Announcements

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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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 advice@abovethelaw.com. 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.

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