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ATL Lawyer of the Year: Nominations Needed

For the past few years here at Above the Law, we have named a LAWYER OF THE YEAR. Or perhaps we should say that you have named a Lawyer of the Year, since readers play a major role in the process.

We’ll run things the way we’ve done in the past:

  • You submit your nominees (in the comments to this post).
  • We review your nominations and pick a slate of ten nominees (at most).
  • You vote on the nominees in a reader poll, and the winner is crowned ATL’s Lawyer of the Year for 2010.

What are the criteria for nominating someone? Let’s look at past years for guidance….

As we’ve explained before:

What are the criteria for being our Lawyer of the Year? Since you’re doing the nominating and voting, it’s really up to you….

You can nominate a LOTY based on whatever reasoning you choose — e.g., because the lawyer in question is influential, infamous, awesome, or awful.

And past Lawyer of the Year nominees reflect this. Look at the 2009 LOTY nominees, for example. That group included superstars of the private bar, like Rodge Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell and Harvey Miller of Weil Gotshal; famous figures from public life, like President Barack Obama and Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and comic relief, in the form of Robert “Acela Bob” Robbins, of Pillsbury Winthrop, and Bill “CHECK YOU EMAIL” Urquhart, of Quinn Emanuel. “[I]nfluential, infamous, awesome, or awful” — you can decide which adjective goes with which nominee.

The two most recent Lawyers of the Year — Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in 2009, and President Barack Obama, in 2008 — have definitely come from the famous and serious side of the ledger. But every year is different.

Back in 2007, the winner wasn’t famous (and wasn’t even a lawyer at the time; but let’s try to stick to lawyers if we can). In 2007, LOTY honors went to an anonymous individual named “Loyola 2L.”

If you weren’t reading ATL at the time, Loyola 2L is a little hard to explain — you just had to be there. Here’s a concise summary from the WSJ Law Blog, which also named him its Lawyer of the Year in 2007:

So who — or what — is Loyola 2L? For the non-cognoscenti, he, or she, is purportedly a second-year student, or “2L,” at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. And his claim to fame? For over a year, Loyola 2L has beaten a loud and consistent drum of discontent around the Web by posting in online forums about the job prospects for graduates of nonelite law schools.

Loyola 2L posted comments incessantly, on Above the Law, the WSJ Law Blog, and other sites, complaining about the poor employment opportunities for grads of non-top-tier law schools. In 2010, after massive law-firm layoffs and a cratering legal job market (affecting even graduates of top schools), Loyola 2L must feel quite vindicated. He was criticizing the value proposition of going to law school, and starting an important public discussion about it, well before my colleague Elie Mystal started beating that drum. In fact, Loyola 2L could also be seen as the grandfather of the law school “scambloggers.”

Sorry, back to the contest. We had a point in mentioning Loyola 2L… oh yes. As demonstrated by Loyola 2L — and also by the runner-up in both 2008 and 2009, The Anonymous Laid-Off Big Firm Attorney — it’s possible to nominate someone anonymous. Historically most of the nominees have been named individuals; but as we’ve noted above, every year is different.

The comments are now open. We look forward to your nominations!

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