We were originally going to these comments in the comments. But we found ourselves going on for a while, so we figured we might as well do a post on it — and have it count towards our daily postcount
To Anonymous 1:05 PM: Doing your own blog and spending half an hour a day writing for ATL aren’t mutually exclusive. Why not do your own blog, then link frequently to it in Non-Sequiturs? That way you’d have thousands of people reading you instead of just a few dozen (if you’re lucky; many personal blogs have fewer than 50 readers).
Also, remember that Morning Docket and Non-Sequiturs will carry your byline. Unlike many blogs, where interns do the drafting but don’t get writing credit, the MD and NS posts will be signed by you. Everyone will know they’re being entertained by your brillant wit. (Note: If you prefer to write under a pseudonym, though, we’re happy to accommodate you.)
To Anon 1:49 AM: The ATL postcount
quota target is 10-12 posts a day; lately we’ve been falling short. If we had some assistance, then we’d be able to hit that target consistently. We could also do longer and more in-depth pieces, which we rarely get the chance to do these days.
There’s tons of legal news that we just never cover because of a lack of time. There are many fun and interesting stories that we miss, and lots of tips we never follow up on, because we’re running this blog all by ourselves. (At our former home, we had the help of a co-blogger, three interns, and a freelance photographer.)
Don’t get us wrong, this job is great fun — the most enjoyable job we’ve ever had. But if you think it’s not time-consuming, think again. It’s tons of work to (1) keep up with all of the reading (newspapers, legal newspapers, other blogs); (2) maintain email correspondence with readers, tipsters, and fellow bloggers; and (3) crank out 10-12 posts a day (some of which are supposed to be funny).
So please, consider applying to write either Non-Sequiturs or Morning Docket. Help put the “we” in “we” here at Above the Law!
Application details appear here (for Morning Docket) and here (for Non-Sequiturs) Please submit your materials before Friday, October 6, at 5 p.m. Thanks!
We were originally going to these comments in the comments. But we found ourselves going on for a while, so we figured we might as well do a post on it — and have it count towards our daily postcount
Just as we’re looking for a writer for Morning Docket (thanks for your applications thus far), we’re looking for someone with a way with words — and an impeccable comic sensibility — to take over Non-Sequiturs.
Non-Sequiturs is our end-of-the-day linkwrap passing along funny or interesting links, prefaced by brief and amusing commentary. Witty writing is important, but good taste is just as critical. You should have an eye for amusing, quirky, thought-provoking material. If you can find a way to tie your items together thematically, that’s even better.
Oh yes, timing. Just as Morning Docket should be up by 9 a.m., Non-Sequiturs should generally be ready by 5 p.m. each day. But we would coordinate this with the publishing of other posts, and there would be some flexibility here.
One nice thing about Non-Sequiturs is that you get to dispense ATL link love — to your friends, your family, or your own blog. See, e.g., Ted Frank’s recent NS post. Just don’t abuse your exalted position (haha) by linking to blog posts by your aunt that have nothing to do with law. And don’t give away links in exchange for bribes (or if you do, please deal us in).
Interested in this fun, quasi-influential writing position? To apply, please email us (subject line: “Non-Sequiturs”). Please include (1) a brief blurb introducing yourself, and (2) an example of how one of your Non-Sequiturs posts might look. For more application details, look back at our help wanted post for Morning Docket.
One more thing: Your byline will appear with each NS post, so you will receive recognition for your efforts. You can use your actual name or a pseudonym, whichever you prefer.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Senior associates at law firms have a lot of wisdom to share. For example, consider this bit of advice, which they demonstrate by example: Why do your own work when you can get other people to do it for you?
(In-house counsel lawyers also know how to put this principle into practice.)
Well, we’re going to start employing it around here at ATL. We’re finding it impossible to keep up with all of our email correspondence, reading, and writing duties. So many newspaper and magazine articles, so many email messages, so many judicial opinions, so many posts at other fine blogs — and so little time….
(If you’ve emailed us recently, we apologize for the delay in responding; we probably haven’t even read your message yet. We just got back to the East Coast from Portland, Oregon — on the redeye flight.)
Because we’ve fallen behind — and because it has become quite clear to us that many of you are far more entertaining than we are — we’ve going to be outsourcing some of our duties. One of these is Morning Docket.
