Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

February 2013 Archives

Can You Be Suspended from the Bar for Bigamy?

While we might like to believe that our personal lives are separate from our professional lives, that's rarely the case.

When Tom Cruise started jumping on couches to celebrate his personal life, his movie career suffered. When General David Petraeus' affair with Paula Broadwell was exposed, he stepped down from his post as CIA Director.

Did either man's work actually suffer? No. But there were consequences nonetheless. Lawyers are subject to even stricter standards.

3 Misconceptions About Young Attorneys

It seems that once upon a time, in a far more prosperous version of the American economy, there were actually jobs. And when there were jobs, they were highly paid. Many associate attorneys actually made more than $100,000 — an astronomical and unfathomable figure for an entry-level position. Instead of reducing compensation when the economy collapsed (and clients wised up to overpaid associates being trained on their dimes), firms just stopped hiring.

Perhaps it was that scenario that gave rise to the image of the young, associate attorney with a sense of entitlement. She expects to make partner in five years. She expects to stop doing document review after her first year. She expects to have a life outside of work. If that archetype attorney once existed, it’s certainly not the case now. Those with jobs are ecstatic to be there. Those without would shank someone in a dark alley if it meant avoiding Craigslist ads and shady small firms.

With that in mind, here are a few proposals for shifting the conversation, from entitled associates to hungry up-and-comers:

Five Dog Breeds for the Busy Associate Attorney

You didn't get a dog in law school because you knew you'd be moving, studying, and interviewing all over the country (or not). You didn't get one during bar study or during that brief stint of unemployment that followed.

Now that you have the dream job, it's time for the dream dog. Sure, you're busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony, but if you keep waiting, you'll be 35 and too busy with children to care for a pooch.

Lindsay Lohan's Attorney Fined for Plagiarism

Lindsay Lohan is kind of like Voldemort He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named: She's been known to wreak havoc, and those who publicly utter her name tend to regret it.

Three years ago, LiLo sued E-Trade, demanding $100 million for pain and suffering after the DIY-stock brokerage referred to a boyfriend-stealing, "milkaholic" baby named Lindsay in a Super Bowl ad, the New York Post reports. In 2011, Lohan sued rapper Pitbull for name-dropping her in "Give Me Everything."

Now the lawyer behind both of her right of publicity law suits, Stephanie Ovadia, is facing some legal troubles of her own, Billboard reports.

What Legal Demographic is Ruled by Women?

Is there anyone who thinks that women rule the legal world?

It's certainly not the boys club that it was back in the day when Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were graduating from law school and trying to break through the glass ceiling. O'Connor graduated at the top of her class at Stanford Law School and only received legal secretary offers from law firms. Ginsburg had to endure Harvard Law Dean Erwin Griswold asking the women of her class what it felt like to occupy places that could have gone to deserving men. (She later transferred to Columbia, where she graduated at the top of her class.)

Four female Supreme Court Justices later, men still dominate the law, but women rule among part-time practitioners, Reuters reports.

Power-Crazed Prosecutors Are Not Above the Law

Lawyers don't go into government work for the money.

Some do it for the experience. Others see it as a stepping stone to a political career. A few will even choose working for the governmental man as a path to the loan forgiveness.

And -- okay -- some people want to prosecute bad guys and "fight the good fight," but there are also those "public servants" that just get high off the power.

Assist Your Client with a Break-In? Lose Your License

We can certainly appreciate a lawyer who is willing to go above and beyond for his client. That’s arguably better than falling asleep during your client’s cross-examination. But assisting your client with breaking and entering is a good way to lose your license.

And we’re not just speaking in hypotheticals here.

Love and Law School: Should Schools Advertise Salacious Successes?

Our favorite non-FindLaw blog, Above the Law, had a hilarious take on one school's advertising of a law school love story. The school presented the story of a couple that met during orientation and fell truly, madly, deeply in love. ATL's Staci Zaretsky took issue with the law school, stating, "[W]e're completely "gobsmacked" that a law school would attempt to prey upon people's wallets vis-à-vis their lonely hearts."

But did the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's William H. Bowen School of Law really do anything wrong?

