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December 2014 Archives

7 New Year's Resolutions for Law Students and Young Lawyers

2015 will be better. It will be a year of great personal and professional success. It will be a year when the legal industry ticks up a notch, when clients come aplenty, and when Will Smith and Martin Lawrence finally decide to film "Bad Boys III."

I'm feeling optimistic about 2015, which is why I'm setting my new year's resolutions so high. If you're feeling the same way, here are a few ideas for some goals of your own:

5 Hobbies for Lawyers to Take Up in the New Year

Work-life balance. It's something that many lawyers struggle with and if you're unsatisfied with your professional life, it's easy to subsume yourself into your work, thinking that the more hours you put in, the more it'll pay off.

Diminishing returns is what we'd say to that. And if you don't want to die of a heart attack after 15 years of working 200-hour weeks, you might want to try a little bit of balance.

How? Besides the obvious choice (spending more time with family, friends, and significant others), there is also the option of picking up a new hobby. Here are five you may want to consider:

Your 10 Favorite Law School-Related Blog Posts of 2014

It may be called Greedy Associates, but this blog is geared toward law students, too. After all, if students work really hard, brush their teeth, and say their prayers, they too can have the privilege of billing 2,000 hours a year and getting yelled at by senior partners.

Law school rankings were chief among our most popular law school posts in 2014. Sprinkled among those were some other posts, like preparing for the rigors of law school life.

Let's take a trip down memory lane as we look at the 10 law school-related posts you liked reading the most in 2014:

5 Types of New Year's Resolutions to Make for 2015

My buddy thinks New Year's Resolutions are a stupid, arbitrary way of setting goals. He may be right. After all, two years ago, when I set 10 resolutions, I barely cleared six of them.

Then again, last year, I set none. How many did I achieve? None. This year, I'm going back to goal setting. If you wish to do the same, here are five types of resolutions to get you started:

The 12 Days of Christmas -- for Lawyers

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

12 Waivers Waving -- Yup, the best way of going about stopping a class action is preventing it from starting. And how do you do that? Binding arbitration with a class action waiver, of course.

11 Circuits Piping -- But that's not counting the D.C. and Federal Circuits, which make Lucky 13. Why hasn't the Ninth Circuit been split up, again?

An Excuse for Midday Drinking? It Boosts Creativity: Study

Like many lawyers, we can't live without a midday break. Why? A wee little dose of creativity in the coffee.

You see, it turns out that drinking may indeed inspire creativity, just as all the greats (here's to you, William Faulkner) said it did. But the researchers behind this study say there's one small caveat: The target is buzzed, not blitzed.

So next time you need that spark of creativity to add a little extra nasty flair to a demand letter or otherwise boring legal brief, should you knock back a couple and give it another shot?

Lookie Here: An Online MBA in Running a Law Practice!

What's the worst possible decision you can make after paying six figures for a law degree that isn't paying off?

If "take on more non-dischargable student loan debt" was your answer, the William Howard Taft University MBA in Professional Practice Management is probably not for you. But, if you don't mind a little extra debt, a degree that teaches you what you should've learned in law school, and a diploma from a place nobody has ever heard of, maybe the WHTU MBA-PPM is for you!

Greedy Associates' Top 11 Stories of 2014

We know: "Top 10" posts are way overdone, as are year-in-review posts. But we're doing one anyway, and expanding our list to 11. Why? Because it's a great way to survey the pulse of the young law student/young lawyer community. (This is FindLaw's Greedy Associates blog, after all.)

What sparked your interest this year? Free and cheap things. Lawyers who starred in porn. And debt, law school, and women in the legal profession. Check out our Top 11 Greedy Associates stories of 2014:

The Ultimate Holiday Guide: 65 Last-Minute, Lawyerly Gift Ideas

Did you know it's a week until Christmas? Yeah, we couldn't believe it either. And the problem is that we still have outstanding gifts to buy. Not "outstanding" as in "amazing," but as in, "we haven't bought them yet."

