Travel / Vacation

post bar travel scaled back.jpgNow that aspiring lawyers have taken the bar exam, they can relax and try to forget about it until the fall, when results come in. One way of relieving stress is “the bar trip”: a post-bar exam vacation to an exotic locale, for sun, surf, or snow, depending on one’s travel preferences.
The bar trip — the last hurrah before immersion into the grim realities of law firm life — is a tradition among law grads. But we’re hearing that the recession may be interfering with the tradition this year. With Biglaw start dates pushed back, and talk of lower salaries running rampant, law grads may be feeling less celebratory this year.
Purely anecdotally, law grads have told us that they’re scaling back. They’re not going on extravagant bar trips, and in some cases, not going on bar trips at all.
Are we only friends with fiscally conservative types, or is this actually a trend this year? Are you thinking of a “staycation,” or are you still planning a trip around the world?
If you’re traveling, please tell us where you’re heading and for how long. If you are heading out of the country, we hope you’ll be sure to spend some time in internet cafes checking out the latest ATL news.
Earlier: Post-Bar Travel: Open Thread

Wood anniversary.jpgWell, it’s my five-year wedding anniversary (yesterday). You know what that means. I’m responsible for a lot of wood.
In a desperate attempt to convince my wife to hang around for a sixth year, I’m taking the week off. Yeah, the whole week. It’s pretty cool to not be working at a law firm anymore. But it’ll be a “stay-cation,” because I don’t work at a law firm anymore. I hear the Yo-Yo Open is in the city this weekend.
I leave you in the always capable of hands of Mr. David Lat. Next week should be a lot of fun on Above the Law. New Vault rankings are coming out and either there will be a significant shake-up in the rankings or some people are going to lose there their ever-lovin’ minds.
Don’t forget to send your tips into tips@abovethelaw.com. Have fun, I’ll catch you on August 17th.

above the law pool rules.jpgStroking of breasts can (eventually) culminate in pregnancy. But, as far as we know, the breaststroke can’t.
Magdalena Kwiatkowska might disagree. She’s filing a lawsuit because her teenage daughter became pregnant during a recent trip to Egypt. From the Daily Mail (via Transracial):

A mother is suing a hotel claiming her teenage daughter fell pregnant simply from using a hotel swimming pool.

Magdalena Kwiatkowska says the 13-year-old conceived after coming into contact with ‘stray sperm’ in the water of an Egyptian resort.

We’re sure her daughter encountered sperm somehow at the resort, and maybe even in the pool, but it likely wasn’t “stray.” Still, her mother insists “‘that her daughter didn’t meet any boys while she was there,’ a travel industry source said.”
This lawsuit makes us feel slightly less guilty about the “dumb Polack” jokes we used to tell in elementary school.
UPDATE: Kash does not condone racial or ethnic slurs, but she does admit to poor joke judgment as a second-grader in Floriduh.
My daughter, 13, got pregnant by swimming in hotel pool, claims mother [Daily Mail]
VACATION VIRGIN: Mama Says Stray Sperm in Hotel Pool Got Daughter Pregnant [Transracial]
Mother Claims Hotel Pool Got Her Daughter Pregnant [Hotel Chatter]


Ashram.JPG[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here. Read part I of this piece here.]
After this dinner I’m still starving from, we hop into the car to drive to the purported “private” room we paid extra for. Now I’m really starting to believe murder or rape is a foregone conclusion. I attract criminals like Jewish men attract Asian girls. And here’s the thing, there’s nothing to stop anyone from doing anything. We’re not allowed to lock either our door nor the front door to the Brady Brunchesque house we will be staying in tonight. Our “private” room is in this house. I said a private room. Like hotel room. Not a room in some random family’s house. Not some room I’m not allowed to lock.
As I enter the spacious open living room containing a lot blue mats and a lot small purple chairs for meditation, I find a DVD player. Excellent. Civility. I’ll just do my Denise Austin Yoga for Abs video and skip class tomorrow. It’s almost pitch black in the room because not only do these people not eat, they don’t do electricity.
I walk over to the big glass window peering out over the water — trying to find the lake, and then, I hear this boy’s voice.
“Hey.” I turn around quickly.
Plaid flannel shirt. Black wire rimmed glasses. Scruffy beard. Red North Face jacket. So Ted Bundy.
I have met my maker.
Can Hope survive her first encounter with Ashram men? Non-homicidal details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of Hope During the Recession: Adventures at The Ashram (Part II)”

Ashram.JPG[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here.]
Well, as I told you in my last piece, I have been desperately searching for inner peace during these incredibly depressing times.
I decided, however, that I needed to amp up my desire for such peace. Meditation class was increasingly becoming too easy, and I was now ready to become a guru of inner peace. So, my friend Olivia and I packed up our car, left the comforts of our urban existence, and headed out to the great unknown. The Ashram.
I had found the Ashram online. It was a place where we could find balance, do yoga, and eat organic vegetarian meals. And it was dirt cheap, to boot. Girls, in case you missed the Times piece, ashrams are the new spas. We all have to cut back now. And isn’t it about time we work on our insides instead of outsides? Don’t worry. Those saddle bags are going to whittle away anyway due to scarce food supplies forecasted for fourth quarter ’09.
“I didn’t know it was a silent retreat all weekend. I thought that was just on Saturday.” Olivia, already breaking the rules, whispers to me upon arrival.
Oops. I forgot to shepardize this case. I don’t recall reading that part on the website.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of Hope During the Recession: Adventures at The Ashram (Part I)”

Typical unemployed associate.JPGMany have noted that the jobless rate hit 9.4% today, and many are calling that excellent news. Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. lost fewer jobs than forecast in May, reinforcing signs that the deepest recession in half a century is starting to abate….
“The recession is very close to an end,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, whose payrolls forecast matched the closest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. “The labor market is still pretty awful, but vastly better than it was.”

