October 2014

ATL 2008 in review.jpgAs we savor the final hours of 2008, it’s time to look back at some of our favorite people this year: the commenters.

In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, it’s time for you to pick the 2008 ATL Commenter of the Year.

Your nominees for Commenter of the Year, and select comments explaining why, are as follows:

nomnomnomno128391045611718750.jpg1. Count Layoffula

One! One Reason!


six. six times he has made me laugh aloud


Turns the frightening inevitability of layoffs into a moment for comedy; not easy to do. Very clever idea, keeps character, funny as hell. Wildly popular on this board. Hands down the Commenter of the Year.

2. Douche Patrol

He’s the only commenter that gives a sense of order to the otherwise chaotic commentary. His commentary is also always dead-on.


Because guys in my high school used to vote for FRAT STUD all the time. It was no big deal.

4. Fraternity Lothario

Hilarious, dry, terrific writer. Captures both the essence of ridiculous, in-joke ATL commenting while bringing genuine criticism to the issue of every post. As long as you give the award to the guy who burned up the comments all spring, then left (on a sailing trip? to become a pirate?) this summer with a formal farewell, you would be giving the award to a commenter whose work is Oscar-worthy.


Although his posts have been less frequent, no one is more eloquent (e.g. ATL EIC) while comically germane.

5. Glass Cock

avatar is amusing, and attitude rocks

6. Guest

The most insightful and informed comments are consistently made by Guest. Everything else is trash.


Most comments, most firsts, most everything. Guest rocks.

7. Jack Bauer

He’s funny without being offensive or annoying. In the words of the ATL editor “consistently brilliant.” Finally, do you think that it’s a coincidence that when the legal industry is facing it’s darkest hour, Jack is back?


I don’t know any other person who would take the LSATs, apply and go to law school, purely to infiltrate BIGLAW to get information leading to the takedown of a suspected traitor to this nation.

8. Nervous T-10 1L

Personifies the economic doom and fear among law students. Also kinda funny.


he’s the post-modern Loyola 2L of the apocolypse

9. Commenter 83 in the interview horror stories thread.

“Where I remain to this day.” Priceless!

Technically, commenter 83 was actually “Guest,” but it wouldn’t be an official ATL reader poll if we didn’t give Guest an opportunity to comment about the unfairness of the poll. Also, that comment really was . . . something.

Having a hard time deciding? It’s no big deal. We’ve selected some of the choicer comments from our candidates to help you decide.

Unfortunately, we really couldn’t put some of them above the fold. Some are pretty crude, and Glass Cock’s is far too long. [Ed Note: That's what she said.]

So, keep reading after the jump to see some of the nominees’ exemplary comments, and then cast your vote.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Commenter of the Year (2008)”

Happy new year 2009.jpg* Many people are pointing out that if you read through Vicky Iseman’s complaint against the New York Times (authored by Washington & Lee Law Dean Rodney Smolla) it is pretty interesting. [Ideoblog]

* Holiday fun with Mike Huckabee. [What About Clients?]

* Celebrity drug use law. They’re still hiring! [Popsquire]

* A group of Atheists’ want the presidential oath of office changed. If they succeed, let’s hope the new oath includes a reference to a golden calf, just to drive the point home. [The BLT: The Blog of the Legal Times]

* Cocktails and bowling and hitting on women and more bowling. [Sweet Hot Justice]

* Happy New Year. My liver and I always approach New Year’s Eve like Rocky before the first Apollo fight. Have a happy and “survivable” New Year.

Quinn logo.jpgMost people know that partners often write off associate hours and paralegal hours when it comes time to bill clients. Quinn Emanuel is no different.

But managing partner John Quinn has had enough. Just before Christmas, Quinn sent around an email to his fellow partners (no associates were included on the distribution list) urging them to keep a closer eye on billing:

Month in and month out, partners request write‑offs from bills, giving the same reasons. All of them are preventable. The most common reasons are as follows:

Among the reasons Quinn listed was associates taking their own initiative by assigning work to paralegals:

Associates or others delegating work. One sure way to lose control of staffing on a case is to tolerate associates assigning out work to other associates or paralegals. Associates are told they shouldn’t do this, but it happens from time to time. Associates need to be reminded that they do not have authority to assign work to others.

Bang! Well, tell us what you really think:

Associates being inefficient, spending too much time on assignments. For any significant assignment, an associate should always be given a time budget ‑‑ how much time they should spend on the project or how much time they should spend before reporting to the partner on their progress. It should never come as a surprise to a partner that an associate has spent twice as much time as the partner expected.

Read the full Quinn memo after the jump to learn more about how partners really think.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “John Quinn Cracks a New Year’s Whip”

ATL 2008 in review.jpgAs 2008 draws to a close, your ATL editors are looking back over some of our favorite stories of the year. On Monday, we named our law students of the year. If you already checked it out, you may want to revisit it — a third student fought his way onto the list, per popular demand.

Today, we’re looking at the pet rocks/Rubik Cubes/slap bracelets/Beanie Babies (depending on your generation) for law schools around the nation. After the jump, find out which three trends we deemed the most important in 2008. Law school deans, read on to find out what’s hot at a law school campus near you.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Top Law School Stories of 2008 (Part 2): The Hottest New Trends”

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses small.jpgAkin Gump sent its bonus memo around the New York office yesterday. No real surprises. Akin is giving the “New York Market Bonus” to associates in good standing.

One bit of excitement is that “associates and counsel who performed in a truly exceptional manner in terms of both quality and productivity” may get “discretionary merit bonuses.” So if you’re an Akin NY associate who billed over 2400 hours this year, it may not have been done in vain.

The memo includes the increasingly common warning about a possible salary freeze come 2009. See the full memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Akin Gump”

fruitcake.jpg* The chairwoman of a Chinese dairy company pleaded guilty to selling tainted milk. [Reuters]

* A federal judge declined Tuesday to release two detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, finding that the U.S. government had proved that they were enemy combatants. [The Washington Post]

* Senate Democrats will not accept the appointment of Roland Burris because he is tainted by the corruption of Gov. Blagojevich. Obama publicly agreed with their decision, despite Rep. Bobby Rush’s (D-IL) contention that the U.S. Senate shouldn’t turn away a black man. [The Associated Press]

* The 9th Circuit rejected the outrageosly long 28-years-to-life-sentence for a California sex offender who registered his address late to local police. The court says it was “cruel and unusual punishment” for a technical violation. [Los Angeles Times]

* Instead of sending their client’s fruit baskets for the holidays, Boston firm Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford donated $10,000 to a local charity. [The Boston Globe]

* An 85-year-old man from New Jersey admits he passed U.S. nuclear secrets to Israel after gaining access to a military library in Dover, New Jersey. [Bloomberg]

ATL 2008 in review.jpgThis morning, as part of our 2008 in Review series, we started to list the top 10 Biglaw stories of 2008. We kicked things off with the #5 story on the business side of the ledger: the trend of law firms granting more generous parental leave.

Now, on to the fun stuff: the year’s top five stories of a more gossipy nature. As we did before, we’ll start with number five and work our way up the list.

For the fifth-ranked gossip story, we actually have a two-way tie. Both stories share a common theme: sex and bad judgment.

Read about the #5 stories, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Top Biglaw Stories of 2008: #5 (Gossip)”

woman in lab coat.JPG* Is in vitro fertilization a tax-deductible medical expense? For some people, yes; for Dr. William Magdalin, it’s just fun in a cup. [Suits & Sentences]

* Is the Wendy Savage phenomenon bad for professional women? [f/k/a]

* Funny exam questions remind us that professors would rather be doing almost anything other than grading finals. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The Millennial generation is learning a hard lesson about reality, and how much it bites. [Law and More]

* Blago taps former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill Obama’s shoes. Will Harry Reid really refuse “this nice, experienced, elderly black gentleman a legally valid seat in the Senate”? [Wonkette]

pay freeze salary freeze pay cut law firm.jpgJust before Christmas, Arnold & Porter sent around an intriguing memo. The firm refused to make any decisions regarding pay in New York at all in 2009:

Associate Bonuses for Associates in All Offices Except in New York

Those of you who met the previously announced thresholds and other criteria for 2008 bonuses will be advised today (by individual e-mails) that you will be receiving these bonuses. The amounts paid will be in keeping with the levels paid in 2007.

Associate Bonuses for New York Associates

We will be announcing our 2008 bonuses for our New York associates after the first of the year. Consistent with past practices, these bonuses will be paid in 2009.

A tipster begs to differ with A&P’s institutional memory of “past practices.”

Despite his wording regarding timing of payment, the bonuses were announced in early December last year.

Just to be clear, A&P announced bonuses on December 12th last year.

Why can’t A&P make a decision on New York bonuses right now like other top 20 firms? Another tipster opines:

It is generally agreed that not announcing the bonuses in NY is totally asinine.

A&P can’t pull the trigger on associate salaries either. More on that after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Arnold & Porter & Scarlett O’Hara Decide ‘I’ll Think About it Tomorrow’”

Sidley Austin new logo Sidley Austin Brown Wood ATL Above the Law blog.jpgSidley Austin just emailed all of their associates to wish them a happy New Year. How nice. How thoughtful. How … oh wait a minute. The firm also took the opportunity to inform all associates that their pay raises would be delayed until sometime next year.

The firm-wide memo from Sidley is short and to the point:

At this time of the year, we historically have provided information about class-wide and individualized salary adjustments for next year. Given the current uncertainty in the economy and financial markets, and the impact on law firms, we are still in the process of evaluating associate salary levels for 2009. We expect to make a decision on this issue sometime during the first quarter of next year.

On behalf of all of our partners, we thank you for your professionalism and dedication.

Most of our sources are out enjoying the holiday season. But our remote reporters are generally displeased.

But, as one tipster put it:

I’d still rather work at Sidley than Latham.

So there’s that.

Earlier: Sidley Austin Shows Firms How to Deal With Associates During the End Days

Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley Matches New York Market, Takes the Show to Chicago

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