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May 2016 Archives

A summer associate position (or internship, or clerkship) is more than just a summer job -- it's a two- to three-month long interview. And that's not just because some lucky 2Ls may come out of their summer associate positions with a job offer. Even law students who aren't expecting an offer at the end of their summer will still build valuable relationships and future recommendations.

The key, of course, is to make the right impression. Here's how.

Chicago Law Jumps to the Top of the Full-Time Job List

Do you want to actually have a job as a lawyer after you graduate? Then you should really do your best to get into University of Chicago. Data by the ABA and analyzed by The National Law Journal suggests that 91 percent of grads went out with a full time job, more than any other law school in the nation.

It’s another stellar year for the school that had similarly great results for the year 2014.

Summer is just around the corner and if you're anything like the rest of us, you're dying to get away. Maybe you'll go camping in the mountains, fly off to a tropical beach, or visit Europe again. But why be just a lawyer on vacation when you could be a vacation lawyer full-time? Sure, vacation law is a practice area we just made up, but plenty of major vacation companies and destinations are hiring. And they could be hiring you.

So, dust off your resume. As part of our affiliate partnership with Indeed, here are this week's three coolest, vacation-themed legal jobs.

Law Student Beats DC Comics and Marvel in 'Superhero' Lawsuit

Considering the tiresome glut of superhero movies hitting the theaters over the last decade, it's no surprise that two of the biggest names in the industry trademarked the term superhero back in the 70s. It was something that a small-time entrepreneur had to battle against almost four decades later.

It was a win for the little guy in the end. Managing to get the makers of Thor, Iron Man, and Superman to back off? Who's the superhero now?

A Las Vegas judge handcuffed a public defender and seated her with inmates after she spoke over him in court. Assistant public defender Zohra Bakhtary had been arguing to keep her client out of jail when Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen told her to "be quiet," then had her cuffed when she continued to speak. While Bakhtary was cuffed, Hafen went on to finish hearing the case, sentencing the client to six months in jail. He then ordered Bakhtary uncuffed, saying, "I think she's learned a lesson."

The judge says it was all an exercise in the importance of courtroom decorum. We're not so sure.

Gunning for BigLaw? You'd Better Attend One of These Law Schools

Increasingly, students are motivated to pursue BigLaw simply as a way to eliminate their monumental debt-load as quickly as possible. It's the price one must pay to be educated as an attorney these days.

Of course, getting into BigLaw is easier said that done -- and one of the most tried and true methods is going to the right school. We've been looking at some of the more popular lists released by the National Law Journal and the eponymous U.S. New & World Report rankings. Looking at both lists under a "totality of the circumstances" kind of angle, we've put together a list of schools that will boost your chances of getting into BigLaw.

What's the best response to someone making fun of you on Twitter? Probably not to sue them for libel. One lawyer learned that lesson the hard way last week, after his case was tossed from court. Todd Levitt is a Michigan lawyer, former adjunct at Central Michigan University, and self-described "badass" who sued a former student for libel after he created a Levitt parody account on Twitter -- telling the kid to "grab some Vaseline" and get ready for prison.

Apparently, they don't teach the First Amendment at CMU.

Ah, law school summers. Those long days on the beach and care-free nights, finding young love in the sand dunes. Actually, that's the start of "Grease," not a law school summer. When you're in law school, summer tends to mean one thing: work. And you should be focused on work in the summers! Summer clerkships, associate positions, and internships are the best chance for you to learn some actual lawyering skills.

But work isn't all you should be doing this summer. Here's a few more tasks to add to your calendar.

Lawyer Conference in Cuba Moved to Miami Over Political Fears

Despite warming relations between America and Cuba, the annual meeting of the Inter-American Bar Association has been relocated from Havana to Miami. An abundance of caution, apparently, is to blame.

If the conference had moved forward, it would have been the first time IABA had met in Cuba since the organization’s inaugural conference in Havana.

For Victims of the California Bar Exam, Is There a Silver Lining?

