natural selection. Eventually, over the course of hundreds of thousands or millions of years, the gun nuts should really die out, while those who favor sensible gun regulation will live and procreate and prosper.

But then again, maybe this is a case of sexual selection. Maybe the gun-nut trait will be favored because — despite its negative correlation with survival (most gun nuts don’t even understand that gun owners are more likely to shoot themselves or a loved one than any kind of criminal) — toting a gun just drives the ladies wild. Maybe holding a gun really is like holding a (pea)cock.

Either way, I feel the need to explain Tennessee state representative Curry Todd’s alleged behavior with the understanding of the natural forces in play. Because on the surface, the fact that the politician in favor of guns in bars got pulled over for allegedly driving while drunk, with his gun in his car, just seems to speak to the natural evolution of our species….

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The legal profession isn’t known for its sense of humor. On the contrary, most attorneys take themselves way too seriously. As a result, we see some pretty ridiculous attorney advertising that ends up being unintentionally funny. And while we’re happy to poke gentle fun at these websites and ads, our commentary isn’t always well received. Because another thing that lawyers aren’t known for is the ability to accept criticism.

Knoxville attorney Stephen A. Burroughs, a personal injury and auto accident lawyer and my new favorite person, is an exception to these rules. Anyone from the Knoxville area is likely familiar with Burroughs, having seen his serious, bearded face on billboards all over town.

The ads were so ubiquitous, and Burroughs’s gaze so smoldering and intense, that someone created a Facebook page devoted to Stephen A. Burroughs Memes, transforming Burroughs into Knoxville’s answer to The Most Interesting Man in the World. As the Facebook page gained popularity, the funny memes started pouring in.

Even better than the jokes, though, was Burroughs’s unexpectedly awesome response….

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Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was about two weeks ago. We’re always looking for more photos, so if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send some in via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Today, we are writing about legal professionals who are so proud of what they do that they’ve slapped their titles on their license plates. If this isn’t an invitation to get rear-ended, then I don’t know what is. These submissions come to us from New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, proving that stupid lawyer tricks know no bounds across state lines.

Let’s take a look at what these legal eagles are advertising on their license plates, shall we?

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Bar exams are underway all across this great nation. It’s an exciting time for the next crop of young lawyers (at least “exciting” in the sense that being trapped in a mall while zombies swarm around trying to eat your brains is certainly not dull).

In Tennessee, where the bar exam starts tomorrow, the state Board of Law Examiners has found a way to make things even more exciting for test takers. Over the weekend, a rumor surfaced that the grading for the July bar exam would be different than the grading for previous tests.

How? In what way? What would it affect? What does it mean?

I’d like to imagine every Tennessee test taker trying to ask those questions at the exact same time all at once, thereby providing the first direct evidence that we must be living in a universe with more than four dimensions.

Alas, the change turned out to be a minor one — to the extent that any “change” can be called minor, when you only learn about it the day before the bar exam…

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If I were in their role and in their position, I probably wouldn’t understand it either, that a club really can’t attract minority members.

– Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. of the Sixth Circuit, commenting to the New York Times about two of his colleagues on the court — Eric L. Clay and R. Guy Cole Jr., both African-American — and their strong reactions against a bankruptcy judge’s membership in an all-white, all-male country club.

(Judge Merritt is also a member of the Belle Meade Country Club, although an honorary one without voting privileges.)

Does this sign also mean no blacks or women allowed?

It’s the ruling that is splitting the Sixth Circuit apart. A federal bankruptcy judge, George Paine II, belongs to an all-white country club in Nashville. But there is a pesky judicial code of conduct that says that judges “should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin,” according to the New York Times (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

That seems cut and dry to me. An all-white, all-male country club sounds a hell of a lot like an organization practicing “invidious discrimination.” But I’m not on the Sixth Circuit.

And the Sixth Circuit essentially told Judge Paine: guys in my high school used to belong to discriminatory clubs all the time, it was no big deal.

In a 10-8 decision, the circuit decided to allow Paine to continue his membership in the club and on the bankruptcy court.

So that code of judicial conduct means what exactly?

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Gone baby gone.

It’s been pretty slow here at the Above the Law circumcision law desk. So slow, in fact, that Lat has considered putting me on another assignment: “There’s just not enough news surrounding the intersection of foreskin and the legal community. While I appreciate your enthusiasm for the amusing dong beat…I don’t know if the financials can possibly justify keeping you on.”

Every time he starts in on this speech, I have to break out a photo of 16 vaguely ethnic kids that I claim to take care of. This happens at least twice a week.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find this fascinating tale that might shock and amaze you. It’s the story of a full-time lawyer and part-time exhibitionist named….

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The best time for law school emails is right before spring semester finals. People have been stressed for an entire year and things are just about to get worse, so you see law students just breaking down. The Crimson DNA affair came to light last April; hopefully we’ll get something good this year too.

The second best time to gawk at law students is right now — after Christmas break, but before spring break. Students come back to school and momentarily feel like they matter, like they’re important, like they should speak up when things happen to them.

Like a bear, I feast on the salmon run that comes at the end of the semester, but I’m more than happy to sample the berries and other fruits that become available at this particular time of year. Just this week, we’ve seen a Georgetown kid tell his classmates he is no cheater. We’ve got the BU kid who posted his grades on Facebook.

Today we’ve got pure gold from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Law students can bring the crazy on their own, but they’re so much more interesting when you can put two of them in a room together. Then you can just watch the sparks fly.

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A year ago (almost to the day), we learned that Belmont University in Nashville was planning to start a new law school. At the time, I asked: “[H]ow colossally dumb are the people who sign up for a Belmont law degree next year?”

Well, there’s an article in the Tennessean today suggesting that the new dean of Belmont College of Law, Jeff Kinsler, is hoping his new students are so incapable of doing basic research than they’ll be easily distracted by anything that even smells of “math” or “statistics.”

And apparently his faith has been rewarded. With 1,200 inquiries from prospective students, it seems that Belmont is well on its way to handing out potentially useless degrees.

But what’s going on at Belmont is so ridiculous that it has even attracted the attention of the American Bar Association. You read that right. Even the ABA is saying “wait a minute” to students eager to sign up for whatever Belmont is offering….

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