Contests

Kenneth Basin Kenneth D Basin Ken Basin.jpgMeet Ken Basin. This legal prodigy, just 24 years old, is an associate at Greenberg Glusker, one of the top entertainment law firms in the country. Basin graduated last year from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude and with a Sears Prize, at the tender age of 23.

Basin isn’t just a handsome legal genius; he’s also a trivia ace. Back in 2003, he made it to the semifinals of College Jeopardy (which, incidentally, his girlfriend won back in 2000).

On Sunday, Basin was back in the hot seat. He made it all the way to the million-dollar question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

So how did things turn out for Ken Basin? Did he join the ranks of lawyers who have won seven-figure sums on television — e.g., Victor and Tammy Jih, of Harvard Law School and the Amazing Race, and Yul Kwon, of Yale Law School and Survivor?

Find out how he fared, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Ken Basin, Harvard Law ’08, Sure Does.”

Earlier this week, we showed you a photo of a protest before an undisclosed law firm, then asked you to suggest captions. We now have six finalists and would like you to vote for the best of the bunch. To refresh your recollection, here’s the photo:
shame on you biglaw.jpg
And here are the finalists:

A. “Laid off associates try a new strategy after their restatement section 90 claims fail.”
B. “Firms run a risk of bad publicity when they lay off both labor lawyers and the print shop staff at the same time.”
C. “So you say they underpay their staff and associates, treat all employees poorly, and offer no medical or retirement benefits whatsoever? . . . Are they hiring?”
D. “What do we want?”
“Jobs!”
“When do we want ‘em?”
“No earlier than January 2011, economic concerns permitting!”
E. “Shame on Firm X for only laying off 2 employees. Doesn’t it realize we’re in a recession?”
F. “In a classic labor protest rookie mistake, the former associates wasted their budget on a fancy sign and failed to reserve funds for doughnuts, resulting in awkwardly low participation.”


The poll closes on Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. We’ll bring you the winner, plus the story (and firm) behind the photo, on Friday.
Earlier: ATL Caption Contest: Shame on You

Are you a fan of the show Mad Men? We’ve only seen one episode, on an airplane, but we’ve heard great things. Television critics have praised it to the heavens. Our colleagues at Fashionista are also big fans.
So are many law students and lawyers. Meet Leo Mulvihill (below left), a law student at Drexel in Philadelphia, and Jon Rich (below right), a lawyer in New York:
Leo Mulvihill Jon Rich Mad Men.jpg
Both have submitted their photos to the Mad Men casting call contest.
Find out how the contest works, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Help put a lawyer and a law student on Mad Men!”

Many of you are probably asking yourselves that very question. Especially if you are deeply in debt and/or without legal employment.
We decided to go to law school because, well, we didn’t have anything better to do. Law school has been described, quite accurately, as “the great American default option.”
If you’re in the same boat, or if you went to law school for some other less-than-inspiring reason (e.g., a desire for a six-figure salary), you may have a hard time relating to the clip below. It’s a promo for the “My Inspiration” video contest sponsored by Access Group, the non-profit student loan company, asking contestants to make videos explaining what inspired them to go to law school:

As was the case with last year’s video contest, the prize is a $10,000 scholarship to law school for the maker of the best video. In addition, five $1,500 honorable mention scholarships will be awarded.
Alas, if you were hoping to enter the contest yourself, sorry; the ten finalists have been chosen. Feel free to check out the finalists here, then cast your vote here. Enjoy.
Earlier: ‘What are your worries as a law student?’

It has been a long time since our last caption contest. In fact, we don’t believe we’ve done one since last year. So it’s time for a new one. The rules are the same as before:

[P]ost your caption entries in the comments. We’ll take our favorites, incorporate them into a poll, and allow you to vote for your favorite.

We present the picture below without comment or back story, so as not to limit your creativity. If you know the back story, please refrain from posting it.

We’ll tell everybody the real story behind the picture when the contest is over.

Please note that we have redacted the name of the firm in question, to prevent this thread from turning into a “Dump on Firm X” thread. So if you know the name of the firm, please don’t disclose it in the comments. When we inform you of the story behind the picture, we will inform you of the firm.
Here’s the photo. It’s a thumbnail, so feel free to click on it for a closer look.
shame on you biglaw.jpg

summer associate program ATL Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, we brought you our five finalists in the ATL Summer Associate Event Contest of 2009. The top two vote-getters are too close to declare one a winner, so we’re having a run-off.

Southeast firm Carlton Fields garnered almost 32% of the over 2,500 votes for taking its Tampa summer associates on a daylong fishing trip, with multiple swimming, beach, and bar stops along the way. IP firm Fish & Richardson captured 34% of the vote for “Harpdrygal IV,” an event shrouded in mystery revealed on the day of to be an all-female roller derby.

