Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anonymous Posts Might Not Be
As Anonymous as You Think

On July 30, Wired posted an article by Ryan Singel entitled Yale Students' Lawsuit Unmasks Anonymous Trolls, Opens Pandora's Box, about how someone, presumably a law student, posted a particularly offensive comment on a website thinking it was anonymous. Well, it turns out that it was not as anonymous as the poster believed. Be forewarned!

"'Women named Jill and Hillary should be raped.'

Those are the words of "AK-47" -- a poster to the college-admissions web forum AK-47 was one of a handful of students heaping misogynist scorn on women attending the nations' top law schools in 2007, in posts so vile they spurred a national debate on the limits of online anonymity, and an unprecedented federal lawsuit aimed at unmasking and punishing the posters.

Now lawyers for two female Yale Law School students have ascertained AK-47's real identity, along with the identities of other AutoAdmit posters, who all now face the likely publication of their names in court records -- potentially marking a death sentence for the comment trolls' budding legal careers even before the case has gone to trial.

* * *

A federal judge ruled in January that the attorneys [for the two women] could serve subpoenas on ISPs and webmail providers. Using that power, the lawyers have unmasked some -- though not all -- of the AutoAdmit posters.

Now they're asking the judge to give them additional time to try and determine the identities of the remaining defendants, who are currently being sued under their AutoAdmit handles: among others, PaulieWalnuts, Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rollah, Patrick Bateman and HitlerHitlerHitler."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ABA Journal Reports Possible
Implosion of "Cravath System"
of Big Firm Hiring

On July 22, the ABA Journal website had an interesting article, by Debra Cassens Weiss, about the pressures large law firms are experiencing and the disparities among law school graduate salaries. For the full article, go here.

"A chart showing the salaries of 2006 law graduates illustrates a striking finding: The bulk of new lawyers are almost evenly divided into the haves and the have-nots.

William Henderson, a professor of Indiana University School of Law, sees a connection between the salary distribution and the possible demise of the “Cravath system” of hiring by the big law firms.

Law firm salaries of 2006 grads had a “bimodal distribution,” meaning that salaries placed on a graph were clustered around two peaks, NALP figures show. While the median salary was $62,000, about 27 percent of full-time law graduates were earning $40,000 to $55,000 a year year, and about 28 percent were earning more than $100,000, Henderson reported on a post at Empirical Legal Studies last fall.

Now Henderson is advancing a couple theories about the market forces contributing to the unusual salary structure in a recent post at Empirical Legal Studies. One catalyst is the growth in the corporate legal services market. The other is the Cravath hiring system in which the top law firms seek to hire the highest-performing law grads from the best law schools.

Firms that don't want to be viewed as second rate are willing to pay ever higher salaries to hire these grads. Yet firms with lower profits per partner are struggling to continue paying high associate salaries.

At the same time, the struggling firms are losing some of their partners in marquee practice areas, who are moving on to law firms with higher profits per partner, he says. He identifies the marquee practice areas as white-collar crime, securities enforcement, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, emerging markets and intellectual property.

Meanwhile, partners at profitable firms in non-premium practice areas are moving downstream, he says. These less-than-premium practice areas include regulatory compliance, real estate, public finance, project finance, and trust and estates.

Firms without a good mix of premium practice areas will find it difficult to stick with the Cravath model, he concludes. “In other words, for many large law firms, the wheels of their hallowed business model are falling off.”

Tenth Annual National Law Students
Workers' Rights Conference

The Peggy Browning Fund is a nonprofit corporation established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent labor attorney and member of the National Labor Relations Board. President Clinton appointed Peggy to the NLRB in 1994, and she served in that position until her death in February, 1997.

The Fund's mission is to provide law students with diverse, challenging work and educational experiences in the area of workers' rights. Such unique and positive opportunities will both increase student understanding of workers' needs as well as promote their entry into the practice of public interest labor law.

Every year, the Fund hosts a national conference for law students on the rights of working people. This year, the conference will take place on October 17 & 18, 2008, and will be held at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD. The conference brochure and FAQs provide valuable information and registration details.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Young Lawyers Connect

The New York City Bar Association has created Young Lawyers Connect in response to the challenges of being a busy young attorney or law student, be it through age or professional experience.

Join them September-June at First Thursdays, a new series of events to develop and broaden the professional and personal networks of law students and new lawyers. Enhance your management, communication, and other important skills at their Career Development Programs. And when you can't get away from your desk, visit the Young Lawyers Connect section of the City Bar website to connect with your peers and sharpen your skills.

