Leading up to the election, a San Francisco-based law firm is trying to prohibit the amount of political chatter that goes on within the firm. With the presidential race being so heated, they’re hoping to keep the workplace “safe” and free of hostile opinions. So lawyers can focus on the things they get paid to argue. [CantonRep.com]
But you can’t keep a good lawyer quiet. And while many firms are reported to be supporting Obama (Loose Ends, 10-13-08), one Harvard-educated trial lawyer speaks out about his decision to vote for McCain. [American Thinker]
Boing. That’s the sound of Nike dropping a lawsuit on Wal-Mart for selling an athletic shoe that resembles Nike’s Shox line too closely. Swoosh. That’s likely the sound of Wal-Mart trying to make the lawsuit disappear. [DNR: Defining Men’s Fashion]
Bitter Lawyer faces conundrum: Lawyers are being laid off left and right, and now the web world is cutting employees up and down. Direction left to turn: TheUnemployedLawyersUnderstaffedBlog.com [San Francisco Chronicle]
Someone has to deal with the fruits and the nuts, so a judge has staggered one family’s prison sentences to accommodate their business’s harvest season. While one is packed away in the nuthouse, the others will be profitably packing nuts. [Recordnet.com]
Republican Senator Ted Stevens, an HLS grad, “sparred with a top Justice Department attorney Friday” at his corruption trial. He then pulled her off to the side and offered to remodel her house for practically nothing if she would lay off saying, “I know a guy…” [Los Angeles Times]
In a very uncool move, a 78-year-old man threw an explosive through the window of a Georgia law firm, killing himself and injuring four inside. [Washington Post]
You’re a lawyer, and that’s so arbitrary. But can it keep you from finding your legal pad? [Los Angeles Times]
In light of the financial crisis (and despite reports of layoffs), lawyers are in demand now more than ever. “A recent report by the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski found that more than one-third of lawyers working internally for companies expected to see more litigation in 2009. Lawyers at the biggest companies were more likely to expect a boom in lawsuits, according to the study.” And remember, there’s a difference between being “in demand” and being “popular.” [The New York Times]
More lawyer layoffs (despite reports of lawyers being in demand)—this time in Chicago. Even worse is that more are still expected. [Forbes.com]
I’m a 2L at a Pennsylvania T2 law school. I’ve received and accepted a summer associate position at a top Detroit firm. How much will my grades and staying on law review this year affect my chances of getting an offer at the end of the summer? (Assuming that I do an adequate job while actually working as an SA next summer.)
For the most part, your grades will be irrelevant in the hiring decision. The firm will most likely make its decision based entirely on your performance as a summer associate. Evaluating your actual performance as a lawyer is far more important than your second-year GPA. Having said that, don’t start partying your ass off just yet. Some firms do review second-year grades—especially in a tight job market like this. So keep working hard, but don’t freak out about an occasional B or B- either.
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In their last appearance together before the election, McCain and Obama both gave speeches at a fundraiser and stirred up some serious laughs. It makes you wonder: Why can’t politics always be this funny? I think you’d agree that all this superfluous talk about issues, credentials, voting records, economic plans, clean-carbon technology and all that other blah-blah-blah is really getting tiring. [New York Daily News]
But all it takes is hearing one utterance of “Tina Fey for President” to realize America is better off with clean, distinct lines between politics and entertainment. [Forbes.com]
Then McCain confirms on The Late Show with David Letterman that Sarah Palin will perform on Saturday Night Live this weekend, and you’re completely back to square one. (What, you thought today’s Bitter Poll was just coincidence?) Seriously though, what’s real anymore? Who’s who? I’m so confused. [Los Angeles Times Blogs]
And this only makes it more confusing—Josh Brolin’s portrayal of President Bush in Oliver Stone’s movie W. can be seen in theaters starting today. “It’s safe to say that the Bush depicted in Oliver Stone’s “W.” – and the movie itself – will put off viewers who approve of the president and at least amuse those who consider him a disaster.” But what about those of us who can’t tell reality from fiction anymore? What about us, huh? HUH?!? [San Francisco Chronicle]
