Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

November 2014 Archives

5 Non-Times New Roman Fonts Courts Use in Their Opinions

A while ago, we offered some advice on typography and typesetting, much of which we learned from reading Matthew Butterick's excellent book Typography for Lawyers. But we'd be remiss if we focused exclusively on the lawyer-end of readability. What about the courts? As the Seventh Circuit has made clear, it's thinking about typography and readability -- even as others aren't.

Here are some good (and not so good) alternatives to Times New Roman (TNR) we've seen in court opinions.

Bye Bye Bingham: What Associates Should Do in a Firm Merger

Congrats Morgan Lewis: you've now an even bigger BigLaw firm.

Last week, Morgan Lewis acqui-hired most of Bingham McCutchen, bringing on 525 lawyers and staffers, as well as 226 partners from the now-former firm. The move expands Morgan Lewis to around 2,000 lawyers in 28 offices, reports the ABA Journal. It means more or expanded practice areas for ML, and a few fleeing partners from the new conglomerate -- of the 307 listed partners at Bingham, 226 are making the move. The rest, presumably, are headed for other BigLaw firms. Thirty Bingham staffers are losing their jobs as well.

As for the associates, it looks like most, if not all, are making the cut. Here are a few thoughts for them, as well as anyone who doesn't make the cut:

Jackson Lewis Ditching Billable Hours for Associates

The life of the BigLaw associate is centered around billable hours, and get about 2,000 of them in a year. Who hates them? Associates hate to keep track of them and meet them. Clients always think they're being cheated. And all of their spouses hate hearing about it.

Seems like only partners like billable hours. Jackson Lewis, however, decided to buck the system. Starting in 2015, reports Above the Law, 293 of its associates will longer be tied to them "as an evaluative tool."

'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 9

After months of flashbacks and teasing, we've finally arrived at the "Winter Finale" of "HTGAWM," where the question #WhoKilledSam gets #answered. The next question is what tantalizing event they're going to dangle in front of us for the next half of the season. This week's episode had nothing to talk about in the realm of "Monster of the Week" or law school, outside of a nod to final exams. Then came the murderousness. Big spoilers ahead. Big.

That's Detective Goth Girl

At the behest of Detective Lahey, Goth Girl is armed with a USB flash drive, determined to find some dirt about Dead Girl's murder on Sam's computer. When Goth arrives at the Law Office House, Michaela is already there, on an innocent-ish mission to return the justice statute that she just pilfered from "OITNB" Guy (OK, fine, he has a name; his character's name is "Asher," but that's my sister's cat's name, so we'll just stick with "OITNB" Guy.)

Attorney Myron May ID'd as FSU Shooter: Here's What We Know

Boy, what a week for Lawyers (Allegedly) Behaving Badly. Today, police announced the Florida State University alum who shot three people at the FSU library early this morning was a lawyer too.

Myron May, 31, graduated from FSU and then received his J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law. According to WESH-TV in Orlando, May entered the FSU library just after midnight, opening fire with a semiautomatic handgun, wounding three students.

Police killed May after he allegedly refused to drop his gun and began firing at them.

Why Should Lawyers Care About the 'Serial' Podcast?

"Serial" is the hot new podcast that's taking the nation by storm. A spin-off of "This American Life," "Serial" is the story of Adnan Syed, a kid from a Baltimore suburb who was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 1999. The show's creator, "TAL" producer Sarah Koenig, was clued into the story by Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer, journalist, and friend of Adnan's family.

The show unfolds in a serial format (hence the name), with a new episode each week focusing on a different aspect of the case. The podcast has already spawned a cottage industry of meta-podcasts and discussion groups. Much of the focus of the story is on the legal system.

Why should lawyers care about this show? (Minor spoilers follow. Just listen to the podcast, already.)

How Many Lawyers Are on the Ferguson Commission and Who Are They?

On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced 16 people would come together to form the Ferguson Commission, a panel appointed to help the community heal after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

According to The Associated Press, two attorneys will sit on the Ferguson commission, along with pastors, a community activist, a professor, and a detective, to name a few. And while some construction blogger is likely furiously typing about the owner of a Ferguson construction supply company's involvement, we're a bit more interested in the two lawyers.

