Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

June 2012 Archives

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Savannah Guthrie.

Guthrie, NBC News' chief legal correspondent, co-hosted the "Today" show Friday morning with little on-air fanfare. Hours later, the network officially named the ex-attorney as the show's new permanent co-anchor. Guthrie's predecessor, Ann Curry, left the show Thursday.

Guthrie's career path, from top scorer on Arizona's bar exam in 2002 to second chair at America's No. 1 morning show, means the battle for breakfast-time TV ratings will soon be joined by not one, but two network news anchors with JDs.

Just because you look like Ernest Hemingway, don't mean you act like Hemingway, at least that's what a Florida judge said.

Attorney Frank Louderback is representing Jerry Alan Bottorff in a capital defense murder trial. Bottorff is accused of murder for hire and could face the death penalty if convicted. Pretty serious stuff.

But Louderback had other things on his mind in addition to the life of his client. In fact, he had Ernest Hemingway on his mind, as Lourderback was scheduled to compete in the semifinals of a Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest in Key West. So Louderback asked a Florida judge to suspend the case, and allow him to leave town and compete.

'Intolerable Blowhard' Scalia's Dissent Embarrassed Court: Critics

Supreme Court justices are expected to be slaves to the law and to ignore the political issues when making their rulings. Most of the time, they accomplish this goal, sometimes to the dismay of the losing side.

But in the Court's decision on the Arizona immigration law, Justice Antonin Scalia is being criticized for his perceived focus on Obama's immigration policies over the case itself.

Critics are blasting Scalia's dissent, which he read in open court, and calling him all kinds of names: 'Intolerable blowhard' in Salon, 'Splenetic hyperbol[ist]' by The New Yorker.

Those are fighting words and they may just miss the point.

Blasphemous. An art grad has better job prospects than a law grad?

According to a survey, someone holding a Masters in Art is 86% likely to be employed. In contrast, a law grad is only 55% likely to be employed in a law-related field, as indicated in a law grads employment survey.

Is it too late to trade the gavel for a paint brush?

5 Attorney Golf Rules for the Novice Law Firm Golfer

You've been invited by some of the partners at the firm to play golf. Wonderful!

Or maybe not so wonderful. After all, for some of you, when someone says "tee time," you automatically think of Earl Grey, scones and lemon curd. But a lot of attorney events can occur on the golf course - meetings, charity tournaments, etc.

So, what do you do if you're a golf virgin? Is business golfing the same as leisure golfing? Not to fret, here are some quick tips to get you through your round at the club.

The Oatmeal Lawsuit: Not a Winning Strategy

The list of people who don't like The Oatmeal, a wildly popular webcomic, is fairly small but it definitely includes Charles Carreon who has slapped a lawsuit on the site's creator, Matthew Inman.

Not only is Carreon, the attorney for FunnyJunk.com, suing Inman, he also included the National Wildlife Federation, American Cancer Society, and unnamed Does in his suit. This move is just the latest in the sometimes hilarious battle between the two parties.

Let's take a step back and see how this started.

Good news for incoming students at UMass Law: Massachusetts' only public law school has won provisional ABA accreditation, and is freezing tuition and fees for the next three years.

For the school, provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association marks "a major milestone," the University of Massachusetts' president said in a statement.

For students, it marks a major expansion of their potential legal career options.

Lawyer Parents Plant Drugs on Elementary School Volunteer?

Kent and Jill Easter attempted to frame a school volunteer by planting drugs in her car, but the joke's on the two California attorneys instead.

The Easter's didn't like the way Kelli Peters supervised their son so they made a plan to get her fired by planting drugs in her car. The Easter's provided an anonymous tip to police that Peters' had drugs in her car, but the facts didn't add up.

The incident happened in February but it took the police several months to trace the crime back to the Easters. Then on Tuesday, Kent and Jill were arrested for trying to frame Kelli Peters.

The alleged facts of how these Orange County attorneys became inept criminals is a tale of overprotective parents gone bad.

Why the BigLaw Business Model Should Be Put to Sleep

Following legal industry juggernaut Dewey & LeBoeuf's fall from grace, BigLaw's future has never looked more grim.

After all, if one of the largest law firms in the world could go belly up, what does that mean for every other BigLaw office? Just last December, Dewey employed over a thousand lawyers and had 26 locations around the world. Its annual revenue was close to $800 million. Now, a little over six months later, it's bankrupt.

It's hard to think that Dewey is a one-time hiccup in the otherwise impervious BigLaw model. It's time 

How a sex addiction and drug addiction joined forces to ruin the career of sexting DA Kenneth Katz.

Kenneth Kratz is the former Calumet County District Attorney in Wisconsin. Two years ago, Katz got in trouble when he sent sexually suggestive text messages to a victim of domestic violence during the prosecution of the woman's ex-boyfriend.

After the incident became public, Kratz lost his job, his money, and his wife. Now, Kratz says he's never been happier, reports the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Police in Texas are investigating a woman who allegedly faked attending law school and forged a law degree, complete with signatures from the school's dean and president.

Michelle Lee Fyfe, 43, of Dallas, also claimed to have worked as an intern at Haynes & Boone, an international corporate law firm. But there is no record of Fyfe ever working there, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Fyfe declined to comment to the Morning News. But coworkers described how the working mom's law school tales became increasingly suspicious over the years.

New Rainmaking Trend: Manicure Meetings

Forget the golf course as a casual place to meet with clients. Instead, professional women in New York are turning to manicures as a way to connect and close important deals.

Instead of a loud bar, an overfull coffee shop, or a distracting sporting event, the nail salon could be the perfect place to meet with a new client and have an informal chat while still appearing professional.

It's an interesting twist on the traditional locations since the nail salon offers a benefit that no other location can.

