If you’re hoping to make a certain woman feel special this year, here are six perfect gift ideas with a personal touch:
1. Kinara Red Carpet Facial Kit
“Red carpet” not only means celebrity treatment—it also means celebrity skin care. For $145, give her the ingredients for an at-home facial identical to the ones used in the spa facials that all her favorite celebutantes receive at Kinara in Los Angeles. Of all the things she likes nice and firm, her skin is her favorite.
2. Gara Danielle Birthstone Necklace
Forget your adolescent perception, birthstones are cool again. The perfect way to personalize a gift of jewelry (and to attempt to actually remember her birthday) is to get her a Gara Danielle necklace specific to her favorite month. And at $150, it’s affordable for just about any lady on your list. Who has a neck.
Entertain valets for hours. Not just for proud ladies on the mommy track, this $40 RedEnvelope.com digital key chain holds up to 60 photos and is a fun stocking stuffer for any age. It’s like the only part of Facebook you care about, right in your hand. Enter promo code PRBL15P at checkout for 15% off your entire Red Envelope order!
4. Seril Knockout Clutch
Angelina Jolie has ton of cool stuff that women want. But since you can’t give her BP or an assortment of adopted and genetically privileged children, give her the same sexy clutch purse with finger holes that Angie likes. Perhaps the bra-less model on the Seril homepage showcases it best. Normally retailing at $545, if you’re buying this handbag (Style S1623) for a lucky lady, mention Bitter Lawyer and receive a 20% discount.
The Turkish are well known for two things: Turkish baths (kind of creepy) and Turkish towels (kind of amazing). So while robes generally look best on bedroom floors, any woman would appreciate the chance to wrap up in something as luxurious-feeling as TurkishTowels.com’s Kassasoft bathrobe. And when in doubt in terms of color, white is always a foolproof option.
6. Ann Cherico Sienna Gold Hoop Earrings with Horn Tusks
She’ll happily trade her business suit, stuffy blouse or apron for these funky earrings from Ann Cherico Jewelry Design. Did we mention there are Swarovski Crystals inside those horns? Women love those! This is a gift best given with an I.O.U. for a night out.
Why is it that female lawyers feel the need to dress like asexual, feminist monks? Seriously, what are we so afraid of, ladies? Having men think we’re actually women?
Erin Andrews (and the masturbatory outbursts she provokes in 8.5 out of 10 heterosexual male sports fans) is perhaps the best example of the unique power a (reasonably) stylish, non-overweight, attractive woman wields in a male-dominated business. Men love her and, surprisingly, even respect her. More importantly, her career is blowing up. If you ask me, ol’ Erin should be required viewing for female lawyers. In fact, she should be our patron saint.
I suppose any of my naïve, Miranda Hobbes-ian illusions should have been eviscerated my first day of law school when I was introduced to my disheveled, frizzy-haired, makeup-less Contracts Professor. But she was a high-brow, serious-minded Harvard academic. Women like her aren’t supposed to look sexy. Just smart. Big Firm associates and partners, on the other had, are a different story. Part of their job is to be stylish and au courant. And they rake in enough money to stock their closets with Theory. Maybe even Jil Sander. Or so I thought.
After three years at Big Chicago Firm, I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that most female lawyers are horrible dressers. Worse yet, they don’t care. They almost take some sort of absurd, post-feminist pride in looking ugly. The uglier you are, the smarter you are, which means the more successful you’ll be. Right?
Wrong. Not caring about your appearance is career-suicide. Or at least career-idiocy. Especially for young associates. Looking good helps women advance. In my experience anyway. I’m no Gisele, but I definitely look good in clothes—and like it or not, I’m not afraid to wear suits that accentuate my long-legged, genetic good fortune. Ask me, it’s no coincidence that I’m one of the only female associates whose name comes easily to the managing partner and is often invited to client dinners. I’m pretty sure it’s not because I’m a better researcher or writer than the other 50 women lawyers at my firm. I just dress better.
QMy friend just left a small, three-person boutique firm to start up her own practice, in the same field. Her boss is one of those uber-respected lawyers in his field—lots of name-recognition, lots of love. The problem is, he’s not only disgusting (referring to his autistic son as “retarded,” making hiring decisions on how big someone’s boobs are, using the n-word after clients leave), he’s also an ethical disaster. He commingles client funds, holds onto awards given to clients and won’t give them back (with or without interest), won’t bill clients until they ask for their award and then tells them he spent $10K on copies, costs clients appeals by missing court—I could go on.
