Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

December 2015 Archives

Plenty of lawyers regret their career choice. The long hours, tedious work, crushing student debt, and poor job market aren't exactly the kinds of things that make you pat yourself on the back every morning. But that's just the negative yin to lawyering's positive yang.

Being a lawyer is a great career. You should love what you do. Here are six reasons why.

Whittier Law Student Shot to Death in Las Vegas During Break

Richard Rizal McGee, a 3L attending Whittier Law School was tragically shot to death last week in Las Vegas after accidentally banging on the wrong door too early in the morning.

This tragic incident should serve as a reminder for law students to be careful during winter break, and to watch their drinking.

Forget 'Serial,' forget 'The Jinx,' forget even the best T.V. show of our time -- 'How to Get Away With Murder.' The newest, greatest true law, true crime drama is Netflix's 'Making a Murderer.' It's a documentary of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who wrongly served 18 years for sexual assault, only to be charged with murder soon after his release -- a crime the documentary suggests he was framed for.

'Making a Murderer' hasn't just brought new attention to Avery's case though, it's shone a bright and unflattering light on the lawyers involved. Now, Avery's defense attorney is justifying his performance to People magazine, Internet vigilantes are destroying the prosecutor's Yelp page, and even the hacktivist group Anonymous is getting into this fustercluck.

Georgia 'Lawsuit Factory' Hit With $3.1M Fine

Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, a Georgia-based 'lawsuit mill,' resolved a lawsuit brought against it by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB's complaint alleged that the law firm and its three principal partners relied on faulty, questionable evidence and misleading court filings in order to continue operating a lawsuit factory.

The settlement number is $3.1 million in penalties payable by Hanna without the firm admitting any wrongdoing.

You can master your opening statements, shine during direct-examination, and give an Oscar-worthy closing arguments -- but you may still struggle with cross-examination. Many litigators, even seasoned trial attorneys, labor to master cross-examination.

If you're just starting out, here are seven tips to help make sure you do your first cross-examination right.

Can a Felon Become a Lawyer?

It's easy to understand why most people would automatically conclude that a felony conviction would keep them from ever becoming a lawyer. If you have had some trouble in the past, don't let a felony conviction cause you to completely write-off ever becoming a lawyer. The process is not as complicated as might think. And besides, here's proof.

How to Avoid Accidental Lawyer-Client Relationships

Now that the holidays are upon us, no doubt family and friends have taken this opportunity to descend upon you like a cloud of locusts looking to mooch legal advice. It's inevitable.

A casual comment about the nature of law is one thing, but then actually giving advice is entirely another. Doing the latter will almost certainly implicate the attorney-client relationship (ACR).

Graduate Law School, Drive Full-Time for Uber

Clark Moffat is the latest in a series of law school graduates to become victims of circumstance. He and a handful of other students who graduated from San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) are suing their alma mater on causes of action that essentially amount to fraud. They allege that the school intentionally inflated their employment numbers in order to make law school seem more appealing.

Moffat's case is particularly sympathetic because he has never once been able to find work in the legal field and he has never made more than $25,000 a year. To make matters more dire, he's drowning under $170k in debt while caring for his cancer-stricken wife and his son in a rented mobile-home. Is that the picture people think of when they think law school?

For years, law schools have been cutting class sizes and even shutting down in response to declining enrollment. Over the past five years, the amount of law students has plummeted 20 percent. There are now fewer law students than any time since 1977. It seems like America's best and brightest youth had forsworn law school for investment banking, tech degrees, or a summer internship with ISIS. You know, careers with a future. (We kid, of course.)

But that trend may be reversing according to new LSAC data which shows -- shock of shocks -- a significant increase in students sitting for the LSAT.

You Don't Need Law School to Become a Lawyer (In Some States)...

You go to med school in order to become a doctor, right? So, it's perfectly rational to think that you need law school in order to eventually become a lawyer. Well, that's not necessarily the case. You can become a lawyer without first graduating from law school bearing a J.D. And we're here to guide you.

The Access Group, a nonprofit representing 200-some law schools, has scooped up Lawyer Metrics, the group announced last week. Lawyer Metrics is a youngish company started by two professors in 2011.

The metrics company is best known for helping firms hire and retain legal talent, but how will the law schools put it to work? We have a few guesses.