Did anybody else just hear Kevin Bacon screaming “all is well”?
But maybe the new numbers are positive. The L.A. Times tells us about the happy experiences of the “funemployed”:

Michael Van Gorkom was laid off by Yahoo in late April. He didn’t panic. He didn’t rush off to a therapist. Instead, the 33-year-old Santa Monica resident discovered that being jobless “kind of settled nicely.” …
What most people would call unemployment, Van Gorkom embraced as “funemployment.”
While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.

Not to have a type A meltdown, but what the hell are these people talking about?
I call shenanigans, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Funemployment Rate Reaches 9.4%”

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgLast week, we brought you information about which firms respect your weekends — and which don’t. This week, we tackle a related topic: vacation. As noted earlier today, it’s an area where firms have been making changes lately.
At which firms are your vacations safe? And at which firms might vacation time be at risk — assuming your firm hasn’t given you a permanent vacation (a la McDermott)?
Most associates at top law firms said that it is uncommon for vacations to be canceled, but it happens sometimes. Firms where vacations appear to be the safest include Akin Gump, Sidley, Weil and Winston, where more than one-third of the associates at each firm report that it is very rare for associates to be expected to cancel vacation.
Honorable mention goes to Dechert, Baker & McKenzie, Milbank, Orrick, Skadden, and Willkie.
At which firms is vacation cancellation more likely? After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: How Safe Is Your Vacation Time?”

Sedgwick logo.JPGRecently, we’ve seen a lot of law firms take creative approaches to cutting costs. At Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, the firm’s new approach to attorney vacations could save a bit of money, especially if the firm decides to go through a round of layoffs.
While discussing the Morrison & Foerster face-time policy, a commenter pointed out:

It is the same way in “firm holidays” and “vacation days”. When you have a minimum billable requirement, it doesn’t matter if the firm gives you unlimited amounts of vacation, because if you miss your expected hours, you will be more than able to take all the vacation you want when you are fired.

It appears that Sedgwick is doing just that. Last month, the firm decided to do away with the traditional concept of “vacation days.” The firm’s new approach allows attorneys to take as much time off as they want/need, provided they schedule it within their group. Here’s how the firm memo explains the new policy:
Sedgwick vacation policy 1.JPG
Sound great? A tipster explains the flip side of the new plan after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Vacation Policy At Sedgwick Could be Disingenuous”

schulte logo.JPGMaybe work is booming at Schulte Roth & Zabel? The firm is changing its vacation policy to make it more stringent. Could it be that the firm wants all hands on deck? A tipster reports the major changes:

* Personal days are now limited to 5 per year (there was previously no limit). Any days in excess of 5 count as vacation.
* SRZ previously reimbursed attorneys for nonrefundable costs associated with vacations that the firm cancelled due to work obligations. The new policy states that reimbursement will now be considered on a case-by-case basis.
* Weekend trips will only be reimbursed when the firm requires them to be cancelled if the trip has been previously approved by the partner appointed to approve vacations. The firm previously did not require attorneys to request approval for weekend trips.

Another tipster quips:

Schulte Tries Increasing Egg Production by Choking the Chicken

But it could also be that Schulte’s new vacation policy has an eye towards layoffs.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The New Schulte Vacation Policy”

Philippines Filipino beach.jpg
We’re running late to the airport, so we’re keeping it short and sweet. If you’re looking for an entertaining vacation memo, try this one or this one instead.

Your above-signed scribe — who has been writing more for these pages lately, as some of you have noticed — will be out of the office, from now until Tuesday, May 12. We’re heading off to the ancestral homeland, for the weddings of two cousins (not to each other; but those of you who have taken the New York bar know that this is acceptable in the Empire State).

Although internet access is plentiful in the Philippines, we’ve decided to go “off the grid” for this vacation. We won’t be checking email or voicemail. We won’t be on AIM or Gchat. We won’t be on Facebook or Twitter (but feel free to friend us or follow us, and we’ll accept the request or return the follow when we get back to NYC).

Please send all tips, questions, complaints, requests for comment moderation, and suggestions for Non-Sequiturs to tips@abovethelaw.com. The tips feed goes to both Elie and Kash, who will keep you enlightened and entertained over the next two weeks. You can also reach Elie by telephone: 212-334-1871, ext. 3. For advertising information, see here.

Maraming salamat! See you in May.

Earlier: Elie’s Vacation Memo
How Does A Turkey Write A Vacation Memo?

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