First Thursdays Series - Save the Date:

Kickoff Reception
September 4, 2008
7:00-9:00 pm

Spirit of New York Dinner Cruise
October 2, 2008

City Bar Exclusive Shopping Event at Brooks Brothers November 6, 2008 6:00-8:00pm

Pass the Bar
December 4th, 2008
6:00-8:00 pm

Friday, July 18, 2008

Legal Services of New Jersey
Hit Hard by Economic Downturn:
Must Raise $9 Million to Avoid
Cuts in Staff and Services

In the July 10, 2008 issues of The Star-Ledger, Kate Coscarelli reports:

"The primary funding source for Legal Services of New Jersey has dropped at a more precipitous rate than anticipated, and it is already projecting a $21.5 million shortfall for the 2009 fiscal year . . . . The agency received a $4 million increase in state funding under New Jersey's new budget, bringing its total appropriation from the state to $20 million. But [the Agency's president, Melville D.] Miller said it would need almost $9 million more to avoid having to cut staff and services. 'Nearly all civil legal problems of low-income people occur in state courts or agencies,' Miller said. 'If people are to have the fundamental and constitutional right of 'equal justice under the law' fulfilled, the state must step up to what fundamentally is primarily a state obligation.'

The state budget is one of several sources of revenue for the agency. For the past two years it has covered more than half its $72 million annual budget from interest earned on certain accounts lawyers keep for clients, called the New Jersey Supreme Court Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts program. The past two years have seen record revenues for that fund, and much of the extra money went to Legal Services, allowing it to take on more cases and hire staff. But declines in the real estate market, interest rates and the overall economy have sharply reduced the income from the accounts." The US District Court has awarded the organization a one-time emergency grant of $300,000."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Earrings for Male Lawyers May Be
‘Fraught With Peril,’ Career Adviser Says

This news story, by Debra Cassens Weiss, came in over the ABA Journal Law News Now website:

Should male lawyers and law students in courthouses refrain from wearing earrings? A career adviser from the University of Minnesota Law School is advising caution.

“In the same way that women still must be careful about very short skirts, and in some courts they may still find that pants are frowned on by senior judges, guys and their earrings may still be fraught with peril,” writes Susan Gainen, director of the law school’s career and professional development center. She wrote on the Career and Professional Development Blog in response to a judicial extern who said a male clerk had assured him that earrings were acceptable.

“Your judge may not mind,” says Gainen, “but your peril may lie with clients and juries, two groups whose opinions you value but cannot survey in advance.”

This issue presents several interesting questions for any law student or lawyer to think about:

How much of yourself should you suppress in order to advance the interests of a client? Are you comfortable pretending to be something that you are not? Some people are much better able to do this than others.

How much of yourself will you suppress in order to attract more clients? Are you willing and able to have your office persona be quite different from the inner you?

In an interview setting, would you want to work for an employer who felt so negatively about the kind of person that you are or the way you express yourself? We all compromise to some extent, but where is your comfort zone?

Trans Lawyer / Law Student
Summer Networking Event

The Transgender Committee of LeGaL is hosting a law student /lawyer summer networking event! Join them from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12th, in room 410 of the LGBT Community Center in New York City (208 W. 13th Street). Wheelchair accessible. The event is open to trans attorneys/law students and their allies. You will also hear about trans-specific work that organizations in the greater NYC area are doing. Find out about volunteer opportunities. Network with trans legal professionals and allies doing important work in the trans community. Light refreshments, beer, and wine will be served. Drop by and bring a friend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


(Click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Slippery
A Podcast Series
by Professor Meredith Miller

Professor Meredith Miller has created a blog/podcast server entitled Here is a description of the project from Professor Miller's website:

Welcome to The Slippery Slope: A Legal Variety Podcast. What is a "legal variety podcast"? It is an opportunity to talk to interesting people about interesting things related to the law.

This blog will feature general interest podcasts of discussions with a diverse range of guests - lawyers, academics, law students, politicians and litigants. For example, upcoming podcasts will feature conversations with Carolyn Elefant of, among other endeavors,; Sean Basinski of the Street Vendor Project; and Tracy McGaugh of the Touro Law Center. They'll cover topics ranging from Assessing solo practice to Zealous street vendor advocacy. We might have called the show All Law Things Considered, but that was pretty much already taken.

The podcasts will not focus on any particular legal argument, substantive area of law or legal philosophy -- rather, the podcasts will study the culture of law (broadly defined), the gray areas of the law, and the every day places where the law intersects with our lives. The goal is to be entertaining, to encourage conversation and to discuss intellectual topics that appeal to a diverse audience (i.e., not just legal academics).

Why "The Slippery Slope"? Simple. There is a guiding question that has been no use in defining the parameters of this project: where to draw the line? So, enjoy the podcasts. Don't be shy about submitting your feedback or ideas for the show. And: thanks for joining us!