Are interested in becoming the head writer (read: only writer) of Morning Docket? If so, here are some questions for you:
1. Can you offer an amusing, “Daily Show”-style riff on each morning’s legal news?
2. Can you get the “Morning Docket” post up by 9 a.m. Eastern time each day, on a fairly consistent and regular basis? (We can fill in for you occasionally, e.g., if you’ve just pulled an all-nighter at your firm.)
3. Are you willing to undertake this duty for no reward other than (a) the ability to hone your non-legal / humor writing skills, (b) the chance to demonstrate your wit before an audience of thousands, (c) the glory of your byline in these unbearably cool pages, and (d) a good excuse to keep up with legal news?
(Read: This is a non-paying gig. But if you live in either D.C. or New York, we’ll take you out for coffee or drinks every now and then — and share with you some of the gossip we receive but can’t print in these pages. We’ll be besties in no time!!!)
If you might be interested in this excellent opportunity, please email us (subject line: “Morning Docket”), with these two things:
(1) a brief paragraph introducing yourself (e.g., “gunner law student and devoted blawg reader,” “disaffected associate aspiring to the writing life,” “retired Biglaw partner living in Aspen”); and
(2) an example of what one of your “Morning Docket” entries might look like.
Unlike law firm or clerkship hiring, our selection process will focus on the quality of your work product rather than on your credentials. While we do want to know a little about who you are, we will focus on your writing sample. If you can simultaneously enlighten and entertain us about the latest legal news, you’re our person.
Your byline will appear with each MD post (but you can write under a pseudonym if you prefer). We look forward to your submissions. Thanks!
Update: The deadline for submissions is Friday, October 6, at 5 p.m. Eastern time.
Good morning. David Lat is in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand for the weekend for what has been euphemistically called “elective surgery.” Rest assured, D-Lat will return Monday, safe, sound, and happy to blog, if having to sit on a comfy pillow to do so, and we should all be supportive of the very difficult decisions involved.
In the interim, Lat has asked me to fill in a few posts this Friday, and I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Ted Frank. Some fifteen years ago, I correctly identified the sequence at which Victoria, William, Xavier, Yolanda, and Zachary were seated at a circular table, filled in all corresponding ovals correctly, and was rewarded with a wheelbarrow of money to attend law school in a variety of bad neighborhoods in Connecticut and Massachusetts and Illinois. Because law interested me as a public-policy mechanism, I picked up a copy of The Economics of Justice while I was in a Chicago bookstore visiting that school, and smitten enough to decide to go there on what they called a “Public Service Scholarship.” A year of clerking and a dozen years of BigLaw taught me that litigation incentives actually create miserable public-policy results, and I’ve been writing about this problem on Walter Olson’s Overlawyered blog since 2003 and the Point of Law blog since 2004. In 2005, the American Enterprise Institute invited me to run their Liability Project directing research on the tort system and its effects; it’s a pay-cut, but the issue is important to me, and then there’s the whole Jewish guilt thing over not yet having done the public service I had hypothetically been awarded a scholarship for. And all of this has culminated in today’s guest-blogging opportunity on Above the Law, surely the highlight of my career, and worth a tenth of a point if Lat ever scores my wedding. More after the jump.
ATL sends its warmest congratulations to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain,* of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit! This month, Judge O’Scannlain celebrates twenty years on the federal bench. During two decades of distiinguished service, Judge O’Scannlain has established himself as a shining star in the federal judicial firmament.**
We had the honor and pleasure of clerking for Judge O’Scannlain during the 1999-2000 judicial year. He was a wonderful boss to us and our co-clerks, and he continues to be a great mentor and friend to this day. (He’s also quite handsome, in a Paul Newman sort of way; see photo at right.)
This weekend, Judge O’Scannlain is celebrating his federal judicial “anniversary” with a reunion of his law clerks. In a few hours, we’ll be leaving for the airport to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon.
We’ll be spending much of today in an airplane. But fear not, ATL readers: we have arranged for a brilliant and hilarious guest blogger to entertain you in our absence. We’ll be back over the weekend or on Monday.
* Not that you’d be calling him by his first name (unless you’re a fellow Article III judge), but in case you’re curious, “Diarmuid” is pronounced DEER-mid. See here. “O’Scannlain” is pronounced o-SCAN-lin.