I think this scum should be reported to the State Ethics Commission—I’d do it myself, but I don’t have first-hand knowledge. His clients don’t want to do it because they’re scared he’ll hurt them financially or legally. And my friend won’t do it because she worked for the scum for five years, so she’d be disciplined too for failing to come forward earlier (though she didn’t know about all of this the entire time).
Can anything be done? I’m not looking for a vendetta here—well, okay, I kinda am. Especially for the “retarded” comment, given that his clients are special-needs kids. But I mainly want to prevent him from stealing money and costing cases for other future clients, if at all possible. I don’t think these things should go unreported, but from all I hear about legal ethics, it sounds like they usually do.
AWho the hell is this guy? Don Corleone? John Gotti? Why would his clients be afraid to report him for stealing their money? In any event, of course something can be done. I’m not an ethics expert, but I’m sure there’s some sort of legal/ethical process that can be initiated here that would both punish this alleged scumbag and protect his future clients.
I bet some of our readers know more about this than I do. Bitter Lawyers, any advice for our disgruntled and outraged friend?
In the history of celebrity justice, no man has helped launch more careers, ruin more reputations and made such a mockery of California courts than Orenthal James Simpson. Now that a Nevada judge has finally sentenced Simpson and put the juice in the can, we decided to check in on some of our favorite 1995 Simpson characters to find out where they are now.
Marcia Clark (The Prosecution)
In Hollywood, it’s all about failing up. For Clark, the Simpson debacle should have been the end of her career. But what’s bad for your legal career is good for your television career. Sort of. Aside from her sweet book deal, Clark is now a special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight .
Here’s what she had to say when she heard of Simpson’s conviction: “I was surprised by the verdict. [Simpson] has been getting away with it, so to speak, for a long time.”
Getting away with it? Umm. Wasn’t it your job to make sure that he didn’t get away with, Marcia?
Christopher Darden (The Prosecution)
Darden took a beating during the trial from cable news pundits. After the trial, he authored two books, In Contempt (his account of the Simpson trial) and The Trials of Nikki Hill (a fictional legal thriller). Darden now works in private practice at his own firm, Darden & Associates. According to MetNews, Darden was said to be in consideration in 2007 for appointment as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Maybe he can get some tips from Lance Ito.
Robert Kardashian (The Defense & Garment Bag-Toting Friend)
Kardashian was more of a volunteer/mascot than an attorney for Simpson, having reactivated his license for the trial. But the case, and its aftermath, put a strain on their longtime friendship. After the trial, Kardashian reportedly expressed doubt about Simpson’s innocence, but the two are said have settled their differences before Kardashian passed away in 2003. “Bob was there when I needed him most,” Simpson told CNN after Kardashian died at the age of 59.
Like OJ, Kim is also a TV star, having parlayed her party girl lifestyle into an “acting career” and E! reality television show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. According to the Los Angeles Times, OJ still keeps tabs on Kim. Best godfather. Ever.
Robert Shapiro (The Defense)
Not everyone can afford a “Dream Team,” which is why Shapiro co-founded LegalZoom, a self-service legal documents company. Shapiro also has an online shoe company called ShoeDazzle.com (think Netflix, except you keep the $39 CFM shoes). The business is a joint venture with none other than Kim Kardashian. Honest. Bruno Maglis not available. Hmm.
F. Lee Bailey (The Defense)
Best known as the “Dream Team” lawyer who pulverized LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman on cross, Bailey made a career out of representing high-profile clients. But Bailey lost his license in 2001 when the Florida Supreme Court ordered that he be disbarred after an unusual criminal case that resulted in Bailey refusing to relinquish $5 million in stock he had agreed to hold for his client. A year later, Bailey lost his license in Massachusetts as well. A 2005 appeal to reinstate his license was denied. He is now the Chairman and CEO of IMPAC, a consultancy focused on increasing business productivity. (Yeah, it seemed a little random to us, too.) Former client, convicted felon and blue-ribbon bulldog momma , Patty Hearst, had no comment.
