Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

Time, Place, and Manner

...Should have some links here or something.

Banner

Prestige Comes to Western New England

E-mail Print PDF

Western New England College School of Law is poised to receive a major injection of prestige.  The school will soon become known as the Western New England University School of Law.

Since 25% of a school's US News ranking comes from the quality assessment of law professors, the name change, while purely cosmetic, could be just enough to pull Western New England out of the unranked second tier ghetto.

Nine months after graduation, only 40.3% of WNE Law students had jobs requiring admission to the bar. The school did not disclose what percentage of these jobs were full time.

[Boston Herald]

It Shouldn't Suck to be an Associate at a Law Firm

E-mail Print PDF

Jermone Kowalski, principal of Kowalski and Associates, has put out an article titled "It Shouldn't Suck to be an Associate at a Law Firm," discussing the inhumane treatment of associates, and the financial hit firms take when mid-level associates abandon ship in droves, taking with them the knowledge and skills the firm has invested in developing.

His main argument is that firms need to focus more on things like reasonable workloads, getting rid of artificially created stress (not everything is urgent), and treating associates like human beings, rather than simply competing for talent with piles of money.

While we agree with his sentiment, we don't think any change is likely to come, and there's two big reasons.

First, it's almost impossible to tell a good work environment from a bad one until you're at the firm and have been working for months, or even maybe years.  All the big firms look a lot alike, and anyone you talk to in an interview is going to say the work is hard and the hours are long, but then explain how it's all worthwhile, the work is interesting, the people are great, blah blah blah. You have no way to really know ahead of time what you're getting in to, and once you realize you're at a crappy firm, you can try to lateral away, but are stuck with the same problem; you won't know where to lateral to.  On the other hand, widely published salary and bonus information gives a very easy way to compare firms.

Second, the incentives for firms to pile on work is too high.  Say you're a midlevel billing out at $500 an hour.  Having you bill 2500 hours instead of 2000 hours will earn the firm another $250,000 a year. They'll toss you maybe $50,000 as a bonus, and pocket the extra $200,000.  Squeezing extra hours out of lawyers is cheap; the compensation is far less than their baseline salary in terms of dollars per hour, and overhead is ridiculously low - it's not like they get a second office and another insurance plan. Your profit margin on the first 2000 hours is about 30-50%, but after that it could be 80-90%. Why not squeeze a nameless, faceless associate for every dime they can get you?

 

Simply asking firms to be more humane isn't going to get you anywhere.  If you really want to improve the lives of associate attorneys, you'll have to go to the state bar ethics committee.  Allow the bar to subpoena an attorney's time sheets in disciplinary hearings, and give a rebuttable presumption that any attorney billing more than 2500 hours a year has committed either malpractice or fraud, and if they bill more than 3000 hours, a rebuttable presumption that they've committed both.

[Kowalski and Associates, gavel wave JD Supra]

Roy Moore POTUS Bid Officially Underway

E-mail Print PDF

Roy Moore has made it officially, he has formed an exploratory committee in contemplation of a run for the office of the President.

You can read our coverage of his announcement here: Roy Moore POTUS Bid Officially Underway.

All My Exes Pay My Taxes

E-mail Print PDF

For tax day, we thought we'd provide you with some articles likely to get you all riled up.

First, a look at how people who make a lot more money than you use tax breaks to pay a lot less. [Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically, Yahoo via AP]

Next, some stuff on how corporations blah blah blah not fair share blah blah blah aren't people. [Tax time: Are corporations paying their share? What Went Wrong, gavel wave Tax Prof]

Here's a great article on where all that bailout money went to, such as $220 million in non-recourse loans to Wall St. wives with little or no business experience, and a $35 billion, 0.25% interest rate loan to a bank that is 59% owned by Libya (not the rebels, but the country run by an admitted terrorist). [The Real Housewives of Wall St., Rolling Stone]

And finally, a little bit of tax advice to the 0Ls of the world.  Form a law firm before going to school. You won't be getting an office, a shingle, business cards, or even a website. All you need is a bank account and maybe file some "Doing Business As" forms with the state. But, since you won't actually be practicing law, don't worry, you're not running afoul of ethics rules.

Then, take out your student loans in the name of the firm, rather than your own name. No, this won't create any sort of limited liability and get you off the hook for paying, because odds are you will have to personally guarantee the loans. But, what you can do is when you start paying back your loans, pay from the company account, and deduct that from your taxable income, cost of doing business.

If you get hired by a firm, the money will end up going to you, not to your shell company, so you won't be able to use this trick. But, if you end up as a solo practitioner, or can find a firm willing to play along and hire you as an independent contractor, you can end up getting a major tax break.

We're not actually sure if this is a legit strategy, but being charged with tax evasion means you have to know for a fact that what you're doing is illegal. We think there's a reasonable enough argument that this is legit, so at worst you'll just have to pay back what you owe plus a little interest. That's what you would have paid anyways, and if the interest the IRS charges is less than the rate on your loans, you still come out ahead.

Really though, this probably would work. If you were at a firm and that firm paid for you to get an LLM, they would be able to deduct the amount they paid from their taxable income. What's more, your student loans are in fact a business expense, at least in the common understanding of what a business expense is, so no need to feel like you're doing anything unethical. You're simply fixing a hole in the tax code.

Page 270 of 339

Philadelphia Lawyer, Unfiltered

The finest blend of analysis, advice, and fury on the internet. Sour mash, oak barrel aged, published at cask strength.

 


Most Recent Article:

In Defense of Risk (Happy Fourth of July)


All Articles from The Philadelphia Lawyer

Author Profile

The Robot Pimp

An in depth look at the emerging intersection of law, behavioral economics, and robots.


Most Recent Article:

The Tenure Paradox


All Articles from The Robot Pimp

Author Profile

Practice Makes Putrid

Legal practice would be all rainbows and buttercups, if it weren't for the clients, and opposing counsel, and co-counsel, and judges, and the law.


Most Recent Article:

Eat Mor Fiv Freedums


All Articles from The Namby Pamby

Author Profile

Gin and Glannon's

As Shadow Hand suffers through law school, the rest of us get a little Schadenfreude.


Most Recent Article:

I Just Work Here


All Articles From Shadow Hand

Author Profile

Irresistible Impulse

Dr. Rob Dobrenski's daring expedition into the psychology of lawyers and the law. (Not a substitute for a life well lived.)


Most Recent Article:

You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist


All Articles from Dr. Rob

Author Profile

Graphic and Gratuitous

Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."


Most Recent Cartoons:

Intelligence: The Gathering


All Cartoons

There And Never Back Again

Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.

 


Most Recent Article:

JD vs MFA


All Articles from BL1Y

Author Profile

Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.


All Articles From Lampshade, Esq.

Staff Infections

News, humor, and other non-billables from our underpaid, uncredited, unsexy staff.

 


News Articles

Smaller News Bits

Large Numbers of Law

Mixed Bag of Lawesome

Reviews

Scofflaw Multistate Bar Review

Lawyerlite