Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

May 2013 Archives

Let's Get 'Cited': Citing Urban Dictionary Slang in Court

Move over Black's, there's a new dictionary in court and it's free. Urban Dictionary, an online slang dictionary, is a source that some lawyers and judges are relying on in court to define the latest in urban vocab.

Words like "iron," "catfishing," "dap," and "grenade" are just some of the words defined using Urban Dictionary in courts last year. Should attorneys should be "cited" for this new resource? It's online, free, and ... reliable? Um, the jury is still out.

Four Sub-$35k Luxury Performance Cars for Associate Attorneys

You graduated. Then you tackled (or are tackling) the bar. After a few months of spinning your wheels, you even found a job. Now, your transmission is going out and you suddenly find yourself in an unfamiliar place, with the desire, and more importantly, the means to get a new(ish) car.

That's right. No more disposable $200 Nissan Pulsars (it was a rough time in my life).

Here are your top choices, based on a completely arbitrary set of criteria. These are all used, under $35,000, and the twin considerations of luxury and performance are key. Prestige is also. After all, Pulsars won't fit in at the firm, right?

National Spelling Bee? We Can't Even Handle These Legal Terms

Ha. Let's all take a moment to be thankful that we're not these kids, the finalists at the National Spelling Bee. "OMG. Totes went to the Biebs concert last night. What'd you do?"

"Uh, I won a spelling bee on television." (Crickets. Years of loneliness.)

Kids, go learn guitar. It'll help you impress fellow tweens and means you won't spend your entire youth pouring through literature, alone in your room, wishing, ever so desperately, that you never appeared on national TV spelling the word "appoggiatura" (which is gross and sounds like a body part).

Upstart.com: Crowdfund Student Loan Debt, Commit Ethics Violation?

I was skimming my second-favorite law blog this morning, and ran across an interesting post by Elie Mystal on Upstart.com, a crowdfunding site where "Upstarts" sell their soul pledge a percentage of their income for the next ten years in exchange for present-day funding. The gist is "give me money now, and if I don't fail at life, I'll give you a percentage of my income, per my tax filings, for the next ten years."

It's a nice concept, and could pay off if you back a winner. Plus, who needs student loan debt relief more than lawyers?

Happy Graduation: Recent Cal Law Grad Gets Jail for Bird Beheading

Even the guys from the Hangover weren't this bad ... at least until today's newly-released second sequel.

Three UC Berkeley School of Law students ended the life of an exotic bird, and perhaps their legal careers, with one moment of stupidity and cruelty last year, when the three intoxicated men chased an exotic bird into the trees at a Las Vegas hotel's wildlife habitat. Moments later, they emerged with a decapitated bird corpse.

Treadmill Desks: Healthy or Hype For Sedentary Lawyers?

There's a new trend in office furniture. It's the treadmill desk. Basically you are walking on a treadmill with an attached desk in front of you. It's part of a movement to decrease sedentary lifestyle while boosting health and increasing productivity while at work.

Thanks to Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, treadmills are getting dusted off and finding a new use now as treadmill desks become the new trend in geek culture. These desks have been sprouting up lately and perhaps you've noticed them in your office.

Want to Discharge Student Loan Debt? Fail Bar, Wait 10 Years

It’s a much-lamented fact of life that student loan debt is basically non-dischargeable. Can’t pay your credit card debts? File bankruptcy. Can’t handle hospital bills? File bankruptcy.

Can’t pay your student loans? Move to Djibouti.

For one lucky law grad, however, he’ll be slightly closer to debt-free, despite three failed attempts at the bar, a single-income household, and the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of a lower court’s holding that even if he were to pass the bar, he probably wouldn’t make much more than he does now.

Law Sucks. What Else is There? Legal Startup Companies

Class of 2013, we’re not sure what you were thinking. You applied and entered law school after the crash. It was common knowledge that there were no jobs. It was a near-certainty that none were coming either.

That doesn’t help you now, however. And we’ve been there - with student loan companies calling, craigslist-sourced employers not beckoning, and your parents nagging you to take out the trash and mop the kitchen before dinner. It gets better. We promise.

It may not get better as a lawyer, however. BigLaw is still not hiring. Many states, California included, are shuttering courthouses and slashing funding. Public service openings are few and far between.

Legal Profession Ranks Most Socially Responsible

We love lawyer jokes, right? How is this one? What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.

Even better: My lawyer didn't want to marry his wife for her money. But there was no other way to get it.

Alas, these jokes may never go away and let's be honest; we kind of enjoy them from time-to-time. However, not all lawyers are greedy. The Taproot Foundation has developed a social responsibility ranking system for office professionals. You'll never guess which profession is number one.

Keep Calm and Study On: 5 Tips to Stay Sane During Bar Review

It's bar review time, and there's no easy way to say this: your life sucks.

For the next few months, you'll be studying incessantly, neglecting relationships, and nervously pull at your hair, hoping and praying that you don't fail because if you do ... actually ... for the majority of you, it makes no difference: you're unemployed anyway. Welcome to 2008-2013.

Been there. It gets better. We promise.

Even still, it's an expensive test, and no one wants to suffer through bar review more than once. So yeah, there is a little pressure. It's all good though. Though you may be afraid, shoot, you may be petrified, here are some tips for survival:

A Craze We Can Get Behind: Getting Employers' Logo Tattoos

It gives new meaning to corporate branding. (Rim shot.)

Young tech workers in Bangalore, India are so excited to work for the tech titans, that they are taking things a wee bit too far — and tattooing the companies’ logos on their bodies, reports The Telegraph.

They aren’t the first to think of the idea (though voluntarily getting “Oracle” tattooed on your chest might be the weirdest example). Last month, long-time Louisville Cardinals Coach Rick Pitino fulfilled a promise to his team to get a tattoo commemorating the national championship. Other members of his staff got similar tattoos, which will only be awkward if they are later hired by, say, the Kentucky Wildcats.

With Fewer Applicants, Schools Seeking 'Substance' Over Scores

This should cause a bit of a chuckle. We’ve pointed out recently, a couple times, that the massive drop in law school applications has meant a shift in admissions results. Someone destined for a middling school in 2006 might have a shot at a top school today — or better yet, a scholarship!

Less applicants presumably means less people talking the LSAT and less people with gaudy LSAT numbers to fill the slots of the top schools. Of course, they could always reduce the size of incoming classes (adjust supply for the reduced demand). But that’d mean less incoming tuition to cover the schools’ massive overhead.

Instead, at least at the University of Michigan Law School, they’re looking at the whole person.

Associate, Clerk, or Intern: Surviving and Thriving This Summer

It’s summertime! Unlike your younger years as a carefree college kid delivering pizza, this summer you’ll be doin’ time in an office. You’ll spend your days researching law, handling client intake, or if you have a really unique boss, writing movie scripts!

In the old days, most law students would spend their summers working for a judge, a BigLaw firm, or in a public service internship. Today’s reality is a bit different, and you could be working anywhere from BigLaw to a craigslist-sourced crapternship™. No matter where you work, however, keep these tips in mind:

Happy Graduation! Now What?

Got a couch?

If you weren't one of the lucky few to land a gig before graduation, well, that's probably not going to change any time soon. Over the next year, much like a groundhog headed for hibernation, you'll need to burrow in for the cold winter summer of post-graduation bar review and unemployment.

Bad Cover Letters - Lazy Eyes and Laborious Prose

I learned something interesting yesterday. I had always assumed that my hiring at FindLaw was the product of my appropriate pedigree (English minor, law degree from Dubyanel, and background in blogging, web design, and HTML coding) seasoned with the helpful praise of a dear friend's mother, who has worked at FindLaw for quite some time.

I was wrong. It turns out my "sparkly" cover letter was to blame. I dug up that cover letter, and decided to share with you, the dear recent grads seeking jobs, what seems to have worked. Here's the best line from an overly-casual cover letter:

Two Proposed Student Loan Bills Could Help Law Grads, Won't Pass

Much respect to Senator Elizabeth Warren, the first-term Congresswoman who beat incumbent Republican Scott Brown for one of Massachusetts’ seats in the Senate. According to the Los Angeles Times, a big reason for her victory was her embrace of the Occupy Wall Street movement and criticism of big banks.

And with her first bill, she may have just won a few more votes.

The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, which has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, would set student loan interest rates (for one year only) at the same rate that banks get when they borrow money from the federal government: 0.75 percent. The interest rate on federal student loans is currently set to double to 6.8 percent this summer.

Lawyers: Thank Your Mothers for Everything

If you aren’t planning a surprise visit, or at least a phone call, for this upcoming Mother’s Day, slap yourself. You are an ungrateful jerk.

You see, you are who you are, good or bad, because of your mother. Are you a cynical, cold, emotion-less robot? You’re probably an excellent attorney. Your mother also probably didn’t love you enough as a child. Thank her for the lack of affection because it means you are going to excel in a world of sharks.

Here are a few other reasons to thank your mothers:

Another Set of Law School Rankings; ATL Emphasizes Employment

Without even perusing Above the Law’s 2013 Top 50 Law School Rankings, we were certain of one thing: they beat the heck out of Thomas M. Cooley’s Judging the Law Schools Rankings (which emphasize the number of chairs in the library — Thomas M. Cooley is #2, right behind Harvard!).

No ma’am, ATL’s rankings emphasize something far more important to grads and pre-L’s everywhere: actual legal employment. As the glorious blog quipped, “Most people attend law school to become lawyers. Not butchers, bakers, or candlestick makers.” Bonus points are awarded for BigLaw and clerkships.

The Legal Job Market Isn't Dead; It's Just ... Delayed?

This year, we've seen a lot of bad news about the legal job market. The most recent statistics were devastating for everyone except lateral candidates who have been practicing for more than five years. Half of the class of 2011 was making less than $60k, which means student loans are sitting pretty in default status. The depressing statistics would have been unfathomably low just a few years ago. Today, it matches with many of our experiences, as well as those of our classmates.

One man, however, contends that the glass is half-full. Professor D. Benjamin Barros of Widener tracked down law grads from the class of 2010 and 2011 to see how they were faring today, rather than at the nine month mark. The results were better, though they were better in a "getting shot in the leg is better than being run over slowly by a steamroller" sort of way.

Five Cat Breeds for the Yuppie Associate Attorney

You aren't a dog person. They smell, chew up your Thom Browne ties, and they bark -- incessantly. No, that isn't a reflection on you, the one who trained the dog. It's the dog's fault. You swear. If that is how you feel, don't go for one of these associate-appropriate breeds.

So feline it is.

A young associate attorney on the rise has merely one factor to consider when choosing a cat: the status symbol. Do you have a large amount of disposable income to spend on an exotic breed? Some of the rarer varieties, while costing up to $3,000 per cat, might be worth it as a meowing manifestation of all of your hard work. (Or you might just have a strong desire for a forty pound cat.) Plus, you're making the big bucks, right? You can't put a price on happiness.

Here are five odd breeds of kittens perfect for a young yuppie attorney:

Departure Memo: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

I knew before I finished law school that I didn't want to practice law. Actually, I knew that before I started law school. But I was really good at mock trial in high school, and my parents thought I was throwing away all that talent if I didn't go to law school. So I went.

It was a bad choice, but it is what it is.