Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

June 2016 Archives

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner is one of the few appellate judges to have become a household name -- if your household includes a legal professional or two, that is. And part of what makes Judge Posner so well-known is that he is rarely shy about expressing his opinions. His condemnation of the Bluebook, for example, has made many a law student's heart sing.

And the Bluebook isn't the only thing Posner has a problem with. In a recent post on Slate, the judge took aim at legal academics, the Supreme Court, and even the Constitution.

CA Unaccredited Law School Closing, Leaves Positive Legacy

Besides having the hardest bar exam of the states, California also has the greatest concentration of unaccredited law schools in the nation. And in the rank-obsessed world of law, this is not a good reputation to have.

Well, one of those schools has announced that it will be enrolling its last first year class and no more: California Southern Law School is shutting down.

I'm representing a famous former NLF player, accused of domestic assault. I'm concerned that my client won't pass a drug test, so I send a quick text message: "Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle." Except I don't send it to co-counsel, as I thought. I send it to the M-F'ing Associated Press.

Who am I? If you guessed fired, you're close! If you also guess Robert Hinton, ex-attorney for Johnny Manziel, the (in)famous former Brown's quarterback, you're right! But as high profile and embarrassing as Hinton's mistake is, such inadvertent disclosures of confidential information are hardly unheard of.

Will Defrauded Law Grads Ever Be Able to Cancel Loans?

If you're a law graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, chances are you're applauding the Education Department's proposed rule to modify the defense to repayment in favor of defrauded students. But if you're a taxpayer who didn't go to law school, you're probably a little less jubilant.

It's a touchy subject: student debt forgiveness. For years, the general taxpayer was up in arms about proposals of providing debt relief for overburdened undergrad students who couldn't find a job. But providing relief to more "sophisticated" law students is surely to raise controversy and costs to the American taxpayer.

Pat Summitt, the winningest college basketball coach ever, died today at the age of 64. Over 38 seasons coaching college basketball, Summitt lead the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team to 1,098 victories, more than any other coach in NCAA basketball history. In doing so, Summitt transformed the role of women's sports and women coaches, turning women's college basketball into a sport people paid attention to, one which could see its most successful coaches could earn more than $1 million a year.

Summitt was a hero in women's sports and in college sports generally, whose coaching skill and commitment to sport helped propel her teams to victory after victory. Here's what lawyers can learn from her impressive life.

The bar exam isn't about your ability to charm potential clients, to craft a finely written legal document, or to persuade a fact finder. That is, it's not about many of the skills that make a great lawyer. Instead, mastering the bar is about rote, brute memorization. Get that black letter law down, learn how to apply it, and you should do alright.

Given the vast amount of law you need to retain to pass the bar, memorization can be daunting task. But, there are some tricks that can help you improve your memory as you move closer and closer to your exam date.

Summer isn't like it once was, when you were a young kid or even just an undergrad. Long, slow summer days are replaced by all-nighters as an associate. And if you're still a law student, life isn't that much better. Lazy days at the beach are harder to come by, what with all the bar prep or summer associate work.

But that doesn't mean you can't still have fun. Here are our top tips for enjoying a little bit of sun and fun while still keeping on top of your lawyerly duties.

When everyone else was complaining about the amount of reading in law school, did you secretly think, "Hey, this is awesome?" Where other associates grumble about pecking at their keyboards all day, do you get excited about the prospect of a few more hours of research?

Well, you might be a bit of a nerd bookworm. And that's great, because if you love legal research, we've got the jobs for you. As part of our affiliate program with Indeed, we're bringing you the coolest legal jobs of the week, legal research edition.

Lawyer Wears KKK Hood, Swastika, Files Free Speech Complaint

The California attorney who was arrested after it was determined his KKK comment card could be a hate crime has filed two claims against the city of Los Angeles. He's demanding a little over $750,000 in damages owing to damage to his practice and to emotional distress after the arrest.

