United Kingdom / Great Britain

The Occupy movement has reached the legal profession, with an unemployed law graduate launching a campaign to occupy the Inns of Court (London’s legal quarter).

“Through no fault of our own, a generation of [law school] graduates find ourselves with no jobs — or no jobs as lawyers anyway,” wrote the graduate under the alias “OccupyTheInns” on Legal Cheek, a blog I edit. “The lucky ones are paralegals. The unlucky ones work in bars (not the Bar)… It is for these reasons that I propose peaceful direct action. It is time to occupy the Inns of Court.”

Responses to the plan have mostly been negative, but the broad sentiment of discontent has struck a chord. Catrin Griffiths, editor of The Lawyer magazine, summed up the mood: “I don’t buy much of [OccupyTheInns'] argument, which smacks too much of entitlement, but it signifies something bigger, related to the growing crisis of a million young people unemployed in the U.K.”

However, even with our spiralling unemployment rates, and love of protesting, I’d be surprised if an occupation of legal London took off. While many U.K. law school graduates are jobless and indebted, most still have a decent shot of making it into the profession. As such, they have too much to lose by winding up the establishment.

Maybe OccupyTheInns should instead re-direct their energies to recruiting the potentially far more vulnerable, high-earning, senior lawyers who look set to lose their jobs over the next few months?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Jobless Lawyer Starts Occupy Movement”

Kim Kardashian

* With AT&T’s T-Mobile deal falling apart, in-house lawyer Wayne Watts could be heard singing, “it’s my merger and I’ll cry if I want to,” before more whining to the FCC. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Build us a border fence, and then get the f**k over it. Arizona lawmakers are soliciting the public for donations to keep out the people who would work at low cost to build it. [New York Daily News]

* Ever wonder what’s preventing greater diversity in the law? Apparently the problem is pre-law counselors with advising skills that are crappier than minority LSAT scores. [National Law Journal]

* ‘Til death (and billable hours) do us part: British firms are paying for employees’ divorces. Biglawyers await the day this gets picked up America. [Press Association]

* The star of this year’s Black and Blue Friday was the not-so-wise Latina who decided it was a good idea to pepper-spray her Xbox competition. Best deal ever? No charges brought. [CNN]

* It looks like Kim Kardashian got her Christmas wish early this year. Her soon-to-be ex-husband will not be suing her for $10M over his portrayal on her new reality show. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Down on your luck? Feel like cheering yourself up by, say, arresting a judge? Or perhaps you just fancy seizing a courtroom for the day? Well, the “Freeman-on-the-land” movement could be for you.

“Freemen” argue that the law can be circumvented by, for example, evoking an ancient text and then sending an affidavit to the Queen.

Here’s a clip of them in action (go to 4:21 for the hilarious pseudo-legal speech)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Pompous, Jargon-Addicted… Sound Familiar?”

* I guess it really doesn’t matter how much lawyers love Ron Paul if Biglaw firms keep emptying their seemingly overflowing coffers into Obama’s re-election campaign. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Yale Law School graduate Ronan Farrow, son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Ronan probably isn’t shallow and empty with no ideas and nothing interesting to say, since he’s just been named a 2012 Rhodes Scholar. [ABC News]

* National drinking age laws: keeping women from killing themselves or being murdered since the 1980s. Now where’s the study on how many people actually obey these laws? [USA Today]

* A Florida woman has disappeared after battling it out with her ex-fiancé over an engagement ring on The People’s Court. As if you needed another reason not to be seen on that show. [Daily Mail]

* According to a new law in England, water might be wet, but that doesn’t mean it’ll fix dehydration. Not elementary, my dear Watson, but “stupidity writ large.” [International Business Times]

* The fall of the Third Reich fourth tyke? Poor little Adolf Hitler’s parents have lost custody of yet another child thanks to the state of New Jersey. [New York Daily News]

* Happy American Censorship Day! Sign these petitions in celebration so you can keep your internet the way you like it — full of infringing and fabulous content. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A prospective law student got married at Zuccotti Park this weekend. Best protest wedding ever? I guess the honeymoon ended after they were evicted. [The Stir]

* Before you waste your tears crying over how much your fantasy team sucks, you should probably check and see whether it’s even legal to play. [Legal Blitz]

* Chase is giving away over $3M in grants for small charities, so why not take a second and vote for our friends over at Ms. JD? [Chase Community Giving]

* Using free beer to lure criminals into an arrest trap should be a violation of your right against self-incrimination. They should at least be able to drink it before the cuffs go on. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Have you ever wondered why barristers wear black? Yeah, neither have I. [Futility Closet]

* The attorneys for Justin Bieber’s alleged baby mama, Mariah Yeater, have pulled out. Just like the Biebs should’ve done. Allegedly. [Improper]

* Regular twelve-step programs are for the uninspired. Here’s one that only true professionals will be able to survive. [Constitutional Daily]

We hope you’ve enjoyed following the Career Center’s Top Partners series through which we’ve recognized Biglaw partners from around the country who exemplify what it means to be an exceptional partner who associates are actually happy to work for. Thanks to all the readers who took the time to submit such glowing nominations and give some well-deserved recognition to the 60 partners highlighted in this series.

