GLOOM AND DOOM: Get ready for the Law Firm Misery Index. The American Lawyer, in a piece titled "The Coming Law Firm Hiring Crisis," takes a peek down the road toward a looming hiring and retention crisis. Welcome, new associates! "If the layoffs were about saving money in a downturn, the new hires will overwhelm any savings and will signal that the firms regard the economic crisis as little more than a mild detour on the golden brick road," the American Lawyer reports. The Legal Intelligencer reports that diversity and pro bono initiatives could be in jeopardy amid the downturn in the economy.
CAR TALK$: Today, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are set to provide to Congress the recovery plans that are required under the automakers' deal with the government to receive billions of dollars in federal loans, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Obama administration, the paper reports, appears to be stepping up its pressure against GM and Chrysler to follow through on restructuring plans that could include the use of bankruptcy court. The New York Times reports that GM is pressuring the United Automobile Workers to cut bills for retiree health care.
DRYING UP: The number of private lenders offering loans to cover the cost of courses and living expenses in the months leading up to bar exams has diminished amid the financial crisis,The Recorder reports. Students turn to private lenders for support because federally backed loans do not cover everything, and financial aid officials tell The Recorder that private funds are drying up.
CALLING ALL CIRCUIT JUDGES: The Supreme Court for the first time in history is made up of nine former federal appellate court judges, The New York Times notes. And Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said in a recent public talk that the all-appellate composition might be a good thing—minimizing the clash between politics and the law.
STAYING AFLOAT: Olympian Michael Phelps will not be charged in a South Carolina drug investigation stemming from a photograph showing the swimmer smoking from a marijuana pipe. Defense lawyers in South Carolina criticized the investigation, saying there was never any evidence to substantiate prosecution. The sheriff who launched the probe defended the inquiry, saying in a statement: "I took an obligation in my oath as Sheriff to enforce the law equally and fairly without any personal bias or prejudice. With Michael Phelps I had to remove his medals, his hero status, and look at him as any other person."