** Also celebrating his 20th judicial anniversary this month: Justice Antonin Scalia, a good friend of Judge O’Scannlain (and regular recipient of O’Scannlain clerks in his chambers). Justice Scalia received his commission as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on September 25, 1986; Judge O’Scannlain received his Ninth Circuit commission the following day.
Technical difficulties persist. Yes, we have heard about Anna Nicole Smith, triumphant Supreme Court litigant, and her lawyer-cum-lover, Howard K. Stern. We will be chiming in on that shortly.
In the meantime, here are links to recent posts that seem to have “disappeared”:
– The Paris Hilton of the Federal Judiciary: Judge Alex Kozinski!
– Clerkship Application Fun: Judge Danny Boggs’s “General Knowledge Test”
– Julie Buxbaum: Million Dollar Baby
– Lawyerly Lairs: Professor Smit’s Uptown Mansion
– Non-Sequiturs: 09.26.06
If you happen to have additional links for some of our missing posts — we’d put their titles on milk cartons if we could — please let us know.
We’re having a bit of a slow morning (as well as technical issues), for which we apologize. Please bear with us.
Today we’re traveling — not just leaving our apartment, which is a form of travel, but actually visiting another city in another state. Crazy, we know.
Unfortunately, our internet connection is experiencing “issues.”* So we may need to go in search of a Starbucks.
In the meantime, while you wait for us to slap up new procrastination material, why not explore our archives, to see what we’ve written in the past about your favorite law firm or judge? Click here, then scroll down — no, farther down — for the category listings.
Or, better yet, why not take our reader survey? You can access the survey via the links in this post. The good news is that we should soon have the number of responses that we need, at which point we will stop bothering you about this. Thanks!
* A quintessentially “New York” story. We once went to an Asian fusion restaurant in Manhattan with a group of friends. One person didn’t like her soup, perhaps too adventurous for her tastes (she was from what some of you call “flyover country”). So another friend calls over the waitress and says: “Excuse me, but would she perhaps be able to get something else? She’s having some ‘issues’ with her soup.”
(Said “issues” were quickly resolved with the provision of a salad to the discontented diner.)
Earlier: Survey Says: “Please Do Me!”
Fun With Surveys: Show Us How Smart You Are
Here at Above the Law, we rely heavily upon you, our loyal and ever-helpful readers, for juicy tips. And you’ve been great on a number of fronts. To name a few: nominations of ERISA hotties, salary information for Skaddenfreude, and legal celebrity sightings for Eyes of the Law.
But here are two outstanding discovery requests, to which you have not responded in sufficient numbers:
These could both be really great feature stories for ATL. But we can’t write them without any raw material.* So please, give us a hand!
You can send us gossip and info by email, to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com, with a subject line identifying the topic of your email. We may write about or quote directly from what you send us, but we’ll keep your identity as our source confidential (unless you request a shout-out). As always, thanks!
* Okay, we could just make stuff up — which we do on occasion around here. But we’d like to avoid that if we can.
A new website, like Above the Law, can take some getting used to. And we’re still working out various glitches and kinks. Please bear with us, and please give us your feedback about any problems you encounter; it’s very helpful. (And yes, we are considering a font overhaul. If you have views on that subject, pro or con, post ‘em in the comments.)
This is just a quick, admittedly pedantic post, to help familiarize you with the features of this site. Think of it as a little “user’s manual” for maximizing your enjoyment of ATL:
1. “After the jump” = Click on the little “Continue reading” link at the end of the post excerpt on the main page.
2. You can also read a post in its entirety, or generate a link to it, by clicking on either (a) the title of the post, or (b) the “Permalink” icon (that little paper-clip icon in the lower right-hand corner of each post).
3. You can email a post to a friend or colleague by clicking on the little envelope icon in the corner.
4. The most emailed articles appear in the column on the left-hand side of the page. We monitor this closely because it shows us what you, our readership, find most interesting. Then we can pander to you even more shamelessly.
5. You can append a comment to a post by clicking on the little bubble icon. Cute!
6. At the end of each post, after the words “Posted in:”, you’ll see what are called “Tags.” These are specific subjects discussed at Above the Law. If you click on the Tag in question, you’ll be taken to a page that collects all the posts about that topic. This allows you to see our coverage of a subject over time, or how a story unfolded.
Before we bore experienced readers to tears, here are two more novel things worth checking out:
1. The Forum. It’s in the left-hand column. If there’s not enough to do in the comments section, you can now start your own discussions completely independent of our ten or twelve chunks of commentary, news, and pining after litigatrices like Mary Kay Vyskocil and Rosemary Alito (that’s coming next month).
Registration can be anonymous. Why review that redline of the merger agreement when you can argue over whether HLS Dean Elena Kagan could destroy Columbia Dean David Schizer in a steel cage match? (See here.) Or speculate on who will be the next great “feeder judge” to the Supreme Court? (See here. And yes, we agree with “Mac”: judicial hottie Jeffrey Sutton (6th Cir.) is already funneling his kids to Nino. One this Term, one next Term).
To register for the Forum, click HERE. We reserve the right to indulge our god complexes and delete your posts (or ban users) for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to: we thought the post was off-topic, the post was promoting Internet Viagra, or we were bored and deleting users is MU-HA-HA… fun. That said, we’re extremely lazy totalitarians and aren’t inclined to delete anything unless extremely provoked. Or bored.
2. The Archives. Also accessible through the left-hand column. If you click on the word “Archive” — no, we don’t think you’re retarded, we’re just really anal — you’ll be taken to the ATL archives, where past posts are collected and organized by topic and by date. We’ve actually been secretly “testblogging” here since July — think of it as our answer to the Katie Couric “shadow show” — so there’s a lot of stuff to check out, even though we only went “live” this week.
That’s enough administrative crap for now. Back to matters of, er, “substance”!
Back when we practiced law, and we’d tell people what we did for a living, they’d have different reactions. Sometimes they’d say “Oh, really?”, in an impressed, you-must-make-six-figures sort of way. But sometimes their eyes would glaze over — and they’d excuse themselves to go refill their drinks.
Why? Because many people think that lawyers are boring. And sometimes it seems that the more lawyers people know, the more likely they are to think this.
It’s true that many areas of law — and yes, many lawyers — are painfully boring. But the legal profession can also be gossipy, wacky, frivolous, and fun. And this is where we come in. We are Above the Law, and we’re here to make the law entertaining — or get RSI tryin’.
Above the Law will be defined less by specific subjects within the law and more by tone or worldview (Weltanschauung, if you will; and you will, ’cause you’re pretentious). We’ll write about all things legal — law firms, judges, law schools, cases — as long as we have something mildly amusing, or at least obnoxious,* to say about them.
Blog ipsa loquitur. Here are some features you’ll find in these pages (and our extensive archives):
1. Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We review the New York Times wedding announcements each week, pick out some couples with lawyers, and score them — on their résumés, families, balance, and beauty (if pictured). Then we calculate overall scores and declare a winner. FUN! (We’ve been at this for a few weeks now; click here and scroll down for the Wedding Watch archives.)
2. Lawyerly Lairs. Real estate and shelter porn for the J.D. set. We take you inside the lavish homes and resplendent offices of America’s top lawyers and judges. Don’t blame us if your keyboard ends up covered in drool. (Previously covered: Greta Van Susteren and John Coale’s New York digs.)
3. The Eyes of the Law: Legal Celebrity Sightings. When you called your sister from Starbucks, in a tizzy after seeing Ted Olson, she asked: “What about Mary-Kate and Ashley?” But don’t despair; we understand.
5. Hotties Contests. And lots of ‘em. You get to vote on the hottest judges, law professors, and legal journalists — among many others. (First up: ERISA lawyers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you — NSFW!!!)
This is just the beginning. But we can’t do it all on our own; we need your help. Please send us juicy gossip, salacious rumors, and brilliant story ideas, by email (to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com).
We may reprint or write about what you send us, but we’ll keep you anonymous. If we’d like to attribute anything to you by name, we’ll obtain your consent. If you’d like to tell us something completely off the record, that’s fine too — just make that clear when you contact us.
Enough lawyerly caveats; billable time is a wastin’. How long will it take before somebody sues us? Let’s find out!**
* Back when we were in the third grade, a classmate’s parent — who was chaperoning us on a field trip — told us we were “obnoxious.” We should have known, right then and there, that we were destined for the blogosphere.
** This is a joke. We would never publish anything with knowledge of its falsity, or with reckless disregard as to its truth.