Today we conclude with the best partners in the smaller legal markets of Chicago, Dallas, and London. While the markets in which they work may be smaller, their firms are some of the biggest names in Biglaw: Winston & Strawn, Sidley Austin, Katten Muchin, K&L Gates, SNR Denton, and Latham & Watkins.

Let’s see who the final six partners are….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – Smaller Legal Markets (Part 2)”

As Europeans from the sun-dappled Mediterranean to the icy North Sea brace themselves for doomsday, I thought I’d ignore the wildfire-like turmoil sweeping my continent to write you a sweet little piece about the difference between British and American English.

The hook, as we say in the U.K. media, is the Economist’s recent ‘British Americanisation’ survey. As with most things produced by the Economist, it’s pretty dull, revealing, amongst other things, that some British people have started saying ‘vacation’ instead of ‘holiday’. Others have begun traitorously moving the stress on the word ‘controversy’ from the second to the first syllable. Crazy, eh?! But I know marginally more about linguistics than economics, so I’ll plough on.

Actually, I’m underselling this column. I’ve been wanting to write something ‘you say tomato, I say tomato’ for ages, because British people’s use of Americanisms is highly revealing — about them, about the U.K.’s relationship with America, about the continuing popularity of U.S. T.V. series on these shores….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Going Forward, We’re Screwed”

To qualify as a lawyer in the U.K., you first have to eat 12 dinners. Seriously. OK, it’s only barristers (British trial lawyers) who must meet this requirement. And they have to pass legal exams as well as eat. But the essence of my slightly sensationalised opening sentence is true: no dinners, no qualification.

Here’s what happens: students go to law school in the day, then every month or so go and eat a formal dinner at one of London’s inns of court (ancient clubs for trial lawyers). The medieval ritual has its roots in the pre-law school days when “sons of country gentlemen” from across Britain would come to lodge in the inns, attending lectures, taking part in mock courts, and dining together in the inns’ main halls (Harry Potter-style places that are famous for hosting Shakespeare’s original plays). Certain traditions are still followed, like toasting the Queen and refusing to shake hands with anyone (barristers are historically forbidden from shaking hands each other’s hands). But mainly it’s about getting drunk — on port, the U.K. establishment’s tipple of choice.

Why am I telling you about this? To give you a sense of port’s central role in the education of our young, as a primer for a story about the Oxford University Conservative association accidentally revealing its hate-filled Nazi soul at a recent “port and policy” night….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Port, Nazis, and In-House Lawyers”

It’s been a bad few days for the Church of England. First, it gets slammed for siding with the bankers, rather than the protesters, after its flagship venue, St Paul’s Cathedral, finds itself at the heart of Occupy London. Second, a change to the U.K.’s ancient royal succession laws strikes a blow for its great rival, Rome, as a ban on royal family members who marry Catholics taking the throne is lifted.

Beginning with the Occupy London controversy: the protesters’ original plan was to occupy St Paul’s neighbour, the London Stock Exchange, which nestles alongside the U.K. branch of O’Melveny & Myers on an adjoining square. But they were blocked by the police, forcing them instead to set up camp on the forecourt of the great cathedral (built from the ashes of the Great Fire of London in 1666). At first this seemed like a defeat, as the Church of England played victim, shutting the doors of St Paul’s to visitors for the first time since the Second World War on what it claimed were health and safety grounds.

Here’s what the encampment looked like:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: What Would Jesus Do?”

When Hitler came to power in January 1933, more than half of Berlin’s 3,400 lawyers were of Jewish origin. All of them, alongside the thousands of other Jews practising law throughout the rest of Germany, were forced to re-apply for admission to the national bar. At which point, only German-Jewish lawyers who had qualified before 1914, or who had fought at the front line in the First World War, were granted the right to continue in their profession. And in November 1938, even this select group was banned from practising. Many German-Jewish lawyers would subsequently be murdered in concentration camps. Others managed to flee to the U.S., where some, like the late Coudert Brothers lawyer Ernst Stiefel, eventually re-qualified as U.S. attorneys.

I learnt about Stiefel — who, before being admitted in the States, completed spells as a chauffeur, busboy, and dishwasher in New York, having undergone a period of internment as an “enemy alien” in the U.K. — from an excellent pamphlet produced by the German Federal Bar and the American Bar Association, “Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich,” that I happened upon last week in the reception room of the English Law Society’s office in Brussels. I was there to listen to the English legal representative body’s arguments against a proposal for a new single Europe-wide contract law, having spent the first part of the day listening to the E.U.’s arguments in favour of the plan.

At face value, a single European contract law is about exciting as, well, Brussels (imagine an Eiffel Tower-less Paris without the joie de vivre, or a diluted Euro-version of Washington, D.C.)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Our Greatest Fear”

Page 15 of 231...111213141516171819...23