Announcements

Now that we’ve been doing it for a couple of days, we thought we’d tell you what we’re doing.

ATL Redline is a new project for Breaking Media that will represent Above the Law’s presence on Kinja, Gawker Media’s popular publishing platform. Above the Law has established itself as the go-to place for lawyers and law students who want an inside look at the practice of law and the lives of attorneys. With Redline, we’re going to draw on that knowledge to highlight the law behind today’s news for a broader audience. Whether it’s the latest celebrity scandal or the next outrageous campaign speech, there’s usually a law or lawyer somewhere influencing what is happening. Redline will cut out the jargon, so you won’t need a law degree to have an informed opinion and participate in the debate.

Veteran Above the Law editor Elie Mystal will be heading up this effort. Elie is a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He’s also quite used to vibrant conversations with readers and commenters, so have at him. That being said, we wouldn’t want to hang Elie out to dry alone, so David Lat, Staci Zaretsky, Joe Patrice, and the rest of the ATL team will also be posting on Redline and joining in our broad discussion of law and policy.

We are very excited to collaborate with Gawker Media on ATL Redline and look forward to taking advantage of all the great tools Kinja offers to spur discussion and debate around the web.

Thank you for your support,

John Lerner
CEO, Breaking Media

UPDATE (2/13/2014, 11 a.m.): Due to weather conditions and safety concerns, this event is being postponed to a future date. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and this year, instead of whispering sweet nothings to those documents yet to be reviewed, you should consider stopping by the Above the Law Valentine’s Day Party in New York City, sponsored by the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters. It’s being held on Thursday, February 13th, so you’ll have plenty of time to feast on conversation hearts in your lonely office on Cupid’s birthday.

Register using the form below, and we’ll send you an email with the exact time and location of our three-hour open bar.

If you can’t attend or aren’t in the NYC area, you can still register to win one of two grand prize swag bags filled with everything you could possibly need to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one (awesome things like Russell Stover chocolates, ATL and Business Law Center t-shirts, and an iPad Mini).

Love is in the air, and we hope to see you there!

As we’ve mentioned before, last year was a great year for us here at Above the Law. In 2013, we experienced record traffic and revenue, for which we thank our readers and our advertisers.

We have big plans for 2014. In March, for example, we’re hosting Attorney@Blog, our first-ever convocation of leading legal bloggers. You can get more details — and tickets — over here.

We are also planning a major expansion of our content offerings, by dramatically increasing the ranks of our outside columnists. If you might be interested in writing for our pages, keep reading to find out how to apply….

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This is my eightieth column as Anonymous Partner, and the last one that will appear weekly on these pages. I may, on occasion, comment on important pieces that Lat does regarding Biglaw. Based on the things I saw and heard over the last two years, whether at my firm or through people sharing information with me through this column, there will be no lack of Biglaw-related developments to comment on.

So much of the truth about what is going in Biglaw remains hidden, partly by the design of firm management teams and partly by the tendency of those who work in Biglaw to keep quiet. Above the Law adds some transparency, but there’s only so much that it can do. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to give my take on what being a Biglaw partner means today. I wish I had company, as an industry in change really needs all of those with a stake in its future to speak up….

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Our ten nominees for 2013 Lawyer of the Year honors were a distinguished and diverse group. They included a Supreme Court justice, a U.S. Attorney, a governor, a law school dean, and some of Biglaw’s brightest stars. They also included a plaintiffs’ lawyer accused of awful acts, a shameless self-promoter fond of letting it all hang out, and a young attorney with a problematic sideline. We cover it all here at Above the Law.

Our prior winners have come from the savory rather than salacious side of the ledger. Here are ATL’s past Lawyers of the Year:

For 2013, who will join their distinguished ranks? Let’s find out….

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As 2013 draws to a close, let’s look back at the 10 biggest stories in the legal profession over the past year. This is an annual tradition here at Above the Law, which we’ve done in 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. We’ll fire up the old Google Analytics machine to get data on our most popular posts, based on pageviews, and share the results with you.

Before turning to specific stories, let’s look at the top general discussion topics here at ATL. For 2013, our most trafficked category page was Biglaw, which bumped Law Schools out of the top spot — a spot that Law Schools held from 2010 through 2012. Now that the word is out about the perils of getting a law degree, leading to plummeting applications, perhaps it’s time to move on from the “don’t go to law school” narrative.

After Biglaw and Law Schools, our third most-popular category page was, as usual, Bonuses. This wasn’t a terribly exciting year for bonuses — there were no spring bonuses, and Cravath and its many followers paid out the same bonuses as last year — but people still want to know the score.

Our fourth most-popular category page was small law firms. Small firms, including boutiques, are an area of increasing focus and readership for us — and also where many of the job opportunities are these days.

Moving on from the topic pages, what were the 10 most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2013?

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The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. We still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2013.

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 ten. As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law’s 2013 Lawyer of the Year Contest: The Finalists!”

With just two weeks left in the year 2013, we thought that now would be a good time to ask you, our loyal readers, to submit your nominations for Above the Law’s seventh annual LAWYER OF THE YEAR competition.

We’ll be running this competition just like we’ve done it in the past: you submit your nominees (in the comments to this post), we’ll review them and pick a slate of finalists, and then you’ll vote on them in a reader poll. Simples. :)

The winner will receive the glorious and honorific title of Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Year for 2013. Feel the prestige, my friends!

So, what are the criteria for nominations? We’ll break it down for you…

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Keith Lee

Ed. note: Please welcome Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind, our newest columnist covering the world of small law firms.

Since Brian Tannebaum got too busy and important to keep feeding the trolls writing columns here, and Above the Law needed someone else to write a column about small law firms, I got asked last tapped for the job. Sure, Carolyn Elefant is writing a small-firm column as well, but Carolyn is much too nice and experienced, and knows what she’s talking about from years of practice. No way the typical ATL reader is going to listen to her. Far better to listen to me blather on about what it’s like to practice in a small-firm setting.

I practice law in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s deep in red state, flyover country, for you folks on the coasts. Yes, people and businesses actually have needs for lawyers in flyover country too. Next thing you know we’ll manage to get indoor plumbing.

I graduated from law school in 2010, right into the quagmire of the worst legal employment environment ever, but still managed to get a job. I was there for a year before I was downsized, cast off, s**t-canned. I ended up partnering up with two lawyers I went to law school with. We started off with three lawyers, no clients, crammed into a spartan 350-square-foot office. Two years later, there’s still just the three of us, but we’ve moved into an 1800-square-foot office and have steady, reliable business….

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Discipline.

It’s one of the things that separates professionals, who exhibit the essence of a professional, from those who are in a profession, but have the reputation of “being all over the place.” This can be the result of having a practice where organization takes a back seat to being busy, or having a life where there’s just too much going on – too many cases, as well as too many committees, too many networking events, too much going on at home – no ability to cut out the things that need to be cut.

There is that phrase that “it doesn’t matter what happens to you, but how you react.” In other words, life either happens to you, or you control it to the best of your ability. As you go through life, especially as a lawyer, saying “yes” becomes routine. “Yes” I’ll take that case pro bono, “yes” I’ll help organize that CLE, “yes” I’ll serve in a leadership position, “yes” I’ll coach Little League. There are only so many hours in a day, yet we as lawyers are routinely finding ourselves overcommitted to both professional and community endeavors. We’ll say “no” next time, or resign from that committee in a few months….

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