SMU Dedman School of Law is now officially willing to pay law firms to hire its graduates. The school is calling its new program “Test Drive,” which adds a nice layer of hilarity: Toyota wouldn’t pay me to test drive a Camry.
Even the logo for this program screams sadness:
Let’s look at the blast email from SMU career services…
If you’re looking to buy someone a belated holiday gift, and have $100,000 to spare — perhaps you’re a senior associate in New York who just earned $110,000 or $115,000 in year-end and special bonuses — check out this item, currently up for bids on eBay:
So America… just how much is an education worth? Let’s find out. Up for sale is my law degree. Yes, you read correctly. Three years and $100,000 plus of debt for your pleasure. Please note that I am in no way claiming that by purchasing this degree you will be given credit for having attended an accredited law school and completing its course of study nor will it give you the necessary credentials to take the bar exam. You will not be able to become a lawyer by purchasing this degree. However this would make a great collectible if your name happens to be [redacted].
Why am I selling this great item? Because it has been nothing but a curse and aggrevation in my life. Going to school for this degree has been a joke, and has only brought me stress and misery. This degree has been a great invitation to work at least 60 hours a week at a place where I don’t want to be for people that I don’t care about. It has helped me develop great relationships with bill collectors as I can’t afford the cost this great privilege has afforded me. It has limited my abiltity to pursue other work options as people just can’t understand why someone with a law degree wouldn’t want to be a lawyer. Believe it or not, the extensive job dissatisfaction amongst lawyers, high suicide rates, and failed personal relationships that lawyers have isn’t enough to convince others that it’s not a healthy, worthy pursuit. And of course even if I would be happier as a bartender, I couldn’t afford to pay back the loans needed to earn this degree. Though that’s true of many that I graduated with. Individuals that wanted to practice law for the benefit of the poor or impoverished or those who can’t afford legal counsel are having a hard time too because they aren’t paid enough. But that’s justice.
And that’s just the start of it. Read the full lament cum listing by clicking here.
But why should you buy this law degree for $100,000? Justice Clarence Thomas might sell you his Yale Law School degree for fifteen cents.
As for what motivated the seller to put up this listing, it appears to be an attempt to promote an adult entertainment site that he’s launched. We won’t include a link to it here because obviously it is NSFW (and the woman splashed all over the site is no Kumari Fulbright).
The conventional wisdom is true: there are a million things you can do with a law degree. My Law Degree [eBay] Justice Says Law Degree ‘Worth 15 Cents’ [AP via Huffington Post]
Back in November, we named Brian Valery an ATL Lawyer Paralegal of the Day. The enterprising and ingenious Mr. Valery, who had neither attended law school nor taken the bar exam, successfully posed as a lawyer for two years. He “practiced” at Anderson Kill in New York.
Here’s the latest news about Brian Valery:
A man who prosecutors said had been representing clients of a prominent New York law firm for two years was arrested here on Wednesday and charged with impersonating a lawyer, state prosecutors said.
The man, Brian T. Valery, 32, of Massapequa Park, N.Y., surrendered to the authorities and was charged with perjury, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and practicing law without being a lawyer, a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two months, according to David I. Cohen, the state’s attorney for the judicial district.
Yesterday we requested tips from you about associate bonuses: leaked bonus memos, juicy rumors, etc. Please send this information to us by email, to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”).
Please send us tips that you believe in good faith to be true. Because if you send us stuff that’s fake, we’ll find that out when we do our fact-checking.
Take the supposed “bonus memo” of Milbank Tweed. It was purportedly sent out by Christine Wagner, Milbank’s director of legal personnel.
We contacted Ms. Wagner by email. Here’s her response:
From: Wagner, Christine Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:27 PM To: David Lat Subject: RE: Milbank “bonus memo”
It is not authentic. No such memo has been issued.
We tend to think that fact-checking is overrated. But sometimes it pays dividends.
This afternoon, a document purporting to be a Milbank Tweed bonus memo appeared on the oh-so-reliable message board of AutoAdmit.com, aka xoxohth. It sparked frenzied discussion at both AutoAdmit and Greedy Associates.
We checked with our sources at Milbank. The “bonus memo” is phony. But we give the prankster credit for decent execution. Update: Looking for the REAL Milbank Tweed bonus memo, issued on Friday, December 8? To view it, click here.
In case you’d like to see the fake “bonus memo,” in all of its fraudulent glory, we reprint it for you after the jump.
–Ah, so Goulston & Storrs is going to China.* [WSJ Law Blog]
–Our Legal Eagle Wedding Watch is already generating controversy — see this post (and the comments). But Dan Markel — at right, with Wendi Adelson, his lovely wife — isn’t impartial when it comes to the NYT wedding pages.** [PrawfsBlawg]
–Yes, ATL will weigh in at some point on the controversy over diversity, Supreme Court clerks, and the relatively small number of women in this Term’s group of SCOTUS clerks. [Slate and Concurring Opinions, via SCOTUSblog]
But not on the Friday before Labor Day. Enjoy the holiday, everyone!
