So… Do You Really Have To Pass The Bar Exam?

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According to data collected by NALP, what percentage of the Class of 2018 were employed 10 months after graduation in jobs that require bar exam passage?

Hint: 89.4 of the class were in full-time jobs, but not all of them require an Esq. after your name.

See the answer on the next page.

It is the politics and not the space satellite – The Zimbabwean

5.12.2019 19:51

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms Hilal Elver who recently completed an 11 day mission after an invitation was extended by the government from 18 to 28 November 2019, exposes the dire state of the economy which has resulted in acute food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

Poor harvests have left many in need of humanitarian aid

Currently, many citizens are surviving on one meal a day and some have resorted to dehumanising means to obtain food for their families. In her preliminary report, the Special Rapporteur elaborated that “the most vulnerable segments of society, including the elderly, children and women, are forced to rely on early marriage, and sex trade to obtain food, behavioural patterns that often are accompanied by domestic violence, as coping mechanisms to mitigate the serious challenges they are facing. This kind of struggle for subsistence affects their physical wellbeing and self-respect. It creates behaviour and conditions that violate their most fundamental human rights.”

Read full report: November 2019 MMR

Food Security Situation in Zimbabwe

Post published in: Featured

Saudi Arabia’s Appeal To Petro Patriotism Works

ALSP Startup Seeks to Disrupt the Hiring, Training and Cost of New Lawyers, While Also Increasing Diversity | LawSites

Few would argue with the proposition that law firm hiring is dysfunctional. Firms place too much weight on prospects’ grades and schools’ prestige, pay new hires exorbitant salaries that require billing them out at rates that exceed their experience, provide inadequate training and mentoring, and struggle to achieve diversity.

A new startup aims to upend that cycle by changing how new lawyers are recruited, hired, priced and trained. In so doing, the company believes it can also help enhance diversity and inclusion in larger law firms and legal departments.

Called Legal Innovators, the Washington, D.C.-based company describes itself as an alternative legal services provider, but it also has elements of a recruiting agency, a staffing agency, and a technology startup. It says it will provide top junior legal talent to law firms and corporate legal departments in a way that is more cost-effective and that promotes diversity and inclusiveness.

The basic idea is that Legal Innovators (LI) will take on the job of recruiting law school graduates, employing them for their first two years, and providing training and mentorship.

It will pair these lawyers with law firms and legal departments, where they will work for up to two years, gaining practical experience on the job. At the end of the two years, goes the plan, most of these lawyers will be hired to continue on at their placements as regular associates.

Bryan Parker

The company was cofounded by Jonathan L. Greenblatt, a longtime partner and now of counsel at Shearman & Sterling, and Bryan R. Parker, a former associate at Shearman & Sterling who has spent the last two decades as a business executive and entrepreneur. The two met when Parker started at the firm out of law school and Greenblatt was assigned as his mentor.

The company has operated more or less in stealth mode since last year, but today is formally announcing its launch and its first class of 16 new lawyers.

Better Hiring, Pricing and Training

Parker, the company’s CEO, told me in a phone conversation yesterday that the goal is to improve the hiring experience for all involved — law firms, clients and associates. The company’s plan to do this relies on three pillars.

More cost-effective services. LI will employ new lawyers for the first two years of their careers. It will pay them a fair salary and benefits, Parker said, but less than starting salaries at big firms. Firms will save on salaries, benefits, overhead and recruiting costs. As a result, they will be able to bill LI associates at lower hourly rates but with a greater profit margin. Lower hourly rates mean happier clients and higher realization rates.

Better and more holistic recruitment. LI’s premise is that firms base hiring decisions too heavily on first-year grades and law school prestige, to the exclusion of some of the best talent and particularly of women and minorities. LI is partnering with law schools to facilitate an extended interview process by which they become better acquainted with candidates. The process includes standardized testing, problem solving exercises, and conversations with references.

Extended training and mentoring. LI provides ongoing training and mentoring throughout the two-year program covering a variety of legal and business skills. To lead its training program, it has retained David Cruickshank, an Edge International partner and skills-training consultant to AmLaw 200 law firms. To teach writing, it has retained Michael S. Levine, a visiting professor at The George Washington University Law School and founder of Lawrite Consulting. It is also partnering with Practising Law Institute to provide CLE to its lawyers. All lawyers will be paired with mentors at the firm or legal department where they are placed.

