It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. And everyone else is doing it — e.g., the ABA Journal (the most popular stories of 2010); the National Law Journal (the defining moments at the Supreme Court in 2010); and the WSJ Law Blog (the key news themes of 2010).

We’ll do what we did last year and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2010, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, in terms of hot topics, the most popular category page for the year was Law Schools. In 2009, it was Layoffs. This seems like a sign of progress, since the former subject is somewhat less depressing than the latter (at least to most people; harsh critics of law school, such as the “scambloggers,” might disagree). It also reflects increased public discussion about legal education and the value proposition of going to law school.

What were the most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2010? Let’s find out….

Before we get to the list, one more quick note. Elsewhere in our 2010 Year in Review coverage, we’re still accepting nominations for Lawyer of the Year — just surf over to this post and drop them in the comments. We will close the nominations on Sunday, January 2, at 11:59 PM, so don’t delay.

Here are 2010′s top ten stories, in ascending order of popularity. If you don’t remember a particular story, or if you want to re-read it and take a trip down memory lane, just click on the title of each post to refresh your recollection.

10. Anatomy of a Rumor: The Story Behind Chief Justice John Roberts’s ‘Retirement’: Georgetown law professor Peter Tague’s teaching exercise taught everyone a lesson about the perils of viral gossip in the internet age.

9. Summer Associate of the Day: America’s Next Top… Lawyer?: Sara Hallmark (née Sara Albert), a contestant on America’s Next Top Model (Cycle 6), traded runways for redwelds, by working as a summer associate at Hogan Lovells. (Yes, there are pictures.)

8. Woman Claims She Was Fired for Being Too Attractive: Was Debrahlee Lorenzana too hot to work at Citigroup? That’s the core allegation of her wrongful termination lawsuit. (Yes, there are pictures.)

7. A Mass. Lawyer You Don’t Want to Work For and a Law Student You Don’t Want to Hire: How not to apply for a job.

6. The UNOFFICIAL New York Bar Exam Results Accidentally Posted on the Web Briefly Today: Thanks, New York Board of Law Examiners, for screwing up by posting New York bar exam results to the web before their scheduled official release. Could you do it again next year? Xoxo, ATL.

5. Will the Duke F**k List Lead to Lawsuits?: A look at the possible legal fallout from 2010 Duke grad Karen Owen’s “Senior Honors Thesis,” a chronicle of her sexual conquests down in Durham.

4. Northwestern Law Student Emails Hand-Job Offer to Entire Law School: In hindsight, this email might not have been about manual stimulation of the genitals. But it’s much more fun to pretend that it was.

3. U.S. News Rankings Leaked? This Happens Every Year: In a profession obsessed with prestige and hierarchy, the arrival of U.S. News & World Report’s influential law-school rankings is always huge news.

2. Cravath Bonuses Are Out: The 2010 Bonus Season Is Under Way!: On November 22, a date which will live in infamy among many Biglaw associates, Cravath announced 2010 bonuses that were the same as those paid out in 2009 — despite improving fortunes at the nation’s leading law firms. As usual, many (but not all) top firms followed Cravath’s lead and announced identical (or nearly identical) bonus schedules.

1. Harvard Law School 3L’s Racist Email Goes National: Yet another cautionary tale for the digital age. Be very careful about what you write over email — even if it’s just a message to a handful of friends (or people you think are your friends) — especially if it deals with the hot-button topic of race.

So there you have them: the top ten stories of 2010. Did one of your favorite stories not make the cut? Feel free to give it a shout-out in the comments.

Programming note: Since today is the federal holiday for New Year’s Day (which falls on a Saturday in 2011), and since many people aren’t at work, we won’t be publishing much between now and Monday, January 3.

Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2011.

Earlier: Above The Law’s Top Ten Most Popular Stories of 2009


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