Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

November 2011 Archives

Cheers to Dallas attorney Michael Peticolas, who has quit his law practice and is going solo -- as in, sole proprietor of the city's first standalone microbrewery, the Peticolas Brewing Company.

It's not that he's completely lost his taste for the law. He just likes craft beer much better.

A video clip posted this week on the new brewery's website shows he's just getting started. What it doesn't show is all the legal maneuvering it took to get there.

Should Law Schools Pay Unpaid Student Debt?

By most accounts, the new Obama student loan proposal doesn't do much. It's only available to current students, which means that the rest of us are screwed. And even if it did apply to graduates? Its impact is so small, we JD grads would still be screwed.

But student loan debt has hit $1 trillion, which exceeds the country's total credit card debt. Tuition has increased so much that students borrow twice as much as they did a decade ago.

This means that defaults are also up--and some think the schools should be made to pay.

The Argument Why First Year Associates Should Make $190K a Year

To all you first-year associates out there: are your six-figure salaries too low? Do you feel like you're worth more than a measly $160,000 a year?

If you're currently spending your days as an indentured servant deep within a BigLaw firm's caverns, you probably wish you had a little more cash.

Who wouldn't, when they're virtually spending all their time at work? In the absence of having a work/life balance, there is only one alternative: buying yourself something pretty to make your life seem happier and more fulfilled.

Maybe that's why Philadelphia Lawyer over at Constitutional Daily wrote a piece about why associates should make $190,000 a year. Of course, the original post was written in 2007, before the economic downturn. But maybe there are still some pertinent lessons to be learned.

Down With Law Reviews?

Are law reviews ruining legal education and thus the job market?

It would seem so, if the New York Times is correct in its assertions. The paper suggests that client dissatisfaction with first and second-year associates is hastening the decline in legal hiring.

That dissatisfaction is the result of poorly trained lawyers who acquire no practical skills during law school. And the reason they have no practical skills?

Law schools are too busy pushing law review articles.

BigLaw Firm Named One of the 'Best' Places to Work in Chicago

BigLaw firm Sidley Austin is on the Chicago Tribune's Top Workplaces list, along with Perkins Coie.

Yes, you read that right.

Sidley Austin has something called a "culture of collegiality." For you BigLaw associates who are more used to a "culture of swimming with the sharks," you might want to consider a change in employment.

The Unemployed Attorney's Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving

The unemployed attorney is in a tough spot these days.

Maybe you’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately. Is it because of the stress of finding a job in these uncertain times? Is it because you’re struggling to make ends meet?

No, it’s because something even worse is looming on the horizon: T-day, or Thanksgiving. Your family is about to descend upon you, peppering you with questions about (1) your life, (2) your lack of a love life, and (3) why you can’t find a job. In an effort to avoid those awkward and uncomfortable silences when someone asks you a piercing question you simply can’t answer, it’s advisable to think ahead and map out your answers beforehand.

Did Long Hours, Overwork Kill Skadden Associate, 32?

Back in June, Skadden associate Lisa Johnstone was found dead in her San Diego home. The news was shocking, as she was only 32-years-old. Some speculated that overwork was responsible for her death.

Autopsy results are out, and they’re inconclusive. There were no drugs or alcohol in her system, meaning the most likely cause of death was a cardiac arrhythmia. However, the coroner could not rule out any anatomical defects.

Still, the report suggests that Johnstone had been overly stressed in the weeks leading up to her death.

How to Cash In at Vegas with Your Supreme Court Predictions

Are you in the business of Supreme Court predictions? Do you want to be? It could be a quick (albeit possibly illegal) way to make some cash.

You see, it turns out that our almighty brethren are a predictable bunch. They may play nice when off the bench, but when it comes to voting, they often stick to party lines.

But you see, even that may be irrelevant. There's a spiffy new algorithm out, and it has an 83% overall accuracy rate.

Want to make a bet?

Lawyer Who Left $200K Legal Job Had to Overcome His Legal Training

Ever thought about ditching the profession and going into business? Think it'll be easy with a law degree in your back pocket?

Think again. Paul Mandell left his high-paying job at Arnold & Porter and has since started two companies. He says his legal education initially "created significant hurdles."

It made him "risk-averse and perfection-obsessed" such that he wasted time and possibly lost out on unique opportunities.

Bar Results Are In, And on YouTube

Bar results are in -- for most states, anyway -- and some proud new attorneys who passed the exam are sharing their success on YouTube.

The experience, of course, is quite personal -- and insanely nerve-wracking. That's why some examinees surround themselves with a support group of relatives or friends when they get their results.

