Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

March 2012 Archives

Top 10 Debt-Inducing Private Law Schools

Law school debt. It's what compels you to remain within the BigLaw ranks long after the job has destroyed your soul. It's what requires you to choose between Top Ramen and a juicy steak. And for some, it's what catapults you into the drudgery that is document review.

In other words, law school debt sucks. But luckily, you are not alone. Law students graduated with an average debt of $100,585 in 2011, according to data compiled by U.S. News and World Report. And those who graduated from the following schools have it the worst.

Thinking about going into law? You may want to hold onto your transcripts a bit because law school might be getting cheaper. For those of you already in law school, stop reading unless you like getting angry.

The Law School Admission Council says the number of times it administered the LSAT in the last academic year has declined for the second straight year.

In February, the number of LSAT takers was at the lowest it has been in more than 10 years.

Should this affect your decision to go to law school? And, more importantly, will this translate to cheaper law school tuition?

An exciting weekend of "March Madness" is upon us, as the 2012 Final Four pursue the NCAA Championship in basketball in New Orleans.

But we'd be remiss if we failed to mention another type of "March Madness" that also involves mysterious number-crunching -- the annual U.S. News law school rankings.

U.S. News released its 2012 law school rankings March 12 -- just one day after the NCAA's "Selection Sunday" revealed college basketball's top-seeded teams.

Coincidence? Probably.

But if you're curious how the Final Four's full court press compares to their law schools' moot court preps, here's what our stats department was able to dig up:

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Nathan Sawaya.

Sawaya, 38, once earned a six-figure salary as a corporate lawyer in New York City. Now, he spends six figures each month on LEGOs, which he turns into life-sized works of art.

No one "has done more to advance the concept of LEGO as its own artistic medium" than Sawaya, the co-authors of The Cult of LEGO told New Jersey's Star-Ledger. It's a far cry from Sawaya's former legal career.

How to Know if You Are Too Old for Law School

We always focus on college-aged students and whether they should go to law school. But what about nontraditional law students? Should mid-career professionals go to law school? What about the middle-aged?

Law school is apparently a sucker's bet in this economy, and unemployed attorneys have no one to blame but themselves. Is ditching an established career for law school really worth the risk?

Some say no.

Judge Tosses Employment Stat Lawsuit Against New York Law School

Ah yes. Law school lawsuits. If you guessed they were going to fail, it would seem you guessed right. A New York state judge has thrown out the first of 15 pending lawsuits accusing the nation's third-tier law schools of misleading their students.

The honor goes to New York Law School, which stands by its employment data. It may have claimed post-graduation rates between 90% and 92%, but its marketing materials told applicants that the numbers "weren't representative of the whole class."

How to Work With Annoying Attorneys

It's inevitable. Out of the dozens of lawyers at your firm, there's one that's bound to rub you the wrong way. Who are we kidding, there's a long list of Type A people in your office and they are not the easiest to work with. They want credit, they want to take charge... it can be exhausting. We get it.

But how can you cope?

Fortunately, there's no dearth of wisdom floating around the Internet. Below is a summary of some ways you could deal with an irritating lawyers in your midst.

Introducing our Ex-Lawyers of the Week: Dean Obeidallah and Amer Zahr.

Both Obeidallah and Zahr began their professional careers as attorneys, the Associated Press reports. But their senses of humor -- and their shared sensitivities about the public's perception of Arab Americans in the wake of 9/11 -- led them to new careers as stereotype-shattering stand-up comics.

"People are afraid of us because they don't know really who we are," Obeidallah joked on Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour," noting two kinds of news stories about Arabs:

Attention attorneys: Are you a nomophobe? To find out, ponder this simple question: How long can you go without using your cell phone?

If just the thought of being without cell phone contact strikes fear in your core, you're probably among the untold masses -- including, probably, countless lawyers -- who suffer from nomophobia: the fear of having "no mobile phone," the website CNET reports.

The term was first used in the UK, where a 2008 survey found more than 50% of respondents worried about being without their cell phones. Now, it's more like 66%, a new UK survey shows. Sounds like an epidemic that is spreading.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Lateral-Hiring Measures

Lateral hiring at BigLaw firms is increasing. Some commentators are concerned, as this trend does not necessarily mean the economy is faring well.

In fact, it could actually mean the opposite. The spate of hiring may actually be spurred on by desperation -- and we all know desperation isn't exactly a positive sign.

Lateral hiring increased by 22% from the previous year, the ABA Journal reports. That's a whole lot of firm bigwigs shifting around: More than 2,400 partners joined or left law firms.

Partners and Senior Counsel Are Billing an Average of $661 Per Hour

The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting...