The claim of emotional distress is a rather fantastic one coming from a man who has repeatedly appeared in hearings held by the Los Angeles City Council wearing a white hood with a red swastika, all the while accosting black council members with invectives probably too indecent to reprint here.

Judges are just like everyone else. They love, they fear, they cry, they tweet. But on Monday, the New Mexico Supreme Court cautioned judges against crossing lines on social media.

Sure, judges can go ahead and repost that funny cat pic or hop on a trending hashtag. But the state supreme court wants them to keep the social media drama out of the courtroom -- something that several judges have proven they're not too good at.

There are just over four weeks left until the July bar exam. That's four weeks to get your pneumonic devices straight, four weeks to master IRAC, four weeks to figure out what the deal with mortgages is and why no one ever taught you about them in law school.

That is to say, there's a lot to be done. Here are some tips to help you through it.

July bar takers, you are halfway there. Many of you have been studying for about a month and have just over one month left to go. Congrats? It probably doesn't feel like it now, buried as you are under flashcards and crippling anxiety, but you've already accomplished a lot.

Now is the home stretch. To help you ace your bar exam, here are our five top study tips from the FindLaw archives.

BofA GC to BigLaw: '$180K Junior Pay Is on Your Dime, Not Ours'

BigLaw associates are still tipsy over recent news that many of the hallowed BigLaw firms (including Cravath, which has led the charge) bumped first year associate pay to $180,000. But in these uncertain economic times, it's understandable that some parties might have some misgivings about this development.

Take Bank of America's reaction, for example: "Don't expect us to fund your expensive new associates."

Feeling a gnawing in your belly, but for a better job? Ready to sink your teeth into a new experience? Savoring the idea of a sweater career?

Well, if you've got an appetite a new job (as well as snacks and sweets), we've got some jobs to serve up for you. As part of our affiliate partnership with Indeed, we're bringing you the three coolest jobs we can find this week -- and they all taste great.

Young Lawyers Need to Learn Tech Skills

In today's competitive job market, new lawyers need to learn tech skills if they want to stand out. When the economy crashed and technology began improving at a rapid pace, it became apparent that lawyers (especially solo lawyers) could no longer simply rely on tech-proficient staffers. It's time for lawyers to be their own best assistant when it comes to using computer applications and legal practice software in the day-to-day practice of law.

You find sunken treasure, literally piles and piles of gold (and a fair amount of human bones) at the bottom of the ocean. You're set for life, right? Not quite. As any fan of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" can tell you, finding gold is just the start of your troubles.

And so it goes with the S.S. Central America, a Gold Rush era steamship that deposited over 30,000 pounds of gold (worth about $50 million today) in Davey Jones' locker, just off the coast of South Carolina, more than 150 years ago. That sunken treasure was discovered in the late 80s, only to lead to legal battles that are still playing out today, most recently with attorney Richard Robol being sanctioned for $225,000 for failing to turn over documents regarding the gold.

So you're going to law school come the end of August. Congrats! We're sure you're excited about the fascinating world of service of process, negligence per se, and adequate consideration. But you're also probably a bit apprehensive. "Is there something I should do before hand to prepare?" you wonder.

Yes, future law student, there is.

Choosing the right suit requires some surprisingly complex calculations. Do you go with something fancy and bespoke, letting your (supposed) success shine through in Italian tailoring? Or something more subdued and affordable, to show clients that you won't gouge them for every last penny? Do you go with solids or pinstripes? Mad-Men-skinny or 80's-Power-Suit-boxy? Blue or gray? (Never black!)

And if the suit makes the man, picking a suit can be even more difficult when you're a transgender lawyer. And HBO's new documentary "Suited," features just that: Everett Arthur, a 3L at Emory Law and a transgender man, who found the perfect fit with New York City's Bindle & Keep, a bespoke suit maker focused on crafting very fancy suits for women and the LGBT community.

Is AI Replacing the Human Associate?

Should law students or young legal professionals worry about AI taking over their jobs? It seems that anytime a new advancement is made in technology, questions arise about the viability of machines taking over legal jobs. In fact, Artificial Intelligence technology is moving at such a tremendous pace that real fears are welling up that robots might make lawyers obsolete. But how realistic is the proposition of AI in the law firm?

Is There an Alternative to the 8-Hour Workday for Lawyers?

Lawyers are renown for being workaholics -- a moniker that most of us don't willingly earn. It's not that we want to work till we drop, but it seems that there's always work to be done with never enough time to do it.

That's largely thanks to the convention of the eight-hour workday, a "relic" of the industrial revolution, as Travis Bradberry at Forbes calls it. But if there is a better way, what is it and how can we get there?

You took out loans for law school knowing that they'd come due someday, but not anytime soon. Then you graduated, found a decent job, and suddenly your lenders came knocking. And if you maxed out on loans when studying the law, the amount you owe every month can be staggering, even if you're making a Cravath-level salary. For those of us making much less, even modest (by law school standards) student debt can seem completely insurmountable.

But there are ways to survive your student loans and even make payment tolerable. Here are our top tips for dealing with student debt, from the FindLaw archives.

Why Do So Many Young Lawyers Hate Their Jobs?

Why do so many young lawyers hate their jobs? Dissatisfied youths can be seen in a wide variety of legal fields (corporate, personal injury, insurance) and every firm size (BigLaw, small firm). Is there something wrong with Millennials' expectations?

Probably, and aspiring attorneys might need to adjust their expectations to new legal realities. But it might also be the legal profession, not unhappy lawyers, that needs to change as well.

Feeling cooped up? Trapped? As a kid, didn't you think your life would be a bit more exciting than just working late for a job you don't love? Well, there's still time to make a change. No, you don't have to sell the minivan and get a sports car, or leave your spouse and start dating a college student. But you can find a job in an industry that's got a bit more sex appeal.

Let's not call it a midlife crisis. Let's call it a return to your youthful glory -- or just a continuation if they haven't yet passed you by. As part of our affiliate relationship with Indeed, we're bringing you the three coolest legal jobs of the week, jobs that will help you keep it together, without having to give up your youthful dreams.

Love kids? Love the law? Still a student yourself? Well, Street Law might be for you. Street Law is a long-running, grassroots legal education effort that sends law students into high schools, to teach practical legal lessons to the youth.

The program helps give kids basic legal literacy (more than they'd get watching CSI, at least) on fundamental legal issues, from civil rights law, to criminal law, to employment law, while also helping law students develop their leadership skills and a commitment to public interest.

When to File an Ethics Complaint Against a Judge

Just like lawyers, judges must abide by ethical standards. If a judge has engaged in conduct that is prejudicial to the role of the court, then you would be doing the legal professional a favor to call foul.

Recently, Nevada Judge Conrad Hafen handcuffed a defense lawyer in court in order to quiet her down. In the context of this incident, many have been wondering about the pros and cons of calling an ethics complaint against a judge. Is there ever a time when this is the right thing to do?

It's been a rough few years for Kathleen Kane. The Pennsylvania Attorney General was arrested and charged with felony perjury, "official oppression," and obstruction of justice last spring -- all stemming from her (alleged) leaking of internal memos meant to embarrass rival prosecutors. A few months later, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revoked her license to practice law. It was quite a blow to the state's top prosecutor.

And now, Kane is facing allegations of wage and gender discrimination -- from here very own twin sister.

Cravath pumped first year associate salaries up to $180,000 on Monday, Above the Law reported. Hueston Hennignan, a boutique litigation firm in California, followed Cravath's lead today, also bringing up associate base salaries to $180,000. That's not a bad salary for a fresh-faced law grad just starting out. But it's not one that most lawyers will earn. Most new lawyers make significantly less than BigLaw associates, and many law school grads still can't find legal jobs, despite lower numbers of J.D.s.