The pass rate numbers for the California bar exam are bad -- really bad. If you took it, there's basically a third of a chance you passed -- and that's if you were a randomly chosen individual. If you took the test and you were from an out of state, non-accredited law school? Why were you even sitting for this thing?

Still, we remain hopeful and have pushed an idea that this could be the beginning of the bottom. At least, we hope so.

You've graduated from law school. Now the real challenge begins: surviving the bar exam! For most new-J.D.s, this means hundreds of hours studying black letter law that you probably only touched on in your three years of law school.

The key to doing well on the bar exam is simple: study, and study effectively. To help you out, here are our top seven bar study tips, from the FindLaw archives.

A prominent Cleveland defense attorney was publicly admonished for his potty-mouth. Craig Weintraub, who is best known for representing Ariel Castro, the man who kidnapped and imprisoned three women for over a decade, was overheard calling Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan a series of unprintable names. That lead to a contempt proceeding, some schoolmarm scolding from federal district Judge John Adams, and Weintraub's public wrist slap.

Weintraub, of course, thought the whole thing was F-ing ridiculous and that everyone should stop being such little $@#!*s.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: I Want YOU! For Gov't Lawyer!

Have you taken your shot at the private sector and now want to move over to government work? We can't blame you. For many young and middle-aged attorneys out there, the fight to be king of the private practice hill is just not all that it's cracked up to be.

But you've probably picked up a bit of experience along the way and that can help you ease your way out of your current rut. So for this week's top three cool jobs, brought to you as part of our affiliate program with Indeed, we present to you some of the cooler government attorney jobs.

Donald Trump released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees yesterday. The list included none of the usual suspects like former Solicitor General Paul Clement. Indeed, Trump seems to have avoided almost all markers of "establishment" Supreme Court candidates. There is not a Harvard law grad in the bunch. What former SCOTUS clerks are included were more likely to clerk for Justice Thomas than the Chief Justice, or even Scalia. They're "Trumpy" of course, but they're not total outsiders. Then again, neither was Donald Trump.

One name stands out, though: Justice Don Willett, of the Supreme Court of Texas. Besides being on the highest court in the Lone Star State, Willett is a well-known member of the legal Twitterati and self-styled "Tweeter Laureate of Texas." From his @JusticeWillett handle, he's consistently mocked The Donald online. Here is some of his best work.

Being Vulnerable Is Part of the Job Search

"What, they rejected me?? How Dare they!"

If the above sentence is representative of your usual reaction whenever you receive a rejection letter from a prospective employer, we applaud your self-esteem. But most people aren't blessed with such a sense of self-importance. For most lawyers (indeed, people), looking for a job and waiting for the inevitable rejection can be a harrowing experience. But being vulnerable is all part of the process. Fortunately, just knowing that you're not alone can help a bit too.

If you like the law and you love literature, the American Bar Association wants to hear from you. The ABA and the University of Alabama School of Law announced the finalists for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction last week. The Harper Lee Prize (which the late author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has given her stamp of approval) is given every year to the best legal fiction that "illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change."

There are three finalists, and now the ABA is asking lawyers who they think should get the gold. Let's take a look at these standouts.

Lawyer Brings Parking Ticket to Appellate Court and Wins

An Indiana lawyer who stayed in the game and brought a parking ticket all the way to Indiana's appeals court won on the issue of when a ticket is "paid". Score one for motorists everywhere.

It's nice to see that at least some within the population do not simply pay parking tickets lying down and are still contesting these things using the old ways rather than apps like Fixed.

Congrats to all the new law school graduates! If you were one of the thousands of 3Ls to become J.D.s this weekend, you've got an exciting life ahead of you! Well, actually, you've got a lot of bar prep coming up, first. But you can worry about that in a week or two. Right now, there are plenty of non-bar related topics to focus on, from the fun stuff (like picking your hobbies back up) to the not-so-fun (like getting on top of your debt).

