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February 2011 Archives

Why Aren't You Billing at $1,250 Per Hour?

So what are you charging for a billable hour? No matter what your answer is, compared to the top rates, you might be selling yourself short. According to the Wall Street Journal, the following attorneys are all charging well above $1,000 an hour:

  • Kirk Radke of Kirkland & Ellis - $1,250 an hour.
  • Ian Taplin of Kirkland & Ellis - $1,220 an hour.
  • Gerhard Schmidt of Weil Gotshal & Manges, - $1,165 an hour.
  • Michelle Y.L. Gon of Baker McKenzie - $1,163 an hour.
  • Andrew Shutter of Cleary Gottlieb - $1,160 an hour.

Dutch Law Firm Uses Video Game to Evaluate Law Graduates' Talent

Did you know the legal marketing industry has its own award season?

This niche market gets together once a year to praise all there is to praise about bolstering law firms. And it turns out those who make up the legal marketing industry in the Netherlands are a particularly innovative bunch. Apparently, a Dutch law firm uses a video game to hire new attorneys. Ever the creative bunch, it is called "The Game."

If Watson Can Win Jeopardy!, Could He Do Our Legal Research?

If you haven't heard, Watson is the newest threat to mankind's continued domination of planet earth. IBM's supercomputer recently became a superstar as it faced off against Ken Jennings, Jeopardy's current record holder. Watson more than doubled Jennings' winnings, igniting panic amongst lawyers everywhere.

Wait, what?

Watson can clearly play Jeopardy, but can he do anything else? How are Watson and lawyers connected? Legal jobs are being outsourced to India, are they now going to be outsourced to a computer?

It's possible.

Woman Lawyers, Law Students Aren't Speaking Up

Women have made great strides in the legal field, but still fall short when it comes to being heard. A recent study reports that female law students are less likely than male law students to participate in classroom discussions or seek advice from professors. They're also more likely to be motivated by fear.

This phenomenon is not just limited to law schools, but instead plagues the legal profession as a whole. Women are less likely to take leading roles in law firms, and, as recently discussed, only argue 15% of cases that are heard by the Supreme Court.

Who Will Get Spring Bonuses This Year?

Spring is (almost) in the air, and so are spring bonuses.

Everyone knows that, when it comes to compensation, large law firms are followers, not leaders. Partners sit around in their corner offices, poking around at the firm's financials until Above the Law gets a hot tip that Big Prestigious Law Firm (BPLF) number one has started the spring bonus game. And then they poke around a little more, waiting to see what BPLF number two does, just to make sure they don't accidentally overpay the serfs.

But what do they do when BPLF number two does overpay their associates? They panic. And do nothing.

Mayer Brown Employees Work 24/7 During Chicago Blizzard

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Often mis-cited as the US postal creed, it could just as easily be used for the Chicago law firm of Mayer Brown.

When the blizzard rolled in, they didn't send lawyers home, they sent out for reinforcements and dug in.

"We're a 24-hour operation," Bob Harris, director of public relations, told the ABA Journal reported. "Closing down has an impact on the firm's offices around the world, because several of our administrative departments are centralized here, such as conflicts and certain aspects of accounting and [information technology]."

The firm even went so far as to get hotel rooms for employees working overnight during the Chicago blizzard. Harris went on to say that "technology systems should be available, with the help of U.S. offices not affected, to accommodate those who work from home."

Divorce Lawyers Love Day After Valentine's Day

He loves me, he loves me not.

Oh, who cares? He forgot Valentine's Day again. We're getting a divorce.

Practicing law makes you a cynical, bitter person. Well, most of us, but that isn't the point. Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that cynics love to hate, especially since many Americans feel the need to celebrate with gusto. All the pink and chalky candy hearts get old fast. Divorce apparently doesn't.

Top 10 Law School Home Pages

So the law school rankings are in. No, not the one where they rank the quality of the schools. It's the law school rankings for best website design.

That's right, now people are not only ranking the schools themselves, but the website design of said schools as well. Is this silly, or is it useful? It's clear that authors of the rankings took it quite seriously.

Best Valentine's Gifts for Lawyers

So what are the best Valentines gifts for lawyers? It's not an easy question. Lawyers can be a particular and eccentric bunch. And Valentine's Day can be a landmine of a holiday. To help you out, we scoured the internet for answers, and found that lot of the feedback on Valentine's gifts for lawyers was negative. For example:

Sexy underwear is out, because lawyers have to work too much and so they are out of shape and won't look good in the underwear, said Bitterlawyer.com. Love Coupons are out as well, because lawyers will obsess over the terms and conditions.

Woman Sues Law School Over Failed NY Bar Exam

If a law school got sued every time a student failed a final exam or was subject to the anguish of not passing the bar, there'd be a lot fewer law schools in this country.

Wait. That might be a good thing.

A woman is suing Oxford Brookes University (not to be confused with the Oxford) for failing to teach her how to answer basic legal questions. In other words, they didn't teach her how to take legal exams and now her career is ruined, according to her complaint.

USA's New Legal Drama 'Fairly Legal' Features Mediation!

If there's one thing less exciting than another lawyer television show, how about a show about mediation? "A mediator is kind of a referee in a game with no rules - except those agreed to by the parties involved," a judge played by Gerald McRaney says early in the pilot episode of Fairly Legal.

Kate Reed, is "a former lawyer with a complicated personal life," writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Reed is played by the gorgeous Sarah Shahi, who might make the show worth watching even if it was an hour-long advertisement for the Slap Chop. The show is set in San Francisco.