Bill 49 hours this weekend! It’s time to set your clocks back. [The Associated Press]
Are people who exercise their First Amendment rights infringing on Sarah Palin’s First Amendment rights? I’m sure that question will be addressed tonight on Saturday Night Live. You can almost hear Tina Fey reading this story to you. [ABC News Blogs]
Sorry, boss. There’s no way it was me who sent out those screwed up contracts. I was busy buying crack when they went out. (Yep, that defense is a hard sell—no matter the context.) [New York Post]
Real-life Bitter Lawyer gone wild!! Sometimes freeing yourself from the trappings of an American life is easier when you don’t have things like prestigious documents staring you in the face every day. But if your answer to that weighed-down feeling is to make a statement by publicly burning your bra Harvard Law School diploma, expect to blawg it out and answer for it. [Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity]
Missouri child molesters are having a hard time making plans this Halloween with all the back-and-forth courtroom controversy surrounding them. And the latest is that a federal appeals court ruled in favor of forbidding sex offenders from “Halloween-related contact.” Whatever that means. [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
Do you need to know where you live to get into Stanford Law School? That question prompted Stanford to insist that Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren issue a correction for an on-air joke she made about an admitted SLS applicant (not current law student) who illegally registered to vote in Ohio. Watch Greta’s reaction to this “great” story. And you know it’s “great” story because she says, “This is a great story,” about 20 times. [GretaWire via Fox News]
Frederick “Fred” Baron, known as the “King of Torts” who loyally supported the Democratic Party in Texas, died on Thursday at 61. [Dallas Morning News]
Hope you haven’t bought an outfit for the holiday party just yet, Thelen-ites. The plan is to permanently close the top-100 firm’s doors on December 1. [Washington Business Journal]
If Oprah had a lesser-known-yet-powerful male equivalent, who would it be? Google CEO Eric Schmidt maybe? Schmidt declared his (and Google’s) support for Obama at UVA Law School yesterday. [WCAV.tv]
I am a second-year associate at a mid-sized firm in litigation. The practice is fine, I guess. The money is pretty good. My boss is an ass-hat, and if I am being brutally honest, my future here is probably not the brightest. I can probably make better money somewhere else doing something that I would enjoy more. (Probably for another ass-hat boss.)
The questions is: I am thinking about leaving after I finish this second year to get an LL.M. (Master of Laws) in a focus area I really want to practice. Also, I am thinking of doing it in London. What are your thoughts? Bad Idea? Not worth making my already absurd loans, well, more absurd? Need to stay stateside?
To me, LL.M. degrees are pretty much a joke. No one really cares. Why would you want to go to school again to develop a specialty, when you could develop one on the job—and get paid doing it? I guess if your dream is to become a tax lawyer, an LL.M. couldn’t hurt. Other than that, it seems absurd. Unless you just want to regress for a few years, become a student again and party your ass off. That I get. But don’t kid yourself, getting an LL.M. won’t magically open new doors for you—and your new bosses won’t be impressed.
As for the London part of the equation, I feel the same way. It doesn’t make sense, unless you just want to hang out and have a good time in London for a year or two, which I can completely understand.
So, bottom line: Don’t get an LL.M. because you think it’s going to change your career prospects (with the possible of exception of a Taxation LL.M.); do it because you want to escape the real word for a while and have some goddamn fun.