Barry Scheck (The Defense)
Barry Scheck is still, well,…Barry Scheck; fighting the good fight when he’s not helping guys like OJ get acquitted. But The Innocence Project, which he co-founded with fellow law professor Peter Neufeld, will get some attention soon. Hilary Swank is reportedly making a movie about Betty Anne Waters, a single mom who worked her way through law school in order to overturn her bother’s wrongful conviction with the help of Scheck’s Innocence Project. There’s no word on who will play Scheck, but we’re officially submitting Living the Dream’s John T. Woods for your consideration.
Johnnie Cochran (The Defense)
Best known as “Mr. Johnnie” by those who watched every minute of the OJ case, Cochran died in 2005 at the age of 67. Several years before his death, Cochran published a memoir titled A Lawyer’s Life. In the book, he wrote: “It was the Simpson case that put me squarely in a position to make a difference. And that was precisely the reason I became an attorney.” Just goes to show that making a difference isn’t always a good thing.”
Lance Ito (The Judge)
Believe it or not, Lance Ito is still a Los Angeles Superior Court judge (Courtroom 110). Too bad, we were hoping he’d get a gig on The People’s Court. Then again, those high-powered TV litigants might make it hard for Ito to wrap things up in thirty minutes.
Mark Fuhrman (The “Bloody Glove” Detective)
Despite pleading no contest to perjury charges filed in connection to his testimony in the Simpson case, Fuhrman has managed to somewhat rehabilitate his image. He’s done stints as a conservative radio host, helped shed light on several high profile murders (including the Martha Moxley case) and authored six books, all without using the n-word.
Kato Kaelin (The Houseboy)
Kaelin is right where you’d expect him to be—trying to stretch his OJ fame past his 16th minute and into reality television stardom. And it’s not going well. Maybe he should pitch Mark Burnett. The Accessory, anyone?
I tried to dictate this rant to my secretary, but she already left for the day.
Most days fly by as I respond to hundreds of emails and a non-stop barrage of phone calls from pissed-off clients, which means I barely have time to take a piss. Other days, I surf the web, looking for girls I went to high school with who are now working in porn (I’ve found three in my four years as a BigLaw employee).
But if there is one consistent thing I can count on, it’s that my secretary will NOT be there when I need her.
One evening last week, I finally finished marking up a credit agreement that had to be delivered to the client the next morning.
I instant messaged Nancy, my practice assistant (ludicrous PC term for secretary).
“Nancy, I’m going to drop off a markup to you in a few minutes.”
I got an immediate response.
“Nancy is signed off.”
I opened my door to find Nancy packing it in for the day. It was 5:22 p.m.!
But this happens all the time because the secretarial workday runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Secretaries punch in and out like factory workers (does anyone know if they’re part of the Teamster union or something?). Unfortunately, that schedule doesn’t quite mesh with the workday of an average mid-level associate, which begins around 10:00 a.m. and ends late at night when internal organs start to fail.
Letting the secretaries leave at 5:30 p.m. is like allowing the busboys at a busy restaurant to leave right after the appetizers. Late afternoon/early evening drafting and turning of documents is the main course of associate life. Secretaries are a vital cog in the law firm machine, and they sit near us so that we can literally drop things on them the second we are ready to, which is usually around five or six post meridian!
With Nancy gone, I thought about calling document services, but it takes more time to check their work than to markup the document. And besides, have you ever tried to fill out one of those pink document submission questionnaires? They have more questions than the Bar exam.
So that left yours truly.
I don’t mean to sound cocky, but that kind of grunt work is beneath me. I’m not a first year. Asking me to input my own changes is like asking Vince from Entourage to go back to auditioning for Mentos commercials.
I know I should have asked her to stay late, but my sweatshop of a firm doesn’t always afford me enough time in the day to plan for evening support. And besides, isn’t the ability to anticipate a vital quality in a secretary?
So I hunkered down and did my own work. Then I sent out the redline to everyone on the distribution list. Then I resent the email with an apology for not attaching the proper redline. After that, I sent my secretary an email. It read: “GOING FORWARD, YOU LEAVE WHEN I SAY YOU LEAVE.”
Got a Bitter Rantof your own? Email it to email@example.com
Let’s face a fact: Most of the time lawyers are billing they’re not doing legal work at all. They’re playing on the internet, often reading “blawgs” or any of the numerous lawyer chat boards that have sprung up since the glory days of the original “Greedy Associates” site, when Y2K was our biggest national concern.