Filing a Baseless Suit in NY? Get Ready to Reimburse $19K

A New York federal judge just slapped a vexatious litigant who brought a civil rights lawsuit against the New York City Police based on 'highly unreliable' facts.

The price for making this baseless claim against the city? $19,000. He should consider himself lucky. The costs associated with litigation were upwards of $95,000 and he could have been slapped harder if it weren't for his inability to pay.

You're hosting a holiday party. You're attending a holiday party. You just want a quick, but fancy and seasonally-appropriate, nip to get you through the last few hours of some late night work.

What you need is a nice holiday cocktail, fit for a festive attorney. No, we're not talking spiked eggnog. Tasty, festive, merry, kind of impressive, these holiday cocktail recipes definitely beat Santa's cookies.

BigLaw Partner Who Aided Shkreli Arrested for Fraud

Martin Shkreli's recent arrest happened to nab at least one other body its wake, Kaye Scholer partner Evan Greebel. According to allegations contained in the formal indictment against both men, Greebel was instrumental in helping Shkreli carry out at least one major fraudulent transfer, including funneling stock out of his dubious biotech company Retrophin to clear off a number of unrelated debts.

The Financial Times was perhaps more accurate that it knew when it recognized Greebel as a "U.S. Innovative Lawyer."

Spend Your End-of-the-Year Bonus Wisely

As end-of-the-year bonuses start to become as rare as pensions, it's always nice to know that someone up there is looking out for you. For example, Ropes Gray LLP, in a surprising display of largess, has decided to give its most junior attorneys the same year-end bonuses amounts as their cut-throat BigLaw competition. But this "gift" comes with a catch: bill "substantially more" than the annual target of 1,900 hours.

So, you're definitely working for that money, there's no mistake. But what do you do with it once it's in your hands? Spend it wisely.

Our congratulations go out to the 1L's of the world! You've made it through your first semester of law school and the misery that is law school exams.

And now it's time for winter break. Finally, you get a brief respite from law school, a short return to normal life. Here's how to make the most of it.

How Do You Avoid Lawyer Burnout?

Do you hate your job as a lawyer? Do you not feel satisfied in the work you do? Unfortunately, it seems that lawyers are particularly prone to asking themselves these probing questions. Lawyers' personality types generally tend to put them especially at risk of depression and burnout, and some won't even recognize the problem until it's too late.

A New York lawyer was convicted of fraud yesterday for his role in a scheme to buy Maxim, the men's magazine. No, not the October issue, the whole company.

Harvey Newkirk, formerly of the large law firm Bryan Cave, was convicted of one count of wire fraud connected to the scheme. Newkirk worked with convicted felon Calvin Darden Jr. as he tried, and failed, to put together $31 million to buy up the world's leading publisher of celebrity bikini photos and basic masculinity tips.

How Unlicensed Law School Grads Benefit From Their JDs

To those who failed to get a passing mark on this last administration of the bar exam, your dreams of being able to tack the letters 'Esq.' after your name have been delayed a little longer.

Whether or not you plan on taking another crack at the bar exam, the truth of the matter is that you're most likely lawyering already...

New Season of 'Serial' Focuses on the Story of Bowe Bergdahl

The wildly popular podcast Serial closed last year focusing on the story of Adnan Syed, the suburbanite convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1999. The podcast has been credited for shining a light on some of the real inner workings of lawyers, with emphasis on the criminal justice system.

If you loved the first season of Serial, here's an overview of what's to come.

Sure, the New Year is still a few weeks away, but that's no reason to avoid planning your 2016 resolutions. Ignore the naysayers that say New Year's resolutions are a silly tradition. There's no better time than the start of 2016 to make the changes that will make 2016 your year, whether your goals are making it rain or making a career change.

Here are our ten best New Year's resolutions for attorneys in 2016.

Back in March, if you walked past New American restaurants and boutique shops in downtown Austin, Texas, you might have spotted a sticker declaring that the establishment was 'exclusively for white people.' When the stickers started popping up, they were condemned by Austin's mayor and the NAACP.

But don't worry, it wasn't the return of Jim Crow in Texas's liberal capital city -- it was just one of our favorite "lawyers behaving badly" stories of the year. The stickers were the work of Adam Reposa, a Texas lawyer and self-declared "badass" who took to vandalism to raise awareness about gentrification.

