My Favorite Cephalopod

Did you know that an octopus can carry empty coconut shells to hide in, employ problem-solving strategies, pretend it’s a rock and disguise its motion by creeping across the ocean floor at the same speed as the surrounding water, make mental maps of their surroundings, and play with objects?  I didn’t until I read this Boston Globe article and the accompanying graphic.  They are impressive little critters.

Starting Salaries

Lowlights from the National Association for Law Placement’s May 2010 employment report on 2009 law-school graduates:

  • The NALP “report is based on information submitted by 192 ABA-accredited law schools on 96% of the graduates in the Class of 2009”
  • 88% were employed
    • This includes graduates whose employment start dates were deferred beyond 1 December 2009
    • This number is inflated by the 25% of 2009 grads in temporary jobs (including judicial clerkships)
      • Sector breakdown of temporary jobs:
        • Public interest–41%
        • Business–30%
        • Academia–69%
          • Law schools apparently created many of these jobs to keep disillusioned gangs of recent grads from roaming the streets
        • Private practice–8%
  • The mean salary for 2009 grads is $93,000
    • The salary distribution ain’t a bell curve; very few 2009 grads actually make $93,000
      • 34% of the salaries are bunched in a mini-bell curve around $45-$60,000, with the peak at $50,000
      • 25% of the salaries form a spike–more like a stick in the eye than a curve–around $160,000
        • The data do not include bar stipends, signing bonuses, and bar review reimbursement
        • Including such non-salary compensation would increase the mean
        • Such non-salary compensation is received disproportionately by graduates at the $160,000 end of the distribution
    • Adjusted for unreported income and for the more complete data at the high end of the scale, the adjusted mean salary for 2009 grads is closer to $85,000

Note to JA:  I take no pleasure in reporting this information.  Really.

    Better than Chelmsford

    At 9:15 last night I left class and stepped into the empty Chelmsford parking lot. A waxing moon rose over the warm summer night.  We planned to drive to Maine Friday morning but listening to the night sounds and breathing the humid air under soft moonlight I thought this time tomorrow night I could be enjoying the summer night on the lake.  And that’s what I did.

    It’s Ugly at the Top

    Another post, courtesy of AmLaw Daily, that doesn’t require reading past the first sentence: Summer Hiring Survey: 44 Percent Down in 2010.

    Some of the details:

    • Skadden, Arps:  2009 — 223 summer associates; 2010 — 79 summer associates
    • Cravath, Swaine & Moore:  2009 — 123 summer associates; 2010 — 23 summer associates
    • Ropes & Gray:  2009 — 200 summer associates; 2010 82 summer associates
    • Goodwin Procter:  2009 — 66 summer associates; 2010 40 summer associates

    The linked article contains the full survey.

    Your Company Stinks, and I Own Half of It

    First, from, comic relief:

    Facebook hated as much as airlines, cable companies
    Customer satisfaction poll puts Facebook in the bottom 5 percent of businesses

    Facebook, the most visited site on the Internet , may also be the most despised: A new poll says the site scored 64 on a 100-point scale, which “puts Facebook in the bottom 5 percent” of private sector companies “and in the same range as airlines and cable companies, two perennially low-scoring industries with terrible customer satisfaction,” according to results of a survey released today.

    Second, from, a WTF story:

    Facebook founder may have given up ownership stake

    A seven-year-old contract signed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg granting a New York businessman an ownership stake in Zuckerberg’s then-fledgling Web project may be real, a Facebook lawyer acknowledged Tuesday in federal court hearing.  “Mr. Zuckerberg did have a contract with Mr. Ceglia,” Facebook lawyer Lisa Simpson told U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara in Buffalo, N.Y. . . . Ceglia’s attorney, Terrence Connors, said that his client hired Zuckerberg — then an 18-year-old Harvard freshman — to work as a coder on a street-mapping database Ceglia hoped to create. The contract they drew up covered both that work and an investment in a side project Zuckerberg said he had in the works, according to Connors. That side project grew into Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site. Ceglia agreed to pay Zuckerberg $2,000 for the job.

    Ceglia sued in New York state court, where the trial judge entered a TRO preventing Facebook from transferring assets.  Facebook removed the case to federal court, which suspended the TRO.