And with the proliferation of these sites, so to have come the trolls—those under-the-bridge dwelling miscreants who live for nothing but the satisfaction of aggravating, irritating and insulting as many people as they can via the comments sections of blawgs and threads on chat boards.
We’ve decided to sketch out the prime offenders. For your reading pleasure (bill as “.3 – Misc. Research re: Penske suit”), here are the seven species of legal website troll:
1“This Site Sucks” Guy. Responds to every post on abovethelaw.com with a comment about how “This site used to be funny, but sucks now.” Never explains why it was better before or why it’s not funny now. Or why he nevertheless keeps reading it.
2Grammar Teacher. No original thought or criticism of anything in the story or the preceding comments in the thread. Just a sniffy, self-aggrandizing little note about how someone in a previous comment used “it’s” where “its” was proper. And therefore is not, and never will be, partner material.
Hobbies: Font-surfing; complaining to IT department about how WordPerfect form of Courier New was superior to MSWord’s; reading latest edition of Service Partner Weekly (Non-Equity Edition)
3“First!” Guy. The Forrest Gump of legal chat board trolls. Pathologically follows website, responding immediately to every new story with “First!” or some variation on it. Amusing when the reflexive “I’m firsty!” or “These pretzels are making me firsty!” immediately follows story on an office shooting or a noted public interest lawyer’s recent demise from stomach cancer.
4“Pwned” Guy. Only appears in flame wars between commenters. Offers single-word replies in any exchange where one commenter bests another; ”Pwned!” or ”Pwn3d!” (Hacker-speak for “Burn!” or “You been served!”) Clearly buys IT manager’s stories about scoring “boy-band ass.”
5Reverend Kane. This poster is the internet equivalent of Reverend Kane, the walking skeleton who comes to the door of the house in Poltergeist and starts screaming hysterically, “You’re going to die! All of you are going to die!” Any time Kane sees a story or comment about alternative careers for lawyers, he immediately posts a litany of reasons anyone who even attempts to leave the field for something better will fail, contract a loathsome disease and die penniless, alone and cursing the moment he considered abandoning The Law.
6The “TTT” Brigade. This species responds to any post or story suggesting career dissatisfaction with a screed explaining why the poster or subject of the story is clearly “TTT” material—one who attended a “third tier toilet” law school. Confusion abounds, however, as in recent years the term has been used so frequently and for so many purposes (in many cases randomly and with no apparent meaning at all) that it’s basically become a sign of chat board Tourette’s.
Hobbies: Attending miserable TTT law school; Nihilist Society
7The Rapierist Wit. This Casanova uses the chat board to woo fellow classmates, offering wry witticisms on their previous dating misadventures:
Learnedhandjob: You see that chick in Torts with the huge rack? Jackoff: Her name’s Marissa. She fucked like five guys in the class above us. Loves it in the ass. Learnedhandjob: I’d fucking hit that shit till it was raw, yo. Jackoff: Fucking TTT bitch! Assplay = Pwned!
QI am a foreign-trained lawyer with four years of experience in “high-profile” Anglo-American firms in France. I recently graduated (LL.M.) from a top-10 law school, passed the NY Bar in July and am currently looking for a job in law firm in NYC. I would like to know if in spite of (i) my foreign credentials and (ii) the current state of the economy, do I still have a chance to get a decent job (preferably not first-year tasks) in a decent firm? Do you have any tips as to how I should market myself (e.g. downplay my foreign education or, in contrast, emphasize it; mark myself as a 5th-year associate; be flexible, etc.)? Many thanks.
AChief Justice Roberts would have a hard time finding a good job right now, so my advice is: Be flexible. Like real flexible. Think Chinese gymnast. Be open to new practice areas, pay structures and titles. But don’t worry about playing up or down your foreign experience/education. Lawyers at top firms see through that BS pretty quickly. Just be yourself and be willing to bend. Do some yoga before your next interview to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
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Somewhere Boss Lady took the wrong step inside BigLaw. Maybe she fouled up an important brief or just failed to suck up to the right partner.
She should be buried in motion practice or destroying an opposing witness on cross. But instead, she’s trying to explain to a sleepy-looking temp standing next to me that he shouldn’t come to work smelling like gasoline.