Does This Legal Job Make Me Look Fat?

Bad news: Being an attorney is not good for your waistline. Lawyers and judges are more likely to be overweight than most other professions and that information is supported by multiple sources.

Attorneys primarily work in front of a computer or hunched over documents, sit for long hours on the job, and spend a lot of their meals at their desk eating take out. Add to that the stress inherent in the practice of law and you've got a recipe for some serious weight gain.

Good news: That desk you're chained to? It's about to become your new exercise machine.

Texas Lawyer Brings Baby to Court After Court Denied Continuance

Amber Vazquez Bode thought she was entitled to maternity leave when she had a baby in April. The Austin lawyer was prepared to take it easy for a few months before heading back to work.

Then Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass denied her motion to continue an upcoming case and she found herself forced to appear at court at 9 am on a Monday morning along with her baby.

On the surface it seems like an unfair situation. But would you believe me if I said Bode deserved it?

If you're a young attorney making a lot of money in Miami: (1) congratulations and (2) stay away from the strip clubs.

Mark Gold, a South Florida attorney and self-proclaimed king of traffic tickets, rang himself up a $19,000 tab at the Goldrush strip bar in Miami.

While the attorney does not deny signing his name to the credit card bill, he does claim that he did not ring up the tab willingly.

Law Schools Cut Class Sizes after Applicants Wise Up

Finally, a sensible response by law schools -- cutting class size.

For the past decade or so, the legal job market has been terrible for new grads. And yet law schools kept on admitting more and more students, creating a glut of highly qualified, overly educated, unemployed people.

The law school bubble had to burst eventually, didn't it?

5 Things Law Schools Don't Want You to Know

Guest post by Jennifer K. Halford, Esq.

Many college students question if they should go to law school. They are filled with noble aspirations of changing the world. And they think a law degree will enable them to do so.

Sound familiar?

But there are things that law schools don't tell you. Things that I wish someone had told me before I went to law school.

Here are 5 things law schools don't want you to know:

High-profile attorneys charge premium rates for their services, but it may be hard to top this: One of the nation's most prominent lawyers bills clients at the rate of $1,800 an hour, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That breaks down to $180 for every tenth of an hour billed -- that's, $30 a minute, or 50 cents per second.

Who is setting such a high bar for an attorney's legal fees?

The 5 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits Filed by Lawyers

Just because you're an attorney doesn't mean you should file a lawsuit every time someone infuriates you. It just makes you look ridiculous. And it makes the rest of us look like greedy, obnoxious slime balls.

The following lawyers had to learn this lesson the hard way. Their lawsuits -- most of which were filed pro se -- have been forever immortalized on the Internet for future generations to read. Google them, and details about the following legal missteps are amongst the first things you see.

Who needs to pass the bar exam anyway? Having a license to practice law may not be as important as it used to be, as new law grads face the worst legal job market in decades, a new report finds.

The Class of 2011 reports an overall employment rate of 85.6%, the lowest since 1994 when only 84.7% of new law-school graduates found work, according to the National Association for Law Placement's annual Employment Report and Salary Survey.

Of the 2011 graduates who found jobs, only 65.4% landed jobs that require bar passage -- an all-time low in the NALP survey. The survey also revealed:

A Big Law Survival Guide for Lateral Attorneys

Lateral attorney hires aren't always in the same boat as fresh-from-school hires. Anyone who's ever worked at a big firm will tell you that Big Law politics aren't easy to navigate. If you're making a lateral move from another big firm, then you might have some understanding on what to expect as a newly hired lateral attorney.

Whether you're coming from a big firm or a small firm, there are some things you should know about making a lateral move.

5 Rules for Summer Associate Fashion

It's summer associate season which means that 1L and 2Ls will hit the legal workforce for the first time. You may be pondering wardrobe choices and what not to wear to the firm.

Sorry fellas, this article is geared for BigLaw ladies. You guys are rarely caught in front of your closet scratching your head for hours.

The wardrobe of a female lawyer, however -- that is an entirely different beast. 

The rules are changing but it's not always easy to know what works (and what doesn't) at a law firm. Above the Law's Staci Zaretsy had a fabulously fashionable piece on lawyer attire recently. It served as our inspiration for these rules for summer associate fashion.

A Boston law firm's ad for a full-time associate is raising eyebrows because of two numbers: the salary (just $10,000/year) and the number of people who've applied (32 in the first week alone).

Gilbert & O'Bryan LLP posted the ad on the Boston College Law School's career website. "Compensation is mainly based on a percentage of work billed and collected," the ad states, according to the Boston Business Journal. "We expect an associate to earn ten thousand dollars in compensation in the first year."

Though the firm says dozens have applied, some job seekers and labor lawyers are questioning whether such a low salary is legal for a full-time job.

5 Things Law Students Should Avoid Doing in a Judge's Chambers

Summer jobs for law students are a big deal. They often set the stage for a graduate's first real legal position. Among the choices, working in a judge's chambers is quite popular. But if you're lucky enough to land one, there are a lot of things you shouldn't do.

Working with judges and their clerks can be trying on a law student's mind. There's also that whole working for free issue, as most law students will be well-dressed volunteers. Most 1L and 2Ls won't know what to expect until they actually start.

However, regardless of your supervisor's personality, here are five things you should never do as a summer law clerk.

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: David Westin.

A former private-firm partner turned corporate counsel, Westin is currently making the rounds on the lecture circuit with his new memoir "Exit Interview," about his tenure as president of ABC News from 1997 to 2010.

It's a role that many journalists initially scoffed at, as Westin had no prior newsroom experience before taking the helm at ABC News. But as huge national stories began to unfold, Westin's legal knowledge became immensely valuable.