* We can make this lame, insensitive, politically incorrect pun, ’cause we’re Asian ourselves. And it’s hard out here for an Asian male. We’re the one demographic group that’s never en vogue — unlike, say, Asian women, or African-American men. So please, allow us the small pleasures.
** Disclosure: We went to college with Dan, worked on the school newspaper with him, and are friends with him. Hell, we’re pals with like three-quarters of the people we link to, write about, etc. The law: it’s a small world after all.
So please assume that everything you read here is potentially tainted with some kind of undisclosed conflict. Actual mileage may vary. Personal-injury lawyers in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. Thank you.
Back when we practiced law, and we’d tell people what we did for a living, they’d have different reactions. Sometimes they’d say “Oh, really?”, in an impressed, you-must-make-six-figures sort of way. But sometimes their eyes would glaze over — and they’d excuse themselves to go refill their drinks.
Why? Because many people think that lawyers are boring. And sometimes it seems that the more lawyers people know, the more likely they are to think this.
It’s true that many areas of law — and yes, many lawyers — are painfully boring. But the legal profession can also be gossipy, wacky, frivolous, and fun. And this is where we come in. We are Above the Law, and we’re here to make the law entertaining — or get RSI tryin’.
Above the Law will be defined less by specific subjects within the law and more by tone or worldview (Weltanschauung, if you will; and you will, ’cause you’re pretentious). We’ll write about all things legal — law firms, judges, law schools, cases — as long as we have something mildly amusing, or at least obnoxious,* to say about them.
Blog ipsa loquitur. Here are some features you’ll find in these pages (and our extensive archives):
1. Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We review the New York Times wedding announcements each week, pick out some couples with lawyers, and score them — on their résumés, families, balance, and beauty (if pictured). Then we calculate overall scores and declare a winner. FUN! (We’ve been at this for a few weeks now; click here and scroll down for the Wedding Watch archives.)
2. Lawyerly Lairs. Real estate and shelter porn for the J.D. set. We take you inside the lavish homes and resplendent offices of America’s top lawyers and judges. Don’t blame us if your keyboard ends up covered in drool. (Previously covered: Greta Van Susteren and John Coale’s New York digs.)
This is just the beginning. But we can’t do it all on our own; we need your help. Please send us juicy gossip, salacious rumors, and brilliant story ideas, by email (to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com).
We may reprint or write about what you send us, but we’ll keep you anonymous. If we’d like to attribute anything to you by name, we’ll obtain your consent. If you’d like to tell us something completely off the record, that’s fine too — just make that clear when you contact us.
Enough lawyerly caveats; billable time is a wastin’. How long will it take before somebody sues us? Let’s find out!**
* Back when we were in the third grade, a classmate’s parent — who was chaperoning us on a field trip — told us we were “obnoxious.” We should have known, right then and there, that we were destined for the blogosphere.
** This is a joke. We would never publish anything with knowledge of its falsity, or with reckless disregard as to its truth.
We’ve already named William DiSalvatore our Lawyer of the Day, so that award is off the table. But if DiSalvatore hadn’t already grabbed the laurels, Kweku Hanson, of Hartford, Connecticut, would have been a deserving winner. Here’s why:
Sexual assault and child pornography charges pending against Hartford attorney Kweku J. Hanson aren’t enough to warrant the interim suspension of his law license. At least not in Hartford Superior Court Judge Lois B. Tanzer’s view.
Okay, fine, Hanson has only been charged, not convicted. Innocent until proven guilty, blah blah blah. But we couldn’t help noticing certain salacious details. Check ‘em out, after the jump.
Lawyers aren’t that different from the rest of the country — or, for that matter, from characters on Melrose Place (may it rest in peace). When their hearts get broken, they do some pretty crazy and stupid things.
We recently reported on a former New York litigator who forged a judge’s signature after a messy divorce. And now a Baltimore litigator, to avoid getting served with divorce papers, rammed his car into the process server:
Barron Stroud Jr., a commercial litigator, had just dropped off his daughter at a Clarksville, Md., daycare center last Aug. 11 when process server James Benjamin approached his car. Benjamin told police he knocked on the driver’s window, but Stroud ignored him. Benjamin said he then moved in front of the car and banged on the hood, when Stroud drove forward, hitting him in the legs. Benjamin said he took a step back, and Stroud drove into him again before fleeing the scene.
According to The Sun of Baltimore, Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lenore Gelfman said that because Stroud was in the midst of a breakup with his wife at the time, he must have known why someone was so aggressively seeking his attention; otherwise, he would have called police or stopped to find out why a man was banging on his car. He will be sentenced in October.
While we obviously can’t condone such violence, we can’t help but admire Stroud’s lawyerly chutzpah. Trying to avoid service of process by running over the process server is kinda awful, but kinda brilliant. Inadmissible [New Jersey Law Journal]
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.