Here are our top four non-bar-exam-related tips for new law school grads.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: It's All About Compliance

There are a couple of things you need to run a business in this world: capital, a great idea, and a great in-house lawyer. It's no secret that running a company in a highly litigious country can be a real task, particularly when faced with a wall of federal, state and local laws that must be observed. Hopefully, that's where you come in.

If you're looking for jobs this week, we suggest you look in house. As part of our affiliate agreement with Indeed, here are the coolest compliance attorney positions around

The human body is weak. We are soft, fleshy. We tire easily, can work barely 16 hours a day. We demand standing desks, days off, health care. When thrown against a wall of endless document review, legal research, contract revisions, motion practice, we crumble.

Robots, however, are resilient. They need none of Man's comforts -- or even pay. And now, when it comes to the boring, rote work that many flesh-bound lawyers slog through day-by-day, at least one firm has decided that robots make a better fit. BakerHostetler recently partnered with the legal tech company ROSS to put artificial intelligence to work in its bankruptcy practice. Is this the end of the law as we know it?

Law Student Loan Assistance Programs: There's Help If You Look for It

Call it proper planning and preparedness, but law students can save themselves a lot of grief with regards to their student loans if they work hard and they begin looking in the right places. What we're talking about is student loan assistance from the law schools themselves.

And this next bit will no doubt come as a surprise: several law schools are even offering programs that give notable debt relief even for grads who don't go into public service. And that should give hope to even the most jaded attorney-to-be.

If you're a fan of Jeopardy!, the long-running game show hosted by Alex Trebek, then you already know: Monday's Double Jeopardy! round featured a whole column dedicated to law firms. Three contestants, all teachers, went head-to-head to see who had the quickest buzzer finger in town -- and who knew the most about the law. They did... alright.

Think you could have done better? Try answering the questions below.

Judge Quits in Disgrace: 1000s of Nude Pics Found of Male Defendants

In some of the more ribald news we have had to discuss this year, Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann stepped down from the bench after stories floated to the surface that he handed out softer sentences for men who went to his home and posed nude or who engaged in other related acts.

According to findings so far, the allegations against Boeckmann don't simply stem from recent times: some allegations date back as far as three decades ago, according to Associated Press.

The American Bar Association is currently considering amending the Model Rules on attorney misconduct to make "discrimination and harassment" a professionally punishable offense. That's great, right? After all, pretty much no one is for discrimination and harassment.

Except the wording of the proposed amendment has many attorneys up in arms -- particularly over the inclusion of on "socioeconomic status." Here's why.

Top NY Lawyer Sues Family Matriarch for Defamation

To say that this is a family feud would be characterizing the facts mildly. Top litigator Nicholas Gravante of the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner has sued his mother, Elinor Gravante, for $15,000 and injunctive relief stemming from what he alleges are defamatory remarks about him and his firm. And if you think the name Gravante sounds familiar, it's because Gravante, Sr. represented the Gambino and Lucchese crime families.

To make things more interesting, Gravante's sisters have joined their brother against their mother in a separate suit concerning high value property in Connecticut. And mom has sued back. What a great piece to follow Mothers' Day, right?

Judge Judy took to "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" last Thursday to discuss her role as one of America’s most famous jurists. (Remember, "Judge Judy" is not a real court, but the cases are real and the proceedings are technically binding arbitration.)

It was a fun, fast-paced interview and, true to form, Judge Judy had plenty to say, including some advice for the Supreme Court. Let’s take a look..

You were inspired to pursue the law by Atticus Finch -- before the rewrite. You always wanted a career helping others. Or you just want to get out of debt sooner. Either way, public interest law is for you. And while public interest law might not make you the richest lawyer ever, odds are that it will make you happier.

So, to help you break into a career helping others, here our FindLaw's 6 top tips for lawyers who want to work in the public interest.