Perusing the FindLaw archives to get some gift ideas, we discovered that we've written a gift guide for basically every situation. If you're similarly stuck, and the clock is ticking, check out this Ultimate Holiday Guide to FindLaw's Holiday Gift Guides with -- count 'em -- 65 lawyerly gift ideas and tips!:

10 Nifty Gift Ideas for the Law Student in Your Life

Those law students are so needy. Coming back home after final exams, they'll be a psychological wreck. So what's better than reminding them of the law they just forgot with some cool law-related gifts?

OK, so maybe that shouldn't be all that you get them, but come on: A trick gavel would be pretty funny.

So what gifts are there for law students? Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

ABA Report: Law School Enrollment Declines, as Expected

Did anyone not see this coming?

We've seen sign after sign after sign of decreased demand for law school seats: fewer LSAT takers, fewer applications, dismal post-graduation job prospects, and more. We've seen some schools cut class sizes, one cut a campus, and a few that obstinately refuse to correct for market forces and actually increased the number of seats available.

How's the situation looking industry-wide? According to the ABA's latest enrollment data, there were a few ticks' worth of decline, which, coming on the heels of a few past years' worth of decline, amounts to the lowest number of law students matriculating in decades.

N.Y. Lawyer Survives Suicide Attempt After Admitting Ponzi Scheme

Charles A. Bennett used to be a New York corporate lawyer; he once worked at Skadden in mergers and acquisitions. Then he left a 16-page suicide note in his Manhattan hotel room in which he admitted to running a $5 million Ponzi scheme. On November 3, Bennett tried to kill himself by jumping into the Hudson River.

But he survived, thanks to a "law enforcement scuba diver." Now the SEC has filed a civil complaint, and the Justice Department a companion criminal complaint, against Bennett for his six-year Ponzi scheme.

Obvious Bar Stress Study Says Waiting for Results Is Stressful

You know what the worst time of my life was? Waiting for bar results. Waiting for bar results while unemployed, knowing that if I failed, it would all but guarantee ongoing unemployment until another testing cycle (February exam, plus a few months of waiting for results) had passed.

So yes, waiting for bar results is stressful. And now, if that obvious assertion isn't obvious enough, there is a study to back it up.

#DearFindLaw: Should I Take a Non-Practice, Law-Related Job?

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

This week in #DearFindLaw, we discuss a question that's increasingly common: If you're looking for work, should you take that non-legal, but legal-ish job?

An anonymous law school friend had a career question for me. A recent graduate like myself, he's doing contract document review but has been offered a job at a company that produces document review software.

It's a non-legal job, but because it involves legal software, it's tangentially law-related. Should he take it?

5 Legal Podcasts Lawyers Should Listen To (Other Than 'Serial')

Podcasts have brought new life back to the radio format, allowing for the creation of a whole new industry of people talking about things. If you're a lawyer who's commuting any distance, or even just doing the dishes, you should be listening to podcasts.

But which ones? Obviously you're listening to the "Serial" podcast, but there are actually more out there.

Here's a list of five law-related podcasts you should be listening to instead of interacting with real people:

Suspended DWI Lawyer Mows Down Pedestrians While (Allegedly) Drunk

Stella Mednik, a lawyer with a suspended law license and a suspended driver's license, left a few bodies briefly suspended in mid-air last night when a car she was piloting took flight over a curb and went through a window of a Forever 21 in Manhattan.

Final BAC: 0.185. Final number of people sent to the hospital: 7, including five pedestrians, Mednik, and her passenger.

Fortunately, everyone is expected to survive. Mednik, in addition to the pain of a broken pelvis and a totaled Ford Mustang, is facing charges of drunk driving, criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of serious injury, leaving the accident scene, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and refusal to take a breath test, reports the New York Post.

