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April 2013 Archives

Stakes Growing Higher in 'Faruqi Gets Freaky' Harassment Lawsuit

Lawyers living lasciviously. Litigation ensues. Claims and counter-claims are rushed to the courthouse, and the press. Now, the stakes get even higher, as the plaintiff has just amended her sought damages from $7 million to $13 million. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, has stated that they plan on amending their counter-claims as well, though we have no idea if they'll ask for more than their initial request of $15 million.

Really, $15 million from a debt-ridden recent law grad practicing foreclosure law in Nebraska? Good luck with that.

Insane Sorority Letter Highlights Harsh Reality of Social Media

It’s not easy living in the age of social media. Everything we do is documented. Everything we say is easily reproduced and published for mass consumption.

Everyone is a spy, and our peers are prone to ratting us out for our indiscretions.

It’s even worse for college students and law students. Can you imagine being the idiot that you were in your younger years now?

NALP: Life Still Sucks for Law Grads, No Hope Coming

Doom. Gloom. The bubble went boom, leaving an economy, and a legal industry, with no room.

We'd hoped, prayed, and lit candles for the soul of the legal industry, but alas, if the prognostications of Jim Leipold, the executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) are true, then there truly is no hope. Recent grads, and those to come, expect a career path as desolate and decayed as this molding bread city.

The $2 Million Question: Can F. Lee Bailey Pay His Taxes?

The Care Bears used to say “It’s never too late if you care enough.” This week, Justice Donald Alexander of Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court offered a similar sentiment regarding F. Lee Bailey’s chances of getting his law license back, the ABA Journal reports.

All Bailey needs is a good ol’ fashioned Care Bear stare … and $2 million dollars.

Is a 6-Day Law Preview Course Worth $1095?

After I passed the bar, I stopped pricing bar review classes because — frankly — I had better things to do. At least I did until today.

Do you have any idea how expensive bar prep is these days? More specifically, do you know how much BarBri costs? Law grads spend a hefty sum on bar review classes each year. BarBri’s Massachusetts bar review course costs $3525. In New York, it’s $3675. In California, it’s $4135. (Oh, but don’t worry: You get $250 of that back if you return your books and materials.)

BarBri is either good at what it does, or the people who flock to its courses are particularly smart; either way, the company boasts an impressive bar passage rate. And now it’s touting similar kick-ass-and-take-names results for a course geared toward incoming law students.

Saul and Company: 3 TV Lawyers Who Make Being Bad Look Good

Why is it that the shady attorneys make the most compelling television characters?

Lawyers get a bad rap, but most of us follow the rules. We honor our ethical obligations. We want to do the right thing. But when we see a delightfully unethical attorney on the screen, we can’t look away.

Here are three of our favorites from TV shows of the past (and almost past). If you aren’t yet acquainted with this trio, snuggle up on your sofa and queue up your Netflix for some legal drama marathons.

Last Minute Ideas for Administrative Professionals Day (and Week)

Ja Rule once crooned romantically, "Where would I be without you?" Though one should (almost) never become romantically involved with the support staff, lawyers, associates especially, often maintain a dependent and (almost) intimate relationship with that person. You rely upon your administrative professional --that's a P.C. term for secretary or paralegal -- for everything from proofreading to research to remembering to send flowers on your mother's birthday.

This Wednesday is the official day for showing thanks to those people in your life that make your job easier. And much like your significant other won't remind you about that anniversary, your admin (probably) isn't going to remind you about his special day either. A few words of thanks isn't enough -- this is the day for the big, grand, gesture. Here are a few ideas:

5 Ways to Make Your Lunch Break Suck Less

It's 12:17 and I have not yet eaten today. Many of you are in a similar predicament. Our rush for productivity means we skip meals or eat fast food at our desks. We try to work through lunch to maximize productivity, or because we think it'll allow us to get out of the office sooner.

It won't. And it often doesn't. Breaks ironically help us to maintain productivity and to keep on schedule. So, while you may think that skipping lunch means you'll be headed home an hour earlier, the mental slowdown from trying to work eight-straight will probably mean that you'll end up staying late to finish that last bit of motion work.

Lunch is the perfect place to start, not only because I'm hungry, but because it is a common victim of the schedule crunch. Here are five ways to make that break better:

Law Schools' Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut

Practicality? Puh-leez. If that was the only consideration, philosophy majors wouldn’t exist.

With the collapse of the entry-level legal job market, and the unfathomable employment statistics that go along with it, one would expect that the pool of potential law students would shrink. Indeed, that has been the case. One foolish blogger has even suggested that this is the perfect “buy low” time to go to law school.

