Here it is: The long-overdue Legal Eagle 2009 Couple of the Year battle. Twelve Couple of the Month winners, selected by readers, are back and up for consideration for 2009′s top LEWW honor.
To streamline the voting process, we’ve ranked the twelve couples according to our own standards and grouped them into three pools of four couples each, seeded 1-4. The three winners will move on for one more round of voting. So even though our own subjective biases came into play for the seeding, readers are free to override us by picking a lower seed to move on.
Review the couples — perhaps you know some of them? — and vote for your favorites to advance to the final round, after the jump.
In December we announced a contest for ATL readers. We called upon you to play Do I Have A Right?, one of the educational video games launched by Our Courts. Today we’re pleased to announce the winners.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Our Courts is “a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.” It was the brainchild of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (who spoke with us about Our Courts for this Washington Post piece).
Above the Law’s “Do I Have A Right?” tournament was a huge success, with 8,650 plays from nearly 7,500 unique players. People logged games in 49 states — c’mon, North Dakota, where’s the love? — and the average play time was 7:55 minutes.
Justice O’Connor was very pleased:
I want to congratulate the winners of the Our Courts – Above the Law Tournament. I was thrilled by the participation and interest in our game. It just goes to show that even trained lawyers can always use a refresher course in middle school civics.
And who were the winners? There were two, tied with a high score of 13,653. The first was David Cohen, a sports lawyer in Southern California. The second was “Anonymous,” who chose to remain nameless “so that people he knows don’t think he spends all his time [in the office] playing DIHAR.”
These winners will be featured as characters in a future Our Courts game. Speaking of Our Courts, they have a new game out, Argument Wars, which allows players to argue landmark Supreme Court cases. The preview case allows readers to argue Brown v. Board of Education; two more cases will launch next Monday, and two more by mid-February.
The full list of high scorers in the DIHAR challenge — perhaps you know some of them? — appears after the jump.
FantasySCOTUS Predictions of the 10th Justice: Grading the Predictions for Citizens United (Hillary Movie Case)By The 10th Justice
Ed. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down Citizens United v. FEC, one of the most anticipated cases of the year. The Hillary Movie case was a showdown between free speech and campaign finance laws. In 2008, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the FEC that Hillary: The Movie could not be shown on television right before the 2008 Democratic primaries under the McCain-Feingold Act. SCOTUSBlog has a fantastic round-up of coverage of this landmark case, which will send shock waves through the 2010 election season.
This is the first blockbuster case of the term, and the first real yardstick for the accuracy of the wisdom of the crowds. Were our 3,500 members able to accurately predict this outcome? How valid is the wisdom of our crowds?
On November 20, 2009, based on 286 predictions, 67% of our members predicted that the Supreme Court would reverse the lower court. Of these 286 predictions, 136 members predicted that the outcome would be a 5-4 reversal. This constituted 70% of all reversal predictions.
But since November, the league acquired over 2,000 new members, who made 600 additional predictions for this case. How did they do? And how did these predictions compare to the Supreme Court’s final opinion?
Also, we update the FantasySCOTUS.net leaderboard. Who is in the top 10?
With so many worthy competitors, the voting was close. These were your top three vote-getters, each with over 15 percent of the vote:
- The Anonymous Laid-Off Big Firm Attorney: Last year certainly created many more laid-off lawyers — almost 5,000 of them, according to conservative estimates — and also brought to light the stories of many individual laid-off attorneys. E.g., Roxana St. Thomas, of Notes from the Breadline; Mark Levy, former chair of the Supreme Court and appellate practice of Kilpatrick Stockton, who took his own life in April 2009.
- Sonia Sotomayor: In August 2009, this Wise Latina Woman made history, becoming the 111th justice, the third female justice, and the first Latina justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- A. William Urquhart: Bill Urquhart, a name partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, is one of the country’s top litigators. In October 2009, he sent out a famous firm-wide email urging all Quinn lawyers to show constant vigilance in checking their email. (This spawned the “CHECK YOU EMAILS” meme in ATL comments, from a typo in his email’s subject line.)