    This is a head-scratcher.  The inertia of mundane reality suggests Ceglia’s claim is too outlandish to have merit.  Yet Facebook acknowledges that there may be a real contract between Ceglia and Zuckerman.  Does the contract prove Ceglia’s claim?  Does it promise Ceglia 50% ownership of Facebook in exchange for Ceglia’s promised investment? I’d like to see the contract.  I’d also like to know this:  why did Ceglia wait so long to file his lawsuit?  Did “sue Zuckerberg for $5.5 billion interest in Facebook” inadvertently slip to the bottom of Ceglia’s to-do list?

    We’re Number Two

    It’s a when-not-if announcement:  China Passes U.S. as World’s Biggest Energy Consumer:

    [A]ccording to new data from the International Energy Agency . . .  whose forecasts are generally regarded as bellwether indicators for the energy industry, China devoured 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S., which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.

    The linked Wall Street Journal article notes that then years ago, China’s energy consumption was half that of the U.S.  China passed the U.S. in a related category three years ago, when its reliance on coal-fired electrical plants made it “the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.”  Still, head-to-head, we are far greater energy hogs:  “the average American burn[s] five times as much energy annually as the average Chinese citizen.”  We also consume far more oil, 19 million barrels a day compare to second-place China’s 9.2 million barrels a day.  By 2025 China is expected to add power generation capacity of 1,000 gigawatts, which is equal to the entire current power-generation capacity of the U.S.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the implications of these facts, inevitable as they may be, are more significant to our national security than Afghanistan, Iraq, the BP oil spill, and immigration–and that how the U.S. responds to China’s energy-consumption dominance will shape how we respond to all of these challenges.

    Why Save Him? He Didn’t Say “Pretty Please”

    But if you do attend law school you can learn why it is perfectly lawful to watch idly while someone struggles not to drown:  “People Offer No Help as Man Struggles in Water.” Fortunately passerby Paul Pinto, possessing the empathy gene lacking from others who were ready to let Dale McNulty drown because they thought he was a “jerk,” jumped into the surf and helped McNulty to safety.

    Law: The Faith-Based Career Choice

    Hope drives rise in law school applications Despite grim job statistics in nearly every corner of the legal world, law school applications increased by 7% over last year. National Law Journal, 12 July 2010


    “I’m obviously about to take on a lot of debt. I’m hoping by the time I get out of law school the job climate will be better.” Incoming University of Toledo College of Law One L quoted in the linked article.  From the same article, a fact I cited before in Law:  The Cuddly Profession:  “In a recent survey of 330 prelaw student by Kaplan Test Prep, 52% felt “very confident” that they would land a legal job after graduation, although only 16% felt confident that most of their fellow graduates would be as successful.”

    Quoth Washington University law professor Brian Tamanaha “In 15 years of teaching, I’ve known a lot of students who came here because they didn’t know what they wanted to do.  A lot of this is about cyclical irrational decision-making. It’s based on a very human trait, which is overoptimism. For the people who have always wanted to be a lawyer, they should go to law school. For anyone else, it’s not a good decision.”


    My iPhone 3GS works fine, and I make and receive few calls I decided to buy the iPhone 4G
    I hate shopping, crowds, and crowded shops I went to the Apple Store yesterday
    Apple Store salespeople remind me of cult members, like Moonies or followers of EST I stood in line to talk to an Apple Store salesperson
    The 60-ish women who helped me was annoyingly enthusiastic and frantically energetic I told the saleswoman “I want to upgrade to the new iPhone”
    The Apple Store had no new iPhones in stock I said I’d put my name on the waiting list for a new shipment
    The saleswoman brandished an iPod Touch to record my name and email address; after three tries it didn’t work and she went into the back to get another I waited for her to find a working iPod touch.
    After recording my contact information she said the Store would email me when the phone came in, but that I would have to respond quickly or I would lost the phone. I said “Got it.  I snooze, I lose.”
    It’s common wisdom that ATT’s network is barely, at best, up to the task of handling the iPhone. As soon as I returned home I logged on to the ATT website to upgrade my phone
    There’s no reason to believe I’ll receive the phone faster from ATT than I will from the Apple Store I ordered a iPhone 4G
    Consumer Reports recently refused to recommend the iPhone 4G because when held a certain way it drops calls I don’t care
    My iPhone 3GS works fine, and I make and receive few calls I look forward to getting my new phone