Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

January 2016 Archives

NJ Law Firm Manager Allegedly Traded Sex for Legal Services

According to NJ.com, a prominent law firm's manager exchanged sex from both male and female clients for the firm's services. A complaint filed in Camden County Superior Court last December against the Law Offices of Conrad J. Benedetto alleges the firm manager John Groff (also a convicted felon) manipulated clients and exchanged legal services for sex.

An exchange of service for service, one could say.

Is Massive Law School Debt Hurting Public Interest Law?

It looks like our neighbors to the north are going through a bit of a crisis in terms of law student priority. In the opinion of a current 2L at the University of Manitoba, the climbing tuition rates of law school is possibly hurting public interest. Rather that pursuing public interest work, debt-laden law students are motivated to seek higher paying corporate jobs.

These same observation can be made down south. In fact, we Americans were talking about it a long time ago.

It's no secret that law schools are struggling. Top students aren't attending, new grads aren't passing the bar, and pretty much no one is able to pay back their debt. But that crisis isn't confined to the Florida Coastal School of Law; it's reached even the upper crusts.

It seems Harvard and Yale, for all their tea, crumpets, and Supreme Court clerkships, can't get students to enroll, even as they shrink their law school class sizes. Let's look at which top schools are suffering the most.

How Do You Become a Sports Lawyer?

When asked what area of law they'd like to pursue, 2Ls and 3Ls traditionally say BigLaw partner, prosecutor, or in-house counsel. But lately, new grads are looking for something that will be more ... interesting.

One of these brass ring careers is sports law. But, as you already knew, one does not simply slip into sports law and start negotiation multi-million dollar contracts right out of the gate. That is, not unless they're extremely lucky.

Reed Smith Boots 45 Attorneys. More to Come?

If you follow BigLaw at all (3Ls, we're looking at you), you already know of the 45 lawyers laid off by Reed Smith last week. Reed Smith cites belt-tightening and "shifting in the legal landscape" for reasoning behind the shifts.

The question remains: are the Reed Smith layoffs a harbinger of things to come?

Despite bringing in $24 million dollars in business and generating nearly $8 million in revenue, former LeClairRyan partner Michele Burke Craddock says her success was devalued and diminished -- not because it wasn't enough, but because Craddock wasn't a man.

Indeed, sometimes credit for her accomplishments was stolen right out from under her, Craddock alleges in a new lawsuit against her former firm. Having started her own practice, she's now suing LeClairRyan, claiming that compensation schemes that were "cloaked in secrecy" discriminated against her as a woman.

Tidal Wave of Students Seek Debt Forgiveness

The year of the 2015 will now be marked as year of the student loan-crisis. Last year, the number of students who applied to have their student debts forgiven under the Education Department's obscure defense to repayment (DTR) program capped out at somewhere north of 7,500.

This doesn't sound like much, but it's a jump from the five that were filed between 1990 to 2015.

Rudy Giuliani Joins Mega-BigLaw-Firm Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg Traurig, one of the world's largest multinational law firms, just got a little bigger recently. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani will be joining its ranks as the firm's Global Chair of the firm's Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Practice.

It's nice to know that at least Greenberg Traurig has a department to cybersecurity -- an area in which most law firms fall short.

Forget Atticus Finch, the Supreme Court, or BigLaw partner paychecks. We've got a new source of legal inspiration for you: Dolly Parton. And by inspiration, we're not talking about humming along to 'Jolene' as you type up a memo, either.

There's actually a lot to learn from the endless career of one of country music's most famous singers. Here are three lessons from Dolly Parton that we think plenty of attorneys can take to heart.

Obama's Life Advice to a Law Student

President Obama recently fielded questions from audience members at his town-hall-meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, including one question from an enthusiastic Tulane 2L: How can I and my friends be more like you and the First Lady?

This vague question gave the President an opportunity to drop some excellent life advice for future legal professionals.

Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia and seventh most trafficked website in the world, turned 15 years old last week. And as maligned as the crowd-sourced encyclopedia is, it certainly beats shoving an Encarta '96 CD into your computer or, God forbid, pulling a book off the shelf.

Sure, Wikipedia can be unreliable, amateur, biased, unstable. But where would we be without it? After all, you use Wikipedia all the time. We all do. And it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Embezzling Lawyer to Serve 45 Months' Hard Time

A lawyer who, over a series of years, embezzled money from his client's estate to the tune of just under $2 million, was sentenced to 45 months of federal prison. The town of Oxford has won a small victory.

What at first began as a means to prop up his own financial survival became, according to federal prosecutors, a "scheme" conducted over a long period of time by a man who knew better. Peter Clark has been ordered to report to federal prison on February 24, 2016.