So who are the lawyers on the Ferguson Commission?

UConn Adjunct Law Professor Nabbed in Prostitution Sting

On Friday, police in Southington, Connecticut, put an ad on a prostitution website soliciting clients. They got a lot of replies, including six suspects who were arrested at a local motel, apparently hoping they could get in on that prostitution they'd heard so much about.

And wouldn't you know it? One of them was a University of Connecticut adjunct law professor.

5 Tips for Your Legal Cover Letter

We've covered resumes before, but cover letters are a whole other ballgame. The cover letter -- which you should be sending even if a job description doesn't ask for it -- is your time to shine, to separate yourself from all the other lawyers blindly sending their resumes into the ether.

While there's no single correct way to craft a cover letter, there are some general principles you can follow for a smoother experience and with any luck, a better outcome (read: a job!).

#DearFindLaw: Should I Go Home for Thanksgiving?

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

This week in #DearFindLaw, it's almost time for the first major break of the school year. For a blessed week at the end of November, there will be no classes -- but that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done. Whether you're a 1L freaking out about final exams (what's the Rule against Perpetuities again?) or a 2L struggling to finish the draft of your law review note (and praying the Supreme Court doesn't rule on your case until after you've published), you're a long way from free to do what you please.

In a Q&A here in the Bay Area, Justice Stephen Breyer once said that being a lawyer means having homework for the rest of your life. Does that mean you should go home for Thanksgiving? Here are a few pros and cons:

'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 8

As ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" ramps up toward its "Winter Finale" (which seems like a new method of normalizing the "it's reruns until February" phenomenon), things kick into high gear. The scandal multiplies to levels not even seen on "Scandal," and we're only one week away from finding out who killed Sam! Spoilers follow. You know the drill.

This Week's Murder: Fairly Irrelevant

This week's murder was phoned in, basically filler between the more salacious bits. Mom killed the nanny? Meh. Father and son bonded over mutual STDs? Whatever. Each weekly murder is supposed to teach us a new legal concept, but we didn't learn much this week. Something, something, lack of capacity? Prof. Keating didn't even mention the cases where sleepwalking was used as a defense to negate mens rea or actus reus. Then again, she's probably preoccupied, what with her husband sleeping with the dead girl.

Law Students: Should You Transfer After Your 1L Year?

After the LSAT, the dozens of applications, the campus visits, the scholarship negotiation, and finally, matriculation, comes finals. But what comes after that?

In a month or so, you'll have your first semester 1L grades. Some schools consider transfers based on these grades alone, while other schools will take applications but hold off on making an offer until your entire 1L is in the books. Nonetheless, you need to be thinking about whether you want to transfer for 2L and 3L year.

Setting aside soft factors, such as how much you love/hate your current school's social scene, what factors should play into your decision? Here a few you may want to consider:

The ABA Has a Wine Club. No Really. Our Bar Sells Wine.

I don't even know where to start with this one: the "bar" puns or "lawyers are such alcoholics ..." trope that this feeds so well into.

The American [Legal] Bar Association has a wine club. That's right, our office just got an email from ABA Leisure presenting their wine club and wine store (via Uncorked.com). The unsolicited email promises "curated" wines for "all palates and budgets," and if you're the type that doesn't need monthly deliveries of booze to your doorstep, there's also a store for one-off purchases.

Lest you think the ABA is encouraging alcoholism, don't you worry: in size 2 font (estimating) at the bottom of the email, the ABA advises you to "Drink Responsibly."

Husband-Wife Attorneys Arrested After Double Stabbing in Va.

There was so much blood that neighbors thought that the victims had been shot. Police responded to an alarm, thinking that they were headed to a home invasion robbery.

Instead, it was perhaps the most extreme alleged case of a disgruntled ex-employee that you'll ever see. Alecia and Andrew Schmuhl, both attorneys, were arraigned this morning on charges of malicious wounding and abduction after they allegedly entered the home of Alecia's former employer and stabbed both him and his wife.

