Supervillains Offer Attorneys Job Satisfaction, Perks

Sylvia Hutton enjoys the perks of a top-notch general counsel: She flies on the corporate jet, mingles with industry heads, consults government officials, and makes innumerable legal decisions on behalf of her employer.  There’s only one major difference: Her client is a supervillain.

“I know, most people think it’s crazy that I work for Ted,” admitted Hutton in referring to the figure better known as Nemesiso, “but he’s actually really nice to me and trusts my judgment far better than the guys at Skadden Arps.  Plus, the work is intriguing and keeps me busy: How many attorneys get to negotiate the purchase of an orbital launcher or plutonium?”

On top of supervising both in-house and outside counsel, in the past week Hutton closed on three important corporate M&A deals, negotiated contracts with several foreign governments, and came to settlement terms with a group of plaintiff’s affected by one of her employer’s less successful “projects” for world domination.  She even had time to make travel and advance burial arrangements for her boss’s latest scheme regarding Captain Stupendous.   Continue reading

Posted in Article, legal practice | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Glamorous Work Eludes ‘Hollywood’ Lawyer

"Why yes, I can come over and feed your cat."

LOS ANGELES – The phone rang at three in the morning.  The panicked, celebrity client called out to the one person she goes to for emergencies: her attorney. Picking the phone up from his bedside, entertainment lawyer Jerry Britman gathers himself to hear the latest emergency he needs to resolve:

“Jerry, the baby won’t stop crying–it’s driving us crazy!  I’ve got an audition in the morning, what are we supposed to do?”  The client, a noted television comedienne, had recently adopted a child with her same-sex companion.  Having never bothered to learn what that would entail, she does what she usually does and relies on her attorney to sort out the details.

Within the hour Britman, still in his pajamas, managed to calm the baby down at his client’s home using a rattle and a diaper change. Continue reading

Posted in Article, legal practice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disgruntled Law Professor Takes Frustration Out on Class

Why didn't I just get an MBA?SAN FRANCISCO – Whenever law professor Myron Atwood teaches first year torts, two things remain constant: the students look progressively younger and he continues to deeply loathe each and every one of them.  Disgruntled and professionally frustrated in his nineteenth year at Golden Gate University School of Law, he derives his only modicum of joy from taking out his disillusionment on his class.

Going into week one, Prof. Atwood eschewed the time honored strategy of spending a number of weeks establishing the basics of intentional torts and negligence and dove right into complex products liability.  Telling his class it was best for them to start “at the deep end” to force them to either “sink or swim”, his actual desire was to cause maximum confusion.  The ploy seemed to work as three students in his class of slightly over one hundred dropped out of law school within the first week.

“I consider causing a student to quit to be a badge of success,” confided Atwood, “though I do like to drag it out over at least a few weeks.” Continue reading

Posted in Article, law school | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Trial Attorney’s Life a Rich Tapestry of Tortious Conduct

Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript LibraryLUBBOCK – In the pantheon of Texas trial attorneys, Larry Foster is a giant among men.  Not only has he spent decades serving plaintiffs across the Lone Star State, but he has managed to commit or inflict an incredible variety of his own torts.

Just last week, Foster committed the latest in a series of batteries by angrily shoving an opposing witness during a deposition in a products liability case.  When opposing counsel tried to protect his witness, Foster continued his tortious streak by intentionally causing an immediate apprehension of harmful contact to both individuals.  While some would say these kinds of antics are unprofessional or even censurable, those who know the feisty attorney describe it as “Larry just being Larry.”

The Honorable Judge Reginald Fox, a member of the Texas bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline, chuckled when told of Foster’s latest incident: “So Larry let him have it, eh?  I’ll tell you what, he’s got a bit of a temper but he’s a good fellow.  If anyone knows the basic elements of personal injury, it’s Larry.  He leads by example.” Continue reading

Posted in Article, legal practice | Tagged | Leave a comment

1Ls Beginning to Notice Ominous Signs Regarding Their Job Prospects

Post-Graduate Prospects for the Class of 2014?

Post-Graduate Prospects for the Class of 2014?

JACKSONVILLE – Justin Medlock is a typical first year student, or 1L, at Florida Coastal School of Law.  After finishing his bachelor’s degree in biology and deciding his grades were not medical school material, Medlock opted to take the LSAT and enroll in law school.  Initially optimistic about his prospects in the legal market, he soon saw signs that the future may not be as bright, starting with orientation.

“They welcomed us all there, told us we were great and fed us, but I swear [the dean of the law school] smirked when he talked about our future in the legal community,” recalled Medlock, who noted other speakers conspicuously avoided the topic of employment: “My friends from college who are unemployed say I’m going to find a lucrative career, but at the early attorney-student mixers the lawyers would pat me on the back whenever I’d talk about eventually working with them.”

