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December 2010 Archives

Man Quits Job, Becomes Attorney to Sue Email Spammers

Looking for an interesting legal niche? Daniel Balsam found his long before he went to law school. In 2002 Balsam was working as a marketer and became frustrated with the spam emails he constantly received.

So did he complain to his friends? Write letters to his senator? Switch to Gmail? No, instead, Balsam started a website called, went to law school, got his law degree and now sues spammers for a living.

"What started just as kicks turned into a hobby, which turned into a career," Balsam told The Associated Press. "I feel like I'm doing a little bit of good cleaning up the Internet."

Quinn Emanuel Paying Associate Bonuses of Up to $82K

So much for Cravath being the high-water mark in the 2010-2011 associate bonus season. Quinn Emanuel will be paying its hard-working associates a bonus of up to $82,500. And there's more.

Other firms kept pace with Quinn, including Susman Godfrey and Cahill Gordon & Reindel, which the ABA Law Journal reports announced associate bonuses topping out at $75,000. However, reportedly, Boies Schiller & Flexner bonuses this year take the proverbial cake reaching over $200,000 for a few chosen associates and with an average of $75,000 for those at the firm more than a year.

US News Law School Rankings Will Add More Job Info on Law Grads

It looks as if all the protesting, pushing and even hunger strikes were worth it.

U.S. News and World Report's Law School Rankings has agreed to, if not glass-like transparency, at least to shine a brighter light on unemployment statistics from law schools in their rankings. While there will be no change in how the rankings themselves are calculated, there will be more data on job market and employment statistics for soon-to-be J.D.s to sink their teeth into.

Robert Morse, head of data and research for the law school rankings, says the new data will provide a clearer picture to students and those researching law schools, reports The Wall Street Journal. As of now, the rankings report how many grads are employed at the time of graduation and at the 9 months-after mark. Beginning with next year's rankings, much more information will be provided.

Congress Tries to Censor Law Professor at Online Privacy Hearing

Is Facebook privacy for real? Or is it a joke?

A law professor certainly had some strong opinions on that question, calling the sight's privacy settings "mere deception," contending that Facebook "has uncontrolled access to everybody's data, regardless of the so-called 'privacy settings.'" So said Columbia University Law School professor Eben Moglen, who had been called before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, reports The Wall Street Journal.

He wasn't finished. Though he never blasted Facebook by name, at the online privacy hearing, the target of his comments was obvious:

Ex-Arizona Law Student, Beauty Queen Kumari Fulbright Sentenced

Much of law school is theoretical. Old cases used to explain general legal concepts shape a student's understanding until the law student turns lawyer and gets a chance to practice. Here's someone who decided to accelerate the process. Former beauty queen and law student Kumari Fulbright, has learned, albeit not too well, many legal concepts first hand.

The Arizona law student made famous for her mugshot will see the concepts she learned in criminal law, evidence, remedies, and civil procedure come to life. Sadly, paying a $15,000 fine to understand restitution and spending two years in jail to get a handle on criminal law is Kumari's new legal course of study.

Skadden Closing San Francisco Office, Shifts to Palo Alto

There's a new law firm vacancy in San Francisco. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, a top New York City-based law firm, is closing its San Francisco office and moving its attorneys and staff to Silicon Valley. Skadden will concentrate its attorneys in its Palo Alto office. All four partners from the SF office have confirmed the move but of the seventeen associates, some are still undecided as to whether they will relocate, Above the Law reports.

Why leave the city by the bay? The move, which is scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2011, is a matter of finances and priorities. It is expensive to run multiple office and Skadden seems to place the emphasis on their much larger Silicon Valley office.

Senate Convicts 'Moocher' La. Judge, Removes from Federal Bench

Even judges aren't above the law. At least not when they push it to the extreme.

So learned U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous who was convicted by the U.S. Senate on four articles of impeachment. It was the first impeachment trial since the 1999 trial of President Clinton. G. Thomas Porteous joins a dubious list of judges as only the eighth removed though the impeachment process. Porteous was the first judge removed in over 20 years. Among other things, that means no more cushy $174,000 a year pension for the disgraced former Louisiana federal judge, The Times-Picayune reports.

Impeachment is a fundamental constitutional power belonging to Congress, used to charge, try, and remove public officials for misconduct while in office.

Reed Smith Partner: Firm Doles Out Work Based on Sexual Favors

How does your firm determine who gets particular projects? According to a non-equity partner at Reed Smith, the firm makes its determinations based on sexual favors.

According to JoEllen Lyons Dillon, Reed Smith pays and promotes women less than men. In addition, Dillon claims that work is given to female attorneys particularly when they engage in sexual relations with Reed Smith's management. Because she refused to engage in sexual relations with management, she did not receive the projects that she sought after, according to Dillon's suit.

25 Greatest Fictional Lawyers

It is a good time of year to curl up with a book, movie, or just to turn on the tube.

If those forms of entertainment not only chase away the cold, but inspire you in your chosen profession, so much the better.

The ABA Law Journal compiled its list of the top 25 greatest fictional lawyers (who are not Atticus Finch) in August. Whether you are of a generation inspired to go to law school thanks to Atticus, Perry Mason, Jack McCoy, or even Arnie Becker, take a look at the list of good reading and viewing as a break from the weather, a doc review, or finals.

Here is the top ten of the Journal 25 Greatest of all Time:

Associate Helps Firm Land Client, Then Sues Over Size of Bonus

How much does a BigLaw associate receive when they bring in a big client? According to an ex-associate at Nixon Peabody, 5% of the fees they bring in. Not so, said the firm, contending that the bonus was only discretionary.

Noah Doolittle began work at Nixon in 2002 and said that he brought in a big client in 2005. Doolittle expected that bringing in the client was going to mean big money for him down the road.