Why? An employment dispute, apparently.

NCBE Memo: Low Bar Pass Rate Due to 'Less Able' Test Takers

Most states have already disclosed their July bar exam results (sorry, California, you've got to wait a little longer), and the results are pretty grim. July 2014 had the lowest passage rates in recent memory, and the MBE looks to be the culprit.

Why? Well, it could be NCBE's fault for failing to normalize the scores. It could be due to an increase in the number of repeat test-takers, who generally score worse with each re-taking. Or, it could be the thing that is obvious but no one wants to say: The test-takers this time just weren't very smart.

5 Social Media Tips for Law Students

You know you aren't in college anymore. And you know that social media sites typically couldn't care less about your privacy, so there is a decent chance that whatever you post will accidentally go public. (Or an annoying friend will screen-cap it and pass it along to others.)

And yet: you're on Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. And Ello. And whatever the heck else is out there.

Here are five tips for survival:

Veterans: Thinking About Law School? 3 Things You Should Know

After serving your country and coming back -- what do you do now? Many veterans actually find it hard to land a job in the private sector. But law schools are reaching out to the new market of veterans, crafting legal education programs specifically designed for the needs (and restrictions) of veterans.

Here are three things veterans should know about particularized law school programs and veterans in the legal community:

A Pre-Holiday Checklist for Law Firm Associates

You've seen the Christmas commercials and the Thanksgiving commercials, all filled with snow and jingling bells (which are wholly foreign to you if you're practicing in Los Angeles). The holiday season is upon us, and that probably means you'll soon be going on vacation.

If you're lucky enough to get some time off in your first year as an associate -- and even if you are technically "on vacation," you might be tethered to your phone -- there are some housekeeping chores you need to complete before locking your file cabinet and jetting off to parts unknown (or your parents' new house in Florida).

Here are a few "to-dos" you may want to add to your list:

As Critics Predict Apocalypse For Law Schools, 1 Narrowly Survives

As many as 80 law schools are in trouble, and 20 might be closing within the next few years. This is the prediction of David Barnhizer at Law Next. He points to the festering mass of surplus schools in states with few jobs (California -- that's you!), especially those schools that are state-accredited (as opposed to ABA-accredited), online-only, or otherwise useless for those who want to actually practice law someday, as schools that are especially vulnerable.

One school that nearly met that fate, perhaps not coincidentally, a California school, is the ABA-accredited Thomas Jefferson School of Law. It just narrowly survived by selling its soul to creditors. Is it just the first of many to flirt with death?

'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 7

Ah "HTGAWM." Two weeks ago, I was mocking your mediocrity. Now? Actually I still am, but hey -- last night's was a good episode. If you're just now catching up on the show, note that everything after this handy italic paragraph is spoiler-laden: Watch Episode 7 first. And if you haven't read our previous recaps, you've got some homework to do.

Client of the week? This week it was all about Rebecca ("Goth Girl"). There were motions and staged courtroom drama, the appearance of the guy who played Richard Fish in "Ally McBeal," a two-timing prosecutor, and an assumingly fake rape allegation tossed in for fun. Four of the Keating Five had sex, with the uptight Michaela getting a surprise prenup instead.

Oh, and as we predicted, Mr. Keating is probably the murderer (of Lyla, the dead student that he was boning). Fun shocker: She was pregnant at the time of death! (Motive!) But who killed Keating, with the trophy, in the office? (Probably Goth Girl, but I'm saying there's a 10 percent chance it was Wait-List Wes and she just got unlucky with the blood splatter.)

5 Post-Law School Employment Buzzwords and What They Really Mean

Yesterday, we blogged about law school marketing buzzwords. The buzzwords and marketing gimmicks don't end upon graduation, however, because job statistics count towards law school rankings as well.

For all the current law students out there, the ones that delusionally think that "things will be better when I graduate!," we're going to give you a quick vocabulary lesson on post-graduate employment.

