Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

July 2013 Archives

Kaplan Survey Says: Pre-Lawyers Getting More Naive

A few months ago, Kaplan released a survey that asked the question: why in the heck are people still applying to law school? (Our paraphrase.) It's not out of some foolish belief that things will improve over the next four or five years, is it? Didn't you hear kiddos? BigLaw, much like Hip Hop, is dead.

It's not just BigLaw either. It's the crushing of the public interest budgets due to the state and federal debt crises. And while our nation's various governing bodies may recover financially, and we may get some public interest jobs back, is it really worth paying over $100,000 for a J.D. to get a $50,000 per year job?

So, you think you want to go to law school and become a lawyer? Before making such a big decision, and potentially take on a lot of student debt, it's a good idea to do some research. And, what better way to do research than to watch movies?

Gear up your Netflix account, grab a tub of popcorn and get to watching these movies -- you'll learn lots of valuable information ...

Bar Exam is Tomorrow! Find Food, Shelter, Transport, and Booze

There was once a man who was on his way to take the bar exam for the third time. He decided to stop for coffee and unfortunately locked his keys in his car. He never made it to the exam, not that day, nor at any point since then.

That, my friends, is the worst case scenario. But don't worry. You needn't fret over possible nightmares and complications. You'll be prepared. Here are a few things you can do, today, to de-stress and to ensure that complications over the next two or three days are minimal.

Earlier this week, newly admitted, and jobless, Delaware attorney Brian Zulberti posted a nude selfie of himself on Facebook -- asking for a legal job. I know, you're re-reading that and asking yourself if you're seeing straight. We did too.

When we originally conceived of this post we were going to write about why you shouldn't post nude selfies to get legal jobs. But then we did some due diligence, and in reading Zulberti's latest Facebook updates, it appears that his desperate plea may have worked. He's been on the radio, and featured on the news in the U.K. and Romania.

He even got a legal job interview.

We recently read a Mashable article that gave tips to the general public about how to be happier at work. Of course, they noted that the average American works 100,000 hours, but for us lawyers? You could probably double that.

So, do we need to work twice as hard at finding happiness? Not necessarily, just try these easy tips.

Last week, we lost Helen Thomas, a journalist who broke down barriers for women in journalism. To say she was a member of the White House Press corps is an understatement; The New York Times notes, she was regarded as the dean of the White House briefing room, the "unofficial but undisputed head of the press corps."

Thomas liked to be first. She was the first woman assigned by a news service to cover the White House, the first woman to be elected officer, and serve as president of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Covering eleven U.S. presidents' administrations, Helen Thomas saw many mistakes in the White House. When President Obama began his first term as President, she gave him five key lessons to learn from, CNN reports. Inspired by these lessons, we thought we'd craft five lessons from Helen Thomas for new attorneys.

Law Firm Man Sends Employee Illustrated, Laminated Erotic Poems

A mailroom supervisor at the Manhattan law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft with a penchant for erotic poems was slapped with a sexual-harassment lawsuit.

Tyrone Turner allegedly sent laminated, illustrated erotic poems to one of his female employees, Natalie Thorpe, with lines like, "I enjoy you so. Your thick legs and all of the voluptuous plumpness that accents your womanhood."

He balked at Thorpe's allegations, calling them "very frivolous." (Not just frivolous, very frivolous.)

Turner claims he's just a misunderstood minstrel.

3 Reasons to Avoid a Carlos Danger-esque Online Pseudonym

You're a smart, tech-savvy associate with a pocket full of dreams and a Twitter account, and heck, you might even #changethelegalworld one day kiddo!

But while the U.S.S. Good Times is moving full steam ahead, the last thing you need as a budding, potential-filled lawyer is to end up like 'Carlos Danger' (aka NYC mayoral sorta-hopeful Anthony Weiner).

A promising legal career can be brought down just as easily as a mayoral campaign. You might think that is a safe way to have a little fun, but if you're still not convinced, here are three reasons not to use a pseudonym online.

Gifts for New Law Students: Yays and Nays

Little Jimmy is about to embark upon a three-year journey, an epic academic trek that will lead to a juris doctorate, and if he is truly lucky, a career that uses it. You want to encourage Jimmy and to help him succeed. After all, with dim employment prospects, he'll need to maximize his chances by doing well in school and looking the part.

With many schools starting up in only a month, here are a few "yays" and "nays" on gifts for matriculating students:

Escape Your State: Out-of-State Tuition and Residency Restrictions

California law schools have a problem. There are the upper-tier schools, such as Boalt Hall, Stanford, Davis, Irvine, and Hastings. These are worth attending. There are also a ton of mid-tier schools, such as Loyola, Santa Clara, and even McGeorge. These are also worth attending, though their sticker price begs the value question:

Is this school worth $100,000 or more in student loans? We all know how bad the job market is, both industry-wide and in California.

Last week, in the midst of the student loan interest crisis, we looked at different options for dealing with paying back student loans. Though Congress has a fix -- for now -- the burden of student loan repayment looms large over many graduates' heads. Still desperate and considering bankruptcy? Hate to say we told you so, but that's not going to happen.

In two recent cases, two different courts ruled that students could not discharge their student debts through bankruptcy. Why? It's a very high standard to overcome.

We recently noted an interesting piece on PBS Newshour about controlling an interview. Though the advice was given in the context of the engineering field, it inspired us to share some ways you lawyers can ace your next interview.

The trick? Stay in control. Here are five tips to controlling the interview.

3 Tips to Help Your Relationship Survive Law School

Full disclosure: I speak from a place of failure. I went into law school thinking I'd spend the rest of my life with the woman I was dating at the time. By the end of 1L year, we were teetering on the edge. Shortly after 2L year began, and long-distance entered the equation, we were finished.

It was all for the best. After all, as busy as I was 1L year, my schedule is still pretty packed with full-time blogging, part-time lawyering, and nights and weekends spent crying into $1.38 40oz bottles of malt liquor.

If you don't want to be a depressed, single, self-loathing, malt liquor connoisseur, here are a few tips to help your relationship survive, some courtesy of my own failings and others courtesy of my fabulous editor:

5 Funny Terms Only Federal Judges Use

Judges might not be too hip with street slang, but they hang with a different posse, one they like to call the federal judiciary, and it too has its own language. Despite our statements that neither we, nor judges care for legalese, there are some specialties of the English language they cannot seem to resist.

Here are five of the densest and most arcane terms that only federal judges will use.

Squashing Stress, Preventing Panic During Bar Exam Crunch Time

Can you feel that? Breathe it in. It's the smell of panic, also known as the "holy [expletive] the biggest test of my life is coming up in two weeks and OMG WHAT THE [EXPLETIVE] AM I GOING TO DO?!?"

I sympathize. I've been there. The only exam in my life where I thought, "I might fail" was the California Bar.

Fortunately, I survived. So will you. Here are a few tips to ensure that, even if you do survive the test, you won't have a massive stroke minutes after submitting the test materials.

Schools Cut Enrollment, Faculty; ABA Wants Faculty Job Security

You might see this as a massive market correction: a long-overdue reduction in school seats and bloated faculty salaries necessitated by an industry in decline and tens of thousands of unemployed graduates. We might point out that as the recession really hit, in 2010 or so, law schools increased their class sizes (despite signs that employment numbers were plummeting), and now, enrollment has merely returned to pre-recession levels.

Meanwhile, the ABA, despite the economic downturn, less demand for legal education, and no jobs for graduates, is hoping to modify their law school accreditation criteria to ensure that no faculty members lose their jobs.

Studies Show Judges Hate Legalese; So Do We

It all began with an Eleventh Circuit judge's repeated use of "inter alia." It must've been dropped fifteen times in the first three pages before I gave up, went to another (more interesting) opinion, and blogged on.

Seriously. Why "inter alia" instead of "among other reasons?" Coming from someone who has to read four or five appellate opinions per day for our Circuit Court Blogs, the best and most persuasive arguments are those presented in plain English, with well-organized headings and sections, and presented in as few words as possible.

Obviously, achieving that hat trick is quite difficult. Just ask my editor, who kindly trims my ranting posts. But these qualities are something every lawyer should strive for, and as new attorneys, you are in a position to make best practices career-long habits.

For many of us, law school would not have been possible without student loans. Yet, CNN reported on Wednesday, that the Senate failed to reverse a measure that doubled the interest rates of millions of student loans to 6.8%. What's more, The Washington Post notes that if this issue isn't resolved before the August recess, many students will lock in these high rates once the school year starts.

Here's a breakdown of your options and how to take advantage of them ...

No JD? No Problem, Say 5 States (That You Might Not Know About)

No JD required? Apparently, there are some states that have adopted this rule when it comes to admission to the bar. We all are well aware of the general requirements, that it usually takes if we want to be lawyers at this point (let’s hope). That most often entails the traditional route of attending law school, graduating with a JD, passing the MPRE, being of sound moral character, and, of course, let’s not forget (because how could it ever let us, really): passing the bar.

As if the grueling, up to 3-day long exam isn’t bad enough, most of us have to endure 3 to 4 years of law school to acquire our law degree, otherwise known as our juris doctorate.

But, this is actually not the case for some states, who have instilled other alternative requirements (usually practical experience under a judge or a qualified supervising attorney) in lieu of a traditional law degree from a law school. Which states are these?

