Greedy Associates

Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog


The Uniform Bar Exam is about to get more, well, uniform. The UBE, which provides one test and one score but portability to the 16 different states what accept it, was recently adopted by New York. The Empire State's 15,000-some bar examinees will sit for the UBE for the first time next summer.

Those New Yorkers, along with Alaskans, Coloradans, and Alabamans, may be getting some company from the Best Coast -- if legal academics have their say. Law professors from throughout California are currently pushing for the state to adopt the UBE, according to the Los Angeles Times.

May you live in interesting times, the old Chinese curse goes. Interesting times these are, with rapid judicial and societal shifts, particularly around gay rights and same-sex marriage -- and only Scalia would view that as a curse.

This morning's Supreme Court declaration that the fundamental right to marriage extends to same-sex couples highlights just how much things have changed in such little time.

If Justice Antonin Scalia is known as one of the Supreme Court's most flamboyant writers, Justice Elana Kagan is sure giving him a run for his money. Already praised for her conversational writing style, Kagan's writing is also gaining a reputation for its clever humor -- and humorous citations.

Case in point: Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment. The case involved patent law and Superman figurines and gave the Justice ample opportunity to play off the case's "comic" nature.

A former University of North Dakota IL is suing the law school for having the temerity to kick him out. UND Law wrongly subjected his application to excessive, retroactive scrutiny, exercised institutional bias against him, and dismissed him without due process, according to the pro se complaint by ex-student Garet Bradford.

What could ever cause the relationship between a 1L and his law school to sour so badly? According to Bradford, the conspiracy against him was set afoot after he simply refused to take an unfair quiz.

Get ready, New York lawyers. The Empire State is updating its social media guidelines. The new set of guidelines, prepared by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, seeks to update its policy given the increasing importance of social media in lawyers' practice, advertising, and free time.

The new guidelines are almost twice as long as the New York State Bar's previous social media policy. The biggest change? Lawyers can no longer stick their head in the sand -- understanding social media is a now a must for all New York attorneys.

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

Your first week at the firm will probably find you worrying about your work load and stressed about performance as you start getting this whole lawyering thing down. But don't forget to make sure you have everything settled down HR-wise as well.

If your firm is large enough to have an HR department, swing by. HR can help set you up with direct deposit, employer contributions to your retirement plan, free gym memberships, and more. You've just got to know what to ask them. Here are five questions every new associate should ask their HR department:

Litigation is expensive -- really expensive. The cost of going to trial is one of the great motivators for settling, behind only the unpredictability of a jury.

Just how expensive a trial can be is easy for lawyers to forget. But, as Above the Law recently pointed out, normal people can still be shocked. A prime example is Peter Sterne, a writer for Politico's Capital New York, who amusingly found the cost of expert witnesses to be newsworthy.

Should Lawyers Marry Each Other?

Popular wisdom seems to indicate that lawyers fall someplace along the spectrum between petty thief and outright psychopath. If this stereotype holds true, then asking whether you should marry a lawyer is like asking whether you should marry a cold-blooded serial killer.

According to Forbes, psychopaths are most highly attracted to the job titles of CEO and, indeed, lawyer. So, stereotypes hold at least some weight. However, there are still many good reasons why lawyers should consider marrying each other.

Early in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," the lawyer and arch-villain Roy Cohn, multitasking between phone calls, sandwiches, and an interview, declares "I wish I was an octopus, a f---ing octopus. Eight loving arms and all those suckers." That sentiment would be shared with more than a few other lawyers. Imagine, three arms for billing clients, two to check your stocks, another for booking theater ticket and one for patting yourself on the back. Sounds great, right?

Not for some lawyers. Many lawyers and law firms are moving away from frantically paced legal work and adopting a philosophy of "mindfulness," according to The Wall Street Journal. For lawyers practicing mindfulness, two arms are plenty -- and they are almost as likely to be occupied by meditation as memo-writing.

It's no big news that many associates are overworked, staying in the office too long and too late in an effort to plow through their high workload and make their billable hour quotas. Most associates are familiar with working on a brief or filing until the very last minute before a deadline, which, now that documents can be filed online, is often the last second before midnight.

Generally, associates grin and bear it while the rest of the legal world looks away. That's not the case in one Ohio federal courtroom. When two associates in an antitrust case asked for a midnight extension, a federal judge decided this was a good chance to turn the request into a "teachable moment." The lesson? Man, your lives really suck.