Contests

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.

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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.

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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

larry wood.jpgWe know many lawyers who agonize over the New Yorker magazine’s weekly caption contest, desperately hoping to come up with a gnomic, witty caption worthy of selection. But we know of only one lawyer who has managed to come up with a winning caption three times. Let us introduce you to Larry Wood, an attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Wood, who also teaches a housing and poverty law class at the University of Chicago, has won the weekly contest more often than anyone else. (A slight technicality: A man by the name of Carl Gable has won three times, but one of those was the New Yorker’s annual contest, which has since been replaced by the weekly contests.)
Out of 38 submissions in the four-year history of the contest, Wood’s made it to the finals three times. That’s mighty impressive, given that he’s competing against at least 5,000 other caption entries each week, reports Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. So how’d he do it? Here’s what he told us on the phone this morning:

Short is better. Incorporate everything that’s in the cartoon. In one cartoon I was working with, there was a dolphin and a panhandler. So I thought of all the cliches I could think of about dolphins and about panhandlers. Dolphins are extremely intelligent, etc. Then I came up with the caption that won. My colleagues thought it was a mean-spirited joke for a poverty lawyer to make.

Maybe lawyers have advantages in the caption contests. As one friend of ours noted in response to Wood’s advice, “incorporating all the elements into your answer is actually a skill lawyers are supposed to use in their bar exam essays (and law school tort exams).”
Check out Wood’s winners, including the controversial caption, after the jump.

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Voting has ended for last week’s Couple of the Month polls, so it’s time to announce the winners. The January poll was extremely close; the February and March crowns were captured decisively by couples associated with the Obama machine and the Kennedy dynasty, respectively.

Check out the results, after the jump.

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Law Revue Video Contest.jpgIt’s the moment (some of) you have been waiting for. We’re ready to announce the six finalists in ATL’s First Ever Law Revue Video Contest.

We received many (many, many) submissions. We ordered sushi delivered to our SoHo office and pulled Biglaw hours to watch them all. As you may imagine, after many (many, many) hours of videos, our eyes were starting to glaze over, our ears were beginning to bleed, and our appreciation for the delicate intersection of legalese and funnies was beginning to fade.

But these six videos managed to shine through all that and make us laugh. Earlier this week, we gave you the (Dis)Honorable Mentions. (Excuse our harsh judging of those — we enjoyed channeling the acerbity of ATL commenters.) Now, we give you the finalists, hailing from NYU (2), UVA (2), Boston University, and Northeastern School of Law. We dare you to try to watch them without wetting your pants with laughter. Or at least emitting a little chuckle.

We’re also asking you to choose your favorite. Find the videos after the jump, and take our reader poll to help crown the first winner of the ATL’s Inaugural Law Revue Contest. Polls close Sunday at midnight.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above The Law’s Inaugural Law Revue Contest 2009
The Finalists

Above the law march madness.jpgTonight, the “real” Sweet Sixteen games will play out on NCAA courts. Here at ATL, the NCAA-styled ATL March Madness for Law Firms continues. Sixteen firms remain in the tournament hoping to be crowned Biglaw’s safest — the place where you’re least likely to get laid off.

Thirty-two firms entered the tournament, based on Vault prestige rankings. Thousands of ATL readers voted to eliminate sixteen firms in the first round. There was only one upset of a higher-ranked seed: Linklaters (V26) beat Latham (V7). The Magic Circle firm’s magic run may not last though. Kirkland has a solid lead over the UK-based firm at the moment.

Will there be more upsets in the Sweet Sixteen? Over 4,000 votes are in since voting started on Tuesday and two of the contests are nail-biters: Skadden vs Paul Weiss and Davis Polk vs Debevoise.

Check out the brackets and vote on the next four match-ups, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness for Law Firms, Round 2 (Part 2): The Sweet Sixteen”

Above the law march madness.jpgLast week, we brought you our NCAA-tournament style March Madness for Law Firms. We took the top 32 firms from the Vault prestige ratings and asked you to vote on which firms were the “safest” — the places where you’re least likely to get laid off.

After Round One, we’re down to the Sweet (Safe) Sixteen.

The higher-ranked teams firms won in all of last week’s contests but one: Magic Circle firm Linklaters (V26) upset 2008 March Madness tournament champ Latham (V7). Sadly, Latham’s bench was not as deep this year. Apparently, voters disagreed with this line of reasoning.

There were two particularly close matches. As predicted by one commenter:

Gibson v Wilmer in the first round is gonna be a close race.

Gibson Dunn won out, but barely, while Kirkland eked out a victory over Jones Day.

The most popular match with 6226 votes was Ropes & Gray vs Davis Polk & Wardwell. Check out which firms advanced, and vote on the first four match-ups of the Sweet Sixteen round, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness for Law Firms, Round 2 (Part 1): The Sweet Sixteen”

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