So, will an investment in law school pay off for you, landing you a high-paying, high-prestige associate position? Or will you be left unemployed and in debt, like so many others? Here's one way to tell.

Bar Exam Study Tips for Smart Cheapskates

Have you looked at the litany of bar exam prep courses out there and suffered sticker shock at the some of the prices? You're not alone. For example, for some of the "harder" jurisdictions, the entry-level price for many of the country's more popular bar exam prep programs can set you back a little more than $4,000.

And that's if you go the route without personal tutoring. I personally know someone who shelled out $10,000 plus Bar/Bri to pass the California bar. But what alternatives are there for those who don't want to compromise their health or wallets just to prepare for the exam? Fortunately, there is an alternative for those of us whose surname isn't Rothschild: self-study.

One of the world's greatest athletes passed away last weekend. Muhammad Ali, the three time world boxing champ, died on Saturday at the age of 74. Ali was more than just a thrilling boxer, he was an icon, a justifiably self-confident braggart, a war resister, and a civil rights advocate. And for a celebrity athlete, he had a closer connection to the law than many. His death came just shy of the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning his conviction for draft evasion.

Here's what lawyers can learn from his life and passing.

You're fed up and burnt out. You're ready to finally pursue the passions you let slide when you became a lawyer. It's time for a career change.

But where should you go from here? What are some of the best non-law jobs for lawyers? Here are our top seven alternative career tips, from the FindLaw archives.

Feeling jittery about your career prospects? Jonesing for something that won't leave you jaded and juiceless? Just jobless? Well, we've got you covered.

As part of our affiliate program with Indeed, we're bringing you the coolest legal opportunities of the week. And this week, we're feeling J -- as in jobs. For J.D.s. So let's jump in.

Which Bar Exam Prep Course Is Best?

Law school graduation is upon us, but as 3Ls know, that certainly doesn't mean you've seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet. Before you can walk through the pearly gates of licensure, you need to pass that darn bar exam. It strikes fear and dread in the hearts of law students everywhere and most hearts slump at the notion of preparing to take it.

That's why it's big business to prep students to pass the bar exam. There are so many bar prep courses -- but which to choose? In this piece, we look at the numbers so assiduously collected by our friends at Above the Law and also give our own personal input on each of the more well-known courses. We know there's a lot to take in, but thankfully, there's one thing that's common to all successful takers.

Want to finish your JD without being crippled by six-figure student loan debt? You could try to land a full scholarship, but many of those don't cover living expenses. You could try to work full time, which isn't impossible but certainly isn't easy. You could have your parents pay, if you're lucky enough to have parents who can cover your tuition and expenses.

Or, you could try getting a sugar daddy. That's what one 2016 Villanova Law grad did. Candice Kashani recently spoke to the Associated Press about financing her law school education through a series of sugar-daddy relationships, in what the AP describes as a "modern twist on an age-old arrangement."

BarBri Sued by Another Bar Prep Company

According to The Wall Street Journal, BarBri, the ubiquitous bar exam prep program that all law students have considered paying for, has been accused of employing questionable tactics in elbowing out competition. It's yet another suit the bar prep company has had to contend with in recent years.

America is obsessed with where transgender people poop. In March, North Carolina made it a crime for anyone to use a bathroom that doesn't correspond to their sex at birth -- ostensibly to fight off the non-existent plague of predatory men in dresses lurking behind the commode. That set off a showdown with the Department of Justice over what rights are afforded transgender people, who simply want to pee in peace. Just yesterday, the Fourth Circuit urged a quick appeal to the Supreme Court in a case over transgender bathroom access.

But as the fight over trans rights enters courtrooms across the nation, only one judge can speak from her own personal experience. Phyllis Randolph Frye is an associate judge in Houston's municipal courts and the first openly transgender judge in the country. She recently sat down with the ABA Journal to discuss the latest front in transgender rights: the bathroom.