Recent Disbarment Stories You Won't Believe

Everybody loves to read about lawyer screw-ups. Sometimes they can be pretty run-of-the-mill and even mundane ethics breaches like co-mingling of funds. But sometimes they can be pretty emotionally provocative.

Here is a pair of recent cases that are, if nothing else, entertaining.

New lawyers might need to brush up on securities fraud claims or federal energy regulations, sure. They are, after all, new. But their writing? Associates have spent years writing, from their undergrad thesis papers, to their torturous legal writing courses, to their summer internship memos. Writing is their strong point -- right?

Not if you ask partners, who can quickly rattle off a litany of problems with their associate writing. Here's a brief rundown of partners' biggest complaints.

Law School Grads Sue for More Transparency

A group of 12 law school grads from Thomas Jefferson Law School in California have sued their school alleging that it inflated employment numbers and salaries in order lure at-risk students to apply, reports the AP.

This lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson is simply the latest of a number of lawsuits against California Law Schools in which similar allegations of non-transparency have been lodged. Even with the dismissal of the suits, these instances have prompted critics to call for greater law school transparency.

It's the bane of every law student's existence: The Bluebook, a devilish, disorganized, and often bewildering collection of legal writing rules. It's a collection of 500 plus spiral-bound pages designed to make 1L's rip their hair out.

Who can we blame for those hours and hours lost miserably flipping between R.10 and T.8? For decades, the Harvard Law Review has taken credit for starting The Bluebook, but a forthcoming law review article by two Yale librarians paints a very different picture.

Meet the Next President of the Cuban American Bar Association

Anna Marie Hernandez has been elected president of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) and will be leading the organization throughout 2016.

Ms. Hernandez's nomination and eventual election is no surprise. She has previously served on CABA's board for the last ten years. She is a partner at the Miami firm Holland & Knight and litigates complex real estate and commercial real estate matters and was elected Tuesday this week to succeed Manuel Crespo Jr. who works at Coral Gables neighborhood law firm. Alongside her credentials, the fact that she ran unopposed for the position probably didn't hurt matters either.

World Record Academy Names World's Oldest Law Firm

The world's oldest law firm is one you've never heard of: Thomson Snell & Passmore. The England-based law firm has offices in the towns of Dartford and Tunbridge Wells near London.

Part of the reason you might not have ever heard of the firm is because the firm has changed its name a number of times throughout its long and storied life. Well, you would expect something like that from a law firm has been around since Shakespeare was writing his sonnets.

Hey lawyers, ever wish you went to med school instead of spending three years and a ton of cash on your J.D.?

Well, you can be happy that you didn't. It turns out, doctors might actually be chumps. A new report suggests that law school has a better return on investment than med school.

Lawyer Billing Tom-Foolery: Bizarre Things Lawyers Try to Bill For

It's no secret that some people hate lawyers. Unfortunately, there are times when that enmity is actually justified. The majority of lawyers out there, it appears, bill their clients in a manner that is honest, above board, and in good faith. But then you get the lawyers who spoil it for everyone else, and the whole profession gets a black eye.

Are your diamonds and pearls a bit too showy for the court room? Does your gold watch and designer suit bling too brightly for that criminal deposition? If you're leaning towards, "yeah, I guess," then you're not alone.

The newest lawyer fashion trend is to hide the glitz and gold -- and it's being led by Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer who landed George Clooney. She's looking to downsize her $750,00 engagement ring, worried that it will clash with her more serious case work.

Wake Forest Launches Legal Clinic for Veterans

It's not unheard of for law schools to provide pro bono legal services through student clinics. Some provide legal services to community first-responders and to retired and even current military personnel. In the case of veterans, the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed to in the military presents them with special challenges as they can no longer turn to the structure of the chain of command.

Wake Forest University School of Law recently joined those ranks, with its nascent clinic. Wake Forest's Veteran's Legal Clinic was officially launched this fall, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. It not only serves veterans but also currently active-duty service members, reservists, and non-affiliated veterans. It's part of the growing number of vitally needed legal clinics that law schools have spearheaded in order to provide legal assistance to men and women who've served in the armed forces.

'Tis the season for holiday shopping. And no one is more deserving of a little gifting attention than the law student in your life. (Really, they've had a hard year.)

Whether you've got a law school intern, nephew, or fiance, you'll want to get them the perfect law-related gift, something that will make the road to becoming an esquire a little more bearable. Here are our top recommendations.