So who prevailed? Make your guess, then learn the identity of the 2009 honoree, after the jump.
- Barack Obama, Contests, Dreier, H. Rodgin Cohen, Harvey Miller, Layoffs, Reader Polls, Sonia Sotomayor
Thanks to everyone who submitted possible nominees for our Lawyer of the Year award. We reviewed your 160+ comments and developed a slate of ten worthy candidates.
Before we reveal them, we’ll talk about a few folks we passed over. A number of you suggested Mike Leach, the lawyer turned football coach who was recently fired by Texas Tech University. Although Leach’s achievements on the gridiron are considerable, he’s more of a football figure than a legal figure, so he didn’t make the team.
A few of the lawyers you suggested, while certainly well-known, really belong to years prior to 2009. These include former New York governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace after his dalliances with prostitutes came to light; former administrative law judge Roy Pearson, of the infamous $54 million (originally $67 million) pants lawsuit; and prominent IP litigator Jeremy Pitcock.
Also named: Kathy Henry, a former Legal Secretary of the Day, whose alleged oversight could have cost PepsiCo a pretty penny — over a billion dollars (until the default judgment was vacated). But since she’s a legal secretary rather than a lawyer (or even a law student), we passed her over.
So who made the cut? Check out the nominees and vote for your favorite, after the jump.
The voting wasn’t even close. There were seven entrants, but Akin walked away with over 44 percent of the vote. It was the commenters’ favorite, too:
“I work at HayBoo [Haynes and Boone], and really like our card. But I was actually laughing (alone in my office) at Akin Gump’s. A little cliched, but still, well-executed.”
“Akin hands down. All others were simply dreadful.”
“OK, the Akin Gump ‘holiday’ card (we all know we are talking xmas cards here) is hands down the best by a very wide margin, although the Goodwin Procter ‘gift’ of a pile of blow on the mantle at the end of their e-card was a nice touch.”
Once again, congratulations to Akin Gump on a well-deserved victory!
P.S. We received a few nice late submissions, like Proctor Heyman (inspired by the Abbey Road album cover) and Howard Rice (donating the savings from sending electronic rather than physical cards to a charity chosen by readers). Unfortunately, we were unable to include them because voting was already underway. Check ATL early and often, so as not to miss our contests and other features.
The year 2009 is almost over, but not just yet — which is a good thing. This means we still have time to solicit your nominations for Above the Law’s LAWYER OF THE YEAR.
In 2008, you crowned then-President Elect Barack Obama your Lawyer of the Year. After being named ATL’s Lawyer of the Year, winning the Nobel Peace Prize must have felt anticlimactic.
The year before that, you went in a very different direction. In 2007, the prize was bestowed upon Loyola 2L. For those of you who weren’t reading the site back then, here’s a concise explanation from the WSJ Law Blog (which also named Loyola 2L its LOTY):
So who — or what — is Loyola 2L? For the non-cognoscenti, he, or she, is purportedly a second-year student, or “2L,” at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. And his claim to fame? For over a year, Loyola 2L has beaten a loud and consistent drum of discontent around the Web by posting in online forums about the job prospects for graduates of nonelite law schools.
Loyola 2L turned out to be something of a Cassandra. He was sounding the alarm about the potential perils of going to a non-elite law school — and taking on six figures worth of debt to do so — back in 2007, well before the legal job market really went into the tank.
Back to the present. Instructions for nominating a 2009 Lawyer of the Year, after the jump.
Before Christmas, we highlighted one law firm holiday card that we particularly enjoyed (from Haynes and Boone). We also invited readers to email us with other holiday cards we might enjoy. We stated that, if we received sufficient submissions, we might even hold a contest.
Lo and behold, we did receive enough entrants. So we are happy to hold Above the Law’s first holiday card contest.
Check out the nominees and vote — you’re stuck in the office between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’re bored — after the jump.