Indiana bankruptcy lawyer Brent Welke had a simple dream: to help his clients screw the banks, which his ads declared he'd been doing "since 1992."

But if one thing is true with American capitalism, it's that you don't screw the banks. The banks screw you. Welke was suspended in January for misleading advertising.

Should Law Students Hand out Business Cards?

Do law students need business cards? The short answer is "yes." The long answer is is "no-with-a-but." Even though it's not exactly a necessity to get business cards while in law school, there are some compelling reasons to consider getting some.

A California lawyer was sanctioned, and bench slapped, by the Northern District of California on Tuesday, for disrupting depositions, failing to comply with discovery orders, and, well, being a bit of a sleaze ball.

Peter George Bertling, a partner at Bertling and Clausen in Santa Barbara, California, earned a special rebuke for telling opposing counsel that "it's not becoming of a woman" to "raise your voice."

Is Harvard Law Suffering From the Admissions Crisis? Hardly.

At least one school we know about is weathering the law school admissions storm: Harvard Law.

As lesser ranked schools struggle to survive, the nation's top law school has adopted a strategy that few others have the privilege of doing: sucking up the talent from other great schools.

Transfers Into Harvard

In 2015, Harvard Law accepted 55 transfer students from other schools according to the ?ABA and Bloomberg Business. According to those sources, the school never took in more than 35 transfer students over the last four years. Why such a large uptick in transfer students?

Soon after Jonathan Nichols enrolled in law school at Seattle University, he started getting offers for backstage passes, calls from luxury-car dealerships, and raunchy texts from strangers. "There were some girls in really short shorts and skimpy tops, obviously turned around showing their butts. And they'd say 'I know you love us: because we got a big butt,'" Nichols says.

No, the messages weren't inspired by Nichols' attendance at Seattle's second-best law school. It turns out Nichols had purchased a new phone, with a local number, when he moved to Seattle. That number had previously belong to Sir Mix-A-Lot, the Seattle rapper best known for the 1992 hit "Baby Got Back."

Study: Law Students Are Hiding Their Mental Problems

According to a report that appeared in The Bar Examiner, law students are hiding their crippling depression and binge drinking because they think it will hurt their chances at becoming a lawyer.

Unfortunately, it's perhaps indicative of our profession when we say that we're not at all surprised by this.

No one goes to law school to become a doc review attorney, but plenty of lawyers end up with a doc review gig at some point, whether they're BigLaw associates or low-paid contract workers. And while document review might not be the most enviable task, it does constitute the practice of law. That's the ruling in a recent lawsuit which found that a contract doc review attorney at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan isn't entitled to overtime pay because doc review required legal judgment.

Consider it a double-edged sword. Yeah, doc review is terrible work. But at least it's terrible work reserved for attorneys.

Signs You Need to Find a New Firm

Do you remember when you were excited to go to work? Chances are it wasn't that long ago. Sure, your job pays reasonably well and you're probably not very inclined to go and search for another position now that people have begun stoking fears of another market crash.

Be that as it may, perhaps you should consider looking for greener pastures. If you've been making excuses to stay, do yourself a favor and keep an eye out for these telltale signs that you should start looking for another firm.

We've binged our way through 'Serial,' 'The Jinx,' 'Making a Murderer' and we still want more. The massive success of these criminal justice documentaries shows that there's a huge audience for stories that track the often-overlooked workings of our criminal justice system.

Since we're not willing to just sit and wait for the next great story, we've decided to throw out some ideas of our own. (Documentarians, contact me and we'll discuss royalties.) Here are five cases we think deserve some major public attention.

An Introverted Lawyer: Still a Good Thing

According to Eva Wisnik, president of Wisnik Career Enterprises in New York City, more than half of lawyers are actually introverts. Surprised?

In fact, there's good evidence to indicate most adults are extroverts, but that lawyers tend to favor the more reserved and staid. It looks like flamboyant and booming litigators have set the tone for the rest of us. It is, at first glance, sobering news for a world that has idolized the extroverted. But introversion has its advantages too.

If you're a fan of rock and roll -- and aren't we all? -- you've obviously heard the news by now. David Bowie, the musical icon, died of cancer on Sunday, just a few days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 27th album.

But Bowie's career should be more than just the music on your stereo. There are lessons to be learned there, even for those of us who chose the glamorous world of law over glam rock. Here are four lessons lawyers can take from the life of David Bowie -- and don't worry, this isn't "five ways to tell if your billing scheme is a Labyrinth."

It should come as no surprise that law school is expensive. There's pretty much no way anyone can sign up for a J.D. these days without hearing plenty of horror stories about student debt in advance.

But, it turns out that if you want more than just a degree, you'll have to start paying up even more. A new look at ABA numbers shows that schools with the highest bar passage rates and best employment numbers command a hefty premium, charging about 20 percent more in tuition. As they say, "the rich get richer and the rest get stuck with expensive bar exam tutors and temporary doc review gigs."

Case Western Law School Is Hurtin', but Maintaining Standards

It turns out that as well regarded as Case Western's undergraduate university programs and medical programs are, people apparently are not exactly falling over themselves to prop up the reputation of Case Western Reserve School of Law.

In fact, according to some, the law school has to rely on the rest of the institution to the tune of 35 percent for the law school's operating budget.

If you're looking for a new movie to check out and you want to see Leonardo DiCaprio get mauled by a grizzly bear, might we suggest The Revenant? The new movie tells the tale of legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, played by DiCaprio, who literally rises from his grave after his hunting team leaves him for dead. From that point on, the Revenant is focused on one thing: revenge. It's a harsh, beautiful film about the American West and the consuming desire for revenge.

Who came up with this tale of desolation and retribution in the cruel, unforgiving wilderness? A BigLaw partner, of course.

Lawyers Under 30 More Accomplished Than You, According to Forbes

It's the new year. You've probably made new year's resolutions to really do something with your life. Well, the following piece will either give you a much needed kick in the pants, or will make you feel really useless.

Every year, Forbes releases its "30 under 30 for Law and Policy," which highlights the movers and shakers aged under 30. This year, some of our fellow officers of the court made the list.

We've had some critical words to say about the lawyers featured in Netflix's 'Making a Murderer' documentary. But we don't have much criticism for Dean Strang, the Wisconsin attorney who, along with Jerome Buting, defended Steven Avery against charges of murder. Strang comes out looking like pretty much exactly what you'd want in a defense attorney.

But while 'Making a Murderer' has brought new attention to Strang, the defense attorney was shedding light on criminal injustice years before the documentary. Starting in the mid-90s, Strang set to work exposing the racism, corruption, and injustice behind the 1917 conviction of a group of Italian immigrants in Milwaukee.

Managing Your Work-Related Stress as a Busy Lawyer

If you went into the law because you were looking for something that was low stress, boy did you ever choose the wrong profession. It was well known before you attended law school that the law is a high stress, often thankless job.

Lawyers, at their worst, can be heart attack-prone pessimists. But we can also manage ourselves. Here are a few things to watch out for during your work day and solutions to help you manage your stress.

Two Law Schools Added to the Dept. of Ed.'s Hit List for 2016

Do you remember Thomas Jefferson School of Law? It had been the unfortunate subject of less than flattering allegations of puffing up employment figures. Guess what? Now it and another school have landed on the DOE's financial monitoring hit-list because of those questionable practices.

We opined and responded to two stories of previous Thomas Jefferson School of Law Grads -- Clark Moffat and Nikki Nguyen -- who decided to bring legal action against the Alma Mater because they were led to believe that being a Victoria Secret sales clerk was actually legal employment.

If you haven't been watching 'Making a Murderer,' start catching up now. Netflix's hit documentary tells the tale of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who spent 18 years behind bars for a sexual assault he didn't commit, only to be (possibly) framed for murder by the local sheriff's department after his release.

But if the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department comes out looking (possibly) criminal, it's hard to watch 'Making a Murderer' and not wonder whether at least some of the lawyers have faced discipline for their inept or potentially corrupt handling of the case. Len, what in the world were you doing?

Chief Justice Roberts Wants Less Courtroom Gamesmanship

The most senior judge in our land had some critical words for his more junior federal counterparts and for lawyers in general. In Chief Justice Robert's opinion, there's just too much in the way of bad-faith tactics in the practice of law. Whatever happened, lamented the Chief Justice, to just, speedy, and efficient resolutions to civil disputes?

It appears that Roberts is at the end of his tether waiting for lawyers to police themselves and has encouraged lower federal judges to assume a greater role in management and progression of the discovery process in civil disputes.

Burnout is endemic in the legal profession. And we're not talking run of the mill dislike for your job -- if you're not skipping in to work every morning, we don't blame you -- but full-on "I'd rather in be in an ISIS prison than here" giving up.

But just because burnout is common doesn't mean you have to succumb to it. With a little awareness and a little work, attorneys can help make sure they're not debilitated by depression, dread, and dislike for their job. Here are five simple resolutions that can help you stave off, or recover from, lawyer burnout.