Got a question for Ex-Bitter? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your pathetic Jerry Seinfeld impression might be protected (“What’s the deal with…”), but are Jerry’s jokes turning into a First Amendment issue? And who would of thought that smashing avocados and converting them into gnarly brownies would turn into an idea people would fight over having anyway? And why has no one ever fought me for my famous Skittles-incrusted tilapia recipe? It’s a taste of the rainbow and has Omega-3s. [Am Law Daily]
California is heating up over the possible repeal of gay marriage as voting day nears for Proposition 8. And it’s important to remember that in this argument, no means yes. “No” to support. “Yes” to ban. [Mercury News]
Many well-to-doers are wondering if they can ride out Wall Street long enough to stay married. “A Prince & Associates survey of 93 divorce lawyers for high-net-worth clients found that 83% of wealthy people would call it quits if their finances drastically deteriorated.” Seriously—are gay people really sure this is what they want to get themselves into? [Forbes]
How’s that whole work/life balance thing going for you? Yeah, maybe telecommuting isn’t the best thing to be doing right now with the economy cramping up. Hate for “out of sight, out of mind” to turn into “out of sight, out of job.” [Legal Blog Watch]
Don’t you hate it when you lose your job and accuse your former family members of using their government power to get you fired only to realize that you’ve crossed your own reality with Troopergate AGAIN? Then you have to go around apologizing to everyone while making awkward comments like, “Hey, sorry. It was a simple mistake. I just got confused with Sarah Palin’s abuse-of-power situation again. It could happen to anyone.” Even though you know it couldn’t. (Maybe that’s not the case here, but it sure feels reminiscent.) [Law.com]
Know what breaks the ice in jury deliberation rooms? Groaner lawyer jokes, so it seems. Which prompt Bitter Sharks to ask for mistrials. Ba-doom-ching. [Deliberations]
I’m a first year at a Big Firm, and I’m close to going nuts. I know I’m supposed to be thrilled to even have a job these days and all that, but I’m still pissed. For the past week, I’ve been working with this Partner on some sort of loan/revolving credit-facility modification thing. (Whatever. It’s billable time.) He’s a pretty good guy, but he never really gives me anything to do. It’s like he just wants me to hang out in his office while he works. Keep Reading ⇒
Regarding future job prospects, is it better to go to a second-tier law school where I would be at the top of my class, or should I go to a first-tier school and be in the middle of my class?
No-brainer. Go to the best (highest-ranked) school that accepts you.
But I have to ask… Why do you assume you’ll be at the top of your class at a tier-two school and in the middle of your class at tier-one school? Do you believe your mere presence at a pedestrian second-tier institution will automatically ensure that you graduate at the top of the class? Yet at the same time, you assume you’ll finish in the middle of the class at some top-tier school—presumably because you’re not smart enough to excel there. Hmmm. So if you go to NYU, for example, you’re destined to be in the top 50%, but if you go to Hofstra, you’ll be top 1%. Guaranteed. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
Anyway, here’s my advice: Get into the best goddamn law school you can. Don’t worry one teeny-weeny bit about potential class rank or any other bullshit. Just go to the best school and, once you’re there, get the best grades you can. End of story.
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In China, “Beijing police confirmed on Wednesday that a university law professor was stabbed to death by a student in a classroom.” Talk about a tough room. [ChinaView.cn]
Two-year law school from a professor’s point of view. Just how much of a curriculum change is necessary to accommodate these programs? Can you learn enough to be “successful” in two years and a summer? More importantly, do you really want to? [PrawfsBlawg]
Leave it to these trying economic times to revert us back to bartering legal services for pelts. But everyone has to do their share. [ABA Journal]
How do you make it rain a Google’s worth? “A tiny Bala Cynwyd law firm that sued Google Inc. alleging copyright infringement has won a huge settlement requiring the Internet giant to reimburse authors and publishers for use of published materials offered through its Web site.” It’s a settlement of $125 million—with about $30 million of it being legal fees. [Philly.com]
For the first time ever, a defense lawyer gets to see an “ultra-secret section of Guantanamo” as she prepares her case defending a man charged with September 11th crimes. You know, the place where all things “ultra-secret” happen. So “ultra-secret” that it’s strong enough for a man, but pH-balanced for a woman. [AP]
It’s not real, but it can’t be that far from the truth somewhere: Legal Negotiations Class Pays Off During Bargaining With Call Girl. [Ridiculum Blog]
I read your advice to the 2L at a second-tier school in the top 40% of his/her class looking for a Cravath-type job (9/29/08: I’m Nervous Law School Isn’t Worth It). I wasn’t surprised by your advice, but I’d like to get your take on my situation—especially given the deteriorating state of the economy.