Okay. Let's rephrase. The rich are getting richer off of themselves and the poor. At least in BigLaw, where partners and senior counsel are raking in an average of $661 per billable hour.

It's an abysmal rate when compared to the industry's heavy hitters, but it's up $22 from 2010. That's worth a cocktail or two, no?

Some of the most predictable legal job-interview questions are deceptively simple:

"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

"What are your biggest weaknesses?"

"So, do you have any questions for us?"

Choose your responses with care. While open-ended questions like these may seem like softballs, you could end up with your foot in your mouth -- and perhaps ruining your shot at landing the job.

Because your career is on the line, here are 10 things you should never say in a legal job interview:

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Corwin Levi.

Like many law students, Corwin Levi took meticulous notes by hand while attending the University of Virginia School of Law. But the complex doodles he sketched in the margins set Levi's notes apart -- and opened the door to a new career in visual arts.

After about four years at a BigLaw firm, Levi left his full-time legal job and turned his law-school notes into a traveling art exhibit. A gallery near the UVA campus debuted his works in a show called "Marks and Remarks" in September 2010, according to a blog called The Ex-Lawyers Club. And it didn't stop there.

Could Young Associate's Death Have Been From Overworking at Firm?

Thirty-five year old associate Adam L. Maynard specialized in labor and employment law at his firm, Dinsmore & Shohl. Maynard passed away in his home in West Virginia last month, leaving behind his three-year old son and wife.

His tragic death has sparked some speculation. Some wondered whether or not overworking played a role. Above the Law received tips from Maynard's friends and anonymous individuals familiar with the firm.

It seemed that before his death, Maynard had been working long hours.

Attorney in FL Porn Sharing Lawsuit Not Actually Licensed in FL

Attorney Terik Hashmi is representing some high-profile clients. Well, high-profile in the sense that they are highly litigious. He's one of the attorneys who is filing suits on behalf of his client Third Degree Films. The company makes pornographic movies. Their movies are being uploaded and shared via torrent websites.

That is why they are pursuing legal cases against individuals accused of file sharing.

Though, it seems that Hashmi may have acted a little too fast. Several defendants notified the Florida court that he wasn't licensed to practice law in the state. Um, oops?

'Don't Go to Law School' Goes Viral, But Law Students Are Canadian

"Law school" is not a friendly phrase.

You can thank Jon Ng and his fellow students at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law for this little nugget of truth. The third-year has become an overnight Internet sensation, having written -- and uploaded -- a video entitled "Dear Me, Don't Go to Law School."

It's kind of nice to know Canadian law students aren't any better than those found in the U.S. In fact, they're just like most of us -- "insecure overachievers [trying] to do something with their Bachelor of Arts."

Are Facebook Associate Ads the Next Big Thing?

We're in a recession. Legal hiring is stagnant, and the traditional methods of finding a job are hardly worth the work. Unsolicited -- and solicited -- resumes get lost in a pile of hundreds, and partners are probably about ready to strangle the next young lawyer who drops a "hire me" hint.

So, what's a new grad or unemployed lawyer to do? Turn to Facebook, of course. And no, not to wallow or jealously stalk former classmates. Facebook sells advertisements, and if attorney Avital Gertner-Samet is on the right track, Facebook associate ads may be the next big thing.

Introducing our Ex-Lawyer of the Week: Jodi Ettenberg.

While many lawyers only dream of one day leaving the law and becoming globe-trekking vagabonds, Jodi Ettenberg actually did it. After five years of working as an attorney in New York, Ettenberg tendered her resignation, packed her bags, and bought a one-way ticket to South America.

She's never looked back.

The writing was on the wall -- literally, Ettenberg told The New York Times. "I had photos of where I wanted to go on the wall of my office, where everyone else had law degrees," she said.

PA Judge Dismissed Own Parking Tickets, Gets Dismissed Herself

A Pennsylvania judge dismissed her own parking tickets. Now she's in trouble with the law. Magisterial District Judge Kelly Ballentine faces several criminal charges. She's accused of conflict of interest, tampering with public records, and obstruction of charges.

Police ticketed her car in front of her home several times in November of 2010. They also sent her a ticket for an expired registration. The summonses were issued in her name.

You Want a BigLaw Job: Here are the Top Law Schools to Get You There

BigLaw is pretentious. BigLaw is tierest. BigLaw will only take BigNames.

You've heard it all, but you've probably wondered if it's true. Well, the National Law Journal is here to prove you (mostly) right. The publication has delved into the employment numbers and ranked the top 50 law schools based on the percentage of 2011 graduates employed at NLJ 250 firms.

There are a few surprises.