Cristina Warthen, the Stanford law grad who made ends meet by working as a high-priced call girl, pleaded not guilty in court yesterday to allegedly screwing Uncle Sam out of $25,000 in federal income tax. Her people are apparently banging out a plea deal. It’s reported that she was a perfect lady in court and kept her hands clasped behind her back as she listened to the oral arguments. [San Jose Mercury News]
You might be asked to take your shirt off when you go to vote in Michigan this November—unless a labor union gets their way. They want to overturn the state’s ban on wearing campaign paraphernalia inside polling locations. [Chicago Tribune]
Klutz breaks a hip and thinks she deserves a blank check. Enough to make anyone bitter. [The Namby Pamby]
He’s the smiley, overly earnest dude who can’t wait to give you the inside scoop on everything and anything. He loves the firm more than any human being should love anything. Wears firm T-shirts on the weekend and is a member of every goddamn committee that will have him. He’s pretty darn active on the charity/political circuit too. And, of course, he can’t wait to mentor you. To teach you. To sprinkle avuncular nuggets of lawyer dust on you. Whether he’s giving you the head’s up on the best local lunch spot or spewing cautionary tales about cantankerous partners, this guy’s here to advise 24/7. He’s so helpful that you can’t help but hate him.
2. Hot Lawyer (Who’s Really Not That Hot)
A 6 in a land in 4’s, so she looks like an 8. She’s the woman you hear about the first day you set foot in the firm. The one everyone talks about in hushed, reverential voices. The unimaginably unattainable legal goddess used as a ridiculous reference point for beauty in casual conversation. “You know that actress… She used to be a model… Sort of looks likes Liz Silver…” And then, alas, you meet her, and you want to cry. Because she’s barely cute. She’s the fifth-cutest chick at a random SOHO café at lunchtime—if she’s wearing her best-fitting jeans. That’s when you realize being a lawyer really sucks. When not-that-hot lawyer chicks are considered off-the-charts gorgeous.
3. Douchebag, Know-It-All, Smartest-Guy-In-The-Room First Year
The guy who reads law journals in his spare time, writes law review articles for fun, and genuinely gets “a kick” out of the law. He’s twenty-six (but acts fifty-six) and is prone to wearing a bow tie from time to time. He’s a lawyer and damn proud of it. The senior associates and partners love him too. He’s the guy who makes you feel stupid—who makes you wonder if becoming a lawyer was a major mistake since he’s so much more advanced and educated than you. He’s a tireless worker and a relentless go-getter. Then, one day, he screws up and everyone sort of stops talking about him. People begin to whisper that he’s not really that bright. “A hard worker, sure, but not much candle power.” A year later, he leaves the firm for “personal reasons” and becomes a punch line at the holiday party.
4. The Uber-Cool Partner
The 35-year-old playa who everyone thinks is way hipper than he really is. The law-firm equivalent of the “cool mom” who lets you drink at her house and allows her high-school son’s girlfriend to spend the night in his room. Or even worse, the dude who graduated from college three years ago but still hangs out at the frat house. He’s single, immature, not-that-great looking and dates a lot less than he suggests. He’s every socially presentable associate’s best friend, while the wannabe-cool associates fight and clamor to become part of his “fascinating” social circle. He’s an all-around great guy—until you work with him on a deal and he turns into just another disapproving, workaholic dick.
5. Legendary Genius Everyone Reveres
He went to Harvard or Yale, worked for NASA (for real) and is now some legendary M&A guy who constantly cites obscure Delaware cases and SEC regulations. In his spare time, he creates exotic transaction structures and tax loopholes. The other partners and associates can’t go three seconds without saying, “He’s brilliant.” That’s all they talk about. How goddamn smart he is. They act like he’s curing cancer or solving global economic problems—instead of simply closing deals or trying cases. But that doesn’t matter because being scary brilliant is the “thing” all lawyers want to be. It’s much cooler to be a brilliant geek than cool, which is why being a lawyer sucks.
6. Paralegal/Secretary Slut
The sweet, nondescript, innocent chick you barely notice the first six months you work there. But then, over time—and after a few drinks—you learn that practically every young associate and horn-dog partner has had sex with her. You start to look at her a little differently. And she notices. Then one night, after a firm function . . . . Well, you know what happens. And it ain’t pretty. The next morning, you show up at work hungover and nod to the “hot chick” who you used to think was 4 but now looks like an 8.
Is a three-month jail sentence for publicly having sex with someone you met at an all-you-can-eat buffet an entirely bad idea? A Dubai court sentenced a British couple on Thursday to three months in jail for having sex on a public beach. They had been charged with having sex outside of marriage, public indecency and public drunkenness—since public display of affection is illegal. Book those spring break trips now, kids. Dubai is the new Cancun. [Fox News | Marie Claire]
“A Nebraska judge tossed out a state senator’s lawsuit against God [which called for an injunction from natural disasters], ruling the Almighty can’t be sued because his heavenly address is a bit out of reach.” The Big Guy is pretty wise like that—not keeping a planetary residence to prevent these very types of inconveniences. And for the obvious tax loopholes. God’s publicist called the lawsuit “frivolous” and read a statement from her client saying: “Have fun with my little friend Omar.” [New York Daily News]
It’s oddly like a Bitter Lawyer interview—only from across the pond. Attorney Tony Bugg advises PwC regarding the Lehman Brothers situation in the UK. And judging from his responses, is a total Capricorn. [Times Online]
Bloomberg for another term? Speak twice or forever hold your peace. [Associated Press]
“It makes me angry that someone would do him that way,” said the irony-challenged neighbor of a man who died having sex with a woman who then fleeced his house rather than report his death. [NBC Chicago]
I’m currently a 1L at a Tier 1 in Texas. I am thinking about transferring to a higher-ranked law school. My only reason for transferring would be to ensure that I would even have a chance of getting looked at for a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship. Is it worth it?
Right now I’m at the second-best school in Texas (may not be saying too much), and if I do well, job prospects will still look good. I just want a shot at fulfilling a dream and need advice. The schools I am thinking about transferring to are University of Texas, Georgetown, Yale, Harvard (last two are big dreams with little hope).
Transferring schools is always tricky. My instinct is: Unless you get into Harvard or Yale, stay put, get awesome grades, graduate number one and become Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. But even then, the odds of getting that Supreme Court clerkship are remote. As for Georgetown and UT, they’re good schools—and both boast past Supreme Court clerks—but it’s not like going there is some sort of Supreme guaranty. Neither is going to Harvard or Yale, for that matter. You’d have to be in the top 5% and be an Law Review editor.
Since it’s tough to get on Law Review—much less become an editor—as a transfer student, you might want to take this into consideration. Then again, if you get into Harvard or Yale, just go. You probably won’t become a Supreme Court clerk, but so what?
Bottom line: Transfer because you want to transfer—because you’re unhappy at your current school or because you get into someplace you think you’ll like better—not because you think one school gives you a better chance at a Supreme Court clerkship. No one has ever succeeded because he went to Harvard, or failed because he went to a Tier 2 Law School, so try not to get too caught up in the whole “Where I go to school” thing. Dangerous game.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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So maybe that’s why she’s charging $350 face value for a concert ticket. Just start paying Fiona Shackleton boatloads of British pounds already and get this divorce over with, Madonna. [Reuters]
So, let’s see—so far this year, the sweeping trends for law schools have been to admit undergraduate students without taking the LSAT, completely stop offering grades, abbreviate programs to two years and still charge students out the ass for what is starting to sound like the equivalent of a certificate from the New York Bartenders Academy.