Drugs and Sex With Clients: This Florida Lawyer Went Too Far

Disbarment spells the end of (former) Florida public defender Linda Dawn Hadad who allegedly descended into a bit of midlife crisis over the last couple of years.

Although people may still claim to be a little fuzzy on attorney ethics and professional responsibility, almost anyone can tell you that sex with your clients and taking payments in illicit drugs falls far beyond that line, no matter how fuzzy you think it may be.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: Summer Internships

If you’re still in law school, you may tend to find our weekly "Cool Jobs" posts somewhat less than helpful. After all, what good is a job to a law student if it requires ten years of experience in the legal field?

Well, law students, this post is for you! Everybody needs to start somewhere and not everyone can start making $125,000 right out the gate. If you’re between years (and between jobs) maybe you want to look at the list of internships we have for you below. As part of out affiliate program with Indeed, we present this week’s offering of Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs.

When it comes to gay rights, the legal industry tends to be pretty supportive. Indeed, when gay marriage came before the Supreme Court last year, no major firms were willing to argue against gay equality.

But there are still places where the gay rights orthodoxy has not spread, and Brigham Young University is one of them, according to a former BYU law student. Brad Levin claims that, after writing a book on gay marriage and Mormonism during his 3L year, the school threatened him with expulsion if he didn't change his position.

Law School Deans Oppose the LSAT, but at What Cost?

We cannot overemphasize enough the significance of recent changes in both the legal profession and law school education. Between major advances in legal tech and the 2008 recession, it is not the best time to be a young lawyer.

Some of the new realities have hit many law schools hard, which has forced them (and even their bars) to start "dumbing down" in order to make up numbers. Law school deans, in fact, are picketing what Above the Law has called the "tyranny" of the LSAT. But does this all come at a cost? You bet.

What brought down the biggest and greatest rock band of all time? It wasn't Yoko Ono, despite what you might have heard. It may have been litigation however, as the Beatles were dogged by a series of lawsuits and legal missteps virtually from the band's founding.

That's Stan Soocher's take on it, at least. Soocher, an entertainment attorney, recently published "Baby You're a Rich Man: Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit," which was excerpted in the May issue of the ABA Journal. The Beatles' early legal troubles meant that the band "found themselves on the losing side of battles over nearly every aspect of their business," Soocher writes. And those ill-fated battles stretched on long after the band had split.

BigLaw Money Report: Which Firms Are Making Bank?

Even though there has been a palpable change in the mood as to the continued viability of the large law firm model, BigLaw still is a crowd-drawer. Consumers and practitioners alike are always interested the latest on BigLaw scandals, career prospects, and money reports.

Well, this time it's money. This year, the biggest winner in the gross revenue category is Latham & Watkins, hardly surprising. What's the number to top next year? $2.65 billion.

Before she left the law, Victoria Lai was on track to be a major legal success story. She'd worked for the Obama presidential campaign, clerked for an appellate judge, practiced at a BigLaw firm, and, at 34, landed an enviable gig as a government lawyer in the Department of Homeland Security.

But somewhere along the line, she picked up a home ice cream maker. Soon after, it was goodbye law, hello new career as an ice cream maker. After all, who can resist ice cream?

Parent Loans: New Sallie Mae Options for Funding Your Higher Ed

If you are a student considering a degree even higher than the undergraduate one you recently earned, you're most likely in that unenviable position of wondering how to finance that degree. Well, recently Sallie Mae became the latest lender to offer its own version of the new type of "parent loans" called "Smart Option Student Loan" intended to help well-meaning family members fund their children's education -- maybe yours.

It's nice to have additional options for funding, but as always -- read the fine print.

You've finally made it. You survived the school year, you got through final exams, and now it's summer. But while summer sure beats law school, it's not entirely a vacation. You've still got that summer associate position (or clerkship, or internship) to take up your summer days.

Your summer associate position could kick start a successful career. It might even end up landing you a job. That is, if you do well. So, to help you out, here are our top tips on how to be the best summer associate (or clerk or intern), from the FindLaw archives.