Stop Waiting for Career Services to Find You a Job

Law school career services offices have a reputation for only offering assistance to the top 10, or 20, or 30 percent of each class. Let's put that frightening idea in perspective.

Imagine if doctors only attempted to save the patients with the best chances of survival. The top 10, or 20, or 30 percent. Sure, the success rate would be high -- when they actually intervened -- but would we tolerate such a cavalier attitude toward the weaker segment of the population? Hell no. Yet this is the status quo for OCS.

If you're not in the top X-percent of your class, and you're waiting for OCS to save you from the awful job market, you're done for. It's time to take control of your job search with these practical tips:

Law School Trio Trades Briefs for Brews

It may not be a good life choice, but law school can be pretty amazing. Thanks to the lockers — and Barrister’s Ball — it’s essentially your second shot at high school.

Except in law school, you can drink beer legally. Hell, the school may even provide it.

Perhaps it was in one of those glorious law school moments — under the influence of awesomeness, nostalgia, and just a few beers — that a trio of friends decided to trade lives as members of the bar for lives behind the bar.

Lawyers: Stop Sitting, Start Raising the Roof?

Finally, President's Day Weekend is upon us. Who doesn't get excited about a three-day weekend? A chance to leave the office and move around.

Or — as will be the case for many attorneys — a regular weekend, capped by a work-from-home-in-your-pajamas-on-your-couch-day. Fun!

If even a three-day weekend doesn't give you enough time to go running or swim a few laps at the pool, maybe it's time to consider exercises you can do in your office. Luckily, The Washington Post can help.

For Richer or Poorer: Does Your Law School Love You?

In case you weren't aware of this, the amount of money you spend on your loved ones indicates how much you care.

That rule isn't just limited to Valentine's Day. When selecting a gift for a significant other — whether it's a cashmere sweater or an engagement ring — your purchasing power is publicly perceived as directly proportional to love. (Because that's fair, right?)

If this sounds totally cynical to you, just wait. The same logic, or lack thereof, seems to be applied to law school. If love means putting your money where your heart is, then George Washington University Law School really loves its unemployed alumni.

Three Things for Lonely Lawyers to do on Valentine's Day

Eighty-hour work weeks can have more side effects than simply losing track of all of your hobbies. Such a demanding schedule leaves little to no time for a social life or relationship. Even if you had a significant other when you started the job, the long hours and stress have probably taken their toll on that relationship, leaving you sad, lonely, and without Valentine’s Day plans.

Or, perhaps you are one of the many unemployed law graduates out there. You don’t have money to go on fancy dates. Heck, you barely have money to eat. You’ve been single since graduation because the entirety of your time is taken up with trying to find a job — any job — to pay your bills.

Life sucks. You are single - and a soulless lawyer. Here are three things you can do to ease the pain on Valentine’s Day:

Dechert Settles Fired Associate's Paternity Leave, FMLA Claims

Ariel Ayanna is a former associate attorney for the Boston office of Dechert, LLP. His first year at the firm went by splendidly. He received a positive evaluation and a bonus for his work. During his second year as an associate in the firm's financial services department, however, things turned sour.

When his wife's existing mental condition worsened, and she gave birth to the couple's second child, Ayanna did what any "real man" would do: He took care of his wife and children. He took paternity and FMLA leave from Dechert and handled his personal affairs. However, when he returned to work, he alleges that the firm withheld work from him, citing his supposed tendency to allow his personal life to interfere with work.

A few months later, when he didn't reach his billable hour mark, he was let go.

National Jurist: LSU Beat Yale in Something That Isn't Football

According to the latest issue of The National Jurist, Stanford Law School is the top law school in the U.S. My alma mater, LSU Law, ranks 11th. Yale Law is 13th.

While I'm certainly happy to see a publication outside of the South validate my law degree, I'm no fool. The only categories in which LSU traditionally trumps Yale are athletics and attractive co-eds. So how exactly did The National Jurist calculate its law school rankings?

Stop Writing or Face the Wrath of the Bar and Google Immortality

This is not how you want to start your legal career, especially in the days of information eternality via the almighty Google.

We’ve all had the same urge that overtook Jasmine Parker of Covington, Kentucky. You’re working on a timed exam, the proctor calls time, and you are mid-sentence. It is at that point that you must weigh the benefit of those few additional words against the risks of being caught and against the obvious ethical issues.

The short answer? It’s not worth it.

5 Things That Won't Get You Disbarred During Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras on St. Charles Avenue -- where the parades roll -- is generally a family-friendly event. Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, where the drunk people lurk, is not.

You can run afoul of the law for getting too sleazy in the Big Easy, but here five things that won't get you disbarred during Mardi Gras.

Will the New John Yoo Please Stand Up?

Over the years, there have been a handful of famous former government attorneys. Chief Justice John Roberts worked as an attorney both in the White House and the Department of Justice. Justice Samuel Alito also served in the Justice Department during the Reagan years.

Then, there are government attorneys -- like Torture Memo author John Yoo -- who might have preferred a life in the shadows. When Yoo was revealed to be the author of the Bush Administration "Torture Memo" in 2008, all hell broke loose. (One tortured detainee even tried to sue Yoo personally for allegedly endorsing torture.)

So will history repeat itself with the author of the Obama administration white paper on extra- judicial killings?

Law Sucks. What Else is There? Teaching

Law school is often described as a destination for liberal arts students with no direction. Once they discover that their Philosophy degrees are about as useful as a muzzled guard dog, they choose to go to law school because what else is there? Double-down on a useless degree and hope for a professorship?

Unfortunately, some would now argue that a law degree is nearly as useless as some of those liberal arts degrees. Jobs are scarce. Even if you are lucky enough to find a gig, you might have decided that the law isn’t your long-term destiny. We previously discussed the move to journalism and blogging, but there are other options as well.

What about teaching?

5 Tasks to Outsource When You Hit the Big Time

If you're one of the lucky, employed lawyers making a good salary, congratulations. Now it's time to spread the wealth.

We're not talking about donations to charities or handouts to the poor. Both are admirable, but this blog is called Greedy Associates. Altruism has a place, just not here.

Or at least, not in this post.

No, we're talking about hiring help to make your life easier. So without further adieu, here are the five tasks you should outsource when you start making money.

GWU Adding Sexual Orientation Question to Law School Application

George Washington University is already very LGBT friendly. According to the GW Hatchet, the school already receives perfect marks on the Law School Admissions Council's LGBT survey due to its nondiscrimination policy and LGBT-focused student organizations, classes, and faculty.

That's why we have no doubt that adding the sexual orientation question to their law school application is being done with the best of intentions. The school hopes that it will help them to provide more comprehensive information about academic programs, student services, and mentoring initiatives. Michael Komo, a Student Bar Association Senator and first-year law student who pushed for the change stated that it would "signal to LGBT applicants and allies that this is a LGBT-positive law school and university."

Will California Threaten Lawyer Livelihood with Legal Technicians?

In the medical field, there are physician assistants and nurse practitioners who can offer limited medical diagnosis and treatment without a medical degree. So why shouldn’t there be a category of legal professionals who can offer legal advice without passing the bar?

Maybe because we already have too many lawyers and too few jobs?

Law Sucks. What Else is There? Reporting and Blogging

Pet peeve #37: Media and television accounts of legal concepts that are procedurally or substantively inaccurate.

As a child, my mother would point out all of the obvious mistakes in E.R., such as shocking a patient through his clothes. The same issue plagues legal dramas (ask leading questions on cross-examination, you fool!) and even news reports on legal topics. A layperson will misstate the holding of a case or the implications of an appellate opinion because he neglected to consult a lawyer.

In a Law School Recession, How Washington and Lee is Thriving

Yesterday, the ABA Journal reported that layoffs, and even closures, might be coming to some of our nation's many law schools. With the declining job market and exponentially rising tuition, the glitz and glamour of becoming versed in jurisprudence has waned, along with the number of law school applicants. In 2004, there were 100,000 applicants. This year, the expected number is somewhere around 53,000.

Meanwhile, Washington and Lee University's School of Law is having a problem with too many students. They have even resorted to asking students to take additional scholarships to defer a year, according to the ABA. Even with deferrals, the school enrolled 185 students last fall, or 50 more than usual. How is that possible in an age of unprecedented declining demand?