Professor Miller's first guest is Carolyn Elefant, a solo practitioner in the Washington D.C. area. In addition to her practice, Ms. Elefant holds down the fort heroically at the popular blogs My Shingle and Legal Blog Watch.

This conversation is focused on her recent book, Solo By Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be. Topics include: solo practice as the "best kept secret," law firm marketing, and Carolyn's "biggest goof" when she first "went solo."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Two Touro Law Students
Receive Coveted Positions

Equal Justice Works announced its 2008 Summer Corps members, and two Touro Law Center students joined this select group:

Patrick Magee, City Bar Justice Center, New York, NY, (Housing/Homelessness)


Kera Murphy, Empire Justice Center, Central Islip, NY, (Public Benefits)

This year's Summer Corps members represent 125 Equal Justice Works law schools. These 350 first- and second-year law students will each receive a $1,000 AmeriCorps education award voucher upon completion of a minimum of 300 hours of summer service at a nonprofit public interest organization. Summer Corps members will provide critically needed legal assistance to low-income and underserved communities in 38 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, Summer Corps members gain first-hand experience and legal skills in areas such as client intake, individual representation, research and writing.

Summer Corps members are engaged with a broad range of issues, including civil rights, community economic development, death penalty, disability rights, housing, domestic violence, education, public benefits and workers' rights. For more information about the Summer Corps program, go here.

Congratulations to Patrick and Kera!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Important Public Interest
Fellowship Application Available

For those interested in public interest law, the Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellowship is an incredibly important and significant piece of experience to have on your resume.

The 2009 online EJW Fellowship application is now available here.


Review the application ASAP. EJW recommends that prospective candidates review the online application form as soon as possible to familiarize themselves with how it works and to consider the necessary items required to apply - the online application, the Certification Form (signed by both the candidate and the host organization), and up to two letters of recommendation.

Begin working on the application early. Our online application now offers two functions to create an application. The Formatted Edit function will allow you to use spell check and special formatting such as bold text, bullets, and italics. The Basic Edit function does not support spell check or any special formatting such as bold, italics or bulleted text. Please use the Basic Edit function if your browser has any difficulty editing using the Formatted Edit. The lack of formatting will not negatively affect consideration of applications. There are character limits noted for each box, and character counts may differ between a word processing program and the application. It is therefore important for candidates to paste the text into the application well in advance of the deadline to ensure that the text fits in the allotted space.

Hard copy documents must be received by September 16th. The deadline for submission of the application, which is done online, is 5 pm EDT on September 16th. A signed Certification Form and up to 2 recommendation letter(s) must be received by Equal Justice Works no later than September 16th. These items must be mailed or hand delivered. Faxes and email will not be accepted.

New York City Budget Reduces Spending
For District Attorneys and Legal Aid

On July 7, 2008, the New York Law Journal reported:

Faced with grim economic times, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the New York City Council has cut funding for both the city's district attorneys and the Legal Aid Society in the $59.1 billion city budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Citywide, the six district attorney offices will receive $249.9 million in the 2009 fiscal year. Though that amount is 2.7 percent less than those offices received in the last fiscal year, it is still nearly $12 million higher than the $238 million the mayor had proposed when he issued his preliminary budget in January.

Funding for the Legal Aid Society's contract to represent poor criminal defendants also was pared by 2.5 percent, to $83.3 million from $85.4 million.

Several district attorneys said that while the cuts would make carrying out their mission more difficult, their offices would cope by keeping a close rein on new hiring.

* * *

Two other groups handling criminal cases for indigent defendants were hurt by the cutbacks.

The Office of Appellate Defender lost its $2.4 million grant from the City Council. For many years, the council has been the only source of city funding for the group, though last year it raised $300,000 from private sources, said its attorney-in-charge, Richard M. Greenberg.

Mr. Greenberg, however, said the program is likely to survive because he expects the city's Criminal Justice Coordinator's Office will award the group a contract this year in the "$2 million range."

The City Council also trimmed funding for Neighborhood Defender Services, a group that provides representation to indigent defendants in the Harlem area, by $250,000 to $3 million.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Department of Justice
2009 Post-Graduate and
Summer Intern Presentation

New York University School of Law will host a Department of Justice presentation this summer.

Go to NYU Law on Thursday, July 24th at 5:30 pm in Furman Hall, Room 326 to hear from representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice discuss DOJ’s Attorney General's 2009 Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program (DOJ’s compensated program for 2Ls).

You will learn about DOJ’s exciting new developments and early application deadline.

Highlights of the changes to this year’s program include an earlier application deadline and a faster selection process. The applications for both the entry-level Honors Program and the Summer Law Intern Program open on July 25th and close on September 2nd, 2008.

No reservation is required and all law students are invited.