That foolish blogger (who coincidentally holds a liberal arts degree with two liberal arts minors) apparently has company. A survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep finds a whole lot of pre-law students who are headed to law school knowing that there are no law jobs. A few of the hilariously naive results from the survey include:

A Cautionary Tale: The Epic Fall of Dickie Scruggs

America romanticizes the Southern trial lawyer, thanks, in no small part, to literature. From Atticus Finch to the Grisham-imagined protagonist du jour, we cheer for these characters. We want to be them.

There’s a definite archetype for the Southern literary lawyer: He comes from humble beginnings, and finds success by fighting for the little guy. (And yes, I intentionally used the masculine pronoun in that description because most of these fictionalized attorneys are men.)

Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the famed Mississippi tort lawyer, not only embodied the archetype, he’s partly responsible for establishing it.

One Not-So-Good Suit Deserves Another

Everyone knows that a lawyer needs a good suit for court, but is the wrong suit cause for a suit?

Manhattan attorney Robert Ginsberg is suing Brooks Brothers for $7,646.51, claiming that a New York City store gave him the wrong suit, The New York Daily News reports. Ginsberg, who purchased “a stylish new, tailored brownish-gray tailored suit” in December, received “a used gray jacket and the wrong size pants” in January.

Ray v. Gray - Firm Jabs Back in Race Discrimination Lawsuit

As the nearly two-year-old lawsuit reaches the summary judgment stage, more details about the inflammatory accusations made by John Ray III against BigLaw firm Ropes & Gray, as well as the firm’s defense, are being made public, and at this point in the proceedings, it’s not looking great for Mr. Ray.

Previous reporting by Above The Law brought us the Ray’s story. The ninth-year associate was let go after the firm reportedly felt that his work was well below partnership standards. They also stated that his “fractured relationships with colleagues” and “inappropriate behavior” with subordinates contributed to the decision. That inappropriate behavior allegedly included sleeping with a paralegal.

Helping Locals and Law Students? New Clinic Sounds Like a Winner

Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days. The idea of working for yourself, of building something, of creating new jobs. It’s very appealing.

It’s also good for the legal industry. After all, even the risk takers of the world need legal representation. That’s why it’s refreshing to see another law school training its students to respond to that demand for attorneys who can assist entrepreneurs.

BigLaw Associate Gets Nod to Argue Davila Case to SCOTUS

They knew from a young age that Clark Kent was destined to be far more than your average farm boy. In fact, to refer to him as a mere farmer does not do his mighty skill set justice, just as referring to Orrick’s Robert Yablon as an “associate” does not even begin to describe the young man’s accomplishments.

“Rob is the full package,” Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick’s Supreme Court and appellate practice section told Bloomberg in a phone interview last week. “He is analytically brilliant. He is highly strategic. He is able to articulate in crisp clear prose the nub of the answer to any question, and he’s unflappable.”

Judge's Cell Phone Policy Puts Him in Contempt of His Own Court

The effects of BlackBerry's decline are being felt beyond the company-formerly-known-as-RIM's offices, beyond the shareholders' wallets, and beyond the frustrated fingers of those loyal to the company's ubiquitous QWERTY keyboards.

Judge Raymond Voet was in the midst of listening to a prosecutor's closing arguments when his new Microsoft Windows Phone began speaking to him a sultry, seductive voice:

Need a Job? 5 Reasons to Head to D.C.

Do you have any idea how many lawyers are hanging around D.C., not practicing at law firms? It's a lot.

In 2011, the ABA reported that 1 in 12 D.C. residents are lawyers. The national average is 1 in 260, according to the Huffington Post.

What makes D.C. a legal mecca? Is an employment pilgrimage in your future? Here are five reasons to head to D.C.

Unemployed? Go Midwest, Young Man. Go Midwest

Horace Greeley reportedly said, "Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles." That was 1883.

In 2013, recent law graduates would be wise to heed his advice, although it should be noted that "West," in 1883, was the Midwest. It's also still the place to look, as there is still opportunity in the "flyover" states.

Could You Trade Billables for Bestsellers? Lauren Willig Did.

Lauren Willig is just your typical Harvard Law grad who published three best-selling romance novels while she was in law school. No big deal.

After all, writing novels while studying law isn’t as hard as writing novels while working as a summer associate — or as a litigation associate — at one of the top firms in New York.

Oh, wait. She did that, too.

Foodie Stuck on Law School Choice (Hint: Food Ain't a Factor)

WinslowTHall, of SeriousEats.com, is facing one of the most important decisions of his life: which law school should he attend. He has two choices: University of Oregon and Syracuse University. Mr. Hall, per his profile, is from Durham, North Carolina and is concerned with the foodie atmosphere of the two towns.

Wait ... the foodie atmosphere?

Look, I'm a fat man. I get it. Food is tasty. After three years in Lexington, Virginia, which has such fine dining establishments as Waffle House (covered and chunked - what up?) and Applebees, I can understand the need for decent grub. Still, you're deciding factor between two schools is the quality of the cuisine? If you are really having trouble deciding, here are the factors you should consider.

Bored Law Prof Creates Bar Exam Difficulty Rankings

Jay-Z once said, "Moral victories is for minor league coaches." Grammatical issues aside, we couldn't agree more -- except we'd amend that to "Moral victories are for minor league coaches and blogger-lawyers."

I'll let you in on a little secret: In 2008, when I entered law school, I couldn't even fathom the concept of working as a law blogger. I wanted that BigLaw money -- $160K of pure, unadulterated happiness. Yes, money does buy happiness. Just ask the legions of unemployed lawyers with $100K in debt. And though I'm having a hell of a good time blogging, much like Allure, I'm slowly dying with every student loan bill.

Nonetheless, I can take solace in one simple fact: I passed the hardest bar exam in the country on my first try. Moral victory? Sure. Pathetic thing to brag about? You're damn right.

33 Reasons to Be Happy You Went to Law School

You've heard the gloom and doom and law-school-ruined-my-life talk, but what good does that do you if you're already in law school? Or if you've already graduated?

Spring is here, the sun is out, and I had a lot of caffeine this morning: It's time to look at the bright side of law school.

In the spirit of Barbara Ann Kipfer's "14,000 Things to Be Happy About" -- which, incidentally, I received from a friend after finishing law school -- here are 33 reasons to be happy you went to law school:

Univ. of AZ Lowers Law School Tuition; Market Correction?

It's universally known that the legal job market is nonexistent for new graduates. Heck, The New York Times writes a story on it every week, it seems. The ABA released job data earlier this week for the class of 2012 and unsurprisingly enough, there were no jobs. We've also talked about how this is a "buy low" time for entering law students, as the number of applicants is nearly half of what it was a few years back.

Low demand. Low expectation of income upon graduation. High tuition. Too many schools and the same number of classroom seats. Something had to give.

Who's the Least Ethical Lawyer on 'Arrested Development'?

"Arrested Development" is the second-most-brilliant television show ever made. Though no one watched for the three years when it originally aired, it developed a cult following through web-streaming on Hulu and Netflix. And now, it's being resurrected with 15 new episodes that will air exclusively on Netflix beginning May 26.

If you're one of the show's many zealous fans, then you've come to know and love the zany attorneys who have graced the screen with the wackadoodle Bluth family. All of them commit some kind of professional infraction during the course of the series, but who's the least ethical lawyer on "Arrested Development"? Here are your options:

Tuition.io Lets You See How Sad Your Student Loan Situation Is

Lets all say it together: "We are screwed!"

Tuition.io, while an incredibly useful student loan management tool, is also incredibly depressing. The magic site pulls in all of your student loans, public and private, and tells you how much you owe, how much interest you've paid, and how much you will pay by the time you die of exhaustion in 2030.

It breaks down your balances, illustrates your interest accrued over the principal in a red bar graph, estimates your monthly payments, and has a calendar that tells you when payments are due. It even has a cute little slider that tells you how much you'll save if you can somehow manage to dump additional funds into your monthly payments.

The only thing it doesn't do is pay the loans for you.

Is There Still No Shame in Judge Wade McCree's Game?

Chris Rock tells us that there’s no sex in the champagne room. Judges’ chambers, however, are an entirely different story.

In March, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a complaint against Judge Wade H. McCree for making a false report of a felony, making misrepresentations to the Commission, and engaging in improper bench conduct and demeanor, the ABA Journal reports. Part of that improper conduct and demeanor included having sex in his chambers with Geniene LaShay Mott, a witness in a child-support case.

But don’t worry: He swears that his relationship with Mott didn’t influence his decisions in the case.

April Foolishness: Three Ways to Prank Your Coworkers

Before we begin, one small warning. Don't use these on humorless coworkers or senior partners. Generally, the more technophobic the victim, the more angry they will get. That being said, if you have coworkers who are still human, such as the fellow associates that you go to happy hour with on Thursday, these are all brilliant ideas for April Fool's Day.