We checked back in with the firms and have some additional information about the events to inform your voting. We also have photos, but from the roller derby only. No Carlton Fields associates in bathing suits, though we can direct you to the summer associates’ photos and you can use your imaginations. After the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Summer Associate Event Contest of 2009: Fish & Richardson Roller Derby vs. Carlton Fields Fishing Trip”

summer associate program ATL Above the Law blog.jpgThis year’s batch of summer associates are roughing it at Biglaw summer camp, with fewer meals out on the firm and less lavish events. To make matters worse, some summers are being told now that their future job will be deferred. Summer associates at Skadden and Ropes & Gray have been informed that they can’t come back to the camping ground until 2011. Tents can’t be repitched at Orrick until 2012.

This seems like a good time to focus on the light side of the summer associate experience. For the past month, we’ve been soliciting entries for our Summer Associate Event Contest of 2009. They came trickling in slowly, whether because there aren’t many events to brag about or because summer associates are too busy (or too scared) to email us. One SA was so fearful of “tipping” us that the announcement about the firm’s event was sent anonymously via snail mail. [FN1]

One ATL reader from a small firm had this to say about the environment at firms this summer:

Our firm does a lot of corporate bankruptcy work, so we’re faring better in this economic storm than most, but we had to scale back our summer associate program a bit. We do not have as many summer associates as we used to, and we are not having as many major, expensive events. No more big-ticket concerts; no more dinner theater on a river boat; no more renting out an entire movie theater for a pre-release movie showing….

Certainly, the difficulties of this economy are showing in the makeup of our summer class: because we have a summer program at all (unlike many law firms), we’re getting students from higher ranked schools. Most of them are from Top 20 law schools, all of them from Top 75 law schools, none of them from the fourth-tier local law school that usually supplies some of our summer class. And our summer associates are noticeably more stressed about the experience and their prospects than I’ve seen in the past 10 summers.

Despite the foregoing, we have a nice selection of events for the contest. We ask you to vote on the best one, plus offer a few honorable mentions (for events involving public urination and broken bones), after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Contest: Best Summer Associate Event of 2009″

Dangerous Communication Device 1 - Williams Connolly.JPGThe members of Dangerous Communication Device (Williams & Connolly), celebrating their victory.
Last night we reported on the Battle of the Law Firm Bands, held last week in Washington, DC. The evening raised over $80,000 for Gifts for the Homeless, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless.
Eleven bands competed, and one was victorious: Dangerous Communication Device, from Williams & Connolly. They won by raising more money than any other band: over $15,000. (The vote was conducted “Chicago-style,” with each vote requiring a dollar contribution to GFTH.)
Read our interview with the band, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Field Trip: The Battle of the Law Firm Bands (Part 2)”

Black Cat DC music club bar lounge.jpg
Lining up outside The Black Cat for the Battle of the Law Firm Bands. The evening was sold out — 1,000 tickets in all.
We just got back from Washington, DC, where we spent a few days attending the 2009 convention of the American Constitution Society (ACS). We may have a post or two about the conference later.
While in the nation’s capital, we also attended this fun event: the sixth annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands. A description:

Lawyers from prominent area law firms will compete in a hotly contested sixth annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands to benefit Gifts for the Homeless, Inc. (GFTH), a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless. The Black Cat, a premier hot-spot in DC’s historic U Street district, has partnered with GFTH to host “Banding Together 2009″ on Thursday, June 18, from 7:00 pm to midnight.

At the stroke of midnight, one band will be crowned champion for having raised the most money from the crowd through “Chicago-style” voting (each dollar equals one vote – vote early and often!). GFTH will use 100% of the money donated to purchase thermal underwear, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, gloves, underwear, socks, blankets and other essential new clothing items for homeless men, women, and children; the clothing is distributed to more than 30 shelters throughout the metro area. GFTH has already raised over $100,000 in connection with Banding Together 2008.

It doesn’t surprise us that Biglaw denizens would be willing to help the homeless. There but for the grace of God….
Our belated account of the evening — The BLT wrote it up in more timely fashion — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Field Trip: The Battle of the Law Firm Bands (Part 1)”

2009 summer associate program.jpgFor the last few months, media outlets covering the legal industry — present company included — have predicted lean, mean summers for this year’s summer associates.

Well, now you summer associates are ensconced in your Biglaw offices. Welcome! (Again.)

We know that most programs are leaner in terms of the number of summer associates. Firms have brought in fewer SAs, presumably knowing they will have fewer full-time spots to fill. And we know firms have cut back on their meal budgets.
But what about the big events — the concerts, the booze cruises, the sneak previews of eagerly anticipated movies? Are they generally intact and as indulgent as in summers past?

We want to run a CONTEST — because we love contests, and because we welcome the opportunity to celebrate old-school Biglaw indulgence. We plan to crown one firm’s summer associate event the best of 2009. (And knowing us, we might have a crown of thorns for the worst event as well.)

Please send submissions to us at tips@abovethelaw.com with the entry “SA Event Contest.” Please include the firm name / office, date of the event, and a short description. You will be kept anonymous.

We’re also curious about the first week(s) of Great Recession summer associate life. Do you really feel McWined and McDined? Tell us in the comments.

Earlier: Summer Associate Event Watch: The Dark Knight at Simpson Thacher

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