I graduated in December 2007 from a fourth-tier school. I was top 9% in my class, an articles editor on the Law Review, Moot Court Team, ran the Tax Law Society, passed the California and Wisconsin bars, and am currently an elbow clerk at a state court of appeals. My clerkship ends in August 2009. Do I have a shot at any NALP firms? Doesn’t have to be a Cravath, but I have seen that most new associates make between $70k and $125k. (Obviously, I’d rather be in the latter camp.) I’m flexible about where I settle—California, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin… What are my chances?
Yes! You definitely have a shot. If I were a hiring partner, I’d interview you in a second. Your resume and real-life experience trump your less-than-white-shoe academic credentials. But more importantly, it proves you’re a go-getter and willing to work your ass off to get ahead. Lots of partners at lots of elite firms will appreciate that.
In a climate of Ivy League-Associate entitlement, your attitude and resume will be exciting to many firms. A friend of mine, a Partner at a top New York firm, often tells me that he loves ambitious, overachieving young lawyers with academic chips on their shoulders. Or, as one prominent ex-partner at Skadden once said, “Give me the top of the class at Fordham over the middle of the class at Harvard any day.”
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but you have a shot. Keep working hard and you’ll be fine. Good luck!
Got a question for Ex-Bitter? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Former Milberg partner Steven Schulman was sentenced yesterday afternoon to six months in jail for a conspiracy to pay kickbacks to lead plaintiffs, the same sentence given to another partner, David Bershad, earlier in the day for his role in the scheme.” Moral of the story: Though paybacks may be a bitch, paying kickbacks makes you a bitch. In prison. [ABA Journal]
Milberg partners didn’t steal the entire career-suicide spotlight yesterday—Senator Stevens was convicted of seven counts of corruption for lying on his Senate financial documents. While he plans to continue running for re-election next Tuesday despite the ruling, pundits believe his chances are as flambéed as Baked Alaska. [Los Angeles Times]
Aside from Sen. Stevens, how’s the national Congressional race predicted to color out? 2008 seems to be the year to bet on blue. “When all the votes are counted, the Democrats may wind up with 263 House seats to the Republicans’ 172, and 56 Senate seats versus the GOP’s 44.” [Barrons]
More than 400 lawyers will be hunting for new gigs if Thelen follows Heller Ehrman as the next law firm to close shop for good. It would be the second San Franciso-based law firm to bite the dust within a month. So they might want to get a hustle on netting up that there Golden Gate. [Portfolio]
Perhaps good news for Thelen associates looking to root in D.C.—law offices are expect to lease the hell out of the office market due to bankruptcy work from the economic crisis, making an already-dense population of lawyers even thicker. “Washington has more lawyers as a percentage of the population than nearly anywhere else in the world. More than 30,000 are practicing law in the District.” [Washington Times]
Are law firms, by basic structure, inherently unfeminine? [Ms. JD]
Wanna insult Donald Trump? Call him a millionaire. And then don’t tell him who told you to say that. Zing! [The New York Times]
Louisiana has some of the toughest laws on attorney advertising. They can’t promise results or talk about past success. They say it gives the profession a bad reputation. And lawyers from Louisiana are already fighting an uphill battle in that department. [Chicago Tribune]
Sorry, Tyra Banks—some think Sarah Palin is the new Oprah. If the McCain ticket loses the election, Palin’s personality will no doubt be in demand, but her previous commitment as Alaska’s governor prevents her from accepting entertainment fees or offers. [UPI.com]
Start spreading the news; they’re fleeing today. Former Wall Street bankers and brokers are starting an exodus and leaving New York for a fresh start elsewhere. “Escobio [chief executive officer of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Southern Trust Securities Inc.] said in the past few months, one out of every four or five resumes comes from top Wall Street firms – compared with about one out of 100 in years past.” [MyWay]