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Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year Competition: The Finalists!

The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

Without further ado, here are the nominees for Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year. We’ve listed them in alphabetical order, with a brief blurb about each:

  • Benula Bensam: The winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month title, this Cardozo law student’s got enough kookiness to rival that of any lawyer. After being reprimanded for sending notes to Judge Jed Rakoff during the Rajat Gupta trial, she decided to sue everyone and their mother for taking her cell phone. Her family must be so proud of her legal exploits.
  • Clifford Chance Mommy: This model parent, a former Biglaw attorney, took home November’s Lawyer of the Month title and rocked the legal world with news of her epic departure memo. Her memo went viral, with mentions everywhere from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, and made many people question their own sense of work/life balance, and whether or not they should invest in a nanny. (Protip: you should, if you enjoy sleeping.)
  • Steven Davis and Stephen DiCarmine: Who could forget about the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb of Dewey? No one was surprised when Steve Davis was named April’s Lawyer of the Month. While Dewey & LeBoeuf was hemorrhaging partners, the firm’s chairman, err… co-chairman announced layoffs, deferred compensation for certain partners, and late bonus payments. One criminal probe later, and Davis was axed from firm leadership. And let’s not forget about DiCarmine, a man with “a Rasputin-like quality” who was classified as Davis’s “right-hand man.” All of this certainly makes for a great bankruptcy filing, no?
  • Courtney King: This Ice Miller attorney took home 2012’s very first Lawyer of the Month award in January. Ms. King was crowned Queen with our Lawyer of the Day title after allegedly telling the police the following: “You are going to… die. I’m a lawyer. You can Google me. You are dead. I work at a law firm in Indianapolis.” Apparently presenting yourself as a Biglawyer is now considered a terroristic threat. Despite her troubles, the she’s still practicing with her firm.
  • Lawrence Mitchell: The dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law felt the need to take to the New York Times op-ed page to blame bloggers for the rapid decline in law school applications, and to convince people that law school is still a good investment. Needless to say, absolutely no one was impressed with the dean’s out of touch comments, not even his own students and recent graduates. He’ll probably get a lump of coal from Santa this year.
  • President Barack Obama: The man, the myth, the legend. President Obama took home the title of Lawyer of the Year back in 2008, but since he helped shape the country in terms of health care reform, “evolved” in his stance on gay marriage, and just got reelected as president, we figured that he had earned a spot in this year’s Lawyer of the Year competition. Here’s hoping that the president has a productive second term in the White House.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts: The Chief Justice of the United States has been credited with saving President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. Everyone thought it would be up to Justice Anthony Kennedy as the Court’s swing vote, but in this case, it was Roberts. Roberts has been named on numerous “[Noun] of the Year” lists in 2012, and he even took home the WSJ’s “Liberal Man of the Year” title, if you can believe that. Don’t worry, soon everyone’ll be pissed off at him over the gay marriage cases before the Court.
  • Martin Sweeney: After calling opposing counsel an “ignorant slut” in an attempt to schedule a deposition, this Cozen O’Connor partner warned fellow email recipients as follows: “[Bleep] with me and you will have a huge [bleep]hole.” He won the title of May’s Lawyer of the Month for his Southern charm. Alas, it looks like Sweeney ended up with the huge [bleep]hole — he’s no longer a partner at the firm. We guess not all partners at Cozen can be so compassionate.

Who should be named Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Year for 2012? Argue the merits in the comments, then vote. We’ll leave polls open until SUNDAY, JANUARY 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM.

Who should be named Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Year for 2012?
Benula Bensam
Clifford Chance Mommy
Steven Davis and Stephen DiCarmine
Courtney King
Lawrence Mitchell
President Barack Obama
Chief Justice John Roberts
Martin Sweeney
Free polls from

Earlier: Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year Competition: Nominations Needed

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