It has been a while since we’ve had one of these cut-rate animation movies discouraging people from going to law school. There have been some great ones in the past: A Law School Carol springs to mind, as well as Don’t Go To Law School.
There was a time when I thought little video clips like the two above would actually help someone. I thought that if people won’t listen to the shrill voices of people like me, they might take advice from Lego-lookalikes speaking in a dull monotone.
But those were the heady days of 2009, when the craptastic state of the legal economy finally started to seep into the consciousness of prospective law students and lawyers. Now, thanks to the Great Recession, there’s less of a need to educate prospective law students about what they’re getting themselves into. Now, these little videos aren’t important teachable moments, they’re simply fun opportunities to make fun of people who fail to look out for themselves. They are opportunities for those who have been through the law school wringer to sit back and enjoy themselves — and exchange knowing glances among fellow colleagues.
The one we just came across today hits exactly the right note…
Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.
One of the many interesting features of BigLaw is the comings and goings of its denizens. Whether it’s looking for the bigger, better deal, jumping off a sinking ship, or departing for the greener pastures of inhouse or government life, every move has a story.
There has been plenty of speculation recently about which firm is wrapped up in an Inspector General investigation of the firm’s practice of hiring former SEC lawyers, who then turn around and advocate for clients at the agency they just left. The Senate Finance Committee is none too happy about the "revolving door," claiming that in at least one instance, the SEC was unduly lenient because of the firm’s close ties with the commission. Usually lateral hires aren’t contentious (examples like Jeremy Pitcock notwithstanding), so this could put a damper on hiring some of the most-coveted free agents.
So which law firm or lawyer(s) might be facing Senate scrutiny?
* An inconvenient truth? A massage therapist in Oregon previously accused Al Gore, once thought to be a robot eunuch, of unwanted sexual advances. Is this why the Gores’ marriage didn’t have a happy ending? [Associated Press]
* YouTube scores a “decisive win” over Viacom in their long-running litigation over copyright infringement, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provision. [Technology & Marketing Law Blog / Eric Goldman]
* Should Judge Martin Feldman have recused himself in the deep-water drilling case? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Is Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan getting “borked” — by Bork? [The BLT via ABA Journal]
* Alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke, a fugitive from justice, is captured; Manatt Phelps claims it never did lobbying work in the Coke case. [Am Law Daily]
* New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, now running for governor, has accepted millions in campaign cash from special interests (some of whom he has pursued as AG). [New York Times]
* Five Muslim men from Virginia are each sentenced by a Pakistani court to at least 10 years in prison, on terrorism charges. [Washington Post]
Based on the approximately ten billion emails we’ve received about this into email@example.com in the last few hours, it seems a lot of you already know that the “Star Wars kid” has decided to attend law school. We think the first Kamino-like flood of emails linked to the story on TechCrunch:
It was eight years ago that Ghyslain Raza slashed his way into our hearts with his Star Wars Kid video. Sadly, Raza suffered from severe bullying and abuse for his video and eventually ended up in a psychiatric ward for children…
He and his family sued the kids who leaked the video for $250,000, settled, and that seemed to be the end of it. Now, however, Ghyslain just became the president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, a heritage society dedicated to conserving his hometown in Quebec. He’s also working on law degree at McGill in Montreal.
Last year we reported that tuition would be on the rise at the UT-Law. We’ve discussed the fact that American Bar Association appears to be oblivious to the rising cost of legal education.
But for the second year in a row, the State Bar of Texas is offering scholarships to intrepid law students. All you have to do is show that being a lawyer is actually, you know, important to society in any way. Legal Blog Watch reports:
Think you have some talent as a filmmaker? If so, the eyes of the State Bar of Texas are upon you. It is sponsoring a YouTube contest offering cash prizes and scholarships for the best 30-second video showing why either lawyers or the courts are important to our society.
I like this! Law school is too expensive, but you want to go anyway? Fine. Please explain to me why being a lawyer is so damn important.
Unfortunately, the cash prize or scholarship isn’t really going to cover law school tuition. Details after the jump.
Last week, we made dancing groom Kevin Heinz our (Future) Law Student of the Day. Heinz, his bride, and their wedding party danced down the aisle to Chris Brown’s Forever instead of the traditional Canon in D Major. They put it on YouTube last month and it’s since been hit on more than a hot, single bridesmaid.
We posted the video last week and noted:
Their only misstep: Choosing a song by someone convicted of domestic abuse.
Those who commented on last week’s post questioned the bride’s dancing ability, the groom’s decision to go to Hamline University Law School, and our calling the couple out for using a song by someone convicted of domestic violence.
As far as we know, Heinz is still going to Hamline and his bride’s dancing abilities have not improved. But we do have updates for you on the domestic violence front and, unrelatedly, on the couple’s divorce video.
A 16-year-old girl posted a cry for help on YouTube two weeks ago. She was allegedly drugged and raped by a 23-year-old man. In the video, she does not name the rapist, but instead focuses on her disappointment that the Florida state attorney’s office refused to prosecute the case. CNN picked up on the story this week. Their take is that young people are using social networking sites to talk about sexual assault. From a legal perspective, we think using YouTube as a forum to criticize the justice system is the more interesting aspect. CNN touches on that as well:
But counselors said survivors are going to look wherever they can to find help and comfort, particularly when they don’t get it through the court system.
Fewer than 5 percent of reported cases in Florida make it to a prosecutor’s office, Dritt said. Whether because of lack of forensic evidence or because many are he said/she said accounts, rape cases can be very difficult to try.
“What you hear from every rape crisis center from Pensacola to Key West is that there are hardly ever any prosecutions,” she said. “Most sexual violence is acquaintance rape, and unfortunately, a lot of juries still think that if a victim had a relationship with their attacker, then they cannot be raped by that person.”
Recently, Radar reported on Scientology’s short-lived attempt to beat its Guy Fawkes mask-clad antagonists “Anonymous” at their own game: scary YouTube videos. A clip posted by a Sciento associate under the name “AnonymousFacts” displayed the names and personal information of several supposed Anonymous members and accused the group of violent threats and terrorism. YouTube quickly took the video down and suspended AnonymousFacts. But the hassle for at least one of the three men shown didn’t end there.
A little more than a week ago, Jonathan (he asked his last name not be repeated again), who’d joined a Facebook group called “I Support Anonymous” and attended their protests, answered a knock at the door of his parents’ L.A.-area home, where he lives while attending community college. A mustachioed man in a suit and claiming to be from the law firm of Latham and Watkins was holding a “file” and asked to speak to Jonathan’s parents by name, he recently told Radar. He told the mystery man his parents weren’t available and offered to take the package for them. “No,” the man said. “I can’t legally give this to you.” Jonathan shrugged and told him to come back later. That’s when things got weird.
Later a friend of the family came over and said Mr. Mustachio was hanging out in front of the house and had asked her if she was Jonathan’s mom. When she said no, he waited until Jonathan’s parents did arrive, then handed them the file and said, “This is a courtesy letter. No charges are being filed yet. But your son may be involved in terrorist activity.” And then he left. Inside the package was a letter accusing Jonathan of terrorism and a DVD copy of the YouTube video, he says.
Sounds like a pretty fun assignment for a junior associate — anything to get out of the office. But the “Church” denies this ever happened:
A Church of Scientology spokesperson says the group does employ various lawyers across the country to deal with what she tells Radar are “acts of violence, terrorism, and death threats,” but adds, “It is not true that lawyers from any firm representing the Church have visited anyone. If anyone is suggesting otherwise, that is false.”
We’ve contacted Latham for comment. We’ll let you know if and when we hear back from them. Update: We have our doubts about the firm’s involvement. Writes a commenter:
It is highly unlikely that the person hounding this kid is actually from Latham. Scientologists have a policy (called the “Fair Game” policy) that allows them to lie, cheat, impersonate, physically threaten/assault, etc. if it will further the aims of the “church”. Although that policy was ostensibly cancelled at some point (in name only), scientologists continue to live by it in practice. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the man with the file was not from Latham but was instead a scientology poser.
Seriously–would an associate from Latham actually serve papers on anyone? F**k, no. We use process servers!!
We feel bad for Latham. Some imposter is going around making it look like they represent the Church of Scientology. And their lawyers have mustaches. Further Update: Or maybe Latham DOES represent the Church of Scientology? See here. (Gavel bang: commenter.)
We have reiterated our inquiry to Latham concerning whether or not the firm represents the Church of Scientology. We’ll let you know what we find out. (They did not respond to an earlier request for comment on this subject.) Final Update: Read more in this update. ‘Anonymous’ Kid Outed by Scientologists Gets House Call [Fresh Intelligence: Radar Online]
Most law firm name changes are pretty silly. The general approach: lop off all names after the first two. If you like, squish the surviving names together into one word, to make yourselves seem contemporary and cool. E.g., “WilmerHale.” (A law firm marketing firm would charge you five figures for that advice.)
Okay, so how do you get anyone to care about your name change? You make a YouTube video, that’s how! Here’s a press release from Hanson Bridgett LLP, a northern California firm with about 130 lawyers:
The firm formally known as Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos, & Rudy LLP has a new tag line—”Inspired”—to go with its new logo and a new abridged name, Hanson Bridgett LLP. Breaking through the monotony of the legal landscape, the firm is employing a light-hearted video to help disseminate the re-branding roll-out by “word of mouse.”
Seriously. As the press release notes, “[t]he video stars Hanson Bridgett Managing Partner Andrew Giacomini, who is seen banging a bass drum while walking down Market Street in Lederhosen and knee-highs.”
The video, cutely entitled “The Law Accordion to Hanson Bridget,” is kinda weird, and a bit too long; you really need just the first and last 30 seconds. But it’s an interesting experiment in law firm marketing. Check it out:
We just finished watching America’s Next Top Model. So it’s quite appropriate for us to pass along this modeling montage video, which is amusingly bizarre. From a tipster:
I hate to pile it on, but you have to check out this YouTube clip of a University of Miami 1L. It’s a seven-minute clip of various glamour shots, set to the soothing sounds of flamenco guitar. I think my favorite photos involve her posing with a samurai sword.
We agree; nothing beats a samurai sword paired with fishnets. But the pics of her in a midriff-baring schoolgirl outfit, replete with pigtails, are also pretty great. As is the photo of her humping a white banister, which kicks off the whole thing.
You don’t need to watch the entire video, since the shots start to repeat after a while, but stick around at least until “Hotel California.” Enjoy! Update (12:15 AM): Sigh. If you click on the video below, you’ll see that it has been pulled. We seem to have the anti-Midas touch when it comes to law school videos: everything we link to gets yanked. See, e.g., here (Harvard) and here (Columbia).
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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