Others opt to face their fate in pro per. Or perhaps with a bottle of their favorite libation.

We found more than a dozen multistate YouTube clips of people's reactions to passing the bar. (Perhaps not surprisingly, we couldn't find any clips that show what it's like to fail.)

Three of the most recent "passing the bar" clips are embedded below, and we've linked to a few more as well.

Law School Is a 'Sucker's Bet' in Down Economy, Hedge Funds Say

Step back, New York Times. Law students and attorneys no longer need you to tell the world that law school is a losing game. No, the hedge fund managers have entered the discussion, and they've got numbers on their side.

One such manager, Daniel Ades, has gone so far as to call law school a "sucker's bet"--something that has low returns for both students and investors.

He suggests that burgeoning lawyers head to technical school instead.

Pipeline of New Women Lawyers Have Peaked, NAWL Report Suggests

If you're a BigLaw associate, take a moment out of your day and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror.

What do you see: fine lines, wrinkles and red eyes from overwork, stress and long hours? Do you also see graying hair and skin that just seems a bit saggy given your relatively young age?

The truth is the effects of long hours at work are relatively the same for both males and females. So it's surprising to see that it seems that the number of female attorneys at BigLaw firms is shrinking, according to a recent National Association of Women Lawyers study.

Ex-Quinn Emanuel Staff Attorney Sues Firm for Race Discrimination

What's up next in the Quinn Emanuel case docket? A race discrimination case. Against the firm. Alleged by a former staff attorney.

Whenever a law firm is sued, it seems ironic.

You'd think that BigLaw attorneys and partners would tread lightly enough that lawsuits would be avoided at all costs. After all, they should know the law.

Though if the facts that former staff attorney Kisshia Simmons-Grant alleges are true, they might have made a grievous error.

Without question, "Ask Siri" is one of the more popular features of the new iPhone4S.

But hold the phone -- while Siri may be able to find directions to the courthouse or the nearest Starbucks, she doesn't always have the answers that attorneys really want to hear. You know, like "What else can I do with a law degree?" Or "Can you die from sleep deprivation?"

We called Siri to the stand and posed a series of questions that lawyers might ask. Here's how she responded:

Illinois Law Blames 6 Years of False Data on Asst. Dean

Ethics. It's a law school course. It's even an exam that's a prerequisite to getting licensed by most state bars. Why are lawyers so inundated with ethics? Maybe it's because sometimes lawyers - and law schools - walk a fine line.

It's not necessarily "sleazy." But sometimes a lawyer's behavior can be described as "questionable."

So here's some questionable behavior brought to you by the University of Illinois: their law school reported inaccurate LSAT and GPA data for the last 6 out of 10 years.

Suit to Recreate Failed Wedding Photos Filed by Goodwin Proctor

Every attorney goes to law school for a lawsuit like this. It has inspiring facts, a strong social justice angle, and most of all, a sympathetic client.

New Yorker Todd Remis filed a lawsuit against the wedding photographers who skipped out on the last fifteen minutes of his wedding. He claims that by leaving early, they failed to take some precious photos. Now he's suing, and not just for the contract price of about $4,100 .

He's also asking for $48,000 to put together a replica of his past wedding.

Oh, and by the way, he's divorced from his wife now.

White and Case Law Partner is the 2nd Highest Paid Person in Finland

If your name is Petri Haussila, I've got news for you: you're the second highest-paid person in Finland. Sweet, congratulations!

Apparently, Mr. Haussila is the head of White & Case's capital markets practice and is in charge of the BigLaw firm's Helsinki office.

Oh, and he raked in approximately $4.9 million in taxable income last year. The only person that has him beat in Finland is another attorney, former Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who made about $11 million.

Can You Make Partner with a Belly Ring or a Neck Tattoo?

You're a billable hour machine. You're killing it on all your cases and have even brought in some clients to the firm. You're a top associate at your firm and on your way to making partner.

Then disaster strikes.

You tragically get hammered on Blue Moons at the company picnic and show off your belly piercing and tramp stamp.

Have you kissed that corner office and equity partner status away?

You might just have.

Now, if you are rocking a tat of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure your hiring partners might think you're just committed to the law.

Law School Admission Officers Are Checking Facebook Walls

It seems that law school admissions officers should be given a new title: Facebook stalker.

Yes, the obvious has occurred. The workers in charge of admitting and denying potential applicants are now scouring social media platforms like Facebook in order to glean personal information from would-be attorneys.

Maybe they just figure that looking at your Facebook page will provide a more truthful answer to some of the questions they'd like answered. Like, for example: