Ed. note: This is the first installment of Inside Straight, the new in-house counsel column by Mark Herrmann, which we announced earlier this week.

On Friday, you were a litigator: You wrote briefs, argued motions, took depositions, and tried cases.

On Monday, you were a litigator: You identified loss contingencies, minimized them, quantified them, and removed them from a balance sheet.

What happened?

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Every high-profile law firm seems to be getting involved with the incredibly partisan fight for or against EPA’s new climate regulations; Dutch women work significantly less than their American counterparts, have a big pay gap, but are still happier; and a Google maps camera crew busted a drug deal in Brooklyn last week. Why am I giving you these seemingly unrelated news bits? Because starting next week, I’m going to be writing for ATL about gender issues, green causes, and social media — and where they intersect with law and the legal profession.

Hopefully I’ll be able to expand upon ATL’s tradition of reporting, first to satisfy my inner journalist (I’m a Columbia Journalism School graduate and I worked as a reporter for a newspaper in India for over three years), and second because… well, who doesn’t like forcing comments out of Biglaw firms?

More about me, including a picture, after the jump.

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Some time ago, we solicited applications for a new position here at Above the Law: a columnist to cover the world of in-house counsel. We received many outstanding applications, and we thank everyone who applied for their interest.

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the new column, entitled Inside Straight (for the poker aficionados among you). As its name suggests, the column will cover the world of corporate counsel with all of the candor and insight that you’ve come to expect from ATL.

Our columnist — a former law firm partner, current in-house lawyer, and author of a well-received book on legal practice — should be familiar to longtime followers of the world of legal blogging….

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To quote The Bard, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” So I’ll make this vacation memo witty. (Elie writes great vacation memos, but I don’t aspire to his standards.)

I’m going on vacation, from today until Monday, November 8. And unlike my usual “vacations,” which involve constant checking of the Crackberry, this time I’m going “off the grid”: no email, voicemail, Facebook, or Twitter (but feel free to friend me or follow me, and I’ll respond when I return).

Please send all tips, questions, corrections, and typo alerts to All emails sent to tips get forwarded to Elie, who will keep you enlightened and entertained while I’m away, and to me. (So in theory I’ll see your email when I return — but my track record dealing with emails that come in while I’m on vacation is spotty, to be honest.)

Thanks for reading Above the Law, and thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights with us. See you in November.

Above the Law is currently experiencing its first organized boycott. Surprisingly enough, it’s coming from readers who hate typos believe that ATL has shown insensitivity towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

UPDATE: We are pleased to report that, after some productive dialogue, the boycott appears to be over. Details below.

This came as something of a shock to us. Above the Law has several LGBT writers, and our parent company, Breaking Media, has multiple LGBT employees. If you read through our archives for LGBT issues and for marriage equality, you’ll come across coverage that is extremely supportive of and sensitive to the concerns of LGBT individuals.

So what are the boycotters upset about? Let’s find out….

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As Above the Law enters its fifth year, you might have noticed that we are expanding. We’ve hired two new Morning Docket writers, who also contribute other posts to the site — meet the new Docketeers here and here — and we’ve brought on board columnists to cover small law firms and social media. We will soon be adding dedicated writers to cover the in-house world. We’ve expanded the ways readers can contact us (text us at 646-820-TIPS). On the business side, we’re exploring new partnerships and revenue opportunities (e.g., flash sales).

Now we’re looking for student interns (i.e., people can receive academic credit for working with us). Our internships are educational experiences and would be excellent for journalism students, undergraduate or graduate, who are interested in blogging, new media, or legal journalism. There would be byline opportunities for aspiring writers. (If you are in law school, please look into whether or not you can get credit before you apply; we are interested only in candidates who can receive academic credit.)

Also, we’d like to hire interns who are based in New York. We want to be able to see you and have you in the office to work with us.