Commitment to Diversity

A central goal of LI’s approach to recruitment and training is to enhance diversity. As it happens, Parker, who is black, and Greenblatt were featured in a 1997 Wall Street Journal article about the problems law firms then had attracting and retaining black lawyers. “Twenty years later,” Parker told me, “we’re still talking about the same problem.”

Parker believes LI can help achieve greater diversity by partnering with a broader array of law schools than those from which big firms traditionally recruit, including historically black schools such as Howard University, with which it has already established a partnership. Parker also believes LI’s focus on mentoring will be a key factor in recruiting and retaining women and minorities.

Jonathan Greenblatt

Although I did not speak to Greenblatt, he echoed this commitment in a press release the company issued.

“Diversity and inclusion are central to everything we do,” Greenblatt said. “Our strategy includes women, people of color, professionals with international backgrounds, those with physical disabilities, as well as members of the LBGTQ+ community.”

The first class of 16 new lawyers announced today by LI includes eight women and eight minorities.

Try Before You Buy

For the law firms and legal departments that accept placements from LI, they get quality, substantive associate-level work at a more economical price, Parker said, as well as an extended opportunity to evaluate potential hires.

Firms will be expected to make a one-year commitment to the lawyer, and LI’s hope is that most of those will turn into second years. The company will pay LI a flat fee for the one-year placement. LI has office space in D.C. where the lawyers can work, but the firm can opt to have the lawyer work on premises. Firms are not obligated to hire placements after the contract term.

“To me, this is the real long-term benefit,” Parker said. “Most firms rely on summer programs to evaluate interns. How much do you get to know someone over eight weeks? With us, you get to know them over two years. If at end of that two years, you make them an offer, you know them. There should be a lot more stickiness.”

Parker says that a large firm’s carrying costs for a single first-year associate can be $450,000-$600,000 after factoring in salary, benefits, bonuses, office space, recruitment and other costs. As a result, firms have to bill out associates at hourly rates of $450 to $600 — rates many clients balk at paying.

LI’s pricing will be such that a firm’s fee would amount to roughly $200-$250 an hour, assuming 1,700 hours of work, Parker said. A firm would be able to bill that out at, say, $350 an hour, Parker says, making a greater profit than they do now while also making their clients happier.

The Tech Piece

As it launches, LI is a tech-enabled services business, Parker said. But he sees a future where it also becomes a technology platform to help customers make better decisions about hiring and legal spend.

Describing himself as a “big data guy,” Parker plans to collect and use data to help better understand the factors that make a good lawyer — and therefore a good hire. Arguing that grades are not a good predictor of future success, he hopes to apply analytics and machine learning.

“If we start focusing on the problem, this is where analytics and machine learning can be helpful. If you take a statistically relevant data set and look at the determining factors in that, then you can move beyond the top law schools, you can look at the data and identify the students who are likely to be good lawyers.”

Parker also plans to collect extensive data on the lawyers LI employs — the hours they work, the times they work, the locations in which they work, how often they need a conference room, the training they receive, the time they spend on projects, and more. Over time, he believes, this data will enable LI to help customers make better decisions about their legal spend.

Within the next three or four years, he hopes to build a platform for customers to buy and tap into that data and use it for their own decision-making. “AI will allow us to make better decisions, and long-term that becomes a platform.”

Plans for Rollout

With its formal launch today, LI is focused on the D.C. legal market, where it is headquartered. It has partnered with three D.C. law schools — Howard, George Washington and Georgetown — and it will focus on placing lawyers in D.C.-area firms and legal departments.

By the end of the year, Parker said, the company will expand to New York, both with placements and law school partnerships. It may also establish a satellite office there.

Next steps will be to expand to Chicago and then to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Within 3-5 years, Parker hopes also to operate in London, the UAE, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Getting Buy-In

Part of the reason the current system of recruitment and hiring is dysfunctional is that the incentives are misaligned, Parker believes. As he and Greenblatt conceived of the company, they believed the formula for its success would be to effectively address the issues of spiraling costs, difficulties in recruitment and ramp-up, and lack of diversity. The winning formula, they believed, would be “a solution that could speak to the clients, the firms, and the students.”

At the same time, he recognizes that there are challenges to penetrating the legal market, not least of which is firms’ concern with ensuring they get the best legal talent.

He urges firms to start small with them, to think of it a pilot. “Dip your toe in the water, he said, “see if this is right for you and, if so, then you can take more people.”

Clients, he believes, will be instrumental in encouraging firms to use LI. “When corporate clients hear they can get the same quality at a lower price point, they will become a source for us of law firm clients.”

And he believes LI’s commitment to diversity will also be attractive to firms, as they struggle internally to build and maintain diversity, even amid client-imposed requirements for diversity and inclusion.

My Thoughts

Although LI calls itself an ALSP, it does not quite fit the mold of any of the ALSPs out there right now. What is clear is that they are tuned into the key challenges facing larger firms today — inefficient recruiting, inadequate training, irrational compensation and pricing, and insufficient diversity — and that they have developed a formula that can help address those challenges.

Of course, that formula adds up to nothing if law firms do not buy in. Parker is right that some of the pressure for that buy-in will come from clients — clients who no longer want to pay exorbitant hourly rates for fresh-out-of-law-school associates and clients who are demanding that their outside firms be more diverse.

As the ALSP market has become more crowded and competitive in recent years, the fact that LI does not quite fit any mold is to its advantage. But we will have to wait and see if law firms agree.

“We have the plan and the PowerPoints,” Parker told me, “but then the market tells us where we’ll go.”

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Demands Made To Remove Jonathan Turley As Law School Professor After Impeachment Testimony

Jonathan Turley (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I hope this message finds you all well, ladies and gentleman. Aside from Mr. Turley, of course.

I am writing you all after listening to Jonathan Turley’s disgraceful statement defending the corrupt and impeachable actions of President Trump at the House Judiciary impeachment hearing today. I know you all cringe inside knowing that you are affiliated in some way with Turley and have to work or study at the same institution in which he is employed.

He should be removed from his position at George Washington University immediately, for he is a disgrace to your great University, a disgrace to the Constitution, a disgrace to the rule of law, a disgrace to himself, as well as a disgrace to this entire great nation.

He is defending the indefensible and I hope that all of the Deans at GWU Law and the students will recognize that he is not serving in the best interest of our country and is a detriment to the success of your school’s future reputation. His actions today were spineless and shameful. He is clearly a lackey for the Trump Administration.

Please consider my words carefully. I trust you will act appropriately and reprimand this sad excuse of a man.

— a letter sent to deans, presidents, and student body groups at George Washington University School of Law, calling for the removal of Professor Jonathan Turley, following his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Republicans as their lone expert on impeachment.

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

The Best Biglaw Firms — According To General Counsel

I know it’s a familiar refrain for us here at Above the Law, but lawyers love cool rankings — call it the L.L. Cool R effect. Sorry, it’s a bad joke and I know it, but I have to do something while waiting for more Biglaw firms to announce their year-end bonuses.

Anyway, we’ve got some Biglaw rankings for you to enjoy / waste time with. BTI Consulting Group has their latest 2020 Client Service A-Team report out. To come up with their list of all-star client service firms, BTI conducted 350+ interviews with in-house counsel at companies with average revenues of $21.8 billion. Then BTI asked which law firms are tops in 17 different client-service-related activities, including: Understanding the client’s business, uniformity of service, dealing with unexpected changes, unprompted communication, and anticipating clients’ needs. To make the A-Team, the following 30 Biglaw firms were mentioned most often across all categories:

  1. Jones Day
  2. Gibson Dunn
  3. Arnold & Porter
  4. Morgan Lewis
  5. Sidley
  6. Skadden
  7. DLA Piper
  8. McGuireWoods
  9. Littler
  10. Covington
  11. Baker McKenzie
  12. Kirkland
  13. Greenberg Traurig
  14. Reed Smith
  15. Seyfarth Shaw
  16. Ogletree Deakins
  17. Latham
  18. Wachtell
  19. Jackson Lewis
  20. Hogan Lovells
  21. Davis Polk
  22. Faegre BD
  23. BakerHostetler
  24. McDermott
  25. Mayer Brown
  26. Alston & Bird
  27. White & Case
  28. Hunton
  29. King & Spalding
  30. Polsinelli

Michael Rynowecer, president of BTI Consulting, told Law360 they added two new categories for this year’s ranking: Dealing with complexity and delivering a uniform service. And why did they add them? Well, it’s because clients increasingly demand those skills:

“Dealing with complexity and a uniform experience are now pillars of client service. Five years ago they were a bonus,” Rynowecer said. “I think that is a watershed event. I think you’re going to see more volatility in what clients want and expect in terms of client service, and I think this is the start of that watershed.”

Congrats to the firms that made the 2020 list!

headshotKathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

Don’t Fall For Originalism Just To Impeach Trump

Live shot of originalists trying to figure out if Trump committed impeachable offenses.

While discussing the impeachment of Donald Trump, I’ve been guilty of this bit of intellectual softness. Sometimes, when trying to deal with Republicans who are feigning ignorance over whether Trump has committed impeachable offenses as defined by the Constitution, I fall into making various arguments about what the “founding fathers” intended and believed and thought about impeachment when they wrote the language of the Constitution.

I know this is bad and wrong. I know originalism is stupid. I… do not much care what a bunch of white colonists believed and thought in 1787. Even if I did care, I know it’s fundamentally intellectually dishonest to claim to “know” what these revolutionaries and slavers actually cared about hundreds of years ago. I never met Alexander Hamilton. He could have written Federalist 66 as a dope-ass diss track for all I know. Originalists rest most of their arguments on the belief that they have a Ouija board that tells them exactly what the Founders thought, and wouldn’t you know it, the Founders always thought precisely what the Republican Party needs them to think. But I don’t play that game. I’m literally better than that.

Fordham history professor Saul Cornell has an important article out today, reminding me and people like me to be the better people that we are. If you reject originalism because you understand the inherent weakness of its tenets, don’t fall into the trap of making originalist arguments just because you’re frustrated with Republican trolling. From the New Republic:

Another problem with originalism’s approach to history is its static (which is to say, decidedly ahistorical) view of the past. American legal and constitutional history did not pause in freeze-frame when the Constitution was ratified in 1789. And constitutional meaning has likewise not remained frozen over the course of American history, a point that the Founding generation well understood. Even James Madison came to recognize that constitutional meaning would evolve, both through the decision of the courts and through actions taken by the people themselves beyond the formal jurisdiction of the courts. In the 1790s, Madison vigorously opposed Alexander Hamilton’s belief that the Constitution allowed the federal government to charter a bank, but by the era of the War of 1812 he had come to realize that such an institution was a necessity—and all branches of the federal government and the American people had also embraced the federally chartered financial system in a host of ways by then.

Finally, in contrast to originalists, liberal legal scholars need to recognize that interpreting the Constitution inevitably requires some form of translation—taking concepts rooted in the realities of the eighteenth century and trying to make sense of them in our own.

Yes, texts like Federalist 66 and other tests and statements from the likes of Hamilton and Madison are parts of the story here, but not the whole story. Every time people on the left wave around some historical document or musing like it is “dispositive,” we’re doing the Republican work of ignoring the larger context of our modern world.

Yes, “bribery” is written right into the Constitution as an impeachable offense. When faced with this inconvenient text, “textualists” do what they always do when they don’t like the text, which is to muddy the waters by some other every more ancient definition of “bribery” to argue their way around it. It’s tempting to counter these false prophets with your own reference to historical definitions of bribery, but that’s playing the game on their ground. We have a modern definition of bribery, and a modern statutory definition of bribery, that do all of the work of showing how Trump is guilty of bribery without trying to divine how Ichabod Crane might have defined the word.

It’s always worth it to fight originalists, but it’s never worth it to fight like originalists. With all due respect to “liberal” originalists like Akhil Amar, the oringalist tool has one function: To ossify the interpretation of law for the protection of white male patriarchy. It cannot be repurposed for higher, better uses.

Sometimes, even I need to be reminded of that.

Don’t Embrace Originalism to Defend Trump’s Impeachment [New Republic]

Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Above the Law and a contributor at The Nation. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at He will resist.