Students at Elite Law Schools Too Distraught to Take Finals

The recent non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have emotionally impacted a lot of people throughout the country. The subsequent protests, and resultant violence, created a lot more emotion. Communities of color, which disproportionately feel the results of both police brutality and rioting, are understandably upset.

But so too is another, underrepresented community. I'm referring, of course, to students at the nation's elite law schools, who are so distraught that they couldn't possibly take final exams.

Congrats to the Adult Film Star Who Passed the Calif. Bar!

There is something surprising about this story, and it is not that an adult film star passed the California bar exam.

Women go into porn for many reasons: empowerment, desperation, enjoyment, and everything in between. There are intelligent women in the adult film industry just as there are intelligent women in every industry.

No, what is surprising is that a for-profit, unranked law school has nearly the same bar passage rates as "superior" California state schools. Well done, Western State College of Law at Argosy University, and well done Heather Swift a.k.a. Holly Price.

Harvard Prof., a Lawyer, Goes to War Over $4 Chinese Food Overcharge

I get it. I get Professor Ben Edelmen was frustrated. He ordered $53.35 worth of Chinese food from Sichuan Garden, a local restaurant. He was charged $57.35. Apparently, an out-of-date website was to blame.

Like I said, I get it. I tried to buy a keg of Pabst Blue Ribbon a few months back from a mom-and-pop liquor store up on the corner. Their website said $50. When I got there, they wanted $70 and refused to honor the price on their website, which the lady said that she didn't know how to update.

You know what I did? I went to BevMo. By contrast, Prof. Edelman of the Harvard Business School (who has a Ph.D., a J.D., a master's, and a bachelor's degree from Harvard) cited state consumer protection laws, demanded a half-off discount, and reported the restaurant to the authorities.

Will Cooley's Bar Passage Woes Lead to Accreditation Scare?

It's bar results season, and the the news seems to be bad nationwide.

July 2014 seems to hold the distinction as the biggest bloodbath in recent memory. California, for example, saw its lowest bar passage rate in nearly 10 years. The National Conference of Bar Examiners blamed "less able" test-takers; deans are pointing the finger at the NCBE and demanding a recount (or a "thorough investigation of the administration and scoring of the July 2014 bar exam," if you want to be technical about it).

And Cooley -- a school famous for ranking itself as the second-best in the country, for sponsoring a minor-league baseball team, and for opening up franchise campuses in multiple states? Its low passage rates are making some wonder if the school will run into trouble with the American Bar Association.

In Which We Solve That Age-Old Conflict: Coffee or Tea?

It's 8 a.m. and you walk into the office, bags under your eyes, weary from the 12 hours you worked yesterday just so you could bill eight. Or, it's 3 p.m. and lunch has hit you like a freight train. In either situation, your options are coffee or tea.

As with Red Sox v. Yankees or Boxers v. Briefs, people's feelings about caffeine are strongly held and engender heated discussions. Thankfully, we have the resources to answer the coffee v. tea question definitively, for all time.

5 Tips for Summer Job Applications (Even Though It's Winter)

1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls: finals are nearly here (or gone) for all of you. What should you be doing over winter break?

Besides having a few drinks and unwinding, you'll probably want to accelerate your job-hunting efforts. Most 3Ls probably know what they are doing by now, and 2Ls might have some idea, so this is mainly for 1Ls who ignored career services in favor of studying for finals. But the tips apply universally regardless.

Here are five things to keep in mind:

7 Not-So-Bad Gift Ideas for Lawyers From the SkyMall Catalog

I don't know about you, but when I'm waiting for the airplane to get going, I reach into the seat-back pocket for the one thing that I know will always be there. The SkyMall catalog, I know, will provide at least a few minutes of amusement, from its $100 "designer litter box enclosure" (placed in the living room, for some reason) to its $150 "French wine barrel side table."

OK, kidding aside, there are actually a few good things in the SkyMall catalog that a law firm associate or solo practitioner might find useful. We decided to brave the personalized coasters and comically oversized travel pillow to find out.

