Noon-Thirty News 07/06/10

Posted in News on July 6th, 2010 by bl1y

What’s 300 – 300 – 600 – 3900?
[Law.com]

The answer: Legal job growth for May and June.

Initial reports had the legal sector growing by 300 jobs in May, but a recalculation not only took away that growth, but found 600 jobs had been lost.  June was worse, with the loss of 3,900 jobs.

In America It’s Called Soccer…
[Bitter Lawyer]

In the rest of the world, it’s called futball.

But, in law firms, it’s called “canceled vacation.”

More than two years ago I began planning a trip to see the World Cup in South Africa, and a little more than a year ago I cleared the trip with all the appropriate supervisors at my firm.

[...] A week ago, I was told I would have to cancel my trip because some work had come up.  But, not just any work, work for a department I’m not a part of.

Sounds like someone works for the Koman Coulibaly Legal Group.  Sorry bro.  Or, as they say in South Africa, “BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Kobayashi to Experience Different Hot Dog Eating Contest
[USA Today]

You may have heard over the weekend that Kobayashi, the amazing hot dog eater from Japan was not only not allowed to compete in the annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog eating competition at Coney Island, but was arrested after climbing on stage in a last ditch effort to get into the competition.

Kobayashi spent one night in jail, and has been released after pleading not guilty to trespassing and resisting arrest.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas
[Above the Law]

So big in fact, that Texas needs yet another law school.  University of North Texas’s headline:

Opening a public law school at the right time in the right place.

FML, FYL, FAOLs

Feminist Profs Accidentally Discredit Selves
[Time Magazine via Feminist Law Profs Blog]

If you know many feminist professors, you’re probably familiar with the mantra that everything is caused by societal norms, and genetics have virtually nothing to do with anything.  …Except that gays are gay by nature, but there’s not a biological or chemical explanation to be discovered, so stop looking…

Well, the Feminist Law Prof’s Blog has posted a story about some (pretty ethically questionable) experiments involving hormone treatments given to pregnant women.  Turns out that differences in hormones can cause girls to behave like stereotypical girls, or to behave more like tom boys, and vice versa for boys.

Turns out that boys will be boys, and not that boys will be boys because we reward archetypical boyish behavior and reinforce such behavior through societal norms.

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Noon-Thirty News 06/23/10

Posted in News on June 23rd, 2010 by bl1y

Michael Bay to Direct Lathamed: The Movie
[Bitter Lawyer]

Honestly, I don’t know if I’m up to the task.  Sure, I’ve done the Transformers films, so I have some experience with robots.  But Bumblebee and Optimus Prime had some personality.  I could work with that.  But lawyers?  They’re more like the robots you see in an auto plant.  The types they don’t make action figures of.

What more is there to say?  Lathamed, it’s like Titanic, but with fewer survivors.

Why is Contracts Even a Required Class?
[Above the Law]

At the American Constitution Society, Judge Richard Posner confessed that, like most Americans, he doesn’t read boiler plate on contracts that he signs:

For my home equity loan, I got 100s of pages of documentation; I didn’t read, I just signed.

Neither does presiding partner of Cravath Evan Chesler, or pretty much anyone who values their sanity.

Jones Day Cuts Staff, is Poised for…Something
[Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Jones Day has confirmed staff cuts in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Cleveland, but claims no attorneys were lost in the latest headcount reduction. Lyle Ganske, head of the Cleveland office had this to say about the layoffs:

While the entire legal industry has seen radical shifts, we continue to hire additional lawyers to meet client demands. We have also kept our traditional summer and on-campus recruiting programs, and are poised for additional growth.

Ganske clearly has difficult with at least one of the three following words: “poised,” “growth,” or “tact.”

Yo, Where My Lame Peeps Jokes At?
[Boulder Daily Camera]

Carol Burdick is in court, making her case against a former landlord, claiming she was wrongfully evicted from her apartment.  The offense that got her kicked out was an Easter display at her door containing, among other sundries, a pyramid of Peeps.  Now, she’s bringing in some Peeps “experts” to help make her case:

The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday and is expected to include testimony from a parade of witnesses including a former art teacher who uses Peeps in her artwork, a Denver man who hosts an annual Peeps barbecue and the third-place winners of a Peeps diorama contest.

If there’s one thing this case is guaranteed to bring, it’s a lot of stiff white people trying to make “peeps” jokes.

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Nine Ways to Not Screw Up Your Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28th, 2010 by bl1y

Jog over to Bitter Lawyer this morning and check out their 9 Summer Associate Don’ts.  They may seem like no-brainers, but sometimes this stuff just really needs to be said.

I’ve broken 1-5 and 7.  How about you?

Which of these summer associate rules have you broken?

