Author Archive

From earthquakes to power outages to going into labor, we’ve written about almost every kind of bar exam horror story that exists on this earth. But we’ve never seen or heard of one that has been motivated by alleged religious bias — until today.

Everyone knows that things like hats, hoods, scarves, and visors are not allowed to be worn during the bar exam. But religious headgear, like Sikh dastars and Jewish yarmulkes, is permitted, as long as special written approval has been obtained before the test from a state’s board of bar examiners.

When there’s a miscommunication somewhere along the line, things don’t always go as planned. Yesterday, a proctor in Massachusetts passed a distasteful note to a Michigan Law graduate of Muslim faith during the morning essay session. We have a copy of that note…

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

The job scene for recent law school graduates is still pretty rough. A little more than half of the class of 2012 managed to secure full-time, long-term positions as lawyers within nine months of graduation, and now that a year has passed, many of them are still struggling to find employment. They’re doing anything and everything they can to find work, from advertising themselves in text ads on Google to trawling the legal/paralegal section of Craigslist all day long.

Others, however, have resorted to more guerilla-esque job search tactics, like sending out emails to hundreds, if not thousands, of practicing attorneys across an entire state. We managed to get our hands on one such desperate email, and rather than including an accompanying professional photo, the sender decided to attach a grainy picture of himself with his sleeves rolled up, showing off his guns. Seriously? Has this man no shame?

After a quick Google search, it seems like the answer is no. Protip: If you’re trying to find a law job, make sure there aren’t half-naked pictures of yourself readily available online…

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

'Oh my God, I failed the bar exam...'

The July 2013 bar exam is exactly two weeks from today. Some of you have been studying your asses off since graduation, and some of you just started studying. In either case, no matter what you do, some of you will fail — perhaps miserably (been there, done that), or perhaps by just a point or two (been there, done that, several times), but still, you’ll fail. But maybe it’s not so bad? Come on, even famous people have failed. No. Just no. It is thatbad.

The experience is absolutely mortifying because for the first time in your life, you’ve been beaten by a test. Maybe you studied the “wrong” way, maybe you had an anxiety attack halfway through the test and had to take a few crying breaks in the bathroom, maybe you skipped a bubble on the Scantron sheet and didn’t realize it until time was about to be called. Whatever happened, whatever bar exam horror story you experienced, you failed. You failed, and it’s a mark that will follow you for the rest of your life, even if you eventually pass.

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

Earlier this week, I wrote about a lawyer in Florida suing Apple for millions because he couldn’t be bothered to figure out how iTunes works. Little did I know that this wasn’t the craziest law suit brought by a lawyer against Apple.

A tipster pointed us to a 50-page complaint filed in federal court last month seeking damages and injunctive relief against Apple for making devices that can display porn, or as the rest of us call it, the Internet. The complaint gracefully skips from pop psychology, to comparing porn to handguns, to appeals to the divine rule of the Almighty.

This wasn’t the best week for Apple in the courtroom, but at least the in-house lawyers have this suit to look forward to defending…

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

In the dark days of 2009, we had frequent occasion to discuss the difference between “layoffs” and “performance-based dismissals.” Layoffs are generally understood as economically motivated, large-scale reductions in headcount, while performance-based dismissals involve specific individuals being asked to leave for cause. (Some see this as the difference being getting laid-off versus getting fired, although I’ve sometimes heard layoffs referred to as firings.)

The distinction can be a fine one. Unless cuts are made based on factors like seniority or practice area, layoffs often target weaker performers, so they can look a lot like performance-based terminations. There’s no bright-line cutoff, in numerical terms, for what constitutes a round of layoffs. And you can’t let firm characterization control, since many firms find it in their reputational interest to deny layoffs (unless the cuts are so large as to be undeniable; see, e.g., last week’s Weil Gotshal layoffs).

Today we bring you a story that captures this ambiguity. Several lawyers and staffers, totaling a number believed to be in the double digits, have been asked to leave a firm — but the firm denies that it’s conducting “layoffs.” We’ll present the facts and let you be the judge….

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher, the major affirmative action case, turned out to be something of a dud, the big legal story of the day is the news out of Weil Gotshal. The firm is conducting large layoffs of both attorneys and staff, as well as reducing partner pay.

Thus far, many of our recent layoff stories have involved staff layoffs, especially secretarial layoffs; relatively small numbers of affected individuals; and firms not in the tippy-top tier of Biglaw. So that’s what makes the Weil news so notable — and so frightening.

Weil is an elite firm, in both profits and prestige. The cuts it just announced affect lawyers, not just staff, and reach into the triple digits….

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

A disturbing video is making its way around social media today. It’s a six-minute family court video from August 2011 of a woman who complains that a marshal sexually assaulted her in a back room. The woman becomes increasingly agitated as the marshal, who is in the courtroom, then arrests her for “making false allegations about a police officer,” all while the magistrate plays with the woman’s child, at least until the child begs the arresting officer to not take her momma away.

It’s really tough to watch. Even I became emotional while watching the clip. And the marshal has since been dismissed. Most of the internet outrage is focused on the cop. Me, I can honestly say that after watching this I wish nothing but the absolute worst for Clark County Hearings Master Patricia Doninger. I think I’d rather see Edith Jones on the Supreme freaking Court than have this person “preside” over a game of Family Feud, much less be within shouting distance of a family court…

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

Employers in Finland are legally prohibited from running web searches on job applicants. This anti-Googling rule seeks to protect privacy.

We don’t take that approach here in the United States. Although running internet searches on job applicants can raise legal issues, the practice is generally permissible.

So it’s important for current and aspiring employees to maintain clean digital footprints. You never know when an employer, like an elite international law firm, might learn of your criminal past, like your prior conviction for a sex offense….

Please note the UPDATE added below regarding the nature of the offense.

Read more on Above the Law.

Julia Papazian Law

We’ve got some sad news today out of Philadelphia, where Julia Law, a young paralegal, was found dead in her employer’s bathtub. That may seem odd, but as it turns out, Law had been dating her boss, well-known defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr., for a month or two, and she had a key to his condo.

Law was supposed to be celebrating her 27th birthday today, but instead, we’re awaiting her autopsy results. Law was reportedly texting with coworkers until 1 a.m. on the day of her death, lamenting the lack of “scented bubble bath” at Peruto’s home. That was apparently enough to invoke police suspicion.

At this time, the cause of Law’s death is unknown, but some observers wonder if the beautiful young woman may have been murdered….

Read more on AbovetheLaw.

Look, we can’t have a final exam screw-up season without something happening at NYU Law School. For some reason NYU is like the ground zero of exam mishaps.

But not all screw-ups are created equally. Today we have a story of a professor who didn’t screw-up his final exams out of laziness or carelessness. Instead there was an honest clerical mistake. One that the professor took responsibility for and moved to correct as quickly and as equitably as he could.

Mistakes are going to happen, but law professors need to take this guy’s class in how to handle them…

Read more on AbovetheLaw.