“Sorry, I spilled gas on myself when I was filling up this morning,” Smelly Temp says.
His explanation doesn’t help the smell, which has already made two temps puke.
“Can you change?” Boss Lady asks.
“But this is my shift,” Smelly Temp protests.
Boss Lady just glares at him. It’s the kind of glare that says, “How dare you turn me into some kind of glorified Wal-Mart manager. I graduated magna cum laude from Stanford and made Law Review at UVA. I AM BIGLAW, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT, MISTER!”
“I can’t have you smelling like gasoline,” Boss Lady says. “You’re making people sick. You’re making me sick.”
“But I need the hours.”
“You need a shower,” A nauseous-looking thirty-five-year-old Korean temp says.
“You smell!” another temp shouts, opening up the flood gates as twenty temps begin to yell.
You stink! Clean yourself up!
“I think they want you to leave,” Boss Lady says.
But instead of giving into the crowd, Smelly Temp turns the work stoppage into a bizarre game of chicken.
“I’ll leave if I can stay on the clock,” he says.
“No chance,” Boss Lady counters.
The shouting continues, as the pungent smell of petroleum begins to seep in my digestive track.
“I’m going to be sick,” I tell Boss Lady, who tries once again to shame Smelly Temp into leaving.
“I need the hours,” Smelly Temp says. “I can’t afford to miss work.”
“Seriously, this guy is making me sick, you’ve got to do something,” I say.
Boss Lady stands between me and a trash bin, and I stumble toward it, ready to heave.
“It would be cheaper to pay me to go home and change,” Smelly Temp says, folding his arms in stoic protest.
Boss Lady shrieks, demanding that I find a restroom. Then she looks at her temps. We have nothing better to do but shout. Shouting breaks the boredom. Smelly Temp has become the must-see event of the day, and Boss Lady knows it. Worse, she knows that nothing will get done until Smelly Temp takes his gasoline stench home. She has been beaten.
“Be back in one hour, Smelly Temp.”
“With pay?” Smelly Temp asks.
“With pay,” she says.
Smelly Temp gets up, points a fleshy finger at me and says, “Witness.” Then he leaves to change his clothes on BigLaw’s dime.
I’ll be honest. I’m in it for the money. I wasn’t one of those 1Ls who said they came to law school to help people. I became a lawyer because it seemed like the best way to land my DreamJob without first having to work in the mailroom. Also, I like money. I like nice things and the law seemed like the best way to get nice things for myself (I don’t do math or science).
I did get an unpaid clerkship at DreamCompany and yes, I get that there are tradeoffs and that I’m paying my dues—more than willing to do so—but I’ve lived a student’s lifestyle for far too long. I’m ready for some money.
Unfortunately, it’s hard out there for a recent law school graduate, and with Big Firms in the middle of a hiring freeze, it’s no time to be choosey.
Of course, it’s not like there are no jobs for lawyers. In fact, there’s always one employer who’s hiring—the government.
So three days ago, I decided to suck it up. With an enthusiasm that my student loan company would admire, I applied for a government job.
In my application there was a section asking for a personal statement regarding my interest in criminal law. Hmm.
Well, I love “Law & Order” (I heart Jack McCoy). Okay, I didn’t put that down.
Knowing someone on the inside, I also managed to get my hands on a hiring manual, which stressed the importance of finding applicants with a strong interest in public service.
Ugh. The public? I have come to realize that, on the whole, I don’t like the public very much. I didn’t go to law school to change the world, fight the power, or help people. That’s why all of my internships were spent working on the management-side of labor law.
But my government lawyer friend indulged me with a mock interview.
It didn’t go well.
He laughed at me and said, “Get thee to a soup kitchen this weekend!”
Yeah, didn’t happen.
So what to do when you need to sell yourself as a humanitarian and you couldn’t care less about humanity? In plain English—lie. But “lie” is such a dirty word. I massaged some of my prior experience and talked about wanting to transition from the private to the public sector and really give back.
Amazingly, I wasn’t struck by lighting.
That seems to have gotten the ball rolling with the government. But hopefully it won’t come to that. I’m hoping the Big Firm hiring freeze thaws before I have to make a commitment to the people.
Got a Bitter Rantof your own? Email it to email@example.com