View Results

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Bitter Lawyer Wins Webby

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2010 by bl1y

Congrats to BitterLawyer.com on their Webby win for the Law category.  As many of my readers know, I am an occasional guest writer for BitterLawyer, and so I’m going to claim all the credit for this victory.

Rah rah rah.  Go me.

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Name That T4 Law School!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11th, 2010 by bl1y

How well do you know T4 law schools?

Head over to Bitter Lawyer and play the new game from your truly.

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Record Hits!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10th, 2010 by bl1y

Thanks (again) to Bitter Lawyer and AbovetheLaw for helping to drive traffic here.  Yesterday I recorded a record 6,117 hits.  So, to thank all of my fantastic readers, I’m going to give you a chance to win some of my home made salty snacks.

Actually, I’m just going to remind you of the already running competition.  Got an amusing law school or law firm story?  I want to hear it.  Check out the official contest rules here.

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Dos and Don’ts of V-Day Gifts for Lawyers

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9th, 2010 by bl1y

VSHave a special lawyer in your life that you’re going to be spending Valentine’s Day with? Then head over to BitterLawyer.com and read my article discussing what you should (and shouldn’t) give as a V-Day gift.

Lingerie is out.

NSFW photos are in.

You can read my other articles posted on BitterLawyer here.

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14,000 Hits and a Contest!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1st, 2010 by bl1y

Thanks to all my readers for making this first month back blogging so successful.  Over 14,000 mother-freaking hits!  (Due largely to getting a shout out from AboveTheLaw.com.)  I’d also like to give special thanks to the great people at BitterLawyer.com, where I occasionally get the honor of guest blogging.

So, as a special treat, since you’re all such wonderful boys and girls (except that sketchy law firm that posted an ad in the comments), I’m offering you all a contest…with a prize!  I’m looking for some good law school / law firm anecdotes, foibles, grievances, or just embarrassing moments.  Winners will have their story published here and receive a batch of my very special Crim Law Crunchies!  (It’s really just home made Chex mix with a super-secret blend of spices, but I don’t want to call it Chex Mix because I’m not a good enough lawyer to defend a trademark infringement suit, so, lame law school name it is!)

Here’s how it works:

E-mail your story to nycbl1y@gmail.com by 1:00 am Eastern time, March 1st.  You can remain anonymous, make up a name, or use your real name, doesn’t matter.  All real names will be shortened to first name and last initial.

On March 1st, I’ll contact the winners by e-mail to get your address, and pretty soon your story will be posted here and your Chex Mix Crim Law Crunchies will be on their way.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.  And, if all your stories suck, I’ll just make something up and pass it off as a real story.

[Also, before I send anything to you or publish your story on this site, I'll send you a release giving me the right to publish the story here and anywhere else I feel like with whatever changes I want to make.  Basically, I might Peterman your story.]

[Also, more legal nonsense, the Crim Law Crunchies may contain any or all of the following: cheese, butter, fish (don't ask), nuts, peanuts, PEANUTS, SERIOUSLY, IF YOU'RE ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS, THIS WILL KILL YOU!!!!  Basically, only people with hardy genetic material need enter.]

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The Deep End – That’s What She Said

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22nd, 2010 by bl1y

Like many people with even a tangential relationship to the legal industry, I watched the series premier of The Deep End on ABC last night.  And, I have to agree with the unanimously negative reviews from Above the Law, USA Today, The Washington Post and NPR.

No one expects a comedic drama about lawyers to be entirely realistic.  But The Deep End was so far off its namesake that the fantasy elements distracted from…well, I guess there wasn’t much to distract from, but if there was, it would have.

The first thing anyone will notice is that the lawyers are far more attractive than real life attorneys.  But, that’s to be expected on TV.  At least one of the girls was TV ugly (meaning real world cute, or law firm HOT), but the show would have more potential to be interesting if they made her down right plain.

Next, and not many people who haven’t worked in a law firm will have caught this, but there seem to be no midlevel or senior associates at the firm.  It’s just partners and first years.  Perhaps this will be dealt with later, as some firms do experience a lot of defection from associates as they get some experience and find opportunities to jump into finance, but I suspect it’s just an oversight by the writers.

Also, secretaries are generally middle aged, highly-unattractive women.  And, the paralegals don’t have law degrees.  Firms hire law grads as associates, and then fire them after they fail the bar (usually letting them try twice).  They don’t keep them on as paralegals.

But, the most glaringly bad problem in the show is that we’re expected to believe associates in their first month of work are leading cases, bringing in clients, and going to court.  Many mid-level or senior associates never get to do those things.  Sure, no one wants to watch an entire season of junior associates doing doc review, but at least make the kids really suffer before they get into good stuff.  BitterLawyer.com managed to make some creative, interesting short videos that played up just how boring, tedious and demeaning law firm life is.  You’d think a staff of professional TV writers could do as well.

McBealThis show needed to take a lesson from House or The Office.  Instead of making all the associates into heroes-in-training, give them all their own agendas, their own vices, and make them multi-dimensional, interesting people.  Have a social outcast, have a catty bitch, have an awkward guy, whatever it takes to make the show have some appeal.  I know it’s still too early to completely condemn the show, but at this point, I’d rather just watch re-runs of Ally McBeal.

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Reason Not to Go to Law School #12

Posted in Reasons Not to Go to Law School on January 13th, 2010 by bl1y

Useless Classes.

I’m not talking about the classes that are supposed to be useful but ultimately fail, I’m talking about the ones that don’t even purport to be useful. BitterLawyer.com ran a bit on this a while ago, highlighting 11 worthless classes, and I thought I’d revisit the topic, but see just how much crap I could churn up by limiting myself to only the Spring 2010 classes at the Top 5 schools.

Yale

Book of Job and Injustice. Not a class about injustice in the job market, but a class on how to use the Biblical Book of Job to understand injustice in the world. The class is basically “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” This was one of the many topics we covered in my philosophy of religion class in undergrad, which is precisely where it belongs.

Ethics in Literature. I understand the importance of having classes in legal ethics, and why some students are interested in Law and Literature (because they’re book nerds and it looks like an easy class), but Ethics in Literature? This class would be a thousand times more effective if you just cut out the books and discussed some of the more complex or intriguing ethical dilemmas (legal or otherwise) thought have been thought up during centuries of philosophical circle jerks.

Harvard

Democracy Of, By, and For the People: Reading Group. This is a class on “(1) community life, (2) self governance, and (3) accountability to the common good,” which requires students to “prepare periodic ‘one-pagers’ on mutually agreed upon topics.” Flimsy topic? Bullshit assignments? Sign me up!

Great Books: Reading Group. “This reading group is meant to be an antidote. Nowadays, law students arrive at law school having read less and less history and literature.” So what’s Harvard’s solution to this? Reading and discussing one “great book,” Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a book so great you’ve probably never heard of it. At least the class is only worth one credit. In my English Honors Seminar we read The Iliad, The Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Tom Jones, and Moby Dick. That’s how you make up for a lack of exposure to literature and history. Not with a class where “Soft drinks, wine, cheese and so forth will be provided.”

Jewish Law’s Response to Gentile Law: Internal Views of External Influences: Advanced Reading Group. Holy Moses, what a freaking waste of time. The class will “explore the language Jewish law uses to describe its own perception of its relation to Gentile law.” It’s not even a class on Jewish law, it’s a class on the linguistics of Jewish law. And what makes this an “advanced” reading group? You must be able to read Hebrew to attend. In other words: Only God’s chosen people are allowed.

The Past and Future of the Left. We all know universities tend to lean liberal, and law schools are no exception. But this class is quite literally about how students can get the party of “greater equality and empowerment” to overcome its current internal conflicts.

Stanford

Law and Creativity: Fiction and Nonfiction. I almost didn’t read this one, thinking it would be a class on intellectual property. But, I’m sure glad I did. This class is broken down into two components; in the first students “examine and discuss creative treatments of legal and professional issues in a variety of media (including film, fiction, and nonfiction),” and in the second they “submit their own fiction and creative nonfiction pieces for group discussion.” Basically, it’s watching A Few Good Men followed by a creative writing workshop where you’re critiqued by people with little or no creative writing background.

Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Another wonderful reading group brought to you by America’s higher education system. This is pure discussion group, no lecture. And to make sure it is extra useless to lawyers, enrollment is capped at 16 students, and only half of those may be from the law school.

Columbia

Biblical Jurisprudence. Every school seems to have these worthless Bible classes. This noe is sure to prepare you for legal practice by exploring topics such as “the meaning of wars of extermination in the biblical narrative” and “the binding of Isaac as it relates to other practices of sacrifice.” In other words, it’s a class that explores the bad stuff Jews did in the old testament. Or, as Profs. Fletcher and D-Kal call it, “the OT.”

Leadership for Lawyers: “This course examines the responsibilities and challenges of lawyers who occupy leadership roles in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.” Hint: It’s exactly the same as the responsibilities and challenges of non-lawyers who occupy leadership roles in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

New York University

Retribution in Criminal Law Theory & Practice. The class basically centers around one question, should we use criminal sanctions for retribution, rehabilitation, or deterrence? Doesn’t sound too terribly useless until the end of the course description: “The seminar includes in its pedagogy experiments in freeing creative voice through weekly writing and theatre exercises and includes a close study of philosophy, history, psychoanalysis, novels, and plays.”

What. The. Fuck?

The Passion of the Christ: The Trial of Jesus. “For serious learners. Tons to read and plenty of hard work. Do not enroll just for curiosity.” I think that’s code for “This is a bullshit class, but I’m trying desperately to make people think I’m a serious academic.”

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