Here are five terms you need to know:

5 Law School Marketing Buzzwords and What They Really Mean

There are hundreds of law schools in this country. All of them teach law. We'd even venture a guess that nearly all of them use casebooks. And really, the the quality of instruction doesn't vary that much between the schools, though you'd almost certainly learn more from an Ivy League school than the People's College of Law in Los Angeles or some online dump.

In fact, the main differentiators are cost, geography, and prestige (which means jobs). When schools lack in one of those three categories, or have trouble differentiating themselves from their many peer schools, they do what all businesses do when offering a commodity to a saturated market: adopt marketing gimmicks.

We've been writing about "fixing" law schools, law school demand, and really everything law school-related for some time now. Here are some of the increasingly popular buzzwords that pre-Ls might not know about:

Lawyers: How to Tell Bosses, Co-Workers, Judges That They're Wrong

In your law firm -- heck in your life -- you'll encounter people who are wrong. As in, factually wrong. Like, you can point to the fact in the book where what that person says contradicts what the book says.

Granted. But what if that "wrong" person is your boss? Or your colleague? Or -- gads -- a judge? There are different strategies for dealing with different kind of people (and here we're assuming, of course, that you've done your homework and you're certain that you're right and the other person isn't). Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

5 Tips for Law Students Entering (Horrors!) Final Exam Season

As we move into November, we also move into exam season. At many law schools, Thanksgiving will mark the end of regular classes, or very close to it. And after that, final exams are nigh.

Before you get started studying the wrong way, check out these five tips to make sure that you're not wasting your time doing things inefficiently -- or even badly:

Lawyer Finishes 10th in NYC Marathon; Won U.S. Marathon in 2013

All those excuses about being too busy with work to exercise? Well, you knew they were crap, but now you have this lady to hold up as motivation.

Annie Bersagel is a recent Stanford Law graduate. She's a lot more than that, actually: She was a college All-American, the 2006 NCAA Woman Of The Year, a Fulbright Scholar, a California-licensed attorney and now she works in investments in Norway.

She's also a professional athlete in her spare time, with a U.S. Marathon title under her belt last year, and a 10th-place finish in the New York City marathon earlier this week, reports Forbes.

Hey 1Ls: Finals Are Almost Here but It's Time to Start Job Hunting

Outlines? Nearly done. Practice questions? In progress. Thanksgiving plans? Cancelled. Christmas and New Year's plans? Likely alcoholic. But first: finals.

Bu wait: What about your 1L summer? Take it from me, kids: You need to be digging for a gig. And even if you do dig, there are pretty high odds that you'll find nothing of note, thanks to, you know, the economy and all. But still, try.

What's that? Me? Don't get me started on my 1L summer: It involved reppin' Mandarin-speaking prostitutes (no hablo) and writing a movie based on someone else's plot-line -- a movie that, in retrospect, sounds a lot more like an adult film than a female-empowerment drama. I was used!

Anyway, the past is past. You need to know this: You're about to hit the first important date for job-hunting, which is, of course, right around finals. Are you ready?

Is Your Law Degree Worth $1 Million?

In a paper published in The University of Chicago Law School's Journal of Legal Studies, Michael Simkovic, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, and Frank McIntyre, a professor of finance and economics at Rutgers Business School, wanted to know whether it's worth it to go to law school. Their conclusion: A law degree adds about $1 million on average to a person's lifetime earnings.

We've heard about the dearth of law practice jobs and the lousy doc-review-on-contract ones that are available. Couple that with an increase in the cost of law school.

Given this horror show, is it still worth it? And how did Simkovic and McIntyre arrive at their $1 million figure?

Midterm Elections 2014: 5 Reasons Lawyers Should Care

Tuesday is Election Day, and because it's a midterm election year, the political climate in the country is poised to change. But because it seems almost no one except hardcore politicos are planning to vote, the reaction on Wednesday is likely to be, "Hey, what happened?"

As usual, there are a lot of legal battles going on this year. Here are five reasons why lawyers should pay particular attention to what happens on November 4: