Unpaid Internships

‘So I says to Mabel, I says, ‘How do I avoid the Rule Against Perpetuities?”

* Half-Law office, Half-Barbershop. That makes sense, I’ve seen some haircuts that should be crimes. We hear they even have a $5 haircut special called “The Misdemeanor.” [New Britain Herald]

* The editors of Ramblings on Appeal give their takes on Shelby County. Rarely has truer legal analysis been offered than characterizing Roberts’s decision as, “Oh and I have five people on my side, you only have four, so take that.” [Ramblings on Appeal]

* UVA law professor Chris Sprigman has co-authored an op-ed calling out the NSA. Oh, that guy’s phone is getting tapped. [New York Times]

* The Expert Institute continues to draw from popular culture to coach expert testimony. This time it’s Game of Thrones. It’s a handy set of lessons, but “Never Trust a Frey” deserved mention. [The Expert Institute]

* The Justice Department is bringing on unpaid attorneys because slave labor is awesome and unpaid internships are never elitist and discriminatory. [Pro Publica]

* On that note, Bar President calls for an end to unpaid 3L internships. Video after the jump…

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If you were hoping to spend a year with no pay helping a premier Internet publication write up a sighting of Amanda Bynes at Shake Shack, you may soon be out of luck.

On the heels of Judge William Pauley ruling in favor of unpaid interns in the entertainment industry, the Internet behemoth that is Gawker Media is the subject of a new class action for its unpaid internships.

Which means this was probably a bad day for them to make jokes about the practice of abusing interns…

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* With a sharp focus on the Supreme Court and the legal definition of equality, only one thing’s for sure with respect to this week’s anticipated rulings: at least one group of people is probably going to get screwed. [New York Times]

* And lest we forget, thanks to our society’s near slavish obsession with social media and knowledge on demand, we’ll salivate uncontrollably as we wait for those opinions while the justices blissfully ignore new technology. [New York Times]

* The Justice Department charged NSA leaker Edward Snowden with espionage, and now he’s pursuing political asylum in Ecuador with the assistance of legal counsel representing WikiLeaks. [NBC News]

* Biglaw firms are trying to strengthen their pricing power in a post-recession world, with average rate increases of 4.8% in 2012, and hourly rates soaring in New York City. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* There were some bright spots in the otherwise dismal NALP job numbers for the class of 2012. Biglaw hiring is up, and so are median starting salaries. Sallie Mae is pleased as punch. [National Law Journal]

* If you’re considering law school, ask yourself these questions before applying. You should also ask yourself if you’re cool with unemployment. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Richard Trenk, author of the “ham-fisted” cease-and-desist letter that’s been read around the world, has been honored as the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s “Knucklehead of the Week.” Congrats! [Star-Ledger]

* There’s no solace for people who have had to pay to have their mug shot “depublished” from the internet. Sorry, the First Amendment allows people to turn a profit off your misery. [Washington Post]

* This lawsuit over unpaid internships filed against Gawker will sting any gossip girl’s heart to the core. But really, isn’t the privilege of working for Gawker enough? This fangirl thinks so. [New York Post]

BP Interns preparing to take over operations at Deepwater Horizon, April 19, 2010.

For the record, that was not the “royal ‘we’” in the title — here at Above the Law, we pay our interns. But a whole lot of folks don’t, because when no one else is hiring, companies can get away with offering to hire folks for the promise of experience and a cup of coffee (disclaimer: “Cup of Coffee” not provided).

Mercifully, law firms haven’t succumbed to the impulse to bring on interns for free. Oops, spoke too soon (fourth item).

But Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York delivered some big wins for unpaid interns yesterday…

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Experience doesn’t pay the rent.

The ABA agrees that exploitation of law students and other interns is unacceptable; however, the FLSA uncertainty inhibits law firms from offering students the opportunity to work on pro bono matters in a real-life practice setting. …

Furthermore, in the current economic climate with shrunken employment opportunities for law school graduates, hindering the ability of law students and recent graduates to work side-by-side with experienced lawyers who could provide both strong mentoring and favorable substantive references unnecessarily reduces access for future employment prospects.

Laurel Bellows, president of the American Bar Association, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor endorsing the use by private law firms of unpaid law student and graduate labor.

(Absurd and out of touch? I’d say so. Keep reading to see the entire letter.)

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* Texas law student/international small-arms dealer Cody Wilson got shot down (pun!) days after revealing a fully security-proof 3D printable gun. The State Department pointed out that Wilson seems to be violating all manner of international arms agreements, which was pretty obvious when he went on video boasting about how his weapons were being used in hotbeds of civil strife. [Foreign Policy: Passport]

* The Juice may soon be loose! But probably not. O.J. Simpson has a hearing seeking a new trial in Las Vegas and blaming his former lawyer, Yale Galanter. Best part? Simpson claims Galanter approved the whole “armed, threatening confrontation” plan beforehand. Oops. [FOX News]

* Michael Arrington, a lawyer and “one of the most powerful people on the Internet,” is suing his ex-girlfriend for defamation. The complaint compiles some pretty salacious claims that she made via social media. [Valleywag]

* Just when you thought being an unpaid intern couldn’t be sadder, Judge Baer makes it sadder. [Fashionista]

* The “Thug’s Lawyer” got a reprieve when a judge tossed his indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, theft, and perjury. [The Advocate]

* The EEOC filed suit against a Miami company that required its employees to become Scientologists. In other news, someone actually thought they could get away with making all their employees join the Church of Scientology. [Lowering the Bar]

* The history of the Madison Avenue IPOs alluded to in last week’s Mad Men. [DealBook]

* As President Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage continues to “evolve,” we’re left wondering what exactly Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will say come Supreme Court oral arguments showtime in late March. [New York Times]

* “This is a chilling document.” The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: the DOJ memo about the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial policy, the legal justification of drone strikes against American citizens, was leaked. [NBC News]

* In the litigation blame game, the Department of Justice has a lawsuit cooking against Standard & Poor’s, the supposed “key enablers of the financial meltdown,” over the agency’s mortgage bond ratings. [Reuters]

* Many pieces from Dewey & LeBoeuf’s massive art collection were auctioned off on Friday for $528,120. The failed firm’s creditors must be chomping at the bit as they wait to receive the proceeds. [Blog of Legal Times]

* You must remember Cynthia Brim, the Chicago judge who was declared “legally insane.” She’s too insane to be found guilty of a battery charge, but not quite insane enough to lose her reelection bid. [Chicago Tribune]

* Apologies to those with disabilities in California, but this ruling has given the Law School Admissions Council free reign to continue to flag your applications if you got extra time on the LSAT. [National Law Journal]

* GW Law School is adding a new question to its application to gauge the LGBT status its applicants. Not sure how this will affect cratering applications, but drink more of the Kool Aid if it makes you feel better. [GW Hatchet]

* Here’s some sage advice from our managing editor: “If you’re not okay with working for free, don’t take the internship.” Or, in the alternative, you can sue, and win a fat settlement check. [International Business Times]

Ed. note: Happy Thanksgiving! We will resume our normal publication schedule on Monday, November 26. We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and we thank you for your readership.

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: administrations of the LSAT plunge further, reaching their lowest level since 1999. [Economix / New York Times]

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: judges are still offering unpaid clerkships (even though the days of law firm deferrals are behind us). [Salon]

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: law schools sometimes discriminate against conservatives, as jurors from the Teresa Wagner trial told Iowa’s leading newspaper. [Des Moines Register]

* Are you mooching off of someone else’s wireless internet? If so, consider yourself warned. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Are you a lover of Twinkies? If so, consider yourself warned (although it’s possible that a buyer might snap up the Twinkies brand). [DealBook / New York Times]

* Seven Am Law 200 firms are saying YES to work on a billion-dollar deal. [Am Law Daily]

Georgetown University Law Center (known for its great gym).

I feel very fortunate to have had an idea of what I wanted to do from such a young age, and even more fortunate that it involved graduate school. What can you do with a bachelor’s degree anymore? I’m hoping that the job market will pick up in the three years I spend at law school, because a lot of lawyers are getting laid off. The American Bar Association is even encouraging college students not to apply to law school, citing the bleak job market.

– Noah Rich, a Georgetown 1L who was interviewed by the New York Times as part of the newspaper’s survey of the class of 2011 at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

(It’s hard out there for a class of 2011 college graduate. More findings, and additional law-related tidbits, after the jump.)

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Last week, we brought you the “weirdest job ad” of all time. Today, we’ve got a job ad that isn’t nearly as strange, but as our tipster put it, it’s “a bit off.” And our tipster is right. This might not be the weirdest job ad of all time, but it’s probably the most boastful.

With all of the hubbub about unpaid internships, you’d think that legal employers would start showing law students the money — but you’d be wrong. Because when you freely admit that you don’t have any cash, it’s hard to spread it around. Maybe that’s why this law firm is sacrificing applicants’ credentials for free labor.

Let’s check out a “unique posting” straight out of a law school in Flori-duh….

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