If you are interested and meet the criteria above, please send in a résumé and cover email to We would welcome interns for either this fall semester or the coming spring semester. Our team is growing, and we’re hoping to find some new people to be a part of the fun. Thanks!

Hello, loyal readers and tipsters of Above the Law. Here at ATL, which recently celebrated its fourth birthday, things continue to thrive in terms of readership, revenue, and other metrics. As always, we have you to thank — for your thoughts, ideas, and criticisms, as we continue to grow and get better.

One of the keys to the success of the Above the Law community has always been the interaction between the editors and the readers. We want to write about what you want to talk about. The best way for us to do that is for you to tell us what you want to read about — and what you know about. Obviously we can’t write about something if we don’t know about it (and you can’t always rely on someone else to let us know).

Today we’ve set up a new way for our readers to get in touch with us. ATL now has a Google Voice account: 646-820-TIPS (or 646-820-8477). Now, whether you are at home or at work, you can send Above the Law text messages from the privacy of your own phone.

While reports of firms tracking associate communications have been ridiculously exaggerated — honestly, guys, they have better things to do — we understand that lawyers are a risk-averse bunch. And the layoffs, for any reason or no reason at all, have certainly put everyone on edge. Hopefully, the Google Voice account will add just another layer of anonymity between your private thoughts or concerns and the prying eyes of others.

Since we have a lot of new readers these days, let’s go through all the different ways you can contact Above the Law….

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Don’t panic, you’re in the right place. This is a Small Law column on ATL — a non-sequitur to top all non-sequiturs.

This isn’t the first time Above the Law has delved into the world of small law firms, but now we’re going to attack it regularly and with passion. This column will appear on Mondays (appearing today due to the holiday) and Thursdays, as a catalyst for discussion of life in Small Law – the commonalities, the salaries, the benefits, the pitfalls, etc.

I believe that, like Biglaw, there is a certain shared culture in Small Law, one that’s part of a growing but still-fragmented dialogue in the blogosphere. It’s our hope that, in time, this column becomes a lighting rod for those who are working in Small Law — and those who want to work in Small Law. And, of course, Biglaw attorneys are welcome to stop by and express their obvious jealousy in the comments.

So who am I, and what are my qualifications? Let the judging begin…

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Call me Juggalo Law. In spite of my functional illiteracy and a penchant for juvenile name-calling, I finished second in the Morning Docket writer competition. I could call myself one of the “winners” of the competition, but your favorite No Fear t-shirt is right when it says I’m merely the first loser. Before my star turn here at the only blawg that matters, I graduated from a fairly respectable law school (check you Cooley Rankings) and found a legal economy not quite down with the clown. For that reason, I am currently working as a contract attorney. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of contract attorneys, picture Biglaw. Now strip away all bottles, models, pride, and pay.

My job here at Above the Law is pretty simple. Alternating weeks with the talented Ms. Dockette, it is my duty to find the most relevant and interesting legal news and come up with pithy bon mots that would get Bruce Vilanch hot. Along the way, maybe we’ll all learn something. Perhaps we’ll all learn how magnets work.

Let’s do this…

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My name is redacted, but you can call me Morning Dockette. I’m one of the winners of the Morning Docket writer competition. Some of you may know me better as the Tuesday and Thursday finalist from last week’s trial run. In real life, I’m a law school graduate awaiting the results of the July 2010 bar exam. Perhaps most importantly to some of you, I’m a girl. To answer some commenters’ questions, I’m not a mom, and I’m not an angry feminist either, but I totally appreciate proper etiquette. In my spare time, I enjoy life’s guilty pleasures, like watching reality television and catching up on celebrity gossip. I’m also fluent in sarcasm.

I’m so excited to be writing for ATL, and I hope to bring you entertaining stories about the law each morning. I will continue to strive to write witty descriptions about these stories that are somehow both too long and too short, all at the same time. In all seriousness, I welcome your comments and critiques. You can reach me by email at

Now, on to the links…

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