After we announced our special event for law students, We Know What You Should Do This Summer, we heard from a number of our readers from outside New York. These law students, from D.C. and South Carolina and elsewhere, expressed apoplectic anger regret that they wouldn’t be able to attend our NYC event and benefit from the wisdom of our great panelists.

So we’ve decided to make a change. As a web publishing company, we’ve decided to take our event to the web. We’re turning this panel discussion into a webcast — or, more precisely, a series of webcasts — which we will post on Above the Law, accessible for free to all of our readers.

Here’s where we need your help. These webcasts will be providing career advice, with a focus on summer opportunities. To make the webcasts interactive with our readership, we’d like to address the issues that are most relevant to you, our readers. So if you have career questions or requests for advice that you’d like our experts to tackle, please submit them to us by email (subject line: “Event Question”). We will review them and pose selected queries to the panel.

Thanks to the readers who took the time to reach out to us about this; thanks to our sponsor, the Practical Law Company (read more about PLC here); and thanks in advance for your questions to the panel. We look forward to reading them, and to hearing what our panelists have to say.

(And thanks to everyone who originally registered for the in-person event; we’ll be issuing you refunds shortly.)

As regular readers know, this is usually the time of year I go to Vegas, blow my bonus, and come back to work a week later angrier than ever.

Well, this year, it’s going to be different. Oh, don’t worry, when I return to Above the Law’s pages on March 14th, I’m sure I’ll be all kinds of pissed off. It just won’t be because a security guard prevented me from committing suicide by MGM lion enclosure.

No, for my vacation — which begins now and ends a week from this coming Monday, in case you’re wondering — I am going to start the process of quitting smoking….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elie’s Vacation Memo: Time To Turn Over a New Leaf (And Try Not To Smoke It)”

Ed. note: This is the first installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Who am I? I graduated from a top law school in Chicago. (Okay, there’s only two.) From there, I went to work for Biglaw for several years. Or, maybe it was only a year and a half. I am pretty sure that time passes more slowly in Biglaw than in the rest of the world.

Then, I took the path well traveled and went to a small law firm to “get hands on experience,” “more client contact,” and “mentoring.” After almost three years — in real time — at my small firm, I have come to appreciate the unique aspects of practicing law at a small firm and these insights I hope to share with you.

While I do not want to give away the milk for free, I will give you a snapshot of what is to come. Small law firms have actual holiday parties. The holiday parties at my Biglaw firm took place in the lobby which was shared with other tenants when the other employees in the 40+ floor office building were attempting to exit. They served cheap wine and had a cheese tray and hired a high school band called “The Cats” to jam out for the partygoers.

At my current firm, where all employees could fit comfortably in a single floor of the 15-floor office of my former firm, they really throw a party….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: From Big to Small to the Paralegal Who Made It Clap”

Please tell me you're not using that thing to actually take notes.

Here at Above the Law we do market research, just like everybody else. Some numbers just came across my desk that I thought some of you might find interesting.

Who needs the Cooley law school rankings? I have a listing of America’s top law schools based on a metric far more important than the number of books in the library: the number of visits to Above the Law….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Rankings: Top Law Schools Based On… Visits to Above the Law!”

Ed. note: This is the first installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

I’ve been working in small law firms my whole career — nearly 17 years. I’d like to tell you that I chose this path for carefully considered and noble reasons, but I can’t. In truth, I ended up on the small-firm path for one simple reason:

A blonde.

Let me explain.

Now it’s not what you think. I didn’t turn my back on a BigLaw career to pursue a flaxen-haired beauty. That would almost be romantic, and this is a serious law blog. Ish. No, the story is a bit more prosaic.

I entered Boston College Law School in the fall of 1991. At the time, I had a serious girlfriend (the aforementioned blonde) who was not going to law school. And that became a problem. You see, like most 1Ls, I got caught up in everything that was new about law school: new friends, new challenges, new vocabulary (I mean really: how many jokes should there be with “res ipsa loquitur” in the punchline?). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I paid too much attention to my new law-school world, and not enough attention to my girlfriend.

So she left me….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: How I Became a Small-Firm Lawyer”

As we recently mentioned, Above the Law is dramatically increasing its coverage of small law firms. Clients and lawyers are moving in the direction of smaller firms, and ATL is following suit.

In response to our posting for a new small-firm columnist, we received dozens of superb applications (and we thank everyone who applied for their interest). The pool of talent was so strong that we decided to take on not one but two new columnists — doubling our dedicated small-firm coverage, with posts on at least four out of five weekdays (in addition to our existing coverage of small law firms).

Let’s meet our new writers. One of them should be familiar to many of you, and one of them will remain shrouded in secrecy….

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Job openings in the legal industry are up by 97 percent (December 2010 over December 2009).

A Sign of Hope for More Hiring, New York Times

(Speaking of jobs, Above the Law has a new jobs board. If you’re looking for a new job, check out all the listings over here. If you’re an employer with a position you’re looking to fill, please email Thanks.)

Today we honor the birthday of the late great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 (so he would have been 82 today). The holiday of MLK Day is observed on the third Monday of January.

Legislation for a holiday honoring Dr. King was first introduced shortly after his assassination in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the legislation was passed and the holiday signed into law (by President Ronald Reagan). Observation of the holiday was controversial for a time, but in 2000 it was officially observed in all 50 states.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!”

Above the Law’s 2010 Lawyer of the Year contest is now over. Thanks to everyone who nominated a lawyer; thanks to our finalists, for being such accomplished and interesting individuals; and thanks to all the voters, who picked our victor.

Here are ATL’s past Lawyers of the Year:

Two famous figures, and one anonymous one. A man, a woman, and an individual of unknown gender.

For 2010, who will join their distinguished ranks? Let’s find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s Lawyer of the Year (2010): The Winner!”

Although we’re now in 2011 — don’t forget to date your checks properly — we can still see 2010 in the rearview mirror. For example, our 2010 holiday card contest is still going on; you can review the contenders and cast your vote here.

And we still have yet to name a Lawyer of the Year for 2010. Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of ten (although you’ll see only nine options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

The envelope, please….

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