Here are seven not-so-bad SkyMall gift ideas for lawyers:

Univ. of Denver Is Offering a Marijuana Law Class

This course will investigate the challenges associated with representing marijuana clients. Following a grounding in the current state and federal laws governing marijuana, students will hear from a number of marijuana businesspeople and those lawyers currently representing them. Topics covered will include regulatory compliance, criminal defense, contract, banking, tax, real estate, and multidisciplinary practice. These speakers will present the students with practical problems and hypotheticals which will generate multiple opportunities for assessment.

Read that and tell me you aren't intrigued. That is the course description for L4700: Representing the Marijuana Client, a new (likely first-of-its-kind) course at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, a class that has already "sold out," according to The Denver Post's Cannabist Blog.

It's a cannabis class, but it's no laughing matter: Marijuana entrepreneurs in Colorado have to navigate state law, federal law, and regulations galore.

Huge BigLaw Bonuses Are Back -- If You're a Senior Associate

We're back, baby! After learning in September that legal salaries were on the rise, The New York Times' Dealbook blog reported Tuesday that BigLaw bonuses were on the rise.

The law profession if profitable! We'll be respected again!

So does this mean that it's time to get into the BigLaw business? Is law school suddenly a good idea for the disenchanted liberal arts major?

Kaplan Survey: Pre-Law Students, Schools Clash Over Culture

There are a lot of factors to consider when applying to law schools: ranking, cost, scholarship funds, odds of admission, geography, schools' success rates in regards to job placement and bar passage, and more.

Somewhere, far down that list, is a school's culture. It's a soft factor that is often overlooked, but it really is an important one, especially if you're planning on spending most of the next three years of your life there.

Would you prefer a small-town school, where everyone knows everyone else, gossip runs amok, but camaraderie and casualness are the rule? Or would you prefer an overly formal institution in a big city, where everyone lives their real lives outside of the few hours of classes and cut-throat competition for library materials?

A recent Kaplan survey tried to measure culture, in terms of students' expectations and schools' self-assessments. The results, unsurprisingly, did not match.

Law Sucks. What Else is There? Ugly Christmas Sweater Maker

Sometimes, you no longer want The Law. And sometimes, The Law no longer wants you. For many recent graduates, the latter is the case, thanks to that whole "tens of thousands of graduates into an oversaturated job market replete with failing firms" nonsense.

Alternative careers: That's the ticket. That's what keeps popping up in our most popular posts lists, and why our "Law Sucks. What Else is There?" series continues. In today's installment, we look at a USC law grad who left the confines of BigLaw to make ugly Christmas sweaters. Stifle your laughter, dear lawyers, because his company is almost certainly making more money than you ever will. And he gets to make phallic snowman jokes via intricate sweater designs.

10 Things 1Ls Can Do After Final Exams

In a few short weeks, you'll be done with your first 1L final exams. For some of you, it was easy -- you got an open-book, take-home final and were then told you had a week to complete it and turn it in. For others, you had to actually go into a classroom, turn on ExamSoft, and write for three hours straight.

Any way you slice it, you'll soon be done with your first semester. And most importantly, you'll have survived. So here's a list of 10 things you may want to do after you're done with finals:

Mail Merge: Mass Mail Your Resume in 3 (Mildly) Easy Steps

You need a job. Many do, but you're creeping into desperation territory here.

We can't testify that mass mailing actually works, but like any urban legend, we totally know somebody who knows somebody that it worked for. He mass mailed his materials to all the BigLaw firms he could find and ended up with a six-figure salary in Manhattan -- the financial holy grail of gigs, even if some might question the sanity of a BigLaw lifestyle. (Lifestyle, smifestyle -- it's $160k brah.)

If you want to try mass-mailing, it's surprisingly easy. Here are the three steps to take to spam the industry with your application materials: