Tuesday shorts: 10/9/07

A few things from the last week that deserve to be highlighted…

Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. offers a fascinating interview with Bruce Stachenfeld of Duval & Stachenfeld, a New York-based firm that’s made the news recently with its unusual compensation plan.  The firm pays first-year lawyers $60,000 and calls them “opportunity associates.”  The pay goes to $80,000 after 9 months and then increases semi-annually in $10,000 increments.  After 2 years (and sometimes earlier) successful associates are promoted to “full associate” level, at which point the pay is equivalent to Cravath’s pay plus $10,000.  The Adam Smith interview offers the back story on how the program came to be and how it’s working.  Fascinating.

Steve Seckler of Counsel to Counsel reminds lawyers that “success in the legal profession means having the ability to generate work and the best place to look for work in the future is by keeping up the relationship with existing clients today.”  Cultivate those relationships!

Current or recent job-seekers have no doubt dealt with the question of what constitutes an appropriate writing sample.  Eugene Volokh of  The Volokh Conspiracy started an interesting conversation about the Ethics of Writing Samples recently, springing from a junior associate’s question about what can be used as a sample without requesting the firm’s permission (and thus tipping the job-search news).  The comments touch on ethics, copyright law, opinions drafted by law clerks and their use as writing samples, and more.  As one commenter observed, “what I find interesting is that people cling strongly to conflicting opinions. In practice, this seems to mean that whatever an applicant does is likely to result in a significant percentage of employers eliminating him for it, even though other employers would have eliminated him for not doing it. Wonderful!”

And Orin Kerr, also of The Volokh Conspiracy, posted Fewer Women Seeking Law Degrees,which cites an article from The National Law Journal reporting that the percentage of women in law school has declined each year since 2002.  While the drop isn’t precipitous (46.9% this year as opposed to 49% in 2002), it is significant.  The article speculates that “fewer women want a lawyer’s life.”  The comments spin off into a discussion of legal “jerkiness,” including which gender exhibits more of it and who will and won’t tolerate it in others.

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