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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Lawyer of the Year: The Finalists!”

Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s short survey — just two to four questions, depending on your responses — focuses on what you do and where you do it.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, both business and editorial (e.g., figuring out which stories to cover).

One short explanatory note. For the question about where you’re based geographically, the four domestic regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, and West — are based on the U.S. Census Bureau designations (which you can review here).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

Above the Law 2011 Reader Survey [Survey Monkey]

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….

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The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.

Or, if you’ll forgive the expression, a merry Christmas (to those of you who celebrate it). The entire team here at Above the Law sends you the warmest wishes of the season (subject to Manatt’s lawyerly disclaimers).

If you need some extra inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, check out the lovely Christmas poem that the lovely Kashmir Hill composed last year. Or view some clever law firm holiday cards. Or read about the holiday plans of various people within the legal profession — including NYU law professor Arthur Miller, prominent trial lawyer Mark Lanier, Elliott Portnoy of SNR Denton, Robert Morse of U.S. News, Dean William Treanor of Georgetown Law, and yours truly (karaoke, anyone?) — in this fun article, by Leigh Jones of the National Law Journal.

If you need some last-minute gift ideas, check out our list of the 12 Books of Christmas — some bookstores are still open (the Barnes & Noble at Union Square closes at 6 p.m. today; I just called). Or if you’re too lazy to leave your home or office, just go to Amazon and order a slew of print-at-home gift cards (one of my strategies this year).

Although Christmas Day isn’t until tomorrow, it’s generally being observed today. So here at ATL we’re following the lead of the federal government — thanks, 5 U.S.C. § 6103! — and taking off until Monday, December 27 (subject to the caveat that if some truly huge news breaks — e.g., God forbid, a Supreme Court justice fatally overdoses on egg nog — we will be on it).

So we’ll see you next week — when we will be around and publishing posts, although at a somewhat reduced level. Until then, be merry!

No humbugs here [National Law Journal]

Earlier: The Twelve Books of Christmas (2010)
Some Law Firm Holiday Cards
Quote of the Day: Baby Jesus Forgives You, Nina
Happy Holidays from Above the Law – 2009

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