Greedy Associate's 12-Year Sentence for Insider Trading Upheld

Despite making hefty salaries, including a reported $300,000 annually during his final pre-prison BigLaw stop as an associate at Wilson Sonsini, Matthew Kluger admits that he was simply greedy.

Now, thanks to that greed, his broken oaths as a lawyer, and the longest running insider trading scheme in United States history, he’ll spend the next 12 years in prison. The Third Circuit affirmed his record-breaking sentence yesterday, leaving little hope of reversal absent a rehearing or a SCOTUS miracle.

Bar-Study? The Aaron Hernandez Issue-Spotter Quiz

For those of you in the middle of studying for the bar, are you keeping up with the news? Of course you're not, and of course you shouldn't be -- the most important test of your life (arguably) is just around the corner, and you should obviously be focused on studying for the bar.

But, here's the good news -- you don't have to be wasting any precious time and energy just to keep yourself informed of what else is going on out there.

With that said, remember that it's okay to take the time out to read the paper or scour the Internet on a study break, if you need one. But, if you're hesitant about doing that this month, remember that there's a legal lesson behind most, if not all, news stories out there, and with those legal lessons are valuable nuggets of information that will be relevant to the bar.

Take Aaron Hernandez's current spot in the news, for example.

For some reason, fashion advice is often geared to the ladies while the gents are expected to know the right from wrong because of their limited options. Well, a summer associate is a summer associate, and man or woman, both could use some guidance.

We'll start off simple...

Ah, the good old days of being a summer associate. One was wined and dined at some of the best restaurants, attended shows and sporting events, and didn't have to work late. And unless you really goofed up, you were pretty much guaranteed an offer.

Today, with the job market the way it is, you want to, no need to, stand out from the rest of the summers to make sure you get that elusive post-graduation job offer. So read on, because here are four tips on how you can be the best summer associate ever.

3 Tips For Making Networking Slightly Less Awkward

It was easy in law school. Meeting fellow students involved quaffing a pint of the cheapest Bud Light the host could afford, then slurring some comment about how much Property Law stank. "Rule against perpetuities? Whatever bro. I ain't got no property anyway."

Now, networking involves a little more effort. Bar events are full of pompous and/or supposedly mature adults and the drinks are bit pricier. Plus, you don't have the fallback "law school stinks" small talk. Networking with said mature adults can be difficult, but here are a few tips, adapted from BuzzFeed's excellent list, to make it less awkward:

Incoming 1Ls: New Roommate? 4 Questions to Ask

Ah, summer. For incoming law students, it means more than just getting warmer weather and longer days. With your acceptance letter comes not only the promise of the start of your legal career, but also perhaps a move into a new town, state, or even country, for law school.

This means new roommates, possibly. During my 1L year, I lived with three other law students, two of whom were in my section. That's right -- four 1Ls under the same roof. It was ... an experience, to say the least.

Needless to say, roommates are something to think over and prep for carefully, especially as an incoming law student. Here are four questions you should ask if you're moving into a new place for law school:

Incoming 1L's: 3 Ways to Prepare This Summer

For those of you preparing to enter the daunting world of law school this coming fall, you should take advantage of this summer. First off, give yourself a part on the back -- you've worked hard on those personal statements, getting all your applications in, that dreaded LSAT, and (hopefully) have gained admission into the school of your choice.

Before that, though, antsy one, yes you can start preparing for your career as a law student now. But, on top of preparing for actual school itself, there are other factors that you may not have considered. Here are three useful tips for what you can do this summer:

Got Your LSAT Score Last Night? It's Evaluation Time

My big brother got a bit of a surprise last night. His LSAT score, which was supposed to arrive later in the week, appeared in his inbox while we were watching “The Avengers.” Of course, prioritizing correctly, we finished the movie before checking his (pretty dang good) score and discussing his future options.

There are thousands of you pre-law LSAT score recipients out there today. What should you be doing with your new numbers?

Personal Websites: 7 Tips for Your Resume Website

The job market is tough out there. But when you’re applying for a job, a personal website may give you the upper-hand. Adding a spark of personality, a resume website can give prospective employers a better idea of what you’re like as a candidate and a person.

Before you know it, you might just have conquered the mountain of applications with a real foot in the door to a new job.

Here are seven tips for your personal resume website:

Mixed News in BigLaw: Overall Hiring Up But Layoffs Happening

When will the recession in the legal job market finally end? It may be now.

Or not.

The National Association for Law Placement noted last week that BigLaw jobs for recent grads has risen 27 percent over the last two years, to more than 3,600 jobs. That's good, but not great. In 2009, there were more than 5,100 jobs and the Class of 2012 was massive. Overall, only 64.4 percent landed jobs requiring bar passage.

One of the reasons for the decline: less school-funded jobs than previous years.