Announcements

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: Taking A Break”

Spring is in the air this week, and you know what that means: we’re now seeking submissions for our annual law revue video contest. Last year, 23 law schools submitted 31 videos for the contest. Some of them were funny, some of them were “meh,” and some of them made us want to close our heads inside of our laptops. You do NOT want to be in the last category.

But if you think you can carry a tune or tell a joke, we ask that you send us your very best law revue videos so that we — and the Above the Law audience — may pass judgment upon them. Get out the soothing lotion now, folks, because you might need it after we’re done with you.

Those responsible for the winning video will get Above the Law t-shirts and the pleasure of knowing they’re the envy of all their law school brethren. As for the losers, well… how embarrassing for you.

Before you start sending us your videos (and some of you have already tried), we’ve got some rules. As future members of the legal profession, you should be able to follow the rules….

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Hello guys. Here at Above the Law, we value your commentary and interaction. Well, not yours (you know who you are), but most of you guys.

We’re bringing back an old feature and starting some new features that will highlight your content and commentary.

Let’s start with the old stuff: we’re rebooting Pls Hndle Thx, our ATL advice column written by Marin. We’d like you to send your questions to [email protected]. If your question is picked, you’ll get a t-shirt, mild ridicule, and the sometimes quite helpful advice of the ATL community of readers. All questioners will be kept completely anonymous, of course.

The new thing we’re doing is a series of Google hangouts with prominent law students, professors, and law firm recruiting personnel. We want your stories of success and preparation for our panelists to grade. How did you get into law school? How did you get your job? What steps did you take to prepare for law school before your 1L year? Again, there’s swag for people whose submissions we use. And there’s the fun of having, say, your method of bar preparation graded by the president of BARBRI.

Above the Law has more readers than ever before, and user-generated content has always been a big part of the offerings here, so email, text, comment, tweet, or leave a status update about what you think we should be talking about.

The late, great James Stockdale put it best: Who am I? Why am I here?

You’re probably wondering the same thing as you read a Monday post from the heretofore “Thursday morning guy.” Well, I’m pleased to announce that I am your new ATL assistant editor. Moving on up from humble contributor to a spot on the masthead.

I will cover all manner of subjects, but with a particular eye on legal tech. Basically I’m the Kreiger of the ISIS operation that is ATL.

And yes, I’m going to be upping the Archer references at this publication because Archer is awesome.

More about me, including a real picture and my résumé for your crippling judgment, after the jump.

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Who wouldn’t want to party with us? Like we told you earlier this week, we’re ready to celebrate the new year with all of our loyal readers, and as anyone in the legal profession can attest to, the best way to do that is with the assistance of our favorite social lubricant: alcohol!

The Above the Law New Year’s party will be held on Wednesday, January 16, at a secret location in NYC to be disclosed later. This year’s bonus might’ve made you feel small compared to the salad days of Biglaw, but trust me, getting an invite to this private party is sure to make you feel like a real VIP. As always, at our parties, you’ll get all the juicy gossip and backstory that was too salacious to print.

Be prepared to have some fun times with all of your favorite Above the Law editors — you can bask in Lat’s prestige, look at Elie’s cute baby pictures, and watch me act out some of your favorite scenes from ATL’s very own commentariat fanfic stories. THEY IT IS! Say hello to some of our columnists — who knows, maybe Tannebaum will show up to call you a moron! And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy our open bar!

Please keep in mind that you must sign up to be placed on our exclusive guest list. We’ll let you know if you make the cut and provide details on the venue via email. Good luck, and we hope to see you there!

P.S. When you RSVP, it’s going to look like you haven’t, but I promise, you have. It’s just a little glitch we put in so you have some plausible deniability if someone who’s uncool asks if you’ve RSVP’d to our party yet.

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Above the Law’s 2012 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 our readers, who picked our victor after two weeks of voting over the holiday season.

Here are ATL’s past Lawyers of the Year:

For 2012, who will join their distinguished ranks? Let’s find out….

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It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) 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 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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