Beneath the skin of many a suit-sporting lawyer beats the heart of a writer. Law offices across the land are stocked with aspiring novelists, poets, journalists, and others who long to write things other than credit agreements or motions to dismiss.
Perhaps you’re a literary type who went to law school on a lark but long to return to the world of arts and letters. If so, keep reading to learn about how to make that dream a reality….
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….
When I receive the sections of the Sunday New York Times that get delivered on Saturday, the first one I reach for is Real Estate. And one of the first features I read is The Hunt, Joyce Cohen’s delightful column chronicling the victories and defeats of those who dare to take on the New York City real estate market.
A recent installment of The Hunt featured a lawyer who was previously a movie star. With two daughters and a penchant for entertaining, she and her husband had outgrown their three-bedroom condominium on the Upper East Side. They wanted a townhouse. But with a budget of no more than $2 million, they had their work cut out for them.
Who is the actress turned attorney — a star of one of the most iconic films of the 1990s, in fact — and where is her new home?
Going to a top law school doesn’t make you any more considerate of others. It certainly doesn’t teach you to clean up after yourself.
But maybe going to this top law school will teach some kids on law review that being a slob has consequences. Monetary consequences.
I think anytime a poor custodian has to scold some slovenly law students, things have already gone too far. I mean, since we’re talking about kids who are going to law school in New York, the rats came out even before the law review students were told to clean up their act….
UPDATE (1:15 PM): And now we’ve got a response from one of the allegedly dirty students.
It’s difficult to put into words just how racially divisive the O.J. Simpson trial was. That’s my first excuse for why this post is so bad. For nearly a year and a half, the entire nation was tuned into the trial. An entire constellation of ridiculous people became our first reality stars: the poodle-haired Marcia Clark, smooth-talkin’ Johnny Cochran, n-bomb aficionado Mark Furman, hirsute little person Lance Ito. Or maybe the stars were DNA evidence and reasonable doubt. Because for a year and change, America was riveted by a criminal trial. By lawyers and evidence and rulings and motions and cross examinations. And while we still occasionally watch trials of the century, we don’t do it with near as much vigor as we did when Orenthal James Simpson was indicted. And we definitely don’t break down along nearly the same rigid racial lines.
To put it into terms that current law school students will understand (an overwhelming majority of whom don’t remember the trial), O.J. Simpson was a lot like Justin Bieber. Like, that polarizing.
It’s rare for a lawyer to face criminal charges (even if you might get a different impression based on the content of our pages). It’s rare for a criminal case to go to trial (as opposed to being resolved through a plea agreement). It’s rare for a defendant to take the witness stand at his own trial. And it’s rare for such a defendant to win an acquittal.
But this is exactly what happened in the case of Bryan Brooks, which we covered last month. Brooks went into the courtroom and emerged victorious, but it was not an easy experience. When you’re the defendant as opposed to defense counsel, your life and liberty are on the line. Higher stakes would be hard to imagine.
I recently sat down with Bryan to hear the story of his harrowing journey through the criminal justice system….
Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.
Good news, everyone! Princeton Review — the other, other white meat U.S. News — has released its very own law school rankings. This year, we are treated to the Best 168 Law Schools Rankings. As usual, the rankings are divided into 11 categories filled with mostly nonsensical results. After all, where else will you find Cooley Law on a list for having the “Most Competitive Students”?
But nonetheless, in this kind of a down market, everyone’s been itching to see a rankings list of the law schools that will verily ensure graduates’ employability (except for the purposes of suing over employment statistics, of course). Honestly, why go to law school in the first place if as a result you’re only qualified to stock shelves at the local convenience store?
That’s why everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Princeton Review released its somewhat-ridiculous “Best Career Prospects” rankings list. Because any list that doesn’t include Yale is sure to be worth reading….
You’ve seen it time and time again in these pages: years spent in Biglaw can lead to great excesses, and we’re not just talking about those luxurious lawyerly lairs. Biglaw veterans also go to extremes in other areas of life, including overindulgence in alcohol and violence.
Take, for example, Bryan Brooks, a former Skaddenite. After doing a four-year stint at the firm, Brooks moved in-house at American Express. It’s a good thing he chose the credit card company as his new home, because back in June 2011, Brooks had a major “don’t leave home without it” moment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his Amex card that he was worried about.
In this case, Brooks wished that he had his defense attorney’s phone number on hand, because he was accused of slashing a bar patron’s face with the classiest weapon of all: a broken champagne flute….
An important UPDATE — namely, Brooks’s vindication at trial — after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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