University of Illinois is now the second school accepting sans-LSAT applicants. [Law.com]
A push is on at Columbia to join the grade-less, free-love bandwagon. [Above the Law]
Bitter Newsroom covered Northwestern’s new two-year accelerated J.D. program on 7-25-08. [Time]
Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing a 40% increase in graduate student fees. [Youth Radio]
20 Clifford Chance litigators became some of the bitterest lawyers in the east today as the ax fell, cutting them from the firm roster. [Am Law Daily]
The Big O (not Oprah—and not a reference to an orgasm either, dirt-for-brains) settled a famous, long-standing legal war. Overstock.com made the case interesting after its Chief publicly alleged a vast conspiracy masterminded by “The Sith Lord.” Is that anything like the new IP Czar? [CNN Money]
Father names baby Sarah McCain Palin in an effort to get the word out about the campaign. Because there are still people who haven’t heard of Sarah Palin. And this man’s baby will deliver the message to them. Like a beacon. She’s the GOP’s messiah. [New York Post]
While I never wore a ridiculous drugstore-purchased Superman costume to the office, I did wear one to a swanky Halloween party at the home of a famous female pop star. Problem was: I arrived at the party two hours early. It was just me—in a stupid costume—and the pop star—in jeans and a t-shirt. Oh yeah, and she didn’t exactly know me either. I was a friend of a friend. So there I was, some random ex-lawyer-turned-writer in the lamest costume ever, ringing the pop star’s doorbell. I was already nervous. Being an outsider. Not famous. Not terribly successful. I was sort of the token regular Joe at a fabulous LA costume party that I was told started at seven. And like the naïve outsider I was, I thought seven meant seven.
When Pop Star opened the door, she just looked at me quizzically. No smile. No recognition. No Halloween festiveness. Just a weak, slightly annoyed smile. Then finally, she uttered the following six words—six words I’ll never forget—“The party doesn’t start until nine.” Silly me, I actually thought that seven meant seven. Plus, it was a Sunday night. A school night. Who kicks off a party on a Sunday at nine? (Answer: Pop stars.)
To be fair, she did invite me inside. Pop Star and her two assistants—also both dressed causally in jeans—talked to me for about two minutes then ushered me into the den, where I sat by myself, in a Superman costume, for about two hours. But it only got worse…
When the other guests finally arrived, it was clear that I was pretty much the only loser who took the costume thing literally. About 70% of the people didn’t dress up. The other 30% wore “cool” costumes. You know, the kind that actually make you look better or hipper than you usually do. Not the kind that you buy at CVS—and make you look like a pedophile.
As for Living the Dream, in my quest to highlight the 24-7 randomness of Big Firm life, I thought it would be funny to see Nick’s nemesis boss, Phillip Atkins, call him back to the office on Halloween night while he was at a costume party, trying to have a good time. Costumes are embarrassing enough when you’re at a goddamn costume party, let alone an uptight, humorless law firm (which is why, I guess, I thought it would be funny.) To me, Atkins’ lack of reaction to the costume is the best part of the episode. He’s just another stupid associate in a stupid outfit getting called back from a Halloween party.
Anyway, the bottom line is: If you’re ever invited to a costume party, don’t go. And if you do, go two hours late—and don’t buy your costume at a drug store.
For the deal geeks out there:
If you were paying attention to the actual episode, you’ll notice that the Partner (Edward Kerr) tells Nick (John T. Woods) that the buyer wants to bump the purchase by $40 a share. Obviously, that’s a pretty big increase. Like crazy huge. So why does he say it? Because the actor made a mistake on that particular take. He was supposed to say $4 a share, but he said 40. And since it was his best take, we decided (after considerable and vigorous debate) that we’d go with the best acting performance, regardless of the $36 increase.
Or, if you’d prefer, we can assume that the seller’s stock is trading at $400 a share, so the $40 bump is only a ten-percent increase. Not earth-shattering news here, no doubt, but I wanted to make damn sure I preempted the M&A geeks and the mistake-hunters from ranting about the seemingly ludicrous $40 increase. Just so you know, I fought to use a lesser take where the actor said $4, instead of $40, to endure the transactional veracity. Until the editor told me I was insane, and the producer suggested I was ridiculous. Just another example of legal PTSD. Once a law geek always a law geek.
As for the Pop Star’s identity? I can’t say. Which is sort of ironic. Don’t you think?
Or just listen here.
Living the Dream is the brainchild of ex-BigLaw attorney Rick Eid, who wrote the episodes from his own experiences as a middle class, second-tier law school graduate who lands the job of his dreams at the world’s most prestigious law firm. Watch all of the Living the Dream episodes here on Bitter Lawyer.