Medlock is not alone.  At law schools across the country, members of the new class of 2014 are beginning to notice a palpable sense of dread regarding their future job prospects.  With the exhilaration of orientations and welcome weeks wearing off, a number of these 1Ls report that various comments and signals from upperclassmen, lawyers and even some professors seem to paint a less than rosy picture.  Interviews with these students reveal a growing aura of concern over whether law school was the right choice for attaining gainful employment. Continue reading

Posted in Article, employment, law school | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Supreme Court Announces Definition of “Reasonable Person”

The Arbiter of the Reasonable Person

WASHINGTON — In the midst of an opinion on the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Supreme Court of the United States surprised the legal world by laying down a sweeping, definitive answer to the classic legal question of “What is a reasonable person?”

The holding threw legal experts off guard as it did not appear to be the central question in the case, City of Petaluma v. Thompson.  While no decision made by the Supreme Court can be considered routine, the highest court in the land usually decides on specified questions, often quite narrowly.  In Thompson, the Court was asked to determine whether or not a booth staffed by police officers at a local street fair could be considered the same as the premises of a police station.

“Honestly, it was kind of surprising the Court even agreed to hear this case,” observed constitutional law scholar Adam Larkin, “Nothing in the Ninth Circuit’s decision seemed remotely controversial, and nothing in the oral arguments indicated they were ever going to tackle the issue of a reasonable person.” Continue reading

Posted in Article, judiciary, SCOTUS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Law Grads Follow Jobs, Move to India

A New Mumbai Office

Final touches are put on a new legal office in Mumbai.

MUMBAI — Adventurous or desperate?  That’s the question for a growing number of American law school graduates looking for work in India.  For Sally Nicholson, a recent arrival, the answer lies somewhere in between.

“I’d say I’m desperately adventurous,” shrugged Nicholson, “I’ve been looking for work for months but the job market in the States has completely tanked.  It was at the point when I realized I was looking in parts of the US that weren’t places I’d like to live that I decided why not go abroad? So far, it hasn’t been too bad.”

As the U.S. market continues to make it hard for thousands of recent graduates to find work, a number of these young attorneys opt to hang their shingle in another continent. Like many of her compatriots, Nicholson feels she’s following the jobs. Continue reading

Posted in Article, employment, legal practice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Montana Appoints Grizzly Bear to State Supreme Court

Montana Supreme Court

Justice Baxter promises an instinctive approach.

HELENA — In a historic moment for the animal kingdom, a grizzly bear was appointed to the Montana Supreme Court.

Baxter, chosen by Governor Brian Schweitzer to fill in an interim position left open by a recent vacancy, previously made his home in the mountains northeast of Kalispell where he foraged for food to carry him over previous winters.  As the first animal, let alone bear, serving as a judge at any state or federal level, the decision earned accolades from those pushing to extend animal rights to the highest levels of government. Continue reading

Posted in Article, judiciary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Law Firm Partner Prides Self in Total Lack of Computer Savvy

ATLANTA — With a large, established book of business generating a steady flow of billable hours, litigator Byron Arnold is a valued partner at mega-firm Prince & Easton.  Yet somehow, more than ten years into the 21st century, he remains proud of the fact he possesses only the slightest level of computer savvy.

“You don’t get to where I am by distracting yourself with the latest electronic gizmos and gadgets,” boasted Arnold, 67, sitting back on a leather couch in his office. “I remember when we started placing computers in the attorney offices.  I suppose that’s nice for the younger attorneys who grew up with the Pac-Mans and whatnot, but the practice of law is about hard work.  If you make the connections, file the motions, and manage the courtroom then that’s all you need.”

In the age of rising law firm technology, working with Arnold’s practice style leads to some interesting arrangements. Continue reading

Posted in Article, IT, legal practice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Corporate HR Still Has No Idea How To Read a Lawyer Resume

HR Interviewer Tip #42: If you don't understand what the candidate is talking about, keep eye contact and look interested.

BOSTON — Denise Jackson is Human Resources Director at a Fortune 500 company and considered one of the best in her field.  Having worked at several corporations across the United States, her experiences makes her a popular guru at meetings of the Society for Human Resource Management.  However, like many of her peers, she has no idea how to read a lawyer’s resume.

“I wouldn’t say I don’t know how to read a lawyer resume,” laughed Jackson, who gave an extended and candid interview for this article, “It’s just that they’re a pain compared to just about every other candidate we deal with.”

Jackson, like many of her colleagues, hides her complete lack of familiarity with legal practice and education behind the complaint that lawyers “don’t understand the corporate hiring process.” Continue reading

Posted in Article, employment, legal practice | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment